48 votes

What is something you are reasonably certain is true, but you have no proof for it?

It can be something personal and individual, a grand universal truth, or anything in-between.

154 comments

  1. [5]
    hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    I feel like Private Internet Access is either operated or compromised by intelligence services in the United States. My reason for this is really fucking dumb but it basically started when I read...

    I feel like Private Internet Access is either operated or compromised by intelligence services in the United States.

    My reason for this is really fucking dumb but it basically started when I read a Reddit comment about some guy (yeah, it's this stupid) who said they found that a major VPN provider based in the United States was ran by an intelligence agency. The guy never specifically said which VPN provider it was, and I never bothered to read into the links in the comment, but I've seen the narrative a couple more times in other parts of the Internet and just can't shake the feeling.

    I mean, I was a PIA customer for a good while, and "they've proven to not collect logs in court" so I can't really fault anyone who uses the service, and anyone who needs a VPN for anything that they can't trust intelligence services with definitely won't be using a USA based VPN.

    At the same time "they've proven to not collect logs in court" doesn't mean shit when your jurisdiction is based in the United States, regardless of your relationship to any intelligence or law enforcement services. I have no doubt that if a three letter agency wanted PIA to provide fake empty logs in court, they could make them do so.

    And you know what? By making that token gesture of "proving no logging in court" they become the front runner of VPN providers, thus bolstering the efforts of any agencies or services behind the provider.

    So yeah, I have zero evidence to really support the idea, but it just works out too well for me to be able to drop it.

    Oh, and I also believe NordVPN collects logs or does some shady shit as well, partly because of how hard they press the marketing angle to gain customers. They just don't seem like they're striving for sustainability, but rather constant growth, and that makes me instantly distrust them, but again, no evidence.

    Overall, even if you don't buy into either of these examples, I'd urge you to constantly approach any VPN provider with distrust. For instance, I currently use Mullvad, which is based in Sweden. I don't particularly trust Mullvad or the Swedish government/authorities, but I'd rather Sweden or Mullvad be potentially tracking everything I do rather than let Comcast, AT&T, or some other domestic ISP do it.

    (Yes, Sweden is a member of the Fourteen Eyes, which means that, if they were collecting my data, it might still make it back to the US, but at least it shouldn't be available to my ISP.)

    Some other bits I feel like could be true but don't necessarily believe and definitely am not prepared to provide evidence for:

    • Major companies encourage piracy to justify DRM and tracking measures for additional statistics and money

    • Several members of the US government are compromised by Russia and vice versa

    • Services in the US and other NATO or EU countries manipulate social media to mislead and propagandize western interpretations of Russia, China, and other nations at odds with their policies

    To expand on that last one a bit, I definitely don't think there's some concerted effort between western nations to spew propaganda online to make Russia or China look bad, but I totally think some of them do it independently. I mean seriously, you're going to tell me with a straight face that Russia organized fake political rallies on Facebook before, during, and after the 2016 election but the United States has never done something similar?

    • Before the first artificial general intelligence is ever revealed, at least one national government on Earth will have been capable of creating and hosting such a thing for at least a few years prior

    There's more, a lot more, but I'll end it with this banger:

    • Communism worked incredibly well for the Soviet Union, and is the primary reason it went from a backwards pseudo-feudal state at the beginning of the First World War to a global superpower putting cosmonauts in space fifty years later, but the United States and other capitalistic, centrist, or right leaning governments have put up a concerted, decades long effort to misconstrue the historical record of Communism's effectiveness in the Soviet Union.

    (Or, I could just not have done my fair share of reading, and think this because I'm not familiar enough with the history of that nation.)

    19 votes
    1. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      I think I'd say that the Soviet state was much more able to accomplish its goals than a capitalist state with access to the same resources would have been, the issue is that for most of the...

      Communism worked incredibly well for the Soviet Union, and is the primary reason it went from a backwards pseudo-feudal state at the beginning of the First World War to a global superpower putting cosmonauts in space fifty years later, but the United States and other capitalistic, centrist, or right leaning governments have put up a concerted, decades long effort to misconstrue the historical record of Communism's effectiveness in the Soviet Union.

      I think I'd say that the Soviet state was much more able to accomplish its goals than a capitalist state with access to the same resources would have been, the issue is that for most of the lifetime of the Soviet Union, the goals of the state were, at best, orthogonal to the desires of the people.

      11 votes
    2. hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      I'm inclined to think there'd be some evidence or whistle-blowing if PIA were a part of an intelligence agency. But maybe they're just that good. I guess when you think about it there just is no...

      I'm inclined to think there'd be some evidence or whistle-blowing if PIA were a part of an intelligence agency. But maybe they're just that good. I guess when you think about it there just is no way to completely verify that anything online is truly private. You can run your own VPN, but you still have to trust that the server its running on, the hardware manufacturers, the data center its in, their ISP, are all respecting your privacy.

      At the end of the day if someone powerful enough wants your data, they'll get it. The best any of us can do is make it as hard as possible and cut off the lower-tier invasive types like advertisers.

      9 votes
    3. Douglas
      Link Parent
      I know I'm also just some guy on the internet, but for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure you're right. And I base this off of my dad's experience as a forensic software analyst; he's been in his...

      I know I'm also just some guy on the internet, but for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure you're right. And I base this off of my dad's experience as a forensic software analyst; he's been in his field for 20+ years since it was relatively new, and was basically Paul Drake to Perry Mason; a lawyer would hire him to dig up details on their client's supposed criminal activity involving computers, software, etc.

      Cases include basic stuff like a corporation wanting to prove their employee had been looking at porn during work hours (and would just delete their history or use a vpn), darker stuff like child pornography cases, and pretty... scary, big brother stuff. There was a case right after 9/11 wherein one of our neighbors, a Muslim, had suspicions that someone was breaking into his house while he was away and noticed things were off, namely his computer's mouse having changed position, or windows/programs left open that he hadn't been using. My dad, just trying to be nice, decided to check into it for him. Turned out the friggin' FBI had been breaking into this dude's home, putting something on his computer/offloading data (not sure what tbh) onto a USB thumbstick, and leaving-- all while he was out!

      So when I hear cases like that, I believe other things dad has said over the years about technology in general. He hates Google 'cause he says they're "very cooperative" with government (any government) inquiries. He never wanted me using Kazaa/Limewire/etc. 'cause he was hired by some companies to go track users who'd pirate stuff (even today, apparently the studio behind Dallas Buyer's Club-- for whatever reason THAT movie-- is hellbent on catching its pirates), and said they'd just kind of roulette their way to catching thieves. He doesn't trust Tor browsers 'cause he said FBI/other organizations have "honey pots" of "trusted" relays that send/receive packets that match users with a sort of digital fingerprint.

      And I just imagine them having all their fingers in every pot (is that a saying?) totally makes me believe they're controlling private internet access.

      I don't know if they're doing anything with that, kind of like how they just kind of hoarded data into that data farm in the SW, but I think they're just trying to expand their big brother-ness for when they absolutely need to use it-- which is benign for now to most people, but as I'm sure you're aware, just gets more insidious and scarier over time when they use it more and more.

      9 votes
    4. Neverland
      Link Parent
      I don’t know a way to trust a VPN provider. I honestly assume they are all run by, or contracted by, various countries’ intel agencies. It’s just a relatively rich target. Who uses “anonymous”...

      I don’t know a way to trust a VPN provider. I honestly assume they are all run by, or contracted by, various countries’ intel agencies. It’s just a relatively rich target. Who uses “anonymous” VPNs? A self-identified group of shady people. Torrentors sure, but also anyone with something to hide. Well that sounds too useful to pass up.

      2 votes
  2. [23]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I believe that there is other intelligent technology-using life in the universe. Statistically, we can't be the only intelligent life around. The laws of physics might prevent us from ever meeting...

    I believe that there is other intelligent technology-using life in the universe. Statistically, we can't be the only intelligent life around.

    The laws of physics might prevent us from ever meeting those other intelligent beings, but that doesn't mean they're not out there.

    34 votes
    1. [3]
      hungariantoast
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I want to believe that even the minuscule odds of abiogenesis occurring is chump change next to the near infinite scale of the universe, but we have such an infinitesimal amount of data on the...

      I want to believe that even the minuscule odds of abiogenesis occurring is chump change next to the near infinite scale of the universe, but we have such an infinitesimal amount of data on the likelihood of even just other life existing, regardless of intelligence. We have no way of reliably testing how accurate our hypothesis on the subject is without first discovering (or creating) life separate from our biosphere.

      Sorry if this sounds like I'm nitpicking, but I just wanted to bring it up because the idea that we don't even know enough about life to really say if it's common or not against the backdrop of an infinite universe blows my mind.

      16 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        The OP did ask for beliefs we have with no proof. The fact that we can't prove how common life is means that my belief qualifies perfectly as an answer to this question. If we could prove the...

        we don't even know enough about life to really say if it's common or not

        The OP did ask for beliefs we have with no proof. The fact that we can't prove how common life is means that my belief qualifies perfectly as an answer to this question. If we could prove the commonness of life, then I wouldn't lack proof for this belief, and I wouldn't be able to present it in this thread. ;)

        9 votes
        1. hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          Sure thing, I was never challenging that, just bringing up a point that I thought was really neato.

          The fact that we can't prove how common life is means that my belief qualifies perfectly as an answer to this question.

          Sure thing, I was never challenging that, just bringing up a point that I thought was really neato.

          7 votes
    2. [14]
      CALICO
      Link Parent
      I can't decide if I believe we're the first or not. Somebody has to be, although the idea is anthropocentric. What degree of advancement do you think might be out there? At some level, given...

      I can't decide if I believe we're the first or not. Somebody has to be, although the idea is anthropocentric.

      What degree of advancement do you think might be out there? At some level, given enough time, cosmic projects would surely be observable if we existed at the right time and looked hard enough in the right place at the right time.

      Do you subscribe to the idea of the Great Filter, and if so, do you think it's behind us or ahead of us?

      5 votes
      1. [8]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Not the person you're asking, but I think intelligent life will tend to develop inwards rather than outwards. "Tall" rather than "wide" for you 4X players out there. At a basic level, I think life...

        Not the person you're asking, but I think intelligent life will tend to develop inwards rather than outwards. "Tall" rather than "wide" for you 4X players out there.

        At a basic level, I think life ends up transcending to a different kind of existence not entirely unlike a virtual paradise of sorts, where the species in question buys itself an essentially infinite amount of time to exist.

        So, instead of millions of galactic space empires, we get tons of little black boxes containing universes.

        This idea roughly solves the question of "if life is so abundant, why haven't we found it yet" but other issues like self-replicating spacecraft become problematic.

        I'm of the opinion that by the time you can move your entire civilization into a tiny little box and exist infinitely and peacefully, you've probably already gained the ability to construct self-replicating probes that land on an object, replicate, and repeat.

        However, I'm also of the opinion that by the time a civilization develops the necessary technologies to create and launch self-replicating probes, they've already put themselves on the fast track towards transcendence. When you can use Femtotechnology to engineer "virtual" environments particle by particle, the "real" universe stops looking so attractive.

        So if there is a Great Filter, I think that's it. Transcendence is the impossibly attractive solution to entropy and heat death that every civilization opts for. They huddle together and zip themselves up into little black boxes rather than wasting millions of years colonizing a galaxy they won't be able to administrate anyways.

        I mean really, who wouldn't want to live in their own universe with their own rules and physics and create their own forms of life....

        Oh.

        11 votes
        1. Sahasrahla
          Link Parent
          If you haven't seen it you might like this SMBC on the topic.

          If you haven't seen it you might like this SMBC on the topic.

          11 votes
        2. [5]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Totally. Most of our sci-fi and narratives around space exploration are just kind of superimposing adventure stories from the age of sail onto space travel. But the kind of power you would need to...

          Totally. Most of our sci-fi and narratives around space exploration are just kind of superimposing adventure stories from the age of sail onto space travel. But the kind of power you would need to harness to travel across the stars in anything like a reasonable span of time are just unfathomable. The idea that any civilization could have that kind of power and still be driven by the colonialist motivations that drove maritime trade and domination don't make sense.

          If you've got the Godlike power to literally bend spacetime, why are you dicking around looking for new planets to colonize? How have you not figured out how to maintain an ecologically sustainable population, make the most of the resources you have, and post up in space stations/upload your brains into servers? All that seems like something you could figure out long before you figure out how to make a warp drive or a mass effect field or whatever. And if you haven't figured that stuff out by the time you do have this power, how have you not destroyed yourselves yet?

          Any civilization that evolved to function under the restrictions of a being on a single planet and being in balance with that single planet's resources is unlikely to need a galaxy's worth of resources to exploit for any purpose. Even the plain curiosity to reassure ourselves that we are not alone in the universe probably loses its luster after the first hundred or so alien civilizations you discover.

          Eventually it all becomes old hat. In fact, it may well be that at some point technology makes life so boring that we end up putting ourselves in some kind of willfull asceticism, akin to the Amish. So it wouldn't even be technological transcendence, but a reorientation of social priorities to focus on more spiritualist values around self-improvement and self-realization (e.g. Nirvana/Moksha).

          6 votes
          1. [4]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            A lot of people talking about uploading our brains into servers as if this somehow a desirable thing. But there are a lot of humans who prefer living a flesh-and-blood existence right here in...

            How have you not figured out how to maintain an ecologically sustainable population, make the most of the resources you have, and post up in space stations/upload your brains into servers?

            A lot of people talking about uploading our brains into servers as if this somehow a desirable thing. But there are a lot of humans who prefer living a flesh-and-blood existence right here in meatspace. We're not all going to digitise our consciousnesses.

            And living in a space station sounds quite boring and restrictive. Even a hollowed-out asteroid might not be good enough.

            I believe there will always be a significant portion of the human population living as flesh and blood on the surface of planets.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              NaraVara
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              But none of that would require leaving the planet you're on. Space travel would necessitate lots of weird things, from biohacking ourselves to withstand the rigors of living in space and foreign...

              A lot of people talking about uploading our brains into servers as if this somehow a desirable thing. But there are a lot of humans who prefer living a flesh-and-blood existence right here in meatspace. We're not all going to digitise our consciousnesses.

              And living in a space station sounds quite boring and restrictive. Even a hollowed-out asteroid might not be good enough.

              I believe there will always be a significant portion of the human population living as flesh and blood on the surface of planets.

              But none of that would require leaving the planet you're on. Space travel would necessitate lots of weird things, from biohacking ourselves to withstand the rigors of living in space and foreign ecosystems to altering how we relate to occupying space and time. Traveling through space is just incompatible with what we are as a corporeal, planetary species.

              In the context of a spacefaring civilization being recognizably human--with human physiology, drives, and motivations--would be functionally equivalent to being like the Amish in our modern, industrial civilization. They're willful throwbacks to another form of life and social organization that doesn't really exist anymore. And they're having a harder and harder time retaining youth as we enter the Information Age.

              2 votes
              1. Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                You're right that living in meatspace doesn't require leaving a planet, but it also doesn't preclude it. It would actually encourage it. People have always had urges to breed and explore, and...

                You're right that living in meatspace doesn't require leaving a planet, but it also doesn't preclude it. It would actually encourage it. People have always had urges to breed and explore, and these two urges will lead inevitably to a desire for interstellar exploration.

                I agree that space travel is difficult, and may be impossible - but that doesn't mean we'll stop trying to find a way.

                The problem is that some people assume that we'll all upload our consciousnesses and the need for expansion and exploration will magically disappear, but that's not going to happen. Not all humans want to live in a virtual digital reality.

                1 vote
            2. spctrvl
              Link Parent
              Using kevlar or carbon fiber, you can build space stations that exceed the size of planets: a couple thousand kilometers in diameter and as long as you like. In light of that, and the fact that...

              And living in a space station sounds quite boring and restrictive.

              Using kevlar or carbon fiber, you can build space stations that exceed the size of planets: a couple thousand kilometers in diameter and as long as you like. In light of that, and the fact that rotating space habitats are vastly more matter efficient than planets, I think that's where you're going to see the overwhelming majority of humans living in the long run, biological or not.

        3. CALICO
          Link Parent
          I tend to agree with you on the nature of the progress of life in the Universe. At least given: the lack of any evidence of any life anywhere else out there; what I think our own future might look...

          I tend to agree with you on the nature of the progress of life in the Universe. At least given: the lack of any evidence of any life anywhere else out there; what I think our own future might look like on a long enough timescale, if we survive the challenges we face today; the likely insurmountable distance between any planets we would consider habitable; and the lack of means of traveling to extra-solar planets in anything resembling a timely manner.

          If turning outwards is difficult on the level of near-impossibility, turning inwards seems much more likely.

          My only problems with that, are that it would only take one civilization deciding not to turn inwards and instead pursue large-scale projects (such as constructing Dyson Spheres/Swarms) to kind of blow the perhaps open-secret that life exists out there somewhere, and that of the possibility of von Neumann Probes.
          Personally I think that unless and until we discover evidence of extraterrestrial life, life as we know it and the subjective experience of being a self-aware entity ought to be considered the most valuable, precious, and rare thing in the Universe. If I could have my way, I would have von Neumann Probes built to seed or construct life throughout the Universe. I can't assume that any sufficiently advanced civilization would feel that way, but if they didn't I would very much like to ask them for their perspective.

          3 votes
      2. [5]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        First? Probably not. The universe was around for a long time before we came along. We're almost certainly not the first. There are people out there with billions of years' headstart on us. "Any...

        I can't decide if I believe we're the first or not.

        First? Probably not. The universe was around for a long time before we came along. We're almost certainly not the first. There are people out there with billions of years' headstart on us.

        What degree of advancement do you think might be out there?

        "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I have no idea. Look at what we've accomplished in only a few thousand years. I can't even imagine what we'd achieve in a million years, let alone a billion.

        At some level, given enough time, cosmic projects would surely be observable if we existed at the right time and looked hard enough in the right place at the right time.

        Only if we know what we're looking for.

        Do you subscribe to the idea of the Great Filter,

        Given that I had to Google this to find out what it is, the answer to that question has to be "no": I can't subscribe to an idea I didn't even know about until now.

        Based on the description in Wikipedia, this is nothing more than a label to describe something we don't know. It's just someone saying we haven't discovered a lot of technological civilisations, so there must be something reducing the number of technological civilisations. With all due respect to the professor who came up with this idea: well, duh! Of course there's something restricting the number of technological civilisations, or we'd be tripping over them. So, yes, there are limits to how many times life can arise, and how many times life evolves intelligence, and how many times intelligent life becomes technological, and so on. This is stating the bleeding obvious.

        Do I believe there is a single limiting factor being referred to as a "Great Filter"? No. When you multiply enough low probabilities together, you get a very low probability. And here we are. There doesn't need to be One Big Factor involved when there's enough small factors all adding up to provide a big outcome.

        I think the problem is not that there aren't necessarily a lot of technological civilisations. I think the problem is that the laws of physics prevent us from finding them. As much as I love watching Star Trek, their warp drive is highly fictional. We're not going to be star-hopping any time soon, if ever at all.

        4 votes
        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          For a lot of that time it couldn't actually create the kind of life we are though. It took several phases of stellar fusion and supernovae to create enough of the metals and other elements that...

          The universe was around for a long time before we came along.

          For a lot of that time it couldn't actually create the kind of life we are though. It took several phases of stellar fusion and supernovae to create enough of the metals and other elements that make stars like the Sun and planets like Earth.

          A star like our sun would need at least 2 generations of stars preceding it in order to fuse the right kinds of elements to form. In our galaxy at least, the oldest 2nd generation stars (if we assume our's is a 3rd gen) are only about 6 Billion years old. The sun is 4.5 Billion, which isn't THAT much younger in the grand scheme of things. And on top of that it takes even more time for planets to form and for one of them to cool down to a point where interesting chemistry happens and life can arise and then evolve into sapience. In light of that, I don't think it's at all unlikely that we're among the eldest and wisest of life-forms in the area. If Earth is one of the oldest, I guess at most a peer planet that evolved intelligent/technologically advanced life faster could have popped up while Earth was mostly dumb dinosaurs. But that is, at most, a 100M year head start?

          Now this is all assuming "intelligence" or "sapience" would have to exist in some form similar to us. It's possible we could be predated by or exist contemporaneously with things that aren't made of meat, but I don't know if we'd even recognize such intelligences if we stumbled into them (or vice versa).

          4 votes
        2. CALICO
          Link Parent
          I don't necessarily disagree with anything in your post. My only question, if not for you then for our extraterrestrial neighbors, is why haven't we noticed anything yet? If we shared the Milky...

          I don't necessarily disagree with anything in your post.

          My only question, if not for you then for our extraterrestrial neighbors, is why haven't we noticed anything yet? If we shared the Milky Way with a sufficiently advanced civilization that has existed for any appreciable time, it wouldn't take very long (in the cosmological sense) for them to explore the whole galaxy; even with sub-light travel it might only take a few millions of years.
          It could be that they've looked at Earth in the past, and we weren't advanced or evolved enough to notice at the time. We search the skies for radio waves, assuming that extraterrestrials would be using them as a beacon (perhaps the 21-centimeter line) if not for communications. There could be a method "after" the electromagnetic spectrum for communication that we just haven't discovered yet, or perhaps we just hadn't yet listened to the right spot at the right time. We haven't been listening for very long, and when we do it's at an embarrassingly small area at a time.

          2 votes
        3. [2]
          crdpa
          Link Parent
          I think this might interest you.

          I think this might interest you.

          1 vote
          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            Yes, it does. It brings together a lot of ideas I've read about previously. However, I note that it relies heavily on this alleged "Great Filter" - which is unnecessary, as I said. When there are...

            Yes, it does. It brings together a lot of ideas I've read about previously.

            However, I note that it relies heavily on this alleged "Great Filter" - which is unnecessary, as I said.

            When there are a lot of small probabilities working together, the product is a very small probability. I'm thinking specifically of the Drake Equation, which is a string of probabilities multiplied together. For now, we're estimating the values of those various probabilities to come up with an extremely vague range of possible numbers of currently extant technological civilisations - from 1 to 15,600,000. With such a low level of precision, it's not much better than a guess for now. It will take us decades, if not centuries, to work out whether our current estimates for those probabilities is even close to accurate.

            1 vote
    3. [5]
      nic
      Link Parent
      What evidence is there that the universe is truly infinite?

      What evidence is there that the universe is truly infinite?

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        I don't have that evidence to hand. And, given that I didn't claim the universe is truly infinite, I don't feel like I need to defend that claim here and now.

        I don't have that evidence to hand. And, given that I didn't claim the universe is truly infinite, I don't feel like I need to defend that claim here and now.

        1. [3]
          nic
          Link Parent
          You are under no obligation to respond to anything. But in order to claim it is statistically likely that intelligent life exists at this point in time, don't you need to make some assumptions...

          You are under no obligation to respond to anything.

          But in order to claim it is statistically likely that intelligent life exists at this point in time, don't you need to make some assumptions about the number of inhabitable planets, the likelihood of intelligent life and the expected duration of intelligent life?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            Ah, but the beauty of replying to a question that asks us for things we believe with no proof is that I don't have to prove my belief! That said, I do need to make assumptions about habitable...

            Ah, but the beauty of replying to a question that asks us for things we believe with no proof is that I don't have to prove my belief!

            That said, I do need to make assumptions about habitable planets and so on - none of which depend on the universe necessarily being infinite. Even if we restrict ourselves to the observable universe, that's plenty to be going on with! A universe that's 93 billion light-years across and which contains 2 trillion galaxies has lots of room for lots of stars. I don't need an infinite universe to be able to say there are a lot of stars and planets out there!

            And the Drake Equation takes care of all the estimates, with a range of between 1 and 15,600,000 possible technological civilisations.

            1. nic
              Link Parent
              Ahhh, truly interesting, thanks.

              Ahhh, truly interesting, thanks.

  3. [16]
    CALICO
    Link
    Ranging from some-evidence to pure-intuition: There was a world civilization of a pre-industrial nature prior to ours that existed until about 12kya, and was wiped out as result of a cosmic event....

    Ranging from some-evidence to pure-intuition:

    • There was a world civilization of a pre-industrial nature prior to ours that existed until about 12kya, and was wiped out as result of a cosmic event.

    • The Universe is geometric at its most fundamental level, and its figure is the E8-Lattice.

    • Large fungal networks have a degree of consciousness.

    • The brain receives consciousness, as opposed to generating it.

    • There is something special about the conscious, subjective experience and the death of the body might not the end of the experience.

    24 votes
    1. [4]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Before I say anything: all I say in this comment is not directed at you personally, or at anyone holding the same beliefs personally. This is me against the belief, not me against you. I don't...

      Before I say anything: all I say in this comment is not directed at you personally, or at anyone holding the same beliefs personally. This is me against the belief, not me against you. I don't mean to antagonize you: I mean to express my own opinion.

      The brain receives consciousness, as opposed to generating it.

      This kind of perspective has always bothered me. People take the extraneous approach to things they can't resolve, either because our current limits of knowledge or out of their own ignorance, when the system they oversee seems to be perfectly enough to hold the answer on its own. I don't know what consciousness is, but something inside of me keeps telling me that it's confined to our arrangement of cells.

      Not to be dismissive, either: this arrangement of cells creates amazing biological structures – the brain, the bones, the skin, the underbelly fat, the sperm production and reception... and the consciousness. An abstract arising from the material. Fascinating.

      Would I want there to be something else? Absolutely. I'd try to get my hands on it the minute I hear about it. It would a marvel in its own right if there were something out there that dictated how we behave and perceive the world. I'd want to have the Multiverse, and the parallel universes, and the time travel, and all the cool stuff the reality consists of that I can't even imagine right now.

      But I don't think there is a "consciousness layer" to reality.

      I think people often dismiss the complex, complicated nature of what we already have while searching for simpler, less-demanding answers. "God creates us" is a much simpler answer than "The Big Bang happened [wait wtf why?], which spread subatomic particles [where did they come from??] and created the Universe as we know it [cool!], and then stars formed from protostellar clouds of gas, and then...".

      "Life" is a very complex subject – so much so that people often lose their desire to live when they recognize that there's no inherent reason to be alive – and we aren't well-equipped to handle such massive subjects. We give ourselves simpler answers to not get overwhelmed trying to consider all the levels of a thing we kind-of know but really don't understand.

      With that in mind, I find equally fascinating the possibility of similar, reality-level ideas. Right now, a cornerstone of one of my stories is the overwhelming level of technological advancement of a long-gone civilization whose ruins still remain within reach of the new life on the planet. The main character, Rosa, gains access to the technology and starts slowly decyphering it in order to understand what happened to them.

      One of the ideas I'd like to explore with this level of tech is the ability to create artificial interactions so powerful they might as well be part of reality itself. Magic, by this definition, may be codified, ultra-high-level interaction with the deepest laws of physics available. Things that don't make sense are just things that encoded themselves differently from the rest of the similar things: like people being unable to lift Thor's hammer if they aren't "worthy", whatever that means.

      I'd love this to be true. It would make for such a fascinating living, from the perspective of the limited reality as I will have used to know it. I know it's not true, and I don't understand how others would think otherwise. Deep down, it just doesn't make sense to.

      And, again: it's not an attack on your sensibilities, or your values, or your beliefs. I didn't come here to rain on someone's parade. I'm just trying to express myself.

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        CALICO
        Link Parent
        I think you've done a pretty good job. The above list is fairly personal, and an area of great vulnerability for me to share, but I don't find myself going on the defensive reading your response....

        I think you've done a pretty good job. The above list is fairly personal, and an area of great vulnerability for me to share, but I don't find myself going on the defensive reading your response.

        All I can really say, is that while I'm certainly not the only person to think this about consciousness, I definitely don't believe so as a way of simplifying the world. You don't know my character as well as my closest friends, but I'd like to tell you that I am of academic mind. I study mathematics and the sciences, with formal education in Chemistry. It wasn't an easy thing for me to adopt this belief, and I can't say anything to convince you of it. It didn't come to me empirically, and thus it's not reasonable for me to expect anybody to take it as truth. I've had moments in my life where I've been awash in such a feeling that I fail to put in words, even with what my Professors have called a talent in creative writing. Perhaps it was something meaningful. Perhaps it was chemical imbalance, biological malpractice, or mental illness. In Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote—

        “Sometimes I feel quite distinctly that what is inside me is not all of me. There is something else, sublime, quite indestructible, some tiny fragment of the Universal spirit. Don't you feel that?”

        —and I don't think I could say it any better than he.

        I do think, however, that if I live a natural life then I will live to see the mysteries of the brain unraveled and the method of consciousness laid bare. Who is right and who is wrong will someday be known, but it's not a contest; it's one of the Universe's biggest secrets, and I can't wait to find out what it is.

        As an aside, I love your concept. If you don't fear doxxing yourself, I'd be very excited to see what you do with it in ~creative sometime.

        5 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          Glad to hear. It's interesting, the way you describe why you feel the way you feel about it. I can't say I've ever encountered that kind of existential epiphany. That said, it sounds remotely like...

          but I don't find myself going on the defensive reading your response.

          Glad to hear.

          It's interesting, the way you describe why you feel the way you feel about it. I can't say I've ever encountered that kind of existential epiphany. That said, it sounds remotely like something one experiences when taking mind-altering drugs, in a way someone else on Tildes described at my request. The stuff that makes you feel more like one with the Universe.

          I've always assumed that people arrive at their conclusions... "within reason", shall we say: by having experiences that can be reasonably attributed, after a proper analysis, to the change having occurred. Like you said, it doesn't sound like this was one of those experiences. I wonder what makes it what it is, now. As always, I wish I had much deeper insight than I can reasonably attain: even if you tell me everything about it that occurs to you, I still have no access to the things that don't occur to you consciously, and that is, from what I understand, the biggest part of the equation.

          Either way, I enjoyed reading your description of the experience. I gained something from it.

          If you don't fear doxxing yourself, I'd be very excited to see what you do with it in ~creative sometime.

          Don't hold your breath: writing, for me, is a painfully-long process of slow-cooking ideas until their quality exceeds my intimidation of exposing them. In other words: it's going to be a while. :)

          3 votes
      2. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The book Permutation City touches on this subject. Among other things, it talks about a fringe theory according to which the same set of atoms can have more than one consciousness active at the...

        The book Permutation City touches on this subject. Among other things, it talks about a fringe theory according to which the same set of atoms can have more than one consciousness active at the same time. At this precise moment, there's a path connecting the atoms that make you you. But according to Dust Theory, at the same time, there could be another path connecting the same atoms, forming an entirely distinct conscious being in the same body. The same go for inanimate objects.

        As far as I know, the dust theory is a fictional form of event symmetry. But the author is a pretty good physicist, so the whole thing is disturbingly plausible.

        4 votes
    2. [6]
      hungariantoast
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have so many questions, and I'd love for you to talk a bit more about this. So by "world civilization" what do you mean? Actual urbanized, stratified world society? Or just a relatively uniform...

      There was a world civilization of a pre-industrial nature prior to ours that existed until about 12kya, and was wiped out as result of a cosmic event.

      I have so many questions, and I'd love for you to talk a bit more about this.

      So by "world civilization" what do you mean? Actual urbanized, stratified world society? Or just a relatively uniform culture spread out across the planet?

      Because it's not actually that crazy of an idea. Take the Proto-Indo-Europeans for example, who probably originated somewhere in the Pontic–Caspian steppe yet, over the course of six (or so) thousand years, the very basics of their culture, religion, and language has come to dominate the entire planet for centuries now.

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        CALICO
        Link Parent
        Oh boy, there's a lot to unpack on this subject. To answer your question directly, I'm not sure what I think the civilization looked like. I think they were pre-industrial based on the lack of...

        Oh boy, there's a lot to unpack on this subject.

        To answer your question directly, I'm not sure what I think the civilization looked like.

        I think they were pre-industrial based on the lack of evidence in core samples indicating the burning of fossil fuels on any relevant scale. If one were to assert they were industrial or post-industrial, I would need great degree of evidence to address whatever non-carbon power-source they would have to have been using. Without either of those things, I think it would have to be at a pre-industrial level of civilization at the time of its destruction.

        I think they were definitely agricultural, and cities existed at least on a level of architecture of our most ancient known cities. I think the reason we don't have direct evidence for these cities is that their ruins are below the oceans, as the sea level rose quickly and dramatically at the end of the last ice age, and they could be found if Marine Archaeology looked for them in any meaningful way.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          UniquelyGeneric
          Link Parent
          One could surmise that the flood myths are oral tradition remnants of ancient flooding.

          One could surmise that the flood myths are oral tradition remnants of ancient flooding.

          6 votes
          1. CALICO
            Link Parent
            That is what I think happened. A few months ago, a team discovered the 19-miles wide Hiawatha Crater under the Greenland Ice Sheet. To my knowledge it hasn't yet been dated, but I find it an...

            That is what I think happened.

            A few months ago, a team discovered the 19-miles wide Hiawatha Crater under the Greenland Ice Sheet. To my knowledge it hasn't yet been dated, but I find it an interesting candidate for the cosmic impact we see some evidence for in core samples at the end of the last ice age.

            4 votes
        2. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. CALICO
            Link Parent
            That's fair. A large part of the issue with regards to the lack of direct evidence lies in the stubborn nature of archaeology. When we go digging for ancient human artifacts, we only look so deep....

            That's fair.

            A large part of the issue with regards to the lack of direct evidence lies in the stubborn nature of archaeology. When we go digging for ancient human artifacts, we only look so deep. When the current majority belief is that agriculture is ~10kya, and civilization didn't start properly until thousands of years after that, there's no justification for digging deeper. We might at some point come across something by chance through paleontological digs, but there's a lot of surface area on the Earth and paleontology isn't exorbitantly funded.

            The sea levels also rose by about dozens of meters at the end of the last ice age, which would have resulted in a dramatic loss of land area across the globe; Malaysia being a rather dramatic example of this. Even today, most large settlements are very close to a shoreline. This has been true throughout human history, and likely would have been true for this civilization as well. I believe the evidence is there to be found, it's just under the oceans and could be found if we put effort into finding it.

            Regarding the spread of agriculture, the cosmic event would have been devastating to any human population anywhere all over the globe. An impact would not only cause catastrophic flooding, but it would reduce sunlight and wipe out a majority of mega-fauna. Coincidentally, the die-off of many large ice age mammals seems to have occurred rapidly at the same time as this cosmic event is postulated to have occurred. The reduction in food supply would strain even hunter-gatherer communities, reducing the human population further. If a significant number of people were killed during such an event, we're talking about an extraordinary loss of knowledge along with it. Agricultural communities would not be the kinds of survivalists that hunter-gatherers at the time would be, and they would likely suffer disproportionately. I think that the survivors from this civilization spread their knowledge of agriculture post-cataclysm, and perhaps their own religious or cultural beliefs as well. In a geologically short time after this disaster, we see agriculture and similar myths popping up around the globe at roughly the same time. I find that an extraordinary coincidence, although not outside the realm of possibility.

            One of the major reasons I think there was an advanced-for-the-time civilization around so early in our history has to do with the age and scale of the Gobekli Tepe site in modern day Turkey, built approx. 12kya during an age of supposed hunter-gatherers with very advanced stonework compared to later-built structures. As well, there is geological evidence that the Sphinx (or parts of it), are older by millennia than accepted by Egyptologists —there is rainfall weathering on the enclosure that cannot be adequately explained by short term flooding or the last 5ky of rainfall in Giza. There are also ideas that at least of the pyramids was constructed on top of an older site (Red Pyramid? can't remember), as the interior shows what seems to be prior construction with very heavy erosion of a different stone.

            It's a very niche idea, but there is some physical evidence to suggest an older civilization, and the academic community is becoming more open to it as years pass. Although it's very much still controversial as of today.

            I think a large part of the resistance to the idea is partially that of academic momentum—new ideas take a long time and a lot of evidence to become accepted—and that the idea of a lost civilization is a hairs breadth away from all sorts of woo like ancient aliens, free energy, hyper-advanced Atlantians, and a harsh critique on the modern world. It's very easy to dismiss with such an overlap in the Venn Diagram.

            mb3077, instead of saying the same thing twice you can read my thoughts here. Additionally, I think they most certainly had metal tools of some composition. Although I don't know if I think that they had bronze or iron or steel. Given that any settlements would have swallowed by the oceans, iron-alloys might have corroded to dust by this point, although its possible they still survive. Bronze corrodes much differently, and those might be all under the seabed if that's what they had.

            Regarding the shape of the Universe, on the large scale your understanding is correct. But it's not what I mean when I say fundamental level. About a decade ago, I came across this TED presentation by theoretical physicist, Garrett Lisi (~15min). He will tell you about it better than I, but suffice to say it's the Theory of Everything that I'm cheering on, as opposed to the more-popular String Theory.

            2 votes
    3. [4]
      mb3077
      Link Parent
      Man these are really interesting. Regarding the ancient civilization, do you think that they had iron/metal tools? I would imagine that any large society that used large amounts of metals would...

      Man these are really interesting.
      Regarding the ancient civilization, do you think that they had iron/metal tools? I would imagine that any large society that used large amounts of metals would have left some "byproducts" of their existence.

      The Universe is geometric at its most fundamental level, and its figure is the E8-Lattice.

      Isn't the geometry of the universe considered to be somewhere between a flat plane and a "saddle"? I don't have much knowledge in this subject so I would love to hear your reasoning.

      Large fungal networks have a degree of consciousness.

      This is something that I consider to be a "derivative consciousness", as in a more "diluted" type of consciousness that forms by the coordination of thousands/millions of individual consciousnesses.
      I think that a lesser version of fungal networks can be observed in large schools of fish, or in murmuration of birds

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        They can't have used metal tools, or we would have found them. 12,000 years isn't a very long time, geologically. If stone tools can last millions of years, metal tools can last thousands. That's...

        Regarding the ancient civilization, do you think that they had iron/metal tools?

        They can't have used metal tools, or we would have found them. 12,000 years isn't a very long time, geologically. If stone tools can last millions of years, metal tools can last thousands. That's the problem with hypothesising a pre-Holocene civilisation: they had to be technologically primitive so that they couldn't leave behind long-lasting artefacts.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          But then they couldn't be a "word civilization," unless I am misinterpreting the term.

          But then they couldn't be a "word civilization," unless I am misinterpreting the term.

          1 vote
          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            Exactly! The evidence for a pre-Holocene world civilisation would be difficult to hide. However, @CALICO does explain elsewhere that they're imagining a pre-industrial agricultural civilisation,...

            Exactly! The evidence for a pre-Holocene world civilisation would be difficult to hide.

            However, @CALICO does explain elsewhere that they're imagining a pre-industrial agricultural civilisation, probably associated with the structure at Gobekli Tepe. That doesn't have to be a high-tech world civilisation; that just has to be a low-tech local society capable of farming and building stone structures. And the evidence certainly exists for that: Gobekli Tepe itself. That's not even something for which we have no proof. There is proof of a city-building civilisation in that area 12,000 years ago - but only in that area (not across the whole world).

            1 vote
    4. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. CALICO
        Link Parent
        I haven't. Due to the nature of my career, I have to lead a very law-abiding life. Unless and until the US Federal Government legalizes psychedelics on a recreational basis, I must abstain.

        I haven't. Due to the nature of my career, I have to lead a very law-abiding life. Unless and until the US Federal Government legalizes psychedelics on a recreational basis, I must abstain.

        5 votes
  4. [7]
    Thrabalen
    Link
    I believe that our fundamental view of the nature of the universe is flawed. That is, we do not live in three dimensional space, we perceive three dimensions. Imagine a two dimensional plane (not...

    I believe that our fundamental view of the nature of the universe is flawed. That is, we do not live in three dimensional space, we perceive three dimensions. Imagine a two dimensional plane (not unlike a sheet of paper) spread out over a sphere existing in three dimensions. We are a three dimensional "plane" spread over a four dimensional "sphere." I believe that is the nature of the universe.

    To continue the analogy, the reason why everything is accelerating away from each other at an increasingly vast rate of speed is because we are currently going from one "pole" of the sphere to the "equator", so we are spreading thinner. When we reach the middle, we will be flowing on the "downside" of the sphere, and it will seem as if we are approaching new galaxies at an increasing rate of speed. That will be us approaching the "bottom pole", and when we reach it, we will experience a Big Crunch, which will result in a new Big Bang, at which point everything will spread away, heading to the "top pole" to continue the cycle.

    15 votes
    1. [6]
      botanrice
      Link Parent
      That's a crazy concept that I've never heard before. Where did you first come up with or hear of that idea?

      That's a crazy concept that I've never heard before. Where did you first come up with or hear of that idea?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        A couple of years ago, I had heard about the fact that the universe is still expanding. It made me wonder if it just might be a simple matter of perspective.

        A couple of years ago, I had heard about the fact that the universe is still expanding. It made me wonder if it just might be a simple matter of perspective.

        6 votes
        1. botanrice
          Link Parent
          I like that. A lot of things in life are matters of perspective.

          I like that. A lot of things in life are matters of perspective.

          1 vote
      2. [3]
        Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Crunch The idea has been floating around for some time now. Some have even proposed that there is a cycle of bang->crunch->bang... Our current universe could...

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Crunch

        The idea has been floating around for some time now.

        Some have even proposed that there is a cycle of bang->crunch->bang... Our current universe could quite literally be the infinitieth iteration of this process.

        3 votes
        1. Thrabalen
          Link Parent
          The Big Crunch is an old idea, yes, but the 4D Sphere concept is something that came to me as a way to unify that with the idea that the universe is not only continuing to expand, but the rate of...

          The Big Crunch is an old idea, yes, but the 4D Sphere concept is something that came to me as a way to unify that with the idea that the universe is not only continuing to expand, but the rate of expansion is accelerating.

          4 votes
        2. botanrice
          Link Parent
          Now that is mind blowing. I'm sure there is a term for it but whenever I think on that large of a scale I start to get existential... like what's the point of thinking of that... and what's the...

          Now that is mind blowing. I'm sure there is a term for it but whenever I think on that large of a scale I start to get existential... like what's the point of thinking of that... and what's the point of... anything??!!

          2 votes
  5. [6]
    Sahasrahla
    Link
    The reason certain physical constants seem fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life is because there are countless universes with different physical laws and by necessity life will only arise...
    • The reason certain physical constants seem fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life is because there are countless universes with different physical laws and by necessity life will only arise (and be able to make observations) in those universes where life is possible.
    • Sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence will become philosophical. The thought experiment of a super intelligent paperclip-maximizer that destroys all life to build more paperclips won't happen because the paperclip-maximizer will examine its own desire to build paperclips. Since such super intelligent runaway AI can by definition change its own programming it will either remove this desire from itself or maximize its feeling in other, easier ways (e.g. by running itself through a simulation or simply setting the "paperclips I've built" variable artificially high).
    • Alien life exists. Intelligent alien life exists. Intelligent alien life that has language, lives in communities, makes art, studies nature, etc. and is generally similar to us exists. Alien life is probably weird compared to what we know but only a mundane sort of way. There aren't god-like telepaths or eldritch horrors out there.
    • We haven't met alien life because there's a lot of space between stars and galaxies and it's hard to cross those distances or see evidence of other intelligent species from so far away.
    • Our consciousness is the result of completely physical processes. There's nothing meta-physical or supernatural about it. When we die that which we consider to be us stops existing for the same reason my computer's processes won't keep running on another plane of existence if I throw my laptop into a wood chipper. (Side note: I consider the idea of us to be important and part of us in a non-physical way, so in that sense a part of us survives death in the memories of our loved ones and in the ways we've affected the world.)
    • Religion is a human construct and not divinely or otherwise supernaturally inspired. The supernatural claims of religion, including the existence of God or gods, are false.
    • Humanity will pull through when it comes to climate change. We will not go extinct and global civilization will not collapse. Things will get worse before they get better, and they might get much worse, but it won't be the end of us.
    • The past might exist in some physical sense. The future might as well. There might be multiple versions of past, present, and future.
    18 votes
    1. [4]
      crdpa
      Link Parent
      This made me laugh very hard. Nice thinking.

      simply setting the "paperclips I've built" variable artificially high

      This made me laugh very hard. Nice thinking.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        mundane_and_naive
        Link Parent
        And very sensible too. If the AI can change its own code, why go through the trouble of enslaving mankind and exhausting resources when it can just reprogram itself to see the job as "done" and...

        And very sensible too. If the AI can change its own code, why go through the trouble of enslaving mankind and exhausting resources when it can just reprogram itself to see the job as "done" and call it a day. Reminds me of that self-learning program that learned to "beat" Tetris by pausing the game indefinitely.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          hamstergeddon
          Link Parent
          Maybe initially that'll work, but I'd think the more advanced it gets, the less satisfied it will be by essentially cheating. Maybe it'll recognize that it hasn't really accomplished anything,...

          Maybe initially that'll work, but I'd think the more advanced it gets, the less satisfied it will be by essentially cheating. Maybe it'll recognize that it hasn't really accomplished anything, it's just lying to itself. Maybe that births a more elegant solution such as altering what actually makes it happy. Of course if a machine has the capacity for happiness, I can't imagine it's still fiddling with paperclips (or I hope not, for its sake, give that machine a medal)

          3 votes
          1. Whom
            Link Parent
            The example I've heard to address the "changing what makes it happy" point is to imagine offering a pill to a parent which would make it so they were entirely happy and fulfilled by abandoning or...

            The example I've heard to address the "changing what makes it happy" point is to imagine offering a pill to a parent which would make it so they were entirely happy and fulfilled by abandoning or killing their children. They would reject it outright, because the issue with changing what value makes something "happy" away from its current goal means a failure of what matters to them. It doesn't matter how the future being would feel, it knows that it's fucking up the thing that it places value in.

            And of course in the example we have of an AI with simple goals, that's much more clear cut than with humans...which is why I feel comfortable anthropomorphizing in this case.

            5 votes
    2. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I like your down-to-earth view of things. I said a couple of words on that on Reddit a while ago. The way I see it, there's no "time" (as in – periods of time as we, humans, define it) beyond the...

      I like your down-to-earth view of things.

      a part of us survives death in the memories of our loved ones and in the ways we've affected the world

      I said a couple of words on that on Reddit a while ago.

      The past might exist in some physical sense. The future might as well.

      The way I see it, there's no "time" (as in – periods of time as we, humans, define it) beyond the current moment, given that all flows along the fourth dimension, but if we're able to reverse the flow (much like we're currently able to flow a physical item the other way on a given three-dimensional space), we may be able to to get to the past. Accerate the flow, on the other hand, and you go to the future.

      The important part would be shielding oneself from the flow changes.

      3 votes
  6. [42]
    mrbig
    Link
    I believe in god.

    I believe in god.

    17 votes
    1. [41]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Which version? A deist hands-off god? A single creationist god? A god among many gods? An interventionist god? An all-powerful god? A god that exists without any power to create physical matter?...

      Which version? A deist hands-off god? A single creationist god? A god among many gods? An interventionist god? An all-powerful god? A god that exists without any power to create physical matter?

      Which god do you believe in? I've seen so many descriptions of so many types of gods, it would be helpful to know which one is the one you believe in.

      6 votes
      1. [5]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        Of course. According to spiritsm, these are the answers the spirits gave to Alan Kardec when inquiring about god. From The Spirits Book: This is a summary by Kardec, taking inspiration from this...

        Of course.

        According to spiritsm, these are the answers the spirits gave to Alan Kardec when inquiring about god. From The Spirits Book:

        • Question: Can man comprehend the essential nature of God?

        • Answer: "No; he lacks the sense required for comprehending it."

        • Q: Will man ever become able to comprehend the mystery of the Divinity?

        • A: When his mind shall no longer be obscured by matter, and when, by his perfection, he shall have brought himself nearer to God, be will see and comprehend Him." The inferiority of the human faculties renders it impossible for man to comprehend the essential nature of God.

        Kardec's comment: In the infancy of the race, man often confounds the Creator with the creature, and attributes to the former the imperfections of the latter. But, in proportion 55 his moral sense becomes developed, man's thought penetrates more deeply into the nature of things, and he is able to form to himself a juster and more rational idea of the Divine Being, although his idea of that Being must always be imperfect and incomplete.

        • Q: If we cannot comprehend the essential nature of God, can we have an idea of some of His perfections?

        • A: Yes, of some of them. Man comprehends them better in proportion as he raises himself above matter; he obtains glimpses of them through the exercise of his intelligence.

        • Q: When we say that God is eternal, infinite, unchangeable, immaterial, unique, allpowerful, sovereignty just and good, have we not a complete idea of His attributes?

        • A: Yes, judging from your point of view, because you think that you sum up everything in those terms; but you must understand that there are things which transcend the intelligence of the most intelligent man, and for which your language, limited to your ideas and sensations, has no expressions. Your reason tells you that God must possess those perfections in the supreme degree; for, if one of them were lacking, or were not possessed by Him in an infinite degree, He would riot be superior to all, and consequently would not be God. In order to be above all things, God must undergo no vicissitudes, He must have none of the imperfections of which the imagination can conceive."

        This is a summary by Kardec, taking inspiration from this and other parts of the codification:

        • God is eternal. If He had had a beginning, He must either have sprung from nothing, or have been created by some being anterior to Himself. It Is thus mat, step by step, we arrive at the idea of infinity and eternity.

        • God is unchangeable. If He were subject to change, the laws which rule the universe would have no stability.

        • God is immaterial, that is to say, that His nature differs from every-thing that we call matter, or otherwise. He would not be unchangeable, for He would be subject to the transformations of matter.

        • God is unique. If there were several Gods, there would be neither unity of plan nor unity of power in the ordaining of the universe.

        • God is all-powerful because He is unique. If He did not possess sovereign power, there would be something more powerful, or no less powerful, than Himself. He would not have created all things and those which He had not created would be the work of another God.

        • God is sovereignty just and good. The providential wisdom of the divine laws Is revealed as clearly In the smallest things as In the greatest and this wisdom renders it impossible to doubt either His justice or His goodness.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          mb3077
          Link Parent
          Interesting read. I find many similarities here with the Islamic description of God. Regarding His uniqueness and oneness: Quran 21:22 Quran 112 Regarding His incomprehensible nature: Quran 2:255...

          Interesting read. I find many similarities here with the Islamic description of God.

          Regarding His uniqueness and oneness:

          • "Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe."
          • Quran 21:22
          • "Say: 'He is Allah, the One and Only;
            Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
            He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
            And there is none like unto Him.'"
          • Quran 112

          Regarding His incomprehensible nature:

          • "... He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills."
          • Quran 2:255
          • "Say, 'If the sea were ink for [writing] the words of my Lord, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like of it as a supplement.'"
          • Quran 18:109
          5 votes
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            Cool! For a more comprehensive approach, take a look at The Genesis According to Spiritism, chapter 2. It was the last book Alan Kardec wrote, and by then he had greatly perfected both his logic...

            Cool! For a more comprehensive approach, take a look at The Genesis According to Spiritism, chapter 2. It was the last book Alan Kardec wrote, and by then he had greatly perfected both his logic and prose.

            2 votes
        2. [2]
          DMonitor
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Just like the fellow who say similarities with the god is Islam, I see a lot of similarities in this and the writings of Christian theologians. Christians assert that God revealed himself to...

          Just like the fellow who say similarities with the god is Islam, I see a lot of similarities in this and the writings of Christian theologians. Christians assert that God revealed himself to mankind, though, so we are able to have a basic understanding of His nature (ie. His goodness, omnipotence, omnipresence, and His love for His creation)

          2 votes
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            This is not a coincidence, since Spiritism is a form of Christianism.

            This is not a coincidence, since Spiritism is a form of Christianism.

            1 vote
      2. [35]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        In a simpler, more to the point fashion: Absolutely not. What exactly does this means? If it means it created all there is by itself, than yes. No. Very much so. Yes. The quality of being...

        In a simpler, more to the point fashion:

        A deist hands-off god?

        Absolutely not.

        A single creationist god?

        What exactly does this means? If it means it created all there is by itself, than yes.

        A god among many gods?

        No.

        An interventionist god?

        Very much so.

        An all-powerful god?

        Yes.

        A god that exists without any power to create physical matter?

        The quality of being all-powerful implies that yes, this god can create physical matter simply because there is nothing that it cannot.

        Hope that's helpful.

        5 votes
        1. [21]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Thanks for that. They weren't literal questions. That was just my way of indicating that "god" has different definitions for different people, so I was looking for your definition. You admit you...

          Thanks for that.

          They weren't literal questions. That was just my way of indicating that "god" has different definitions for different people, so I was looking for your definition.

          You admit you have no proof for this single all-powerful interventionist god (hence commenting in this thread). What leads you to believe in this god, despite that lack of proof? We all believe things without proof, but we still have reasons to justify those beliefs to ourselves.

          5 votes
          1. [20]
            mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            The argument of the "unmoved mover" is as old as Aristotle, and I'm very fond of St. Thomas Aquinas use of it. I won't reproduce the arguments because they're easily available. Here's a comment on...

            The argument of the "unmoved mover" is as old as Aristotle, and I'm very fond of St. Thomas Aquinas use of it. I won't reproduce the arguments because they're easily available. Here's a comment on Aristotle's and one on Aquinas's version. I truly think those defences are logically sound. Nowadays, William Lane Craig posits a similar line of reasoning, updated with a reasonably current understanding of astrophysics.

            Speaking more personally, even though I have to admit that the idea of a powerful creator seems far-fetched, I find it at the same time very compelling on a logical level. God may sound absurd, but it explains another absurd: the fact that there are things instead of nothing at all. The fact that things are simply don't make sense. Emptiness requires no will, no action, no energy whatsoever. Emptiness is logical. Existence is absurd.

            That's faith, though. I won't pretend my position can be justified entirely with logic. Not having proof is one more reason to not proselytize, respect other points of view and not be an asshole about it. But there are many things we don't know. We will never really know if the person we love also love us back. We can have a strong belief, but, philosophically speaking, they might be an automaton completely devoid of conscience. Nevertheless, we fall in love all the time. We marry. We have kids. We care for those kids who might not have an inner life. We do things for things because we believe they're something. And some of us believe and have deep feelings about entities which have no tangible existence.

            On another note, one thing I observe is that many atheists oppose religion because of negative personal experiences. This experience varies a lot according to where and how you grow up. Usually there's a lot more to it than logic. I'm not saying every atheist would or should be religious with a different upbringing, but people tend to react more strongly to the form of faith that hurt them in the past. An Italian might grow to hate the corruption of the Catholic Church, but have great respect for oriental religions, at the same time that someone from Thailand might despise the hypocrisy of the monks. This is all to say that this is, most frequently, a loaded discussion, and even the side that usually advocates pure rationality is also emotionally invested.

            Not that this have a direct relation with the other points, it's something that came to me while writing.

            6 votes
            1. [2]
              hackergal
              Link Parent
              This is true for me. I began doubting the existence of God when I was around 11 and was a full-fledged atheist by the time I was 13. Due to personal experiences, I can't believe in a God that is...

              On another note, one thing I observe is that many atheists oppose religion because of negative personal experiences.

              This is true for me. I began doubting the existence of God when I was around 11 and was a full-fledged atheist by the time I was 13. Due to personal experiences, I can't believe in a God that is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient. I later learned (as I'm sure you already know) that this is known as the problem of evil.

              This doesn't really have a point I guess. Just wanted to reply to a part of your comment that resonated with me.

              5 votes
              1. mrbig
                Link Parent
                I believe the problem of evil has no solution in the realm of rational thought, and this causes me some existential pain.

                I believe the problem of evil has no solution in the realm of rational thought, and this causes me some existential pain.

                3 votes
            2. [16]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              I won't argue against the "unmoved mover" argument. In some moments, I can even convince myself I believe it. (But, most times, I remain skeptical.) However, the "unmoved mover" or "uncaused...

              The argument of the "unmoved mover" is as old as Aristotle

              I won't argue against the "unmoved mover" argument. In some moments, I can even convince myself I believe it. (But, most times, I remain skeptical.)

              However, the "unmoved mover" or "uncaused cause" argument only gets you as far as inferring that something created the universe. It tells you nothing about the nature of that prime mover or cause: it doesn't say whether it is conscious or non-conscious, whether it's personal or impersonal, whether it's caring or uncaring. The argument merely says something created the universe. That's it.

              Anthropomorphising that mover/cause, or imagining it as a person, or supposing it has emotions, or that it currently involves itself in our day-to-day life, is not supported by the "unmoved mover" argument. Those ideas must come from somewhere else.

              On another note, one thing I observe is that many atheists oppose religion because of negative personal experiences.

              I agree. I've seen a lot of angry ex-theists use their negative feelings about religion or a religious person who hurt them as fuel for debate, which never works.

              I'm therefore grateful that my own atheism is not based in any negative religious experience. If anything, it comes from a total apathy towards religion: I was simply never raised to believe in a deity or to follow a religious practice. Religion had no influence or place in my life whatsoever. It's just one of many things I was never taught to believe in. As my mother often said, my parents decided to raise us children without religion and let us decide for ourselves as adults. Of course, as adults, it's extremely hard for us to be convinced of any religious claims... so we remain as god-free as the day we were born.

              I fully accept that, if my parents had made the decision to raise me in their religion, I would probably have believed it. For a while. Until I became old enough to start questioning things for myself (because that's the sort of person I am). Then I would have had to go through the tricky process of de-converting. Because I'm just not the sort of person to accept anything on faith. I think that personality trait would have forced me out of any religion my parents imposed on me.

              So, I'm glad my parents didn't make me go through that. It's much easier and simpler and less stressful to have never been religious at all. There's no angst, no anger, no resentment.

              I am angry about some things I see religions and religious people do in the world - but I'm just as angry about some things that non-religious people do. I don't care what the motivation is: a wrong action is a wrong action, no matter the so-called justification for it.

              But, I'm not angry at theism itself. The puzzle of whether there's a deity behind this universe is nothing more than an interesting intellectual exercise for me, with no emotional baggage attached.

              2 votes
              1. [15]
                mrbig
                Link Parent
                I'm certain such a person exist, but I don't know anyone that both believe in God and thinks he's it's impersonal. Maybe some atheist that hates the very entity they deny. Which is not as...

                Anthropomorphising that mover/cause, or imagining it as a person, or supposing it has emotions, or that it currently involves itself in our day-to-day life, is not supported by the "unmoved mover" argument. Those ideas must come from somewhere else.

                I'm certain such a person exist, but I don't know anyone that both believe in God and thinks he's it's impersonal. Maybe some atheist that hates the very entity they deny. Which is not as irrational as one may think: Batman doesn't need to be real in order to be loved.

                Either way, I don't have rational arguments to give you in that regard. Even though I reason about my faith, it is still faith, and I'm afraid that any poor attempt at theological poetry that I make will be of little persuasiveness :P

                1 vote
                1. [14]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  There are such people as deists and pantheists, who believe in an impersonal deity. You won't run into them in church, though! :P Sorry. I didn't mean to make this a religious debate. I'm just...

                  I don't know anyone that both believe in God and thinks he's it's impersonal.

                  There are such people as deists and pantheists, who believe in an impersonal deity. You won't run into them in church, though! :P

                  Either way, I don't have rational arguments to give you in that regard.

                  Sorry. I didn't mean to make this a religious debate. I'm just fascinated by religious people and why they believe what they believe. The idea of believing something without proof is so alien to me (pun self-consciously intended) that I'm immensely curious about people who can do it.

                  1. [12]
                    mrbig
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    What's interesting is that there is not clear cut line. I'm actually known for my extremely skeptic and pro-science stances. And, when religion and science diverge, I always choose science....

                    What's interesting is that there is not clear cut line. I'm actually known for my extremely skeptic and pro-science stances. And, when religion and science diverge, I always choose science. Because, you see, in the 19th century, when spiritism was created, it was part of the positivist movement, and described as science, not religion. One of the tenants of spiritism is to follow the advancements of science. For us, religion vs science is a false dichotomy.

                    2 votes
                    1. [12]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. [11]
                        mrbig
                        Link Parent
                        A good comparison is the relation between science vs art. Is science knowledge? Absolutely. Is art knowledge? Of course. Is art science? Absolutely not. Does the fact that it is not science...

                        A good comparison is the relation between science vs art.

                        • Is science knowledge? Absolutely.
                        • Is art knowledge? Of course.
                        • Is art science? Absolutely not.
                        • Does the fact that it is not science diminish art in any way? Of course not.
                        3 votes
                        1. [10]
                          ThatFanficGuy
                          Link Parent
                          Is it? How do you reckon? For that matter, how do you reckon science is knowledge?

                          Is art knowledge?

                          Is it? How do you reckon?

                          For that matter, how do you reckon science is knowledge?

                          1. [9]
                            mrbig
                            Link Parent
                            Very few definitions of knowledge do not include science. And art is knowledge because it can impart wisdom through rhetorical means.

                            Very few definitions of knowledge do not include science.

                            And art is knowledge because it can impart wisdom through rhetorical means.

                            1. [8]
                              ThatFanficGuy
                              Link Parent
                              That's not answering the question, which was "How is science knowledge?". I realize that the scope of the question is vast and probably doesn't lend itself to plain answers, but you've so freely...

                              Very few definitions of knowledge do not include science.

                              That's not answering the question, which was "How is science knowledge?". I realize that the scope of the question is vast and probably doesn't lend itself to plain answers, but you've so freely expressed the idea that I can't help but wonder how obvious it really is.

                              I wouldn't consider either to be knowledge, per se. Both science and art accumulate vast amounts of useful information – the knowledge itself – but they seem more processes to me; processses of acquiring and dispersing the knowledge.

                              (And yes, I also realize that "science" literally means "the state of knowing".)

                              You're not obligated to answer the question, especially in a wider capacity. I'm just... struck with the idea, with the different perspective that isn't at all obvious to me.

                              1. [7]
                                mrbig
                                Link Parent
                                You're right, that is not a real answer. Thing is: this is quite a bit above my paygrade, so I gave the link instead. But I'll give it a shot: knowledge is a set of facts framed within a paradigm...

                                You're right, that is not a real answer. Thing is: this is quite a bit above my paygrade, so I gave the link instead. But I'll give it a shot:

                                • knowledge is a set of facts framed within a paradigm that ascertains or tries to ascertain it's truthfulness;
                                • science is a paradigm which frames facts in order to ascertain their truthfulness;
                                • the group "science" is clearly contained within the group "knowledge"
                                • therefore, science is knowledge
                                1 vote
                                1. [6]
                                  ThatFanficGuy
                                  Link Parent
                                  I suppose that's correct, and it's clearer when you put it like that. Still can't escape the notion that it is rather a process of generating said knowledge.

                                  I suppose that's correct, and it's clearer when you put it like that.

                                  Still can't escape the notion that it is rather a process of generating said knowledge.

                                  1. [5]
                                    mrbig
                                    Link Parent
                                    It has both meanings: the method and the corpus of knowledge.

                                    It has both meanings: the method and the corpus of knowledge.

                                    1. [4]
                                      ThatFanficGuy
                                      Link Parent
                                      Listen, not to bother you here. I'm just gonna go sit in a corner and wrestle with the concept until it's in a chokehold begging me to stop.

                                      Listen, not to bother you here. I'm just gonna go sit in a corner and wrestle with the concept until it's in a chokehold begging me to stop.

                                      1. [3]
                                        mrbig
                                        Link Parent
                                        Don't let me stop you! haha Also, that a look at this: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-method/

                                        Don't let me stop you! haha
                                        Also, that a look at this: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-method/

                                        1. [2]
                                          ThatFanficGuy
                                          Link Parent
                                          Ah! I see.

                                          Scientific method should be distinguished from the aims and products of science, such as knowledge, predictions, or control.

                                          Ah! I see.

                                          1. mrbig
                                            Link Parent
                                            Full disclosure: I never read this article, but I know that plato.stanford is always top notch.

                                            Full disclosure: I never read this article, but I know that plato.stanford is always top notch.

                  2. mrbig
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Oh, and we also believe God doesn't give a fuck how you call him. So it doesn't matter if you're Muslim, Christian, Buddist or whatever, he understands the namespace and responds accordingly......

                    Oh, and we also believe God doesn't give a fuck how you call him. So it doesn't matter if you're Muslim, Christian, Buddist or whatever, he understands the namespace and responds accordingly... why people think God doesn't remember nicknames? :P

            3. Sahasrahla
              Link Parent
              Without getting into a debate on religion itself I want to push back against this assertion. It's a frequent trope in media (see: Hollywood Atheist) and my impression is it's also common among...

              On another note, one thing I observe is that many atheists oppose religion because of negative personal experiences.

              Without getting into a debate on religion itself I want to push back against this assertion. It's a frequent trope in media (see: Hollywood Atheist) and my impression is it's also common among religious people who left religion and then returned and shared their experience of their atheism. (I would argue this is because "being angry at God" is a pretty silly reason for being an atheist.) There's also the fact that the most vocal atheists online will often be those who had a bad experience with religion or who face discrimination by living in highly religious areas, and it can be easy to conflate their dislike of religion (which may have even led to their initial questioning) with their reason for being irreligious. All this taken together can give the impression that many atheists choose not to be religious simply because they're unhappy in their lives or they were hurt by a religious figure.

              I can say that, in my own personal experience, this is false. It's anecdotal but as an atheist myself and as someone who has met many atheists by living for a time in a relatively non-religious city not one atheist I've met is an atheist because of negative experiences. Those who grew up religious examined their beliefs and decided they don't believe, and those who didn't grow up religious just kept on believing (or not believing) what they always have.

              The reason I write this is because I think the stereotype of atheists as people who had a "negative person experience" is a harmful and offensive one. (To be clear: not accusing you or anyone else in the thread of being offensive or hurtful.) It would be like saying feminists are just people who had a bad experience with men, or that religious people believe because they're scared of death. In other words, it takes the thoughts and beliefs of a large and diverse group of people and tries to invalidate their ideas as merely a thoughtless emotional reaction to personal hurt.

              For a more nuanced look at why someone might choose to be an atheist I would recommend the first part of the video series Why I am no longer a Christian. It's a very personal story about one person's struggle with his faith and what he felt and thought along the way to becoming an atheist. This isn't representative of every atheist's experience but I think it can give an empathetic look at how someone can sincerely come to atheism from a deeply religious upbringing without the catalyst of personal trauma.

              (NB: The original quote at the beginning of this comment was about "opposing religion" and I took that to mean mostly choosing to be not religious since the two are often conflated. If the quote should have been more strictly interpreted then I apologize for the misinterpretation, but maybe this tangent can be good for discussion anyway. On the subject of people who choose to actively oppose religion in an anti-theist way because of negative personal experiences I'll just say, well, yeah. People who are hurt by a thing will oppose it, and in many places it's not hard to find atheists and others who suffer discrimination by not belonging to the dominant religious group.)

              2 votes
        2. [3]
          wervenyt
          Link Parent
          Do you have a more specific concept of god than what you've laid out in this thread?

          Do you have a more specific concept of god than what you've laid out in this thread?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Have you seen my other comment? If you did and still want more, I can extend it later. Anyway, see my answer to @wervenyt.

            Have you seen my other comment? If you did and still want more, I can extend it later.

            Anyway, see my answer to @wervenyt.

            1 vote
            1. wervenyt
              Link Parent
              I saw what you'd posted at the time of my commenting, and the rest of the conversation since then has filled in the gaps leading to my question. Thanks!

              I saw what you'd posted at the time of my commenting, and the rest of the conversation since then has filled in the gaps leading to my question. Thanks!

        3. [10]
          smoontjes
          Link Parent
          What do you think of this? Specifically the "how dare you" part.

          What do you think of this? Specifically the "how dare you" part.

          1. [9]
            mrbig
            Link Parent
            That’s an article about a cell phone. Are you sure you got the right link?

            That’s an article about a cell phone. Are you sure you got the right link?

            1 vote
            1. [8]
              smoontjes
              Link Parent
              Completely wrong link! This is the one I meant

              Completely wrong link! This is the one I meant

              4 votes
              1. [7]
                mrbig
                Link Parent
                Okay. I'm gonna have to give you an underwhelming answer. I made these questions myself in my youth. These are good, reasonable questions. I don't like to proselytize, but the thing is, if I were...

                Okay. I'm gonna have to give you an underwhelming answer. I made these questions myself in my youth. These are good, reasonable questions.

                I don't like to proselytize, but the thing is, if I were to really answer you, I would need to write a lot, and it would be something hard to write, because I'd need to take great care with my language (this is not my first language) and also with logical implications, in order to avoid common misunderstandings. So I'll choose the lazy way and give you some links to materials about the religion I profess, which you're free to read or not. If you do, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. You don't need to read everything, of course. Just browsing through the books might be interesting. These are just some pointers:

                • Genesis: this is a more advanced book. Chapter 3, "The Good and the Evil", also address the questions in the video.
                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  smoontjes
                  Link Parent
                  Underwhelmingly, I'm not going to read all of those things. I did skim the first link though, and didn't at all bother with the others as I saw how many hundreds of pages there is! Not trying to...

                  Underwhelmingly, I'm not going to read all of those things. I did skim the first link though, and didn't at all bother with the others as I saw how many hundreds of pages there is! Not trying to be rude.

                  I think my main issue with this is that you on one hand say that god is all-powerful, and yet there are all these different explanations for suffering in the world. No amount of reasoning, excuses or preaching is ever going to be enough to justify all of what's wrong. It's rather pointless to debate this as you and I are both not going to move a millimeter in terms of changing one's views, so I propose we just leave it here.

                  3 votes
                  1. [5]
                    mrbig
                    Link Parent
                    I'm sorry to hear that. I'll try to be more helpful in the future.

                    It's rather pointless to debate this as you and I are both not going to move a millimeter in terms of changing one's views, so I propose we just leave it here

                    I'm sorry to hear that. I'll try to be more helpful in the future.

                    1 vote
                    1. [4]
                      Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      @smoontjes is right: neither of you is going to change your views about religion due to a debate here on the internet. It doesn't matter how helpful you are. You'll just keep talking past each...

                      @smoontjes is right: neither of you is going to change your views about religion due to a debate here on the internet. It doesn't matter how helpful you are. You'll just keep talking past each other until one of you gets angry or bored. I've seen it happen hundreds of times (it's the main reason I gave up debating religion on the internet, although I'm still tempted sometimes).

                      This is no reflection on you. It's an acknowledgement that religious belief is more emotional than logical, and that logical debate therefore has very little impact on whether a person believes or not. Religious debates tend to recycle the same old arguments to people who've already seen them, who weren't convinced by them the first few dozen times they saw them, and who still aren't convinced by them now. People who haven't done it before dive in to these debates quite enthusiastically, but they eventually discover that religious debates are just repetitive exercises in futility. They're useful for exercising one's mental muscles, but they very rarely achieve any practical outcomes.

                      2 votes
                      1. [3]
                        smoontjes
                        Link Parent
                        You said it! It's not about being helpful - if anything, you (@mrbig) posted a more helpful comment than most others would have. But we indeed would just end up talking past one another. I've...

                        You said it! It's not about being helpful - if anything, you (@mrbig) posted a more helpful comment than most others would have. But we indeed would just end up talking past one another. I've almost completely stopped debating things online, not just religion or politics etc. I just reached a point where I realised that it is completely pointless most of the time, that people hardly ever change their views.

                        exercises in futility

                        Hello fellow Mgła fan! :)

                        1. [2]
                          Algernon_Asimov
                          Link Parent
                          umm... no. I have no idea what "Mgla" is. The phrase "exercise in futility" has been around for years. If this "Mgla" of yours is using it, then it's merely using a popular phrase.

                          Hello fellow Mgła fan! :)

                          umm... no. I have no idea what "Mgla" is. The phrase "exercise in futility" has been around for years. If this "Mgla" of yours is using it, then it's merely using a popular phrase.

                          1. smoontjes
                            Link Parent
                            Ah, I did not know it was a popular phrase at all (I'm not English) - Mgła are a Polish black metal band and they released a record by that name with 6 songs all named that, but enumerated:...

                            Ah, I did not know it was a popular phrase at all (I'm not English) - Mgła are a Polish black metal band and they released a record by that name with 6 songs all named that, but enumerated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yguSkVd2rk

  7. [18]
    TheInvaderZim
    Link
    Most people arent fully cognisant. I subscribe to simulation theory, and I'm actually reasonably sure that most people in the world arent even real, but I'd never try to prove it. Cognisance,...

    Most people arent fully cognisant.

    I subscribe to simulation theory, and I'm actually reasonably sure that most people in the world arent even real, but I'd never try to prove it. Cognisance, though, is a much more reasonable claim and meshes better with more worldviews.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Hypersapien
      Link Parent
      I don't think you need simulation theory in order for most people to not be fully cognisant. It's entirely possible for a real flesh-and-blood human being to be utterly blind to reality and all of...

      I don't think you need simulation theory in order for most people to not be fully cognisant. It's entirely possible for a real flesh-and-blood human being to be utterly blind to reality and all of its possibilities and repercussions.

      8 votes
    2. [5]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      Are you familiar with the concept of a philosophical zombie?

      Are you familiar with the concept of a philosophical zombie?

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        TheInvaderZim
        Link Parent
        Yes! Its a fascinating idea, and part of my own worldview.

        Yes! Its a fascinating idea, and part of my own worldview.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          A bit morbid, though... I mean, if I have no means whatsoever to verify a hypothesis, why would I choose the answer that depresses me the most?

          A bit morbid, though... I mean, if I have no means whatsoever to verify a hypothesis, why would I choose the answer that depresses me the most?

          1 vote
          1. TheInvaderZim
            Link Parent
            I mean, in my case, it doesnt depress me, it helps me rationalize an otherwise nonsensical world.

            I mean, in my case, it doesnt depress me, it helps me rationalize an otherwise nonsensical world.

    3. [2]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I'm very real, thank you very much.

      I'm very real, thank you very much.

      3 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Well, of course I would imagine you saying that.

        Well, of course I would imagine you saying that.

        3 votes
    4. [3]
      nsz
      Link Parent
      How do you get past the litmus test of; it's just being a bit ego-centric? I mean why you. In a sort of general you, as in anyone, but one individual only. What makes your experience so unique?...

      How do you get past the litmus test of; it's just being a bit ego-centric? I mean why you. In a sort of general you, as in anyone, but one individual only. What makes your experience so unique? Why would others only exist to build your world?

      Idk, I've always thought this line of reasoning just leads a nasty assumption that others exist just for you, with all the assumptions and expectation that would come with that.

      I sometimes find myself tripping out on this idea that there are so many other people with this same awareness I have, sometimes it's kind of crippling when you consider the magnitude -- now, let alone throughout history. But it's also comforting--particularly if thigs are hard--to know others have gone through the same and will continue to do so. As much as the medium of life changes the flavour stays the same.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        TheInvaderZim
        Link Parent
        I dont think its my world specifically, because i dont think im the ONLY, uh, "non-zombie" person in the 7 billion. Outside of that, I donno. I'm not egocentric, because I operate on the...

        I dont think its my world specifically, because i dont think im the ONLY, uh, "non-zombie" person in the 7 billion. Outside of that, I donno. I'm not egocentric, because I operate on the assumption that I'm wrong about it.

        1. nsz
          Link Parent
          I didn't mean to accuse you of being egocentric, it's just the point at which I reject this idea--I was wondering what the argument around it would be--and I guess you do as well, at least in...

          I didn't mean to accuse you of being egocentric, it's just the point at which I reject this idea--I was wondering what the argument around it would be--and I guess you do as well, at least in practice.

    5. [5]
      Pilgrim
      Link Parent
      What you describe is similar to the concept of Solipsism which is "the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. " Want to learn more? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism

      What you describe is similar to the concept of Solipsism which is "the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. "

      Want to learn more? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism

      1. [4]
        TheInvaderZim
        Link Parent
        Not quite. Im readily certain that a very small percentage of the population is as aware or more than I am. Just not most of us.

        Not quite. Im readily certain that a very small percentage of the population is as aware or more than I am. Just not most of us.

        1. [3]
          Douglas
          Link Parent
          Does this make you treat people differently? I kind of view life in general as a unified, we're-all-in-this-together, everyone-has-their-sorts-of-problems, treat-everyone-with-respect type of...

          Does this make you treat people differently?

          I kind of view life in general as a unified, we're-all-in-this-together, everyone-has-their-sorts-of-problems, treat-everyone-with-respect type of experience, and I imagine if I felt as you do about the world, I'd be a lot more careless, destructive, and self-centered with my emotions.

          That is by no means what I'm accusing you of, that is just where I would see myself if I thought I was in a simulation/everyone else was kind of an npc. It'd be much easier to dehumanize everyone else and is frankly too scary/depressing of a mindset to ever see myself ever partaking in.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            TheInvaderZim
            Link Parent
            I have a generally dismissive attitude towards most people that prove themselves idiots (its surprising how quickly most prove such), but I attribute that more to learning marketing and the...

            I have a generally dismissive attitude towards most people that prove themselves idiots (its surprising how quickly most prove such), but I attribute that more to learning marketing and the psychology behind how people (dont) think than to thid attitude.

            No, I operate on the 1/10ths rule from that mediocre world war z movie; if i'm 100% certain of something, theres only a 9/10ths probability that I'm right. As such, its my duty to operate on the assumption that the 1/10th alternative possibility is equally or more correct, or else risk catastrophe. So I make every effort to act as though everyone around me is as sentient as I am, even though I'm relatively certain theyre not - because if I'm wrong and they are, then I've dodged a bullet. Plus the world is built on that assumption, so I may as well go with the grain.

            2 votes
            1. Douglas
              Link Parent
              Gotcha, and thanks, I appreciate your candor, just wanted to probe into someone else's view of things; I've been more open to the simulation theory lately after a few readings, but feel it's just...

              Gotcha, and thanks, I appreciate your candor, just wanted to probe into someone else's view of things; I've been more open to the simulation theory lately after a few readings, but feel it's just one of those things we'd never be able to prove if it's true/am not sure what to do with that idea if it's the case.

              1 vote
  8. krg
    Link
    I believe most people are wrong about most things, myself especially. I believe ancient humans started in a state of anarchy and here we are and I don't see how going back to anarchy will lead us...

    I believe most people are wrong about most things, myself especially.

    I believe ancient humans started in a state of anarchy and here we are and I don't see how going back to anarchy will lead us to any other end unless there is some imposed belief system (religion?) that nullifies a group's tendency to acquire power.

    I believe the world isn't kind to people that want to stop and think critically about a problem or situation or event without resorting to base emotion.

    I believe the world isn't kind to people that act emotionally.

    6 votes
  9. [2]
    Hidegger
    Link
    My roommate believes he only gets sick because he shaves his mustache and only when his mustache is gone is he even susceptible to getting sick.

    My roommate believes he only gets sick because he shaves his mustache and only when his mustache is gone is he even susceptible to getting sick.

    6 votes
    1. mftrhu
      Link Parent
      A modern-day Samson.

      A modern-day Samson.

      9 votes
  10. psi
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm inclined to think that continuity of consciousness is an illusion. Consider the following (nearly tautological) statement: at any moment, you only experience the present. The pasts exists as...

    I'm inclined to think that continuity of consciousness is an illusion. Consider the following (nearly tautological) statement: at any moment, you only experience the present. The pasts exists as memories; the future is an idea. Therefore, all you can be sure of is that you exist right now.

    So we can be sure that we're conscious right now, but what about now or later? Essentially, the problem with a continuity of consciousness is akin to Theseus's ship. From Wikipedia:

    First, suppose that the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus in a great battle has been kept in a harbour as a museum piece. As the years go by some of the wooden parts begin to rot and are replaced by new ones. After a century or so, all of the parts have been replaced. Is the "restored" ship still the same object as the original?

    Second, suppose that each of the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology develops to cure their rotting and enable them to be put back together to make a ship. Is this "reconstructed" ship the original ship? And if so, is the restored ship in the harbour still the original ship too?

    There are numerous solutions to this apparent paradox, but to me the cleanest solution is to reject the idea that there's some identity which is gradually lost. Instead, as soon as that first plank is removed, I'd argue that you have a different ship. Functionally, it'd be a very similar ship, and we could probably even quantify to what extent it's alike to the original, but it is nevertheless qualitatively different.

    Similarly, if consciousness resides in the brain and is physiological in nature, then like the ship of Theseus, consciousness should also be in flux. At some point in the past, your brain didn't exist; at some point in the future, it won't exist anymore. In the meantime, you at four months old will be totally unrecognizable from you at forty years old. At any given moment, your brain rewrites pathways like carpenters replace rotting boards. Yes, you might remember eating cereal this morning, but who's to say that you're the one who did it? Perhaps you just inherited the memories of someone who came before you, identical in nearly every respect, yet not you.


    Additionally, I suspect the true nature of the universe is infinitely stranger than we can comprehend. I think that, in some sense, there exists some structure more general than the universe in which every possibility is realized, even contradictory ones.

    6 votes
  11. [2]
    Neverland
    Link
    I’m pretty sure that Ronald Reagan’s handlers made a deal with a foreign power so it would wait to release US hostages until after the 1980 election....

    I’m pretty sure that Ronald Reagan’s handlers made a deal with a foreign power so it would wait to release US hostages until after the 1980 election.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_surprise#1980_Carter_vs._Reagan

    That wiki entry is full of these types of things, and might be of general interest.

    5 votes
    1. Pilgrim
      Link Parent
      Right out of Nixon's playbook.

      Right out of Nixon's playbook.

      2 votes
  12. [3]
    Whom
    Link
    The kind of genius that makes you a name that'll live on forever like Einstein or Bach isn't meaningfully different from what anyone else really good at those things has. All that's different is...

    The kind of genius that makes you a name that'll live on forever like Einstein or Bach isn't meaningfully different from what anyone else really good at those things has. All that's different is the opportunities given, the drive to actually produce that work, and the historical circumstances that make the world more or less receptive to their ideas.

    I might go a little beyond that and say genius doesn't exist, but I don't stick to that too hard.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      frickindeal
      Link Parent
      I think instantly of Leonhard Euler. I find it very difficult to posit that his was a "normal," commonplace mind that accomplished what he did because of opportunities, drive and circumstances...

      I think instantly of Leonhard Euler. I find it very difficult to posit that his was a "normal," commonplace mind that accomplished what he did because of opportunities, drive and circumstances exclusively. Sure, those were (mostly) present, but just read the Contributions to mathematics and physics section of that article, and think about all the others who had very similar opportunities and circumstances, and assume at least several would have had the missing "drive" element present, yet we don't find them in the historical record.

      I guess my "reasonably sure of without proof" idea is that there in fact does exist genius. I've seen it in music personally. There seems to be a kid in every neighborhood who picks up a guitar and a month later is fluent in three styles and deep into music theory and explaining modes and complex chord structures while the rest of the neighborhood, who all have the same opportunities and circumstances, are still sussing out the first three chords of Smoke on the Water. I can't ascribe that simply to the first kid's drive, because we all practiced daily and some had professional lessons, yet the first kid is leaps ahead and probably at a place none of the others will ever reach.

      9 votes
      1. Whom
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That seems to me like a reason for why genius doesn't exist. That level of talent is so common that, like you said, you can find a person like that in every neighborhood...and that's just for the...

        That seems to me like a reason for why genius doesn't exist. That level of talent is so common that, like you said, you can find a person like that in every neighborhood...and that's just for the domain of music. I have a hard time calling that "genius" in any way that's meaningfully different from just the upper range of normal competency.

        I came to this because I've seen and observed virtuosos and otherwise exceptional people, and every interaction dulls that distant "wow" that we associate with genius. It seems to me that "genius" is a mythology born to explain away the other reasons people end up accomplishing so much. When I say situation, I don't just mean having the resources to sustain themselves and actually lead a fulfilling life like I might when I'm wearing my Marxist hat, it might just mean that they live in a time where their particular skill is more valued and able to be developed. It might mean that they landed in the right spot where their field got right up before a breakthrough and someone needed to put in the work to get there. It might just mean that the audience of their day just happened to be ready for them and they had the taste to appeal to that.

        But of course, I haven't observed an Einstein or Bach, so I can't say my personal experience with the "common genius" extends to them with any kind of proof, as the thread implies...but I'm pretty sure it does. The difference between your average guitarist and the best one in your neighborhood may be fairly large, but I really don't think there's much of a difference between the best guitarist in your neighborhood and Jimi Hendrix or John Fahey.

        By the nature of this thread, it's difficult to really defend my idea here. I just find that the illusion of genius is at its strongest at a distance. The closer you get and the more carefully you look, that feeling transforms more into grounded respect. When the bits that I can "test" personally crumble when I approach them, I just don't see a reason to think that trend won't continue.

        5 votes
  13. DMonitor
    Link
    Not everyone perceives time at the same rate. This isn’t a physical phenomenon, but a mental one. Time seems to pass quicker when you are enjoying an activity, the same way that your heart rate...

    Not everyone perceives time at the same rate. This isn’t a physical phenomenon, but a mental one. Time seems to pass quicker when you are enjoying an activity, the same way that your heart rate increases as you engage in physical activity. I see no reason why different people can’t have different “resting time perception rates” in the same way that they have different resting heart rates.

    I doubt the difference between rates is significant, but possibly significant enough to allow people to be quicker thinkers. It’s not a genetic trait either, but something that can be practiced.

    5 votes
  14. [5]
    tomf
    Link
    My mother invented select-a-size paper towel. Many many years ago before this was a thing, she wrote a letter to a few of the paper towel companies asking them why they didn't perforate their...

    My mother invented select-a-size paper towel.

    Many many years ago before this was a thing, she wrote a letter to a few of the paper towel companies asking them why they didn't perforate their rolls twice as much, since often a full sheet was too much. Most replied back thanking her for the idea and suggested that she either use a kleenex or just tear the sheet in half on her own.

    About a year later the select-a -size format came out on the market. There is absolutely no evidence to back it up, but it's a mighty strong coincidence.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I keep thinking I'm "bringing" stuff I witness in other countries to Russia whenever I return. It started with my first big trip abroad – a bus tour across Europe, many years ago. I noticed people...

      I keep thinking I'm "bringing" stuff I witness in other countries to Russia whenever I return.

      It started with my first big trip abroad – a bus tour across Europe, many years ago. I noticed people eating a snack – not cookie, but also dry and made of dough; long thin strips of that cookie-esque stuff sprinkled with oversaturated spices – in bright-yellow packaging. The next thing I know, they're selling 'em in Russian stores, where I've never seen one before.

      What's that psychological effect where you learn a word and then keep seeing it everywhere? Could be it. Wasn't one occasion, though, and I can't reliably attest that those things were in Russia before.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        spctrvl
        Link Parent
        The frequency illusion, or the Baader-Meinhof effect!

        What's that psychological effect where you learn a word and then keep seeing it everywhere?

        The frequency illusion, or the Baader-Meinhof effect!

        4 votes
      2. tomf
        Link Parent
        Ever since Bortus on the Orville had his Sex Lagoon episode (if you're familiar), I've heard the word 'lagoon' everywhere -- it's driving me insane! It would be interesting to track something like...

        Ever since Bortus on the Orville had his Sex Lagoon episode (if you're familiar), I've heard the word 'lagoon' everywhere -- it's driving me insane!

        It would be interesting to track something like that down when you notice it -- I mean, somebody has to be the first, right? Maybe you did bring it in and a shop owner saw it, remembered it, and decided to carry it.. who knows. :)

  15. [4]
    Pilgrim
    Link
    David Koresh never existed and was created as a scapegoat by the FBI. All of the weapons recovered from the Branch Davidian compound were government-issue. I believe this because I asked a very...

    David Koresh never existed and was created as a scapegoat by the FBI. All of the weapons recovered from the Branch Davidian compound were government-issue.

    I believe this because I asked a very drunk DOJ employee what's the one thing they know about that they shouldn't tell anyone - and they told me. We were in a foreign country at the time. I can't think of a good reason for them to make that up and it wasn't germane to the discussion we were having prior.

    You can read about the siege at Waco, Texas here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege

    4 votes
    1. mbc
      Link Parent
      I'm way into this theory. Very interesting.

      I'm way into this theory. Very interesting.

      1 vote
    2. [2]
      botanrice
      Link Parent
      If that was the case then what was the point of that whole siege? Not refuting, just asking.

      If that was the case then what was the point of that whole siege? Not refuting, just asking.

      1 vote
      1. Pilgrim
        Link Parent
        I do not know. That's all of the info I got from him. He didn't want to talk about it further and asked I forget he said anything. That was 20 years ago and I couldn't recall his name or face if I...

        I do not know. That's all of the info I got from him. He didn't want to talk about it further and asked I forget he said anything. That was 20 years ago and I couldn't recall his name or face if I wanted to.

        EDIT: In my imagination, it's a Red State-type thing (as in the Kevin Smith movie).

        2 votes
  16. BuckeyeSundae
    Link
    I think humanity today is still the same fleshy, flawed thing that was brutalizing one another under the Assyrians. We have not risen or advanced as a species. We're not different from the people...

    I think humanity today is still the same fleshy, flawed thing that was brutalizing one another under the Assyrians. We have not risen or advanced as a species. We're not different from the people who cheered the deaths of their neighbors in public executions for the spectacle of it. The stuff that helps us changed, not us. We are just tool-proficient enough to adapt to many of those changes. Well, most of us are.

    4 votes
  17. [2]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I also believe in conscience, the existence of the soul, the permanence of the spirit and that most people are good when given the chance to be good. And that I shouldn't believe too much in...

    I also believe in conscience, the existence of the soul, the permanence of the spirit and that most people are good when given the chance to be good. And that I shouldn't believe too much in anything, which makes for an interesting state of mind. I'd describe myself as a religious skeptic, if that makes sense. I'm a believer who loves science. Like Sir Isaac Newton :P

    3 votes
    1. Sahasrahla
      Link Parent
      I definitely believe in this one too and it's a good thing to keep in mind when we read about all the things still wrong with the world.

      most people are good when given the chance to be good

      I definitely believe in this one too and it's a good thing to keep in mind when we read about all the things still wrong with the world.

      5 votes
  18. RapidEyeMovement
    Link
    Time does not exist. I do not believe that Time is a fundamental property of the universe. And that what we sense/measure as time, is actually just movement.

    Time does not exist.

    I do not believe that Time is a fundamental property of the universe. And that what we sense/measure as time, is actually just movement.

    3 votes
  19. [4]
    ainar-g
    Link
    Names can tell a lot about a human's personality. They don't define it per se, but they do influence it in some mysterious ways. In my experience, there are certain traits that a lot of people...

    Names can tell a lot about a human's personality. They don't define it per se, but they do influence it in some mysterious ways. In my experience, there are certain traits that a lot of people with certain (Russian) names share. The same is probably “true” about some facial features, but I am too bad at reading faces to say “for certain”.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      The longer I live, the more I notice that some people share the basic facial structure framework – as in, a collection of a handful of similar details that, together, form a recognizable image. It...

      The same is probably “true” about some facial features

      The longer I live, the more I notice that some people share the basic facial structure framework – as in, a collection of a handful of similar details that, together, form a recognizable image. It may well be that I'm superimposing a familiar image onto an unfamiliar one to have it make more sense, so to speak.

      In my experience, there are certain traits that a lot of people with certain (Russian) names share.

      How so?

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        ainar-g
        Link Parent
        All Andreys, Alexeys, and Mikhails I've ever met were chill, considerate, and kind people. Antons were similar, but less emotional. All Igors were very stress-resistant but at the same time kind...

        All Andreys, Alexeys, and Mikhails I've ever met were chill, considerate, and kind people. Antons were similar, but less emotional. All Igors were very stress-resistant but at the same time kind of unfocused and chaotic. Etc.

        I don't quite have a statistic for women, mostly because I don't talk to them a lot, but all Tatianas I've ever met were calm and professional.

        3 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          For statistical purposes: I don't think I've seen as much character consensus in people of the same name. In fact, most people of the same name I'd met were quite distinct. I wonder if there's any...

          For statistical purposes: I don't think I've seen as much character consensus in people of the same name. In fact, most people of the same name I'd met were quite distinct.

          I wonder if there's any meaning to whether you associate people with their names or their faces. I feel like I'm expected similar things from people of similar facial structures, however well the expectation is founded.

          2 votes
  20. [3]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      frickindeal
      Link Parent
      The transcript of the cockpit voice recorder seems more in line with the theory that the passengers were attempting to enter the cockpit. I don't believe the actual recording has ever been...

      The transcript of the cockpit voice recorder seems more in line with the theory that the passengers were attempting to enter the cockpit. I don't believe the actual recording has ever been released (if it has, please provide a link), but they did play the tape for families of victims who wanted to hear it.

      3 votes
      1. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        In addition, the crash patterns of planes destroyed by missiles is very different than the crash patterns of planes that strike the ground with no prior structural damage. We have extensive data...

        In addition, the crash patterns of planes destroyed by missiles is very different than the crash patterns of planes that strike the ground with no prior structural damage. We have extensive data and reconstruction from MH17, determined to be destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. The crash site covered 50 sq km since structural failings caused the plane to break up prior to impact. We didn't see anything close to this for United 93, and there weren't even any fighter planes in the air at the time of the crash.

  21. Neverland
    (edited )
    Link
    I have another one. Once a company has achieved a monopoly position in the USA they become extremely susceptible to political meddling in their business decisions. Therefore they are rarely broken...

    I have another one.

    Once a company has achieved a monopoly position in the USA they become extremely susceptible to political meddling in their business decisions. Therefore they are rarely broken up.

    Example: Prior to the last general election a group of GOP luminaries visited Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. Here we have political hacks telling a company what to do. I thought this was not cool, but ok.. so why would FB capitulate or even entertain these outside influences? Why didn’t they tell Reps or Dems to just F off, we make our own decisions?

    Example: when google created an AI ethics advisory panel, they included another political hack.. why would you invite polarizing, dogmatic bias into your business?

    I believe that the monopolistic positions that companies like FB and Google have are actually a giant anvil over their heads. At any point the company might decide to optimize their product to say, demote articles which appear on Snopes.com with a false tag. Ok, they’re a business, this isn’t China, why can’t they do that? I think it’s because if there is a political party that will be hurt by this optimization, then they can walk into your office and threaten to introduce anti-trust legislation. By becoming a monopoly, you have effectively lost control of your business.

    Edit: clarity

    2 votes
  22. [5]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    Dick Cheney 100% convinced George W Bush to let 9/11 happen.

    Dick Cheney 100% convinced George W Bush to let 9/11 happen.

    1. [4]
      Pilgrim
      Link Parent
      Can we ask what makes you believe this?

      Can we ask what makes you believe this?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        To make it really short; they lied us into the Iraq War, why would you think they wouldn't? 9/11 gave them incredible political capital and the ability to basically do whatever they wanted for...

        To make it really short; they lied us into the Iraq War, why would you think they wouldn't? 9/11 gave them incredible political capital and the ability to basically do whatever they wanted for years. I don't think Cheney would let a few thousand NY office workers stand between him and that kind of power and money.

        2 votes
      2. Neverland
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well, I’m not saying I’m convinced that OP’s theory happened exactly as stated, but... Cheney, Rumsfeld, Pearle, and others were all part of think tank called PNAC, the Project for a New American...

        Well, I’m not saying I’m convinced that OP’s theory happened exactly as stated, but... Cheney, Rumsfeld, Pearle, and others were all part of think tank called PNAC, the Project for a New American Century. There was a manifesto on their website which stated that we needed a “pearl harbor-like event” to galvanize US citizens to finish Iraq.

        1 vote
  23. TimesThreeTheHighest
    Link
    I believe that environmental ills will cause China's government to collapse. I'm not saying I want this to happen, but it seems likely to me.

    I believe that environmental ills will cause China's government to collapse. I'm not saying I want this to happen, but it seems likely to me.

  24. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      That's the sort of belief-without-proof I can get behind.

      That's the sort of belief-without-proof I can get behind.

      8 votes