Many questions from an anonymous lurker

Hambydammit
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Many questions from an anonymous lurker

I'm taking the liberty of posting a heavily edited personal email from someone who I happen to know is lurking about on RRS.  I also know that this is someone who is on the level, so be nice.  Smiling

Lurker wrote:
Aside from digging down to the cellular level to explain how it all works, how do you explain the 'spiritual' things that happen all the time? Those that I know first hand:  [One of my close relative's] hand being healed after a 'silent prayer' by [another family member].  The guy we watched go down for 5 years, almost to the end, with Parkinson's and totally healed when others were praying for him.

 

 

Quote:
Evil:  not being a highly emotional person, I was totally overtaken (when I left a 'strained' conversation in the parking lot a year or so ago) by an 'overpowering' feeling of evil.  When I mentioned it to a co-worker who was in the same conversation, she said that, yes, she and one other co-worker had felt the same thing and already talked about that with each other.  The conversation was as I said 'strained' but with no rudeness or other conversation that would bring on the expectation of any feeling about the conversation, let alone of evil.

 

 

Quote:
I could give example after example.  On the other hand, questions abound; why aren't all prayers answered.

 

Quote:
Life is totally complex.  From the RRS site and others, there are as many opinions as there are people.  I guess sometimes people are listening, but often not, or working it into their own theories.

 

Quote:
I have to agree about Palin being a 'nice' person but not having the credentials for the position.  If she were to rise to the top, she would be doing as per her advisors and who knows what group that would be.  Obama doesn't have a whole lot of experience either.  I guess the really qualified don't want the position or don't have the money or marketing to get there.

 

I'm going to hold my answers for a while, since I have a tendency to borrow DG's bazooka from time to time.  I wanted to give some of you the chance to answer some questions for someone I know personally.  I'm sure I'll be chiming in later, but I kind of want others to be first in.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Lurker wrote:Aside from

Lurker wrote:
Aside from digging down to the cellular level to explain how it all works, how do you explain the 'spiritual' things that happen all the time? Those that I know first hand:  [One of my close relative's] hand being healed after a 'silent prayer' by [another family member].  The guy we watched go down for 5 years, almost to the end, with Parkinson's and totally healed when others were praying for him.

More information is required here.  Parkinson's doesnt just afflict a hand.   That aside, you're picking out the one coincidental? occurrence in which prayer seemingly did what it was supposed to do, and are neglecting to factor in the thousands of unanswered prayers your family no doubt offers up on a weekly basis.   

 

Quote:
Evil:  not being a highly emotional person, I was totally overtaken (when I left a 'strained' conversation in the parking lot a year or so ago) by an 'overpowering' feeling of evil.  When I mentioned it to a co-worker who was in the same conversation, she said that, yes, she and one other co-worker had felt the same thing and already talked about that with each other.  The conversation was as I said 'strained' but with no rudeness or other conversation that would bring on the expectation of any feeling about the conversation, let alone of evil.

 Again, you need to provide more details here.  What did you feel exactly, when you were subject to an "overpowering" feeling of evil?  Apart from that, what is the question? 

Quote:
On the other hand, questions abound; why aren't all prayers answered.

No prayers are answered,  because you are directing them towards an entity that doesnt exist.  As Kevin McHale once said, if the Celtics played 5 monkeys on unicycles enough times, eventually the monkeys would win one. 

Quote:
Life is totally complex.  From the RRS site and others, there are as many opinions as there are people.  I guess sometimes people are listening, but often not, or working it into their own theories.

Not much to say here.  Yes, as being a card-carrying member of the atheist's club requires only that you lack the belief in a god/gods, you will find that our positions on other topics pretty much run the gamut.

Quote:
I have to agree about Palin being a 'nice' person but not having the credentials for the position.  If she were to rise to the top, she would be doing as per her advisors and who knows what group that would be.  Obama doesn't have a whole lot of experience either.  I guess the really qualified don't want the position or don't have the money or marketing to get there.

Experience is overrated.  Who exactly has had the experience of having to make the call on whether to launch an atomic bomb on a country?  Point out which member of any branch of US government has "experience" in dealing with terrorist groups that attack innocent people on US ground.  It's not Palin's inexperience that should bother you, it's her complete lack of an original thought and her inability to consider the merits of any positions contrary to her own that should bother you.

Quote:
I'm going to hold my answers for a while, since I have a tendency to borrow DG's bazooka from time to time.
 

Load up the bazookas, I primed him/her for you with the equivalent of a dollar store water pistol Eye-wink

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I wouldn't call Palin a nice

I wouldn't call Palin a nice person, as she supports very extreme, neo-fascist views. I would never vote for anyone who is pro-life, let alone someone so insane to not even allow abortion in the case of rape or incest (and especially one who signed a policy to make women who were raped pay for the rape kits used for them. )

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latincanuck
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Hambydammit wrote:I'm taking

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm taking the liberty of posting a heavily edited personal email from someone who I happen to know is lurking about on RRS.  I also know that this is someone who is on the level, so be nice.  Smiling

Lurker wrote:
Aside from digging down to the cellular level to explain how it all works, how do you explain the 'spiritual' things that happen all the time? Those that I know first hand:  [One of my close relative's] hand being healed after a 'silent prayer' by [another family member].  The guy we watched go down for 5 years, almost to the end, with Parkinson's and totally healed when others were praying for him.

Ok can we have the medical charts for this one, really this should be some major news here Parkinson HEALED, no trace of it left, i mean seriously this should be some major news, even his doctors should have records of this miracle.

 

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Evil:  not being a highly emotional person, I was totally overtaken (when I left a 'strained' conversation in the parking lot a year or so ago) by an 'overpowering' feeling of evil.  When I mentioned it to a co-worker who was in the same conversation, she said that, yes, she and one other co-worker had felt the same thing and already talked about that with each other.  The conversation was as I said 'strained' but with no rudeness or other conversation that would bring on the expectation of any feeling about the conversation, let alone of evil.

So evil as in you wanted to murder the person and had an intense hatred towards them wishing that their entire family would be killed by your own hands and strangle him/her with the entrails of their mother? Or evil as in you where angry at them because this was a strained (what do you mean by this? A heated argument? Insults traded? If so, anger can be a normal reaction to a "Strained" conversation....oh and this is vague you do know that right?)

 

 

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
I could give example after example.  On the other hand, questions abound; why aren't all prayers answered.

Sure you could these are all vague without any evidence besides personal experience. Which to me gives me the bullshit alarm to go off.

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Life is totally complex.  From the RRS site and others, there are as many opinions as there are people.  I guess sometimes people are listening, but often not, or working it into their own theories.

Life is completely complex, however complexity does not mean supernatural, god or any other fantasy is actually real.

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
I have to agree about Palin being a 'nice' person but not having the credentials for the position.  If she were to rise to the top, she would be doing as per her advisors and who knows what group that would be.  Obama doesn't have a whole lot of experience either.  I guess the really qualified don't want the position or don't have the money or marketing to get there.

Your right it should be the one that makes the better choices, and so far besides rhetoric coming from Palin and a daft idea (lets get sanctions against Russia)....sure the one country that probably won't hesitate to start a war with the US and is an ally with China that with Japan have %47 percent of the US debt in their hands and could at a moments notice demand their money back and take it out of the US to completely bankrupt the US (ok Japan probably would not do this but China sure can screw the US) Yes you in the US vote for religious moron's that can't even get their kids some basic sex education (condoms and the pills people can keep pregnancies and STD's away), and not for the one that has shown better judgment than republicans have so far.

Hambydammit wrote:

I'm going to hold my answers for a while, since I have a tendency to borrow DG's bazooka from time to time.  I wanted to give some of you the chance to answer some questions for someone I know personally.  I'm sure I'll be chiming in later, but I kind of want others to be first in.

 

Go right ahead, your so much better at this.


darth_josh
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Lurker wrote:Aside from

Lurker wrote:
Aside from digging down to the cellular level to explain how it all works, how do you explain the 'spiritual' things that happen all the time? Those that I know first hand:  [One of my close relative's] hand being healed after a 'silent prayer' by [another family member].  The guy we watched go down for 5 years, almost to the end, with Parkinson's and totally healed when others were praying for him.

Would it satisfy you if 'digging down to a cellular level' were the answer or would you always need something to be 'spiritual'?

What if the physiological answers were the end of the proverbial rainbow?

 

Quote:
Evil:  not being a highly emotional person, I was totally overtaken (when I left a 'strained' conversation in the parking lot a year or so ago) by an 'overpowering' feeling of evil.  When I mentioned it to a co-worker who was in the same conversation, she said that, yes, she and one other co-worker had felt the same thing and already talked about that with each other.  The conversation was as I said 'strained' but with no rudeness or other conversation that would bring on the expectation of any feeling about the conversation, let alone of evil.

I'm sorry. This is too vague. Perhaps all that was needed was the sense of 'strained' conversation to elicit this response from the three of you. 

 

Quote:
I could give example after example.  On the other hand, questions abound; why aren't all prayers answered.

Probability, possibility, and coincidence should be considered shouldn't they?

For instance, if I were to pray that I die in my sleep because I couldn't bear watching anyone react to my death then I would have approximately a 33% of my prayer being answered because we sleep about a third of our lives.

Even in the instances of 'miraculous healings' there is always a possibility that someone will get better.

The converse is true as well. Easy, high probability things don't always happen the way it's expected. An easily treated urinary tract infection can cause unexpected kidney failure.

A saying that I have come to love is: "Hands that help are far better than lips that pray." If we simply pray for something to happen/not happen then we have a much higher probability of failure than we do if we actively affect that particular outcome. Would you concur that is true?

 

Quote:
Life is totally complex.  From the RRS site and others, there are as many opinions as there are people.  I guess sometimes people are listening, but often not, or working it into their own theories.

I'm sorry. I fail to understand the significance of this platitude.

If this is the argument from complexity then it fails upon examination of infinite regression. If complex things have complex creators then complex creators have complex creators etc.

For everyone to have different opinions, as they most certainly do, all that is needed is different experiences and circumstances, as they most certainly do.

 

Quote:
I have to agree about Palin being a 'nice' person but not having the credentials for the position.  If she were to rise to the top, she would be doing as per her advisors and who knows what group that would be.  Obama doesn't have a whole lot of experience either.  I guess the really qualified don't want the position or don't have the money or marketing to get there.

It honestly wouldn't matter who was running, we would find fault with them in some facet of their lives.

Often by the time we get the answers to all of the mundane nitpicking questions, the issues have been sidestepped or relegated to unimportance by the punditry.

It could very well be that the only reason we haven't found many instances of hypocrisy on the part of Obama is due to his lack of a fair number of instances of action. However, McCain-Palin have taken the act of being hypocritical to a whole new level based upon their verified past actions and words.

 

 

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Hambydammit
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I'm going to take these one

I'm going to take these one at a time, mainly because I'm writing something else right now and just need a break at the moment.

Quote:
Aside from digging down to the cellular level to explain how it all works, how do you explain the 'spiritual' things that happen all the time? Those that I know first hand:  [One of my close relative's] hand being healed after a 'silent prayer' by [another family member].  The guy we watched go down for 5 years, almost to the end, with Parkinson's and totally healed when others were praying for him.

First, there's an inherent assumption in your first sentence.  You've implied that there is necessarily a difference between "how it all works at a cellular level" and "spiritual things."  What is your reasoning for assuming that an injured hand, or Parkinson's disease, cannot be cured by "how it works at a cellular level"?  You've decided, before the discussion starts, that some things are physical and some are spiritual.

Here's an essay that you should read: 'Supernatural' (and 'immaterial') are broken concepts  I'm going to explain it in small detail here, but it's worth reading the whole thing.  Essentially, supernatural, spiritual, and all similar words are empty of meaning.  If we are to say what a thing is, we must do just that -- say what it is.  These words say what a thing is not!  What is supernatural?  It's that which is above nature, right?  Or maybe outside of ntaure?  Both of these mean the same thing:  "Not natural."

From here, we get into a nasty loop.  Nature is all that we can verify as existing, right?  Matter, energy, space, time.  If supernatural is none of these things, then what is it?  It's what God is, right?  Ok.. what is god?  Supernatural.

You see?  these words don't actually mean anything.  They're just placeholders for other words that don't mean anything.  When we say something is spiritual, we're saying exactly the same thing.  Spiritual means "not physical."  Well, what is it, then?  Spiritual means not physical means spiritual.  This is called a circular argument, and as you can see, it's not really worth much.

Consider it in another context.  Suppose I want to give you twenty thousand bliffpthegs.  Do you want them?  Before you say yes or no, I'll tell you that bliffpthegs are not elephants.  Now do you want them?

When you think of it in simple terms that don't have emotional meaning, you can see that defining something as "not something else" is meaningless.

You might protest at this time that we can define things negatively.  Suppose I tell you that I've got a box, and it contains a pen, a comb, and a lock of hair.  Next, I tell you that I'm thinking of an object, and it's not a lock of hair or a comb.  You know, through a process of elimination, that I'm talking about a pen.

Unfortunately, this is not the same thing.  By giving you a list of choices, I have created a universe of discourse.  That is, I've given you a list of all the possible things that could be in the box.  Once that's accomplished, it's easy to eliminate all but one, and have one left over.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way for supernatural.  There simply is no universe of discourse because the only available words for supernatural indicate only that it is not in the set of natural things.  It doesn't tell us what set it is in.  We're right back where we started.  Supernatural = God = Supernatural, ad nauseum.  This doesn't tell us anything.  All of these words are just placeholders for "not natural."

So, already, there are two errors in critical thinking.  First, you've assumed the existence of that which you want to prove.  Consider that the healing of a hand only proves that a hand has been healed.  It says nothing of the agent of healing.  There is a much worse problem here.  Suppose for a second that the supernatural exists.  That is, things which are beyond science, since science is the study of all things natural.  That means that literally anything is possible.  Maybe there is no god as you believe, but there is a malevolent entity that gets off on getting people to believe ridiculous myths, and has been variously inflicting religions on the different people of the world since we were smart enough to understand them!  Maybe this entity took a particular interest in reinforcing your belief of Christianity and healed somebody's hand in front of you.  Maybe he's got a map of your brain, and knows exactly how to manipulate your emotions to his own amusement.

Can you prove that this entity is any less likely than your god?  Consider that religion has been around a LOT longer than Christianity, and my theory takes that into account.  Your god only came to global significance in the last few hundred years.  Before that, it was only prevalent in Europe and North Africa.  My theory of a malevolent being inflicting false religions on man is much more consistent with the facts.  In fact, the strength of your convictions, and those of your family, actually PROVE my point!  You're so blinded by this being that you actually see a silly little Jewish God as controlling all of life, when the story is obviously ludicrous.  Your god story has only been believed by maybe 1/1000th of all the people who have ever lived!  Only a malevolent god could convince an otherwise rational person of such an absurdity.

On to the Parkinson's.  I'd like to point out that Parkinson's disease is extremely difficult to diagnose.  There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that accurately narrow a diagnosis down to PD.  The diagnosis is usually based on a medical history and neurological exam.  The symptoms of PD are not unique to it, nor are they consistent within a sample of patients.  While there is no cure for it, remission does occur in a small percentage of cases.

With all of that in mind, let me ask you these pointed questions.  Knowing that some diseases go into remission, are you prepared to say that every instance of disease remission is the direct hand of god?  If so, then how do you account for the various breakthroughs in medical science which are beginning to explain the nuts and bolts biological reasons behind the body's ability to heal itself?  Are they wrong?  Is God simply causing the body to do what the body does naturally?  That's not much of a god, if you ask me.

Furthermore, have you considered for a moment how many people have Parkinson's disease?  The occurrence of the disease is about 100-120 in 100,000 Caucasians.  The 2007 population of the United States was 301,100,000, give or take a hundred thousand.   Approximately 73% of Americans are Caucasians.  Some simple math gives us 361,200 people in the U.S. alone suffering from Parkinson's disease.  I did a google search for the phrase "healed of parkinson's disease" and came up with 124 hits.  Approximately 80 of them were not pertinent, leaving approximately 44 pages claiming that someone they know was healed of parkinson's disease by a supernatural agent.  (Not all of them claimed it was Jesus!)

A little more math.  Approximately 85% of Americans profess belief in God.  So, we can, with some certainty, propose that 307,020 people with Parkinson's are believers.  Assuming that all 44 internet cases were legit, that means that God has a rate of 0.0014% for healing people with Parkinson's disease.  (That's not even taking into account the fact that many nonbelievers have people praying for them all the time.  Don't you know a couple of people who offer up prayers for me from time to time?)  The remission rate is significantly higher than that.  Granted, I'm making the assumption that anyone healed by a god in the age of the internet would mention it.  Seems like a big deal.

Speaking of a big deal, someone earlier mentioned that if someone really was healed of Parkinson's, it ought to be a really big deal, right?  Where are the scientific papers?  Where are the conferences being held?  Parkinson's is incurable.  It only goes into remission sometimes.  I happen to recall enough specifics about the person you're referring to that I was able to look up very exact names, places, and pretty exact years.   Not one science journal mentions anything about it.

What I'm getting around to is something called confirmation bias.  People really like to believe that things are personally relevant to them, so they often mistake random occurrences for purposeful events.  Certainly there is someone alive who has won a lottery by using their first child's birthdate.  That's because probably one out of four people who play the lottery use their first child's birthdate when they play the lottery, and LOTS of people play the lottery.  Eventually, somebody had to win.  Even so, you find a story about this very thing happening, and I'll bet you a hundred bucks the winner will either thank God or her astrologer for helping her pick the right numbers.

Another way to look at it is to flip it around.  If ten million people play the lottery, and two million of them use a relative's birthday, and one wins, that means that one million nine hundred ninetynine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine people did NOT win with their relative's birthday.  However, if in the last twenty years, there have been fifty people who have won with relative's birthdays, we might at first glance be fooled into believing that there was some significance to it. 

Similarly, have you considered the three hundred thousand people or so alive right now who are going to die with Parkinson's disease?  Now, think about this in broader terms.  There are lots of diseases, and lots of people get them.  Hundreds and hundreds of them, surrounding you at any given moment.  Some are minor, some are major.  What are the odds that at some point in your life, somebody, with some disease or another, is going to go into remission?

Actually... they're pretty good.

Now, consider two more pieces to the puzzle.  Everyone you know is a Christian.  It would be hard for you to find one of your acquaintances with a disease who ISN'T being prayed for pretty much constantly.  In other words, if any of your friends have a disease that goes into remission, it's going to coincide with somebody praying for them.  Suppose the hand or the Parkinson's had gotten better when nobody was in the room.  Do you think it would have been hard to find somebody that prayed for it that very same hour?  If not that, the same day?  The same week?  Any success is going to be linked to the nearest prayer, and since you don't know anybody that doesn't get prayed for, it's a virtual guarantee that IF you see it happen, there would be a connection to prayer.

Last thing, then I'll put the bazooka away.  What do people like to do when they catch a big fish?  They like to cut the thing up, put it in the freezer, and then tell everybody it was five pounds heavier than it was.  When something neat happens to us, we tend to exaggerate it.  That's just human nature.  We like a good story.  Now, consider that everybody at your church would think it was really, really cool if somebody got a miracle from god.  Supposing that something relatively good happened, can you imagine that there might be a tendency to exaggerate the story for effect?  After all, it's still telling the truth... God did heal you, right?  You're just making the story more exciting so that more people will hear about the glory of god!

I mean, suppose you woke up one night, had some sort of coughing fit or something, and then realized that you weren't shaking.  While you slept, your PD had gone into remission, but since you woke up suddenly, you didn't get to see the gradually subsiding shake.  All you saw was the near absence of a shake when you woke up.  Now, have you ever woken with a start?  Of course.  Everybody does.  Still, how easy would it be to embellish that story a little bit and make it a sharp feeling of God's glory that woke you up?  I mean, it wouldn't even have to be a conscious lie.  When we wake up suddenly, we're groggy.  Time does weird things.  It wouldn't be hard to notice the lack of shake and then get a huge endorphin rush at the realization that the disease might be gone.  Since you're a Christian, you'd immediately attribute it to god, and then you'd really get a kick!  You just won the God Lottery!  Everybody at church is gonna love you.  You're going to be a first hand witness for the glory of god!

Yeah... I can find a lot of ways to explain those kind of events.  I know they aren't as comforting as your explanations, but they sure do make a lot more sense.  Curiously, there's a lot of comfort in the knowledge that good, bad, and neutral happens to everybody, and it's nothing personal.  You should try it on for size sometime.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit
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Quote:It could very well be

Quote:
It could very well be that the only reason we haven't found many instances of hypocrisy on the part of Obama is due to his lack of a fair number of instances of action.

Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law review.  He created a voter registration drive that created 150,000 new voters.  He was a constitutional law professor for 12 years.  He was a State Senator in a district with 750,000 people.  He was chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee.  He was a U.S. senator for 4 years, and sponsored 131 bills.  He served on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and public Works, and Veteran's Affairs committees.

How this translates into a lack of a fair number of instances of action is a mystery to me.

On the flip side, Palin was mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people in Alaska.  She spent 20 months as governor.  She was a sports reporter before that.  Curiously, it's not hard at all to find hypocrisy in her.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I'll take it all at once,

I'll take it all at once, SCIENCE ....


darth_josh
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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:It

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
It could very well be that the only reason we haven't found many instances of hypocrisy on the part of Obama is due to his lack of a fair number of instances of action.

Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law review.  He created a voter registration drive that created 150,000 new voters.  He was a constitutional law professor for 12 years.  He was a State Senator in a district with 750,000 people.  He was chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee.  He was a U.S. senator for 4 years, and sponsored 131 bills.  He served on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and public Works, and Veteran's Affairs committees.

How this translates into a lack of a fair number of instances of action is a mystery to me.

On the flip side, Palin was mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people in Alaska.  She spent 20 months as governor.  She was a sports reporter before that.  Curiously, it's not hard at all to find hypocrisy in her.

 

Did you miss the part where I said "It could very well be..." in response to your e-mail friend's words "Obama doesn't have a whole lot of experience either."?

And for the record, I was trying to be nice like you asked instead of pointing out the absolute fucking stupidity of comparing the presidential candidate to the vice presidential candidate.

According to thomas.loc.gov, it was 152 bills/resolutions NOT JUST BILLS with only 3 BILLS making it out of committee for a vote with the first one not coming until 2007.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like the guy. WHEN he votes, he votes as well as can be expected. However, I may still just treat this election Obama-like and ABSTAIN.

Love ya. Mean it. Let's get back to religion.

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Quote:Love ya. Mean it.

Quote:
Love ya. Mean it. Let's get back to religion.

How can I be mad when you've somehow bitched at me AND made the point I was trying to make?  You're so cuddly for a sith lord!

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:Love

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Love ya. Mean it. Let's get back to religion.

How can I be mad when you've somehow bitched at me AND made the point I was trying to make?  You're so cuddly for a sith lord!

 

So, is this 'lurker' sensitive? Is that why you've chosen to be the intermediary?

Should we edit profanity from the thread and move it to KEWK in order to give the person adequate protection for their delicate sensibilities?

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latincanuck wrote:Yes you in

latincanuck wrote:

Yes you in the US vote for religious moron's that can't even get their kids some basic sex education (condoms and the pills people can keep pregnancies and STD's away), and not for the one that has shown better judgment than republicans have so far.

The pill CANNOT protect against STDs. watch yourself there - only contraception that provides a complete physical barrier is effective against all STDs (except love).

Coming onto the OP's account of a hand being healed through prayer, I would like to ask him/her why, when these supposed miracles are being referred to all the time (it seems a lot of Christians on these boards have a friend/relative who has been healed or cured by god) has there never EVER been a case of an amputee being healed? People who can't walk, but have their legs still, BAM cured. People with a degenerative disease - BAM cured, Cancer? No problem - BAM cured. But anyone who has actually lost a limb will never be cured. Should they bother praying? Is limb regrowth too much for god to cope with? or are amputees simply more evil people who don't deserve to ever have their prayers answered?

How can any christian who believes in healing answer this without making their god sound like a total hypocrite?

 

Ian

 

 

 

 

 


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GodsUseForAMosquito

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

latincanuck wrote:

Yes you in the US vote for religious moron's that can't even get their kids some basic sex education (condoms and the pills people can keep pregnancies and STD's away), and not for the one that has shown better judgment than republicans have so far.

The pill CANNOT protect against STDs. watch yourself there - only contraception that provides a complete physical barrier is effective against all STDs (except love).

Coming onto the OP's account of a hand being healed through prayer, I would like to ask him/her why, when these supposed miracles are being referred to all the time (it seems a lot of Christians on these boards have a friend/relative who has been healed or cured by god) has there never EVER been a case of an amputee being healed? People who can't walk, but have their legs still, BAM cured. People with a degenerative disease - BAM cured, Cancer? No problem - BAM cured. But anyone who has actually lost a limb will never be cured. Should they bother praying? Is limb regrowth too much for god to cope with? or are amputees simply more evil people who don't deserve to ever have their prayers answered?

How can any christian who believes in healing answer this without making their god sound like a total hypocrite?

 

Ian

I said condoms AND the pills, not just the pills by itself. The pill is great for pregnancy, the condoms for pregnancy and STD's. I say use both no matter what, if the girl is on the pill....still use condoms, ya never know who she's been with, and in turn ladies you never know who he has been with. I say over do it and protect yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Oh, children...  don't make

Oh, children...  don't make me stop the car!

Ok... answering a couple quick questions:  I don't think KEWK is necessary.  It looks like most of the barbs are being traded between us atheists.  I doubt this lurker will post.  It's kind of a delicate situation.  I mainly posted this to give an idea of what a lot of different atheists would say.  I think sometimes hearing something from somebody you don't know is easier than hearing it from somebody you do know. 

Ian, I don't think you should take too much offense at the reaction to the condom statement.  You see, among (I'd guess) 98% of the regular readers here, condom information is a lot like info on the danger of cigarettes.  We all know.  I mean... really... most of us could teach a class on some kind of science topic or other without having to crack a book.  This isn't the same audience you get from youtube or myspace.  This is about the fourth thread in the last month where somebody has been loose (pun intended) with condom talk and has gotten a mini lecture from somebody concerned about STDs.

For the record -- We all know what viruses are.  We know that the pill is a hormone therapy, not a physical barrier.  We know.  We know.  We know.  To anybody reading this who thinks we might not know.... WE KNOW.  It's pretty simple stuff.  Viruses are what we call, "very small." 

I'm also a big fan of everybody using both condoms and the pill.  Babies aren't unwanted as much as diseases, but sometimes it's a pretty close race. 

 

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Ok.  Round two:

Ok.  Round two:

Quote:
Evil:  not being a highly emotional person, I was totally overtaken (when I left a 'strained' conversation in the parking lot a year or so ago) by an 'overpowering' feeling of evil.  When I mentioned it to a co-worker who was in the same conversation, she said that, yes, she and one other co-worker had felt the same thing and already talked about that with each other.  The conversation was as I said 'strained' but with no rudeness or other conversation that would bring on the expectation of any feeling about the conversation, let alone of evil.

Simply put, I think we have a definite disagreement on definitions.  First, what is evil?  Remember the bit about supernatural?  Evil is the same way.  Evil is defined in relation to God, who is defined as supernatural.  That is to say, the foundation of the word 'evil' is nonsense, so the concept of evil is also nonsense.

There's a really good book you should read if you get the chance:

The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker (Paperback - May 11, 1999)

 

It's a really easy read, though it does get a little repetitive at times.  (It's such a simple concept, he didn't really need the whole book, but then, that's the book industry.  Full length or nothing.)

Here's the gist of it.  Humans take in huge amounts of data from our senses.  Most of it doesn't make it to the front of our awareness.  That is, we have to stop and really think about it before we can even notice it, but we are taking it in nonetheless.  Combine that with the fact that our brain does a lot of subonscious thinking, and we often find that we have done something quite without thinking.

As an example, Mr. De Becker offers many cases of rape victims who at first told police they had absolutely no warning, or no inkling at all that their attacker had nefarious motives until the act was in progress.  The thing is, after more in depth interviews, they almost always remember some detail that at first seems innocuous to them, but when filtered through an accurate understanding of human nature, was a dead giveaway that something was afoot.

The thing is, we know more about human nature instinctively then we do intellectually.  We don't need to be taught body language.  We understand it instinctively.  The funny thing is that in many cultures (ours included) we teach children that human nature is substantially different than what it really is.  Over the years, we learn to ignore a lot of the natural signals we get from others because they seem to be signaling something different than what we "know" intellectually to be true.

Without knowing anything substantial about your conversation, the most obvious explanation is that something didn't make sense to your subconscious.  Something about the conversation, or the surroundings, or the person themselves, triggered an ancient instinctive reaction -- "SOMETHING IS WRONG!  BE ON GUARD!!"

It's curious that you would automatically assume that your companion's similar experience proves a guiding hand manipulating both of your minds.  Why wouldn't you just go with the obvious answer?  All humans have the same basic set of instincts, and you both were witnessing the same thing!

Surely you know that there are often subtexts to conversations.  Someone can be asking you about the weather in Tuscon, but what they're really doing is trying to get information about you to con you into buying rug cleaner.   It's not always that obvious, though.  Anyway, who knows what set off both your spidey senses, but it's safe to say that if you both felt creeped out by this person, I wouldn't trust them in the future.  That's not god.  It's just basic human instincts.

 

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Firstly, I'd like to say I

Firstly, I'd like to say I like what you are doing here Hamby. I don't know if it's a friend, a family member, or a co-worker of yours that we are adressing here, but it is clear that it is someone you care about, and have respect for, regardless of the fact that you think he/she is fundementally wrong about some very important things (might I venture a guess and say, I think we are dealing with a "she" here? That's what my gut is telling me anyway).

I think everyone should reserve the right to not like someone, but I also think that a person is being quite simply irrational if they think they can do anything useful in talking to someone they don't like. The real crazies out there, and they are out there, I simply do not bother with. Not because I don't think their minds can't be changed (well I think a few minds can't), but because I know that I am not the person to do it.

Because if you really dislike someone you are unlikely to provide them with anything but anger and indignation. I think some people here have a tendency to loose sight of who they are talking to, and I think it is a lesson to be learned for all of us that it is the genuine emotional investment in a person that makes you most likely to bring them over to your way of thinking.

Because, as much as I know many here can't help but cringe at the thought, it is the emotional argument that works in far and away the most cases, especially as it pertains to religion, because it is almost inveriably an emotional argument that has led people to theism in the first place.

So on that note, to our lurker, I would like to say:

Hamby's example of confirmation bias is important to consider, because prayer is not harmful in and of itself, but to rely on prayer in the most dire of circumstances can lead to terrible disappointment. Consider this:

I am a happy and fulfilled person, who has experienced few setbacks, and many victories in my life. I am loved by many, liked by more, and hated by no-one I know of. I live in a rich, safe and thoroughly atheistic nation (Denmark), and so, I have never prayed for anything, or ever been prayed for to my knowledge.

Now, I live alone, and as a consequence I am alone with myself and my thoughts alot of the time. And at times, when I become particularly contemplative in my alone-ness (because it's not loneliness; when I'm lonely, I invite friends over), I will meditate, talk to myself, smile for myself, and comfort myself. All of this is both healthy for my own mental stability, and a great source of thoughts and realisations that makes me wiser as time goes on.

Now consider for a moment what prayer is. Is it not reasonable to say, that in many ways, what I sometimes do when I'm alone is in many ways an atheist's way of praying? And since I reap the same benefits from it that a person praying does, how is that the acceptance of God's existence can be contigent on this? Make no mistake, I consider the idea of God utterly prepostous. I harbour no feelings of respect for any of the God-concepts that humans have conjoured up over the years, and I will often denegrate the character of the Biblical God on these boards, so if there really was such a God, he can't possibly care what I think about him, because I live a happy and fulfilled life, I love, and am loved in abundance.

Now, as to the insident with the feeling of "evil" coming over you, it sounds like a perfectly plausible situation to me. The only difference between your view of the situation and mine is the words we choose to use to describe it. Indeed we might even use the same words, and just interpret them differently.

If you were to say: "A deamon was present among us during that conversation", I might very well agree with you, but whereas you might mean that an evil spirit, a thinking, individual entity that comes from hell, was, in some immatterial form literally present, I would mean it simply as a metaphor. I would say that anger, fear, irritation and aggression was present in one or more of the individuals that were in that conversation, which made everyone ill at ease, and that would be the only "deamon", the only "evil" to be found there.

You are right: the world is complex. People have wildly differing oppinions on what is true and what is false, what is moral and what is immoral. If you genuially want to understand other people, to help them, and to help yourself, to "heal the world", as it were, the best thing you can do (in my oppinion) is to make a genuine attempt at understanding what humans are.

And, in my humble oppinion, what helps you do that best, is to understand yourself, and what brings you to believe the things you believe.

Hamby and I are on completely the same page, when we say that the best way to understand human nature is to understand that we are animals. Now, a dog is not the same as a fly, a fly is not the same as a giraff, and a giraff is not the same as a homo sapiens, so indeed there is no need to think that we are the same as other animals in all respects.

But what has helped me most in my life to make me happy, calm, and (I hope) just and loving, is my recognition of why I feel the way I feel.

Most importantly, it is important for me to understand why I get scared and why I get horny. These, in my oppinion, are the two most powerful forces in human behavior. I will ellaborate on my thoughts on this if prompted.

But for now, I will just tell you a little annecdote. My sister has recently had a third daughter, and it was my intense pleasure to see her for the first time the other day (my sister lives across the country, so it is a special treat when I get to see her and my nieces).

Now as I sat with this tiny little "miracle" in my arms I took a deep breath and smelled the top of her head. She had that wonderful "new baby smell" and I was immediately filled with... What would you guess?

It was an overpowering sense, feeling, realisation of being an animal. I had probably been reading one too many of Hamby's many wonderful posts on these boards, because the feeling of primitive protectiveness, a joy at having this little new member of my "pack" here with me, not to mention the rare, conscious awareness of my sense of smell, such an important smell for all animals, but so often a sense that we humans are not very conscious of, all combined into making me feel so very much in touch with what I am!.

I might be inclined to call it a profound spiritual experience, but that's just my typical poetic, romantic way of expressing myself. I'm a real softy...

P.S: It is interesting to note, by the way, that my sister is adopted (From Equador). We share no genes whatsoever. I am a blue-eyed, ginger caucasian, while my sister, and her three daughters have jet-black hair, and dark-brown, almost black eyes. But there is no doubt in my mind that my profound feelings for her "cubs" has everything to do with my feeling that they are my pack Smiling

*Edit: Yikes! Sorry guys... That's a big one, that... Man I can rant, can't I?*

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Nikolaj, I hope you will not

Nikolaj, I hope you will not try too hard to limit your posts.  I think every sentence you wrote was relevant.  Sometimes it takes a lot of words to get a full set of thoughts across to a reader.

I do have a question for you.  Was your sister adopted while you were quite young?  The reason I ask is that we've learned quite a bit about imprinting, and what it boils down to is this:  When children are very young, it's extremely likely that the other young children being cared for by their mother are at least half related to them.  The father need not be the same.  If the mother is the same, there is a strong genetic link.  Since humans don't recognize relatives by smell, we have to use something.  As it turns out, we use imprinting.  That is, when a child is in the imprinting phase, above three and below ten or eleven, they imprint upon the people surrounding them.  One of the most notable things we find in study after study is that siblings are not sexually distant from one another because of heritage.  They are distant because of proximity.

In other words, if you're raised with a girl during that time, you will instinctively treat her as a sibling, whether she is or not.  This, of course, includes the pack protection instinct.

Obviously, humans can be intensely loyal to people they've met after the age of ten, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that your sister was adopted when you were young.  Am I right?

Oh... one other thing.  If you think about imprinting, it is really amazing.  Big Brother (the tv show) exaggerates a particular human trait, but we all pretty much know the truth about putting people into close proximity.  Somebody's going to end up having sex eventually.   Once we are above imprinting age, the likelihood of becoming romantically attached to a member of the preferred sex goes up substantially the longer we spend intimate (close proximity) time with them.  It's truly amazing when we consider it, that our genes can create such a huge change in us, so that we generally have little sexual interest in siblings that have been our close compatriots, partners in crime, etc, for so many years.

And all of that is from simple math -- the pre-humans who didn't have anti-sibling sexual imprinting died off because they had slightly more birth defects than those who did.  Amazing stuff.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hi Hamby. Thanks for your

Hi Hamby. Thanks for your kind words, first of all.

My sister was adobted at the age of one, and actually, she is my older sister.

You see my mother had some sort of condition that makes her extra sick during pregnancy: morning sickness is more than just mornings and lasts throughout the pregnancy. This got incrementally worse after each pregnancy (I've got two older brothers 39, and 37 respectively). When they tried a third time she had an abortion (I'm still not sure wether it was a voluntary abortion, or wether she aborted naturally. I wasn't there at the time after all), and so they decided to adopt.

The process of adoption takes so long however, that when my sister finally arrived my brothers were so much older than her that they decided to try one last time, to give her a "playmate", so to speak. So I was born a year after my sister had arrived here, making her two years older than me. She just turned 30, by the way, and I just turned 28 yesterday (on the 22.).

And yes, I find this subject very fascinating.

Another annecdote comes to mind.

I come from a very close-nit family. The kids I spent the most time with during my childhood were my siblings and my cousins, as my (farther's side of the) family had get-together's all the time with my farther's three brother's and their children. My three female cousins aren't exactly like sisters to me, but it's pretty close.

So when I once had a conversation at a party with some friends about the concept of old flames, affairs and "fuck-buddies", and one girl mentioned that she had had an on-going affair with her cousin, that she only met at her very rare family-gatherings, and every time they would have a weekend affair, I was completely thrown off.

I could not in any way imagine how one could possibly have a sexual affair with ones cousin, and to be honest I think I came across to the rest of the party as rather grossed out, and somewhat judgemental.

So she, and the others, argued to me, as I explained my own family structure, that it sounded like my childhood experiences with my female cousins put me in a very different position than the girl at the party. And the whole thing calmed down. She was, when all's said and done, acting perfectly natural in being attracted to a guy that she had no inate sense of familiarity with.

And, just for the record, she did say that they had never considered taking it any further than the affair, precisely because they were cousins.

So even though noone at the party, including myself, had any training in evolutionary psychology, we all arrived at the conclution that it was quite natural for her to be attracted to her cousin: effectively a stranger, and for me to not even be able to consider it about my cousins: effectively my sisters.

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Quote:And all of that is

Quote:

And all of that is from simple math -- the pre-humans who didn't have anti-sibling sexual imprinting died off because they had slightly more birth defects than those who did.  Amazing stuff.

I find often that people are quite resistive to the idea. They find it hard to imagine that it would really be possible for an advantage or disadvantage so trivial could possibly lead to large phenotypic changes over extended periods of time, or that alleles could spread throughout a population just because of a seemingly so small advantage/disadvantage. This is very frustrating. I would say that one of the reasons for opposition to evolution is that so many people really and truly have no understanding of basic stochastic processes or discrete probability distributions. Every large scale stochastic process that we experience on a day-to-day basis depends wholly on the law of large numbers: individual entities are meaningless. The trends can only be examined when vast numbers are considered. The obvious example is that of a chemical reaction. In a 1 liter solution with two 1M aqueous reagants, there are about one octillion reagant molecules. Chemical reactions depend on the collision of reactants with sufficient activation energy to form products. The process on a small scale is randomness entirely: Molecules bashing into each other, products breaking apart and reverting into reactants. But when we talk about 1024 individual molecules, the pattern is obvious, and unless the Kc is close to 1, the reaction invariably moves to one side. It's just basic thermodynamics and probability distribution. A similar understanding holds for evolution. The comparitive advantage might be tiny, but even a tiny advantage will shift the equilibria distribution of alleles in a population over time. The larger the population and the more generations you observe, the more obvious it becomes. The logic is identical. Although it is an oversimplification, it sometimes help to think of changes in allele frequency as analogous to chemical kinetics. In chem. kinetics we talk about dynamic equilibria. This is a point in the reaction where the rate of production of the products is equal to the rate of reversion to the reactants. Hence the concentratiosn do not change. The Kc is called the equilibria constant. It is a measure of the ratio of products over reactants at equilibria. A Kc higher then 1 means the reaction tends toward the products, a Kc less than 1 tends toward the reactants. Similarily, in allele frequency distribution, we can refer to the rate of change of proportion of an allele within a population. For an allele which has no selective advantage, the rate of destruction (death of organisms who carry it) versus production (birth of organisms who carry it) is roughly equal. This simple fact is the basis of the tremendously important Hardy-Weinberg principle. For a chemical reaction, it would be analogous to say that for a Kc of 1, the G value is 0. Any shift in this equilibria will tend toward the production or destruction of the allele. Even if the shift in probability is tiny, the trend is inevitably going to happen. It's just a basic consequence of the law of large numbers.

The only major difference is that for a chemical reaction, we have reversion. Individual molecules in one state can revert to the other. Individual organisms holding the allele cannot "revert". Additionally, in chem. kinetics, while we may speak about the proportion of particular entities in one state or the state, we are still talking about the same "stuff" that we were at the initial point in the closed system, whereas in allele frequecy change, the initial set is destroyed and replaced by another set, and so on and so on. For some frequency coefficient f the ratio of the allele per population for generation n is obviously fn-1 (that is, geometric in series). Additionally, wheras chemical systems tend toward the equilibria point, allele frequency shifts always tend to 1 or 0. The last point should be stressed for it makes the process significantly easier to understand.

Many people find this unsettling: the idea that they are nothing more than infinitesimal and irrelevant participants in a vast and blind probability game, no more meaningful than an individual molecule is to the stochastic trend of a chemical reaction.

My response to this is as follows:

Meh.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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I think the feeling of

I think the feeling of unsettlement is broader than just misunderstanding the math.  Nickolaj is not in the norm when he finds out that his "transcendental" excperience at holding his adopted sister's baby is a product of math.  Most people really don't want to hear about the science behind such feelings, as it gives them a vague sense of insignificance.  I mean, hell, if that beautiful experience is nothing but ones and zeros run through an evolutionary computer, we might as well all bash the baby's head in and go about looting TVs, right?

That's obviously nonsense, but I think I have a good way of explaining why.  I am very well trained in music.  Very well.  With a little brushup since it's been a few years, I could give you a Schenkerian reduction of Berlioz's Symphanie Fantastique, or I could give you a note by note breakdown of Miles Davis' treatment of the blues scale in every song on Kind of Blue.  I can play most pop songs after a single hearing.  I can read music better than most.  I've written, produced, recorded, orchestrated, engineered, and toured.  I've played everything from jazz to metal to country to Chopin to Shoenberg.  I know enough about acoustics to intelligently discuss any tonal system, not just western twelve tone, if only I understand the relationships between the scales.

More importantly to this discussion, one of the things I'm really good at is playing songs I don't know.  I can sit in with a band, and simply because I understand music theory really well, I can accurately guess what to play next many more times than not.  I've been told that you can't often tell whether I know a song or not because I get it all right anyway.

Now... just to make a point... music is nothing more than little waves of air hitting my ear.  That's it.  A good acoustic engineer can reduce Beethoven down to nothing but graphs and formulas, each of which can be exactly reproduced by a sophisticated enough computer.  There's nothing special about it.  It's just 1s and 0s  -- just like humans are just products of genes.

So....

What's the point of all that bragging?  Simple.  Do I enjoy music less than someone who doesn't understand it?  Do I find Beethoven's Ninth to be nothing but notes bouncing off of each other in space?  Far from it.  I still tear up when the chorus first enters in the last movement.  I'm still swept away by turning off all the lights and listening to Kind of Blue all the way through.  I still have a geek fit when I get to hear King Crimson on a great surround sound system.  All of those feelings that anybody else has when listening to music?  I have them -- except -- I know all about the music that causes me to have them.  I have MORE of an experience than other people.

It's the same with humans.  When something very emotional happens, I experience the emotions just like anybody else.  The thing is, I know why I'm having the emotions.  This comes in particularly handy because with understanding comes power.  I don't have to blindly accept what I feel because I understand it.   Like music, where I can listen or play, humans who understand humans can passively bounce through life, or they can actively take control of their own life.  Understanding the theory gives control.  It doesn't demand that we use it, but the option is there.  I can listen passively to Beethoven, or I can listen actively, trying to absorb every theoretical nuance, or... if I want, I can play Beethoven.

So there it is.  Humans are animals, and we do come from blind math, but how amazing is it to understand the processes and actually be in control of my life?  I can tell you this -- it's a lot better than trusting a God who heals 0.0014% of Parkinson's patients on a whim.

 

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Quote:I think the feeling of

Quote:

I think the feeling of unsettlement is broader than just misunderstanding the math.

Well, as you can see from above, I don't care about people's "unsettlement". My primary concern is that people find it unbelievable that evolution can produce the structures which it does. And the reason they find it unbelievable (which is different from unsettlement) is because of their misunderstanding. That is something I can correct.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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I only care about

I only care about unsettlement as it influences an unwillingness to accept facts.  I'm right with you on this, but I also think that all the teaching in the world won't benefit an unwilling student. 

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Quote:So there it is. 

Quote:

So there it is.  Humans are animals, and we do come from blind math, but how amazing is it to understand the processes and actually be in control of my life?

I agree. When people complain that our mechanistic and intricate understanding of reality in terms of rigorous mathematical description is diminishing and frightening, my gorge rises. Literally, I feel utter disgust. It is little more than a thinly veiled contempt for knowledge. Commanding knowledge and understanding of the physical universe, from neurons to quantum systems to cell transcription to planetary rotation and evolutionary processes is...wonderful. There is no other word for it.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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DG, wasn't it you that wrote

DG, wasn't it you that wrote that xlint essay regarding awe inspiring science, and if I remember correctly, also attacked the new age movement? If so, is a link available to it? I spent an hour looking for it a short while back.


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Do you mean this one

Do you mean this one IAGAY?  Does Science Take Away Wonder and Awe?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Books about atheism


I AM GOD AS YOU
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Nay Hamby .... good reading,

Nay Hamby .... but xlint recent reading, and that's what reminded me again of it. It was maybe a year ago .... quite sure from DG. A good one ....


latincanuck
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your right Hamby

However that's the problem with it all in the end, a misunderstanding. I mean break it down we are just atoms, cells put together, but it's the whole thing together that makes it special, just like listening to  Mozart's Requiem is really just a bunch of musical notes "put" together, but it's the arraignment of those notes and how it is played together that makes the experience, or when remembering some good times of the past, I know those memories are being accessed by electrical pulses, however it still doesn't change the fact that those memories remind me of good times and brings back those feelings. But I find that those of religious beliefs, cannot get beyond that, if it's just only X then Y doesn't matter anymore, when it's X that makes Y that equals Z which makes it all the more wonderful. No god required, the wonder that is the experience and the fact that it is a natural thing, not something make by some invisible deity.

I believe that for some it gets to a point that they cannot imagine or wrap their brains around how insignificate god makes things be really. The wonder and awe of it all, how this universe works how nature works, all without some watcher making sure every little thing work properly (which if anyone that bothers with some science would know that it doesn't always work correctly) Just because I know that the universe is made of atoms doesn't take away from the wonder of seeing it and experiencing it, the first time I saw the falls of Iguazu, or the Mona Lisa, downtown Tokyo, the CN tower, paintings of Rembrant or hearing Mozart, or Punk music or Carlos Gardel, all these are made that much more knowing that this isn't the work of a god.


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What I suppose I'd like to

What I suppose I'd like to get at with the "emotional argument" thing I was saying earlier, is that once the misunderstanding that DG points out is in place in a person they will find the idea of humans being "meat robots" uncomfortable, even revolting.

And I feel it is important, for me personally, to adress the fact that even though this is exactly how I feel about what I truly am, this in no way makes me uncomfortable.

I am not a scientist, not by trade, nor by nature. I study the humanities, and language, litterature, and art are my main areas of interest.

Like I said, I am a romantic, no two ways about it, a real softy, that likes the poetic expression of life.

But because I also have a scientific understanding of the world, and because I live in a society where that is the norm, my romantic streak simply fits the "meat robot" view of the world.

Point in case, one of my favorite movies at the moment is Pixar's "Wall-E". I went to see it with my 7 year old niece, and I was very touched by the story.

Why is this? Well, it's a sweet little story, but what particularly appealed to me was that the movie is, in essence, about a robot that falls in love.

I like this concept very much, because I find it totally plausible that robots can fall in love, if ever we are able to produce robots sofisticated enough to develop sentience.

Now, part of why this appeals to me, and to my 7 year old niece, is of course just the human tendency to anthropomorphisize in-animate objects. Pixar's first movie after all, was about a lamp-mother and a lamp-baby, which was also a sweet little movie, even though lamps don't actually posess sentience.

But I still find it interesting that somewhere, underneath the surface of a simple children's story about a sweet little robot, there lies the idea that sentience is "merely" the product of a sufficiently complicated brain, but that the emotions of said brain are no less important or valuable to the owner of that brain because of it.

So I want to emotionally appeal to people who have fallen victim to the misunderstanding that life is meaningless if we are "just" the product of chemistry, by saying that I think life is absolutely wonderful, and they have no reason to think that the beauty of life is contingent on the existence of a "soul".

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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Quote:I have to agree about

Quote:
I have to agree about Palin being a 'nice' person

And I have to disagree.

Did you hear her speech at her Pentacostal Church gathering, where she effectively pledged to assist in the bringing of Armageddon through the annihilation of Israel? Does that sound like a 'nice' person to you?

Bear in mind that McCain is aging, and is not aging well (watch his interviews now, and watch them from just a few years ago. The change is like night and day; the poor man is losing his grip). If he happens to die during his first term, it is Palin who will have final say on who, where and why regarding the deployment of America's still obscenely large cache of nuclear weaponry. 

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but not having the credentials for the position.  If she were to rise to the top, she would be doing as per her advisors and who knows what group that would be.

Unlikely. According to all testimony that has been given of her by her co-workers during her time as mayor in Alaska, Palin really lives to be in charge of things, and doesn't at all mind climbing over people to get to the top.

Why the possible existence of a mysterious group of string-pulling bogeymen would scare you more than Palin herself should is beyond me. The woman believes that the world was specially created by magic in one week roughly 6,000 years ago. This should ring alarms in your head. Perhaps it does, but you feel you must vote Republican 'for the cause' anyway, and the only comfort you can bring to yourself regarding this issue is the notion that that government is just all cloaks-and-daggers anyway?

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Obama doesn't have a whole lot of experience either.  I guess the really qualified don't want the position or don't have the money or marketing to get there.

Please, take a few hours out of your day and actually look at Barack's credentials. Hamby has already posted the more prominent examples above, but there's far more examples of Obama's ability to lead and make sound decisions stretching back well prior to his involvement in politics. The man is not perfect, and there are examples of issues he has sat on the fence / beat around the bush on (gun control and handguns in particular comes to mind), but he is an excellent candidate by the standards that really matter, and is perhaps the best hope your country has at avoiding both hyperinflating and dealing catastrophic damage to the Earth.

 

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940