Are Atheism and Love compatible?
With Th1sWasATriumph




All mankind love a lover.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it.
— Jerome K. Jerome

Love is like linen often changed, the sweeter.
— Phineas Fletcher

Free verse is like free love; it is a contradiction in terms.
— G.K. Chesterton

If you wish to be loved, show more of your faults than your virtues.
— E.R. Bulwer-Lytton

Love: An abject intercourse between tyrants and slaves.
— Oliver Goldsmith

Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism, and doubt.
— Henri Frederic Amiel

Love: (1) a temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.
— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Of three things the devil makes a stew: lawyers' tongues, lovers' promises, and ungrateful children.
— Italian proverb

So long as a man enjoys prosperity, he cares not whether he is beloved.
— Marcus Annaeus Lucan





I've included this interesting Youtube debate between commenters, mostly for the points made by MenoftheInfinite (Dan Rowden).   It is wonderful to watch a skillful thinker at work, who realises the enormity and the irony involved in discussing rationality with brave, budding atheists, who are the primary role models that humanity currently has for the use of reason, and who are still learning to give rationality the freedom it requires.   My comments were not as skillful, so I am not sure the memes replicated were those I'd hoped to replicate.

I'll give some context on the debate.   Th1sWasATriumph posted a video calling for an alteration to the Youtube Community Guidelines, after he alleged that a video by Pat Condell was removed on the grounds that it breached those guidelines.   Pat Condell's video criticises the official treatment of Sharia courts in the United Kingdom, and Th1sWasATriumph alleged that it was removed as hate speech (an attack of a religious group).   At first, unthinkingly, I submitted a letter to Youtube to support Th1sWasATriumph's noble activism.   The next day, I found a video by Pat Condell entitled 'Sharia Fiasco', which definitely attacks the Sharia courts' official treatment in the UK.   So whether it was just replaced or never removed, I don't know.   Regardless, the debate that ensued between Dan and Th1sWasATriumph over the importance to atheism, of reason given a full rein and taken to completion, was an excellent one, and well worth saving for the profit of all.

Kelly Jones



N.B. * An asterisk marks a reply to the previous comment.

From MikeOfKorea (1 week ago):
I've never been able to read the YouTube Guidelines, because I live in Korea, and there's no way to see the English version here. If YouTube is based in America, its "no debate" policy is understandable, because Americans have no modern history of lively debate. They see passionate debate as "argumentative" or "attacking" each other. It's a shame, but democratic traditions of debate passed away long ago in the USA.

* From Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Well, this video came about because one of our greatest atheist Youtubers got censored for criticising the official endorsement of Sharia courts in Britain. Apparently he violated the no hate speech against religion section.

I can copy the whole community guidelines page to you in a message, if you want. They're more or less sensible aside from the hate speech bit.

From Nykytyne (1 week ago):
This does need to change. I'll send this on.

MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
Youtube fails the simple IQ test of "which one doesn't belong".

But then, it's hardly just Youtube.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Having said that, Youtube atheism is an absolute zoo and all too often expresses a level of rationality that is incongruent with its claims of superiority over religion in that area.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* This is true, but Atheism is not derived from a single scripture, like the religions it often contends with. Atheism is a personal reaction against the notion of a God(s), and sadly it's as varied in flavour as the people who announce themselves as such. Stupid people do not make good atheists, and I'm as much against them as religion.

However, stupid AND clever people make bad believers. The stupid blindly stick to scripture and dogma, whilst the clever know how to warp it.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Atheism may not be derived from a single "scripture", but it claims a single theme: that of greater intellectual prowess and rationality than theism.

It must live up to that claim to be credible.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* And believe me, I'm right there with you. Most people are. That's why the most well-known atheists on YouTube are the rational and intellectual debunkers of nonsense, and the lesser-known ones remain languishing in obscurity.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* However, atheism\and secularism is also about the ability and right to challenge any idea or belief. You do not have to be a best-selling erudite novelist to ask questions about religion.

Sadly, the way religion is constructed means that Atheism as a whole is blanketed as a collation of immoral black-hearted rogues, whether it's for the kind of hardcore criticism Dawkins and Condell posit or simply someone that asks "How can you prove God exists?"

*inthefade (1 week ago):
* MenoftheInfinite, vocal atheists might claim intellectual superiority sometimes, but it isn't a central argument against religious belief (isn't that just a standard thing to claim when having a debate; That you are smarter?).
However you are correct about rationality because we *aren't arguing FOR* a particular belief. Since atheism is a lack of belief we are arguing AGAINST irrational beliefs. Irrationality should not be condoned, ever, and I'm not sure how anyone can argue for it.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
*Exactly. Some atheists are not too smart, which hurts the way they try and argue for rationality. Most high-profile atheists are very smart. But ALL people who try to disseminate their irrational beliefs (often using fear tactics) are worthy targets. Atheists don't use fear or violence or judgement as a weapon. The only belief involved is the belief that, ultimately, the world and universe are understandable through secular means. We can turn our backs on natural processes, but they still occur.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* I don't accept your premise that atheists don't use "judgement". Ever watch Condell? :)

One also has to appreciate that many religionists experience secular arguments as a form of violence and respond to that with fear. After all, we are, when all's said and done, attempting to destroy the entire worldview of these people. It behooves us to remember that that is ultimately no small thing.

I mean, I think it's the right thing to do, but I recognise its significance.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Fair enough, allow me to rephrase myself.

We don't use judgement as a threat in the sense of there being someone who will judge us if we don't believe in what they (the religious) say. We make no claims about the eternal souls of our opponents, we seek no resolution from bludgeoning the soul.

Hell yes, atheists can "judge" in the same sense that I "judge" certain music to be dull. But that's personal judgement as opposed to divine judgement.

I bloody love Condell.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* But a theists divine and religious judgments mean nothing to us, right? So there's no basis on which to give a crap about such things (other than as an insight into the psychology of such people).

And I can't share your love of Pat. I can understand his popularity, but his vids are littered with fallacious appeals to sentiment and prejudice, red herrings and such like, I could tear them apart if I could be bothered.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Watch my second video about prayer if you have time. I detail my own issues with the mindset behind prayer as opposed to praying itself, which is of course an empty act; similar to my views on threats of divine judgement. As soon as God is bought in as a judge, all objectivity is lost - our accusers can feel justified in anything, since God is going to take care of us when we die and they're certain they're right.

I get what you mean about Pat, but his core thinking is very sound . . .

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Which of those vids is specifically about prayer?

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* It's called "religion and other curious beasts part 2: prayer"

Now I know you're not a fan of it, ignore my combative attitude and just listen for my reasoning.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Arrrhh - too much poo! You need help for that :) Otherwise a good vid.

Prayer is violence.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Heh, thanks, I learned my lesson - no more poo. My next video will be better in terms of editing and content, much more to get to grips with.

Although poo is a useful visual metaphor.

So you see my point about the mindset behind illusory threats being the threat as opposed to the . . . threat?

I used "threat" three times there. I also alliterated extensively. It must be getting late.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Yes, I get your point, which is why I said that prayer is violence. The entire Xian mentality (to be theologically specific for a moment) is violence based. It is violence against the self, against reason, against will, against truth, against Nature, against sanity and possibly even poo.

But then, all values and goals involve creation and destruction, therefore violence of some sort.

It's all about choosing your weapon (values).

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* "Yes, I get your point, which is why I said that prayer is violence."

I just wanted to hear you say it :)

Not all values and goals involve, or explicitly call for, the kind of destruction and violence that religious values call for.

Poo shall remain sacrosanct. Look, are you going to complain to Youtube or not? Are you a floating voter? I just remembered how we started all this. It's surreal.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Rational values and goals call for the complete destruction of the entire religious and "belief" edifice of Man. That's pretty significant! I mean, that's a shitload of destruction.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Oh . . . those values and goals. Well, yes. But religion calls for the destruction of free thought, privacy and scientific enquiry. We are totally quits with those fuckers.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* In the end it's two opposing worldviews wanting to destroy each other. Life is a war of values; we choose our side (or, some of us get to) and our weapons and have at it.

May the best meme win, I guess.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* . . . he attacks the idea that religion is sacrosanct when it's just a belief. If you take nothing else away from his videos, that one little bit of thinks is worth it.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* I suppose so, but, Jesus, I knew that when I was 12. But, I guess in the modern political climate it bears iteration.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Well, a lot of people don't think about it. So many people - sensible people - will shift uneasily when you insult religion. The sentiment that "you should just let people believe what they like" recurs. No-one seems to think about what religion is as a construct, and no-one seems willing to state "it is a personal bundle of subjective beliefs based on no evidence or proof, and as such open to question and criticism - especially if it negatively affects other people."

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* The reason religion tends to be held as sacrosanct is the level of importance it holds in people's psychology and emotional life. Criticizing it is tantamount to suggesting one should critically analyse "love". Zounds!!

I understand this attitude towards religion because of the profound nature it occupies in human minds; I just have different values that demand I oppose it and demonstrate its falsity.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* And you CAN critically analyse love, of course - it's chemicals and stuff like that. It makes it no less wonderful. I'm in love, and even though I know it's a biological function it makes no difference to me, it's still inspiring.

If the religious are so enamoured of their beliefs, one wonders why their attitude is not similar; recognise it as a psychological need that nevertheless informs their lives.

Ah . . . but that would be violating the sanctity of the beliefs.


* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Personally I hold that love is delusional nonsense. Vid on that upcoming!

But if you break things down to their psychological components you destroy their "mystique" and the reason people cling to them. People resist this because their emotional life is so invested in that mystique.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* The problem is that love IS delusional in some sense, and also entirely subjective. A video is unlikely to change people's minds, though, because they're invested - like myself - in the emotional windfall. I can recognise it biologically and emotionally. I run the risk of sounding like One Of Them now, but have you ever been in love?

I love making music (love?) even though it's just an arrangement of sounds. It would be hard to dismantle such a concept with an argument.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* This is why I asked about Love in my "3 Questions for atheists" video. It's highly problematic for atheists to criticise theists for emotionally clinging to things when it's demonstrable that *they* engage in their own forms of cognitive dissonance.

It's hard to argue that one arbitrary position is wrong from another arbitrary position - if you get my meaning.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* However, love is recognised as a biological state. We have some control over, but we are more or less at the mercy of a specialised brain function and must wait till it ceases before becoming rational again. All the emotional attachments to love - that vast, vast industry - can feasibly be jettisoned, but love itself will be hard to combat. Kind of like trying to remove adrenaline rushes, or natural reflexes.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Metaphysical beliefs are now being recognised as a biological state (particular brain function). I think it's possible to overcome the delusional aspects of either thing. It's kinda hard to address the nature of love in these comment boxes. I'll attempt it in an upcoming video. Suffice it to say that as with false metaphysical beliefs, the delusional aspects of love can be replaced with rational states.

We are not complete slaves to biology.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* It may be possible to overcome, but it does seem like you're attacking love on principle purely to level the playing field for the eventual atheist conquest.

And religion can be easily replaced, it serves no psychological function but to make people feel better about life (a VERY brief definition!) Love does serve a somewhat more important purpose (from the point of view of pure primitive animal propagation), however obliquely.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* I'm using love as an example of a common experience that tends to go unquestioned, especially with regard to notions of its virtuosity. I have specific philosophical views that go beyond that which involve a paradigm of ego destruction in a nominally Buddhist sense.

And I think you may be doing religion a slight disservice in limiting its value to humans to "feel good" sentiments. But I get that it was a "brief" definition.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* It probably tends to go unquestioned because its a universal ideal\experience. It's not as cagy a subject as religion as it's not based on external writings but rather operates on a mechanistically biological level. People would still feel the same even if the surrounding emotional baggage was never used as the basis for most media and entertainment.

VERY brief definition, but it is more or less about coping with your place in a mortal universe. Religion allows you to cope.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Love is partially socialized, but not entirely. It derives from certain biological drives, but also from preconceived notions of the self and the needs thereof. There's very particular psychological dynamics going on when another individual can satisfy certain emotional needs. I'm essentially arguing that much of those dynamics are based in false concepts and delusional psychological drives.

And isn't science about coping, too?

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Well, in the animal world - where things are blissfully uncomplicated - the sexual world belongs to the strong, the fast, the brightly coloured, the [prowess or trait] etc. Evolution in action. We've built up a great deal of stuff since then around the notion of love, but to remove that is to remove all the similarly evolved human concepts of justice and freedom and so on. We'd regress ten thousand years, more.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Most of the species that have ever existed are extinct. There's no "building up to better" dynamic in evolution.

I'm talking about progress, not regress. Removing delusional functions of mind can only ever be progress in my eyes. Of course, there has to be a form of rational engagement to replace it. But, for me that exists, just as science replaced religion as a way to function in the world.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* As soon as you start attacking things like love you'd have to argue more. What purpose does fear serve? To prepare the body for flight or action. Why? Because pain is bad. Why? Because that's how we're made.

Welcome to Brief Biology 101.

Science is about understanding, religion is about turning away and hiding. Science eases our lives and allows us to grasp the transient nature of things. It's a different form a coping, a more concrete one.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Most emotions such as fear and love are vestigial. They are certainly necessary for animals that can't reason, that lack the capacity to rationally respond to circumstance; they're not necessary for us to function.

Science is a better form of coping and understanding than religion (lets not forget philosophy too, dammit!). Some people have yet to grasp this fact.

And, of course, there are some questions that science cannot answer, and these yet loom large in the human psyche.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Well, philosophy itself is arbitrary, let's not forget that. The truest form of interaction with the world is science. There are many different philosophies (in attacking religion from a logistical standpoint I have to delve into philosophy) because it's really only a personal interpretation of how things should be. Your personal philosophy informs you that we must remove all forms of irrationality; my personal philosophy informs me that religion is dangerous but otherwise we're fine.

*MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* When I mention "philosophy" I mean the actual discipline, not the vernacular term to describe one's personal values and goals. Philosophy is the discipline that teaches us to think properly and ultimately allows us to understand Reality (science does not explain "reality" but rather models the empirical realm). My valuation of rationality tells me clearly that any forms of irrationality are not fine, in part because they can transmute at any time into something dangerous.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* But the discipline of philosophy does tend to be mediated through the values and goals of those who practise it. What do you mean by "Reality"? I view reality as what can be empirically measured, weighed, detected, inferred, viewed, [word], [word], [word] and [word]. Do you mean the way in which our consciousness perceives and reacts to what we physically detect? Or . . . well, what do you mean?

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* The discipline of philosophy has only one goal and that is to establish what is true. The *methods* of philosophy, much like those of science, can obviously be utilised for other ends (e.g. Aquinas).

You say you view "reality" as that which can be empirically measured - you mean your thoughts aren't real?

By Reality I mean all that is.

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
* From a perspective of what can be measured in the first instance, my thoughts aren't real. But they can be inferred by manifestations thereof; writings and such. A truly sickening analogy follows: you can't see the wind, but you can see the trees move.

Oh FUCK. That was awful, but you perhaps see my point.

We can never know the truth for sure, because we can never be entirely certain of what reality is. There really is no reason why our own perceived reality couldn't be imposed . . .

* MenoftheInfinite (1 day ago):
* Why define what is "real" by a criterion of measurement rather than experience? I've never gotten that. It makes most of one's entire life's experiences unreal, which I find irrational.

It doesn't matter if a reality is imposed on us, there are certain core facts of it that could/can be discerned, and with certainty.

* Th1sWasATriumph (16 hours ago):
* Because experiences are transitory and personal, and as we all know . . . that leads to bullshit. If we go by what is measurable and knowable - science, essentially - we cannot go far wrong. Others may use this discovered truth for vicious purposes, but the truth still remains.

If reality really was imposed upon us, there's no reason we could ever discern it. The reality could be constructed in such a way to stop us ever knowing what lies beyond. God, as we all know, is a GTA fan.

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
* . . . and everything in the world as we know is just put there for realism. You know, the Matrix, that kind of thing. It's such an over-exposed idea that I hesitate to bring it up, but perception could be virtual and externally manipulated. cdk007 did a great video exploring that viewpoint, though it was intended more as a rebuttal to religion.

* MenoftheInfinite (2 days ago):
* Yes, such a scenario is hypothetically possible, though it doesn't make any difference to the truths of existence one can uncover philosophically.

* Th1sWasATriumph (16 hours ago):
* It DOES make a difference though. It would be like watching characters in a video game talk through a script as you wait for the next scene to load and sip tea. If we WERE in that situation, there is no guaranteed veracity in any philosophical conclusions we draw; what we think and feel could be manipulated entirely from outside.

Although I concede the hypothesis is nonsense, but it illustrated a point. I think. I've forgotten.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Indded, you said "The problem is there is no objective or cosmic ethic that demands we value reason or sanity or truth". You are not following any external absolute that allows you to have the authority to dismiss even vestigial inherited states; at the meanest possible level, it's your opinion, informed by your own observation of the world, society, and probably a shitload of philosophical texts.

Our emotional irrationality follows no outside rules, much as it is partially constructed . . .

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* I don't need an objective standard by which to dismiss anything; all I need is values an goals (which are necessary parts of discriminative consciousness). One cannot say one values rationality in itself when one simultaneously values a great many irrational things. That just means one values rationality as a tool of convenience within certain parameters, and that's exactly what religious people do.

I value what is true, therefore nothing can be left unexamined for me.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Ah, but what if I was to say to you that your values and goals are irrational according to MY values and goals? Without an objective standard, which is extremely hard to come by, all arbitrary values are going to irrational to some extent.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Well, when it comes to base values and goals there is no objective standard.

Our core/primary goals and values are not determined by a rational process (because there's no rational basis from which to choose one over another). They are basically whims of nature. They are ultimately neither rational nor irrational.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* . . . however religion is about dividing and conquering. We are all fuddled equally by our primitive urges, so we all start from the same place. Imagine that the entire world has had a couple of stiff brandies; we'd all be qually disadvantaged.

Don't take that seriously, by the way; I'm not saying that things like love are as deleterious to our nature as being constantly wasted.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* But being "in love" IS being constantly wasted! I see little to no difference. I don't think we want to really see what crazy people love turns us into - much like religionists don't like to see the crazy people belief turns them into.

As you can see, I'm going to milk that analogy for all its worth.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Yes yes, being in love is a bastard (but only if it's unrequited, I think you'll find - requited love tends to leave people able to function normally.)

But it's not an entirely fair analogy.

Love is temporary (though it can afflict one more than once).
Love doesn't operate based on a series of faith-based commands. There is nothing you HAVE to do when in love; any compulsions it creates are unique to the psyche of smitten individuals. The rules of religion are universal to its disciples.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* There's no way love leaves people functioning normally. A person in love would see the whole world die to preserve that love - that ain't normal.

Yes, romantic love is temporary, but in a more general sense we express this emotion is a great many ways and other than agape (unconditional love) they all stem from ego and have a delusional quality. I think you'll have to wait for my video for a decent explanation. I'll try and make that my next one.

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
* "A person in love would see the whole world die to preserve that love"

Would they? Really? I think you're talking of the kind of love popularised by Shakespeare and Hollywood. I'd be interested in your personal experience on this; you sound older than me, mid to late 20s-30s perhaps, and I find it unlikely you've never been in love purely because almost everyone has been by your age. So what exactly did you feel?

* MenoftheInfinite (1 day ago):
* Sadly, I'm older even that that.

I'm not sure I could express my experience of love in 500 words. Perhaps not in 50,000. Love is a tapestry of many different emotions and feelings, from joy to fulfillment, to pain and fear, even anger, resentment, bouts of self-loathing yet at other times a sense of completion.

Time for a vid so you can get a proper picture of my viewpoint.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* And to be honest, from your standpoint you can attack almost every aspect of modern man as something suffering from irrationality, and you could defend that attack. But all these things form our base state; metaphysical beliefs do not, since a great many people have none, even if there is a biological capacity for it. Religion is tacked on afterwards. However arbitrary a particular emotional signifier may be, it's a natural one.

I really am going to bed now, it's 2.18am!


* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* I DO attack everything about modernity that is irrational. In my battle for rationality I have a take-no-prisoners policy.

Lack of metaphysical belief could be argued to be as much a human aberration as lack of emotions. Metaphysical beliefs, however absurd, are the statistical norm for humanity. Religion is a natural "tack-on" because group-think and behaviour is also a statistical norm.

2:18am? Wuss! :)

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* To be honest, I think metaphysical beliefs are the norm because we've been in the dawk for so long. If you look even 100 years ago, the way we lived was very different. Most metaphysical beliefs, when distilled, are about one thing - not dying, that this is not all there is. They are manifested in beliefs in religion, the paranormal, spirit world, ghosts, but the theme is a common one - comfort in a cold world. The world is not so cold now.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Metaphysical beliefs are the norm because they are a response to ignorance, and ignorance has been the norm, and still is in many ways and in many places.

And metaphysical beliefs are about many more things than just fear of mortality; they are also about explaining origins and the unknown generally, as well as a source for supposedly objective ethical standards etc.

To combat them we have to deal with their full scope and not just attack our own strawmen.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* I have to wonder what love would be replaced by in a truly rational world. Would we go back to the the biggest and strongest males fighting for the females who are in heat? Who would decide who is matched for who? I think I'll have to treasure my own personal irrationality for love; it seems a bleak future if mating is reduced to pure rationality.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Eros would be replaced by agape in a rational world. Forms of love that require *specific* objects of desire spring from the ego and false notions of self and involve a host of psychological follies - too numerous to attempt to delineate here.

And you're somewhat making my point about arbitrariness! I can hear the theists cheering that it would be a bleak world without God and Jesus and hope and the rest of that malarkey.

It's amazing how attached and invested in our feelings we are.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* I still contend that it's hardly arbitrary to be attached to love as a universal function of survival and propagation. I've mentioned fear before, but what would you approach be to that, or other biological functions\reactions that serve a specific purpose? Only the common perception of love is different from any other inbuilt, innate stimulii.

It's only arbitrary when the choice is yours. No-one was ever conditioned as a child to feel love, as opposed to religion.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Religion fills a vacuum of understanding. Humans left to their own devices will tend towards religiosity. It's not all about conditioning.

I view emotions such as love from a framework of the nature of the self and how that functions. The "naturalness" of a psychological function is not an automatic argument for its legitimacy or value. It's natural for humans to feel attached to arbitrary social groups, yet most human conflict is based in this, and it's one that could arguably destroy us.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Again, see my comment about living in the dark. It's only very recently that science has really started to improve how we live and see the universe. There is still a vacuum of understanding, sure, but it's narrowed. Right now is the start of a change; the old reasons behind religion are drawing to a close, the excuses of ignorance and incredulity seem very tired.

Agreed, psychological functions should be assessed on merit, and some such functions are harmful . . .

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Science helps us understand the empirical, but there's more to reality than that. There are a host of profound questions that are beyond the ken of science and these must be addressed (and can only be so via philosophical reasoning) otherwise metaphysical nonsense will continue to exist in one form or another.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* I don't see that there is much more, to be honest. I mean, obviously most people live in shadow of all the cliches; "What am I doing here? Why? What for? Where next? What purpose?" but these are all manifestations of the same sort of angst that leads to religious beliefs. It's only the chance nature of how we evolved that even allows us to question such things; we are the random formation of chemicals. There really is no purpose external to what we impose on the world, and ourselves.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* You think those questions are mere cliches? What do you think science is a response to? What do you think evolutionary theory and cosmology are? Why did we spend billions(?) on Hubble? These questions are rudimentary to consciousness and require answers, even if the answer is that the original question is wrongly put.

Actually, a list of the questions that science can't answer would make for a good vid! Thanks for the inspiration.

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
* Well, I know what evolutionary theory and cosmology are, but I suspect you mean what they are as a signifier of our curiosity about the universer, or something. We obviously want to discover how the world works, and scienctific enquiry is the key to that, but there is nothing beyond, above, or underneath what we know, certainly not in a spiritual sense.

The view that science cannot answer some questions is unsound, because eventually it will answer all of them. A thousand more years maybe.

*Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* . . . including some of the aspects of love, or anger, or aggression.

If everyone lived alone and formed no attachment to another (ignoring the problems for reproduction this raises) there would indeed be more peace. But social groupings are important for survival, support and, irrational a facet as this may be, hope.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* We don't need emotional attachment for reproductive purposes. We only require the rational acknowledgement that it's necessary.

*Irrational attachment" to social groupings is entirely deleterious. One doesn't need to engage the idea like that for it to function. Co-operative ventures do not require irrational egotistical attachments - which can only lead to trouble.

Hope is a religious concept and a poor substitute for action and will. Hope is akin to prayer.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* "We don't need emotional attachment for reproductive purposes."

. . . but it's certainly more fun.

Sorry. Purely from a biological and evolutionary perspective - the only rational perspective, the one that places us into context as the animals we really are - our purpose is to spread and populate. And from such a perspective, the best possible future is everyone in a tiny cubicle pumping out sperm and ova . . .

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Believing in bullshit metaphysics can be fun, too. Look at New Agers! I have no interest in spreading my genes in an overpopulated world, so I must be an evolutionary anomaly. My children are my thoughts and writings (he said, ever so poetically).

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
* That's because you're a sentient being who is capable of ignoring the purpose for which you were formed. I don't want children, ever. But making more of ourselves is what we're here for. There's no purpose or great achievement, from a biological perspective, that we are striving towards. We add that all on ourselves afterwards.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 day ago):
* Strictly speaking Nature gives us a nature not a purpose. Beware teleology! :) Part of my own personal purpose is that of fulfilling the evolutionary legacy granted us in the form of our consciousness. I made a case for that in one of my early vids, "Time to Evolve".

* Th1sWasATriumph (16 hours ago):
* BUT the purpose is implicit in our nature. It's not really a conscious purpose, as it's now surrounded in desires for sex, closeness, companionship. But if our nature is that of self-replicating biological drones, our purpose is to self-replicate.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* . . . which are used to create new humans, which are then placed in their own cubicles, and so on. Ideally all the legwork would be done by machines, leaving man to fulfil his core purpose - to reproduce.

It sounds like hyperbole designed to fling emotional meathooks into the argument, but if you want to remove all irrationality that is the logical conclusion.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* As for hope, I find it entirely different to prayer. Prayer takes into account the belief in an entity that you believe can effect the fulfilment of your desires, and does often arise from hope.

But hope in a secular world? I hope for things, I picture them, and THEN I use my will to effect actions and processes that strive towards my hoped for end.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Hope is expecting something from fate and the universe. Not sure how that is different to prayer, frankly.

I don't see hope and *visualisation* of the future as the same thing. Very different psychology working there.

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
* I had a discussion with a friend who disagreed with my Prayer video; he said it wasn't as if Christians prayed and then did nothing else at all to try and solve the problem, which was a point I skirted over. Hope for unrealistic things, like someone not to die, is damaging. But hope as a shaper of your ambition and skills - which is how it operates with myself - is positive. You can visualise a future you would want, and I'd say that's the same as hope.

* MenoftheInfinite (2 days ago):
* Oh, well, I think to continue to argue the point on hope would amount to quibbling, so let me just say I see hope as a "passive" engagement of reality, different from active willing and action. Ironically, the *more* hopeful one is the more hopeless things can be.

* Th1sWasATriumph (16 hours ago):
* Fair enough. My hope is an active engagement with reality. If some people use hope as a defence against the cold truth of their abilities . . . well, that's their call.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Atheists argue that one arbitrary position is wrong as best they can from the imperfect husk evolution has given them. We are all at the mercy of instincts (except trained or conditioned out of them) but that doesn't mean we cannot attack those who knowingly seek out arbitrary positions of emotional wish-fulfilment.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* It weakens our position though if we are not consistent in our desire to pluck out weeds of delusion. If I was a theist I'd simply say to atheists: "Hey, what's your problem? You leave certain things unquestioned and even emotionally indulge yourself in them *after* having understood their nature, so why can't we do that in the metaphysical realm?" Consistency and resoluteness in our drive to weed out all falsity helps our position greatly.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Ah! But it's not as if atheists have love as their particular irrationality and the religious have their beliefs. Everybody feels love, so it's a basic state for humans to work from; like fear, for example. The basic animal state of man is universal, and added to by whatever beliefs are used to surround the truth of our nature.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Yes, that's all true - I was using love as a thing that atheists feel and tend to cling to despite potentially knowing its follies.

We can point to all sorts of things that have had evolutionary advantages that are no longer needed or desirable. Religion is simply a very obvious one. Reason tells me there are many more that we are overlooking, and sometimes for no better reason than they are things that we feel positive about, as theists do with God etc.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* There is no evolutionary advantage to religion, though. I would still argue that, unlike the good or bad vestigial traits that are potentially jettisonable (is that a word?) religion is an entirely different beast, a self-constructed form of philosophy which takes its answers from the unseen as opposed to the seen.

It could be argued that your desire to abolish love etc is irrational given that it's more or less a constant through the world; that its demise would cause more harm than good.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* Of course there's been evolutionary advantage to religion! Religion has been one of the largest forces for social cohesion and cooperation humanity has ever known. I mean, it's possible for humans to coalesce around bullshit, you know! Evolution doesn't care for it is true or sane.

That a thing is natural or commonly expressed or experienced is not an argument that a) it is true or reasonable; b) that it has any necessary or continuing benefit or advantage. e.g. ignorance.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* But it's an emergent thing, like creativity. When one considers how long man has been here evolving and how long religion has been in the equation, religion comes out as a blip. It evolved with our cognitive abilities to assess and question and it's obviously shaped most of the world's population, but I don't view it as an evolutionary trait.

However, there have been times and places where to not be of a particular religion would hinder your survival . . . happily that's waning now.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
I feel positive about composing, say; it's a an intellectual and emotional achievement to create music that affects me and others. I have no idea why. I suspect that I would still have no idea even if I went and researched it.

I cannot think of any wide-spread, large scale events where love - of the classic form between two people attracted to one another - led to as much conflict and destruction as religion has. Ulysses might tell me different, though.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* On music: to want to distance any human experience from rational inquiry and comprehension only gives succor to religionists who want to do that with their own beliefs and feelings.

Religion is built on love: love of self/ego, love of God, love of faith, love of belief, love of moralism, love of control of others.

Love sucks, man. :)

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
* Out of interest, what is your viewpoint on art, music, creative urges etc? I would view them as irrational in the extreme, from your perspective; they serve no real purpose except to make people feel good (like religion, another brief definition.) Feeling pleasure at constructed things is irrational; is it needed?

And how do you feel when you're in a snappy debate with someone about what you believe? Do you feel a satisfaction at presenting your points eloquently and concisely?

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
* "Creative" urges are part of what a purposeful consciousness is - so they are innate. There are certain *forms* of creativity - more especially in the aesthetic realm, which derive solely from the ego and are really all about propping up and satisfying its needs.

In terms of what I feel when I make my points eloquently etc: I don't feel pleasure at doing so, I just feel as though I'm being true to my values, and effective communication is necessary to that.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
Yes, but do creative urges form a useful part of your ideal rational future? I would view artistic endeavour as irrational, by your lights.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
Creative urges in the *aesthetic realm* would not form a part of my future, *unless* they had some accompanying rational purpose like education (which is entirely possible). Basically, the emotional need for them would not exist.

Creativity in its most general sense is part of purposeful consciousness and so will always exist where we do.

* Th1sWasATriumph (6 days ago):
Oh. Well, I'm going to have to disagree with that strongly. It's one thing to attack irrationalities similar to religion in order to remove such influences on our lives, but aesthetic creative urges? I have no defence of my attitude in the face of your values, of course, but as I've said - you can feasibly follow your path until we are rendered back to our simplest and most innate function. Creativity is inevitable, you say, but you also want to remove those parts of it you think unnecessary?

*MenoftheInfinite (2 days ago):
If a thing arises from irrational sources and I advocate rationality, I can't help but speak against it. We react strongly due to our emotional attachment to such things.

Because of the way and reasons that aesthetic judgments of the world arise, people tend to think they are responses to real, objective aspects of reality, which is delusional.

For those that don't do that, there's still the question of the source of the need for such experiences. What is it and is it legitimate?

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
Personally, I am pretty much ok with religion if it never, ever strays outside the head of the believer or affects their actions. They can keep their worldview if it's nice and private.

But such believers are rare, because most religions have built-in criteria for dissemination.

So, frankly, fuck their worldview :)

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
Oh, I agree with that sentiment. It's not possible to keep beliefs inside one's head because they inform every thought and action.

I'm simply saying that we are, in the end, messing with the psychology of these people in a very profound way and we should expect their egos to respond defensibly as a result. It's no small thing to have your worldview utterly shattered. A modicum of compassion wouldn't go astray, whilst we fuck their worldview :)

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
I'd find it difficult to be compassionate. This is probably why you're discussing this with me in the first place! Compassion wouldn't ease the pain of losing your superstituous crutches. You'd be inconsolable. Maybe it's like removing a plaster or replacing a dislocated joint - do it quickly and give them a mug of hot chocolate.

I can't feel too bad, though, since if they had their way my mind would be changed in a second to their own way of thinking.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
The vast majority of non-thinking theists have been indoctrinated into that sort of mindstate. It's not really their fault, so, whilst one may have no compassion for the stupidity of the beliefs, one may have some for the fact that most theists don't *consciously* elect to be stupid.

They cling to their beliefs because of very powerful psychological forces. Who'd want to be in their world? Not me!

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
The problem is there is no objective or cosmic ethic that demands we value reason or sanity or truth. One doesn't have to and a great many people choose not to. It's sad but true that rationalists must also argue for the benefits of such a value set (i.e. reason, sanity and truth - and the means by which such things can validly be expressed).

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
"The problem is there is no objective or cosmic ethic that demands we value reason or sanity or truth"

No, but a few thousand years of various civilisations has verified that sticking to reason, sanity and truth is a good way to prolong our species. Hence judicial systems - some of which, sadly, take their ruling from scripture.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
Hmm, I'm not aware of any civilization that stuck to reason, sanity and truth other than in a selective, ad hoc and contingent fashion. That's the real problem: we employ such virtues to prop other stuff that is the very opposite of them.

You have to at least appreciate the irony value of that.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
I'm not saying it didn't take a while, but fundamentally we arrive at, say, the current British judicial system. If followed, it will sustain a peaceful society.

There are exceptions, of course.

Obviously there is no cosmic ethic of reason, because we are just animals that evolved a bit more and have slightly larger brains. Any value we impose on anything is purely arbitrary. However, through trial and error we have a good idea of which values will promulagate us the best.

* MenoftheInfinite (1 week ago):
The problem is that people ultimately fear the fruits of reason because reason undermines all the things that their egos and "feelings" rely on. I don't know of any way of instituting a greater level of valuing of truth and reason other than by trying to promote the meme as best one can.

But, one can only do that by being as rational as one can be.


inthefade (1 week ago):
I posted your first 2 paragraphs, and then this:

(community guidelines)

My problem with this is that there is currently a movement of secular naturalists who have much fair criticism of religion. Religion, being a personal choice made by individuals, should not be exempt from critical attacks.

I do not condone hate speech, but the words "attacks or demeans" are too vague and blanketing.

There should be room for rational and critical discussion and debate about any subject matter on youtube.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
You have mad aditing skillz0r. Nice one.

* inthefade (1 week ago):
ha, thanks. Honestly I just wanted it to reflect how I feel about it, but it was a little bit of TL;DR syndrome, so I wasn't sure if I agreed with you 100%.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
Tl;DR? I don't follow . . .

You don't have to agree with me 100%, it's cool if you just agree there's something off with the guidelines.

* xplson (1 week ago):
tl;dr means "to long; didn't read".

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
I'm such a noob.


BobTKaye (1 week ago):
You forgot to mention people with disabilities in your revised list of people who can't help change certain kinds of characteristics.

* Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
Agreed, I should have been specific. I mean people who can't change their disabilities, or don't have the money to pay for such changes, or were born with a condition for example.

Even if you can change it, it's not right to be guffawed at WHILST you're disabled. My point is that whatever happens afterwards, you generally have no choice about BEING disabled, whether from birth or through accident\disease\hereditary condition.

antiparticlesteve (1 week ago):
The less one knows, the more one believes or "To dull the mind of the masses". Thanks Brother, for keeping it real.

patchesdf (1 week ago):
I think we have to learn to accept that to some degree, whatever we express is always going to offend some people, so we have to learn to live with people being offended and accept it. Being offended isn't always a bad thing that needs to be constantly crusaded against. We're all well aware of the paradox of how impossible it is to appease everyone, but like a dumbass act of faith it's what people strive for anyway. I say to hell with trying to appease everyone. Live with who we are.

Th1sWasATriumph (1 week ago):
Being offended is only a bad thing when it's irrational and reactive; as is often the case when religious types take offense. I'd take offense if something called me a longhaired goth twat, naturally, but fuck 'em.

In any case, it's more the logical inconsistency of the guidelines I'm after. I'm not encouraging hate speech against religion, just a recognition that it's as valid a belief system as any other as opposed to possessing some kind of SuperValidity (tM).


RascalFascal (4 days ago):
I agree 100%...5 stars...subscribed...u r awsome.

TAke care


alwayshereneverleft (4 days ago):
only 1 star. That was stupid and a waste.

* Th1sWasATriumph (3 days ago):
Oh. Oh no! NO!

We've got something to prove, haven't we? One-starring and then telling me about it. Well, I can no longer look at myself in the mirror. I'm just so sorry. For everything.


Mahagawaga (3 days ago):
Five stars and there's nothing you can do about it, yo!


* Th1sWasATriumph (3 days ago):
You shall have cake.

* RabidPetRock (1 day ago):
The cake is not a lie? Awesommmeee......


nbarrett100 (2 days ago):
I really want to but for some stupid reason whenever I click on "more info" it just takes me to your channel.


KellyJones0 (1 day ago)
I agree that the term 'religion' should be removed from that paragraph. I sent a letter also, shortened herewith:

Without self-doubting and examination, both public and private, the fate of religious belief is to fall into the domain of Santa Clausian culture. If we are to hold any beliefs, then they must be exposed to rigorous testing and downright attack, to prove their reliability and absence of harmful consequences.

* Th1sWasATriumph (16 hours ago)
That's much better than mine. You shall be my speechwriter; your wages shall be bread and your bed shall, coincidentally, also be bread.

I do not expect you to say yes.

* Th1sWasATriumph (13 hours ago)
Looking at this now in the light of it being a sly poke in my direction . . . hmm. I have always said that anything should be open to question (hopefully I put that in the letter). I don't view love as a belief, though; it's a function. And then we have the whole curly paradox of questioning the process OF questioning that Moti would like, which I believe would end at a harmful consequence. Fashion, music, art etc are all irrational beliefs. It seems unfair to judge them on "reliability".

* KellyJones0 (13 hours ago)
I'm not really poking you, or even slyly. Even the most hardcore, apparently intelligent atheists seem to wear blinkers when it comes to love. They seem to assume what you do, that "Love is a function" - is not itself a belief, and is not open to question. So you're in with the numbers!

* Th1sWasATriumph (13 hours ago)
I don't wear any blinkers when it comes to love, I assure you. It's not a belief to say that love is a function. It IS. It's been studied and measured, the changes logged within the brains of those in love. All the surrounding stuff can be questioned. But the process itself, the functionality, and the purpose it serves? Not open to question. In much the same way that instinctive reflexes are a function.

* KellyJones0 (13 hours ago)
Oh, I'm not denying love happens, nor that it is an immensely powerful psychophysical experience.

I just deny that it's one of the best values the species has for its promulgation, as you put it.

* Th1sWasATriumph (13 hours ago)
I don't mean that in an emotional or abstract way. I don't mean that the joy of love transports us to make more of us. I mean that the function itself, the assessment and targeting of an appropriate mate for reproduction, is extremely effective for making more humans. And making more humans is what we're here for. Can you quote me the bit you're talking about? I'm certain I didn't mean it in any sense other than a specialised function for self-replication.

* KellyJones0 (12 hours ago)
You wrote to MotI: 'Obviously there is no cosmic ethic of reason, because we are just animals that evolved a bit more and have slightly larger brains. Any value we impose on anything is purely arbitrary. However, through trial and error we have a good idea of which values will promulagate us the best.'

'making more humans is what we're here for'

Speak for yourself, you birth machine. I'm here for the survival of truth and wisdom, just coz I choose to be. ;-)

* Th1sWasATriumph (12 hours ago)
'However, through trial and error we have a good idea of which values will promulagate us the best.'

I can't believe I missed that typo on promulgate.

I think you have actually misunderstood me. Unless there's more to that quote that I forget, I meant the values we now impose through the arena of legality and morality. The general rules that keep a society from imploding like an imperfect cake. I didn't mention love.

* KellyJones0 (10 hours ago)
Yes, seeing you accept that love (ie. non-agape) urges one to 'rut someone silly', and doesn't particularly urge one to dispassionate calculations, like how to suit the number of mouths to feed with how much food there is, then I accept you were never talking about love as a value that would promulgate the species best - seeing as that sort of chemical signal is responsible for overpopulation, as well as criminals who were unwanted at birth.... Eh?

* Th1sWasATriumph (10 hours ago)
Blind biological urges have no use or explanation for the consequences thereof. If you have a lot of kids, more of them will survive than if you just have one. Physiology cares not for their nutrition or well-being. Anyway, the more people there are, the more people there are to plant food and cope with increasing demand.

Criminals unwanted at birth? Are you dropping into an emotional argument?

* KellyJones0 (10 hours ago)
No, it's well-researched that a significant percentage of criminals were unwanted babies.

I think your argument is true for the animal world, or for people in third-world or crisis situations, but certainly not for the 'human realm'.

* Th1sWasATriumph (10 hours ago)
We are fairly unique in being a species able to question and understand the primitive drives that roll us down the road of life. I have no desire for children myself. It seems you don't either. But animals will just rut like bastards, and happily they're legally allowed to kill each other. So that keeps the numbers down.

Ironically, the values we uphold to create a peaceful society can also lead to the kind of things you mentioned. Interesting.

* Th1sWasATriumph (12 hours ago)
Essentially, they're the values that keep us alive to further the species. And I AM a birth machine, as is everyone. It makes no difference to how I live, or to my argument, but if you want rationality then that's the cold truth of it, so I could label you as delusional for side-stepping that in your quest for the survival of "truth and wisdom". You choose to follow that path . . . why?

* KellyJones0 (10 hours ago)
I suppose the reason must be that the solitude that comes with thinking has never been as painful to me as being coupled to people.

I guess I *loved* what I thought would free me from suffering and pain, to the point where it did, by freeing me from love - more or less.

* Th1sWasATriumph (2 hours ago)
In which case the basis of your philosophy and thinking is based on irrational emotions.

* KellyJones0 (14 minutes ago):
Yes and no, is my simple answer. ;-)

Yes: If a person seeks philosophical depth to his views of the world, then he is necessarily not experiencing that depth. So he is *to a degree* succumbing to unreason by fact of his ignorance.

No: The actual urge that is *philosophical* means there is some valuing of reason. So whoever has some love and respect for reason, at that point isn't totally irrational.

Hey, I'm not getting a little pop-up with 'You've exceeded your post limit'. Great!

* KellyJones0 (8 minutes ago):
There must have been a post-count/seconds limit, rather than a simple post-count limit as I thought last night.


KellyJones0 (16 hours ago):
I was being sly. I did send the letter, but my comment in this thread was a letter, too. I think you have been somewhat hypocritical in espousing scientific beliefs with a religious dogmatism. For instance, where is your control group in the hypothesis that love is a value that 'promulgates' us best?

Have you ever experienced true lovelessness? By that I don't mean depression, hate, and loneliness, since they are all founded on love of love, so are not loveless.

* Th1sWasATriumph (15 hours ago):
Not THAT sly, really. I thought you were being sensible. Read back through the exhaustive debate I'm having with Menoftheinfinite; he takes issue with anything he views as delusional, not just religion. Our back-and-forth will probably pre-emptively answer a fair few questions you would ask me, including the one about love.

* KellyJones0 (15 hours ago):
I was actually responding to that excellent debate. Who would have thought comments'd make the best debate format?

But please point me to where you mentioned a control group to test your hypothesis about love.

I think MenoftheInfinite's point about taking reason all the way is fair. We atheists can't be taken seriously when our claim to be more reasonable than creationists or other religious adherents is so slight as to be invisible. Reason isn't reason when it's selective.

* Th1sWasATriumph (14 hours ago):
If you can find and quote the appropriate comment I'd be grateful . . . it's a very long debate and I can't remember all of it! You're right, it is nice to embroil oneself with adversaries who don't just get personal when you disagree too much. Youtube is a hive of such villainy.

His point is fair, but taken too far you do end up - from my perspective - with humans occupying their biological niche as birth machines.

* KellyJones0 (14 hours ago):
There were a few points, but the one you have just made will do for starters.

What do you think life would be like without love? Would it be true to say that you are speculating that it must be some kind of unconscious automatic existence, where one plods along in a kind of insensate haze? Or perhaps like a cold, robotic calculator, that has a slow-to-adapt algorithm of responsiveness, and grinds away at life with an Aspergers-like clumsiness or a puerile Elbot sense of humour?

* Th1sWasATriumph (13 hours ago):
I think you've cast me as a hapless romantic here. For a start, a life without love would not be possible to describe, nor would be seen as a negative, because if the concept and function of love disappeared we'd have no memory or yearning for it; like missing a friend that you never met. I think it would be a very different society, though, and an odd one (from our biased perspective.) Mating and reproduction would have to be decided on the basis of utility, logically . . .

* Th1sWasATriumph (13 hours ago):
. . . and logically, the biologically flawed members of society would have no place. The trouble is that once you start attacking irrationality on principle you end up in some very dark places. Dislike of eugenics etc is irrational only as long as emotions are involved. Rationally, the improvement of man by such means is commendable.

Are you attacking "acceptable delusions", so to speak, on the basis of a philosophical principle or because you genuinely feel they pose a threat?

* KellyJones0 (10 hours ago):
Yes, the principle of truth, which is genuinely obscured by irrationality.

That old-fashioned notion....truth!

* Th1sWasATriumph (9 hours ago):
The only ultimate truth is derived from study of the universe from a scientific standpoint. Everything else is perspective. You bandy "truth" about like it's a substance.

You, for example, are far more irrational than you will ever admit or probably even realise. Certainly in the context of this conversation, where you seek to champion truth and wisdom and reason. You think there is some higher purpose or power, as far as I can tell. Some spirituality. Without proof.

* KellyJones0 (10 minutes ago):
I think your tell-distance is falling a tad short of where I am positioned. I'll have to leap about and wave my arms like a madman on the horizon.

Truth is no more an objectively existing substance than is religion or atheism or consciousness.

On that note, of course, we should whack in science, and the Universe, too.

* Th1sWasATriumph (14 hours ago):
Bloody hell, I'm getting sick of hearing myself say "Good evening, everyone" every time I refresh the page.

As far as love goes, as I said to Moti . . . since it's a universal human experience, it forms a common base state on top of which more arbitary delusions - like religion\astrology\alternative medicines etc - are piled. We all are kind of foggy some of the time, but some of us choose to be . . . more foggy. I think I made a comparison to everyone being a bit drunk.

* KellyJones0 (13 hours ago):
'it's a universal human experience'

This is obviously a belief, and not offered as a scientific observation, I trust... ;-)

There are piles of versions of love, but for convenience I'll strip them down to two:

Agape and non-agape. Agape being totally unconditional love.

So, which form of love are you talking about, and are you saying it is intrinsic to human consciousness, or, intrinsic to reproduction?

* Th1sWasATriumph (11 hours ago):
"This is obviously a belief, and not offered as a scientific observation, I trust... ;-)"

Such looseness of words is, I agree, unacceptable. Very well. I don't have the time to conduct a study, certainly not this afternoon, but let's say asking 10000 adults if they've been in love with someone? No statement like that is worth anything until proved, but I'm utterly confident you would get in excess of 99% agreement.

* KellyJones0 (10 hours ago):
Probably every one of those persons have also felt at some time that there is a special creative force at work 'out there'. Anyway, the argument that an experience is common doesn't argue for its reasonableness.

* Th1sWasATriumph (10 hours ago):
No. But reason doesn't come into it. Pre-programmed urge, remember. It would be delusional to think that such a thing could be somehow removed from the human brain en masse. And there isn't some special creative force at work, there's just us, on a rock, in space. Rotating.

* KellyJones0 (9 hours ago):
Oh, totally agree. It couldn't be removed en masse.

* Th1sWasATriumph (11 hours ago):
When I mention love I tend to mean simply, well, love. One person in love with another. Love isn't instrinsic to reproduction; you can have reproduction without love, clearly. But the powerful urge of love, to find the right partner and then rut them silly, is driven by a reproductive signal.

If you want to talk about the ultimate way to extend the species, my example about men and women being used mechanically to create fetii is the next step.

* KellyJones0 (10 hours ago):
People don't have sex for the survival of the species. That's ridiculous. They never think, 'It is my solemn duty to have sex'.

So, yes, love is truly a backward function, more suitable for animals. The sooner it is discarded, the better, and even sooner for intelligent persons who have some self-respect.

* Th1sWasATriumph (10 hours ago):
I believe I've already stated that it's not a conscious thing. Of COURSE people don't have sex out of a conscious decision to aid the species. But that's where the impulse for love comes from, it's about finding a mate and bringing about new life.

You're not supplying any real argument for jettisoning love. What rational system would replace it, anyway? What would you suggest? How would humans choose their mates, or have them chosen for them?

* KellyJones0 (1 minute ago):
Just another thumbs-up on this format: it's fantastic to be able to insert a comment at a precise point of a discussion, without having to repeat the whole discussion over in a new reply. Very streamlined. Beats a forum discussion board hands-down.

But just in case Yutube hasn't learnt from T's activism, I'll copy this whole discussion, from MikeofKorea's comment. It's worth saving.


I look at love and religiousness as two "pre-programmed" urges that evolved with the rest of the human species' survival kit. But there's no special creative force looking after our welfare; there is no intrinsic goodness in finding a suitable mate and reproducing. Both are liabilities.

My theory's this:

the urge to find completion in passing on our genes, or in a relationship with a Creator, can be remodelled as the will to complete consciousness with knowledge of ultimate things.



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