Is Pastafarianism a real religion?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by aikiMac, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Damn it Dead Pool! Your questioning of the spirituality of and positing a functional nature of the chemical messengers in my body makes me so angry I could almost punch you in the face to maintain status within the primate social hierarchy through physical dominance or threat displays and thereby maintain resource and mating rights :mad: How DARE you.
  2. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    But there can be, if you want.

    "Spiritual" is whatever you want it to be, just like art. I could lock a group of people in a room, dose them with MDMA and call the event an interactive art installation. Likewise, I could do the same and call it a shamanic soul healing.

    I reckon the Aztec's felt pretty spiritual while they were sacrificing people, just as Tibetans felt spiritual connection while chopping up their dead relatives to be taken into the sky by vultures. Now, if a schizophrenic sacrifices someone in 21st Century London because God told them too, we call them crazy. If you dig up your grandma, chop her up and feed her to the birds, I reckon you'll end up in prison or a psychiatric ward.

    It's all in the eye of the beholder.
  3. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    What would be the difference between a universe with broadly describable 'rules' and no plan be from a universe with rules and a plan? It sounds like as soon as someone says that there are laws of physics then you'd say we have a plan in action. I wouldn't go so far.

    Unfalsifiable means that you have no way of addressing whether a claim is true or false. This is why I mentioned the undetectable dragon - if the dragon is truly undetectable, it doesn't matter what instrument I use, whether it's my vision, a giger counter, whatever, I will not be able to find it. As such I can't prove that there isn't a dragon in my bedroom. But in going about my day, I will never come into contact with it and it will not effect me. As such it doesn't really matter if it does exist or doesn't and it cannot offer a meaningful explanation of the universe at large.

    Right, but would you say that a rock constitutes a new pattern/information or not? I just don't know what you actually mean when you say new pattern.

    Natural selection is the process by which the environment 'selects' what genes are good and what genes are bad. By definition it cannot be random with respect to those genes. Evolution, and evolutionary success, can be random though, as we've discussed with genetic drift. The significance of those graphs I showed before is that in small generations, even within a short number of generations, due to random cell death or whatever, those neutral mutations will spread throughout the population due to random chance. Although this doesn't play a significant role in large populations (like those of bacteria), it plays a large role in small populations (basically any vertebrate).

    I don't think 'plan' is appropriate for the nonrandom interaction of genes and environment. It's not a 'plan' that slow rabbits get eaten, it's just that the snow lynx are fast. Here's a useful model:


    This is a selective landscape, the peaks represent the most fit combination of genes. Selection cannot cause a population to traverse between peaks, because it can't say "Well, we'll take a hit in fitness this year, but next year we'll be better than we ever were!" Selection always pushes towards the most fit nearby peak, proceeding in one direction. It is not that selection has plans so much as the ball always rolls downhill. This does not mean that it is random, just that it is not forward looking and so, could not be said to have a plan.
  4. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Not "special" per se, just pretty normal to many people. But by your example; You might as well say there's nothing "special" about loving your daughter or wife because those feeling are chemicals.

    Clearly there is more to living than reducing everything down to components parts. This is "special" or not on a personal level. Loving your kids isn't special because it's considered normal. But to each parent their love for their kid is pretty special to them; at least I can think that based on my own experience.

    Spiritual feelings are not particularly "special", but if you have never had any I can see why you might feel like you have missed out on an experience at least. With no experience of something purely experiential there is nothing to identify with or know. No value to judge; at least people who can identify the experience have something to subjectively value and decide the level of meaning it can (or not) hold in their own personal life.
  5. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

    I've had a couple of people tell me they are Pastafarian, and eat mainly a vegetarian diet with only seafood. Is this what they were referring to? Or have I completely muddled up the word?
  6. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

  7. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Thanks a lot for the reply. It's maybe really self serving of me but can you indulge me in one more request.. I like analogies. if you recall I started out by saying in my first reply that I considered life/the universe to proceed in part 'determined' and in part 'random'. That hasn't really changed as such I am just chasing down thought of "how random is random".

    I like an analogy, you may have noticed. If you could - maybe it's not possible - put the randomness you describe here in in terms of something you think is analogous. Is there anything 'like it'. How would it look in probabilities/ A Game of chance.

    For me pure randomness would be akin to me asking you for any number from zero to infinity. I think your choice would be about as random a number as we could make it. On the other hand I could ask you to randomly pick any card from a pack. This second "random" selection is pretty different from the first, as you can see.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  8. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Well yes absolutely. Meaning is subjective; this is hitting the nail on the head in a lot of ways. Meaning in life is what you make it. At the same time meaning needs to have something supporting it to be well err meaningful. When we reason, we can be rational, we can still be "objective" in that sense in how we reason.

    Everything in the mental realm is subjective per se.
  9. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    There isn't anything objectively special about love. It is just chemicals.

    You can just go with that, take your cocktail of drugs and cultural conditioning at face value, and feel that you are experiencing something greater than yourself, or spiritual.

    Or, you can use that knowledge to inform how you shape your inner world, and decide what has value for yourself.

    If someone's neural structure, or neurochemical balance is changed or damaged sufficiently, anyone could stop loving their children, or even harm them. This could happen to anyone.

    Believing there is no cosmic significance to love does not mean that you have to value, or feel it, less.

    Do you not think it a bit of a coincidence that, as social creatures with complex social structures, rules and taboos, the highest "spiritual" goals and feelings are connecting with something greater than yourself, feeling as one with the universe, and finding objective meaning in life and behaviour?

    I guess some might go the tautological route, and use that as a bootstrap argument to show we are cosmic and spiritual beings.

    I take it as a red flag that our highest spiritual aims are rooted in our basest instincts.

    I've had more than my fair share of "spiritual feelings". They are very special to me, as my inner life is very special to me.

    Does it have any meaning? Only that which I bring to it.

    Now, some techniques I have learned can have objective utility - meditation being a big one, as part of self-reflection/conditioning.

    However, the feelings, the "spiritual ecstasy" if you like... that is good for creating a strong impression - a big landmark in your inner narrative. Really though, it is just for show. It's theatre, or entertainment, a way to draw the crowds in.

    It is very much like art - one pile of bricks is a multi-million pound art treasure, another pile of bricks is just worthless rubble. There is no inherent value in either, other than their utility to use as building material, but we assign value and think of it as a "real" thing.
  10. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Depends upon which step you're talking about. Regardless, something can be non random and unplanned.
  11. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Cool. Can you say a little more about a stochastic universe. I haven't heard that term in this context before.

    That's a tricky one. As you probably are aware from previous discussions I think humans have a small capacity for reflective thought and changing ones mind. Sitting with this for a while is leading me to ponder that maybe even a change of mind is a process of determination if you will. You probably catch my drift here.

    I don't really want to invoke anything at this stage rather deal with how things observably operate and go from there. The above is a little unclear for me, which do you have if you don't invoke such an entity; free will or determinism.
    I recall that you were a fairly strong advocate of determinism in past discussions.

    Yea QM. Bloody hell.. Do you have any thoughts on the Zero Point Field?

    Yeah, agreed. I don't think it is completely so (deterministic), but in part some things are as they are because of axioms. That's about as far as I am with it.

  12. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Fair enough. I can see how "plan" can be problematic in certain contexts. You're probably aware of say a computer program/simulation that can say produce different patterns on a screen. Randomness is in the program, that's not really any different to saying it's part of the programmers plan.

    The different shapes are unplanned by anyone or anything (on an individual basis) - it's fair to say- other than the way in which the program runs. Therefore there is a way to produce randomness with certain programing (axioms). Therefore randomness can proceed from a "plan", so to speak. It's just semantics I suppose.

    Where you say something can be non random and unplanned, I am putting it in terms of something being 'random' but planned. Trying to anyway.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I think the dictionary definition puts it more succinctly than I could:

    Having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analysed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.

    I'm not an advocate of determinism in the cosmological sense, as I am more swayed by the idea of a stochastic cosmology.

    In terms of psychology, I believe that small events of free will are hard-won through technique and self-conditioning. My explorations of my own inner world have led me to the tentative conclusion that we are largely products of Skinner's behaviourism, but it is possible to condition yourself.

    As you like analogies, for this I would say that our conscious mind is like a sailing boat drifting at sea, and the ocean is all of our neuroendocrine system. With great effort you can learn to sail, and give some self-determination as to your heading, but you will always be fighting against the winds and currents of which you have no control. That still doesn't stop you circumnavigating the globe, or discovering new lands, if you develop enough skill.

    I know they've created a space engine that requires no fuel to be carried with it using zero-point energy. I get the feeling that's not what you're getting at though.

    Yes, there are axioms; such as the behaviour of fundamental particles (which have stochastic process as part of their axioms!) and universal constants.
  14. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Dude, dude, dude. Who said anything about objectively special. Of course any love I feel is subjective to me.

    Don't worry, we're on the same page.



    Sure, I see where you're going, but we agree there is no specific meaning that is objective. I don't think it is coincidence at all, I am just looking at it from the perspective of a very old joke.

    Who crossed the road first, the chicken or the egg?:p

    Thanks for sharing David. I'm feeling it, because my own mind has traversed a similar landscape as yours and come to quite similar thoughts.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  15. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Except evolution cannot be said to have any plan. You can say that perhaps someone set things in motion, some sort of deist god, but there is no evidence that there was any plan or direction towards producing humanity anymore than there was a plan for this exact planet Earth being formed through gravity.
  16. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Good analogy. I think we have "choice" but not "free will". There are far too many inputs that have gone into making "me", that I have or had no control over, for me to think any of us have true free will. Even though I can sit here and think to myself "I can do anything I want!".
    In reality I just have a selection of fairly narrow choices to pick from.
  17. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Read a cog sci book about free will a long time ago in which a man was undergoing brain surgery. As brain surgeons are noted for their humor, it was not long before the man's cranium was removed and the surgeons electronically stimulated portions of his brain. The man's arm would raise or his leg would jerk and the surgeons would ask him why he did that. Each time the fellow would come up for a reason like "I was reaching for a coke" or "I had a cramp." The experience of decision making and enacting free will is probably just a post hoc rationalization.
  18. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Here's the thing though. God cannot have created the process of evolution itself. Evolution is an emergent property. As soon as he/it/she created descent with modification and differential reproduction then evolution/speciation just occurs.
  19. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    The big trap, and this applies to self-appointed "gurus" more than anyone, is slapping on a captain's hat even though you haven't the first clue about sailing. Then you retrospectively declare every change of heading a deliberate choice, even though you are completely at the mercy of the sea, simply because you believe calling yourself a captain makes it so.
  20. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Yeah, and I think even those are just properties that emerge from biophysical interactions of macromolecules. There will necessarily be 'read copy' errors in any sort of self reproducing thingamajig and then Bob's your uncle. No I mean really, after a few billion years Bob IS your uncle.

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