Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-03-31 - John C. Part 2

Author Recorded Sunday March 31st, 2019

There are 47 episodes in the Versus:Atheist series.

Recorded February 9th, 2019

Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-02-09 - Greg

Recorded September 11th, 2016

Catholic vs. Atheist - 2016-09-11 - Renaud

In this our second discussion we discuss epistemology, free-will, determinism, naturalism, death, morality, sexual taboos, and other fun stuff. I really enjoyed it.


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-03-31 - John C. Part 2

Author Recorded July 30th, 2016

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John part two so what do you been up to what do you want to talk about floor is yours so I remember distinctly in our conversation last time you said there were things that we can know 100% certain or you said you were 100% certain about things and I asked why and we never really drilled down deep as to what knowledge means what understanding means how do we come to that knowledge we never really got deep into that type of epistemology and it might be good to go there so I guess my question to you could you please restate what you mean by you know something there's the coherence theory and then there's the correspondence theory of knowledge so the correspondence theory has to do with the reality that we contact through our senses and the coherence theory has to do with how the true this hang together without any contradiction whatsoever there could be paradox but there cannot be any contradiction whatsoever that's knowledge okay so you're saying you have to have two things to have knowledge yeah so now I distinctly remember you telling me in our last conversation that you have absolute knowledge that the supernatural exists and so my question is how do you have knowledge of the supernatural when one of the qualifiers for knowledge is reality is it a supernatural by definition outside of our reality no it's outside of the natural realm but we are not only natural we are also supernatural like for example we have freewill which is by definition supernatural you and I because we're free we know that we have a component which we call the mind or the soul which is not natural so our reality is comprised with the natural and the supernatural okay well then what is supernatural not natural so how can our natural mind be not natural our mind is not natural you're saying it's a natural mind but it's not natural it's supernatural natural because we're free because we're okay so it is a freewill argument then how come we have Christians Calvinist that don't ascribe to the freewill argument that you're using there heretics they've strayed from the truth okay so why do you believe that we have free will because we're responsible we're morally responsible for the choices that we make and if you're not free then you're not responsible right no the responsibility comes from the way we interact with others I'm not sure that it has anything to do with being free well when the vending machine is broken do you send it to prison or do you just get a mechanic to fix it so you still have to be responsible for your actions well if everything's just a great big machine a well-oiled machine I don't think it is I don't think it's a well-oiled machine that's not what I was where's the freedom that the freedom is in us not realizing that we don't have a freedom so the freedom is in ignorant yes okay so does the vending machine know that it's not free the vending machine is not like a vending machine as far as I mean in this example doesn't have a consciousness now so there are problems in AI consciousness paradoxes that we could talk about where the vending machine might be aware of it's in pain abilities that might be analogous but I don't think that analogy works the way that you think it does well I mean if you were to build a really sophisticated robot that was indistinguishable from a real human being would you attribute all the things that you tribute to a human being to that robot or not yeah so if the vending machine cares about the well-being of other things of course I'm going to care about its well-being if you were to discover somehow that your wife is a sophisticated robot would that or would that not take away from the relationship in other words would you not be disappointed to find out that she's just a very sophisticated robot I don't know I don't think I would my inclination inclinations they know because I know what it's like to be around her and I know that she cares about me so in some ways it would be completely indistinguishable from a human being okay and I wouldn't care he wouldn't change anything if you figure that there's an on/off switch in the back of her head and there's a mute button would you really resist the urge to mute her knowing that she's dressed as robot because I've lived my entire life I live my life with her not knowing about that so knowing about that one thing how could that take away from all the rich experiences that I've had with her you know I don't think that makes any sense I still have background knowledge of our past let's say I had to take a trip and instead of buying two tickets you could just buy one ticket for yourself and switch her off and shove her in a bag and take her on as carry-on luggage or in a suitcase you know you could save an airfare that way and you could justify it by saying well she's just a robot so I don't need to treat her like a human I can fold her up in my suitcase and take her and can save half the airfare would you have any qualms about doing that I think if she was sophisticated enough I would ask her if she cared about that if it was something she cared about then I wouldn't do it I think compassionate caring people would act the same way we are in fact experience machine means everything that we do everything that we've ever interacted with is just a product or ourselves now are just a product of those prior interactions sure there are some instinctual things we do but even those instincts are predicated on the machinery we wouldn't act a certain way if we didn't have the appropriate machinery so in some sense everything that we've done up until now is just assumptions about our previous experiences if we think of ourselves as machines we can get these signals like hey don't do this this is the wrong thing to do and it's like this Darwinian mechanism that's evolved over thousands of years and according to the natural ists and you could just say well listen I'm just gonna ignore that why because I have my reasons why I want to ignore these signals I'm gonna do it my way and I've got my reasons and it's a choice that I make so what's your counter argument against that rebellious attitude or do you think that it is justifiable or do you think that it's only dependent on a case-by-case basis or how would you deal with that well on our last talk I said I believe that everything that we choose to choose to do everything that we all of our beliefs all of our assertions are purely emotional so with that I didn't always have this realization just went through the world and did what I thought was best but I never understood what was really happening inside the machine so in the past few years I've come to realize that it's through our empathy and compassion with our fellow species and even things that are not of our species even our world like the way we interact with the world through our compassion we can be better to the world we can show less harm we can take actions that might harm us a little bit but cause less harm overall so that's how I go through the world I say for the most part now some things you just react but for the most part I like to think about how I behave and is my behavior going to impact some other creature or leave the world in a way that might negatively impact or cause harm to future people I don't need a god to tell me to do that I just do it no God required and this brings me to another question if you became convinced that God did exist what would you be most reluctant to give up in terms of pleasure in terms of habits in terms of sins to put it bluntly are other things that you would regret having to give up like Saint Agustin famously said in his confessions give me chastity God just not yet I want to dabble a little bit more in my lust are you the same way or do you feel that you would rise to the occasion and gladly walk away from all your sins instantly I wouldn't give up anything that's a very honest answer so I have to say that I have to say I'm compelled by my experiences anything that would ask me to be not compelled or not to act by my experiences would be defiance of me as a person I'd say yeah so I would say no no your dog can give you a puppy-dog look and you'll bow to his will and your wife can give you one look and you'll bow to her well I'm sure that if God gave you a look you about his will too don't be silly no I wouldn't because if it's the girl you're talking about the the God of all love he wouldn't ask me to do something that I don't enjoyed it doing does your wife ever ask you to do anything that you enjoy doing just be honest with him of course there we go you're willing to do it you're willing to make self sacrifice so y'all can interact with my wife and I can see that she's willing to do things that she doesn't like to do for me God is not that way sure he is he suffered and died on the cross for you know he did it you mean he was inconvenience for a short period of time and I don't even I'm not even convinced that God can be inconvenient so in some ways it wasn't even a sacrifice it was a weird blood ritual that's based on the yarmulke pure it's just it's crazy no I'm just curious how you would respond to God Almighty reaching down to you and giving you an opportunity for conversion would you say yes would you say no would you say maybe later what would you say look I don't understand what you mean by a conversion conversion means turning away from self love towards love of God because this is the first commandment you should love God with all your heart with all your strength and with all your mind right and you're not doing that so if he were to reach into the secret recesses of your heart one night while you're laying in bed and he would think in front of you what would you say it's immoral by definition I don't bow to dictators and that's a dictatorial thing to do so no I wouldn't okay so you just would say known to God that God yea and all good God who loves you and who created you have to love me no matter what you're not you're not forced to love him it's a choice you have to make you know that's the fundamental choice we have to make is are you going to return God's love yes or no if I believe a God exists and I believe that he wants me to love him right for your own good yeah for your own good that's weird he doesn't need anything what good would come from me loving something that tells me to love it for my own good because he's the source of everything that's good life just as health beauty everything that you want he is the source of it so you have to go to him if you want the good things because all of the perfections reside in God no no no where do you think that the perfections reside where is beauty where is justice where is health where is life do you mean by perfection health is relative to our natural state our life our life is a process he's everything relative yeah we can't know what it's like to not be relative that's that's a weird thing to think about if you claim to know something you have to be able to show it the problem is not a lack of evidence a problem is the super abundance everything in the natural world points to God I can say everything in the natural world points to Marduk I could say everything in the world points to DST God that brought the world into existence and then vaped out I can say all these things and I have zero proof for them so why should I well I prescribe to your specific deity well because there are two categories the finite and the infinite are you finite or are you infinite and once you acknowledge that you're finite that acknowledgement of the finite necessarily implies the infinite well anything I mean you your clan your you planet your universe whatever it's all finite my consciousness is finite because it's tied to my body the cells in my body might not be finite the particles that they're made of the quarks those might not be finite we don't know that we can't see that far but though those parts see I'm just a sum of my parts those parts don't mean that they're me like I am just those parts put together arranged that way that's what makes me you know I can't say what my parts are separate from the way that I am yeah but that brings me to another philosophical conundrum where if you're nothing but this particular configuration of matter energy and space-time then all we need to do to reverse your physical death is put back together that particular configuration of matter energy and space-time and it is possible theoretically one day to have the technology necessary to do that you have to admit if there's only the natural this is the transporter paradox so it's a paradox for a reason I don't even want to go there I know something about it and I can talk about it for days well the problem is that it totally rebuts naturalism because there is no what does it yeah it does it does configurations of matter is just information so as long as you can store sufficient enough information to recreate the thing that was originally created then there you go well well you should be excited your naturalist you should be very excited about this and there or I should tell you that there are atheists that are working on immortality and their different avenues that people are pursuing in order to achieve immortality I think they're all futile they're all complete naive waste of time but if you're a naturalist you should be very excited about those naive and ridiculous fantasies I think it's kind of a it's kind of I don't know slanders to call people a naturalist in like a pejorative kind of way because we can't measure anything that's not natural and it's weird to say that we can the very fact that your opinion differs from mine proves that the supernatural exists no it doesn't and that's crazy how show me because you're weighing your point of view against my point of view and you're saying this point of view is better than that point of view this implies freedom the freedom to weigh options that the natural world exists yeah yeah and you're weighing them as zero evidence so what you're doing in your mind is you've got a scale and you put your very heavy naturalistic evidence on one side of the scale and it tips the scale and I've got nothing on my side according to you so you've won this battle you've weighed in the scale that's the weird thing we could both have evidences I think sufficiently strong claims require sufficiently strong evidence if you don't have that evidence come on yeah well everything I just told you that everything is evidence of God's existence everything because the finite implies the infinite I can say everything is because I made it and you would have zero way to refute me using your logic no I can refute you by your very own philosophy by your own philosophy you were not saying that out of a free a free intellectual weighing of options in your mind you are not you are not coming to a conclusion based on reason because you do not you from your own perspective do not believe that you are able to freely weigh options intellectual options and come to any sort of rational decision you're just by your own admission a big machine my mental state has no bearing on the analogy of course it does your thought processes are according to you purely naturalistic all that we call this in philosophy we call it a red herring you're refusing to address it now do you by saying that I'm the problem no but everything that you say every argument that you launched is they're rational or not and to be rational it has to be free right do you agree with that much no no no okay so two machines two calculating machines are coming out with different sums right they're both following the laws of nature neither one's violating any of the laws of nature but you for some reason you want to say oh my sum is better than your sum no what you have to say that you have to say that that's my point you have to say that why because everything in your world views dydt absolutely determined there is no way for you to have said anything other than that you think that your sum is better than my son but the reality is if you are step back and look at your worldview you would you would admit that the only thing you can say is it is what it is it is what it is my calculator came out with this sum your calculator came up with that sum that's it it is what it is one is not better than the other and when you say that your worldís can show you why my calculator came up with this film you can't no I can I can show you I can show you that I was saying look look at the trees this is a stupid argument man no I'm not saying looking at the trees I'm saying that one plus one equals two and when we do mathematics or science and things start to get more complex and complicated it's not as self-evident as one plus one equals two and we need to weigh intellectual options in our mind and there's more than one way to skin a cat in other words when I was in university studying physics you would get bonus points for having an elegant solution to a complicated problem in math and physics what do you mean by what do you mean more precise more efficient less clutter less redundancy just like when you play chess there's a more elegant way to play chess and have a very beautiful Swift defeat of your opponent rather than meandering and repeating yourself and all this sort of thing so we do recognize that in reason there is a freedom to go this way or to go that way we have options and we really choose you too without evidence you need to be able to show me that the supernatural exists if you can show me the supernatural exists I'll believe you it's not a question of the intellect it's a question of the will the will is attracted to the good you can't choose your will dude so what you're saying is you have the power to control your desires and I don't think you do I think you had the power to shape your desires yes but you do not have the power to like control your desires you can't say I desire this and will yourself to desire or something you can control mediate once those desires arrived but you you can't control those impulses you wouldn't be very good as a weight loss coach I can tell you that much sure I can you can shape your desires you can say this desire leads me down this path there you go that's not necessarily choice that's competing wills just because you can see different outcomes doesn't mean you actually decided to go one way or the other it feels that way I would definitely agree with you that it feels like we are making choices one way to test my hypothesis is to think about the afterlife if there is no afterlife then there's absolutely no meaning to any of the choices that we think are moral there is absolutely no meaning to it there is meaning there's no lasting meaning no it means that I think not lasting is what makes beauty otherwise what you wouldn't cherish it if something wasn't fleeting you wouldn't give it value so you you would voluntarily shorten delay the lives of your children in order to increase the value of your children's lives no that's a mischaracterization of my argument okay explain so well my argument is my children are special to me a because they're my genes and in programs if for them to be special to me Oh romantic yeah and be my children are special because I know they're going to take care of me in my old age or I would assume they would that's our evolutionary needs you have children I think maybe part of the the problem with Christianity is its inability to accept death and loss we do accept death and loss we do accepting we don't you're gonna be with God and those other horrible people they might live forever but they're gonna be burned forever we put a lot of emphasis on suffering and death in the Catholic religion although you're Evangelic all forms of Christianity I'm not sure about that but right self-flagellation and all that nonsense because you want to suffer the way Christ suffered that's just weird well there are abuse but I'm not doing a lot of voluntary penances my main goal is to accept the involuntary sufferings that come my way the daily annoyances of life those are the penances we need to embrace rather than buying some sophisticated whips in yeah there are a lot of fetishes that come a lot of sexual fetishes come straight out of the Middle Ages and the Catholic culture right with chastity belts in these services now people people were self harming for sex long before the Middle Ages okay I'll take your word for it it's pretty interesting I'd rather not rather not be tempted by lusty things it's a bit I don't think love should be ignored I think that's that causes a lot of harm that's why you have Kitty diddling priests yeah you need to laugh at it but I'm dead serious that's probably why you have priests to molest children because they've been denying themselves sexual gratification that's the problem with the calling of priesthood is that sometimes no calling that's where they may they think that God called them to do something and so they refrain from doing something that's completely natural and in the end they end up hurting themselves and hurting other people and causing a bunch of harm and it's your church doctrine that does that crazy stuff yeah it's a discipline that could change but the point is that there is a calling from my perspective you have to understand that every priest is called to the priesthood that critical distinction is between those who are called by God and those who are called by Satan and when Satan calls someone into the priesthood it's for all the wrong reasons for power for glory for reputation for money to get close to young boys and to diddle them or whatever it is so everyone is called you know I think you need to really discern the calling whatever your calling is even if it's marriage every calling is dangerous every calling I think it's a mistake to call something a calling I think we I think we have watts and we sometimes anthropomorphize those laws so how big how big of a deal is sex for the atheist like is that a motivating factor to say no to God that's an individual perspective I don't know what's your perspective my perspective as long as you're not harming someone or yourself go for it do what you want mm that what the first commandment from the Satanic temple is yeah yeah that was borrowed from San Agustin by the way it was I know I know the orders I just think is that exactly it's actually beautiful sentiment I think you should do what you want as long as you don't hurt anyone what about a father and son that wanted to get married and have sex with each other because they love each other you think that's okay now you're gonna get into naturalistic fallacy why because you're trying to paint morality as if it's something inborn and there's reasons why humans refrain from engaging in sexual behavior with members of the same close genetic makeup okay so what is the danger between father and son having sex with each other there is zero danger okay so what is the problem morally with it or is there no problem morally it's just an outdated taboo so so another really unsatisfying answer is I don't I think it depends it depends on social stigma it depends on perceived social evils it depends on a lot of things but are they hurting each other and father and son by having sex with each other no they're not so you don't think there's anything wrong with it objectively just there's a societal pressure not to do it because of a taboo I don't think there's objective morality that way I think there is objective morality but it's born in consequence so it depends upon how you weigh the consequence of their interaction okay so someone came to you and said I want to marry my son what's your advice to me you'd say I would say Society is gonna look on you a certain way and as long as you're willing to accept that burden from society do what thou wilt okay and as long as the child the son is not underage I think there's a there's a consent issue what if he's like 35 is that okay do it but he's got mental illness is that okay no it depends upon someone's ability to give consent how do you measure that it's very difficult yeah because if someone's not obviously mentally ill how do you diagnose that it's like a lot of people today think that they have the opposite sex like they're actually a man but they think they're a woman that's really really touchy subject I think there's a better way to talk about it and I'm gonna derail it to keep from going down a crazy rabbit hole so there was a guy who started having urges to harm and have sex with children and he killed them and was like freaked out about it and he wrote letters saying I didn't want to do this whatever scan my brain you know scan me why am i acting this way why am i acting out and they scan him and family he had a golf-ball-sized tumor in his dad they took the tumor out the urges went away now however several months later the tumor grew back and the ER just came back was it his will to want to harm those children or was that purely biological like did he consent himself to actually hurt those children all these operations and illnesses are consequences of sin original and actual that's for sure that's a stupid thing to say it's not stupid we were we were made perfect in a perfect Garden of Eden with no death no illness our abuse of freewill led to all kinds of things hurricanes and you know violence who made the cancer sin who made the sent humans and angels that fell from grace who made those-- God made everything good including freewill okay did God know that those beings were going to do the things that he called said yeah we talked about this last time but we can do it again if you want I don't think God has will either because if God knows everything all of his actions are determined because he's going to choose if he has a choice he's going to go the direction he wants things to go so in some ways God is doesn't have a will he's not indeterminate so if you were to be God for a day what can't just describe for me like what sorts of actions you would take yeah I have this weird dystopian dream everyone in America or in the world will be able to study critical thinking and understand what it means to critically and analyze questions and problems and be able to discuss it with one another I think everyone can benefit from reading about social justice theory like John Rawls and other thinkers that I think that's really beautiful the way that he writes about it and even if you read his dissenters they even have really good and beautiful ideas if I were God for a day I would command forced everyone to read Steven Pinker's enlightenment now so they understand the world is actually getting better and it's doing it

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