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Why I am an atheist – Celeste Morgan

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but not into a Mormon family. My parents could both be best described as agnostic. I was encouraged to attend the Mormon church by my many friends as I grew up, but I usually refused because the services were so deadly dull. However, this did leave me vaguely believing in the idea of god and heaven.

At the age of 10, I was playing dangerously in my backyard and my father yelled out the back door at me to stop it. I remember the conversation very clearly because it was the start of my atheism. He asked me, “What if you fall off that thing and die?”

Being a smart-alecky kid, I replied, “Then I’ll go to heaven.”

His reply was, “What if there is no heaven?”

This had honestly never occurred to me before but, once the idea took root, there was no going back. Now, as I look at the world around me, I see no need to believe in god(s), heaven, hell or an afterlife. In fact, I find that those beliefs tend to cheapen the lives we lead, diminish our achievements, and provide ready excuses for horrendous behaviour by believers. Though I am not a scholar, I can look at the answers provided by science and appreciate the complexity they offer. I do not need to dumb-down the world around me by assuming an invisible hand is guiding everything. I feel perfectly content when answering a question with, “I don’t know.”

I will admit that, at times, I wish there was an afterlife. I would like to see my family grow after I am gone. I’d like to see my grandparents again, and the thought of losing my parents is a crippling fear for me. But I can take comfort in the fact that, once I am gone, I will not miss any of this. I take comfort in the fact that I’m raising my children to be intelligent, independent, competent, and conscientious adults who will survive just fine without me and hopefully they will work to make this world a better place.

Celeste Morgan
United States

Comments

  1. LDTR says

    Now, as I look at the world around me, I see no need to believe in god(s), heaven, hell or an afterlife. In fact, I find that those beliefs tend to cheapen the lives we lead, diminish our achievements, and provide ready excuses for horrendous behaviour by believers.

    I am so going to use this point next time my best friend and I have one of our philosophical discussions. She mostly shares my lack of theistic belief, but she hasn’t yet let go of the hoping-for-an-afterlife thing.

  2. says

    Before I saw the first comment I had already planned to write about the exact same well written quote.

    Now, as I look at the world around me, I see no need to believe in god(s), heaven, hell or an afterlife. In fact, I find that those beliefs tend to cheapen the lives we lead, diminish our achievements, and provide ready excuses for horrendous behaviour by believers.

    Behavior that would include, for example, the 9/11 atrocities and the daily suicide bombings.

    Heaven is the foundation of all other religious beliefs. Kill the cowardly magical heaven fantasy and all other religious bullshit dies with it.

    darwinkilledgod dot blogspot dot com

  3. says

    The afterlife idea was for me one of the hardest vestiges of my indoctrination to shake, for exactly the reason you state: missing loved ones who have died. Even knowing rationally that there is no evidence for it and completely understanding that I simply wanted it to be true did not slake my thirst for it. One day I contemplated what it would really mean if it such a thing existed… and once I did, I no longer desired it. The tedium of “forever” is absolutely appalling to me, and the finite nature of existence makes it all the more meaningful.

    I have no children of my own, but if after a long and happy life I can say I’ve left this world a little better than I found it, that is all the “immortality” I could ever want.

  4. LDTR says

    Hope for a heaven also keeps the downtrodden down and the powerful in power. Why rebel or otherwise try to improve your lot when it’s so much easier to just hope you’ll be compensated for your current misery after you die?

    Fear of hell pretty much has the same effect of keeping the masses under control.

    Win-win… if you’re one of the powerful.

  5. LDTR says

    I really wish my best friend could read this thread. Her eyesight is too bad now for her to use a computer anymore. :-(

  6. Scientismist says

    “..and provide ready excuses for horrendous behaviour by believers.”

    Yes. That. It’s not the beliefs of other people, in themselves, to which I object; nor even the horrendous behavior. Why should I care if my neighbor believes that a Jewish rabbi once came back to life? Why should I care if he (or his dad) hates fags? The problem is when my neighbor hates fags and won’t take responsibility for his own harmful intentions. Religion lets people be satisfied with being responsible to a morality or ethic, while taking absolutely no responsibility for that ethic. That, for me, is the evil of religion.

  7. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    LDTR, there are free programs called screen readers that can assist your friend. I’d tell you more if I had any experience with them, but I’m sure google can help you.

  8. says

    If life is the cake, then heaven would be the not-yet-applied icing. Some come to the conclusion that the icing may not exist and so they begin eating, savoring every bite, knowing it would be better with icing, but not letting that spoil the moist deliciousness of the cake. Others will keep waiting for that icing, while their cake expires in front of them. By the time they realize that the icing is never coming it is too late.

    .

    Forgo the “bread of life,” eat cake.

  9. theophontes 777 says

    @ humanape

    Heaven is the foundation of all other religious beliefs.

    Au contraire, Rodney!

    Contrast the xtian/muslim belief in heavenly paradise with the misery that is in store for everyone amongst the shades, as in the (Homeric) Greek Religion. If we as atheists feel compelled to live this life as if it were our last, the Greek Religion actually taught one to enjoy this life with supreme intensity. This life is our last time and chance to NOT suffer for eternity – we must make the most of it.

  10. mikmik says

    Scientismist

    Religion lets people be satisfied with being responsible to a morality or ethic, while taking absolutely no responsibility for that ethic. That, for me, is the evil of religion.

    Nailed it.

  11. says

    Excellent points about believing in the afterlife. I’ve been complaining lately about how people who, without evidence, believe that they will get a second life feel free to utterly ruin the only life that we know we get for others. When really, they could just wait for their happy reward and leave the rest of alone.

  12. says

    I feel perfectly content when answering a question with, “I don’t know.”

    This is what I wish believers would understand– that not knowing everything is part of the human condition and that it’s perfectly okay. How can we be curious if we pretend to have all of the answers?

  13. generallerong says

    Damn straight, Scientismist #6.

    Virtue through compliance, plus a rationalization for shrugging off responsibility.

    Religion is like crack for the loser in all of us. After all, someone is always smarter, better-looking, more athletic, better dressed, wealthier, kinder, more honest, more modest, more talented, more inventive, more disciplined, more hard-working….

    But with religion, not only are you OK no matter what your failings, but you’re handed a perfect excuse for being self-righteous and smug about it: “I may not be as smart as you are, but I know one thing, that I’m SAVED, and that makes me not only equal to you, but better than you.” Insane power trips follow.

  14. StevoR says

    I wish there was justice.

    Real pure deep in the heart justice.

    Where the good and the bad got exactly what they deserved in an afterlife.

    But there almost certainly isn’t.

    Which sucks.

    Badly.

    But is real.

  15. StevoR says

    I take comfort in the fact that I’m raising my children to be intelligent, independent, competent, and conscientious adults who will survive just fine without me and hopefully they will work to make this world a better place.

    ^ This.

    Our legacy, our memory in our kids – or our family and friends and lovers if we have any.

    That’s what we leave behind.

    What we do, what we say, is all we get.

    Make it good.

    Make it honest, make it kind, make it carpe diem,make it me-you-us.

    Its all we have.

    Right here, right now, well drunk, well human.

    We have each other, we have the moment.

    We stumble through.

    We are.

    Then we are not.

    What do we leave behind?
    Memories. Word aand image sin other’s heads and recollections.
    Decaying molecules and .. what else?

    People who’ll miss us?

    People who will smile when we’re gone? (Hopefully in a good way.)

    Or cry when we’re gone? (Hopefully in a good way.)

    A carbon footprint, an article or two in the odd magazine.

    Words in the electronic ether of the internet?

    I don’t want to die.

    But I will.

    I want to leave the world better.

    Will I?

  16. StevoR says

    PS. Yes, KG, I know *you’re* going to say no but fuck you!

    You don’t know me at all.

  17. StevoR says

    On the whole hell-heaven afterlife deal; Isaac Asimov my own all-time favourite writer wrote :

    “A couple of months ago I had a dream which I remembered with the utmost clarity. … I had died and gone to heaven. I looked about and knew where I was – green fields, fleecy clouds, perfumed air, and the distant ravishing sound of the heavenly choir. And there was the recording angel smiling broadly at me in greeting.
    I said in wonder “Is this heaven?”
    The Recording angel said, “it is.”
    I said (and on waking and remembering, I was proud of my integrity), “but there must be a mistake. I don’t belong here I’m an atheist.”
    “No mistake” said the recording angel.
    “But as an atheist how can I qualify?”
    The Recording angel said sternly, “We decide who qualifies. Not you.”
    “I see,” I said. I looked about, pondered a moment for a moment then turned to the recording angel and asked, “is there a typewriter here I can use?

    The significance of the dream is clear to me. I felt heaven to be the act of writing and I have been in heaven for over half a century …

    The second point of significance is the recording angels remark that Heaven, not human beings decides who qualifies. I take that to mean that if I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think He would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God and whose deed is foul, foul, foul.

    I would also want a God who would not allow a Hell. Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don’t believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of a Hitler. Besides if most human governments are civilised enough to try to eliminate torture and outlaw cruel and unusual punishments, can we expect anything less of an all-merciful God?

    I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment would be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell.

    Pages 337-338 “Life After Death” chapter in ‘I Asimov : A Memoir’ (Asimov, Bantam, 1995.)

    *****

    Personally, I consider these to be some of the sanest and truest words I’ve read & I totally agree.

    Myself I’ve got only one thing to add :

    If, as the saying goes, “hell is other people” then for the soppy-@-heart here (incl. myself) there’s also the thought that perhaps “heaven can be other people” too? ;-)

    Of all the things that humans can do, surely loving and appreciating each other in all our flaws and virtues is about the greatest?

  18. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    PS. Yes, KG, I know *you’re* going to say no but fuck you!

    You don’t know me at all.

    StevoR, why are you trolling?

  19. joey says

    In fact, I find that those beliefs tend to cheapen the lives we lead, diminish our achievements, and provide ready excuses for horrendous behaviour by believers.

    You cannot “cheapen” or “diminish” something that has no objective value to begin with.

  20. joey says

    StevoR:

    Our legacy, our memory in our kids – or our family and friends and lovers if we have any.

    Once you cease to exist, your legacy doesn’t mean crap. It’s not like you’ll be floating around somewhere patting yourself on the back observing the number of living people admiring your legacy.

    No, the ONLY thing that actually matters (if you consider anything at all “absolute”) is your own opinion of yourself while you’re still alive. That is all.

  21. KG says

    No, the ONLY thing that actually matters (if you consider anything at all “absolute”) is your own opinion of yourself while you’re still alive. – joey

    I can certainly see why you’d think that joey.

  22. David Marjanović says

    Contrast the xtian/muslim belief in heavenly paradise with the misery that is in store for everyone amongst the shades, as in the (Homeric) Greek Religion.

    They eventually introduced the elysium, and a few mortals were put on the sky as star signs. But in the Sumerian/Babylonian/Assyrian religion, it really is everyone’s shade that goes to the dark, depressing underworld, eats mud and lives in depression forever.

    On the other side, there have been communists – most likely atheists – who went kamikaze. If you can convince someone that there’s a case worth killing and dying for, people will do exactly that, even if they understand dying as actually dying.

    StevoR, why are you trolling?

    Because he… just… can’t… let… go of his obsession with KG.

    It’s because KG is right and StevoR knows it but is too cowardish to admit it to himself.

    You cannot “cheapen” or “diminish” something that has no objective value to begin with.

    Wrong, see comment 23.

  23. KG says

    I want to leave the world better.

    Will I?
    StevoR

    PS. Yes, KG, I know *you’re* going to say no but fuck you!

    You don’t know me at all.

    I’m not going to say that at all. I’m pretty sure the world will be better immediately after you’ve left it than it was just before.

  24. Owlmirror says

    “Objective value” is an incoherent concept. Value is either subjective, or intersubjective; mutually agreed upon.

    Scarcity is not the only way to determine whether something has value, but it’s a general rule that the more there is of something available, the less valuable it is. If very human being on the planet had a copy of the Mona Lisa — and not just a reproduction, but one that was indistinguishable from the one that Leonardo da Vinci painted — the value of the painting would plummet.

    By analogy, if life actually were infinite, and superior to life on Earth — as religions with an afterlife often claim — the value of the span of our lives on Earth would similarly plummet.

    Therefore, Celeste was exactly correct that a serious belief in an afterlife cheapens our lives and diminishes our accomplishments.

    The only saving grace is that I suspect that many who claim to believe in a superior infinite afterlife are basically bullshitting themselves, and others. For all that they say it, they tend not to act as if they honestly believe it.

  25. joey says

    ING:

    Also of course you can. In fact much of value is subjective.

    the Mona Lisa has no objective value other than it’s base components, but you can reduce it’s value by painting a penis on it

    If you feel the painting has actually gained value with a penis on it, does it really matter what anyone else thinks? The only way it would matter is if the opinions of others sway your own opinion.

  26. joey says

    Owlmirror:

    Therefore, Celeste was exactly correct that a serious belief in an afterlife cheapens our lives and diminishes our accomplishments.

    Not unless you don’t think so. All other subjective opinions don’t matter.

  27. KG says

    If you feel the painting has actually gained value with a penis on it, does it really matter what anyone else thinks? – joey

    Yes. Next stupid question.

  28. Owlmirror says

    Not unless you don’t think so.

    People might not comprehend that an infinite superior life cheapens life on Earth — but that’s because their belief in an infinite superior life is full of internal contradiction and cognitive dissonance.

    All other subjective opinions don’t matter.

    I’ve often noticed that unclear thinking and religiosity tend to be strongly correlated.

  29. KG says

    joey,

    The nihilist pose isn’t really working, because it’s obvious you do care about other people’s opinions: if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here trying to persuade us to change ours. So either you’re just too stupid to have thought it through, or you’re being dishonest. Which is it?

  30. joey says

    KG, when you cease to exist how could it possibly matter at all what other people think of you?

  31. says

    If you feel the painting has actually gained value with a penis on it, does it really matter what anyone else thinks? The only way it would matter is if the opinions of others sway your own opinion.

    I’m going to be nice and give you a chance to take this back and give a better response. Think carefully, do you really want to present yourself and your argument as “but some people LIKE drawing cocks on famous works of art!”?

  32. joey says

    ING:
    I have no problem with my argument. It’s not my fault if you don’t understand it.

  33. Owlmirror says

    KG, when you cease to exist how could it possibly matter at all what other people think of you?

    Obviously, we value what people think of us while we’re alive. While it’s nice to imagine that we’ll be thought well of after we die, we can’t know that that will happen. But people cannot possibly think well of us at all if they are not given reason to think so, by our actions while alive.

    So, what do you want? Do you want people to think well of you — at all, while you’re alive (and possibly after you’re dead) — or not?

    ======

    I have no problem with my argument.

    Actually, you do. You’ve been using incoherent concepts, and it’s been pointed out that one of your assertions contains a logical entailment that you might not have intended. Yet you don’t want to clarify.

    I suspect the real problem is that you don’t actually have a well-thought-out argument or coherent position. You just want to whine, bluster, and sneer, and not even acknowledge that you’re not making sense.

    You could step back and try again, but I suspect you won’t bother, because you don’t really care that you’re not making sense.

    It’s not my fault if you don’t understand it.

    Since your argument — whatever it actually is — is not expressed in a coherent way, you don’t understand it either.

  34. Celeste says

    I knew this would post on a day when my internet usage was practically nil. I’m glad the hubby saw it.

    Thank you everyone for your kind words. I was nervous about how this would be received.

    Normally, I wouldn’t bother responding to someone as incoherent as Joey, but I thought this was an interesting question that a fence-sitter might actually ask.

    KG, when you cease to exist how could it possibly matter at all what other people think of you?

    It doesn’t matter that we won’t be here to see people mourning us when we’re gone. What matters is that we’re mourned. Being mourned means you made a positive impact on the world in some way, that you made life better for the people around you.

    The closest comparison I can come up with is making an anonymous donation to a charity. No one can thank you for it, because they don’t know who you are. You just have to be content with the thought of having done some good.

    People mourning our death is the thanks we’ll never receive. We can only do our best in life to earn it, knowing that what we do matters to someone.

  35. joey says

    Obviously, we value what people think of us while we’re alive.

    If the opinions of some affect how you value yourself (which is often the case), then of course. If you don’t give a damn what some think of you (which can be the case as well), then you don’t give a damn.

    So, what do you want? Do you want people to think well of you — at all, while you’re alive (and possibly after you’re dead) — or not?

    At the end of the day, all that matters is how I value myself while I still exist. That may or may not depend on what some think of me (or at least what I think they think of me).

    I suspect the real problem is that you don’t actually have a well-thought-out argument or coherent position.

    How am I being incoherent when I argue that all that matters is how you value yourself while you’re alive? Does it matter what other people think of you when you’re dead?

    Thought experiment. A person has lots of friends and family throughout his life and he truly believes that all of them think highly of him. Based on these beliefs, the person dies a very content person. However, the cruel truth is that every one of his friends and family secretly hates his guts. Does the truth actually matter at all to him? How could it? He died content person. That’s all that matters.

  36. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Matters to whom?

    Think about that for five minutes. Then you answer a fuckwitted question for a change. Always with questions are for loser trolls. Winners say “think is what I think, and this is the EVIDENCE (link) to back that up”. Try to be a winner. It will be a welcome change of pace to the rest of the world for you to do so.

  37. Celeste says

    Celeste:

    What matters is that we’re mourned.

    Matters to whom?

    You must have stopped reading at that point. Otherwise you’d know the answer.

  38. Owlmirror says

    If the opinions of some affect how you value yourself (which is often the case), then of course. If you don’t give a damn what some think of you (which can be the case as well), then you don’t give a damn.

    While that seems to cover the universe of possibilities, I suspect that very few people are completely indifferent to the perspective of others. Even sociopaths probably prefer not to be hated, at the very least, even if only from the pragmatic perspective that those who hate might be motivated to do the sociopath harm.

    At the end of the day, all that matters is how I value myself while I still exist. That may or may not depend on what some think of me (or at least what I think they think of me).

    Given that we are social animals, I don’t think we can help being influenced by how others think of us. There will always be a tension between the values and personality of oneself, and the values and personalities of others, and figuring out how to balance that can cause stress, and occupy quite a lot of time — especially when you’re younger.

    How am I being incoherent when I argue that all that matters is how you value yourself while you’re alive?

    I think you’re making your case more clearly, now, but I still think you haven’t thought through your position all the way down, as it were.

    Where do you get the values that you use to value yourself? Are they entirely self-generated, or is there influence from others?

    I don’t think they’re entirely from the self, or entirely from others. Both nature and nurture are sources of input to our perspectives, personalities, and values.

    Of course, perhaps for some — maybe even for you specifically — nature is dominant as the source. But if so, you should be cautious in attributing that to everyone. Overgeneralizing is a fallacy.

    Does it matter what other people think of you when you’re dead?

    Only inasmuch as it reflects how they thought of you while you’re alive.

    Thought experiment. A person has lots of friends and family throughout his life and he truly believes that all of them think highly of him. Based on these beliefs, the person dies a very content person. However, the cruel truth is that every one of his friends and family secretly hates his guts.

    The problem with the thought experiment is that it skips too many important details. It implies that everyone he knows is a perfect actor, never missing a cue in expressing love and/or respect. It also leaves out motivation — why does everyone hate him? What has he done or not done to inspire such passionate antipathy? And what is everyone’s motivation to hide this hatred?

    It’s easy to put such a scenario in words, but it makes less and less sense the more carefully you think about it.

  39. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Celeste, nice.

    (And hey, you got a trollbot in your thread!

    Please enjoy its writhing)

  40. says

    Thought experiment. A person has lots of friends and family throughout his life and he truly believes that all of them think highly of him. Based on these beliefs, the person dies a very content person. However, the cruel truth is that every one of his friends and family secretly hates his guts.

    Oh Joey, again with the absurd hypothetical? Why not make them all lizard people or him Jim Carry?

  41. KG says

    KG, when you cease to exist how could it possibly matter at all what other people think of you? – joey

    Stone me, you’re stupid.
    1) It matters to me now what people will think of me then.
    2) This, however, is less important to me than the effects I have on other people, both now and after I’m dead. You see, I care about other people, joey. You either are, or are pretending to be, a psychopath, indifferent to the enjoyments and suffering of others. I’m not. Nor are most people. Got it yet, you dumbfuck?

  42. KG says

    BTW, joey, you didn’t answer my question. Are you being dishonest, or have you just not thought through your claimed indifference to the opinions of others?

  43. KG says

    How am I being incoherent when I argue that all that matters is how you value yourself while you’re alive? – joey

    You’re being incoherent in that your behaviour in commenting here contradicts your claim that your own opinion of yourself is all you care about. This establishes that you are either very stupid, or dishonest. Which is it?

  44. joey says

    KG:

    1) It matters to me now what people will think of me then.

    Well, duh…you still exist right now. So while you’re still around, fancy all you want what others may think of yourself after you cease to exist.

    2) This, however, is less important to me than the effects I have on other people, both now and after I’m dead.

    But you’ll never know your effects on other people after you’re dead. The best you can do is simply guess what those future effects might be while you’re still alive. If that speculation on future events brings you contentment and boosts your own opinion of yourself, then so be it.

    You’re being incoherent in that your behaviour in commenting here contradicts your claim that your own opinion of yourself is all you care about.

    The action of me commenting (the exchange of ideas) is what boosts my opinion of myself, not what you guys think of me. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what strangers on the internet may or may not think about me. Doesn’t at all influence the way I view myself. But even if I do care what you guys think of me, how does that at all contradict what I said? Your opinions of me (or at least what I think your opinions of me) would affect my own opinion of myself.

  45. KG says

    joey,

    I see you are determined to continue either being a fuckwit, or pretending to be one.

    So while you’re still around, fancy all you want what others may think of yourself after you cease to exist.

    It’s not a matter of fancying, dumbfuck: if that were all, I could simply sit on my backside, fancying everyone thinking the sun shines out of my arsehole. It’s a matter of acting to increase the probability others will think well of me, both now and after my death; and more importantly, of acting so that others will be better off, both now and after my death. Those are the motivating goals of some of my actions. Now you, if you are representing yourself honestly, are a psychopath: you don’t care about others’ fulfilment or suffering at all, so these goals do not motivate you. That is a logically coherent stance, but nothing about atheism, or disbelief in objective values, makes it any more rational than caring about others. You are taking it as axiomatic that everyone is completely selfish, but this is factually wrong, and you have not even attempted to make a case for it.

    The action of me commenting (the exchange of ideas) is what boosts my opinion of myself, not what you guys think of me. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what strangers on the internet may or may not think about me.

    Your action in commenting is not an exchange of ideas, so that claim is not even minimally coherent. You are dependant for your ego-stroking on feedback from others, and hence on what they think about you. If everyone else here were completely indifferent to you, you would receive no such feedback. It’s by no means uncommon for people to enjoy being disliked, as you apparently do.

  46. joey says

    KG:

    Those are the motivating goals of some of my actions.

    Sure…if those actions help provide you with fulfillment and satisfaction. For others, such motivating goals could be very different (such as womanizing or world domination).

    Now you, if you are representing yourself honestly, are a psychopath: you don’t care about others’ fulfilment or suffering at all, so these goals do not motivate you.

    I don’t see how you reached this conclusion from what I said.

    That is a logically coherent stance, but nothing about atheism, or disbelief in objective values, makes it any more rational than caring about others.

    I never claimed one is more rational than the other. What is rational is to conclude that the only value system that matters, given there is no objective value system, is your own subjective value system.

    You are taking it as axiomatic that everyone is completely selfish…

    No, not that everyone is selfish…but rather everyone seeks to obtain satisfaction and happiness in their own way.

    Going back to my first post (#21), I criticized what the author said about theistic beliefs “cheapening” or “diminishing” our lives/achievements. The author may think such beliefs cheapens the life of a theist, but maybe not so at all from the viewpoint of theist. What if those beliefs actually give the theist a higher level of self worth compared to if he didn’t have such beliefs? Wouldn’t it be better for the theist to continue on believing? Likewise if an atheist is happier in the state of disbelief, wouldn’t it be better for the atheist to continue on disbelieving?

  47. KG says

    joey,

    You repeat substantially the same misunderstanding or misrepresentation several times, so I’ll just deal with the first example:

    Those are the motivating goals of some of my actions. – me

    Sure…if those actions help provide you with fulfillment and satisfaction.

    No. The goal of those actions is not to provide me with fulfillment and satisfaction. You believe, or pretend to believe, that all goals are necessarily subgoals of maximising one’s own fulfillment and satisfaction – that is, that they are subgoals of selfish goals. You have not presented any argument for this position, you just repeat it as if it were obviously true. It isn’t. If I were to do what provides me with most fulfillment and satisfaction, I would not do many of the things I do (e.g. regularly phoning a sick relative who bores me rigid), and I would do many things I don’t (e.g. spend all my spare time on the research that most interests me). You don’t get to pretend that you have the sort of insight into my mind that allows you to claim otherwise. Nor am I claiming to be unusually virtuous: any normal person sometimes puts the interests of others before their own. If you really never do so, you’re a psychopath.

  48. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Ah yes, the old ‘altruism is a type of selfishness’ argument.

    (bah)

  49. joey says

    …any normal person sometimes puts the interests of others before their own. If you really never do so, you’re a psychopath.

    And I agree with you. But you’ve been completely missing the point. If the psychopath dies a happy/content person, no matter how he arrived at that condition (through “selfish” or “altruistic” means), then that’s all that matters…for him. Doesn’t matter what others think of him unless those opinions ultimately affect the way he views himself.

    This has been my point all along: The value of your life is how much you ultimately value it. Agree or not?

  50. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Joey should be confined to the TZT until he learns how to quit asking stoopid and leading questions. Obviously a non-thinker. We’ve been there, done that, don’t want to talk to an abject loser about it.

  51. KG says

    If the psychopath dies a happy/content person, no matter how he arrived at that condition (through “selfish” or “altruistic” means), then that’s all that matters…for him.

    That’s true for a psychopath, but not for a normal person: the noraml person cares about things other than their own happiness. I note your use of scare-quotes around “selfish” and “altruistic”: denying that there is a real difference between the two is a common way of justifying selfishness.

    Think for a moment about what your viewpoint requires: that every person is constantly calculating what will provide them with the most happiness, contentment, satisfaction, or whatever term you want to use (the neoclassical economists call it “utility”). But not only is there no evidence for this, everything we know about human psychology indicates that it is not true. Much of the time, people act out of habit and routine: they are not thinking about any goal beyond getting to work, or cooking the dinner. Other times they are reacting to something in their immediate environment – following a TV programme, or turning round when there’s a noise behind them. Other times again they pursue a longer-term goal for a while, then break off to deal with something else, then go back to it. So we explain what people do in these sorts of terms – what specific goal, if any, they are currently trying to achieve, and how they are going about it. If we ask why they are trying to achieve a goal, there may or may not be another goal (or more than one) for which the currently active goal is a subgoal. But if we follow the chain of goals upward, sooner or later we’ll come to one that has no supergoal – one we say they value for its own sake. This may be money, or power, or fame – even postumous fame – or a benefit to someone they care about – even after their own death, or a social or political or religious goal. To claim that all these apparently top-level goals are really subgoals to that of maximising their contentment, or the value they give to their own life, or some other such formula, has no explanatory power whatsoever. Either it’s mere tautology: people want to achieve their goals, yes, because that’s what a goal is, but this tells you nothing about what those goals are or how they will be prioritised or pursued, or how pleased they will be if they achieve it; or it’s a claim for which there is zero evidence and which is not even well-defined: that we are constantly calculating how to maximise some nebulous quantity that we have no way of measuring, and for which it has not been specified how it is calculated, or what timescale it is to be calculated over, or how uncertainty is to be factored in, or anything else about it. In short, it has the same explanatory power as “Goddidit”, because what can “explain” everything in fact explains nothing.

    The value of your life is how much you ultimately value it. Agree or not? – joey

    No, that’s nonsense. There is no such thing as the value of a life, or of anything else. There’s not even such a thing as the amount a person values their own life, as there is no scale on which this could be measured. But aside from that, think for a moment about what your claim would imply: that your only goal should be to die as happy as possible, or valuing your own life to the greatest possible extent, or however you choose to phrase it (and it’s worth noting that these things are not necessarily equivalent). Now suppose there were a drug, or an invasive brain treatment, that would reliably bring about the brain-state that would maximise this quantity you want to maximise, whatever it is. According to you, everyone would rush to have this drug or treatment, and to ensure that they would die at the peak moment. Are even you able to convince yourself that everyone would do so?

    You see, joey, the things you regard as obviously true, just aren’t. If you want to establish their truth, you’re going to have to put forward an argument for them, not just continually restate them as you have been doing.

  52. KG says

    I see I’ve actually conceded too much in my first paragraph: even for a psychopath, it is not the case that they only care about dying a happy/content person. People, psychopaths included, usually want to delay death, unless they are utterly miserable or in severe pain; and tend to be rather short-termist. To believe that people are constantly calculating what course of action will lead them to die happiest or most content is absolutely bizarre.

  53. joey says

    KG:

    The value of your life is how much you ultimately value it. Agree or not? – joey

    No, that’s nonsense. There is no such thing as the value of a life, or of anything else.

    If you’re essentially rephrasing there is no such thing as objective value, then I agree.

    There’s not even such a thing as the amount a person values their own life, as there is no scale on which this could be measured.

    It would be tough to devise a quantitative scale that gauges the value of one’s life, but subjective value can easily be measured on a relative basis. My life has more value with my children in it than without. My life has less value being a minority in a racist community than living in a racially diverse community.

    Now suppose there were a drug, or an invasive brain treatment, that would reliably bring about the brain-state that would maximise this quantity you want to maximise, whatever it is. According to you, everyone would rush to have this drug or treatment, and to ensure that they would die at the peak moment. Are even you able to convince yourself that everyone would do so?

    You’re misconstruing my position (and I have thought of this thought experiment numerous times before). It’s not that I argue that everyone would rush to have this treatment. Rather, I argue that getting this treatment would simply be the rational thing to do. This assumes the following two additional premises…

    1) You are absolutely certain that you cease to exist once you die.

    2) You’re not a masochist.

    Are there any rational reasons one would choose NOT to have this treatment?

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The problem is that Joey thinks his inane question are “clever” instead of fuckwitted. Joey will mature when it realizes that the only way we will listen to it, is for it to use the proper methodology. Namely, “this is what I think and this is the evidence (link to evidence) to back it up”. Otherwise, it is on my ignore all questions list.

  55. KG says

    joey,

    The value of your life is how much you ultimately value it. Agree or not? – joey

    If you’re essentially rephrasing there is no such thing as objective value, then I agree.

    I just told you I don’t agree with you, you transcendentally stupid and irritating fuckwit. You asserted that there is such a thing as the value of a life: how much the person themselves “ultimately” values it. I told you I didn’t agree with you, so clearly I am not just restating that there is no such thing as objective value. Value is always value to someone or something, but the value of X’s life to X is not the same as the value of X’s life to Y; and furthermore, even “the value of X’s life to X” is contextual: how X assesses the value of hir own life will vary over time, and with the context in which X is thinking about it, and there is no reason to privilege the value X assesses their life to have the last time they think about it.

    Are there any rational reasons one would choose NOT to have this treatment?

    Yes: I value many things more than I value dying happy, hence taking this treatment would not meet my goals. Assuming you are actually being sincere, you clearly haven’t grown out of the naive assumption common among pre-school children that everyone wants the same things you want. Try to grow up just a little, get it through your thick skull and into the small particle of brain lodged therein that this is not the case: most people, including me, have goals other than dying happy, and exercise their rationality in pursuit of those goals.

  56. joey says

    ING:

    Joey are you going to answer my questions at all?

    If they’re unrelated to the discussion, then no.

    ——
    Nerd:

    Joey will mature when it realizes that the only way we will listen to it, is for it to use the proper methodology. Namely, “this is what I think and this is the evidence (link to evidence) to back it up”.

    Lol. Fine, here you go…

    This is what I think: I already tried that methodology. It doesn’t work for you.

    This is the evidence to back it up: LINK

    Otherwise, it is on my ignore all questions list.

    If only this were true.

  57. KG says

    It would be tough to devise a quantitative scale that gauges the value of one’s life, but subjective value can easily be measured on a relative basis. My life has more value with my children in it than without. My life has less value being a minority in a racist community than living in a racially diverse community. – joey

    I’m deeply sorry for your children, having a stupid psychopath for a parent, who would abandon them in order to die in a state of bliss.

    Setting that aside, how about your life with your children but as a member of a minority in a deeply racist area versus your life without your children in a racially diverse community? Yes, you might still be able to choose between those. But add in all the other variables that would make your life better or worse – health, wealth, job, friendship, political complexion of lovcal and national governments, and so on through hundreds of different factors. Are you contending that given any set of different possibilities, you could unambiguously place them in order? Because if you are, I don’t believe you. In fact, there is abundant evidence from experiments in behavioural economics that people don’t even maintain consistency: you can get people to say they prefer A over B, B over C and C over A without much difficulty, so long as you don’t present all three alternatives at once, and frame the questions right.

  58. joey says

    KG:

    …most people, including me, have goals other than dying happy, and exercise their rationality in pursuit of those goals.

    Are you suggesting that achieving these goals would not make you more happy (or content or fulfilled or satisfied or whatever)?

  59. joey says

    I’m deeply sorry for your children, having a stupid psychopath for a parent, who would abandon them in order to die in a state of bliss.

    You may feel sorry for my children, but I won’t if I’m in the state of perpetual bliss. I would convince my children to undergo the treatment as well.

  60. KG says

    Are you suggesting that achieving these goals would not make you more happy (or content or fulfilled or satisfied or whatever)?

    It might and it might not: that would depend on the circumstances. Many of my goals will not be achieved in my lifetime; that does not stop me working for them.

    You may feel sorry for my children, but I won’t if I’m in the state of perpetual bliss.

    I note your goalpost-shifting. This is the first time “perpetual bliss”, which is of course impossible, has been mentioned.

    Now, unless you are prepared either to admit that other people have top-level goals other than their own happiness, or to give an actual argument for your assumption that they don’t, I will conclude that you are not arguing in good faith, and end my side of the exchange.

  61. joey says

    I note your goalpost-shifting. This is the first time “perpetual bliss”, which is of course impossible, has been mentioned.

    You’re taking things too literally. Off course what I meant by “perpetual” is throughout the entire time you’re alive, since premise #1 that I listed above still holds.

    Now, unless you are prepared either to admit that other people have top-level goals other than their own happiness…

    If I used a single term like “happiness”, then I’ve simply meant it to represent a plethora of favorable feelings/attitudes. That’s why I’ve also lumped in the words contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment, etc. True, they don’t all mean precisely the same thing but they are all favorable feelings that you can have.

    Okay, let me approach the argument another way…not from the “happiness” perspective but from the “achievement of goals” perspective. Imagine your ultimate fantasy that at the end of your life all your lifelong goals (whatever personal goals that may be) have been met, at least the ones that are possible during your lifetime. And for the ones that can’t be accomplished while alive, you are absolutely convinced that your actions throughout your life have increased the probability of these goals eventually being met to the point of certainty. At that moment you feel you’ve lived the best possible life that you could ever live, and it feels great.

    Now, take a snapshot of your brain’s state/composition at that very moment of bliss, where in your mind all your lifelong goals have been met or will be met. Let’s say that treatment can duplicate that brain state and hold it there such that you can experience that very same blissful feeling throughout your entire life. You still think there would be rational reasons not to take that treatment?

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Let’s say that treatment can duplicate that brain state and hold it there such that you can experience that very same blissful feeling throughout your entire life.

    That would mean you couldn’t do anything else. Stoopid hypothetical. Keep it real. Hypotheticals are for sophist mental masturbators. Find a philosophy forum for that exercise in futility.

  63. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Off course what I meant by “perpetual” is throughout the entire time you’re alive,

    This confuses me (and, yeah, I admit quite readily to being easily confused). How can one be in ‘perpetual’ bliss for the entire time you are alive? Sounds a lot like Larry Niven’s wire heads. Or a permanent drug-induced euphoria. Anyway, if one is permanently blissful, where would family, career, love, food, or any other pleasurable activity, event, or object be? To me, perpectual bliss sounds suspiciously like a permanent vegetative state. Could you explain what you think you mean by this?

  64. joey says

    Nerd:

    That would mean you couldn’t do anything else. Stoopid hypothetical. Keep it real. Hypotheticals are for sophist mental masturbators. Find a philosophy forum for that exercise in futility.

    Just for the record, I wasn’t the one who first presented this particular hypothetical.

    ———–

    Ogvorbis:

    To me, perpectual bliss sounds suspiciously like a permanent vegetative state. Could you explain what you think you mean by this?

    You could be in a vegetative state or you could be perfectly functioning being…it doesn’t matter. And that’s kinda the point.

  65. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    You could be in a vegetative state or you could be perfectly functioning being…it doesn’t matter. And that’s kinda the point.

    How would someone in a perpetual state of bliss be a functioning being? If one is permanently blissed out, one does nothing.

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You could be in a vegetative state or you could be perfectly functioning being…it doesn’t matter. And that’s kinda the point.

    Yes, we saw that ages ago. And why it wouldn’t work. And it wouldn’t be for long anyway. If you don’t eat or drink, you die. Try reading sci-fi/fantasy. We who do have thought through such scenarios…

  67. joey says

    Ogvorbis:

    How would someone in a perpetual state of bliss be a functioning being? If one is permanently blissed out, one does nothing.

    Alright, then simply assume you’re in a vegetative state. The point is that you remain in a state of ultimate bliss until you cease to exist when you die.

  68. KG says

    Now, take a snapshot of your brain’s state/composition at that very moment of bliss, where in your mind all your lifelong goals have been met or will be met. Let’s say that treatment can duplicate that brain state and hold it there such that you can experience that very same blissful feeling throughout your entire life. You still think there would be rational reasons not to take that treatment?

    Of course there would, fuckwit, because my goal is not to achieve a particular brain state, however satisfying. Why are you unable to understand such a simple point?

    I note that you have still not presented any argument at all for any of your claims. Evidently, you can’t, and are not arguing in good faith. I shall waste no more time on you, other than to ask you two linked questions.

    Suppose a treatment to put you in your optimally pleasant/rewarding/whatever brainstate for the rest of your life were available, but you could only have it at the price of allowing your children to be placed in their pessimal (most unpleasant/painful/distressing) brain state for an equal period, then killed when you die.

    1) Would you accept this bargain?
    2) would it be rational for you to accept it?

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dude, it’s a thought experiment.

    Why bring it up here? WHY NOT A PHILSOPHICAL BLOG, WHICH IS THE PROPER FORUM FOR HYPOTHETICALS? We deal with reality here. That is my point fuckwitted asker of inane and improbable questions. Begone.

  70. joey says

    KG:

    Suppose a treatment to put you in your optimally pleasant/rewarding/whatever brainstate for the rest of your life were available, but you could only have it at the price of allowing your children to be placed in their pessimal (most unpleasant/painful/distressing) brain state for an equal period, then killed when you die.

    1) Would you accept this bargain?
    2) would it be rational for you to accept it?

    Nice twist. Here are my answers…

    1) No, I would not.

    2) Yes, it would be rational to accept it.

    Why the contradictory responses? Because my answer in #2 is based on premise #1 that I mentioned above, that you are absolutely certain that you cease to exist when you die.

    Personally, I am not absolutely certain that we cease to exist when we die, so that sliver of doubt alone would compel me not to accept the bargain.

  71. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Alright, then simply assume you’re in a vegetative state.

    Then I would not be having this ‘conversation’ with you. Nor would I be reading Mesozoic Vertebrate Life (D. Tanke and K Carpenter, 2001). Nor would I be watching my kids grow up and become adults. Nor would I have the love of my wife. Nor would I enjoy a good steak. Or beer. Or scotch. Or any of the other things in my life that give me pleasure. In other words, I would neither be alive, nor would I be me. In other words, a good description of hell.

  72. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Have you ever seen the Matrix (the movie)?

    Machine-stored intelligence (also explored in the Heechee books) has nothing to do with my failure to grok what your point.

  73. KG says

    joey,

    OK, you’ve now confirmed that you are indeed a psychopath, who would be willing for your own children to be hideously tortured as the price for your own pleasure, if only you could be certain you would not be called to account for it. I don’t think I want any more to do with you, but I do wonder whether you have told your children this.

  74. joey says

    Ogvorbis:
    Remember the part where Morpheus says, “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

    Your own reality is only what your brain perceives as reality. Objective reality may be completely different than what you perceive it to be.

    Now, this ‘blissful state’ could instead be easily substituted by a Matrix-like simulation where our brains make us think we’re actually going through the motions of living an actual life (enjoying a steak, reading a book, watching your children grow, etc.), but in reality our physical bodies are in some form of vegetative state. It’s just that in this simulated world, we’re living the best possible life we could ever imagine.

    Now tell me it wouldn’t be rational to choose this simulated ideal life, provided once you’re in it you would never know that you’re only in a simulation, and that once you die you completely cease to exist.

  75. joey says

    KG:

    OK, you’ve now confirmed that you are indeed a psychopath, who would be willing for your own children to be hideously tortured as the price for your own pleasure, if only you could be certain you would not be called to account for it.

    No, I didn’t admit this. I just answered the question that it would be “rational”. Also, note that I inserted the word “alone” in my response, as in “that sliver of doubt alone would compel me not to accept the bargain.” My two answers would be exactly the same as the previous hypothetical where my children would not be in any kind of jeopardy.

  76. KG says

    joey,

    So you’re a liar and a moral coward as well as a psychopath. You did admit it.

    My two answers would be exactly the same as the previous hypothetical where my children would not be in any kind of jeopardy.

    So the only thing that would prevent you accepting the bargain is your doubt about whether there is an afterlife; whether or not your children would be tortured makes absolutely no difference to your decision. If that doubt disappeared, you would readily agree to the torture of your children.

    In fact, even with that doubt, you are being inconsistent. If there is an afterlife, we have absolutely no information whatever about how, if at all, our felicity in that afterlife depends on our conduct or decisions in this one. There is no more likelihood that an afterlife would involve punishment for agreeing to your children to be tortured, than reward for it. Rationally, therefore, it makes no sense whatever to factor in what might happen to you in an afterlife to any decision at all in this one.

  77. joey says

    KG:

    So the only thing that would prevent you accepting the bargain is your doubt about whether there is an afterlife; whether or not your children would be tortured makes absolutely no difference to your decision. If that doubt disappeared, you would readily agree to the torture of your children.

    No. If that doubt disappeared, it would then be a matter of weighing temporary pain versus prolonged pleasure.

    Why exactly would it suck for me if my children would suffer? It’s me knowing that my children would suffer. So that would supremely suck for me during the moments I’m aware that my children are going to suffer. But that sucky feeling would only last until I get the treatment (assuming that I go on with bargain), which could be very temporary.

    So an essentially equivalent bargain would be as follows. I get the treatment that would put me into a blissful state, but only after I am put in a temporary state of the most intense suffering imaginable. So would this temporary extreme suffering outweigh the prolonged extreme pleasure? For some it would, and for others it wouldn’t. I would fit in the latter camp, because I can imagine some really awful things (such as my children suffering). But that isn’t to say that accepting the bargain wouldn’t be a rational decision for others, because for them maybe the bliss that follows the intense but brief moment of suffering would all be worth it.

    If there is an afterlife, we have absolutely no information whatever about how, if at all, our felicity in that afterlife depends on our conduct or decisions in this one. There is no more likelihood that an afterlife would involve punishment for agreeing to your children to be tortured, than reward for it.

    I agree, but that isn’t to say that it’s not a possibility.

  78. KG says

    joey,

    If that doubt disappeared, it would then be a matter of weighing temporary pain versus prolonged pleasure.

    1) So, as I said, your childrens’ pain is irrelevant. You don’t give a shit about them, just about yourself. That’s what you’ve been saying all along, but when you’re faced with the logical consequences of your position, you try to wriggle out of them like the dishonest moral coward you are. Either you’re a psychopath, willing to have your children tortured if it benefits you, or you’ve been bullshitting the whole time; there’s no third possibility.
    2) Moreover, we can set it up so that as soon as you make the decision, the next thing you become aware of is bliss, which lasts the rest of your life. No temporary pain. If you press the red button, you get a lifetime’s bliss and they get a lifetime’s torment, beginning immediately you press; if you press the green button, or fail to press either within the time limit, that’s your chance of bliss and theirs of torment gone.

    I agree, but that isn’t to say that it’s not a possibility.

    Either the possibility that you will be punished for having your children tortured, and the possibility that you will be rewarded for it are both relevant to the decision and cancel each other out, or neither is relevant. You can give no reason for considering one more relevant or more likely than the other. So again, either you’re a psychopath, or you’re a bullshitter; there is no third possibility.

  79. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ing is pretty sure he’s been bullshitting the whole time. I haven’t been watching as closely, but joey did make a comment on one other thread that made me figure him for a godbot. That’s where I’d put my money if I had to bet.

  80. KG says

    LILAPWL,

    No, I don’t think joey’s a godbot. I think he’s what I call a naive subjectivist. A lot of adolescents go through this phase – it’s a natural pseudo-philosophical reflection of normal adolescent self-absorption – but clearly, joey’s never grown up. I was entirely serious in saying I am deeply sorry for his children.

  81. joey says

    KG:

    So, as I said, your childrens’ pain is irrelevant.

    Why don’t you read my last post again…specifically where I explained why my children suffering would suck for me.

    So again, either you’re a psychopath…

    Psychopathy doesn’t suggest irrationality.

  82. John Morales says

    The original:

    So again, either you’re a psychopath, or you’re a bullshitter; there is no third possibility.

    joey’s effort at cargo-cult rebuttal:

    So again, either you’re a psychopath…

    Psychopathy doesn’t suggest irrationality.

    <snicker>

    Neither does bullshitting. ;)

    (If KG was weak on any respect, it’s that he didn’t make it eminently clear that he’s using an inclusive ‘or’.)

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why don’t you read my last post again

    Because your posts are incoherent and fuckwitted. You should shut the fuck up, like any fuckwitted idjit should do when confronted with your fuckwittery. As you should have from a month or so ago….You have no point….

  84. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and Joey, if you have a point, try “this is what I believe, and this is the evidence [link to third party evidence] to back it up. Or just fade into the bandwidth like any other sophist losing an argument with reality…

  85. KG says

    Why don’t you read my last post again…specifically where I explained why my children suffering would suck for me. – joey [emphasis added]

    Exactly my point. All you care about is that it would suck for you. If you could find away of avoiding that unpleasantness, you would willingly have them tortured for your own benefit.

    Psychopathy doesn’t suggest irrationality.

    I didn’t say it did. I pointed out that your crap about the possibility of an afterlife was just that, crap, which you produce in a feeble attempt to avoid the unavoidable conclusion that you are either a psychopath or a bullshitter (and of course, as John Morales points out, that’s an inclusive or). If it would be rational to have your children tortured for your own benefit without taking account of that possibility (as, according to your position, it would be if you could avoid the unpleasantness of having to think about their torture), then it would be rational to do so taking it into account, because we have no information whatever about how your felicity in the afterlife depends, if at all, on what you do in this one. It is no more likely that you would be punished for making that decision, than for making the decision not to have them tortured for your own benefit. So all considerations about a possible afterlife simply cancel out, and all you have to go on, as a psychopath, is whether you will get a net benefit in this one. You’ve made quite clear, numerous times, that if your calculations indicate that you would get such a net benefit, you’d have your children tortured; and we’ve now removed the only reasons you’ve raised for not having your children tortured: the afterlife, which I’ve shown to be irrelevant, and the pain of thinking about your children being tortured, which does not occur in the scenario I raised @95.

    So, joey, I’ll ask once more, do you stand by your position? If you do, you’re a psychopath, in no way better than John Wayne Gacy, just more squeamish. If you don’t, you’re a bullshitter.

  86. joey says

    KG:

    Exactly my point. All you care about is that it would suck for you.

    And THAT is exactly my point. What affects you are the only things that matter. The problem is you’re thinking of everything too emotionally and from a strictly objective paradigm. But in reality all that matters is what you perceive to true, which may be the same or completely different from objective reality.

    Let me give an example. Say someone absolutely convinces a mom that her son is getting tortured in the other room, but in actuality he’s enjoying himself eating a bowl of ice cream and watching Mickey Mouse on TV. All that matters for the mom at that moment is her perception of reality which is her son getting tortured. The objective truth is completely irrelevant for the mom at that moment. She will be in absolute pain regardless of the truth. It works exactly the same the other way around where the mom is convinced the son is enjoying himself but in actuality is getting tortured. The truth only becomes relevant when the mother eventually discovers the truth, IF she ever discovers the truth.

    That’s why I brought up the example of The Matrix. The simulated world is the only reality that matters to the people hooked up to the Matrix. The real world where they are being harvested by machines for their bioelectrical output is completely irrelevant to them. It only becomes relevant if they ever get unhooked from the Matrix (such as Neo) and they then perceive actual reality.

    I pointed out that your crap about the possibility of an afterlife was just that, crap…

    No, it is not crap. I never mentioned anything at all about the common theistic beliefs of reward or punishment in the afterlife. Rather, why can’t you consider the possibility of simply being aware in the afterlife? The possibility of being aware of objective reality would not be crap. For the mom in my example, being aware of the truth about her son in the other room would not be crap. In The Matrix, getting unhooked from the simulation and being aware of the real world would not be crap. I’m surprised you’ve failed to realize the obvious.

  87. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Rather, why can’t you consider the possibility of simply being aware in the afterlife?

    Fuckwit, if the afterlife doesn’t exist, why bother mentally masturbating about it unless you intend to write a fantasy book? That is part of KG’s points you keep ignoring. Put up or shut the fuck up on the afterlife existing. We won’t let you presupposition it in, which is what you are trying to do, and I detect the faint aroma of Pascal’s wager in the offing. It is a red herring for reality. Take your fantasies elsewhere.

  88. KG says

    All you care about is that it would suck for you. – me

    And THAT is exactly my point.

    Good, we’re agreed: you’re a psychopath. Only a psychopath cares only about their own feelings.

    The objective truth is completely irrelevant for the mom at that moment. She will be in absolute pain regardless of the truth.

    The first of these sentences is false. Of course her feelings will only be affected by what she believes, but as she’s not a psychopath like you, her feelings are not all that matter to her. If you asked a mother in that position whether it’s important whether her son is actually being tortured, then even if she knows she is about to be killed, and has no shred of doubt that there is no afterlife, she would of course say that of course, it’s desperately important – it’s her son whom she loves. But since as a psychopath you don’t love anyone but yourself, I don’t expect you to believe this – or you’ll merely dismiss it as irrationality if you do.

    At no point in your prolonged farrago of nonsense have you ever, at any point, put forward any argument whatsoever that it is either impossible or irrational to have goals which are nothing to do with your own feelings. It’s obvious you can’t, or you would have done so by now.

    Rather, why can’t you consider the possibility of simply being aware in the afterlife?

    Why can’t you consider the possiblity of only being aware of the last thing you experienced? Or of a false reconstruction of your life, in which you believe you decided to have your children tortured if in fact you didn’t, and vice versa? Or of the best (or worst) thing you ever experienced? Or of instant reincarnation as a blob of living jelly floating in the atmosphere of a gas giant? Or of endless re-runs of Monty Python’s Flying Circus? The suggestion that any of these “possibilities” should have any influence on any decision you make is no more risible than the suggestion that “the possibility of simply being aware in the afterlife” should. In any case, it’s transparently obvious to everyone, except perhaps you, that this nonsense is just a rhetorical device to avoid admitting to the vile consequences of your ridiculous position.

  89. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Now tell me it wouldn’t be rational to choose this simulated ideal life, provided once you’re in it you would never know that you’re only in a simulation, and that once you die you completely cease to exist.

    I must be completely and totally irrational. No way would I choose that for myself or for my worst enemy. I’d rather be alive, with all the pain and sorrow that includes.

    What affects you are the only things that matter.

    I had a cub scout leader back when I was young. His philosophy of life was that there were two kinds of humans — men and children. The only thing that mattered, in his mind, was what directly affected him. If his pleasure involved the pain of a child (which in his mind included most adult males, all adult females, and all minors), and it did, then it was, to him, both ethical and rational to take that pleasure. At the time, I knew what he was doing was wrong. I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain why it was wrong at that tender age. I do now.

    Your philosophy of selfishness, that you are the only one who matters in any way, shape or form, is frightening as hell. Your willingness to accept the torment of children, in this case your own children, ranks you up there with my old den leader — a sexual sadist and psychopath (no, this is not an internet diagnosis — this is me using terms that describe a set of actions).

  90. KG says

    joey,

    You have made absolutely clear that if you could do so in the firm belief that there would be no negative consequences for yourself, you would willingly have your children tortured in return for enjoyment for yourself. That is, of course, a logical consequence of your position. You can’t hold the position you do without assenting to that. You insist on holding to your position, so the only conclusions possible are that either you’re a psychopath willing to have your children tortured for your own benefit, as you insist you are, or you’re a liar, bullshitter and moral coward who can’t bear to admit they are wrong.

  91. julian says

    But in reality all that matters is what you perceive to true,

    Not to pile on but that’s demonstrably not true. The reality of a viral disease or severe storm will matter to me regardless of whether I see them as ‘true.’ They still pose a threat to my health and well being and they both affect the world around me. They matter no matter what I think.

  92. KG says

    Ogvorbis makes a vital point; this philosophy of selfishness is not just some abstraction for people to argue about on the internet: it’s something which many people put into practice. And it’s not just vile child abusers like the one who victimised him. It’s at the heart of the amoral, predatory capitalism that largely rules the world. If we are, as it posits, all just interested in our own enjoyment, then there is no difference between selfish and altruistic motivations – something which you hinted you believed (and it is indeed a logical consequence of your position), by putting these words in scare-quotes. So there can be no valid objection to any kind or degree of selfishness, whatever suffering it causes.

  93. joey says

    KG:

    And THAT is exactly my point.

    Good, we’re agreed: you’re a psychopath. Only a psychopath cares only about their own feelings.

    Lol, talk about dishonesty. Why exactly did you leave out my very next sentence in that quote?…which is this… “What affects you are the only things that matter.” Can other peoples’ feelings “affect you”? Of course they can. But ONLY if you’re aware of them…which is the entire point that you’re intentionally omitting since you’d much rather continue with the distraction of labeling me a psychopath. The feelings of others do affect me, so I’m not a psychopath. Sorry to disappoint you.

    You have made absolutely clear that if you could do so in the firm belief that there would be no negative consequences for yourself, you would willingly have your children tortured in return for enjoyment for yourself.

    Wrong. I admitted no such thing. Why do you continue to resort to outright lying concerning what I’ve said? But not only that, but you’re completely misrepresenting the argument, which is obviously intentional. Reread posts 86, 92, and 94.

    ———

    Ogvorbis:

    No way would I choose that for myself or for my worst enemy. I’d rather be alive, with all the pain and sorrow that includes.

    You guys are lacking imagination. How are you so sure you’re not living a simulated life right now? ;)

    Your philosophy of selfishness, that you are the only one who matters in any way, shape or form…

    But this is not what I’ve been arguing. Go back and reread all my posts. My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters.

    If you go through your entire life thinking that you’ve lived a completely miserable existence, despite the fact that you’ve done countless charitable/altruistic deeds that have benefited thousands of people, then your own perception of your life is all that really matters. You either are completely unaware of the thousands of people who consider you a saint, or you completely disregard all those opinions. And once you’re dead, you’re dead. So you indeed lived a miserable life.

    Same goes if you were a murderer tyrant who perceives yourself to be a god. If you go through your entire life thinking you’re the greatest being in history, despite the fact that you killed thousands and millions around the globe despise you, then you still lived a pretty darn good life.

  94. KG says

    joey,

    My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters.

    That’s exactly the same.

    You have made absolutely clear that if you could do so in the firm belief that there would be no negative consequences for yourself, you would willingly have your children tortured in return for enjoyment for yourself.

    Wrong. I admitted no such thing.

    I notice that even now you do not deny it. It’s true you are too much of a dishonest moral coward to have admitted it explicitly, but it is a logical consequence of your position. Moreover, when faced with the choice of whether you would have your children tortured for your own benefit, the only grounds on which you have said you would not do so are:
    1) The pain you would suffer imagining their torture before your bliss began, and
    2) The possibility you might suffer in an afterlife.
    You have had numerous chances to say you would not agree to their torture even if you were sure you would not suffer adverse consequences. So let me challenge you once more, to give a straight answer to this question, which in your dishonesty and cowardice you have not given. If you fail to give a straight answer, yes or no, everyone will see what a despicable, dishonest moral coward you are, and I’ll simply note that you have in fact failed to do so, and end my part in the exchange, ignoring any further attempts at distraction you make.

  95. John Morales says

    joey:

    You guys are lacking imagination. How are you so sure you’re not living a simulated life right now? ;)

    Stupid non sequitur merits no winkie.

    Whether or not Ogvorbis is living a simulated life or not is irrelevant to the way Ogvorbis feels about others.

    (You really seem not to get that!)

  96. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You guys are lacking imagination. How are you so sure you’re not living a simulated life right now? ;)

    Show us the evidence for your inane and insane claim, then we talk. Otherwise, like all your unevidenced claims, which is all of them, *POOF* dismissed without evidence as fuckwittery.

  97. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    How are you so sure you’re not living a simulated life right now?

    There is no way to be sure. Most parsimonious solution is that I am alive.

    But this is not what I’ve been arguing. Go back and reread all my posts. My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters.

    My perception does matter, but it is not the only thing that matters. To go back, once again, into darkness, my cub scout leader’s perception of his place in the world was supremely selfish. His perception was the only thing that mattered: the pain, confusion, shame, and guilt that I and (I have to presume) others have suffered over the last 35 or more years are a direct result of this man’s obsession with the idea that his perception of the world, his ideas of the way the world should work, overrode all other ideas and perceptions. His perception really was the only thing that mattered to him.

    The way that others percieve me is very important. I do not want to be percieved as abusive, as a liar, as a misogynist, a racist, a bigot. Thus I adjust my view of the world, my perception of the world, to take into account what others think, what society accepts. I do not seek to guide the world with my perceptions. I do not impose my perceptions on others. So my perception is not the only thing that matters.

    If you go through your entire life thinking that you’ve lived a completely miserable existence, despite the fact that you’ve done countless charitable/altruistic deeds that have benefited thousands of people, then your own perception of your life is all that really matters.

    Odd. I referred to some pain and sorrow in my life (which is normal) but that certainly does not mean that I percieve my life as a completely miserable existence.

    You either are completely unaware of the thousands of people who consider you a saint, or you completely disregard all those opinions. And once you’re dead, you’re dead. So you indeed lived a miserable life.

    So if I am unaware of how others percieve me how would that affect my perception of myself? And disregarding the opinions of others, the perceptions of society, is a really good way to be labelled a sociopath or psychopath.

    I agree that once I am dead I am dead. I know that I will not be around to know, in any way, shape or form, what others think of me post mortem. So what? It still matters. I do not want to be lying on my deathbed knowing that every person in the world who matters to me, every person with whom I have had any meaningful contact, thinks I am a complete and total asshole. Why is this hard to comprehend? What other people think matters.

    Same goes if you were a murderer tyrant who perceives yourself to be a god. If you go through your entire life thinking you’re the greatest being in history, despite the fact that you killed thousands and millions around the globe despise you, then you still lived a pretty darn good life.

    There you are, once again, with that idea that if you think it is right, nothing else matters. That scout leader thought what he was doing was right. He thought that his perception of the world overrode everyone else and he had the moral and ethical right to impose his perceptions on others whether or not that other person wanted it. To make a decision that murder is good, that tyranny is right, is to allow one’s own perception of reality to negate the perceptions of others and it is wrong!

    You keep coming at this as if the supremacy of one’s own perception is an academic exercise. It is not. This philosophy of life has real world implications which are painful, in many ways, for those over whom the egoist can impose his or her will. Again, I refuse to engage in internet diagnoses. However, your view of your place in society sounds an awful lot like the scout leader of my youth. A man who I would describe as having psychopathic and sexually sadistic tendencies.

    Think on that. Please.

  98. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell.

    The last, and next-to-last, paragraphs should not be in yellingbold.

  99. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The last, and next-to-last, paragraphs should not be in yellingbold.

    I disagree. They make your point loud and clear, and it must be addressed by mastur(bator) sophistry.

  100. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Nerd:

    I apologize profusely for my innability to read with comprehension. Does

    They make your point loud and clear, and it must be addressed by mastur(bator) sophistry.

    imply that what I wrote smacks of sophistry? If so, I must vociferously disagree. If not, I have, once again, failed to grok in fullness.

  101. joey says

    KG:

    My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters.

    That’s exactly the same.

    No they’re not. And I think it’s pretty humorous that you actually say so.

    You have had numerous chances to say you would not agree to their torture even if you were sure you would not suffer adverse consequences. So let me challenge you once more, to give a straight answer to this question…

    Man, you’re desperate. Fine…
    No, I would not agree to their torture even if I was sure I would not suffer adverse consequences.
    Is that straight enough for you? Chances are no. And with that, I’m ending my discussion with you KG.

    ———–

    John Morales:

    Stupid non sequitur merits no winkie.

    I can dish out winkies in any way that I want. ;) ;)

    Whether or not Ogvorbis is living a simulated life or not is irrelevant to the way Ogvorbis feels about others.

    Well…yeah. Just because he is living inside a simulated life doesn’t mean he no longer “feels about others”. In fact, I’ve made the assumption that you still possess the ability to feel about others inside this perfect simulation.

    ————

    Ogvorbis:

    Odd. I referred to some pain and sorrow in my life (which is normal) but that certainly does not mean that I percieve my life as a completely miserable existence.

    Just to be clear, the ‘you’ that I used in my example wasn’t meant to refer to you (Ogvorbis) specifically, but more of a general you.

    So if I am unaware of how others percieve me how would that affect my perception of myself?

    Well…yeah, it can’t. If some random reader of this blog halfway across the world thinks all your posts are absolute crap, how could his opinions have any affect on you unless you’re aware he and his opinions exist?

    And disregarding the opinions of others, the perceptions of society, is a really good way to be labelled a sociopath or psychopath.

    There are numerous posters here who think I’m a psychopath. Whatever. I have my own perception of myself, and I don’t perceive myself to be a psychopath. That isn’t to say that I disregard all opinions concerning me, because I don’t. I most definitely care about the opinions of my friends and family who actually know me, not so much the thoughts of random strangers on the interwebz.

    I agree that once I am dead I am dead. I know that I will not be around to know, in any way, shape or form, what others think of me post mortem. So what? It still matters.

    Again, “it still matters” to whom? You already admitted it can’t matter to you if you cease to exist, so you’re definitely not talking about yourself.

    I do not want to be lying on my deathbed knowing that every person in the world who matters to me, every person with whom I have had any meaningful contact, thinks I am a complete and total asshole.

    I agree, me too. But if I’m pondering on my deathbed, then I’m still existing! So as I’ve said (#24), what matters is how you value yourself while you’re still alive.

    There you are, once again, with that idea that if you think it is right, nothing else matters. That scout leader thought what he was doing was right. He thought that his perception of the world overrode everyone else and he had the moral and ethical right to impose his perceptions on others whether or not that other person wanted it. To make a decision that murder is good, that tyranny is right, is to allow one’s own perception of reality to negate the perceptions of others and it is wrong!

    It seems to me here that you’re suggesting there exists some sort of objective or absolute morality. Are you?

    If not, then why is it “wrong”? Is it because you personally think it’s wrong? Or is it simply because his views are against the majority of society’s?

  102. KG says

    joey

    No, I would not agree to their torture even if I was sure I would not suffer adverse consequences.
    Is that straight enough for you? –

    Yes, of course that’s straight enough. Assuming it’s true, and I’ve no reason to think it’s not, you are not a psychopath. You are, however, a fuckwitted bullshitter, since this shows that contrary to what you have been claiming, you dohave a goal which is not merely a subgoal of your wish to maximise your own enjoyment: that of preventing your children being tortured; so your repeated atttempts to convince everyone else that no-one has such goals are in tatters. Not that I expect you to recognise that.

    I most definitely care about the opinions of my friends and family who actually know me, not so much the thoughts of random strangers on the interwebz.

    Riiight. That’s why you’ve spent the last several days arguing about whether you’re a psychopath, and have, finally, abandoned the ridiculous position you’ve been maintaining in order to show that you’re not.

  103. John Morales says

    [meta]

    joey:

    I can dish out winkies in any way that I want. ;) ;)

    Your eye is twitching.

    Well…yeah.

    Admitting the bleeding obvious gives you little credit.

  104. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Brother Oggie:

    imply that what I wrote smacks of sophistry? If so, I must vociferously disagree. If not, I have, once again, failed to grok in fullness.

    No, I was trying to imply what you wrote of such importance that Joey the fuckwit had to address it intelligently and honesty, not with sophistry.

    Joey, you have been trolling. Posting things to get a rise out of people is the definition of trolling. As an exposed troll, you should fade into the bandwidth. Your lack of honesty and integrity make it impossible for you to hold a real conversation. I figured that out on the abortion thread where you wouldn’t show us your hand there either.

    You will stop trolling when you can say “this is what I believe, and this is the evidence (link to evidence) to back it up.” In other words, defend your proposition rather than trying to make us defend ours with fuckwitted questions, which is either concern trolling or regular trolling.

  105. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    It seems to me here that you’re suggesting there exists some sort of objective or absolute morality. Are you?

    There exists societal morality. Societal morality is a perfect example of a situation in which one’s own perceptions are not paramount. If one allows his or her own perceptions to override societal morality, as people like Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and my old scout leader did, people die or people are hurt. How the fuck can you possibly be arguing this?

    Over the last year, I have seen quite a few commenters who are similar to you. Not in the details, but in the general thrust of argument. Most commonly, these have been men who have tried to pin down exactly how many alcoholic drinks make a woman unable to enthusiastically consent to sex. In other words, they were trying to excuse past, or future, rapes.

    You are still insisting that the ego is supreme. That nothing else anyone does should, in any way, impact your personal perception. That you are the only one who actually matters. Commenters, on this very thread, have pointed out real world situations in which this attitude, the egotistical selfishness, this borderline psychopathy, is harmful to individuals and you keep refusing to admit the possibility even exists.

    So, Joey, what do you do for your personal pleasure that requires that you treat other human beings as objects, as things? Why is it so important to you to maintain the fiction that you are all that matters, that your world view is all that matters, that your perceptions override reality and other human beings?

    No, I was trying to imply what you wrote of such importance that Joey the fuckwit had to address it intelligently and honesty, not with sophistry.

    Okay. Sorry for the misunderstanding. For some reason, I have gotten rather emotional here. A little scary.

    And Joey did not engage any of what has been written honestly. He still clings to the idea that only his reality matters. I’ve met people like that and they scare the shit out of me.

  106. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And Joey did not engage any of what has been written honestly. He still clings to the idea that only his reality matters. I’ve met people like that and they scare the shit out of me.

    Understandable. Joey can and will say anything to get the reaction it wants, and to justify its idiocy, including knowingly lie and bullshit. It doesn’t belong at a blog where honesty and itegrity is expected, as it has none.

  107. joey says

    KG:

    You are, however, a fuckwitted bullshitter, since this shows that contrary to what you have been claiming, you dohave a goal which is not merely a subgoal of your wish to maximise your own enjoyment:

    You may have a point…if that was actually what I’ve been trying to claim. It is not.

    That’s why you’ve spent the last several days arguing about whether you’re a psychopath, and have, finally, abandoned the ridiculous position you’ve been maintaining in order to show that you’re not.

    Wrong again. That is not what I’ve been arguing.

    ————

    Ogvorbis:

    There exists societal morality. Societal morality is a perfect example of a situation in which one’s own perceptions are not paramount. If one allows his or her own perceptions to override societal morality, as people like Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and my old scout leader did, people die or people are hurt. How the fuck can you possibly be arguing this?

    And how can you possibly argue that “societal morality” is paramount simply because it is the majority? Guess what, the majority of people in North Carolina do not approve of gay marriage. Does that mean people with the contrary opinion in favor of gay marriage should not be able to “override” this societal norm?

    You are still insisting that the ego is supreme. That nothing else anyone does should, in any way, impact your personal perception.

    And yet you and others still have no clue as to the main point I’ve been arguing. Here’s a hint, it’s not close to what you said above.

    So, Joey, what do you do for your personal pleasure that requires that you treat other human beings as objects, as things? Why is it so important to you to maintain the fiction that you are all that matters, that your world view is all that matters, that your perceptions override reality and other human beings?

    Maybe if you and others actually understood what I’ve said in this thread, you guys would quit dispensing with the multitude of straw men.

    Let me try one last example as a desperate attempt to convey to you what I’ve actually been arguing throughout this entire thread. Let’s say you (Ogvorbis) are a very generous and altruistic fellow. You live your entire life helping out other people…friends, family, and even perfect strangers. On your deathbed, you perceive that you lived a great life by the way you’ve selflessly gave yourself to others. You die a content person and you cease to exist.

    However, the actual truth is that you never lived the life you thought you lived…because you were always hooked up to the Matrix. Your entire life, from birth to death, was all one big simulation. In fact, you were the only human being on earth and all the people you thought you had personal relationships with were simply the executions of some complex code.

    Does the objective reality that you didn’t actually live the life you perceived to live make your life worthless? It wasn’t worthless to you…so no, your life wasn’t worthless.

    Anything about selfishness, psychopathy, egoism, torturing children, etc. in that example?

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still Joey asks fuckwitted questions instead of stating what it thinks and providing evidence to support its inane claims like any mature person. What an immature loser.

  109. KG says

    joey,

    You may have a point…if that was actually what I’ve been trying to claim. It is not.

    If you’ve failed to get your point over to any one of those you’ve been arguing with after babbling on for days on end, the problem is undoubtedly with you. I notice you don’t actually state clearly and succinctly what you think you have been arguing for, as you would if you were arguing in good faith, you just repeat effectively the same inane example you’ve already given us at least twenty times.

    Does the objective reality that you didn’t actually live the life you perceived to live make your life worthless? It wasn’t worthless to you…so no, your life wasn’t worthless.

    Since you enjoyed it, it wasn’t worthless, and of course no-one here has been claiming that enjoyment is worthless; but it didn’t have the worth you thought it had, since you weren’t actually helping other people, as you thought you were and as you intended to do.

  110. Ogvorbis: strawmadhominem says

    Joey:

    Pull the matrix out of your ass and actually read what people are writing here. You have stated, again and again and again, in various forms, that your perception of the world is all that matters. I, and others, have pointed out that this mindset can lead to treating human beings as objects. So, unless you can come up with some evidence showing that I am, actually, a stored intelligence (with a shitty programmer, I might add), knock it off with this simulated life shit. The most parsimonious hypotheosis is that we are, all of us, alive. And none of us should be treated like objects by someone who believes that his, or her, perception of the world is the only one that matters.

  111. KG says

    joey,

    Moreover, you are quite clearly a barefaced liar – and a stupid one, since anyone can see that you are lying. Here’s what you said @45:

    At the end of the day, all that matters is how I value myself while I still exist.

    You have repeated this time and again, with slight variations. Yet @119, you said you would not agree to the torture of your children even if you were sure this would lead to no adverse consequences for you. Hence, it is absolutely clear, from your own statement, that there is something that matters to you that is not how you value yourself while you still exist.

  112. joey says

    KG:

    If you’ve failed to get your point over to any one of those you’ve been arguing with after babbling on for days on end, the problem is undoubtedly with you. I notice you don’t actually state clearly and succinctly what you think you have been arguing for, as you would if you were arguing in good faith, you just repeat effectively the same inane example you’ve already given us at least twenty times.

    The following is a list of my statements reiterating my point again and again, even BEFORE we deviated into thought experiment land…

    Post #21. You cannot “cheapen” or “diminish” something that has no objective value to begin with.

    #24. No, the ONLY thing that actually matters (if you consider anything at all “absolute”) is your own opinion of yourself while you’re still alive. That is all.

    #32. Not unless you don’t think so. All other subjective opinions don’t matter.

    #45. If the opinions of some affect how you value yourself (which is often the case), then of course. If you don’t give a damn what some think of you (which can be the case as well), then you don’t give a damn.

    #45. At the end of the day, all that matters is how I value myself while I still exist. That may or may not depend on what some think of me (or at least what I think they think of me).

    #45. How am I being incoherent when I argue that all that matters is how you value yourself while you’re alive?

    #56. But even if I do care what you guys think of me, how does that at all contradict what I said? Your opinions of me (or at least what I think your opinions of me) would affect my own opinion of myself.

    #58. What is rational is to conclude that the only value system that matters, given there is no objective value system, is your own subjective value system.

    #58. No, not that everyone is selfish…but rather everyone seeks to obtain satisfaction and happiness in their own way.

    #61. If the psychopath dies a happy/content person, no matter how he arrived at that condition (through “selfish” or “altruistic” means), then that’s all that matters…for him. Doesn’t matter what others think of him unless those opinions ultimately affect the way he views himself.

    #61. This has been my point all along: The value of your life is how much you ultimately value it.

    Again, all of the above were stated before we started engaging in thought experiments (which were meant to further reinforce my points). Here is me repeating myself afterwards…

    #103. But in reality all that matters is what you perceive to true, which may be the same or completely different from objective reality.

    110. My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters.

    119. But if I’m pondering on my deathbed, then I’m still existing! So as I’ve said (#24), what matters is how you value yourself while you’re still alive.

    So you still think the problem is with me? Lol.

  113. joey says

    Ogvorbis:

    You have stated, again and again and again, in various forms, that your perception of the world is all that matters.

    Eureka! Thank you for noticing!

    I, and others, have pointed out that this mindset can lead to treating human beings as objects.

    So what? It can also lead to believing in marriage equality when the majority of society does not.

    My point is to show that this mindset (your perception is all that matters) is a rational outcome based on the premises 1) there is no afterlife and 2) no objective/absolute value system.

    If someone wants to be irrational and believe in an afterlife and/or objective morality, then so be it.

    And none of us should be treated like objects…

    I don’t think so either. But that is my own perception of morality.

  114. KG says

    So you still think the problem is with me? Lol. – joey

    Since all the statements you quote from yourself support my interpretation of what you have been arguing, yes, the problem is very clearly with you.

    My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters.

    A distinction without a difference, as everyone but you is able to see quite clearly. If your perception is the only thing that matters, then nothing outside you matters except insofar as it affects you, hence, you are the only one who matters.

    If all that matters is your own perception, you would have no reason not to agree to the torture of your children if you were sure you would not suffer any adverse consequences. Since you stated that you would not agree to it, you have been bullshitting the entire time as, again, everyone but you sees quite clearly.

  115. KG says

    My arguments more or less can be summed up not by saying that you are the only one who matters, but rather your own perception is the only thing that matters. – joey

    In fact, the inference is even more immediate than I indicate @132. Your perception is internal to you, it happens within you, so if your perception is the only thing that matters, it follows immediately that you are the only one who matters.