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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:47 PM

Want to end religion?

We'll need to first figure out how we, along with the rest if the universes, got here and why?. Religion is not going anywhere until we've answered these fundamental questions. If we could throw in a purpose that would be great!

Note: No claim is being made as to the validity of religion.

118 replies, 5548 views

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Arrow 118 replies Author Time Post
Reply Want to end religion? (Original post)
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 OP
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #1
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #12
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #20
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #22
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #23
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #25
Thats my opinion Jan 2013 #36
skepticscott Jan 2013 #45
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #46
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #74
MADem Jan 2013 #38
BainsBane Jan 2013 #2
Duer 157099 Jan 2013 #4
BainsBane Jan 2013 #5
immoderate Jan 2013 #8
BainsBane Jan 2013 #9
immoderate Jan 2013 #14
BainsBane Jan 2013 #19
immoderate Jan 2013 #31
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #76
immoderate Jan 2013 #82
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #87
immoderate Jan 2013 #102
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #103
Ligyron Jan 2013 #16
BainsBane Jan 2013 #18
intaglio Jan 2013 #40
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #47
BainsBane Jan 2013 #52
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #75
intaglio Jan 2013 #112
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #3
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #13
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #48
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #77
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #116
Duer 157099 Jan 2013 #6
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #17
immoderate Jan 2013 #32
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #78
immoderate Jan 2013 #83
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #86
Moonwalk Jan 2013 #7
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #21
Moonwalk Jan 2013 #37
tama Jan 2013 #39
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #81
intaglio Jan 2013 #43
tama Jan 2013 #44
intaglio Jan 2013 #66
tama Jan 2013 #68
Deep13 Jan 2013 #10
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #24
Deep13 Jan 2013 #30
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #35
tama Jan 2013 #41
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #84
tama Jan 2013 #92
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #95
tama Jan 2013 #100
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #101
tama Jan 2013 #107
tama Jan 2013 #109
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #49
tama Jan 2013 #55
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #56
tama Jan 2013 #58
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #60
tama Jan 2013 #62
pangaia Jan 2013 #88
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #90
pangaia Jan 2013 #91
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #93
CrispyQ Jan 2013 #11
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #27
Control-Z Jan 2013 #15
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #28
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #34
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #97
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #111
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2013 #67
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #98
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #26
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #29
immoderate Jan 2013 #33
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #89
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #61
tama Jan 2013 #63
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #64
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #99
tama Jan 2013 #42
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #50
tama Jan 2013 #51
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #53
tama Jan 2013 #54
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #57
tama Jan 2013 #59
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #69
cbayer Jan 2013 #70
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #71
cbayer Jan 2013 #73
tama Jan 2013 #72
Iggo Jan 2013 #65
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #79
Iggo Jan 2013 #110
MotherPetrie Jan 2013 #80
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #85
MotherPetrie Jan 2013 #94
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #96
JoePhilly Jan 2013 #104
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #105
JoePhilly Jan 2013 #106
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #108
intaglio Jan 2013 #113
JoePhilly Jan 2013 #114
tama Jan 2013 #115
intaglio Jan 2013 #117
tama Jan 2013 #118

Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:50 PM

1. There are few countries that have come close to ending religion without those criteria.

Such as Sweden, Norway, Japan...

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:16 PM

12. I did a quick look on wok

Just a cursory look found Japan with 70% Buddhist which doesn't include other religions. Over 80% in Norway believe in a higher power of some kind. Where did you get this info?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:37 PM

20. I'm drinking, but I will try to be clear.

I have had three different Japanese professors in college, and they all said Buddhism was more cultural than religious. Similar to nonbelieving Jews who still observe the Jewish traditions.

I suppose the Norway situation, and your OP, demands we define religion to at least some extent. We don't need a definitive definition, just one that will allow us to speak clearly in this thread. Is religion a system of dogma? Supernatural answers to life's "big" philosophical questions?

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:41 PM

22. Good point. I consider religion to be a broad path and spirituality

To be more of an individualized path. They are very similar in their roots however.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:43 PM

23. So then Higher-Power beliefs may be spirituality rather than religion. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #23)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:46 PM

25. Yes. Nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:37 AM

36. True, the Norwegians and the other Scandinavian cultures have largely abandoned the church and

they are now living off the ethical interest which past generations banked. The ethics which are basic to their cultures all came from their long and stubborn history with the church. In other cultures they might have come from other sources, but in these cases it was the church. Just check out their history and their historians.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #36)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:13 AM

45. Ah, so the Vikings had no ethics, no morals, no laws

no sense of justice and no sense of right and wrong, before they ran into the Xstians?

Riiiiiiiiight.

I know you have this desperate need to give Christianity credit for every bit of good and every scrap of morality you can, Charles, but try to be a little less obviously wrong when you do it.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #36)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:42 AM

46. enlightenment ethics not religious ethics have more profoundly shaped northern europe

 

in the last century. just ask them instead of imposing your external viewpoint on an entire people.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:03 PM

74. They have abandoned the church but to their own brand of agnosticism not atheism. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:26 AM

38. Everyone in Japan identifies with the Shinto "Way of the Gods" faith, damn near.

It's known as the "religion of Japan." Buddhism is an IMPORT to Japan--Shintoism is home-grown.

It's not a sit in the pews, Operator, Information, Give Me Jesus on the Line type religion, but it IS a religion.

I never once went to an "important" military or political event in Japan that the Shinto priests didn't show up to wave stuff around and do some kind of ritual thing to give the proceedings a good aura. And I went to my fair share of 'em.

The "what is religion" question applies, I suppose. I don't think the Japanese spend a lot of time worrying about religion one way or another (loving god(s), angry god(s), that kind of stuff), but they do have a surface patina of it that infuses major events as well as daily life.

Secular Jews have the same relationship with their religion. But even a light relationship is, still, a relationship. I think they might regard it like a pillow at one's back--one might not need to lean on it, but it is there...just in case.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:52 PM

2. Has anyone read this?

http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Heaven-Neurosurgeons-Journey-Afterlife/dp/1451695195/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358999333&sr=1-2&keywords=proof+god

I'm interested in reading it. The author is a neurosurgeon who had a near death experience and wrote about it. Previously a non-believer, he explains how what he experience cannot be explained by science. I haven't read the book but head an interview with him. Evidently it's not a religious book but an effort to explain what he experienced while brain dead.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:56 PM

4. Yes, it was a really good book

Worth the read, imho.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:57 PM

5. Thanks!

I'll check it out. It's cheap too.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:00 PM

8. Can't be explained by science? Try delusion.

Saw this guy interviewed. He didn't cite anything that can't be explained.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:03 PM

9. so you haven't read it

and where did you study neuroscience?

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:24 PM

14. At a university.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:29 PM

19. right

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:04 AM

31. There's a better place?

I didn't study medicine, just psychology.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:11 PM

76. Delusion: Everything is rational. It's not. That's a product of mind. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #76)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:36 PM

82. What does that mean? "Everything" makes that a broad generalization.

Information is not a product of mind. It's more the reverse.

When people go through extreme personality changes due to injury or illness, which one gets to live with the Lord?

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #82)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:53 PM

87. "Everything Has a Rational Explanation." You wouldn't form the conception that

the author is delusional, unless you believed that anything that is wholly experiential and incapable of being "proven" by any scientific method, is true unless you believed this. This is a projection of the mind's (Ego's) need to see things as being, under it's control and dominion, and not the inerrant state of the universe. Note the use of word projection.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #87)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:49 PM

102. No, that guy's "visions" follow a pattern whose explanation is rational.

Who is "projecting" here?

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #102)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:52 PM

103. A pattern of 1000's of years of "non-rational" spiritual precedent. nt

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:25 PM

16. No but I'll bet the author's angle is to sell as many books as possible.

I mean, with him being a big-time Neurosurgeon and all He'll make the talk show circuit and the same people who like depak chopka and Dr. Oz will without a doubt go for this line of his big time.

Just think! A guardian angel there to guide, babysit and amuse one while we are brain-dead. Now aren't we just so special?

I feel for the guide tho'.

What did some poor bastards in the angel corp ever do to deserve such horrible assignment anyway? Hey, maybe they were both in Hell and this is part of the torture.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:28 PM

18. so much for evidence-based analysis

You didn't even bother to read the Amazon synopsis. You wouldn't want your faith disrupted by actual evidence.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:50 AM

40. You won't like P Z Myers destruction of the book then

I am not quite as harsh as Prof Myers, because he has a higher expectation of those with scientific training than I do
Newsweek panders to the deluded again
He was not writing this stuff down while he was in a brain-dead state; I would argue that he was also not experiencing them at that time. These were stories that he built later, as he was coming to grips with that past trauma, and they were a means of coping with a huge painful gap in his memory. We know that this is what our brains do; it fills gaps in our knowledge with imaginary events to maintain continuity, a process called confabulation. This is all Alexander is doing, is making up fairy tales to comfort himself after a serious shock.

The problem with all of these tales is that they are ex post facto rationalisations of complex events. Remember that there will have been periods of confusion and altered consciousness at the start of the illness and at it's termination, this man's loss of awareness may have been sudden but it will not have been instant and certainly the recovery would not have been like turning on a light. Why are these periods of confusion not remembered but the contentious "after death" experiences are?

If there is a continuation of consciousness after death you have to ask what the mechanism is for the formation of these "memories". Memory can be altered and erased by physical or chemical interventions, check out Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,"

Another question is "what sensoria are being used to input these memories?" There will have been no eyes or ears or nose or skin so with what are the people who experiencing the events they describe? It does not help to say that we translate the experience because that just means the memory is dubious from the first instance.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #40)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:45 AM

47. i do love me some p.z.

 

but i can see why a lot of true believers hate him so much. he's not necessarily a nice man.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #40)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:50 AM

52. I don't know what to think of it

I haven't read the book or the critiques of it. I'm not a religious person, and I don't decide what to think a priori. But it appears to me than some atheists are every bit as dogmatic as strict believers. The critique you linked to is anything but scientific.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #40)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:09 PM

75. No he was in a BRAIN DEAD STATE which signifies being BRAIN DEAD...

If someone were "BRAIN DEAD" what memory would be derived from this experience?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #75)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:53 PM

112. That's the point - NONE

The man did not just wake up and say "I've had this wonderful experience"; he would have spent hours, or days or weeks in a comatose state. His brain then began activity but full awareness and communication would not be there. Indeed it is likely that the man would have been deliberately drugged to allow healing of the gross insult to the brain. This meant that for sometime after brain function restarted, because of drugs and brain damage, there would have been much uninterpretable brain activity that would be remembered.

One thing we do know about awareness is that if there is a large amount of confusing data in the memory or from sensory input the consciousness attempts to interpret those memories and events. The process, as specified, is called confabulation which is a long word used in psychology and defined thus
To fill in gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be facts.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:54 PM

3. Perhaps saying we should evolve beyond it or put it behind us would be better than "ending."

Too many think the word "ban", as in make it illegal, when they hear "end", as in put it behind us and move on.

Can you understand the difference?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:24 PM

13. I understand and I didn't take it as a threat. I just

I think religion and spirituality are innately human. They will always be with us. In fact it would be better if religion were to evolve.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:47 AM

48. innate might not be the right word

 

since there are a significant percentage of us humans who are neither religious or spiritual. if it was innate we wouldn't have a choice. clearly we do so by definition it's not innate.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #48)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:12 PM

77. Some people are more aware of the spiritual than others. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #77)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:17 PM

116. doesn't make it innately human.

 

unless religion is genetic?. if its not innate then what is the compelling reason for the existence of religion?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:58 PM

6. Sorry, that's simply not true.

We've answered plenty of questions that religions refuse to believe no matter the evidence. That's the nature of faith: it isn't based on evidence or facts, so neither of those will influence it.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:26 PM

17. Religion need not and often isn't opposed to science. Fundamentalism is. Nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:11 AM

32. Not opposed, just totally different.

Science tells you the character of reality. Religion tells you the universe loves you. No conflict.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #32)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:14 PM

78. Ignorance tells you: "the universe loves you" nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #78)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:39 PM

83. Ignorance of what? The idea comes from somewhere.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #83)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:44 PM

86. Yeah. It comes from Ignorance. Misunderstanding. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:58 PM

7. Actually, we've figured out most of those. The reason why religion isn't going anywhere is--

--because science can't offer human beings the assurance that the universe cares about them and can and will respond to their wants and needs. Nor can science claim or prove that human consciousness continues on after death and/or that after death there is some union with that which does care.

If figuring out how we got here would end religion, it'd be over. if figuring out why we're here would end religion, it'd be over. If throwing in a purpose would end religion, it'd be over (our purpose is the same as any other creature on this planet--to survive, evolve and multiply).

All this has been figured out. Religion doesn't offer answers to those questions, not really. What it offers is assurances that there is something greater that cares about us and has always cared about us. What religion assures us is that what cares about us will respond to us and make what is wrong right. That's why religion hasn't come to an end and likely won't.

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:38 PM

21. Most of what you claimed about religion is true for some religion but not all...

And we have no clue why we're here, what grand blueprint formed the body and it's incredibly ornate systems much less the immensely complex systems that formed the planet. We have no idea where matter came from initially or any of the rest of the cosmos. We have barely been off the planet and there are 100 billion planets in our own galaxy in a universe that is unbounded by time or space. Much of what we now "know" to be true scientifically will be discredited theories in a few decades. It is highly possible if not likely that there are "things" that no sense perception or device can detect.

I could go on but you get the picture.

Evolution is certainly part of our purpose but this evolution is intimately tied to the evolution of our spirituality as well.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:39 AM

37. I'm sorry, but we DO know. You just don't seem to like the answers. For example...

Why we're here--because the big bang and evolution led to us being here--step by step, catastrophe by catastrophe. That is the ONLY answer to "Why" there is. It IS answered by science. All you're saying is that religion gives people answers they prefer. *shrug* what else is new? It's very easy to fabricate an answer that is more satisfying emotionally to "why" than what science offers. But that doesn't mean that science doesn't answer the question "why." It does.

And most current science theories will probably be credited in a few decades. And yes, I get your picture and you're totally wrong. Evolution is not tied to our spirituality unless you can prove that there is a spirit. Which you can't, so you can't argue that evolution is tied to spirituality. You WANT it to be. You WANT there to be a spirit, a more, but that's all you're saying. What you WANT to be true, not what religion offers that is scientifically, realistically valid and therefore supersedes scientific answers.

So, all you're saying is that religion allows you to believe what you want to be true, not what is true. Again, what else is new?

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #37)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:49 AM

39. I've read many books etc by top scientists

 

and haven't seen anyone claiming what you claim personified 'science' is claiming. There is something akin to what you describe, a materialist paradigm, if you like, but it is a very incomplete working hypothesis full of problems, not a matter of belief. Actual scientists tend to be much more open minded and humble than those who make claims about definite answers in the name of 'science' on Internet forums.

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #37)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:31 PM

81. A materialistic measure cannot be used to "prove" that "spirit exits"...

nor should anyone ever be expected to provide such proof. And it is foolish and ignorant to think or expect that this "proof" would be forthcoming or in any way be meaningful from a materialistic paradigm. BTW I never claimed "spirit" existed.

The "Big Bang" is a theory. No one has experience or seen or provided any consolidated proof that the "Big Bang" has ever existed. On the other hand I think the Big Bang may exist, but it would be further understood as being "A" Big Bang, and not "THE Creational" event. IOW the universe is infinite and eternal, and just saying a huge explosion happened is not very satisfying not very "rational."

Thanks for the talk.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:22 AM

43. Oh dear,

And we have no clue why we're here ...
Does there have to be a "why"? If there is a "why" what is it? Why does there have to be a purpose to our existence beyond the reasons we find for ourselves.

... what grand blueprint formed the body
does there have to be a blueprint? Why are simple evolution and chance physical laws not sufficient to produce our body?

... much less the immensely complex systems that formed the planet
These complex systems that you describe are but outgrowths of simple physical principles.

We have no idea where matter came from initially or any of the rest of the cosmos ...
True, but that is why we are searching using science. Religion explains nothing except by the invocation "Goddidit,"

We have barely been off the planet and there are 100 billion planets in our own galaxy ...
True, but what is the point of the statement?

... a universe that is unbounded by time or space
No, not unbounded, see Einstein. And before you begin with the well the universe is everything even the bits outside or beyond our current space time then you are talking about a multiverse.

Much of what we now "know" to be true scientifically will be discredited theories in a few decades ...
No, not discredited, just not sufficient to accurately describe the phenomena they were designed to describe. Einsteinian physics did not discredit Newtonian version but better fitted the observations and made better predictions; Newtonian physics is still used because at the scales at which we normally operate it is good enough.

It is highly possible if not likely that there are "things" that no sense perception or device can detect.
So there is no way of finding out about these things and no way they could effect us if they did exist.

I could go on but you get the picture.
No, there is no picture only misapprehension and confusion.

Evolution is certainly part of our purpose ...
Evolution is not a purpose (or reason) it is a process.

... but this evolution is intimately tied to the evolution of our spirituality as well
Tell me what "spirituality" is and I might be able to say if this last is any more than arrant nonsense.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #43)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 04:10 AM

44. ...

 

Does there have to be why?

I guess no, but we do have all these questions. Why is that?

Why are simple evolution and chance physical laws not sufficient to produce our body?

Are they? We don't really know, but keep on asking questions and studying.

True, but that is why we are searching using science. Religion explains nothing except by the invocation "Goddidit,"


Does explanation have to be a First Cause, either in religion or science?

So there is no way of finding out about these things and no way they could effect us if they did exist.


"Things" such as thoughts, that can not be detected by five external senses and their technological extensions?

Tell me what "spirituality" is and I might be able to say if this last is any more than arrant nonsense.


Spirituality refers e.g. but not exclusively to communications with various "imaginary friends" through various sensual and conceptual means, altered states of mind-body, seek for holistic well being, breathing. And no anthropologist would say that our evolution has not been closely tied with various "shamanistic" experiences.


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Response to tama (Reply #44)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:09 PM

66. Ok, first point, nice jest and accepted

The question I asked of Flabbergasted was meant to ask why he feels the need for a "grand blueprint," personally I know that simple processes can give rise to complex structures and processes. Even if the current understanding of physics, chemistry and biology is not yet sufficient to explain the types of structures we observe then I see no need for a design or a designer. Indeed a designer would be, almost by definition, an unnecessary entity.

You are of course right about there not needing to be a first cause but there has been much ink wasted proposing that there has to be and searching for such origins seems to be a needed part of our psychology. Children will often play the "why" game, where each response the parent or teacher puts forward is succeeded by another but "why is that?" I sometimes suspect that a lot of the reason for religion is that exasperated parents just wanted to end the constant stream of questions ... "but why is there a rainbow, daddy?" "Because God wants to remind us how merciful He was. Now shut up and keep weeding the field."

Problem with your next point is that thoughts can be detected using current technology and, what is more,can be used to effect changes to the world, look at how people with locked-in syndrome are now able to communicate. The real aim of my observation was that, in Carl Sagan's memorable simile, if the dragon in the garage cannot ever be detected and it chooses never to act then why must we act as if the dragon exists?

I'm not certain about your last paragraph, could you clarify if necessary? As I read it it seems that you are saying that shamanistic experiences are tied to our (social and psychological) evolution. Personally I am not certain of the claims of social and psychological evolution are worth the paper on which they are printed. I am aware that the experiences of the shaman are far more common than
is currently accepted by the mass of people, having had such experiences myself tied to very mundane events, but wonder what is the cart and what the horse. Does the development of our brain lead to events we call "spiritual" which are not deleterious or do the events lead to advantage which gives an advantage to certain structures.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #66)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:50 PM

68. Good points

 

The search for First Cause seems to be primarily psychological and not based on empirical affirmation. Children like to play games of infinite regress as long as it is fun and until they get bored, and that's how they get the idea. There may be also cultural differences in interest towards infinite regress and/or First Cause. The theme is also linked to physics as information theory, measurement theory and finite measurement resolution. Uncertainty Principle and Planck scale come first to mind, as well as habit of using real numbers with infinite resolution to describe our measurements.

"Grand blueprint" sounds like the reductionist dream of Theory of Everything, a set of equations to predict all and everything, which from what I've read from self-confessed top reductionists, is also fundamentally based on psychology and certain kind of esthetic sense. Gödel kinda proved that is impossible, but that does not stop people from dreaming and trying, and no problem with that. And strangely for me the dream of reductionist dream of TOE is in some way related to the idea of design or designer. Matrix and brain in a vat and Architect kind of idea.

And there are other possibilities besides those, infinite regress of dependent arisings a là Indras net (at least as far as phenomenological worlds are considered), seems position least riled with logical problems and paradoxes, as far as I'm able to think and follow the thoughts of those who can think better. And that philosophical approach works fine also in science, if not better than other underlying philosophical presuppositions. Relativism and entangled superpositions etc.

To answer Carl Sagan, thoughts are considered having some level reality because they can effect changes, although they can not be directly detected except by subjective (or some other level of) consciousness. And same with dragon etc. imaginary friends, studies show that children with imaginary friends learn from those "interactions" at least better communication skills and how to cope in adult world. And as for bigger children who specialize in such interaction in roles of shamans, those have too effects on world that are considered mostly beneficial at least by members of shamanistic tribes. And anecdotes from indigenous experiences suggest that various sensual experiences of spirits are not purely subjective but also intrasubjective experiences of local consensus reality. Which begs the question, are they local collective hallucinations or could it be that observer coming from Western culture has cognitive barriers conditioned by his own cultural consensus reality that exclude such sensations from conscious experience. Children with imaginary friends seems to universal phenomenon, as well as communications with various spirit worlds during altered state of consciousness, but Western culture does not encourage those experiences, but they are much ridiculed and treated as pathology etc.

The topic "Do Chimpanzees have Shamans" has links to discussion of these issues from neurological evolutionary point of view. http://www.democraticunderground.com/121865160

The evolutionary suggestion in comparison to chimpanzees is that our dope/shamanistic experience wired brains allow us to delearn skills and belief systems and to remove old habits from the way of learning new skills etc. for same functions. That allows much faster cultural evolution than chimpanzee "stickiness" that requires at least generation change to learn new way to do same task.



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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:11 PM

10. What does any of that have to do with religion?

Even if we have no idea where life came from--and we actually have a very good idea--how does that make God a feasible explanation? There is no evidence and no reason at all to think that God is real.

Purpose? What the hell does that even mean? Whose purpose for what? By asking about purpose you are assuming a priori that there is a god capable of having a purpose. Just because you can phrase a grammatically correct question does not mean that it is a valid question.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:45 PM

24. Who said anything about god? I was talking about religion...

Purpose is individual. Many people find purpose in religion, even if it is false. Purpose and meaning are important to our psychological health.


The universe almost certainly has a purpose.

Last we have no clue where the universe came from.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:59 PM

30. Wrong on several points.

Astrophysicists have a pretty good idea how it started and some interesting theories they are testing about its cause. Do not assume that because you have no idea, that no one does.

Purpose means intentionality. So the universe only has a purpose if it has a creator who imposed a purpose. So to your bald and wholly unsubstantiated statement: prove it.

Religion is a belief system built around the acceptance of the reality of a supernatural god. Without god, all the ideas, feelings, and beliefs of religion are wrong and based on fantasy. And even if there is a god, it is not necessarily the one described by any specific religion.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:35 AM

35. Buddhism and Taoism have no god amongst others I'm sure..

Yes they are religions. In addition the word god correctly understood is not a deity but a symbol. There has been vast amounts of debate about the reality of the word and the personification of god you find in Christianity is a more recent development.

There are no scientific answers for these questions. It is like saying the universe has a beginning or an end. It goes on forever in all directions. It is infinite and eternal. What we think we know is a drop in the bucket. If the universe is infinite, knowledge and anomaly must also be infinite.

The mind is not capable of understanding things as they actually are. It can only judge dualistically. It can not perceive itself as a part of the whole it can only see itself as separate which is an illusion.



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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #35)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:01 AM

41. Poor mind

 

But are you actually offering a very strict and restricted definition of 'mind', and/or rather referring to problems of English language, which constantly reifies phenomena and processes and relations into "things"?

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Response to tama (Reply #41)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:41 PM

84. I'm offering the standard definition of mind. I'm using the dualistic conception of mind

You could further stretch the definition of mind to be "conscious of," or "discerning of in an intuitive manner," but why would I use a definition that is not the standard understanding?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #84)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:15 PM

92. You were talking about Buddhism and Taoism

 

so I was thinking what "mind" could refer to in those contexts. Which can be quite different from cartesian dualism, and much more sophisticated in their cognitive vocabulary.

Finnish word which is usually translated as 'mind', has derivative forms and meanings such as 'pleasing', 'with pleasure', etc. "Literal" Finglish translation:

- Would you like to have a cup of tea?
- Oh yes, with my mind/mentally/mindfully!

Cf "I wouldn't mind" and "would you mind..."

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Response to tama (Reply #92)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:26 PM

95. A Buddhist or Taoist conception of mind is not complicated or intellectually based.

You can sum up mind in this way with the word "Judging" or "discerning."

"The Tao fills with thoughts those minds not attached to concepts."

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #95)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:45 PM

100. Ah!

 

So same as Finnish. Kalevala, our national epic, starts with line:

Mieleni minun tekevi

Which is usually translated as

I feel the desire

But can be also translated as

My mind makes me

Second line is "Aivoni ajattelevi"; "My brains keep on thinking/timing/chasing/driving"

The Tao quote doesn't open up, make any sense to me. Bad translation?

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Response to tama (Reply #100)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:49 PM

101. "Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations." nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #101)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:09 PM

107. And there my three

 

(or are they seven?) brains were thinking that there is no me, except when my mind makes me. Now I'm flabbergasted by the thought of "you" (who? me?) realizing THE mystery.

Would you be flabbergasted to hear that mind (at least Finnish tämä mieli, can't say for other languages) minds these manifestations pleased and with pleasure? And it's OK... why else make these?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #101)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:55 PM

109. Aware now?

 

See the trick, the jest, the trap?

DESIRE to realize The Mystrystystyst, JUDGEMENT of "only the manifestations".

Only the manifestations. As you please. Only mystery is that there is no mystery behind manifestations.

And then some.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #35)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:55 AM

49. the universe is not infinite

 

or at least all the evidence suggests it is finite. cosmic background radiation. primordial galactic formation so far away you have to use a telescope in space to collect photons for long periods in non-visible wavelengths just to get a grainy image.

the universe is finite. or at least it almost certainly is finite.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #49)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:43 AM

55. Measurement resolution is finite

 

"uncertainty principle" of QM is in physical terms real, not just technical problem. In general relativity, it makes sense only to talk about visible universe being finite, rest is just guesswork.

On the other hand, for example the number of possible brain states is practically infinite.

Finite and infinite and their interplay are very intricate concepts.

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Response to tama (Reply #55)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:01 AM

56. infinity like nothing is an abstract concept

 

lacking empirical basis. and quantum mechanics like other laws of physics has symmetry so its the same laws everywhere whether the universe is finite or infinite. its astrophysics not theoretical that asserts the universe is finite based on evidence not from theory. cosmological theories of a finite universe must satisfy astrophysics just as quantum theorists must satisfy their pesky pals working atom smashers. in common parlance theorists need regular reality checks.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #56)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:40 AM

58. "Same laws everywhere"

 

is axiomatic presupposition, not empirical fact. Not a bad presupposition, IMHO, but nevertheless in the category of "unprovable".

We don't have birds of Gods eye view of universe, but participatory relation. And in that sense physics is information theory of our relations to phenomenological world. And as abstract language of mathematics works amazingly well in terms of predictive power of our information theory, the notions of finity and infinity are best seen as properties of mathematics, (included in nature as whole), rather than either-or intrinsic property of physical universe imagined from birds eye view.

And in mathematics, besides Cantor's infinities, there is also notion of infinitesimal, on which integral calculus and math of "smooth" movement is founded. Quantum movement being not smooth but quantal, and taking "place" in n-dimensional Hilbert space, physics is still very much strugling with very fine complexities of various notions of finity and infinity.

So as in each step of every path integral of Newton's theory there is also an infinity, saying that universe is either finite or infinite, is poorly framed question. Our participatory information theory belonging to universe uses and requires both concepts.

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Response to tama (Reply #58)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:25 AM

60. not axiomatic basis its empirical basis.

 

the axiomatic basis would be to assume symmetry. rather symmetry is an concept invented to describe observable phenomenon. that some ideas in math are useful for describing natural phenomenon doesn't mean all math ideas are expressed in nature.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #60)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:53 AM

62. Deeper empirical symmetry

 

We can consciously observe only universe that allows observers like us. And from our observations and math we have deduced also no-cloning theorem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-cloning_theorem). Which is fun in the way that it makes universal statement about there being no identical states. You can't step twice in the same river, as said Heraclitus, European father of dialectics.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:53 PM

88. Is Tibetan Buddhism a religion?

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Response to pangaia (Reply #88)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:59 PM

90. Yes it is. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #90)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:05 PM

91. I just asked because

Deep 13 said.. "Religion is a belief system built around the acceptance of the reality of a supernatural god."

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Response to pangaia (Reply #91)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:19 PM

93. An ignorant definition of Religion and God. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:11 PM

11. Why? Why do we need to answer "these fundamental questions" first?

Want to end religion?

Last edited Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:48 PM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
We'll need to first figure out how we, along with the rest if the universes, got here and why?


Why does this have to be figured out first, much less figured out at all?

.

If we could throw in a purpose that would be great!

Seriously? Wow. I am truly flabbergasted.


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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:50 PM

27. Because this is why people subscribe to religion...

Whether fictional or not, prying people's religion away will be impossible unless something compelling is offered in return. This could only be an answer to life's most fundamental questions. Keep in mind that much of the world lives in abject poverty, religion to them is also solace, purpose, meaning, and hope.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:24 PM

15. How old is the earth?

We have scientific data - we've pretty much figured it out already. Now go ask a fundie.

It is not about knowing or figuring it out. It is about needing something (religion) or someone (gawd) to push, justify, or take the blame for their agenda of greed, control, and power. IMHO, of course.

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Response to Control-Z (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:53 PM

28. It was suggested that we "end religion." I'm saying it is futile

Without substituting the reasons people subscribe to religion.

How old is the universe btw?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:24 AM

34. Current WMAP data pegs the age of the universe...

...at 13.77 ± 0.059 billion years. The measurement accuracy has improved with WMAP data...a few years ago the estimate was around 13.7 ± 0.2 billion years. The estimate could change with new observations or theoretical developments.

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Response to DreamGypsy (Reply #34)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:32 PM

97. Yes and 500 years ago the earth was the center of the universe. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #97)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:09 AM

111. No. Although the Ptolameic system was the predominant cosmological model...

...up until the Copernican revolution (circa 1543), even 500 years ago the Earth and other planets actually revolved around the sun, the sun revolved around the center of the Milky Way, and the Milky Way was just one of billions or trillions of galaxies in the universe. The geocentrists had few tools and little inclination to look beyond the observations that the sun, planets, and stars appeared to revolve around the Earth and that, to an Earth bound observer, the Earth appeared to be completely at rest.

In the early 17th century Galileo built a little tool called a telescope and observed, apparently for the first time, that Venus went through phases just like the moon and that Jupiter had moons of its own that revolved around, gasp, Jupiter and not the Earth. Newton came along and gave us a law of gravitation that explained the motions and a system of mathematics in which to compute the detail interactions of orbiting bodies.

Now we have other devices that open up great sections of the electromagnetic spectrum to our analysis, and mathematics and computational capabilities which allow us to see far back in time, and theoretical frameworks to provide us with models of the universe that look remarkably like the observations we make.

So, Flabbergasted, what's the point of your reply? Are you suggesting that 500 years from now the answer given by science of the future to your "What is the age of the universe?" question may differ from today's answer?

I expect and certainly hope that the answer will be different in the next millennium. If human kind survives, then the future generations of scientists will develop new means for seeing, new theories that explain the phenomena that are discovered, new predictions that arise from the theoretical basis, and new confirmations and denials of predicted outcomes. That's how science works.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:21 PM

67. Do you think people subscribe to religion for an answer to how we got here, and why?

That seems a very strange thing to think. If they do, then why have billions of people aligned themselves with a few incompatible explanations, that, by and large, their parents aligned themselves with? When they can't point to a good reason that their particular religion explains 'why we're here' any better than another one, but they insist that the details of their religion (that are nothing to do with 'how' or 'why' we got here) are the correct ones?

It seems to me that people subscribe to religions to fit in with the society around them.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #67)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:34 PM

98. Your conception of Religion is based on your society and is largely ignorant. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:46 PM

26. Your problem is

you think that we atheists want to do something to end religion. I'd settle for ending the intrusion of religious beliefs into aspects of everyday life in the civil law. I'd like to be able to go anywhere in the country, and buy a six-pack of local beer to take home, without regard to it being illegal at the usual accustomed time of the weekly ceremonies of the dominant religion(s).

I'm perfectly content to wait for people to wise up on their own, whenever they get around to it. I have no intention to deprive anyone of their First Amendment rights to believe whatever I consider nonsense.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:56 PM

29. Actually there are plenty if atheists that want to literally end religion...

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #29)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:17 AM

33. That's like ending stupidity. Can't happen.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #33)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:55 PM

89. More like ending love. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #29)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:27 AM

61. Really? Like who? Who exactly, wants to end (ban) religion through legislative or physical force?

Last edited Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:10 PM - Edit history (1)

Go on, tell us. Obscure cranks on the internet do not count, for a million counter-examples can be given.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #61)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:28 AM

63. Hmm

 

"Obscure cranks on the internet do not count."

But they make a lots of waves and inspire lot of discussion. Not necessarily of high quality, but a lot. Doesn't that count?

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Response to tama (Reply #63)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:09 PM

64. Count for what? The question was who is calling for a ban?

The answer is no one.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #64)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:44 PM

99. They rile the locals: "Obscure cranks on the internet do not count." ;) nt

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #26)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 03:12 AM

42. Fine

 

What if you want to buy or gather pot, peyote, shrooms etc. for religious/spiritual purposes or just for "aspects of everyday life", but conceptual constructs and belief systems called "nation" and "law" have problem with that and persecute you for just minding your own business?

If you start from axiom of personal freedom, why treat restrictions by religious and secular belief systems in different way?

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Response to tama (Reply #42)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:08 AM

50. different treatment bc the paradigm says only religion can impose morality in society

 

but that only a particular class of religions do so. in the u.s. that's all the big ones plus a few little ones that won some concessions (native american church, scientology,..) usually in court. in saudi arabia it's one sort of islam. etc. the big idea of the enlightenment was that we had enough ethical common humanity between different faiths and none to collect the intersection of those humanistic values into a secular government without imposing the ethics of one on all the others. its worked pretty well based on how many nations have embraced secular democratic republican forms of government.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #50)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:38 AM

51. Pot and Kettle

 

Rationally and empirically from general anthropological view it is difficult and not necessary to distinguish between authoritarian religious power hierarchies and authoritarian secular power hierarchies. It's all the same King of the Hill game and root of much suffering.

Endless debates on whose authority beats other authority, and how authority like Obama should support this or that authoritarian belief system.

You may see much value in European Enlightenment, as response to some European problems of European religious etc. history, which I don't want to deny, but does it pass the Russel Means' rule of thumb test of European revolutions? Namely, did it change the way European imperialism and colonialism treats non-Europeans, or did it just escalate the destruction of indigenous ways of life?

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Response to tama (Reply #51)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:07 AM

53. i disagree. given a choice between theocratic monarchy

 

and secular democratic republic which would you choose? its not just an intellectual exercise for those living under authoritarian rule. we don't have that in the u.s. if we did we'd have facism since we meet all the other requirements.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #53)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:28 AM

54. I would choose

 

neither. According to studies e.g. in Asia happiest nation state is Bhutan, a Buddhist Monarchy, and it's neighboring versions of "secular democratic republic" (China and India) do very bad in the study.
http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-10-11/rating-countries-for-the-happiness-factorbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

Comparing nation states has of course its limits, as there are many nations and ways of life without a state. Happiest would be, by definition, those who don't lack anything but have all their needs satisfied.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_people are good candidate: "They believe that their culture is complete and does not need anything from outside cultures."

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Response to tama (Reply #54)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:14 AM

57. i somehow doubt you would be happy in Bhutan

 

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #57)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:57 AM

59. Never been there

 

doubt I'll ever go. I'm border zone type, seem to end up and mostly stay in in-betweens, both-ands and neither-nors. In very lazy and cozy way.

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Response to tama (Reply #42)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:30 PM

69. Certain drugs are illegal all of the time for everybody

Not that I'm in agreement with that, but it makes no sense to stick an artificial restriction on the purchase of a substance other than what time it is on a clock or a calendar. Having beer legal for much of the time (for people who have reached the age to handle it) means that we acknowledge that adults can responsibly enjoy it, but proscribing the times that they can purchase it because of extreme sensitivity to some religious ideas about whether it interferes with one's obdience (real or feigned) to an invisible skyfather is just the naked imposition of religion on those who don't share the dominant culture's beliefs.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #69)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:42 PM

70. Blue laws - I have seen them primarily in New England.

Holdovers from an earlier age and many have been repealed.

I was shocked to drive into Philadelphia one Sunday afternoon and find that you could not buy liquor anywhere except in a bar or restaurant.

There are still dry counties in the South, but that's a different matter, imo.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #70)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:52 PM

71. It's all over the east coast

Really, you go to some places, even the theoretically progressive ones (CT comes to mind) and you'd think that Prohibition ended less than five years ago.

And don't get me started on Kentucky's blue laws. I visited that state for the first time a few months ago, had a great time, but the patchwork of dry, wet, and "moist" is maddening.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #71)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:57 PM

73. I remember camping and bicycling in the deep South.

Just when I was ready for some beer, I would discover I was in a dry county or one would you could only get wine coolers and some kind of weird malt drinks.

And in MA, they used to cover up the alcohol with tarps on Sunday morning, then uncover them later. Hilarious. I think that's been changed, though.

The further west you go, the less you see it.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #69)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:54 PM

72. Those are state level laws?

 

Are general holidays also state level laws of federal or both?

We have state church here in Finland (in fact couple, Lutheran and Greek Orthodox) and both religious holidays (christmas, eastern etc.) and secular (1st of may, new year, etc.). As those are general holidays, also booze sellers have holiday. There is not much complaining about any holidays by any people, even secular people don't mind having day of (or more) during religious holiday. Do you believe that atheists should work e.g. all through Christmas/etc selling booze to other atheists, while religious people are on holiday?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:20 PM

65. Nah, they'll just move the fucking goal posts again.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #65)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:16 PM

79. Goal Posts? Can you let me know where they are? nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #79)


Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:26 PM

80. Why do we have to figure out ANYTHING? Just say we don't fucking KNOW.l

 

And let it go at that.

Because we DON'T know. Why pretend we do?

I don't, and I don't!

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #80)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:43 PM

85. Because we do know. It's an experiential knowing not something that can be written down in a text..

Why assume we don't know?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #85)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:23 PM

94. Maybe YOU know -- I don't. I don't think experiencing and knowing are the same thing.

 

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #94)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:28 PM

96. Experiencing and Knowing are very similar if not same thing.

It's not about ME.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:52 PM

104. Religion does no better expaining those things.

But most Religions do a better job of DEMANDING that one AGREE with their explanation.

Where they fail is when the MANY Religions disagree. And that's where they usually start killing those who disagree.

A true believer denies all religions, except their own.

An atheist denies just one more religion that the true believer.

As soon as all of the "true believers" settle on which version is the right one ... then they can debate the non-believers head to head.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #104)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:56 PM

105. All completely based on an erroneous conception of religion/ spirituality. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #105)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:05 PM

106. My own personal history with multiple Religions, and my degree from a Jesuit University

would beg to differ.

I am always "impressed" when some one like you thinks they know what my "conception" of Religion and spirituality must be.

The first time I encountered that kind of religious condescension was with the end-times Presbyterian church of my parents when I was a kid ... which was followed by the few years I spent in a church of evangelical Baptists, when I was a teen.

They, like you, thought they could tell me whether my "conception" of "religion / spirituality" was correct, or as you said "erroneous".

I learned a great deal about religion and spirituality from the Jesuits when I was in my 20s. I'm not a Catholic, but I have great respect for the intellectual discipline the Jesuits maintain.

You however, did little more than prove my point.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #106)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:17 PM

108. Buddhism and Taoism don't demand anything of you. The buddha would have asked you to "test his

teachings out."

The "explanations offered by religions" are not the understanding provided by their masters.

All religions, at their heart, agree on an understanding that the essence of the path is a return to oneness.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #108)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:15 PM

113. Why you continue your misinterpretaions, I do not know

But really what you are spouting is the most dreadful juvenile drivel.
All religions, at their heart, agree on an understanding that the essence of the path is a return to oneness
Go and tell your local priest this and time how long he laughs at you. Alternatively go to Saudi and proclaim your belief - if you are lucky you will just be deported, if not lucky they will execute you.

You claim to have a unique understanding of faith that is not held by adherents, guides or teachers of that faith. For example Christianity largely teaches that the unique awareness that is yourself remains and lives on in a "heaven" that I, personally, find dreadful. Jehovah's Witnesses have a slightly different idea and that is that we are all individually reborn we are all judged, 144,000 of the elect will remain in heaven, the other righteous JWs will have eternal life, but not in heaven, and everyone else will be destroyed.

Buddhism teaches something like your nonsense but there is no survival of awareness, indeed it teaches that the ultimate goal is the abnegation of self and the complete loss of desires. Taoism actually has very little to say about an afterlife only that there is one and it will be easier if we continue to follow the "Way" (Dao); most traditional teachers only say that we survive as spirits.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #113)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:37 PM

114. Thank you for responding on this while I was busy with material oneness this weekened.

Well ... to be honest, my daughter had 3 hour softball practices both Saturday and Sunday, which at times can be like Heaven, or like Hell ... depending on the weather ... but I am sure the "one true deity" likes a good game regardless.

You nail the key issue here ... the idea that anyone has a monopoly on spirituality is silly.

And it is when any true believer (church leader) declares that THEY know the truth, that you know that they actually have no idea.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #113)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:10 PM

115. Re Buddhism

 

Four Noble Truths are about suffering, its causes and liberation from suffering. Pure awareness without content of mental images (no-form) is also without concepts of beginning, ending, survival, time and place. But can potentially contain all those and attach to them. So strictly speaking, there is "survival" of pure awareness because there can be no disappearance of pure awareness, which has no beginning or end. Metaphor of still surface of see is often used. If a stone is dropped on the surface, there is beginning of concentric waves and their movement, which also ends.

Pure awareness of no form can be reached by contemplative practice also in life, but as no-form it does stop enabling forms when a form like biological organism dies.

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Response to tama (Reply #115)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:33 AM

117. Sorry for the gross oversimplification

but I saw no need to discourse upon the lotus with someone who barely understands the faith of their fathers.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #117)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:14 AM

118. Complementary, Dr. Watson, complementary! :)

 

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