Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What is Your God Delusion Index?

Link from onegoodmove.org.

I am happy to say I am a normal person. I did have a few points however.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

My Favorite Chiropractor (Witch Doctor),

I thought that you might like to know that I scored 5 points. I answered yes to the meditation question, but no to all others.

And to that question I assented because I believe that we can at least learn more about the functioning of our psyches by paying attention.

Effectively, I have no delusions about a deity whatsoever, if the validity of this "test" is to be believed. Of course, I reject that this is a psychometrically valid instrument.

Steve

Aaron said...

You fucking hypocritical asshole!!!! I outscored you on the god belief test! Now you need to do a follow up post about how dogmatic my atheism is just to entertain everyone.

Anonymous said...

My Dear (W|B)itch Doctor,

Of course you outscored me on the God-belief test! You are a fundamentalist. I am agnostic. The crucial difference between us is that you are a closed-minded, dogmatic atheist, whereas I am open-minded and areligious, which is to say that while I'm sympathetic toward features of various religious cultures, such as some of the ideals of the Mormons, I view religion as neither adding to nor taking away from human nature.

In "favor" of religion we have the Crusades, the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, 11-Sep, and so on. In favor of atheism, we have Pol Pot, Joe Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and others. It is difficult to assess which religion--atheism or theism, in the broadest sense--has claimed more souls. (Ha ha.)

How can I be hypocritical for answering truthfully? I don't believe in a deity. I lack evidence for the existence of such a postulated being. There may be one. There may not be one. I simply don't know, and I think that the question is irrelevant.

What's most critical is the here and now, which is to say life. We struggle for existence. We wrestle with nature merely to stay alive! Past that, the decisive question, since all men know that they must die, is whether or not we "survive" death.

The moment that I pose the question to myself, I answer affirmatively, with reservations and doubts as my personal hopes and desperation becloud my judgment (but this is unavoidable). You know very well that I'm steeped in neuroscience and the doctrine of metaphysical physicalism. However, it simply doesn't go far enough for me. How are we to explain Mrs. Leonora Piper, not to mention Maria's shoe?

Quite frankly, were American fundamentalists to hijack a Saudi plane and fly it into the Kaaba (we can hope), I would expect you to be the mastermind and the first to crash into the site. You are the most zealous religious fundamentalist that I know: uncompromising, arrogant, condescending, spiteful, and angry.

Aaron said...

Bullshit. Any fool who took the test knows you're full of shit if the only thing you said yes to was meditation.

Do you believe that there exists, or may exist, a higher consciousness or a great intelligence that is somehow associated with the entirety of the universe:

Steve- no
Aaron-Yes

Do you believe that a higher consciousness or intelligence may have been involved in the origin of the universe?

Steve- No
Aaron- Yes

You need an MRI dude.

upinVermont said...

OK...

I tried it.

I scored a 15, answering Yes to the first two initial questions, though I recognize that I have little evidence to support my beliefs. I *do* have a little bit of evidence.

Interestingly, I answered No to the meditation question, which is in keeping with my previous disagreements with Aaron (and Steve?). I don't believe that meditation or prayer confers any greater insights into consciousness (or the nature of reality) than washing dishes after a pork roast.

So, Aaron, am I less than you?

I need to posture. I really want to posture. I feel a high horse coming on. I need to lord it over you. Can I? Can I?

Aaron said...

You win Patrick. I scored 20 points. I had to seriously think about the meditation question, because I agree that you may be doing something like washing dishes and have the same insight, though this is very rare. And I think you can take it further and say that those adepts who have really entered into that state and examined it their whole lives through meditation are going to have a firmer grasp of those particular insights than someone whose brain randomly goes on tilt while washing a cup in the sink. Also, the way the question is worded makes it impossible for me to say no, because the insight in question is not derived from thought, even if you are merely washing dishes. So I took the 5 point hit.

Anyways, I find it hillarious that the staunchest atheist- me, scored higher than the second staunchest atheist- Steve, and higher than someone who believes in survival of consciousness (of course, Steve needs a head CT, so I'm not sure what to think there) . I can only say Pat (saving face) that the commentator could have easily asked a simple question for 1,000,000,000 points- "do you believe in survival of consiousness", and I could have tasted victory!

You got luck...this time.
a

Anonymous said...

My Dear Witch Doctor,

Today, we celebrate the one year anniversary of the annihilation of U. G. Krishnamurti:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U._G._Krishnamurti

Of course you and Pat scored significantly higher than me. You believe in a God delusion. I do not. There is no evidence to believe in a god.

Regarding meditation, I believe that one can become more aware of the features of one's own conscious awareness through paying greater attention. I base this not on wishful thinking or some type of esoteric mysticism, but on neuroscience.

Compared to you and Pat, my good "doctor," I am the Richard Dawkins to your collective Eckhart Tolle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPg9DnMP2D4

Post-Oprah, I wonder if Eckhart Tolle is as rich as he is homosexual. What is your opinion? I wonder if his next book will be entitled: _Homosexuality for Fun and Profit_.

upinVermont said...

My horse is *soooo* high.

The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.

Aaron said...

Steve, funney thing is, Tolle reminds me of you. You guys talk the same and even sort of look the same. Plus, you're both obsessed with your homosexuality.

upinVermont said...

Steve,

Not that Aaron needs any defending from me but... A.) He is not dogmatic and B.) He is not fundamentalist in his beliefs.

The American Heritage defines Dogmatic as: Characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles...

If Aaron were dogmatic, he would simply dismiss my own beliefs as delusional. He doesn't. Not because he believes me, but because the evidence for his own beliefs falls short of conclusiveness. If he were dogmatic, such shortcomings wouldn't stop him. I have never felt contempt from Aaron. He leans toward Methodological Naturalism (which is where I'm at) more than Metaphysical Naturalism. In that sense, it's hard to portray him as a dogmatist. Metaphysical Naturalist are, in my opinion, dogmatic by definition. One can't strictly maintain a set of unproven beliefs without being dogmatic somewhere along the line.

As for fundamentalism. The word is usually associated with religious beliefs and tracts. However, I suppose it's possible for a scientist, who also hews to Scientism, to be a fundamentalist of sorts. One of the definitions is a "strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles".

I don't see any sort of "strict" adherence, on Aaron's part, to any set of basic ideas or principles. His faith in meditation, which I don't share, being a case in point. (Maybe he'll persuade me to change my mind.)

Steve, if you're going to lob criticism, make it worthwhile and accurate. Surely you can do better than you already have...

Anonymous said...

Pat,

Let's not talk about Aaron, but about the survival of human personality past death.

I believe that we survive death. This in no way, however, spares me from the horror of watching my parents grow old. Eventually, one will die, and then the other. The thought terrifies me.

Both of us watched our grandmothers die. You were tortured by the fact that your grandmother started behaving erratically as demetia set in. The deterioration of her nervous system and the rest of her body transformed her into someone you didn't recognize.

How can that fact be made to accord with the survival hypothesis? We're surrounded by death, Pat. There are so many people, hidden away by our culture and its institutions, dying right now; they'll be dead before the morning. Others will die by noon. Still others will perish before dinner. People are constantly dying, and being born.

What are we to make of it? What are we to make of the life of an amoeba, nematode, crustacean, snake, bee, plant, or bacterium? What does any of it mean? What meaning is to be found in the existence of a beetle?

I'd like to stop talking about personalities (insofar as that's an achievable goal) and start talking about these questions and others that are pertinent and play into the greatest question of all, that of our survival past our deaths and into immortality.

You believe that we survive. I believe that we survive. Aaron does not believe that we survive.

Whatever the case is, there's nothing that we can do about what happens. We either survive or we don't. The question then becomes: What ought we to do to live happy and meaningful lives (should those be our goals)?

Even though it's not often apparent, I care about both of you. I've always been deeply empathetic, and others' suffering--not just my own--exerts a horrible toll on me.

I think that all of us want to survive. We simply don't know whether or not we do survive, and we've found that others don't appear to have any answers, only questions. Fortunate is the man who can absorb himself in his activities and not be distracted by such anxiety-provoking questions.

Bertrand Russell and Freud may have been right: happiness may be that which is found in intense relationships and meaningful work. Globally, however, most humans merely struggle to survive.

I have a pet theory, Pat. There is a hell, and we live in it. We're living out a prison sentence for some prior crime. Of course, it's only a theory, and a weak one in that it cannot be proven. But if it is, in fact, valid, then it would explain a lot.

Steve

Aaron said...

The truly amazing thing Steve, is that even though you (pretend to) believe that we survive, you answered no to the first two god delusion questions, stating that you don't even think there "may" have been some greater intelligence behind the universe. I never even knew this about you. Are you sure you read the question? You are absolutely sure that there is no higher intelligence of any kind behind the workings of the universe, yet you readily believe that our spirit floats off the mortal frame at death?

I don't believe you are being honest with us, but that would depend on which particular personality you are using right now. You have at least 3, which I've named before Steve 1, Steve 2, and Steve 3. One of them is rational, but I haven't heard his voice for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Aaron,

I have no evidence to believe that a higher intelligence may have "created" the universe. I don't believe it. It's possible, but perhaps it would help you to understand my viewpoint better by knowing that I find the question boring and irrelevant. I refuse to be distracted with meaningless questions and points of departure.

I want to know the answer to one, and ONLY one, question:

Do we survive death? (yes/no)

That's it. Life is too precious to waste on irrelevant pursuits. I am the Keeper of the Greatest Question. It is I who intransigently pose it, again and again, to all who will listen. And for those who will not, my greatest question is catalyzed by the fact of death. It will happen to everyone. Therefore, we must find an answer.

One interesting line of questioning would proceed as follows. "Steve, you've said that you believe that we survive death. Are you content, then, to die and enter into an immortal existence--or rather, to continue an immortal existence in another form--or, given the opportunity to live forever in your body through the advances of medical technology, would you prefer that option, 'just in case'?" To this, I must immediately assent to the latter option.

I believe that we survive death, but I certainly don't want to die! First of all, I'm opposed to death every step of the way. I'm opposed to the dying process. I also recognize that I could be wrong, and we could, indeed, be annihilated at death, which is why I believe we should immediately undertake a massive and unapologetic effort to cure aging, never mind the intermediate milestone of sickness. I want a nineteen year old body permanently--perfected through medical technology--and I want the possibility of any accident that would destroy the body to be eliminated.

When I say that I want immortality, I'm not kidding. I want it by any means necessary, and I believe in leaving nothing to chance. Dying is, in my view, the very worst way of progressing into immortality. We should simply never die, period.

Steve