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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » EGOTRUISM (former Egotheism*) – the conclusion? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: EGOTRUISM (former Egotheism*) – the conclusion?
suminonA
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Google doesn’t offer any definition of the word “egotheism”. Good. I’ll use it with the next definition:

Egotheism = a system of (moral) beliefs based on the principle that each individual has the right to form his/hers own system of beliefs, that is not necessarily transmissible to others.

By this definition, one “becomes” an egotheist when (and only when) one is able to formulate this system by oneself, based on*: education, tradition, dreams, myths, secular laws, “known” religions and whatnot.
A true egotheist is preoccupied to understand the world/Universe around, its meaningfulness, the right/wrong balance etc. The goal is self-betterment/perfection, and not at all “convincing” the others that one’s particular system of beliefs is “teh best/truest/worthiest”.

Of course, there are a lot of “problems” to be solved:
1) Is egotheism a valid system of beliefs?
2) What age is best for one to “become egotheist”?
3) What sort of education is recommendable before “becoming egotheist”?


What say you?


A.

*note: randomly ordered list

[edited: thread title]
[edited (dec. 2007): on the 4th page, it was commented that this term is already in use with a different definition. So, in this thread, the term doesn't have the "official" definition, but the one proposed above.]

[edit: on the 5th page, the term was changed to "egotruism" [Smile] ]

[ December 20, 2007, 02:52 AM: Message edited by: suminonA ]

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pH
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I don't think it's consistent to form beliefs entirely on one's own and then try to convince others that one's own beliefs are the "best."

And of course, any society is going to need basic laws to maintain order, so it wouldn't work to overthrow the current legal system.

-pH

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suminonA
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Does it follow from the definition that egotheism HAS TO overthrow the current legal system?

A.

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pH
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....no.

-pH

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Destineer
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quote:
I don't think it's consistent to form beliefs entirely on one's own and then try to convince others that one's own beliefs are the "best."
Does that extend to all beliefs? Including beliefs about tables and chairs?

Don't get me wrong, I have all sorts of problems with the way religion is typically taught to children. The notion that one's faith should be "freely chosen" is openly espoused by people who then turn around and subvert young minds that are not yet prepared to choose freely. I think that some day people will look back on this sort of indoctrination as barbaric.

But the notion that it's wrong to try to convince your peers, by giving them your evidence and testimony, seems just totally mistaken. If what you've experienced justifies your own beliefs, it could justify someone else's. And you have a responsibility to others not to leave them in the dark.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
The notion that one's faith should be "freely chosen" is openly espoused by people who then turn around and subvert young minds that are not yet prepared to choose freely.

I agree. See “problem” #2. And to answer that, I think we have to answer #3 first …


quote:
But the notion that it's wrong to try to convince your peers, by giving them your evidence and testimony, seems just totally mistaken. If what you've experienced justifies your own beliefs, it could justify someone else's. And you have a responsibility to others not to leave them in the dark.
It seems reasonable when we’re talking about tables and chairs. That could easily be part of the basic education [Smile]

A.

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Destineer
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So why is it OK for me to try to convince my peers about everyday facts, but not about my religious beliefs?
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Luet13
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I've never heard this term, but I feel like it is fitting to me.

I feel like a Hinduchristianbuddhistjewishtaoistmuslimpagan. [Smile]

I like parts of all of these religions, but not the whole of any of them. They all have issues and main tenets that I can never agree with.

Particularly, they all have some absurd teachings about and against women. Bah on that. I don't think any god would demean women, but let men go running around free and plotting wars and the like. (Not ALL men obviously, but look at history folks.) [Wink]

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
So why is it OK for me to try to convince my peers about everyday facts, but not about my religious beliefs?

I have the “funny” feeling that this is a “trick question”. Personally, as an adept of egotheism, I think it is quite possible that there are other people for whom, the facts about chairs and tables have the same relevance (or even less) than their religious beliefs. That’s perfectly ok.

But then those others should, IMO, also understand that there are some (e.g. myself) who have other “priorities”. So when “convincing” comes into play, we should be talking about some “common ground knowledge”. This would basically be the experiences/beliefs/facts/experiments/etc that everybody could agree upon (typically “scientific” stuff , but I don’t use this as a strict definition here). As for the “specific personal religious beliefs”, maybe it would be better if they weren’t “indoctrinated”, but left to the famous “free choice”/”free will” level.

A.

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Teshi
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I think that, to varying extents, everyone is already an egotheist. Not many people* actually submit themselves entirely to the rules of another.

*Even if you conciously follow all the tenets/commandments/rules/ideals of your religion, you still subject them to your own interpretation or to an interpretation with which you, personally, agree.

This is true even if you are forced, say in a theocracy, to follow certain laws. Your compliance does not shape your belief.

The individual is a major part of any modern religious belief- I should think such thought was far less common the further back you go.

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suminonA
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Teshi, true, but the "second part" of egotheism is the one about "not necessarily transmissible to others". Meaning that the moment you try to impose your views (except the common ground knowledge) you're not an egotheist anymore.

A.

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Tresopax
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quote:
By this definition, one “becomes” an egotheist when (and only when) one is able to formulate this system by oneself, based on*: education, tradition, dreams, myths, secular laws, “known” religions and whatnot.
A true egotheist is preoccupied to understand the world/Universe around, its meaningfulness, the right/wrong balance etc. The goal is self-betterment/perfection, and not at all “convincing” the others that one’s particular system of beliefs is “teh best/truest/worthiest”.

Egotheism sounds like it is equivalent to extreme selfishness. I find it to be pretty cruel to care nothing about whether other people are making all the wrong decisions or holding all the wrong beliefs about the world. Certainly, any parent who doesn't care about the belief system of their children is doing them a serious disservice. And any friend that would let you walk into doing some horrible mistake is not a very good friend.
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kmbboots
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Trying to understand how this is different from my experience. With the possible exception that, when asked, I will try my best to explain what I believe.
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Destineer
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quote:
But then those others should, IMO, also understand that there are some (e.g. myself) who have other “priorities”. So when “convincing” comes into play, we should be talking about some “common ground knowledge”.
That sounds very sensible. I guess my point is that it's hard to draw the line.

I mean, my own understanding of the publicly available evidence that I have rules out all sorts of religious beliefs. And while I try not to be a dick about it, I would like to convince others of the truth.

Rather than being some kind of ideology, I think what you're calling "egotheism" just boils down to common sense. It's rude to presume that other people are ill-informed about religion. I know some theists who've seen the same evidence I have, and thought just as long and hard about it, and I leave these people alone because I know they have nothing to gain from arguing with me. But when I meet a theist who I think could gain new insight from my opinions, I express them and try to convince the guy that I'm right.

Even if he doesn't end up agreeing with me, he'll understand his own views better.

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Destineer
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quote:
Certainly, any parent who doesn't care about the belief system of their children is doing them a serious disservice.
A parent should care about his child's belief system. He should also care about that child's epistemic integrity. No one should be forced to hold inauthentic, indoctrinated beliefs. But this is often what happens when a child is "raised in a faith."
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Teshi
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quote:
Meaning that the moment you try to impose your views (except the common ground knowledge) you're not an egotheist anymore.
I think you're stretching the "not necessarily transmissable to others" part of your definition when you make a statement like this. It is hard for humans not to share their ideas- simply by coexisting our individual ideals, commandments, dreams, etc. will inevitably become common.

Of course, according to my own theories about religion, most religions begin this way- with one person who then attracts many to his or her cause.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Certainly, any parent who doesn't care about the belief system of their children is doing them a serious disservice.
A parent should care about his child's belief system. He should also care about that child's epistemic integrity. No one should be forced to hold inauthentic, indoctrinated beliefs. But this is often what happens when a child is "raised in a faith."
My parents (bless them!) did not choose religion for me or my siblings. They allowed us to explore and choose our own - or none. Four of the six of us are regular church goers - by which I mean that if we miss a Sunday people wonder why.
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Robin Kaczmarczyk
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Been done...

Wiccan rede: so that it harm none, do what thou willt.

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Kwea
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Thanks, none of us knew that. [Roll Eyes]


Right, Jenny? [Wink]

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Robin Kaczmarczyk
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Wonder how it could be translated into political theory.
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Samuel Bush
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Hmmmmmm . . . isn't there already a word in the lexacon for this -- "Hedonism"
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Samuel Bush
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Ok, ok, I was just being a snot. I’m not really serious. [Smile]

Although, I do think some people do seek to be a law unto themselves, consider themselves above the law, and accept only those beliefs that allow them to do what they want. Amoral is what it is called, I guess.

But I don’t think you meant it that way at all. I can understand where a person looks at all the nonsense being put forth by preachers of various disciplines, and just wants to find something that makes some sense.

There is certainly a lot to be said for that approach.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Egotheism sounds like it is equivalent to extreme selfishness. I find it to be pretty cruel to care nothing about whether other people are making all the wrong decisions or holding all the wrong beliefs about the world.

How can you define the “wrong beliefs about the world”? The fact that I don’t believe in (the existence of) a deity called <insert name here> does it mean (for you) that I have the wrong beliefs about the world?

Maybe there is some clarification needed:
There is nothing wrong with sharing your personal views (including the religious ones). But teaching “the truth” about religion is not saying “this is what I have faith in and this is the only true faith”.
That’s why I proposed the “problems” in the first place, and especially the 3rd one. I personally think that religion should be taught as a historical/geographical description of the “map of religions”. After seeing the “different options”, one could make a choice. It is obvious that it’s nearly impossible to know about each and every one of the religions in the history of the world, but the conclusion of a general presentation should sound like: “We’ve seen X religions in more or less detail, but be aware that there are still more that we didn’t see yet”. But presenting only one option, or saying that only one is valid, that I call indoctrination.[note: I obviously consider religious beliefs outside the “common ground knowledge”]

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Certainly, any parent who doesn't care about the belief system of their children is doing them a serious disservice. And any friend that would let you walk into doing some horrible mistake is not a very good friend.

Certainly. This is kind of why I started this topic [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
I guess my point is that it's hard to draw the line.

I completely agree. This is the “biggest” problem. The notion of CGK (“common ground knowledge”) wants to be of some help. To simplify at the extreme, I’d say that Science is easily included in CGK, while the “shape of the true deity” is not, because people can’t agree on that. Yet there is more to CGK than Science. The laws of the society where one lives, for example, should also be included, together with the context.
Crossing a street while the red light is on is widely seen as <wrong> but working 40 hours a week and having 20 days of paid vacations every year has to do with the country you’re in. And of course, learning that there are countries that have 35 working hours a week and 40 days of paid vacations every year might convince someone to change one’s residence. Or not. But the choice is (i.e. should be) personal.

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
It's rude to presume that other people are ill-informed about religion.

Egotheism specifically maintains that each and every person is RIGHT about his/hers beliefs. Once that you’ve made your informed choices, they are yours. If “ill-informed” means “uninformed”, then the solution is education.

quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I think you're stretching the "not necessarily transmissable to others" part of your definition when you make a statement like this. It is hard for humans not to share their ideas- simply by coexisting our individual ideals, commandments, dreams, etc. will inevitably become common.

"Not necessarily transmissible to others" actually stands for the concept of imperfect communication. We cannot expect to understand perfectly a complex message (e.g. a system of beliefs) of another person. But it is not even necessary. Each and every one of us has a sum of experiences accumulated through education, dreams, TV etc or simply put, through life. That should be the base of the system of beliefs, and NOT the perfect copy of some other person’s system.
When you want to impose your POV upon other person, you dismiss his/hers right to form a personal opinion. (that’s against Egotheism!) Share the knowledge that you have, don’t say that you have exhaustive knowledge on a subject if it’s not the case and let “the student” make the choice about it.
The age of the student is relevant here, a 3 year old has to be kept by hand while crossing the street, but at some point we have to “let go” [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Samuel Bush:
Although, I do think some people do seek to be a law unto themselves, consider themselves above the law, and accept only those beliefs that allow them to do what they want. Amoral is what it is called, I guess.

Egotheism is not that at all. Respecting the (laws of the) society you live in might be a good trait to include in the CGK.

A.

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Tresopax
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quote:
How can you define the “wrong beliefs about the world”?
Beliefs that don't reflect the truth. For instance, if you believe God doesn't exist, and God does exist, then your belief is wrong. And vice versa.

quote:
But presenting only one option, or saying that only one is valid, that I call indoctrination.
But the fact is that there IS only one true reality, and thus only one set of beliefs is correct. All other beliefs that conflict with that one truth are mistaken.

If someone says "I believe I should drink poison so I will go to heaven" should I respond "My beliefs are different, but yours are valid too"? Heck no! You should say "Drinking poison is a bad bad idea. Your beliefs are wrong - and I won't let you do it." You may call it indoctrination, but allowing someone to die or do other foolish things because you don't want to "indoctrinate" them is very selfish.

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Robin Kaczmarczyk
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Okay.. I say we go back to first edition rules on this..

Jesus
Armor Class -20
Hit Points 2,000
Main Weapon, +20 Flaming Sword

Shiva
Armor Class -20
Hit Points 2,000
Main Weapon +20 Trident

Bhaal...

Oh.. Sh*t. Are they ganna haff to fight it out!?

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Destineer
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quote:
Egotheism specifically maintains that each and every person is RIGHT about his/hers beliefs. Once that you’ve made your informed choices, they are yours.
Whoa, hold on there.

What about logic? As in, A or not A? Either God exists or he doesn't.

If Egotheism goes along with relativism about truth... well, then, I withdraw my support. I didn't understand what you were getting at.

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Destineer
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quote:
How can you define the “wrong beliefs about the world”?
It's easy! Suppose you believe there's a cup in your hand. Then your belief is wrong if there isn't a cup in your hand.

Now, suppose you believe that God exists. Then your belief is wrong if God doesn't exist.

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suminonA
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Destineer, Logic is Logic. And it is part of the CGK.

But the existence of "God" is not a subject for Logic. Let's not get into the "proof of existence of deity X" debate. As long as there is no GENERALISED opinion about "existence of deity X" I see no point in learning (as a CGK) either "deity X exist" or "deity X doesn't exist". What would be the use? Let everyone have A PERSONAL opinion about that, and just "pass on" the CGK.

A.

PS: Tresopax, I saw your post, I'll come back to that soon.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
How can you define the “wrong beliefs about the world”?
It's easy! Suppose you believe there's a cup in your hand. Then your belief is wrong if there isn't a cup in your hand.

Now, suppose you believe that God exists. Then your belief is wrong if God doesn't exist.

Ok about the cup.

Yet, there is no LOGICAL proof of things about any deity. Can we agree on that?
Logically speaking, "the existence of the deity X" is a matter of postulate. You can start with the positive postulate, or the negative. But the choice is yours (i.e. personal).

(Note: this is in response to Tresopax too)

A.

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Juxtapose
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Egotheism doesn't sound so much as a system of belief so much so as a system for determining what to believe.

How is this different from plain old moral relativism?

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Tresopax
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quote:
Yet, there is no LOGICAL proof of things about any deity. Can we agree on that?
Logically speaking, "the existence of the deity X" is a matter of postulate. You can start with the positive postulate, or the negative. But the choice is yours (i.e. personal).

You don't just CHOOSE what to believe. The evidence presented to you determines what you should believe. It isn't a choice. It's a judgement.

There is no logical "proof" that God exists. There is also no logical "proof" that any given cup exists. But there may be very strong evidence for both.

You should be believing whatever seems most likely given the evidence you know about. You certaintly should NOT be believing things that you want to "choose" to be true but which contradict what the evidence seems to show. For instance, if you see no cup in your hand and have no evidence of any cup in your hand, you can't just choose to believe there is a cup in your hand because you'd like to have a drink.

Similarly, if you have a jar marked poison, you can't just "choose" to believe that magic water is inside. If you did believe such a thing, it would be immoral of me to let you go on continuing to believe it, without trying to convince you otherwise - because letting your hold that belief could result in your death.

Along the same lines, if I think there is a very good reason to think that not following a certain religion will result in eternal damnation for you, it would be extremely immoral of me to simply let you fall into that fate. If I cared about your well being, I would have a moral responsibility to convert you to that religion, in order to help you avoid eternal damnation - which would presumably be a fate even worse than mere death.

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Destineer
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Not knowing whether P is true doesn't mean P is neither true nor false. It just means you don't know. Something can exist without its existence being logically provable -- in fact, nothing (except, debatably, numbers and other mathematical objects) can be proven to exist by logic alone.

The cup falls into this category as well. There's no logical proof of the cup's existence, but there is a matter of fact about whether it exists.

quote:
How is this different from plain old moral relativism?
Um... for one thing, I don't see the 'egotheist' making any claims about morality.
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Juxtapose
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What moral claims do you see the relativist as making?
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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
Egotheism doesn't sound so much as a system of belief so much so as a system for determining what to believe.

Actually, that would be a gross misinterpretation of egotheism. It is by definition a system of beliefs that allows you to form your own opinion abut everything, while presented with “all the evidence”. As an egotheist that I consider myself, it is absolutely irrelevant for you what I think about the deity X. I can present you with my beliefs, I can even present you my “proofs” about it, but I’ll never expect you to convert to my “particular religion”. If you are happy with yours, and I’m happy with mine, why bother with the “conversion”?
As far as CGK goes, that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone to learn. Only defining what CGK actually is, wouldn’t be that obvious. That’s why I hope this debate would be helpful [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
How is this different from plain old moral relativism?

Please define for me “plain old moral relativism”.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
You don't just CHOOSE what to believe. The evidence presented to you determines what you should believe. It isn't a choice. It's a judgement.

Ok, here is where we truly disagree. Egotheism stipulates that you actually have to CHOOSE what you want to believe. It is best to have “all the evidence” first, make a judgment, and finally make a CHOICE. But there is nothing that one should believe, especially in the religious part of the spectrum. Again, the CGK part should be defined as the really unbiased, clear, logically supported part of Human Knowledge. So as far as I understand, we really are arguing about the “stuff outside CGK”.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
There is no logical "proof" that God exists. There is also no logical "proof" that any given cup exists. But there may be very strong evidence for both.
You should be believing whatever seems most likely given the evidence you know about. You certaintly should NOT be believing things that you want to "choose" to be true but which contradict what the evidence seems to show. For instance, if you see no cup in your hand and have no evidence of any cup in your hand, you can't just choose to believe there is a cup in your hand because you'd like to have a drink.

I can accept that for you, the existence of the cup is at the same level of “rationality” as (or even less than) the existence of some given deity. For me those two matters are entirely different. If the cup exists, I can use it to drink some eventual fluid. I cannot drink with it if I just (want/choose to) believe it exists, but actually there is no cup in my hand. So the actual existence of the cup makes a difference when it comes to “what can I do with it”. On the other hand, the existence of the deity is irrelevant for my life (I choose to believe that). There isn’t something I can’t do if choose to believe that deity X doesn’t exists, as opposed with the situation where I choose to believe that deity X does exist. I’m the same. I have the same capacities.
So convincing me about the existence of the cup can help me improve/understand my capacities. But convincing me that the deity exists won’t bring anything more (that I miss) in my life.

If you say that even if I have a cup in my hand, I cannot really (logically) “prove” that the cup exists, and that I have to use that as a postulate, then we really are talking about different kinds of reality (of the cup). If in your view, you have the same certainty about the existence of a given deity as of the cup in my hand, I see no problem in that. As an egotheist I already agreed that you have the right to believe whatever you choose. But I don’t see why I would have to believe what you want me to believe, as related to one particular deity.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Similarly, if you have a jar marked poison, you can't just "choose" to believe that magic water is inside. If you did believe such a thing, it would be immoral of me to let you go on continuing to believe it, without trying to convince you otherwise - because letting your hold that belief could result in your death.

If I counted correctly, it is the 3rd time you bring this example into discussion. The known effects of a given (marked!) potion/poison can be included into the CGK.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Along the same lines, if I think there is a very good reason to think that not following a certain religion will result in eternal damnation for you, it would be extremely immoral of me to simply let you fall into that fate. If I cared about your well being, I would have a moral responsibility to convert you to that religion, in order to help you avoid eternal damnation - which would presumably be a fate even worse than mere death.

Well you see, there is where your analogy crosses the line. What you think about <damnation>, <fate>, and some particular <religion> is definitely not CGK. You cannot force me to accept your <help> in these matters. Maybe I think that the way you try to convert people to your faith is a sign of the <devil> (by some definition) and that you should be punished for it. “Along the same lines”, I could justify whatever religious war I want, because “my deity is the right one, and yours is not”.
This kind of reasoning is what egotheism tries to avoid. Justifying the need to “punish” the others based on ONE POINT OF VIEW (especially in the realm of religion) is not the best way to get to tolerance and a “healthy society”.

quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Not knowing whether P is true doesn't mean P is neither true nor false. It just means you don't know. Something can exist without its existence being logically provable -- in fact, nothing (except, debatably, numbers and other mathematical objects) can be proven to exist by logic alone.

The cup falls into this category as well. There's no logical proof of the cup's existence, but there is a matter of fact about whether it exists.

Again, ok about the cup. Are you saying that the existence of a deity X is also a matter of fact? If it is for you, ok. But it is definitely NOT a matter of fact for me.

A.

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Chris Bridges
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Actually you mixed the examples with the cup. If someone tells you that a cup of poison is really magic water, you could truthfully say they were wrong and try to prevent them from drinking it on that basis, based on empirical evidence that poison kills human beings.
If, as in your first example, that person said that drinking that poison would enable them to go to heaven, it might be true. Your belief that it is not is just that. Unprovable, unknowable. You're still welcome to tell them that they're wrong (since they are, according to your beliefs) but the outcome isn't testable.

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Juxtapose
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Moral relativism

quote:
In philosophy, moral relativism takes the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect absolute and universal moral truths but instead exist relative to social, cultural, historical or personal references, and that no single standard exists by which to assess an ethical proposition's truth. Relativistic positions often see moral values as applicable only within certain cultural boundaries or in the context of individual preferences.
Most of the traits you're espousing - tolerance, self formulation of principles - are hallmarks of relativism.

quote:
But the fact is that there IS only one true reality, and thus only one set of beliefs is correct. All other beliefs that conflict with that one truth are mistaken.
My belief that I like Pepsi seems to me to invalidate your claim.
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dkw
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quote:
Are you saying that the existence of a deity X is also a matter of fact? If it is for you, ok. But it is definitely NOT a matter of fact for me.
It is a matter of fact. The fact may be true or false, but the deity in question either exists or it doesn't. The belief in deity x might exist for some people and not for others, but I can't see anyway for that to be true of the deity itself.
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Destineer
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quote:
What moral claims do you see the relativist as making?
That there are no absolute moral truths.

The egotheist, as I understand it, is saying only that there are no absolute truths about the existence and nature of God.

quote:
My belief that I like Pepsi seems to me to invalidate your claim.
You do, in fact, like Pepsi, don't you? If so, the belief is true. If not, it's false.

quote:
Are you saying that the existence of a deity X is also a matter of fact? If it is for you, ok. But it is definitely NOT a matter of fact for me.
My view is that the idea of a matter of fact for someone is incoherent. Things are never both true for me and false for you -- that we can know by logic, since logic is governed by the law of the excluded middle. For any proposition A, logic tells us that either A is true or not-A is true.
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Juxtapose
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quote:
You do, in fact, like Pepsi, don't you? If so, the belief is true. If not, it's false.
Heh. [Wink] A rephrase then. What about my belief that Pepsi is, in fact, better than coke?

quote:
The egotheist, as I understand it, is saying only that there are no absolute truths about the existence and nature of God.
The definition suminonA provided does not make that distinction. It seems to me that belief in the divine is one example among many that could fall under this claim.

EDIT - been rereading the thread. It seems like the main difference is that the egotheist is more wary about the transmission of beliefs.

quote:
There is no logical "proof" that God exists. There is also no logical "proof" that any given cup exists.
Some philosophers have argued, quite well, that being able to point at the cup and say, "this exists" is sufficient proof that the cup exists. Also, I have a clear concept of what it would be like for deity X not to exist when I speak of X. I do NOT have a clear concept of what it would be like if the cup I were drinking from now were not to exist.

[ May 25, 2006, 01:00 PM: Message edited by: Juxtapose ]

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rollainm
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Doesn't justifying egotheism disqualify you from being an egotheist?
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Tresopax
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quote:
Again, the CGK part should be defined as the really unbiased, clear, logically supported part of Human Knowledge. So as far as I understand, we really are arguing about the “stuff outside CGK”.

No, it sounds like what we are really arguing about is what is to be considered "unbiased, clear, and logically supported". You are simply using the concept of a "CGK" as a catch-all to include everything and anything that you think we need to convince people to believe.

Your definition of the CGK makes it into a subjective thing. What is "clear"?

If I think that my belief in God's existence is clear, logically supported, and unbiased then why doesn't that make it part of the CGK?

quote:
What you think about <damnation>, <fate>, and some particular <religion> is definitely not CGK.
Why not?

You admitted yourself in your last post that it's up to me to decide if my conclusions about religion are on the same level of rationality as my beliefs about the existence of the cup. If I can do that, and if I consider Christianity to be clear and totally logically proven, why can't I consider my belief in that religion to be part of the CGK? And thus why can't I be an Egotheist who also happens to force my religion down the throats of others (on the grounds that it is clear, unbiased, and logicall supported)? Given the way that you are using the "CGK" as a catch-all for anything you want to be considered certain fact, I see no reason why that would not be possible for those who'd place religion in the CGK, along with the existence of cups and the danger of drinking poison.

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Dan_raven
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My problem with this debate:

All religions are egotheism.

The question remains, who's ego will you follow--your own, or that of a given religious leader.

Certainly there are religious leaders more worthy than me, but it is equally as certain that there are those who are less worthy. Without personal knowledge of which is which, I can only rely on myself, logic, luck, predestination, or those around me. Each has its flaws and its advantages.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
Moral relativism

Thank you for the link. (It’s not that I was too lazy to look for some references myself, but I thought that If you brought that up, a link would be nice too [Smile] )

Now, if I were to decide for myself (hey, what do you know, I am!) I’d propose to include moral relativism into the CGK.

Why isn’t moral relativism equivalent to egotheism? Well, because moral relativism would simply be a CONSEQUENCE of egotheism. Egotheism is the “starting point”. If you accept that there is no absolute (i.e. universal) truth (so each and every one has the right to choose a personal one), applying it to moral rules/values you get moral relativism. Applied to science you realize that there are no “definitive laws of nature”, we can (and should) continuously search to improve our theories about the Universe. Einstein improved the “laws” written down by Newton, but they are not “the ultimate laws” either. (Those laws are useful, nonetheless!)

Conclusion: As much as I understand moral relativism, It’s inconsistent to say that you are an egotheist AND do not agree to moral relativism basic traits.


On the same page linked above, there is this part (let’s be fair and present “both sides”) :
quote:
Social impact of moral relativism

Some people attribute the perceived post-war decadence of Europe to the displacement of absolute values by moral relativism. According to writers such as Pope Benedict XVI and Marcello Pera, after about 1960 the Europeans massively abandoned many traditional norms rooted in Christianity and replaced them with continuously-evolving relative moral rules. In this view, sex has become separated from procreation, which led to decline of families and to depopulation (compensated by immigration). Currently, Europe faces challenges from recent immigrants who brought with them absolute values which stand at odds with moral relativism.[…]

What I would argue with is the idea that moral relativism itself was the cause of the decadence of Europe. Actually, the WRONG application of its principles led to decadence. And even more relevant, their application by the people who WEREN’T READY to do it. Without enough education, one cannot (i.e. shouldn't) “become” egotheist!

A.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
quote:
Are you saying that the existence of a deity X is also a matter of fact? If it is for you, ok. But it is definitely NOT a matter of fact for me.
It is a matter of fact. The fact may be true or false, but the deity in question either exists or it doesn't. The belief in deity x might exist for some people and not for others, but I can't see anyway for that to be true of the deity itself.
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Are you saying that the existence of a deity X is also a matter of fact? If it is for you, ok. But it is definitely NOT a matter of fact for me.
My view is that the idea of a matter of fact for someone is incoherent. Things are never both true for me and false for you -- that we can know by logic, since logic is governed by the law of the excluded middle. For any proposition A, logic tells us that either A is true or not-A is true.
Yeah, my bad. I used “matter of fact” the wrong way. Sorry.
You are right, for any given deity, it either exists or it doesn’t. That’s a fact [Smile]

I was using “matter of fact” as equivalent to “absolute truth”. So I was trying to say that if you are absolutely sure that “God exists” (i.e. it is a fact), It is not the case for me (because I’m an “atheist”, not because I’m an egotheist!).

A.

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Dan_raven
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I believe that the secret to understanding and defending egotheism is not by saying that they believe that all beliefs are equally right, but that they believe that all beliefs are unequally wrong.

Determining where they are wrong is the hard part.

Ultimately the only one who can make that determination is ourselves. We either believe in what we personally think is right or we believe what we believe others have show us to be right or we use logic or we use faith or we use some other method, but it is a method that, ultimately it is each individual who chooses.

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Robin Kaczmarczyk
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quote:
Originally posted by Samuel Bush:
Ok, ok, I was just being a snot. I’m not really serious. [Smile]

Although, I do think some people do seek to be a law unto themselves, consider themselves above the law, and accept only those beliefs that allow them to do what they want. Amoral is what it is called, I guess.

But I don’t think you meant it that way at all. I can understand where a person looks at all the nonsense being put forth by preachers of various disciplines, and just wants to find something that makes some sense.

There is certainly a lot to be said for that approach.

Actually, I have been trying to solve the problem of combining anarchism with facism to create the first fascist-anarchist state. I think the Mafia is probably about the closest example.
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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
quote:
The egotheist, as I understand it, is saying only that there are no absolute truths about the existence and nature of God.
The definition suminonA provided does not make that distinction. It seems to me that belief in the divine is one example among many that could fall under this claim.

EDIT - been rereading the thread. It seems like the main difference is that the egotheist is more wary about the transmission of beliefs.

Yes, the definition of egotheism does not make a distinction between the beliefs in a deity and other beliefs. It simply states that every individual has the ritght to make the choices. And the thing about “transmission” is also right, knowing that it doesn’t mean “no sharing”, but “no imposing”.

The 3 questions that I proposed in the first post are the base of the debate about the eventual “implementation of egotheism”.


quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
quote:
There is no logical "proof" that God exists. There is also no logical "proof" that any given cup exists.
Some philosophers have argued, quite well, that being able to point at the cup and say, "this exists" is sufficient proof that the cup exists. Also, I have a clear concept of what it would be like for deity X not to exist when I speak of X. I do NOT have a clear concept of what it would be like if the cup I were drinking from now were not to exist.

Concerning the last sentence, I think it is quite simple. If the cup you are drinking from now were not to exist, you couldn’t be drinking from it. You would be either using another cup, or spilling the liquid all over you. What is not clear about that?

A.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by rollainm:
Doesn't justifying egotheism disqualify you from being an egotheist?

Very good point. If you look carefully at the definition, egotheism doesn’t stipulate WHAT to believe, but rather HOW TO FORM your beliefs (it says specifically that every person has the right to choose his/hers beliefs). So if the system of beliefs is the issue, egotheism is a “meta-issue”. It’s on one “level” up. Justifying egotheism is an epistemological matter.

So, when I proposed the first question:
quote:
1) Is egotheism a valid system of beliefs?

I meant: is the egotheism a valid starting point for building a system of beliefs? (I agree that my formulation was somehow “misleading”, but it was unintentional. Having this discussion is precisely useful for clarifying the concepts [Smile] )

A.

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suminonA
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
Again, the CGK part should be defined as the really unbiased, clear, logically supported part of Human Knowledge. So as far as I understand, we really are arguing about the “stuff outside CGK”.

No, it sounds like what we are really arguing about is what is to be considered "unbiased, clear, and logically supported". You are simply using the concept of a "CGK" as a catch-all to include everything and anything that you think we need to convince people to believe.

Right, when we define “stuff outside CGK” we are also defining (indirectly) “stuff inside CGK”. And that is because we are searching for a “way to draw the line” between them. The concept of CGK is my way of approaching the 3rd question, the one about “education”. I don’t pretend to define (by myself) the LIST of things/ideas/beliefs to include into CGK. I came with some examples (Science, laws of conduct in society). This debate is meant to help us come closer to the “building” of the CGK list [Wink]


quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Your definition of the CGK makes it into a subjective thing. What is "clear"?

Well, if you say that then you’re saying that “every human thing” is subjective. For me, the definition of a cup is clear, the definition of a deity isn’t clear. The rest of this post will make this distinction more clear. [Smile] Hold on.


quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
If I think that my belief in God's existence is clear, logically supported, and unbiased then why doesn't that make it part of the CGK?

quote:
What you think about <damnation>, <fate>, and some particular <religion> is definitely not CGK.
Why not?

You admitted yourself in your last post that it's up to me to decide if my conclusions about religion are on the same level of rationality as my beliefs about the existence of the cup. If I can do that, and if I consider Christianity to be clear and totally logically proven, why can't I consider my belief in that religion to be part of the CGK? And thus why can't I be an Egotheist who also happens to force my religion down the throats of others (on the grounds that it is clear, unbiased, and logicall supported)? Given the way that you are using the "CGK" as a catch-all for anything you want to be considered certain fact, I see no reason why that would not be possible for those who'd place religion in the CGK, along with the existence of cups and the danger of drinking poison.

To answer those questions I’ll use the (over)simplified example of a “human society” formed by an uneducated person (myself), an (honest) Muslim, an (honest) Christian and an (honest) atheist. The honest part is rather important, because if biased thinking is involved in every single matter, then nothing is achievable in common. (Note: biased thinking in religion is a matter of definition IMO, so I can’t “require” unbiased religious thinking.)

So, I want to learn about the existence of cups. I meet with the rest of the society and talk about it. We define some properties of the cup (shape, colour, composition etc) and we take turns in testing it. (I suppose we use the same language, so “round” for me is also “round” for the others.) I see no way to get to different conclusions about the existence of a given cup. If I have a cup in my hand, and I share my knowledge about its properties, the others can see (i.e. conclude) for themselves if the cup I’m describing is “real” or not.
So if the way of deciding about the existence of a cup is agreed by “all the society” then we include it in the CGK.
Note: If I decide that touching, smelling, tasting and any other testing is NOT enough for me to decide that a given cup really exists, nobody can (nor should) force me to believe otherwise. (They might call me “crazy” and they might be right, but for me it wouldn’t make any difference).

Next, I want to learn about drinking (marked) poisons. I’ve never heard of a poison before, so for me it is a liquid like any others (I’ve already learned about the gaseous/liquid/solid states of matter). The honest part of the society would share with me their knowledge (scientific studies, personal experience etc) about poisons, so I’ll be warned that drinking it might result in sickness/death. (If any of the members of the society is dishonest and wants to se me dead, the resulting advice would obviously be biased). If I decide to trust the others, I might choose to believe them in this matter and I won’t drink the poison.
Even more, I might learn some ways to detect (unmarked) poisons, so I’d be able to avoid poisoning in the future (I already assumed that getting sick/dead because of a poison is a “bad” thing, and that “judgement” is included into the CGK).
Note: If I learn that drinking poisons might result in death, and learn how to detect poisons, and also believe that dying is the best for me, then my choice is personal and no one could (nor should) stop me from drinking poison.

Next, I want to learn about religion. The Muslim would present me a whole history and a list of known prophets, a lot of holy writings, the conclusions that Muslims got from it concerning morale, sin, divinity and so on. The Christian would present me a whole history and a list of known (yet different) prophets, a lot of (but different) holy writings, the (somewhat different) conclusions that Christians got from it concerning morale, sin, divinity and so on. The atheist would tell me that there is no deity, and that morale, sin and the idea of divinity are constructs of the human society, and even without the existence of a deity, a person/society can still follow moral laws, and be a good person. And also, from the history books I learn that there are/were many more different religions, each with its characteristics, teachings, conclusions and all that.
Therefore, I have the choice to make. What religion is the “true” one? Nobody in the society around me agrees on the matter. So I decide NOT to include any of them into CGK.
Note: I might learn about the other religions and decide to build one of my own (either a “combination” of the existing ones, either something completely original). It will be as true as all the others, meaning that is true for me, the same way the others hold true their own religion.

Remember, the first letter of CGK stands for “common”.

If this doesn’t answers clearly enough your questions please say so and I’ll come back with “more details”.

A.

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Juxtapose
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quote:
If the cup you are drinking from now were not to exist, you couldn’t be drinking from it. You would be either using another cup, or spilling the liquid all over you. What is not clear about that?
I think you misunderstand. I think the cup exists, and the cup exists. I don't have a clear conception of what it would be like for me to think the cup exists, act as if the cup exists, but not have the cup actually exists.

I do have a clear concept of what the world would be like regarding a god who is thought to exist, but does not actually exist. That world would be exactly like this one.

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