Hedonism



Ponderable Aspects of God

While in a classroom with other students, I made a statement the ensuing argument prevented me from setting straight. The 40% tolerance for accuracy I quoted for carbon dating tests (1/6/76) was arrived at as follows: I have read literary arguments presented in several articles and books by various authors, stating tolerances as varied as anyone could imagine, anywhere from 10 to 40%, depending on the writer. (I am also under the impression that newer techniques have been devised with something like +/- 15% accuracy, depending on materials and circumstances). Paying attention to publishing dates, and making an effort to discern an author’s viewpoint, were items I had not yet learned to regard as important.

Now: to reject a scientific concept—one approved by actual scientists—without learning as much as one can about it and trying it out however one can, seems to me dishonest. So, just because it seems questionable to certain people (as all concepts seem questionable to somebody, really), and because no testable, better alternative has ever been announced, I felt the most honest approach would be to accept the loosest tolerance as valid for my own considerations, since it would include the others. I would, by effect, understand the tightest tolerance as “pro”, the loosest as “against”, and the middle as “cautiously noncommittal”.

Choosing the most honest approach should, arguably, yield results closest to trustworthy, which is what we should desire. So, is a 40% tolerance too loose to be useful? The honest approach requires us to try it out instead of poo-pooing it with no kind of test. What, after all, do we have to fear? Is the possibility that we might learn something that much of a threat? Why be dishonest?

(Ref: www.bradshawfoundation.com/herto_skulls.php ) If the oldest human skull has been aged at 160thousand years, how far wrong can that be​? Pondering it, I used the loosest tolerance to figure a range of 96 to 224thousand years. If science ages the Earth at 4.5 million years and the universe at 12-13billion years, but my religion tells me the whole shebang was created 3,400 years ago, how do I resolve that? Even if I decide that Eve and Adam (or, Lilith and Adam) stayed clear of the Tree of Knowledge for 13billion years (or, 5.2billion at minimum) so they could live that long, from where can anyone concoct even a hint of substantiation?

My teacher makes a habit of demanding proof that what we say in class is true. This puts the would-be speaker in a dilemma if “proof” requires equipment or materials beyond his means, or he talked about his subjective concerns. The subjective, being about the contents of our own minds, cannot be made available as objective “proof” beyond the fact that he was talking about it. That gives us firsthand information that always requires verification; it must never be accepted as proof.

Proof is “that which convinces”. Taken to their roots, no concepts are ultimately provable. They can only be validated with evidence or inferred. Because science makes no claims beyond the measurable and ponderable (scientists and publicists are not “science”—beware your sources!), science makes no determinations about abstract ideals or beliefs.

While those schools of thought we refer to as “religious” do deal with with the imponderable and immeasurable, they also claim divine right to determine the concrete nature of existence. To claim divine right, they are saying, “God has spoken and determined this: [‘What a god named God is said to have told someone.’] Being immaterial, God has no demonstrable, ponderable existence. Still, can we not ask, “What of the soul that is the self within us? Is that also immaterial? We know it exists. Everybody recognizes it within themselves and others as being their own unique selves among others much the same.” I have arrived at a conclusion that a soul separate from the self obfuscates the issue and fails to support all claims on life beyond the grave. Beyond that, I find it easy to agree with the many depictions in the Bible of the spirit as “the breath of life.”

For whatever it’s worth, science finds its own immaterial god in mathematics. Among the many differences that make science’s the superior god are:

  • Universal direct interpretation between cultures.

  • A powerful god all can follow with no need for threats.

  • Built-in methods of verification.

  • Easy to understand basics eliminates need for dangerous priests.

  • Does not require missionaries to make its value obvious.

  • Requires no preachers to keep the flocks in line.

  • Honored by all levels of society.

Yet, by any believable standards for existence, numbers, the stuff of mathematics, being immaterial, do not exist. From my own viewpoint, considering everything else I have done, I do not think I am being ridiculous. It seems plain that, since all of humanity harbors their own beliefs about gods while maintaining reasonable consistency in mathematics, that all of us are polytheists, blasphemers, or heretics. The important difference between gods and numbers is that which gives numbers their power and defines the weakness of gods, that disparity in calculating numbers can be resolved by finding a mistake, whereas no gods have ever been found to direct uniform arrival at a resolution. God-speak stays open to interpretation and tampering, spawns apologia, which spawns new cults, which become the basis for new cultures and subcultures. That shows why god-speak became divisive and weakening (divide to conquer) while mathematics enables stability and solidarity (unify and activate to strengthen).

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

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Hedonism: What is It?

Three interpretations of hedonism seem to prevail in today’s world: Commonest are the commercial approach and the misapprended misunderstanding derived from that, upon which the religious approach relies. Least common, but most true to hedonism’s origins are the various philosophical hedonisms, including my own Equatarianism and Gaian Ethics that attempts to update hedonism in ways the average person can grasp.

As true hedonism requires a high level of self-control and an advanced ability to cogitate, the philosophy suffers from the absence of metaphorical images available to the commercial and religious presentations, which enabled those to dominate from nearly the beginning of human life. Pitting Hell against Heaven, for a quick example, presents a more immediate pain/pleasure image than unspecified torment that may result from ill-considered questionable actions. Having a mean (tho loving) god to mete out specific dire punishment is far scarier than if Mother Nature threatens you with something that might affect you only if you live long enough. Rewards (pleasure) for good behavior are just as uncertain. You may never suffer obesity if you avoid overeating, and still die a miserable death from some other unforeseeable cause—or become obese due to defective glands. At any rate, those are not behaviors with which religion ordinarily bothers.

People of any organized belief system are left to find their own answers to life’s conundrums. Patriarchal religion’s main moral concern is about property: wives, asses, camels, land; worship and obedience: honoring the god, obeying the god (the priests), keeping holy days; and about relationships: punishments, the governing establishment (the church or equivalent), and the law.

Current forays by some scientists into moral questions are certain to perpetuate the centralism that takes control of morality away from the very people most affected by them, who will suffer most as a result of their inevitable wrong answers. People do not come in one size fits all packages of anything. We are individuals, not composites. We do nothing the same as everybody else. The tendency to establish power centers to control every aspect of existence was inherited from patriarchal religions and does not play at all in the moral interests of a truly free society.

Science must, instead, play an educative role by deducing all of the many links between behavior and the later damage or benefit. Much of that work may already be done, leaving science with a role it has never done well, which is to assure no person alive remains unaware of their findings, their universal importance, potential cost and savings by country and by individual. This ought to be something the church and its equivalents would deem worthy to join in on, for it would give them materials that increase or restore their social relevance, it is work they cannot and should not do, and would give them a voice backed by real, testable, evidence-heavy, constantly updated scientific data.

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