What is "real"

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by m1k3jobs, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    Wanted to move this conversation to so as not to derail (lol) the original thread about Mormonism which shall remain nameless.

    So, back on topic. No I don't understand real the way you are using it as a religious person. To me if something is real then faith or belief is not required. For example, I believe in air is nonsensical, the existence of air is unquestionable and therefore belief does not apply.

    Therefore real means something that has evidence of it's existence. It is the opposite of belief. Belief is what you have when you choose to believe in spite of the lack of evidence.

    The existence of God is not unquestionable and therefore is the subject of belief. It is a belief that is widely held and by many people never questioned but it is still a belief and not real.
  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    "Real" within this context implies "sufficient evidence to satisfy personal criteria for existence"

    It is the individual evidential burden required to reach "real" that AikiMac seems to suggest targetting...unless I completely misread his post

    In the Mormonism thread, vamp has an exceptionally low (arguably non existent) standard of proof for her beliefs, especially in light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary
  3. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    Aha, so in this case reality is a perspective based on the individuals beliefs, concepts and other cultural filters and biases. I believe in god so therefore god is real.

    That is a rather sloppy way of looking at things in my opinion.
  4. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Not exactly - the belief in God would have a level of personal proof behind it (intelligent design, sunshine and flowers, every culture has a belief in a god/gods etc..). It is the level of proof, or willingness to believe such proof in the light of contrary evidence, that causes the debate
  5. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

    This is starting to sound a lot like Philosophy, and what we might end up with is just discovering what Philosophers have been trying to prove for millennia, we could talk about this all year without getting a definitive answer.

    How real are your dreams?
  6. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

  7. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    This is getting interesting. My dreams and thoughts and emotions are real in that I can experience them but they are not real in as they do not have independent existence.

    But as a Buddhist I know nothing has independent existence. Everything is interconnected and has causes and conditions and those causes and conditions have causes and conditions and so on.

    I think we could definitely go down the rabbit hole with this one. :)
  8. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    No, come on, you're not that dense. I know you're not that dense. Our English dictionary is filled with words that have multiple definitions. My favorite example is the verb "cleave." Does it mean "join together" ? Or does it mean "to separate" ? Or does it mean both?

    By "definition a," so to speak, I can "believe" that horses are real, and that the chair I'm sitting on is real. I can "believe" that 1 + 1 is 2.

    By "definition b," I can "believe" that Jesus rose from the dead and that there is a God.

    I would argue a third definition, "definition c," is warranted for belief in the Book of Mormon and the Flying Spaghetti Monster and voodoo spirits and some other things that have significantly less evidentiary support than Jesus, but regardless, the point is that the word has more than one meaning.

    The dictionary in my computer, in fact, lists more than one meaning for the word "believe":

    1) accept something as true; feel sure of the truth.

    2) hold an opinion; think or suppose

    Do you hold as an opinion that air is real, or do you accept as true that air is real? Or koala bears, to go back to my original post? Either way you "believe" in air or bears by that particular dictionary's definition. I would expect that your dictionary will be substantially similar to all this.

    Yes, and that subjective slide always leads to both confusion and disagreement, eventually.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  9. micmacimus

    micmacimus Valued Member

    Hannibal's definition is the best Ive seen, whether something satisfies your personal evidentiary requirements is the important point, and where we set those goalposts is the basis for an awful lot of rubbish.
    I would argue that sceptics set the goalposts at the most exacting standard, and the scientific method, to tie in another thread, is the best tool we have for reaching evidentiary burdens.
  10. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    AikiMac, I wanted to take my time and think about my response.

    Reality is. Doesn't matter what you believe or don't believe. I have thoughts and beliefs. These are real in the sense that I have them and they have a direct effect on me. However this does not make the content of my thoughts and beliefs real.

    For example I may think that some girl is hot and believe that she is in love with me. The fact that I believe this does not mean she is in love with me.

    One of the things I have been working on in my practice is seeing reality as it is and not how I would like it to be.

    As for your Koala Bear argument, well they either exist or they don't and my beliefs on such do not change reality.

    So, I stick with my statement. If it is real I don't need to believe in it, it simply is, and to expand on that, if it isn't real it doesn't matter if I believe in it.
  11. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Then you're not even using the word as it appears in dictionaries, let alone how the fellow humans you bump into everyday use it.
  12. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    I am not talking about the meaning of believe, I am talking about the meaning of real.

    re·al1    [ree-uhl, reel] adjective

    true; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent: the real reason for an act.

    existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious: a story taken from real life.

    being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary: The events you will see in the film are real and not just made up.

    being actually such; not merely so-called: a real victory.

    genuine; not counterfeit, artificial, or imitation; authentic: a real antique; a real diamond; real silk.
  13. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Oh, well, you didn't make clear. Sorry for the confusion.

    Post 701 of "Mormonism" is where this started: "Vampi, why is there this need to believe in magic and prophecy and such? The universe is awesome enough with needing the supernatural."

    That part about "believe in ..." is what I was hitting at. Sorry.

    In particular instances, sure, I would say this myself, but as a global statement I think it falls short. Like, the Eightfold Path has planks on right understanding and right thoughts and right mindfulness, each of which points to the connection between "skillful" behavior and one's understanding of reality. Wouldn't a misunderstanding of what is going on in the world around you probably lead to some "unskillful" behavior? What I mean is, if it turns out that XYZ is real but you didn't recognize that -- or vice versa, it's not real but you thought it was -- wouldn't you expect to have made some "unskillful" choices? (Obviously for purposes of the question we're measuring the skillfulness in 20/20 hindsight.)

    What I'm saying is that actions sometimes are predicated upon what one believes, so it is not always true that, "It doesn't really matter if I believe in it."

    Make sense? Or confusing?
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  14. pgsmith

    pgsmith Valued dismemberer

    But you, as all humans do, depend upon your sensory input and your brain's interpretation of that input to determine what is real. Despite the way that many would like to see it, reality is NOT black and white, real and unreal. Reality is situational, and changes on a regular basis.

    Lets have an analogy to try and clarify my meaning (I love analogies!) ... You can say that it is a fact that everything is made up of atoms. This is your reality. However, you've never actually seen an atom. You are basing your reality on somebody else's assertion that everything is made up of atoms. Further, their assertion is made based solely upon evidence gathered, not from actual physical observation. You can say that the evidence is overwhelming (which it is) but, it is still basing your reality on your belief that everyone gethering evidence in this instance is correct, and not mistaken somehow. If, at some point in the future, we discover that everything is actually due to interactions of mental ideas, and there is no such thing as an atom, then everyone's reality would hjave to shift radically to encompass this new 'fact'.
    Here's something else to consider ... a friend of mine has no right leg. It ends halfway between his hip and knee. He tells me that his big toe on the foot that's gone often itches, sometimes quite fiercely. Since his right toe is no longer there, it is obviously not a real sensation. My friend though tells me it is very real to him. He can tell you exactly where on his toe it itches.

    My reality is not your reality. I respect your right to not believe in anything that isn't a part of your reality. By the same token, you cannot expect everyone else's reality to be the same as yours.

    Confusing! :)
  15. Bigmikey

    Bigmikey Internet Pacifist.

    What you're touching on here is Faith. I don't KNOW that my car is in the parking lot right now because I can't see it, but I have FAITH that it is and therefore will behave as though it is still where I parked it. I have never met God, I haven't shaken his hand, we haven't gone to lunch, He didn't pick up the tab and wave goodbye but I have FAITH that He exists even without being able to see tangible evidence to support it.

    Dictionary.reference.com defines Faith as: 1.confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability. 2. belief that is not based on proof

    Faith, or the ability to believe in something we cant touch, see or smell, is the only thing that truly separates folks. I always seem to see Atheists speaking about science and proof, etc. I laugh because Faith is the exact polar opposite of that. Its belief despite a lack of any tangible proof what so ever. Its why true faith is so hard to maintain in today's world because its a fragile thing.

    Truth be told, I think that you can be a scientist and still be a devout believer. Just because we can prove how a rainbow works doesn't mean God didn't create it. Just because we can prove the chemistry behind something doesn't mean it wasn't still made by God's hand.

    When God created the universe he became bound by it's laws so when He creates something he has to use the tools and elements at hand. Of COURSE we can figure that out if we try hard enough. Still, it doesn't mean He doesn't exist, it simply means we figured out the magicians trick. Figuring out how a magician does an illusion doesn't make the magician disappear, lol. It just means we're smart enough to understand the science behind the illusion.

    That's just my 2 cents, not trying to start anything ...

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