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Arts and Culture

Troy Jollimore on Karen Armstrong’s ‘The Case for God’

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Posted on Dec 4, 2009
bookcover

By Troy Jollimore

(Page 3)

Apparently it is to be privilege for some, religion for the rest, and nihilism for those unfortunates who have neither. Is there really no other alternative? Richard Dawkins, for one, has written quite movingly, in “Unweaving the Rainbow” and elsewhere, on the way an appreciation of the nature of the universe, as revealed by science, can inspire and inform a sense of wonder and meaning. There is no apparent reason to assume that skepticism must inevitably lead to nihilism. Nor, for that matter, should we assume that a religion based on an ineffable, unreachable mystery of which we know nothing, and which does not even exist in any sense of “exist” that makes sense to us, will be an effective stay against nihilism. Armstrong takes the link between religion and meaningfulness to be too obvious to be worth spelling out. In fact the link is not obvious at all; it is merely conventional—a matter of so-called common sense.

 

book cover

 

The Case for God

 

By Karen Armstrong

 

Knopf, 432 pages

 

Buy the book

Her uncritical acceptance of the “non-overlapping magisteria” view is only one of the mistakes she makes about science. According to her, Einstein’s theories of relativity implied that science was “unable to provide us with definitive proof [and that] its findings are inherently limited and provisional”; Karl Popper argued that all scientific hypotheses “could never be perfectly verified and were no more reliable than any other ‘belief,’ because testing could only show that a hypothesis was not false”; and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle showed “that it was impossible for scientists to achieve an objective result because the act of observation itself affected their understanding of the object of their investigation” and somehow implied “the deep interconnectedness of all reality.” All quite wrong, of course. What may be the most serious misunderstanding leads her to utter the tiresome canard that “there will always be an element of what religious people call ‘faith’ in science.” Of course “acting on faith” here simply means “acting in the absence of absolute certainty,” so that a scientist’s willingness to proceed on the assumption that a certain hypothesis is correct is, to Armstrong’s mind, essentially the same phenomenon as religious faith. (As is drinking a glass of milk or turning a key to start one’s car, for that matter.) But there is all the difference in the world, precisely because the scientist, if reasonable, will so proceed only if there is good practical reason to do so, and only unless and until the evidence proves the hypothesis false. The responsible scientist, that is, respects the fact that she is not absolutely certain, and is thus ready to be proved wrong. Indeed, any responsible scientist can tell you what evidence would cause her to abandon her hypothesis; whereas it is the rare religious believer indeed who is able to do this.

But there I go, talking about religious believers again, when Armstrong has shown that religion is not a matter of belief—right? Well, as I said above, she has tried to show that, but not convincingly; and even if she could show it, it is not clear that that could somehow defend religion as actually practiced in our world. (In light of polls indicating that a large majority of Americans believe in a personal God, and that less than 40 percent of them believe in evolution, Armstrong’s claim that apophaticism represents the religious mainstream—at least in this country—is pretty hard to swallow.) Indeed there are many moments in “The Case for God” when Armstrong seems to drift away from apophaticism and into a deeply subjectivist view of religious truth, which holds that true religious beliefs are essentially private and can be obtained only through committed individual practice. Surprisingly, Armstrong does not seem to notice that this view is not only distinct from apophaticism, it is deeply opposed in spirit. It is not only that subjectivism, unlike apophaticism, attributes truth values to God-talk, but that apophaticism, for all its conceptual difficulties, at least tries to engender skepticism, doubt and intellectual humility by reminding us that we have no knowledge of God. Subjectivism, by contrast, tells its adherents that there are things they can know about God, and that these beliefs are inner matters, known through private experience, that do not need to be justified to their fellows, or to be entered into the tribunal of public reason in any manner whatsoever.

How would a subjectivist know that she was making a mistake of some sort if she were not required, nor even able, to check her understanding against that of her fellow human beings? Presumably she would not; rather, she would write off the concerns of potential critics and correctors who are, after all, outsiders to the tradition or, at any rate, to her subjective experience. (As Armstrong writes, religion’s critics are generally people “who find the ‘beliefs’ of religion arbitrary and incredible because they have not fully participated in its transformative rites.”) It is not obvious why Armstrong thinks such a view can be reconciled with the apophatic denial of certainty about and knowledge of the divine. Nor can I tell which one she would prefer, were their incompatibility to be made clear to her. All I can say about such subjectivism is that it seems a recipe for supreme confidence in one’s convictions, if not for fanaticism; and it is odd to find Armstrong, who praises apophaticism for its opposition to certainty and who complains that scientists and atheists tend to be too confident in their convictions, praising such a view. None of us, obviously, can prove with absolute certainty that committed subjectivists do not know the things they claim to know about God. But what really worries me about such believers is that they would not care if we could.

Troy Jollimore is associate professor of philosophy at California State University, Chico. His book “Tom Thomson in Purgatory” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2006.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, March 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

The least you can do is to explain yourself in this matter not just cast accusations without substantive merit. Can’t you do that as a “real” person of intellect to us “false” ones? Why can’t you do it yourself. This is so tiresome, the same old attack on intellect. So common in this country. Sliding backwards as it goes to a nonexistent past.

Come on don’t cop out on us Garth. Just expend a few more brain cells and tackle one. You didn’t mention me so maybe I just don’t cut it like Shenonymous, thanx for the tip. I am always working to improve my intellectual capabilities—-it is the logical thing to do. Wouldn’t you agree? Maybe not but then you haven’t yet defined what is “false” here. Can’t you? Will you? Could you? Or are you just full of hot air? I wait to see if anything of any substance can come out of you other than bilious aspersions. Fair no? You can come after me if I qualify. Give it a shot, you’ll feel better for doing it! But only if you stick to the fact(s).

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By garth, March 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Nice work on googling recursive language. 

I knew a guy, Tony Athos, who would lay bare your false intellectualism, but unfortunately, he’s dead and he probably wouldn’t have spent his time with this intellectual falderol.

All this is so tiresome. 

I think Christian96 and Davez3x have demonstrated the only true human responses. They can attest to their beliefs.  (Nnes that I was eager to hear.)
The rest of you bozos show a lack of ability to translate your thought to typing. 

If you do not believe in God or a god, then I say you are not alone and this is not new.

Shenonymous, If you understood what recursive language means, you would not be so infinitley recursive.

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, March 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous;

Good afternoon. I wanted to thank you before leaving for the high country, were there are no modern conveniences. Again thank you for expanding on the history of recursive language and its definitions.

Got to go, but look forward to the next time.

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, March 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Shenonomous;

Good afternoon. I wanted to thank you before leaving for the high country, were there are no modern conveniences. Again thank you for expanding on the history of recursive language and its definitions.

Got to go, but look forward to the next time.

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By Tom Edgar, February 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

Damn Shenonymous and Night Gaunt. I don’t mind them beating me to the punch but to do it so eruditely to the point of leaving me gasping and without room to add is embarrassing.

For all that Dave virtually everything of which you accused atheists in general was more applicable to theists.  Not being an American the following doesn’t apply to me or Australia.  As I see it American atheists do NOT advocate removal of religion nor it being taught but they do object to Government funds, and Government agencies being used for the advancement of religion.  If looked at dispassionately by the Christians you will see this as a long term protection. If circumvention of your, often abused and misused, Constitution is allowed, then it has to be allowed equally for non Christian religions also.

In Australia the opposite is actually the case. Our Federal Government subsidises Religious Schools.(All)
I won’t hide the fact that I object to this because it has led to a reduction in the finances of State Schools, and often accusations of favouritism to
some schools. My attitude is exactly the same as I have with Health.  If it is Private, then the Government has no right to be involved, let them run their businesses without Government interference and input.

So the way I see it as an outsider, or even here, is. I don’t want my taxes paying for other people’s
foibles.  Religion, especially in America, is a very lucrative business, it should never have the tax breaks unavailable to other enterprises. On the very weak argument of community benefits this is easily over come by donations to a seperate charity trust , tax deductible, and government audited. Won’t stop the, often enough,  siphoning from collections but could help.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, February 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

DaveZx3 as an Atheist and person, I agree with your sentiments. However the exclusion of other religions from a theocracy is also common and I am against barring any of them from existing within our country. Just not having any religion being part of the laws and operation of a gov’t that should represent everyone.

Thomas Jefferson‘s talk about if it about if it doesn’t pick his pocket or break his leg is fine for whatever belief is out there. A “wall of separation” didn’t start with him, he quoted from another maverick for freedom going back to the 17th century. William Bradford who disliked the theocracy of Massachusetts Bay and struck out on his own and founded the Rhode Island colony where religion isn’t part of gov’t> In fact a “wall of separation” was raised to make sure the excesses of such wouldn’t happen there. Good for him and us. Now if we could just patch all those holes in that metaphorical wall that has been breached so many times in the last 30 years. Do you agree DaveZx3?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, February 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

DaveZx3, from your post of Feb 28 at 2:01 a.m., I believe you are sincere. 
About your behavior based on your ideas, what prejudging has happened on
this forum?  I don’t recall anyone identifying you with any particular religion.  I
am atheist, but I don’t belong to an atheist community not in the least.  Morals
are very high on my list of the way to interact with people.  Morals are the
code or rules of behavior that are created and self-imposed by society’s
members that spells out what behavior is tolerable and what is not.  You tend
to see atheists as a group in the same way you complain you are judged
religious, like others who are religious.  I have no agenda to eliminate “all”
references to god and religion.  While I may not agree with them, I respect your
and religionists beliefs until you use them to color or denigrate what I believe
or do not believe.  I did not characterize you in any particular manner (see your
comment Feb 20 at 5:03a.m.).  I am and have addressed what I believe biblical
stories to be.  I have not missed any boat as I firmly ride a raft. If you don’t
agree with what I say, please say where our views differ and why yours carries
more truth than mine.

My comments about recursive language, Clash, are not observations from
personal field research. They are from reading and studying famous and
infamous linguists theories. To fill out why I think recursion had such an effect
on primitive tribal people that launched them into a broader mental capacity
that in turn allowed religion and warfare to be developed I offer the following
thoughts.  I think the development, or evolution if you prefer, of linguistic
recursion had drastic effect on human interaction. 

Briefly on how recursion works in mathematics and linguistics and the various
arguments of its importance for advanced societies en passant.

Some mathematical axioms are based upon recursive rules. E.g., the formal
definition of natural numbers in set theory is: 0 is a natural number, and each
natural number has a subsequent number, which is also a natural number.
From this base and recursive rule, the set of all natural numbers is generated. 
This is abstract thinking using logic and the sequential feature of numbers. 
Having the capacity and to apply this kind of thinking expands the mind to the
invention of hypotheticals.

Language, while it is expressed verbally, occurs in the head, speaking is the
physical manifestation of those thoughts.  Recursion as it appears in language
is a process of repeating objects in a self-similar way. A recursive object can
be an equation, an algorithm, an image, or a linguistic rule in terms of
“previously defined” objects of the same class. A classic example often given is
“how do you move a stack of 100 boxes?” Answer: you move one box,
remember where you put it, and then solve the smaller problem: how do you
move a stack of 99 boxes, 98, 97…? What you’re left with in the end is the
problem of how to move one box, which from experience, you now know how
to do.

A couple humorous illustrations: “To understand recursion, one must first
understand recursion.” Or maybe more accurate as the interactive fiction writer,
Andrew Plotkin, said: “If you already know what recursion is, just remember the
answer. Otherwise, find someone who is standing closer to Douglas Hofstadter,
a professor of cognitive science, than you are; then ask him or her what
recursion is.”

Prof. Daniel L. Everett’s developed a theory based on the Pirahã tribe, that
exists even today from primitive times, of the northwestern rainforest of Brazil. 
What is interesting is that Everett holds that recursion does not exist in the
language.  But that existent fact does illustrates that they have not had and still
do not have any ability for abstract thinking such as higher math.  They are
limited in their language to the numbers one and two, and ‘smaller and larger’
comparatives.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, February 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Even with directed teaching of numeracy-skills, the Pirahã were incapable of
learning to count up to ten or to do elementary math such as adding 1 + 1. 
The concept of color is limited to light and dark.

Without recursion there is only a finite number of different possible sentences. 
As nomadic hunter-gatherers with no need to count, they also had a cultural
constraint against generalizing beyond the present, and furthermore because
numerals and counting are based on recursion in the language the absence of
recursion prohibits the kind of linear thinking that engenders religion. 

What is most impressive about the Pirahã isn’t so much their lack of arithmetic,
for they don’t have that either, but the lack of recursion in their language has
given them a natural “scientific” perspective on the world. They only accept as
“reality” things they can observe directly. They have no history beyond living
memory. Things like ghosts and gods are non-existent.  They do not have a
conception of them.  As a result, this made Everett’s job as a Christian
missionary impossible as he had initially tried to get them to worship
something, but since he could provide no evidence of a deity’s existence, he
finally gave up and ironically came around to their way of thinking!

He once gave the Pirahã an account of what led him to Christianity, his story
culminated in telling how his stepmother committed suicide. The Pirahã
responded to this traumatic event by laughing, “Pirahã don’t kill themselves.” 
Where modern religionists believe “God gave us [things like] integers and the
rest is the work of man,” the Pirahã have no concept of a god giving anything,
nothing at all, and man is forced to make up things like integers themselves
even if limited.  There appears no social hierarchy in their society; the Pirahã
have no leaders. Their social system can thus be labeled as primitive
communism.  They have very little artwork. Such artwork they do have, mostly
necklaces, are used primarily as amulets.  While the Pirahã have no concept of a
supreme spirit or god they do believe in spirits, as a kind of animism, that can
take on the shape of things in the environment.  Spirits can be jaguars, trees,
or any other visible, tangible thing as well as people.  They live by the
immediacy of experience principle, a kind of carpe diem for tribal people.  The
Pirahã have no emphasis on power structure, hence war is a concept without
meaning. 

Except for one prosaic tale there are no myths in Pirahã, Nor do they tell
fictional stories. This absence of abstraction explains the lack of terms for
numbers.  The Pirahã have no sense of history, no stories that reach back
before living memory, and no systematic creation myth.  What they do believe
is a simple re-creation myth.  A demiurge, Igagai, recreated a pre-existing
world after its destruction in a cataclysm that came about when the moon was
destroyed. In the cataclysm, all the animals died and all light disappeared from
the world, the higher levels of the cosmos almost fell on top of the earth. 
Igagai restored the structure of the cosmos, and recreated the animals that the
Pirahã know today. 

Whorf’s Linguistics Hypothesis says language is not simply a way of voicing
ideas, but is the very thing that shapes those ideas. You cannot think outside
the confines of your language. He also believed in linguistic determinism; that
what you think is completely determined by your language. And he supported
linguistic relativity, which states that the differences in language reflect the
different views of different people. Specifically, that language determines what
its speakers are capable of thinking.

The question about the loss of humanity in my opinion is no.  An overview of
humanity shows it genetically evolves the way it must based on the needs of
the organism in general.  Water seeks its own level.  More to be said about
this… next time.

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By DaveZx3, February 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

In the discussion of ideas, it serves no purpose to personally attack a person who has ideas which are different from your own.  Even the ideas of the pathological and criminal minds must be listened to, if only to understand the source of those ideas in an effort to avoid destructive behavior.

It is also not useful to prejudge a person’s behavior based on his ideas.  Just because I think gun ownership might be my personal right, does not infer that I am murderous or even that I might purchase a gun. 

Just because I hold that the idea of the Supreme Being is a correct and true idea, does not infer that I am a member of any religion or that I hold fanatical religious beliefs or participate in fanatical religious behavior.  Nor does it infer where I picked up that idea, whether I accepted it blindly from my parents, acquired it after thorough personal investigation, or it was just dropped on me, uninvited. 

An atheist can have his or her own ideas, and I will respect their right to have those ideas.  But I do not respect the prejudice and personal attacks that they too often exhibit towards people who do not share their ideas.  No more than I respect a religious person who does the same.

If the atheistic community shares a goal of the elimination of all references to God and religion, and one of the tactics or strategies employed is the belittlement and discrediting of believers, as though their minds or persons are pathological, criminal, or inferior, then I have absolutely no respect for the atheist whatsoever.  No more than I have for the religionist who attempts to burn books which oppose his ideas.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, February 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

I wasn’t saying to ‘shut up’ just to be nice and demand such from them. I do. The most I talk about it is right here. I have been a loner myself but for a different reason. (Some kind of personality disorder—maybe Asperger’s Syndrome.)

I just don’t see how being so angry and mean does any good. For any reason. I certainly understand but it still fails in whatever you want to happen. Wishing and having aren’t the same. We must understand and make them understand too.

The only way we can live on this rock. Our strength is in our diversity and as a group, a collective of individuals working together keeps us all alive.

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, February 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt;
You are probably correct in that what I wrote was terrible, but I was tired last night and after reading the jumbled thought of a pathologically disturbed individual I allowed emotion to get the better of me.

To the idea that one must be subservient to the ridiculous, dogmatic rants of any person(s) only due to the fact that they are more numerous, seems to me to be part (maybe a large part) in the continuing disease of this culture.

The solutions to living together are not simple. Such that one must first determine and define the definitions of terms used, and then agree to those terms before any true dialog can exist. So socially I have no remorse, and as to scorn, well you might have just read that in as as your perception? I do respect your knowledge and perceptions, I just don’t agree that all enemies can be friends or allies. More to the point I know that it is their (the religious) ultimate and final answer to be rid of those that don’t conform.

I have been a loner with very few friends for a long time, since giving up a violent tribal way of life, steeped in ignorance and hate, so to be out cast and ignored has become a way of life. If you find that what was written in the defense (self) of ideas that have so long been trodden into the mud of ignorance unforgivable so be it.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, February 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Clash that is a terrible thing to say socially and from a biological & historical point is very wrong. I am an Atheist myself but remember they out number us 100,000s (or more) to 1 of us. Make friends and allies not enemies. That is how the USA goes about it at modern Christian Crusaders. They either become afraid and attack or are subservient. A very bad strategy and ultimately defeating. Nothing good will come of any of it. Live-and-let-live should be your and their motto. Respect should come first not scorn.

From a scientific point of view, such biological reasons for such beliefs are normal and keep the species alive. But should the environment change in such a way where the need for the ability to believe and need to worship isn’t necessary then the trait would be reduced to what we have now with the % of natural Atheists in small numbers right now. Just not yet if ever.

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By DaveZx3, February 27, 2010 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

By Clash, February 27 at 3:28 am #

“The disease you carry is very dangerous, you should not be allowed to be in close proximity to small children or defenseless animals.”

I get that alot from atheists. 

In spite of the disease, we have a fairly normal life.  Our three children and eight grandchildren all seem to thrive and do well.  My son is a captain for Continental Airlines, my first daughter is a biology scientist, and my second daughter owns a Christian pre-school with a waiting list of over 100 and not a complaint ever.  We, as a group, care for 12 pets, including 5 dogs, 2 cats, 1 hamster and 3 fish tanks.  Nary one complaint from any of them. 

So apparently the disease is not as debilitating as you may think.  But thanks for your concern.

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, February 26, 2010 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

Mr.zx;
The disease you carry is very dangerous, you should not be allowed to be in close proximity to small children or defenseless animals.

Shenonoymous; Hello

It is interesting that the first art forms contained only representations of life and its struggles, but even more interesting are your observations on recursive language and violent belief systems. The time line you present seems to coincide with the change from hunter gather societies to agrarian cultures, allowing more time and resources to be spent in the annihilation of life.

The question I would propose would be, has the knowledge gained been out weighed by the loss of humanity?

Sometimes I think that the violent subjugation and control of others seems to be the only concern that religions and governments seem to have. This violence is also most always perpetrated on the defenseless women, children and non humans of the world.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, February 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Didn’t you say that god spoke to you? Gave you direct information that converted you to a true Christian? In the Greek such entities were called theoi from where we get the root for “theology” so it isn’t “mine” its yours!

I have no faith in invisible things. I either accept them or they are on hold till I get more definitive data on them. But for you everyone is the same on this and all “believe” so you translate it as “faith” which is typical. None of what you have said is new or novel to me.

“Regarding governments which study spiritual potential, I know it is researched by the US, Russia and China, among others.  Techniques such as remote viewing, astral projection, intelligence transfers through medium/spirit/medium loops, psychic spying, et al.  Hundreds of examples.  The men who stare at goats is not fiction.  While you may say these are not examples of spiritualism, I say they are because they involve incorporeal consciousness.”

If true then they are powers that some of us have and are maybe a link to an evolutionary future. Like track runners and math whizzes. Just another trait.

Yes DaveZx3 and all forbidden by your Bible—if and when you follow it that is. But since it wasn’t written by that Jesus fellow you also believe in then what to do? Listen to your theoi for the definitive? What is it like being in a death cult where the only concrete answers come after death then resurrection then judgment? Since no one goes anywhere until the “final trump” will they? NO “going to Heaven” when they die even though I hear it constantly from those ignorant of their own faith. Ironic no?

Careful about using numbers they can lead you down wrong paths if you start out wrong. Like those wonderful figures that show even the least chemical compounds like insulin would take longer to form that the age of the universe, if their methodolgy is right to begin with. It isn’t. But they still have much to learn as do we all.

For the Universe to “create itself” would be a stretch but if the only alternative is a longer stretch of some non-created intelligent? being did it then you faith is vast. I don’t really know, so no faith there. Unlike you I am open to paradigm change. If you do then you have no faith and you lose. If I am wrong I move on and learn.

“Adding Occam’s Razor theory to an extremely simple creator/creation relationship is a perfect example of Occam’s Theory itself.  There does not need to be anything added to a perfectly logical relationship.”DaveZx3

Only “logical” if everything must have a creator using the human analogy to back it up. Okay using your logic humans create things, they are creators, their Creator did the same for them. But then who created that Creator? That is when you get into infinite recursion which is also logical and not so simple as following your particular brand. Then old Occam comes in and shaves the unnecessary dross away and you are left with a universe that somehow created itself. The big question is how? A quantum irregularity (from Q-membranes colliding) formed a bubble into our continuum and expanded at faster than the speed of light? So far the most plausible as goes the math and what has supported it. From what I know, others more informed can correct me on that. Again no faith.

How about the Creation Stories do you accept them as is in the Bible? There is no evidence for special creation in Nature. None. But I will be interested if you can produce any.

Maybe one day it will be found out, if humanity survives or meet another, older species who have matured and have studied the problem. Maybe.

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By Shenonymous, February 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

There is a tribe of fools who haunt the Truthdig forums DaveZx3.  What did
you have to pay for membership?  Your rational mind?  Sounds like you are
missing that!  In your blindness you project the idea that because you live your
fantasy, nonbelievers do too.  I do not cling to any belief except what can be
proven then it becomes true belief another name for knowledge.  An
accumulation of facts, even though provisional, is it seems far better to base
one’s life on than blind belief, which is another name for faith.  Faith, belief
with no evidence and no rational basis for belief.

If your god did exist, DaveZx3, quit talking “for” him.  It shows disrespect. 
Unless of course you believe in a limited god.  Please clarify your notion of your
god.  You only speak in dogmatic descriptions.  Why should non-believers
believe you? 

There is no desperation DaveZx3 for atheists.  It is a calculated blindness to
think so.  Evolution is proven time and time again and denying it, well…to each
his own insanity.  It is quite mathematically possible!  Spinoza built his entire
pantheistic system upon mathematics.  Evolution is not debunked at all.  Please
cite the debunkers.  Mathematics is inert.  It is a tool of thinking.  It is like
logic, it neither proves nor disproves anything.  It is used to clarify complex
thinking.  One can come to any conclusion one wants, obviously.  Some minds
think 2 + 2 = 5.  And maybe in some differently based system, it could, but it
would have to be shown not to be deranged in classic arithmetic.  Loving my
own mind, in my preferred brand of derangement of also loving knowledge, I
would not be part of any flock!  Not only would I have simply eaten of the tree
of knowledge of good and evil, I would have engorged myself.  How silly to
even imagine that!  How fictitious!  It is so easy to create mythologies. 

What exactly is the perfect logic of your creator?  Being stuck in the common
notion of a maker of the universe only shows an immaturity of mind.  Perhaps
your ersatz brand of god-believing is indeed because you are old and do fear
death and the idea that there may be nothing after the end of the road.  How
would you go about checking it all out, your beliefs? 

It does appear you have taken the easiest course, Occam’s course.  You say you
admit to “knowledge” of god.  But you don’t seem able to convince anyone of
your god’s existence except to declare its existence.  Why do you think you
ought to be believed?  I have said time and time again I would accept any
verifiable evidence, which is what knowledge is.  You confuse knowledge with
theoretical belief.  If anyone is desperate it is those who cling to the fragments
of authoritarian beliefs acquired from the family not their own discovery.  Once
infected with family traditional beliefs is it almost impossible to be rid of them,
even if a new path of discovery is taken. 

Atheists are not desperate, just the opposite, comfortable in a reliance on their
own mind.  If there is a problem with some unbelievers it is that they have only
traded sacred beliefs for secular beliefs deifying the state, or confabulating
other theoretical beliefs into neo-organizations still needing an authority
figure, non-Gods, trading traditional superstitions for recycled ones just
lacking a supreme being.  Also victims of their needy emotions. 

Are you kidding?  You went a couple of weeks ago to investigate something
that allegedly happened in the mid-90s and concluded the stories were true? 
From uneducated provincials?  How did you investigate the truth of their
stories?  How do you know they were not lying?  Or perhaps not intentionally
but not mistaking their perceptions?  What method of truthtelling verification
did you use?  Come on DaveZ.  Why do you trust yourself even?  How do you
test your beliefs?  I don’t think you do at all.

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By DaveZx3, February 20, 2010 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 20 at 5:03 am #

“The truth is often painful.  It can be
fatal to one who clings for dear life to a fantasy”

Isn’t that funny?  That is exactly what I was going to say to you.

I know I had a lot of questions to catch up on, but I only get to sit on my ass for about an hour a day now.  AT my age, it takes a lot of activity to keep the blood flowing.  Also, I do have 8 grandkids to keep up with, and that alone takes more than I can muster on most days.  I get to baby-sit and pick-up, drop-off at schools, etc.  What would they do without me?

Anyway, it is interesting how you get characterized when you admit to having knowledge of God.  As though no one in history ever had that happen to them before. 

Apparently, many of the men who invented the stories went to their death because of the stories.  Frantically clinging to life?  NO!

That is just another myth of the atheists, because it makes them feel better to portray a person of God as a frantic, frail, little misguided soul clinging to life out of fear of dying.  What a crock. 

“This is the fantasy function of religion, to provide final answers.” 

Quit talking about religion as though it has some meaning to God.  It is a man-made system regarding man’s attempt to define God in a way that is non-threatening to man.  Religion and atheism are just two sides of the same coin minted in order to remove any necessity to actually listen to anything but their own voices.  There is only one difference between atheists and religionists, but I forgot what it is.

You really missed the boat on the use of parables.  Better read that one again. 

I encountered the goat-herder mentality when we took a couple of weeks to track down some mutilated cow stories south of the border in the middle 90’s.  Granted, most of them were actually cowboys technically, but the same mentality.  These people did not lie.  They were not liars. 

Regarding governments which study spiritual potential, I know it is researched by the US, Russia and China, among others.  Techniques such as remote viewing, astral projection, intelligence transfers through medium/spirit/medium loops, psychic spying, et al.  Hundreds of examples.  The men who stare at goats is not fiction.  While you may say these are not examples of spiritualism, I say they are because they involve incorporeal consciousness. 

As someone who worked closely with the Air Force for over 20 years, I can attest personally to many of these studies, and I know others, especially Russia did more than we did.  My experience has been that governments study every possible potential advantage.

Remote viewing was my favorite as it transcended time and space.  It showed great potential and results and was actually used tactically very successfully, but was not predictable.  It would drop out almost completely for periods of time.  There are still those practicing it successfully, but it’s no longer studied formally by the US to my knowledge.  The CIA had a study going through an Eastern college, which I cannot recall, and they may keep up on it.  I don’t know. 

Regarding the pages in the healthcare bill.  I could care less how many pages bureaucrats need to cover every particular reason why you are technically not covered.  The only thing worse than an insurance company writing insurance policies is a government writing insurance policies. 

Besides, only absolute morons would use insurance mechanisms to deliver routine day-to-day healthcare.  It would be like buying an insurance policy to cover oil changes for your car and believing somehow by filtering the money through the rules of this 2500 hundred page document, and the same amount of bureaucrats, that somehow your oil change would be less expensive.  Health care reform is a joke as it is written and addresses virtually none of the real problems of rising cost. 

Hope I haven’t missed anything.  Have a good weekend.

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By Tom Edgar, February 20, 2010 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

Dave… To make make clock you need a clockmaker.
      To make a universe you need a universe maker
      To make a universe maker you need a…..?????

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By DaveZx3, February 20, 2010 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

By Night-Gaunt, February 19 at 1:14 am #

“Is that your opinion or your theoi that communicates with you?” 

I try to ignore the theoi and stay focused on the real theo, who communicates with everyone who listens.  Like radio waves, unless you acquire the radio and do the work of tuning it, you miss the message. 

“Evolution certainly disproves Intelligent Design”

Evolution is mathematically impossible with regards to the amount of mutations which would have to be in evidence.  Punctuated Equilibrium attempted to fill in the gaps, but is no better than saying a being of certain intelligence had to intervene to make the jump from A to B.  You cannot mathematically have a monkey and a man or a dinosaur and a bird without having literally millions of monkey-men and dinosaur-birds in ample evidence in the fossil record. 

It is all debunked with mathematics and probability, except for punctuated equilibrium, which was actually the intervention of the multitudinous theoi (as you call them) who inhabited the earth from day one.  Evolution, exclusive of intelligent intervention, is unraveling slowly, like so-called man-made global warming, when you stop and actually try to verify the science.
 
I realize that atheists have to cling to the theory desperately, but in the minds of a growing amount of free thinkers, it is not panning out.  Science is more cruel to its dissidents than religion and partisan politics.  But once the dam sprouts a leak, the water starts flowing fast. 

“Even DNA is only made of 4 amino acids that can for us make 46 codons but functions as a language that can have billions of patterns” 

Exactly, and language is conceived through intelligent design, as is DNA, which is the language or software and code of biological creation. 

“I don’t know, was he interested in informing or confusing the flock?”

He said there was a wide path and a narrow path.  Those on the wide path were not the flock, and were not the focus of his attention on this trip, so his language was meant to not register to them.  Sound familiar?

“A machine isn’t a living thing so the analogy is false and therefore nonsense”

My vacuum is no more a machine than the universe, which utilizes energy to perform work and move matter according to an intelligent plan and design.  Matter and energy do not just come into existence exclusive of any cause and turn themselves on and perform as the universe does, like a huge group of dynamos.  Though I may buy one of those robotic vacuum cleaners, but I suppose I will still have to bend over to turn it on, and probably change batteries or something.  Every machine requires the intelligent mind to govern it, including the universe, the biggest machine of all. 

“Adding a deity to create all that is is an unnecessary addition”

Adding Occam’s Razor theory to an extremely simple creator/creation relationship is a perfect example of Occam’s Theory itself.  There does not need to be anything added to a perfectly logical relationship.  To have a clock, you need a clock maker.  To have a universe, you need a universe maker.  Any addition is unnecessary.  The universe is comprised of infinitely more design parameters and complex interactions than a simple clock.  It would take a lot of faith to believe a universe could create itself.  And certainly if you believe that, you must have some theory of how that might have happened. 

It is much easier for me to conceive of the possibility of superior beings who could create a universe than it is to conceive of the possibility that a universe could create itself.  That takes real faith, though it is all that is available to the atheist, I realize, and they must cling to it.  My understanding vs your understanding.  My faith vs your faith.

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By Shenonymous, February 20, 2010 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

It doesn’t seem like that before they sat down to write the health care bill they
said, “oh we have to write a 2500 page health care bill.”  Republicans are
always obsessively calculatedly worried about the number of pages in a bill.  It
is their hysterical wedge issue.  Perhaps they suffer selective attention deficit
syndrome?  Perhaps they have only a one word vocabulary, NO!  Or maybe they
would like to add, “get lost poor America, keep dying, then white America won’t
have a health issue!”  Seems more like those writing the bills want to be sure to
cover all the bases to avoid coming up short, and sooooo they get
looonnnnngggg.  Why the moaning about it though is the Republican standard
game chip if it isn’t their own bill.  Why Democrats don’t loudly call the
Republicans out on it is what lacks comprehension. 

If Jesus spoke at all and spoke in “parables,” it is because similes and metaphor
are easier to understand.  Putting common sense ideas into comfy stories was
the only way to get through to the uneducated, non-thinking Jews to whom he
was speaking.  That is why similes and metaphors exist.  They are tools of
thinking.  No one can even think about consciousness itself without using
them.  What is so difficult to understand about that? 

Even self-moving robots need switched on at some originating point.  Far as I
know, humankind has not yet invented a perpetual motion machine.  We don’t
know if the Universe is actually infinite and eternal and we will never know.  If it
collapses on itself and re-Big Bangs, well it will have to be in theory based only
on gathered information and “educated” scientific guesses. 

The notion of a universe that did not have “a creator” is repugnant to those
minds who long for their momma which is why the several dozen creation
stories exist.  They have not separated themselves from the infantile need for
parent care.  They need authority. 

I sometimes wonder what the first thought was of the first human to awake
from the unreflective brute state, the primitive, to the higher reflective state of
human consciousness.  Don’t you suppose that everything must have seemed
so perplexing? That after living in that state of utter puzzlement, questions
generated like how did the world begin?  Why do we die?  Even why do things
move?  The more ingenious undoubtedly invented myths that were deeply
immersed in superstition.  No doubt the mythical stories were a composite of
their imagination, their dreams, what they could remember from their past
experiences, thrown together with their desires.  How could this amorphous lot
not conceive a supernatural being that provided the authority desperately
wanted?

It is a deep fallacy to think final answers are needed.  This is the fantasy
function of religion, to provide final answers.  But science shows there is
always a possibility that new information can come along to embellish what
was once thought.  Plato demonstrated that excellently well.  But as new human
minds are given birth, the same old insights have to be rediscovered and
history is only an artifact.  There is no denial however that dashes facts.  There
are events that really happened, only facts surrounding them may come to light
with more investigation demanding a revision to previous thought.  To deny
them are the falsehoods.  Such things as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina
and the earthquake of Haiti are facts.  9/11 did in fact happen, genocide is
happening in Africa today!  That the earth is over 4.6 billions years old is a fact
give or take a couple of years, but it is certainly older than 6,000 years! 

Skepticism about truth is often misguided because of a mistake that is made in
understanding the difference between abstraction and reality, where an
abstraction is confused to be the reality.  The truth is often painful.  It can be
fatal to one who clings for dear life to a fantasy.

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By Tom Edgar, February 19, 2010 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

We’ll meet up with you later then?

Meanwhile stay away and let us enjoy.

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By christian96, February 19, 2010 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

You atheistic fools are on the highway for hell.
You better enjoy what little time you have left
here on earth.

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By garth, February 19, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

Having children.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  I meant a sort of natural selection where your DNA became dominant.

But name-dropping, did I tell you about the time I was in Morley Safer’s coffee house, the King’s Rook, in Georgetown with my room mate Bill Clinton when in walked Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones.  Jones had just had his face smashed by a truckdriver in a fight over a parking space.
Bill was going off to Yale law school and we all wished him success with the hopes that his country charm wouldn’t be changed by some ambitious coed in the Law school.
I had to leave early to go pick up Ted Kennedy and the Dalai Lama at the airport.  Mr. Lama was not dressed for the cold weather, so I had to get him an overcoat from my friend Joseph (Abboud).
It’s either that or, “some guy I know..”

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By Night-Gaunt, February 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

“Occam and his hypothetical razor are not applicable to a being who purposely adds complexity to befuddle and confuse the self-professed wise man.”

Is that your opinion or your theoi that communicates with you? By-the-way I am in search of wisdom but at no time have I said or implied otherwise that I have obtained it. Evolution certainly disproves Intelligent Design by its very actions—-what works not the ultimate best for survival.

“It is not always the goal to make things simple.  Otherwise, why are they contemplating a 2500 page health care bill? “ [Just making Medicare open to all would have been the best and simplest way to do it.]

True but there is no evidence that the Natural world was made by any intelligence other than in the minds of those who profess it. Even DNA is only made of 4 amino acids that can for us make 46 codons but functions as a language that can have billions of patterns. The political reasons for a Health Bill actually some 200 pages long, with single spacing, is for you to ask what constituents were being helped by it of all the politicos who were involved in it. (Inconsistent and not applicable to this.)

“Did Jesus talk in parables to make things easier to understand?  Not according to what he said.”

I don’t know, was he interested in informing or confusing the flock? Exciting their minds to think perhaps like Zen Buddhism koans?

“My wife asked me to vacuum the floor downstairs, but I told her what you said, “if the being can do it, so can the thing itself.”  So far, the thing just sits there and doesn’t show the motivation to do anything at all.  It probably needs an intelligent being to show it how to turn itself on. “

A machine isn’t a living thing so the analogy is false and therefor nonsense. However there are robotic ones that do move and work on their own. The old Clock Maker comparison that fails the logic test for just that reason.

Adding a deity to create all that is is an unnecessary addition, along with the inconsistency of something that doesn’t need creating itself. Why not the Universe? Now why is that? And how is that?

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By DaveZx3, February 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

By Night-Gaunt, February 18 at 7:58 pm #

“Actually there is, saying that some other being did it. If the being can do it, then so can the thing itself. You just remove one of the absurdities leaving it more simple. [See Occam’s Razor again.]”

Occam and his hypothetical razor are not applicable to a being who purposely adds complexity to befuddle and confuse the self-professed wise man. 

It is not always the goal to make things simple.  Otherwise, why are they contemplating a 2500 page health care bill? 

Did Jesus talk in parables to make things easier to understand?  Not according to what he said.

My wife asked me to vacuum the floor downstairs, but I told her what you said, “if the being can do it, so can the thing itself.”  So far, the thing just sits there and doesn’t show the motivation to do anything at all.  It probably needs an intelligent being to show it how to turn itself on.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

“Nothing more absurd than to say the universe just came into being all by itself.  There had to be energy for anything to start.  Spiritual energy, wherever it came from, is the original cause, and all this is the effect.”-DaveZx3

Actually there is, saying that some other being did it. If the being can do it, then so can the thing itself. You just remove one of the absurdities leaving it more simple. [See Occam’s Razor again.]

Garth I would not want to reproduce with the mix I have at this time. It would be difficult to find & separate the good from the bad. Definitely they will find it eventually, if they are given the time and money to search them out. And no natural or human made disasters stop it of course. Such malfunctions of the brain in relation to humans dealing with each other is paramount to our continuing survival. Atomism of the lone wolf ends in premature death. It is hard to find the person that can stand my problems. I found one by accident but I see her rarely but through the mail and the internet and phone keep in contact. (The last time I got to see her face-to-face was almost 2 years ago now.) I am fortunate in that area. A few get into the history books and you see they are without anyone. That would be very bad for anyone to suffer through a life. Fortunately I have no interest in children but too many others do.

If I was the least bit religious I could go to churches but the problem would remain. I like libraries but rarely go and never met anyone when I did. When comes down to it it is the person that matters in any thing that is done by/for/to others. NO matter what ideology/philosophy/theosophy we are individuals who need each other to survive. When that dynamic fails it will be more like “The Road” which is a horror to read.*

*The setting could be post nuclear winter or the Yellowstone caldera exploded not that the cause is of any real importance to the story of raw survival in a harsh dead place.

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By garth, February 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,
Thank you for your reponse.  I have been reading your posts on some of the same threads that I have been on and I find that you are very learned man. 
I might have the same personality characteristics Aspergers, Schizo-.  I thought I had a type of autism.

Writing responses is musch easier for me than a verbal face-to-face give and take.

I don’t feel comfortable saying I believe in god or that do not believe in god.  When I say I do, it seems to evoke a response in others that I believe in what they think to be a belief in god. 
Right now, I am thinking of god the mathematical function terms as “undefined.”

If L is life and n represents the number of variations that can occur, then

L=(n!) and god is undefined.


Simplistic, yes, but that’s what I am thinking.

I think you might be a variation of DNA that needs to be replicated.

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By DaveZx3, February 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

By Night-Gaunt, February 18 at 1:04 am #

“I would suggest looking up the life of Krishna, very similar and predates Jesus, the Christ. Very interesting, many parallels.”

It has ceased to be interesting how beings who are not subject to time and space can inject the same basic stories into various cultures in various eras.  To natural man, what is an “event” happening on the timeline; in the spiritual realm is more of a “condition”.  It is predeterministic in the sense that it is not an event which happens and is then remembered, but is more like something which is always happening and can be viewed at will.  You will never be able to conceive this in your naturalistic mind.  The concept of timelessness is totally alien to the natural mind. 

“And there is still the problem of a non-created entity separate from anything then creating everything else. It is putting the cart before the horse, it just doesn’t work. However I know the human mind can hold bizzare and impossible things in the mind but then confuse it with reality.”

Nothing more absurd than to say the universe just came into being all by itself.  There had to be energy for anything to start.  Spiritual energy, wherever it came from, is the original cause, and all this is the effect. 

If that energy is timeless only in relation to time as we know it, then it could have been created in another realm.  But if this is a chicken or the egg argument, either one needed to have been originally constructed to have generated the other. 

It is true that the mind can hold bizzare thoughts, but I would take exception to the fact that what I am saying is impossible.  It is quite arrogant for a man to declare what is and what is not possible in relation to a vast universe, which is probably not even the whole story. 

Nothing is known until it is finally known, and man is a newcomer, knowing actually very, very little.  And when something does become known, it is known by some first and then others.  And man is not the determining factor as to who will become the first to know anything. 

You can dismiss everything I say, and it does not offend me.  I only put it out there because it has manifested in my mind, little by little, after long periods of me asking that to happen.  Little specks of knowledge, like puzzle pieces, each one that is placed shows a little more of the big picture. 

And if it all turns out to be a defect of my mind, then so be it.  It takes nothing out of me, at least so far.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Well Garth thank you for coming clean. It is so rare to see it here. I do poorly with people. Here it is much easier because it is only my words. Less spontaneous so I have a better chance at getting it right and not saying something that is true but uncooth. My problems are with shyness and communication. Not verbally but in the other areas such as non-verbal which reacts faster than our cognitive response and boarders on the subliminal & has great impact. My researches lead me to either Asperger’s Syndrome or a form of schizo-type personality disorder kind that is very similar. Either one means I am alone in a room full of people. And somewhere down the line my personality will grate those around me. (With just as rare exceptions.) Unfortunate luck of the DNA draw but it happens. I am just glad that I have interests more useful than train schedules or vacuum cleaners. (But I do have the problem of being interested in too many things—so I am spread thin.) Small talk is beyond me. My Emotional Quotient is poor at best & I can only fake it so far. Without it a few of us thus afflicted tend to remain alone. I think Sir Isaac Newton probably was such a person.

To me religion is mythology just not relegated to that just yet. Where are the worshipers of Anubis anyway? But the impetus for it is biological as a means of organization for survival. I am just one of the few that do not conform as evolution is always throwing out variations because our environment can change at any time and sometimes new traits will be good for such survival whereas before they were not.

Right now my present combination of phenotypic traits are a dead end. A bad combination which fortunately I will not be passing on. But I know that such traits are so random that they will always continue to appear somewhere as the population grows ever larger till the ecology collapses as it invariably will unless put under control.

If we don’t handle it then Nature will and there is no love or compassion from a natural force just the cold logic of balance.

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By garth, February 18, 2010 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

N-G:
In the following sentence please replace “scholastic” with “scholarly” 
————————————————-
All in all, I admire your scholastic abilities.  I wish I could sit down and do the same.  I admire your intellectual honesty and your political bent.

——————————————————————
 
Look where scholasicism has gotten us. 


So be kind to your mother.  Now and then have a chat.  Buy her candy, or flowers or a brand new hat.  Or maybe you had better let it go at that.
Or you might find yourself with a quaint complex.  You might wind up like Oedipus.  I’d rather marry a duck-billed platypus, than end up like old Oedipus Rex.

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By garth, February 18, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

I am a gutter fighter.  Attack, attack, attack.  Where have you seen that lately besides the political movements spurred by the religious right?
The questions you referred to:  (I am guessing that these are ones.)

N-G: Garth, you really lose credibility dredging up Amy Bishop to attack Shenonymous without a shred of evidence.

I interpreted an uncontollable rage.  I was comparing that to what must have driven Ms. Bishop to her actions.

N-G: That is piss poor. So you have been called such derogatory names by “better” people?

I know it’s piss poor, but again, gutter fighters do not ask moral questions.  They react.  By the way, it was “more imporatnt people” not “better people” if you go back and check.

N-G: Does that mean they were also right in their assessments?

You’ve got me there.  My memory tells me that they have been right most if not all the time.

N-G:  Have you done any self examinations lately, ever, about yourself?

Unfortunately, for me, that’s most of what I do.  Sometimes I get a good idea and sometimes I don’t.  Most of the time, as I am realizing, it leads me back to where I started.

I think this is admirable on face value, but what does this mean?  “I do all the time because I see flaws I need to fix.”

N-G: Do you have flaws?
I am Mr. Flaw.  One thing that, though, that happened to me about 10 years ago was that I became aware of myself in some other’s eyes.  Rage left me.  I am working, and it is difficult, but I am trying to accept myself exactly as I am.  To understand as I am understood.


N-G: Can you write any down or are you like George W. Bush who could find none?

I am somewhat like George W.  I saw a file photo where he tripped walking up the stairs and flashed a sheepish grin.  Well, that’s me—an overly self-conscious clod never at ease in a social setting. 

N-G: I can drop names too. Does it help?

Yes, drop a few names, please.


All in all, I admire your scholastic abilities.  I wish I could sit down and do the same.  I admire your intellectual honesty and your political bent. 

Adios, I hope.

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By Tom Edgar, February 17, 2010 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

So Dave whilst you still use the Judeo Christian beliefs as your basis you maintain you have no religious affiliation.  I find that difficult to accept.

You talk of “Chief God” There are others??? Then Lucifer, the Opposition. but you say they are some sort of airy fairy power on the ether without dimensions.
Now the Bible, and specifically Genesis disputes that absolutely. It definitely states God made man in his own image.

Every single thing you said is without foundation, nor with any reference to a substantiating point of derivation.  In short you make empirical statements
without reference to any source. Why should we accept your word that these things have happened, or a judgment day is in the future?
Why should we believe that your God is non dimensional when we have no way of verifying it?
For that matter why do you believe it.? What evidence have you found that justifies your beliefs?
It is puzzling to me.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

I would suggest looking up the life of Krishna, very similar and predates Jesus, the Christ. Very interesting, many parallels.

Also being superior to us doesn’t make them the creator of the Universe, just one who can fool the lesser developed species they come across. Like someone educated in our culture that can fool someone still living a neolithic life. Don’t be such a gullible pushover. Stick your tongue in a light socket and flip the switch and you will feel superior power! (I wouldn’t recommend it however.)

And there is still the problem of a non-created entity separate from anything then creating everything else. It is putting the cart before the horse, it just doesn’t work. However I know the human mind can hold bizzare and impossible things in the mind but then confuse it with reality.

” Anyone who can think of absurdities can create monstrosities”Voltaire (Paraphrased)

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By DaveZx3, February 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

By Tom Edgar, February 15 at 11:59 pm #

“Dave you say you have no alliance with a religion?
So why do you keep quoting only Biblical figures, and situations, including Lucifer etc.? Why aren’t the Gods of Hinduism relevant? I mean they have been around longer than the Judeo/Christian identities. For that matter, who is, and where is, this Lucifer? or God and heaven too?”

I find the teachings affiliated with Jesus Christ to be completely in line with what I understand naturally, and through other sources.  The far east religions have concepts which are troublesome to that view. 

There are many spiritual entities who like to pose as gods.  But there is only one chief God who is in charge of them all, and there is the chief opposer, called Lucifer. 

The so-called “demonic” spiritual beings inhabited earth in great numbers before all else.  (how and why they came here is an extremely interesting story in itself)  They posed as gods to many early civilizations and influenced their “evolution.” 

This was way before the creation of the Adamic race, whose job was to restore the memory and influence of the true God to the earth, and to pave the way for redemption for all those who were acting outside of the law. 

The Bible is predominantly the story of the Adamic mission and the last days leading up to the great court case called the Day of Judgement. Adam and Eve were told to REplenish the earth, so it was obvious there were civilizations previously.  Cain married someone when he left the garden.  The first words of Genesis indicate a rebuilding of the earth, but subsequent words talk of a different original creation.  It is not a chronological document, and very hard to understand intellectually. 

Saying you have a god or a religion is an empty statement.  The people of the true God do the things of the true God, or at least attempt to.  I am not impressed with people who say they have a religion and a god and then go around lying, cheating, stealing, murdering and warring.  Because these are the things of the false gods or anti-God. 

Some will judge the true God by these anti-gods & false religions, but I have learned to have more discernment.  Lucifer, as the head of the opposition, is a master of deception and lying. His goal is a total coup and to control everything.  He constantly seeks elimination of anyone who would oppose him.  He understands the function of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel, better than they do. Though most only know of Judah, Lucifer knows where the other “lost tribes” drifted off to, and he readily does battle with them.

The real God does not control man.  He created man with total freedom.  We are free to live out all our fantasies in this short life. But at some point, we will choose the ways of God or not.  I for one choose the ways of Jesus Christ.  So I have no use for many of the teachings of a Hindu god, but I understand the reason for those teachings. 

As far as the physical location of Lucifer and God, these are spiritual beings.  They are not composed of dimensional components.  They do not take up space and they are not subject to time.  The best way I could describe them is as energy or force.  It is like asking me where is gravity?  What could I say? 

However, it has been written that spiritual beings can exert extreme influence on natural beings, often called possession.  The real question would be, where are the beings that Lucifer is exerting extreme influence on? 

This is not to say that there is not a dimension in which spiritual beings have a directly perceivable component, which might be considered heaven.  This has not been covered, but left a mystery. 

When I used that story about a highly evolved man having powers similar to God, I was only speaking allegorically.  It is not preposterous to accept the existence of a superior being, when you consider the potential of mankind. 

Too many things to say, but little time to type.

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By Tom Edgar, February 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

It is 5.45 am on a grey day with eight wallabies cutting the grass and weeds below my window. Perfect peace and of course no traffic, nothing unusual as there is only six homes on my 7 kilometre road. Be envious.

Ah Shenon I am but halfway through “Flatlands.”  Maybe my opinion will change but I keep seeing in his, very clever, geometrical images and situations, subtle condemnations of prevailing attitudes, then and now. e.g. the military mentality, subjugation of women etc., his undoubted religiosity is to be expected considering the period in which it was written.  Karen Armstrong’s latest I have yet to read. It was sent to me,  as were her others,  by my daughter. (I would have preferred a Grisham.)
I have found that, in the past, she writes very eloquently about not much at all, but then I still appreciate good prose and, writing ability.

Do not, please, misunderstand me.  I am far from being anti American. My WW2 experiences there left me with a deep affection for the people who were so welcoming and open hearted, even the Texans, no that should be especially the Texans. The country , as a whole, is a wonderful place, nearly as beautiful as N Z.  My niece, in California, has lived there for over thirty years and with that awful twangy Californian dialect, summed it up.  “I AM an American, I pay my taxes, have been in continuous employment (medical) had my children here, hate my government and love my country.” Well that is how I see Australia too.  The same responses, presumably, would come from Italians, Germans and Libyans.  I was, for a time, in contact with a young lady in Saudi Arabia,  she vehemently defended all aspects of her life, both Religious and National. Strangely, on religion, her terminology was virtually indistinguishable from the rhetoric of the Bible Belt Fundamentalists. Nationalistic indoctrination is endemic in most countries.Or religions.

One of the outstanding differences between America and Australia is that the…“My country right or
wrong.”  mentality is, nowhere as strong “Down Under”, actually it is more likely to be the reverse, in spite of heavy propaganda to validate a Government’s position. Then we always were a cynical mob. But times, and the country, are a changing.
The irreverence towards Politics is just as strong towards religion, another big difference. There is an Australian playing Gridiron in America, a Quarterback. (I’m considered peculiar I like the game), this gentleman is, as many Australians, non religious, and never joins the prayer huddle. His team mates don’t hold it against him.  I guess they think .“Ah he is Australian, can’t expect him to be normal.”  I have never understood this prayer huddle. Both teams doing it. Different prayers/Gods ???  I suppose it was no different to the Axis and Allies Powers in WW2. But, as in all God’s activities, it was always on the winning side.

When I hear of an American defending their system I am bemused.  The French, to my mind, have a superior legal system to the Anglo/American adversary one.
The British legal system is so convoluted, and without a constitution, one does wonder how it works at all. But as in all places. You get the best system money can buy. I recently saw, on T V,  a Shanghai lady vehemently deny that China has “Political Prisoners.” But then many Americans would say the same. I even saw on one site a young lady writing.  America is the only PERFECT country.  BLIND Loyalty. Now that is a dangerous thing.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 17, 2010 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

Garth you managed to reproduce what I wrote and still didn’t address any of it! Nice. Scared are we? No need no one will bite unless bitten first. I like to mix it up here but not on the gutter level. Too easy and anyone with little else in mind can do it. (“We don’t do things because they are easy, but because they are hard.”,b>JFK</b>) But substantial communication isn’t so easy if you don’t have the education for it. [Which can always be remedied.] So far Garth you have been very good at attacking others but it is so empty of substance. I asked you some simple questions that you ignored. Too personal? Too correct? Even if we can’t be friends we can at at least speak to each other in a civil manner can’t we? If not then I will ignore you. Then you will either change your attitude (highly unlikely) or you will wander off to find more prey for you attacks to fulfill that emotional need you have.

To me I don’t care what you believe and I hope the same is with you if we could just be decent about it. agree to disagree and maybe get some interesting thought threads going. Notice again the Atheist has not insulted you once or impugned your intelligence or said you name wrong. Can you say the same? How are you in face-to-face meetings?

I am such a nerd that I like to read the Dictionary! I am fascinated by those who show a remarkable intelligence and mental capability in the upper levels—rare. Just two of my hobbies. Read what else I have said that exposes even more of myself. There, my belly is exposed to you Garth.

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By garth, February 17, 2010 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

A few parting words from an Irish woman I knew about 30 years ago who died at the age of 98:

When you wake up, get up.
When you get up do something.

I am sure she would not include sitting on your ass in front of a PC as doing something.

I cannot say that that will lead to a longer life other than that it will seem longer.

She also didn’t over eat.  When she was asked for seconds in a meal, she’d reply, “I’ve had sufficient.”

Mr. Edgar,

I think you might be on to something with drinking untreated (flouridated) water.  I thank you.


Abientot

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By Shenonymous, February 17, 2010 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Good Morning Tom.  Yes, of course your strategy “to ignore,” or dismiss, Tom, 
is best and I have recently used it successfully myself on other forums to deal
with a couple of intransigent ideological muggers.  Once in awhile when my
hackles gets rankled, it seems more prudent to deal smack on with the verbal
vermin.  I suspect your assessment is correct of the current wart.  I noticed too
the lack of humor coming from that quarter having received more than a few
jabs from him.  He seems to have a bug up his ass and strikes out at anyone in
the vicinity with the most infantile harassing accusations.  But you know what,
Tom, I find almost all of the residents on TD lack humor.  I find that a poverty
in their souls. 

I have never had any regrets at being an American.  I am proud to have been
born here and have lived my entire life here.  I came from an immigrant
working class extended family and had a divorced mom who scratched a life
out but did all right and raised me to be an educated and moral person caring
for others as much as anyone.  This country has its faults but it has tenacity and
a superior government constitution.  I never denigrate my country.  But I do
criticize how its government has been run by various people.  As I listen to the
news everyday I marvel at what people are able to say about this government
without being executed, that would not be tolerated most elsewhere.  People
will be AHs everywhere.  Jimmy Buffet wrote a song, Assholes of the World! 
Course the AHs listed on a youtube with his song does not show the same
group I would have but his song is funny anyway. 

I’ve read most of the books on your list. The Edge of Science looks like one I’d
find interesting.  Can’t say I appreciated any of Armstrong’s.  I have most of her
books and have read them along with the bible and the koran also. Her
scholarship is not great and for my buck neither are her conclusions.  Edwin
Abbott Abbott’s Flatland is one of the best writings to gain an insight into the
qualities of multiple dimensions ever written. I read it in my teens and have
loved it ever since.  His proposition of a “higher” being is a bit moralizing but
the story is so enchanting I can overlook it.  He was a theologian in England so
it is natural he would see existence the way he did.  His “liberal”  theological
views earned him critical eyebrow raising.  You do know there is an animation
of the story, don’t you?  If you found the book intriguing, you would enjoy the
movie.  You can see a brief trailer at http://www.flatlandthemovie.com/  It
would be fascinating if an atheist could come up with a story equal to Abbott’s.

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By Tom Edgar, February 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Ah! Shenon. Should we not just ignore.  To my mind Garth is so typical of Bible Belt mentality, I’m actually using “mentality” reluctantly. In general,regardless of academic qualifications, and these are often of dubious merit, the main requirement seems to be a low intellect and even lower perspicacity.

The qualifications I mentioned seems, so often, to be followed by a total lack of fine humour.  Oh! yes coarse and vulgar sexually oriented jokes do not qualify as humour. Aggressive and violent behaviour with personal negative invective and denigration being very often part of their armoury,it takes the place of intelligent observations. The old bully’s attitude of “I’ll prove I’m right with my fists, not my mind.”

This ill educated person doesn’t know that Australian book reading, and newspapers also, is the
biggest per capita in the world.  His meeting with Australians must have been with those of his own intellectual standards.  We do have some dummies here too. Personally I have three books I’m reading at the moment. Abbott Abbott’s Flatland. Allan Baker’s Edge of Science, and of course Armstrong’s Case for God. Then there is the Koran, and Bible staring at me, and several others that I peck at. My mind is like a grasshopper in old age, I can’t find the time to sit and seriously study because there is so much to learn and so little time. I hope that other person goes back to his comics.

Childish innuendos such as the silly advertising “Shrimp on Barbie.”  No 1. I don’t have a barbecue.
No2 I’m allergic to all crustaceans. But it also has connotations of national superiority, one of the American traits that has led your, and other countries into disastrous situations, the immediate past and present included.  Towards the end of WW2 I had the opportunity to stay in the U S A, instead I chose Australia. If I have any regrets it is that I didn’t chose New Zealand. Canada was another choice but I hate the cold, and the neighbours were a problem. I gather they still are.

So Shenon It is snowing there still, so the cold shoulder seems more than appropriate, unless there is a thaw in the rhetoric.

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By Shenonymous, February 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

M’thinks you are obsessing, garth.  When did you say you started thinking?  It
doesn’t work any better than when you weren’t. It appears your belief engine is
misfiring,  That is not all that is misfiring.  Your constant chatter of criticism
about what people say, (I’d point myself out, except better-than-me Gunga
Dins and Night-Gaunt have already taken care of you pretty well) is adolescent
retaliation for some feeling of insult. You are lacking even a modicum of humor
about yourself showing instead a pathetic defense mechanism.  You must have
taken flaming lessons.  People with half assed brains do that.  So that is where
your brains have been hiding out, at least half of them. 

You obviously don’t like me and you know what?  I prefer it.  We (you, your
ego-centric reactive smartmouth and I) have been on this carousel before.  It
shows you continue to have an unhealthy view of yourself.  You show you can’t
take remarks that are brimming over with humor without your making an
ignorant hostile attack with acrimony and antagonism.  Whachur problem?  Are
you having your period?  Ohhh mannnnn….  don’t tell me… it’s a permanent
condition! 

Sorry Tom, I have a very high opinion of you but I never shrink from lex talionis
when a lackluster blusterbox shows up taking inept pot shots at what was a
civil and interesting discussion.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Tom Edgar,

Hey Bozo, in your last emissive, you said I referred to the other half of your head as “better.”  I wrote “more important.”

Do you, like Night-Want and Sheponymoo, need to take a reading courses.

Tom, (Throw-another-shrimp-on-the-barbie) Edgar,
As far as you are concerned, all you’ve said so far is that you read a book, you don’t believe in god (Well, I’ll be.) and you want someone to place a black box under your nose and prove to you, not you, YOU, that that is God.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Shenon,

Before you try to write in dialect, you should take some lessons.

As for Tom Edgar, I notice that you are like most Australians I’ve met.  They have read one book and consider themselves learned fellows.
At 80+, it’s never too late to take a good hard look at oneself.

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By Tom Edgar, February 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Six letters when I opened the mail.Barely one of any value

I’m just a tad too old to be indulging in childish playground name calling. I would prefer that my linguistic abilities have equipped me with a more telling armoury

Attacking the messenger invariably means the message was unanswerable. Night Gaunt’s reference to penises, brains and egos only strengthens belief that, for some people, they reside in the same place.

I don’t know how you have come to the conclusion that people who have called you derogatory names Garth are better people than Shenon, I presume your knowledge there is no greater than mine. If somebody I considered better than I called me names I would automatically know my assessment was incorrect, furthermore if they actually were better and made derogatory remarks regarding my character then I would make steps to redress my position.
Thankfully it has never happened.

In short could we please raise our standards, are we not adults? even if we are at variance. ecclesiastically. If not I’ll take my bat and ball and go home.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

Night-What?

You seem to be pretty stupid if it weren’t for Wikipedia, so let me pass on some free advice.  Whenever you hear someone say, “I’m interested in exciting people to deeper thoughts…” Take cover or say to yourself, “yeah, right,” and walk away.  Keep your hand on your wallet and eye upon the scale.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

PS Nightie,

You should try an adult education course in reading for comprehension, and take Sheno with you.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Pebbles, or should I call you Night Gaunt,

You write,
Garth you really lose credibility dredging up Amy Bishop to attack Shenonymous without a shred of evidence. That is piss poor. So you have been called such derogatory names by “better” people? Does that mean they were also right in their assessments? Have you done any self examinations lately, ever, about yourself? I do all the time because I see flaws I need to fix. Do you have flaws? Can you write any down or are you like George W. Bush who could find none? I can drop names too. Does it help?

I’m interested in exciting people to deeper thoughts not name calling which any rube can do. Though I have read that Gen. George Washington was so eloquent about it that he could dress down anyone for an hour without repeating himself!

Garth in some cases size doesn’t matter whether it is brains or penises or egos. I’ve noticed when people find themselves outgunned in one area they move to another to pump up their importance and avoid the issues they couldn’t handle. Like getting angry and attacking the owner of the mouth that showed them up. Can you do just a little better that such posturing? Egos are important but must be kept small an on a tight leash or they get out of control, rather like fire & electricity.

“Free choice” is where the outcomes of your action are the only consequence without the aid of others making it worse like with laws a restrictions adding to it.

From my analysis the philosophy or theosophy people live by is just the facilitator. It is the person themselves that is the chief component of whether they will do good or ill to others. The human factor.

___________________________________________
It might serve your illeducated mind to return to the pre-analysis stage.

I don’t want to interrupt your warm seesion with Shenonymous, but you should proceed with caution.

BTW, you should get out more.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

“When the goat herders of Tibet reported large quantities of strange flying objects coming and going from an area of extremely thick tectonic plate on their Chinese border, they were taken seriously.”-DaveZx3

Piezoelectrics from the rubbing of the plates producing ball lightning. Such phenomena has been sighted in geologically active areas for centuries but only recently been investigated and collated. Could be the reason for many such sightings but not all of them. But there is still plenty to learn about the Universe we exist in.

Even if there is other life not from earth, and of that an even smaller % develops intelligence and survives to maturation there is the distance question. Also they may have existed 100 million years ago or won’t for 100 million years into our future! Or there may be just one such evolution per galaxy for the life of that galaxy. There are many ways of looking at it and I have just barely tapped into it.

Garth you really lose credibility dredging up Amy Bishop to attack Shenonymous without a shred of evidence. That is piss poor. So you have been called such derogatory names by “better” people? Does that mean they were also right in their assessments? Have you done any self examinations lately, ever, about yourself? I do all the time because I see flaws I need to fix. Do you have flaws? Can you write any down or are you like George W. Bush who could find none? I can drop names too. Does it help?

I’m interested in exciting people to deeper thoughts not name calling which any rube can do. Though I have read that Gen. George Washington was so eloquent about it that he could dress down anyone for an hour without repeating himself!

Garth in some cases size doesn’t matter whether it is brains or penises or egos. I’ve noticed when people find themselves outgunned in one area they move to another to pump up their importance and avoid the issues they couldn’t handle. Like getting angry and attacking the owner of the mouth that showed them up. Can you do just a little better that such posturing? Egos are important but must be kept small an on a tight leash or they get out of control, rather like fire & electricity.

“Free choice” is where the outcomes of your action are the only consequence without the aid of others making it worse like with laws a restrictions adding to it.

From my analysis the philosophy or theosophy people live by is just the facilitator. It is the person themselves that is the chief component of whether they will do good or ill to others. The human factor.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

I think you’ve slipped into that ne’er underland, the place where things are and aren’t simultaneously.

I don’t know if there is way out.  Some say there is.

Ask for help and God bless.

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By Shenonymous, February 16, 2010 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Small minds like yours are only as awake as the latest headlines.  You are like a
strangling man grabbing at straws, garth.  Now really, Amy Bishop?  Is that the
best you can do?  Ahs doan gots no brotha an’ ahs doan gots no gun. But I do
have a sharp shooting brain.  An’ tenure ahs already has.  And as far as calling you
an asshole, well looks like I’m in good company, probability says we can’t all be
wrong.  Bye bye and farewell.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

You remind me of Amy Bishop, the Harvard Educated neuro-scientists, who killed her brother 25 years ago and then killed three associates last week at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, when she was denied tenure.
According to news reports, her sanity was always in question. 
Now, I think that what I derived from your posts was simply coincidence or vulnerability to one who can use recursive language so well. 
I think I’ll just excuse myself and let you hold forth in this corner of the blog.

PS I have been called worse than an asshole before and by more important people than you.

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By Shenonymous, February 16, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Just answer the questions, garth!  I have a great sense of humor, even if it is in a
“strange” place.  Hey, I thought that Tom Cruise quote of mine was super rich. 
Where did you say your sense of humor was?  Betcha there ain’t no sunshine
there.  5 yups!  I gotta go teach now, oh moral me…so Havana nice day.

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By garth, February 16, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,
You must be a very troubled person, unable to take a compliment.

The next time you get an idea, treat it kindly, it’s in a strange place.

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By Tom Edgar, February 15, 2010 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

I should jot down salient points, it is such a chore to keep going back to the top of the page to find out to what the hell I am answering.

Dave.

In less than a hundred years we have gone from horse and buggy etc., Yep!  All those new things.When I was young, in one of the world’s largest cities, I still had to walk half a mile to find a public telephone.  Even shopkeepers rarely had them, now we walk around with them in our pockets.  My father, in the twenties made radios for sale, took two seperate batteries to make them work. Now I have a radio smaller than the batteries, and better. As a Professional Photographer I loved the appearance of the new fangled electronic flash, it also used wet cell batteries, had a tube and reflector as big as my head,with a power pack designed to give you spinal problems, now the telephones in my pocket have a flash more powerful than those original monsters.  Not a single thing down to the Bible/Torah/Koran/Upanishads. If you are truthful, left to the religionists none of this would have happened.  We would be, like Galileo, gazumped and gagged. All down to science and man.

Herein lies the rub. Do not search for answers to life with science.  The Bible has the answer to all.  God did it. Now I have said it before. I do NOT know how life began. There are theories with much supportive evidence. But no. Do not investigate, the Bible has the answer to all. In the beginning there was God, that is all you need to know.  Now that is what I class as arrogance.

What was there, and what was God doing before “The beginning.”??? It really is hell being a skeptic.

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

Hello garth, nice to see you might think about things I find interesting.  What
about Buddhist reincarnation? Yeah, what about it?  Do thoughts and
relationships and ideas live on?  Really?  What about the ones that don’t?  There
must be trillions of them?  What happens to the ones that don’t live on?  You
must know, is there some cosmic basket where they go to be recycled or
sumpum?  Don’t take the thousand years literally.  You didn’t read what I said
very well anyway.  You don’t believe the bible literally do you?  I’ll try again:  In
a couple of thousand years the earth will not have to worry about humans with
jello for brains.  Do you really sense I am a moral person….and a teacher? 
Mannnn, how’d you put those two together?  Do you even have a beam what
recursive language is (or how humans developed language)?  Probably not.  You
are trying too hard.  And you are one of the chosen ones and would know what
God had in mind, right?  Won’t you reveal your secret to that one?  Aw come on. 
Lots of people revel in being an ass by being oblivious to morality.  Bet you
think being moral is full of shit too.  You know like Tom Cruise in Collateral
“Now we gotta make the best of it, improvise, adapt to the environment,
Darwin, shit happens, I Ching, whatever mannnnnn”  I added those extra ens.
You could tell, right?  It’s hard to see that you sense much at all.  Proving a
causal relationship about why humans began killing one another would be a
waste of time on you.  It’s okay, assholes are good for us.  Keeps the rest of us
honest.

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By Tom Edgar, February 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Yes my dear Quakers do prefer “The Society of Friends” or the diminutive of “Friends.”  But most people recognise the former and not the latter.
Mormons really prefer Society of Latter Day Saints.
Primarily because the former has some nasty connotations.  In Australia Church of England is rarely used as it brings back our servile past, so now it is “Anglicans” Episcopalians to you for a similar reason. As Willy once said “A rose by any other name.etc.”

This brings me to the Dave’s latest regarding Man becoming God. Geez the Roman Emperors were right all along. Seriously One of the “Friends” sayings is. “There is that of God in all of us.”  to which my wife would quip.  “Forty plus years and I’m still trying to justify that.” O K so I wasn’t quite perfect.

Growing old is not a problem. Happens. Trying not to show it is the problem. A very dear friend reached ninety.  A very strong Anglican and virtually devoid of a sense of humour. Forever berating me for my continual quips.“Oh you and your humour.”.. Lying, slowly dying she said. “Oh Tom. If this is the road to heaven, I don’t recommend it.” I replied Ye Gods Molly, you have wait until now to crack your only funny” I think she died smiling.

Dave you say you have no alliance with a religion?
So why do you keep quoting only Biblical figures, and situations, including Lucifer etc.? Why aren’t the Gods of Hinduism relevant? I mean they have been around longer than the Judeo/Christian identities. For that matter, who is, and where is, this Lucifer? or God and heaven too?

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By garth, February 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

If you can guess what my reponse would be, then take a guess.  (Answer below)


You say,
“The fear of reality is the biggest fear of all.”

From my limited experience, most elderly people I’ve met, believers and non-belivers, who are actuarily near death do not fear reality, they seem to embrace it.  They look at death as a form of release from this mortal coil.  I heard Louis Gates recently talking about his upbringing.  His mother was dying and she was a very intelligent atheist.  He said that that was how she looked at her death, as a release, without fear of heaven or hell. 

“To understand that there is only A One-Way Ticket and One Trip in this earthly life.”

What about buddhists’ reincarnation?  And how does one “understand” that this is a One-Way Ticket?  I can understand the decay of matter and its return to Earth, but what about thoughts and relationships and ideas.  They live on.  Sometimes, someone has a great notion and it blossoms and grows and instills other ideas. 
I heard a person on the radio listing items that she said were the difficulties of growing old, you know, loss of hearing, stamina.  I nearly shouted to the radio, “No, the difficulty is growing old!”

“No one will be surviving more than a couple of thousand years.”

Please, tell me your secret.  I met several young people, well, they were in their thirties, and they openly said that they planned to live forever.  I asked them how will they know when they’ve reached forever.  But your prediction of 1000 years might be second best to them.  I personally feel that I would not want to live anywhere near that long. 

“With that understanding I can then determine my life to be as moral as I can be and know why I am a moral and caring human being.”

If it means anything, I sense you are a moral person and teacher.  I learned to be as moral as I can be from the pain accrued from acting immorally and amorally.  The memory shows no mercy. 

Answer.

What I meant by that was that when I was young I would argue with friends on the existence of God and the value of Religion.  They would inevitably bring up the wars fought by and over religion such as the Crusades.  I would try to counter by saying that that was not what God had in mind (as if I knew what God had in mind) or that the churches had been taken over by despots.  Their blaming wars on the church and religion just seemd like a cop out and that they just didn’t want to take a look at themselves as needing anything.  They, I thought, were full of themselves.  (I never thought that I might be full of shit.)
Now, your post brings in recursive language and wars (or was it “organized” violence) appearing at about the same time in history.  That is quite a connection, in my gelatinous mind.  Now, to return to religion and war and add language. I never heard that before and it would’ve never occurred to me. 
I must say, though, that to prove a causal relationship about that idea would seem to me, at least, to be daunting.
And that is what I meant.  I didn’t mean it sarcastically.  I think I was in minor awe.

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By DaveZx3, February 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

Tom,

You have to read the whole sentence.  90+ percentile is considerably different than 90.  I was trying to retain some modesty.  My actual scores hover in the 130-135 range. Meaning very little, I admit.  But I am very tired of being called ignorant.

You read so much in to things.  I never professed to follow the teachings of any god who advocated rape, murder, pillaging or theft.  I only profess to a very feeble attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, while not having any connection whatsoever to organized christianity or anything else, for that matter.  I am a failure at that part of it.

But you know what you know, and I know what I know. 

In less than 100 years, man has gone from being ignorant of anything but horse and buggy transportation to flying to the moon. 

Where do you suppose man will be if left to evolve for another million years?  How about 100 million years?  Man will be like God.  And there will be lesser evolved beings somewhere saying they don’t believe that man exists, because he only visits them every 5000 years, and they have a hard time remembering what the last visit was all about

But as of now, man knows virtually nothing of life’s larger mysteries.  But he is apparently arrogant enough to proclaim that no other life forms can exist in the universe or outside of the universe.  Arrogant indeed.  What could possibly be behind such persistant arrogance?  I ask that seriously.

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By elisalouisa, February 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

Do not the Quakers wish to be referred to as Friends Tom Edgar? At least that has
been my experience in the Friends I have known. I agree that they don’t fit the
usual “Christian” personae. Their way of life is exemplary and it speaks well for
you that your were married to a Friend for 46 years.
As to the indoctrination of children, that does go on in many respects, not just
religion. At the onset of my teen years I started seriously questioning my
religious upbringing. My nun teachers waged war but I held my ground and
managed to make it through. There can be pain in unlearning what you have been
taught as doctrine,at least this has been my experience. I do firmly believe there is an unknown which we cannot fathom and perhaps never shall except in a fleeting moment.
That being said, I am a firm believer.

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Evening, garth.  From your comment, “an historical linkage between
language, religion and war… I always tried to shake that connection, feeling
that it was an argumentative cop-out.”
  Could it be that your feelings arise
from the inability to articulate the connections coherently?  I can guess your
answer.  Now that probably sounds a bit like criticism but your comment
seemed to be on the sarcastic side when maybe you could have said something
keen.

If the goatherders were even semi-illiterate, how could they have written
anything coherent or historically seismic in terms of impact on the world? 
Unless of course, what they wrote was just scribbled notes that a later
intelligent thinker edited into the scripture that was later rewritten again and
again by translators and bishops with an agenda, especially that Bishop of
Rome called the Pope.  Evidence of the “Word of God,” ought to be more direct
than that!  Why would an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God bother
putting such an important missile in the hands of “semi-illiterates” who wrote
in Greek?  Quite preposterous. 

Really DaveZx3, you have experience with goatherders and their veracity as
witnesses?  How interesting.  What kind of witnessing did you experience?  The
UFO experiences of the Tibetans is spurious.  Ignorance gives birth to much
inventive thinking.  But also do those who have an insatiable passion for
fantastic storytelling.  What you want to believe of the paranormal is of course
yours or anyone else’s business, but I find any and all stories of the occult as
supported only by hysteria.  There is absolutely no “hard” evidence of any visits
to the earth by extraterrestials anywhere.  The Tibetans are very non-committal
when asked about these sightings. 

Reports of UFOs are not unlike beliefs in supernatural deities, whose existence
is defended by untold millions (which doesn’t really prove their existence) but
nevertheless is an example of mass hysteria.  The fear of reality is the biggest
fear of all.  To understand that there is only A One-Way Ticket and One Trip in
this earthly life.  Trying to avoid the inevitable that we will all return to our
particle beginnings in the universe some day ought to be reason for
celebration, the satisfaction before you die that you, an independent thinking
being, you experienced The Great Universe Experiment of Life on Earth.  No one
will be surviving more than a couple of thousand years.  I don’t find it
pessimistic at all, but rather a stoic acceptance of the way things are.  With that
understanding I can then determine my life to be as moral as I can be and
know why I am a moral and caring human being.  Capitulation to mental
inventions is not in My Playbook (that is something the world of computer
electronics has not yet schematicized).

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

2.
TomEdgar does not strike me as a lightweight in the department of thinking
rationally. 

Since you don’t want to provide any physical evidence of a “spirit,” DaveZx3,
then please provide spiritual evidence of a spirit, like the proof of gravity by its
effects (empirical effects that is). Premier World Governments are really
vigorously studying the effects of the spiritual on the physical (whatever)? 
Which premier world governments are those?  Sil vous plait.  And if there is
more than enough solid evidence to indicate the existence of spiritual forces
that cannot be explained, then please produce just a little bit. That is not too
much to ask, really.  A thimbleful would do the trick.

Intelligence of a person (i.e., the goatherders) has nothing to do with ignorance
and it doesn’t take a mental midget to figure that one out.  I would not call
myself a far-leftist at all, I am more centrist left, but I do my best to show the
folly of flimsy belief in supernatural deities.  I have my opinion of the
questionable good character of Abraham who would have killed his son Isaac
for some derangement of mind, and who, if the Bible is to be believed, is
responsible for the irreparable division into Judiasm and Islam when he favored
one son over the other.  Now what kind of a responsible father was that?  Who
betrayed his wife and impregnated the servant.  Such a responsible husband.
Now that is character!  Rather he was “a” character.  In the absence of extra-
biblical evidence for Abraham’s existence, influential scholars have long
questioned the historicity of the Abrahamic stories.

Of course fictions have the power to fool great numbers of people for a long
period of time.  Just remember Santa Claus!  Or try Mazda, Zoroaster,
Manichaeanism, and Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world which probably
has its roots in Dravidianism (the Vedas have no time of origin), oh and the 80%
who believe UFOs exist.  Since supreme beings are defined as belonging to a
transcendent reality, the burden of proof lies with believers to give evidence of
the existence of a transcendent reality.

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By Tom Edgar, February 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

ElisaLouisa.

I am in my eighties, and believe me my dear, whilst maybe unusual, in my youth my moral outlook was unexceptional.  My brother had the same attitudes.

I do not condemn, in others, for their difference, and freely acknowledge that, circumstances being different, maybe so would have been I.

I was brought up on my father’s philosophy of having respect for all women. “As you would for your mother and sister.” Strangely I have always preferred the company of women, finding them much better company, and generally, more intelligent, certainly more caring, and less aggressive. My first trip to New York in WW2 was with three other first trippers, two of fifteen and one of sixteen and I was, at seventeen, “Grandad.”  I left N Y clean, they didn’t. No quick cures then, and it was a salutary experience. There were many other ports and many other similar experiences, all reinforcing my position. Scared? Yep.

As for your other observation. I only respond, not initiate.  Inner driven forces?  The only thing I can point to is having been brought up on an “Ecclesiastical Estate.”  Went to a Church of England School.  attended Baptist Sunday School, was in the C o E Choir, until they found out who was the discordant one, interjecting ribald remarks, thereafter pumped the organ, that stopped the interjections too. Then I found Hector Hawton and “A Thinker’s Handbook.” The rest is history. Other influences were. Irreverent burial at sea, noticing that Sunday Church services, often enough only attended by the Captain and a Steward or two. Some ships even the Skipper didn’t go.Debating in the local market with the Priest of the bombed out Church. Well it was really “Baiting.”.  He was a good natured lovable fellow, from memory, an International cricketer name of Shepherd.(I think).  Rather apt for a “Churchie.”
Inner drive? Maybe I’m just like the believers who have to go to church just to reinforce their convictions.  Sites such as this replace the edifices attended by “Believers.” Maybe it is just because I am an argumentative old bastard. or even an evangelical born again atheist trying to convert.
That last isn’t so. I really don’t give a toss what people believe. I was married for 46 years to a Quaker, and my property was a"Remote Meeting House.”
I still receive their monthly news letters. then again they don’t fit the usual “Christian” personae.
What incenses me, is the indoctrination of children, thereby ensuring a continuation of whatever belief is prevalent in the society into which they were born. The old St Thomas Aquinas thing.  Applies equally to all religions. Without the brainwashing form birth religion would die. It doesn’t mean the world would be a better (or worse) place. Just different.

When I taught, I would tell my students. I can guide you. I am not here to teach you the subject. But to teach you HOW to think, HOW to learn, HOW to find things for yourself. In this way you will make up your mind for yourself, and (facetiously) every mistake then will be your fault, not mine.  So my dear you can make your own mind up about my motivations, but remember the mistakes will be yours.

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By elisalouisa, February 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

One must admire your tenacity in your continual posts as to lack of belief in God Tom Edgar. Such recurring pronouncements lead me to conclude that something more must be gnawing within.

P.S. Love your February 14,  9:03 pm post, 4th paragraph. I do believe you and until now I did not think such a man existed.

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By Tom Edgar, February 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

So you have an I Q in the 90 range.  Being in the overwhelming group of “Average” intellect is not to be sneered at, but I would have thought hardly something of which to extol in support of claims of higher mental capacity.

You accuse me of"If I can’t see it I don’t believe it.”
Whilst that is patently untrue, I believe in the existence of Tectonic Plates, Gravity, sound waves.I certainly do believe it is better than “I CAN"T see it (nor have evidence) therefore I do believe it.”

As is so often the case you extrapolate items and ignore others. e.g. Clay writing. (conveniently lost before anybody else saw it) versus many languages and lack of writing materials. You say you have made “Rational” decisions. Accepting the unsubstantiated word that five thousand years ago a leader of nomads spoke to, and received writings from an invisible, unknowable entity, I submit is hardly rational. Following the teachings of an entity that advocates rape, murder and pillage, theft of lands and personal wealth, along with its own personal wholesale genocide, then demanding personal worship. You think that believing in, and following that is rational?

Mind you I am rather drawn to Jesus Christ’s Socialist leanings.  He at least advocated social equality, and we should all help each other, “The State” included. Slipped a little in acknowledging he was really part of an ecclesiastical autocracy.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

From a biological and evolutionary stand some kind of religion based upon phenomena both from within and without are logical. Just as it is also known that the majority have that tendency so there are always exceptions to that rule. [See evolution]

However such paranormal phenomena doesn’t automatically support a religious point of view though it is interesting how it seems to conform to the belief system of the percipient. In India it would be different from in Poland or in Mongolia or in the USA or along the Zambezi river.

Whereas “spirituality” is a bit different and not so sharply defined. It is amazing how often I have seen porn and have been sexually stimulated by it. [Otherwise why else watch it?] Yet nothing on toward has happened to me. What does that say? Nothing more than the story told previous about falling down and damaging a wrist is anymore significant except for the teller who holds such beliefs and conform meaning to it.

Believe me when I say that at some point technology can develop to such an extent that it will be indistinguishable from magic or godly power. It is all in how it is defined and explained.

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By DaveZx3, February 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Tom Edgar, February 14 at 9:03 pm #

“At least Dave admitted that there is NO evidence although in a convoluted way.  Why not say “We nave NO EVIDENCE.” We just believe the fairy tales.
We believe the stories made up by the leaders of semi literate goat herders.  We believe God left instructions written on clay that nobody has ever seen, and although it made worlds and universes and galaxies and us. It couldn’t leave writing in a permanent script or a printout in All the languages for everyone to read let alone the claim of one Nomad.”

I never said there was no evidence. I said you will not get the evidence that would suit you. 

In a sense, you’re worse than a semi-literate goat herder, evaluating all things in a very naive “if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist” mentality. 

Since the spiritual cannot be perceived directly in three dimensional space, no physical evidence which would suit you can be produced.  The spiritual is perceived by its influence on the physical, as a force. 

Like gravity, I cannot provide you a slice of it or a picture of it.  I could demonstrate the effects of it, however, and make assumptions related to its perceived influence on matter. 

The effects of the spiritual on the physical are being vigorously studied right now by, among others, premier world governments.  There is more than enough solid evidence to indicate the existence of spiritual forces which cannot be explained according to physical laws.  Thousands of publicly and privately funded scientific studies are available on the web, some good, others ridiculous.  It is a growing area, and not because no results are indicated. 

Going back to the goat herders, my experience has been that semi-literate goat herders are the best witnesses.  They have no agenda and nothing to gain or lose.  They are usually brutally honest. 

When the goat herders of Tibet reported large quantities of strange flying objects coming and going from an area of extremely thick tectonic plate on their Chinese border, they were taken seriously.

Now these people were not capable of explaining the whys and hows of this activity, but did that diminish their testimony?  No.  It was about the activity, not the intelligence level of the ones reporting it. 

Only mental midgets automatically discount a story because the level of intelligence of the person telling it was below theirs.  This is actually an elitist position, in inferring that less intelligent people are more susceptible to deception and easier to control.  My experience is that the opposite is true.  Intelligence is its own deception and handcuffs. 

The “dumb masses” lie is the method used by the primarily godless far-left to discredit every mention of God, as though only ignorant people could possibly believe in a creator.  They like to leave character out of it, because all they have going for them is their self-perceived superior intelligence. 

Like Abraham, it is not his ingelligence level which is the issue, but his character. 

The very idea that a goat herder could invent a story that, without any substance, would cause 5/8 of the world to follow it for thousands of years, generate three major religions, and have most of the world number the passage of time after one of its primary personalities, is ridiculous.  NO FICTION HAS THAT POWER, especially over that period of time

The goat herders had some good information but no way or motivation to articulate it to the satisfaction of those to come much later. Book deals were not that great back then.

I have made rational decisions, not based on upbringing or indoctrination, because I never had those coming from an atheistic family and being atheistic until the age of 37ish.  My decisions were made based on extensive inquiry.  I have a scientific background and an IQ in the 90+ percentile, so I am capable of understanding very complex systems.  I belong to no religion or any other group.

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By garth, February 15, 2010 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

I was just going to write something, and then I read Shenonymous’s piece and felt stupid despite being enlightened.  Tom Edgar, then, topped it off with his personal accounts and his lack of need for a belief in god.
I was going to bring up the old question brought up before philosophical arguments: “Define your terms.”
I see Night-Gaunt offered: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.  Thinking on those characteristics, I realized that “air’ meets two of those criteria.  It’s the omniscience that gets me and the problems that that would introduce, as Clash points out.
I don’t really know how to define what I believe in.  When I get to defining god, it seems like I run into an “infinite recursion.”  Thanks Shenon.
I can no longer cradle the idea of a ‘Personal” god.  It would lead to developmental stories like the one told by Christian96.  By the way, Mr. C96, how do know that your god didn’t breaak your wrist to prevent you from onanism which is many times subsequent to viewing porn?  I find porn boring, but naked bodies, I don’t think, are sacreligious.
I do admire your efforts, though, to bring a positive change to school systems, but I don’t advise anyone to follow suit in theoligical system.
Thanks, Shenon for showing an historical linkage between language, religion and war.

I always tried to shake that connection, feeling that it was an argumentative cop-out.

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2010 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Thank you for being so civil.  Good Monday morning to you, Clash and before
rushing off to work, I’ll say a few words about belief, faith, religion, and the
lust for war, that might raise a few hackles.  I have read for at least a decade
about string and M theories and the 11 dimensional thinking (GUT of Einstein
who believed that the known force fields that control natural phenomena in
universe must have a simple unified basis, though he never published his 30-
year attempt to prove it, and there are conflicting beliefs that he actually did
solve it.  How are we to know other than what was said in the empirical papers
he left?)  A most marvelous site is http://theory-of-everything.com/ that gives
access to the entire theory (all links to the document listed at the bottom,
completely downloadable!). 

Faith is a species of belief that operates without any evidence, faith has no
connection to proof, by definition if it did have proof, it no longer would be
faith, for then it would be true belief which would qualify it as a candidate for
knowledge. 

It is interesting that the first known examples of art contain no images of
organized warfare, or cruelty and violence-based power.  There are no images
of battles or slavery.  No fortifications were built for defense, or offensive
weapons designed to use in wars. 

Very briefly then about violent belief-systems that did not even come into
existence until humans developed recursive language.  It is thought by
anthropologists to have emerged approximately 200,000 years ago and more
perfectly formulated about 40,000 years ago.  Much, way too much, can be
said about language acquisition. But the point I am making is that ferocious
belief-systems did not happen until language was possessed and more
importantly male dominated religions were practiced. 

It is said that about 90-95% of known societies engage in war.  But surprisingly
enough the evidence shows that prehistoric tribal warfare was on average 20
times more deadly than modern history warfare. By the fifth millennium B.C.E.,
or about seven thousand years ago, many primitive societies were involved in
the application of lethal force (war).

A pattern of disruption of the old Neolithic cultures in the Near East shows up
in research and archaeological remains indicate clear signs of cultural stress by
this time in many territories.  Anthropologists have discovered that war was
nearly a universal social activity and that patterns of military organization
within prehistoric and primitive societies.  Around 3500 BC in the eastern
Mediterranean civilization appeared and along with it writing developed in the
Nile and the Tigris- Euphrates Rivers. Along with writing came the religious
castes who were the sole practitioners of writing. 

A long line of invasions from the Asiatic and European north by nomadic
peoples characterizes much of primitive history. Ruled by powerful priests and
warriors, they brought with them their male gods of war and mountains. The
most famous of these are a Semitic people named the Hebrews, who came
from the deserts of the south and invaded Canaan now called Palestine named
for the Philistines, one of the peoples who lived in the area. The moral laws
associated with both Judaism and Christianity and the stress on “love” and
peace in many modern churches and synagogues now obscures the historical
fact that originally these early Semites were a warring people ruled by a caste
of warrior-priests (the Levite tribe of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua). Like the
invading Indo-Europeans, they brought with them a violent and angry god of
war and the mountains (Jehovah or Yahweh). And as we read in the Bible, they
gradually too imposed much of their ideology and way of life on the peoples of
the lands they subjugated.  It doesn’t make what they believed the truth, now
does it?

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By Tom Edgar, February 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

I specifically asked that PERSONAL EXPERIENCES be excluded. So what do we get imaginary personal experiences.
You fell and broke a wrist. So what, were you the only one?
In your declining years with diminishing libido plus your conscience over Porn, and I daresay illicit sexual activities over the years, as you state you have not been married.this re awakens your formative years of religious indoctrination.  “Oh God I have sinned I don’t wanna burn.” Give me a break.

Dave is just as bad.  He invokes the ridiculous brainwashing imposed on children that a God listens to YOU personally out of the Billions. What is more actually answers. I had this imposed too but then it disappeared along with Santa Claus, and the Hobgoblins along with all the fables, fears, and fairies.

If you are well into your eighties you may be my age.
WW2, and after, I spent seven years as a mariner
saw a little enemy activity whilst on an Aviation Gasoline Tanker. Before that I lived in London in a home that was hit several times.  I can’t remember any God’s assistance, even to my Spiritualist mother and her atheistic children nor to my C o E (Episcopalian)neighbours who were killed and wounded.
Oh I forgot the Germans were Christians too. It was on their side. Didn’t seem to answer prayers of my Methodist neighbour here who was killed in the Bush Fire that ravaged us leaving a young grieving family
with no mother. Oh he did answer the prayers of the elderly Ukrainian Orthodox couple along the road who were rescued by two (atheist) bush workers from their totally demolished home.  They thanked God.
Well my atheist son, and myself worked like hell,helped save my immediate(atheist)neighbours property then did likewise to ours. With a hose, in a fire, spraying beats the hell out of praying

I married at 25 and that was my FIRST sexual experience, as it was my wife’s, who had been employed, during WW2, in the U S N in Brisbane. I have had a few offers since my wife died 12 years ago(She was a Quaker), I declined I still feel I am married.  I have never watched a Porn Movie nor been into a Porn Store.I have sat in brothel’s waiting rooms for shipmates to return from their assignations. Never felt the need to lower my standards.
I have broken a few bones, mine, and those of others, but that never affected my mind. I do not drug(including tobacco) nor drink alcohol. In these areas I claim a superiority to the likes of the Bakers and so many other Evangelicals. Hypocrisy I find repugnant. It is so evident in many of the religious. My dearest and longest term friend a Fundamentalist Pastor was an exception, along with his family. He said once.  “I wish all my congregation could have your lack of hypocrisy but not your lack of belief.”

At least Dave admitted that there is NO evidence although in a convoluted way.  Why not say “We nave NO EVIDENCE.” We just believe the fairy tales.
We believe the stories made up by the leaders of semi literate goat herders.  We believe God left instructions written on clay that nobody has ever seen, and although it made worlds and universes and galaxies and us. It couldn’t leave writing in a permanent script or a printout in All the languages for everyone to read let alone the claim of one Nomad.  No amount of common sense will penetrate a closed mind.  Now I have spent a long life searching, and, incidentally, being involved with the other side i.e. religion. I challenge you to start doing the same instead of reiterating specious words that have been repetitively offered over millenia.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

In the 1930’s Alfred Wegner claimed that the continents moved. He had no mechanism to show for it and was ignored. It wasn’t till the 1960’s that it was discovered that the granite base of our continents moved over a bed of plastic and ever moving magma. The measurements taken all over the world did show them to be moving very slowly. It explained much about fossils and their distribution on continents and the idea of Pangea. Estimates are we will have a Pangea II in about 200 million years.

Dark matter/energy was just an idea till only recently it was shown that this invisible material produces gravity and can bend light i. e. “gravitational lens effect” but not much more yet. There are projects to see if they can ‘see’ some of it. It explains how the galaxies continue to exist even though their visible mass isn’t sufficient for them to. [They did the same and found that neutrinos would change into electrons and back again appearing out of nowhere and then disappearing again.]

God is more like “not me” always to blame and never there to get it. Though in this case takes all the credit and none of the blame even though “not me” is touted as “omnipresent,” “omniscient” and “omnipotent.”

Faith requires belief without proof, in fact the appearance of proof should negate the whole idea of faith and therefor condemn the former believer to whatever part of Hell that Samma-El deems a good fit for them. Question do those in Hell are to be tortured or favored by the ultimate revolutionary? Wouldn’t “he” consider them allies and therefor to get the best treatment “he” could offer. [Angels have no gender specifically though they have “male” names. There is a whole field of theology on “Angelology.”]

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By Clash, February 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

What road is that zx? Are you the only one who has ever encountered resistance, trouble, horror in this life? I am not judging you; I only question your reasoning. Many people have experiences that they label as bad, evil and unjustified to their person, yet some how get through them without blaming or relying on the supernatural for changing their situation. To the use of the word knowledge in place of faith I do find that some what amusing, as this is the insight and the basic disagreement that we seem to have here. Were faith requires no truth, no proof and in this way can even be a lie, yet those who exist in faith are still comforted. Through this faith one can assign cause were there is none, and effect that had nothing to do with anything but circumstance. Stories of Abraham, Issac and Jacob are the same, cause, effect and circumstance.

Mr 96 your predicament is a story that any good astrologer, magician or soothsayer might have spun. Since we know the ending everything that happened previously can be neatly put in its place as proof, but proof of what that is the question? Proof that God made you by porno, and then threw you off the chair, then when your sin was paid for made you well? The next question I purpose that if the evangel is the last word then why would God do anything to you at all, you are already saved and forgiven yet you believe that he would bring catastrophe, pain and horror into your life for looking at naked people or what ever. Is your suffering part of your redemption or is it the natural state you commit yourself to when faith becomes your primary source of knowledge, or is your suffering the effect of your faith? The evangel from beginning to end was your example he cared not of any worldly things, pain, suffering, strife, family, yours or anyone else’s. His kingdom, your kingdom lie beyond life. Your faith and your kingdom do not exist in reason; they exist in your mind and in the belief that you will be rewarded at the cessation of your life. For true and the faithful this is all the future can bring. That you believe that this is hell makes no difference and proves only that you yourself have made your life so. Why would you think that we that who hold reason, life, and nature close would accept the ramblings of magicians and soothsayers as proof?

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By Shenonymous, February 14, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Since the Bible was written by the Jews for the Jews, the ‘called out’ ones are
the Jews.  Others, non-Jews, appropriated their God and their stories, as their
own, which in the eyes of the Jews is ridiculous.  But Jews of today take the
Bible as not fact but as allegory and historical record of their struggles.  It is
suggested that because Christianity is built on the Tanakh, that an in depth
study with an open mind of the origins of Christianity that includes Old
Testament be undertaken that goes beyond and before the birth of Jesus of
Nazareth. Also reading the sentiments of the Jews with respect to the veracity
of their Bible is a requisite to understanding the basis for all belief in the
Judeo/Christian system.

Seems like a whole new topic has been born.  One that is being deeply
discussed on another forum.  It was bound to happen here.  The distinction
between knowledge and belief. 

While there cannot be any dispute that some experience is had by someone, it
is fallacious thinking to suppose that others must believe the experience
reflects some reality without some method for producing a reason to believe it
is contently true as we all know, and especially those in the psychological
sciences, that humans are heir to mental mistakes and delusions. 

If you think you had a epiphany of the existence of a supernatural deity,
christian96, because you were being punished for a perceived sin of enjoying
pornography, then there is no one who could provide any reasonable argument
against it and that it was simply a matter of your personal guilt looking for
some attenuation of that guilt and blame a god for the mishap that caused you
physical damage.  One believes what one wants to believe.

However, any ‘proof’ of the truth of the interpretation of why the ‘accident,’ or
rather intentional punishment, caused your damage can only come with a
disinterested examination of what exactly happened that would include your
preconditioning of how you perceived the experience of pornography, exactly
what you think about sex, exactly what you think about women, exactly why
you never found a woman with whom you could be intimate, why you never
married and had children (which would be the Christian edict), and so forth. 
You simply, so it seems, felt guilty at reading pornography, enjoying it, then
had some events that ended up in your being physically damaged and you
seeing cause and effect as a relationship between them. 

Your notion of love is rather inchoate.  To simply mouth a love of all people is
irrational since love is an emotion and not some object.  As an emotion your
psyche devised what it means to love based on all your life experiences from
your mother’s attitude towards you and others as you developed.  But since all
people are not equal contrary to popular belief the degree of love one would
have for each would be different for each.  Would you say that you loved a
child rapist equally as you would a doctor who’s chosen occupation and actions
are to save the lives of children?

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By christian96, February 14, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

DaveZx3—-I can relate to your persoal trip through
hell to get to the point where you currently are.
I also went through much suffering to reach the point
where I presently exist.  I can’t put an objective
quantitative measure on it but you will know it when
experienced.  The Bible talks about the “called out
ones” which are basicaly people God calls out of this
present world system to perform a task(s) assigned
to them.  The key to be selected as a “called out
one” is obedience.  If you are disobedient God will
make your life miserable to try to turn you back to
obediance.  I’ll give you a personal example.  I
don’t have a wife or girl friend so I got into porn.  Two years ago I was traveling from Florida
back to Ohio.  I was about an hour from home.  I
saw a “Lion Den’s Porn Store” to my right.  I stopped and bought some porn.  A little more than an hour later when I got home I discovered a tile had
fallen from my living room ceiling.  Instead of
walking a little to my back room and getting a ladder I just grabbed a chair and got on it to replace the tile.  I lost my balance fell crashing
to the floor and broke my right wrist.  I broke the
bone into two pieces.  I had to rush to the hospital for an operation on my wrist.  The doctor told me
I would only gain about 50& use of my right hand.
After the operation at 68 years of age I experienced intense pain for weeks.  I took oxycontin and lay
in bed for a couple of months.  I can’t prove it but I know as well as I’m sitting here typing on this
computer that God arranged for the fall to try to
get me away from the porn and to become obedient.
I think Tom and myself are about the same age.  In
others words he is reaching the time when humans
leave this earth.  I love him as I love all people.
I am going to pray for God to do what it takes to open his blind eyes and bring him into the fold
before it is too late.  His life might get miserable but so be it if that’s what it takes to get him into
the fold.  Hopefully, we will meet someday after we
both leave this planet and he will thank me for
praying for him.

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By DaveZx3, February 14, 2010 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

By Tom Edgar, February 11 at 9:45 pm #

“Show the incontrovertible, replicable, verifiable evidence for the existence of your particular God.
Not quotes, not biblical extracts, not personal experiences.  Just plain proof.”

The proof of God is that he responds to those who address him consistently in the way he asks to be addressed.  I can attest personally to this, as can literally millions of others throughout time.

It is true that there are other millions who accept or believe in God through tradition, religion, family, etc. and these get no specific responses, but are quite content in their “belief”.

But you should never discount the millions who took the hard route, and were dragged through hell before coming to the knowledge and blessings of the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. 

As one who has not traveled down this road, a wise man would refrain from judging those who have, knowing that his judgment is meaningless in the face of their knowledge. 

You made the statement:

“We state “There is no God.” We then look for the evidence that negates this statement. i.e. the evidence that God(s) do exist.  None has been found. Never has any been produced by “Believers.”

You can repeat this demand as much as you like, but no proof will be forthcoming which will suit you, not even that which would attempt to suit you.  God is not like a puppy dog, on which you can put a leash and drag him up to your front door and say, “look, here is proof of a puppy dog.” 

God says he will manifest himself to those who diligently seek him, and I find that to be true.  What credentials do you have to demand your special proof, short of personal searching and diligence? 

You are free to have your views, but you are pushing your freedom by making unreasonable demands for proof on those who have no way to provide it, except for their personal experience, which is the basis for most reasonable testimony.

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By Clash, February 14, 2010 at 1:56 am Link to this comment

Good morning Shenonymous ;
As to where this energy and the particles came from, I have read about string theory and M theory involving 11 dimensional thinking also known as Einstein’s unifying field theory or the theory of everything. Were parallel universe’s exist simultaneously on membranes that move closer and further apart, and when they make contact it is said it is possible that energy can leak through from one universe to another, and even more fantastic events occur such as big bangs if the contact involves a rupture of these membranes that separate the universes. Since I am not a physicist, and barely understand fire this is probably the best I can do to answer your questions without further study.

Probably won’t be enough for the faithful either. To quote Carl Sagan “I like a universe that includes much that is unknown and, at the same time, much that is knowable. A universe in which everything is known would be static and dull, as boring as the heaven of some weak-minded theologians. A universe that is unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is one very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not really much of a coincidence.”

You forgot the beer fairies, without them life would be flat.

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By Tom Edgar, February 14, 2010 at 1:34 am Link to this comment

C96.

P S I looked down further.  You want me to produce the evidence of the existence of something that doesn’t exist.? Whew!  that is the oldest and most childish challenge in the atheist’s book.

If I look into an empty water barrel and it is dry, forgive me if I surmise it is empty. If you fill it with kerosene, to a thirsty man it is still as good as empty. Jesus isn’t the only one to speak in parables.

Speaking of that mythical character who was supposed to be so knowledgeable, how was it he said the world was rectangular/square and FLAT?

Now you state emphatically “The Christian God.”  Well my Hindu friend tells me that they have over 1,100 Gods including the pantheon of the main ones like Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, etc., Jehovah and Jesus didn’t make the cut.As a matter of fact about a billion Hindus would probably say “Who is Jesus?” so do I. Namaste to you.

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By Tom Edgar, February 14, 2010 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

There are none so blind as those who do not wish to see except those who don’t want others to see either.

C 96.  Your ignorant and intellectually insulting reply is really hardly worthy of a response.

Your “Evidence” for a God, more specifically yours and not the ones of the “Others.” is the existence of macro and micro matter which of course you put down to the fairies, oh! sorry you call them gods.

I didn’t ask you to prove the existence of micro/macro/atomic/sub atomic/particles. We know they are there. Scientific experiments proved the theories regarding their existence.

Personally I don’t know how they came into existence
but I am not about to invent an imaginary superman
six thousand or so years old, or even one that is being modified when all the specious arguments run out for such an evil minded spirit as depicted in that collection of fiction fact and fable you keep quoting, whilst it frightens the bejazus out of you and other simple minded people I have only my conscience, and upbringing to ensure that my time on this planet causes less harm than all the Biblical religions and their followers.

Once again you, as all the others I have encountered in over seventy years, fail miserably to produce a sub atomic particle of evidence to support your fairy tales. I started that questioning at thirteen years of age. What is your ANSWER.?  Evidence of the existence of something we all know about. Like a Politician you avoid the question. There is no evidence for a God’s existence.
Prove me wrong.  Produce the evidence.
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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By christian96, February 14, 2010 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Tom—-You wrote—- We state “There is no God.” We then look for the evidence that negates this statement. i.e. the evidence that God(s) do exist.  None has been found. Never has any been produced by “Believers.”

I question the validity of your assertion “None has
been found.”  How do you explain the creation of
micro and macro matter? Did the “fairies” create it?

You then make the following statement:

“I HAVE given you the proof positive that you are wrong.”
You haven’t given me proof positive of anything except you can’t explain the creation of an atom or
the universe.  Your faulty reasoning reminds me of
the philosopy statements I read years ago in college
made by atheist exposing their ignorance. The atoms
and universe existed long before you arrived on earth
and they will be here long after you are gone.  You
better Pray; excuse me I forgot.  Atheist don’t have
any God to pray to.  You better HOPE the God of the
Bible doesn’t exist because he not only calls an
atheist a fool but states they shall cease to exist
FOREVER.  Wow!  That’s a very long time!

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

There is always a theistic follower who defensively tries to put the burden of
proof of the Ectoplasmic (God) on one who disbelieves their claim.  Night-
Gaunt you are right, and so is Tom Edgar, in an absolute way, tch tch, those
who make claims have the duty to provide reason for anyone to believe
unpleasant and impossible as it might be.  We can understand the aversion to
do so.  Faith is belief that does not rest on logical or material proof and never
provide evidence for its beliefs.  Faith is always on terra infirma.

An affirmation of life is the way to refute the nihilism that permeates the
unhealthy and destructive forces in the world.

Yours, Clash, is a terrific site also.  Features of particles have been well-known
for over century with new discoveries in the 20th and now more is becoming
known with the experiments at FERMI and CERN.  That they decay and
transform into other particle structures is not the question. It is how did
quarks, the leptons, electrons and neutrinos, photons, vector bosons (gluons),
and sfermions or squarks and gluinos ex nihilo come into existence in the first
place, and from where?  It is interesting and exciting that the colliders can
generate some of them and are still looking for others, but where are they
originally generated?  How do they move throughout the universe?  Supposedly
all was contained in the Big Bang, and I suppose particles collected and over
the galactic eons to form the galaxies and so forth. Is that the whole deck of
cards that is being dealt with even now, what was created at the Big Bang.  Or
are electrons and et al newly created constantly by some mechanism?  I read
that before subatomic particles there was pure energy and that in the quantum
microworld, energy can appear and disappear out of nowhere in a spontaneous
and unpredictable fashion ) See Paul Davies, 1983, God and the New Physics. 
Is that all bubbles that fairies are responsible for, uh like bubble gum too?  And
my bubble bath?  There is also a bubble theory of the nature of the universe(s),
also a bubble theory of the origin of life.  Science Daily headlined that a Battle
of the Bubbles may have sparked evolution.  That would a passel of fairies! 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040903091444.htm

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By Clash, February 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Very well stated Mr. Edgar. Although you will have a hard time convincing me that fairy"s aren’t responsible for the bubbles.LOL

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By Tom Edgar, February 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

C96. Yes I can and will respond. Which is more than do.

Any Scientist when advancing a theory/hypothesis first of all looks for evidence that negates his findings. If found the findings fail, If not they stand until evidence to the contrary arises.

We state “There is no God.” We then look for the evidence that negates this statement. i.e. the evidence that God(s) do exist.  None has been found. Never has any been produced by “Believers.”

So in effect whilst Night Gaunt is correct in saying it is, generally, impossible to prove the non existence of something that doesn’t exist, as the non existent has no substance.  I HAVE given you the proof positive that you are wrong, and until you can produce that evidence of which I asked you, I am afraid that the atheist stance is the correct one. All you have to do is produce the evidence that contradicts, I have shown you mine, in other words. 
Show yours.

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By christian96, February 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

NightGaunt—-What do you mean “there is no need to
prove a negative?”

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By Clash, February 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

That particles decay and disappear is an interesting thought until intelligent design is some how becomes the miracle that re balances the subatomic universe. This would negate one of the laws of physics known as the law of conservation. That states the amount of energy in any process must remain the same. Wolfgang Pauli purposed that an unknown particle carried off the missing energy, Enrico Fermi named the particle the neutrino. In 1956 the electron neutrino was finally detected and two more were detected by the 1990’s. In 98” it was discovered that at least one of these types of neutrinos to have a very mass 20 billionths of the electron small but not zero. Stuff doesn’t just disappear and miraculously reappear.
Subatomic Particles - Neutrons, Quark Model, Elementary Mediator Particles, Baryons, Mesons, Current And Future Research - Discovery of particles, Subatomic particle classifications

The value of life is in the living, this is the basis of this argument I thought. Living for life’s sake, to experience, to learn as long as it is possible, to be open to thoughts and ideas, to choose life over death and not go quietly into that dark knight. To revel in the struggle the fight, to push the boundaries at every chance, not to recoil into the stasis provided by belief, but to understand the experience and all that it can be.

Thanks for the link Night-Gaunt.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Elementary my dear Christian96 there is no need to prove a negative, just a positive. ((Unless you want to prove to me that invisible pixies don’t cause the formation of bubbles we can move on.)) Debate and logic 101. You are just avoiding it. Faith must be without proof is all you needed to have said. Then the two majesters are left separate and inviolate.

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By christian96, February 13, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Tom—-I will reverse your challenge.  Produce
incontrovertible, replicable, verifiable evidence
the God of Christianity DOES NOT exist!

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By Night-Gaunt, February 13, 2010 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

I know that physicists were perturbed when it was found that there were many particles. The idea of simplicity i.e. Occam’s Razor didn’t seem to apply. Also for a nuetrino nothing is solid or opaque. They in their trillions sleet through everything without seemingly disturbing anything. Electrons however when they pass through us disturb the electrochemical bonds of DNA and can cause cancer. [Ionized radiation will do that to you.]

Tom considering that Christian96 is told by his/her god to not look for proof, or the writer did, negates that belief. For if you have proof then there is no blind faith and therefore you will be abandoned. Rather slick thinking I must say. Keeps the believer from wanting that proof & searching it out. It doesn’t stop some from doing just that and in a kind of scientific way either.

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Not one scrap, Tom, are they (believers) ever able to produce, not even
imaginary scraps.  Gosh, maybe the idea of imaginary evidence is
contradictory?  But they don’t even provide that!  At least with contradictory
evidence a cogent argument could be constructed.

Maybe I am e-blog-amusing, garth, but if I encourage thought then I am
happy.  Now, I think both you and DaveZx3, and the also amazing Dr.
DickieDoo…., who visited our forum just one time, are saying something
extremely interesting in that everything is energy.  I will embellish: that most
probably coalesces into matter when traveling at different speeds, and maybe
these different speeds happen when the population of the energy particles gets
too dense in any one area (for what reason I cannot even imagine, I’m just
hypothesizing), yet when they bump into each other they either cancel each
other out if they are a particle and an anti-particle, but if they are not then
they could attract and bond if they have the right charges, otherwise I think
they just continue on their merry way, if that can even be said with a straight
face, then they just continue eternally?  Did I say that all with one breath? 

Well, how else would, could only all energy become matter and not matter?  I
mean, while I intuit that there is lots of space between the particles that make
up the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the cells of my body
(who knows what the mind is…maybe pure energy?), there are moments of
molecules that do make up my body (matter) and how it gets to be that way
from the original state of rippling pure energy, is what I really want to know.  I
think there are oodles of others who want to know that too.

I think your question, garth, is so intriguing about why some stay around
longer than others that I am now on a quest to find out why! Why?  WHY?  Since
I love cats, I am so happy to hear you are facilitating their continuing to live
better lives.  I have a cat, and Leefeller said he has 40!  Do you believe that?  I
am suspicious but then it is my nature to be.  I don’t know if Leefeller even
posts on this forum?  He confessed to 40 cats on an old forum and I laughed so
much I never forgot it.  His posts are almost always so full of incisive humor. 
Using your admirable transporting cats endeavor as a model, maybe wave
motion is like you, that transports particles (various cats) to new locations in a
similar way?  Are we having fun yet?

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By garth, February 13, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Yes, thanks Davezx3 for that description.  Very illuminating.  I’ve heard that matter does not really exist, but it was in a religious context.  I have also heard that it’s (for lack of better nomenclature) all energy.  This is also in line with the ideas of “chi” and “chakras.”
My question if I may put one out there, is why do some elements, made of these ripples of energy, stay around longer than others.  The radio isotopes are not stable while those below Pb on the Periodic table are.  At least, that’s what I thought.

Shenon, you seem to be me e-blog-muse.  I was drinking too much and, yesterday, I called to volunteer at two cat rescue missions.  I’ll be driving cats and dogs from one shelter to another in hopes that they might stand a better chance at being adopted in their new locations.

Other than that, I have no idea what the answers to your questions are.  I was befuddled by the geometric shapes of these orbitals while thinking of an electron with mass and spin revolving around a nucleus.  Anyway, you were talking about sub-atomic particles, so I don’t know how the two mesh.

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By Tom Edgar, February 13, 2010 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Yes C96 You are quite right. You do only find what YOU are looking for.  You won’t even acknowledge the factual correctness of the site quoted.

One other thing you have also avoided is my direct challenge to produce Incontrovertible Replicable, Verifiable evidence for YOUR particular God’s existence. Not Biblical, Torah, Koranic quotes, or personal and imaginary experiences. As with all the others I have challenged, for the past seventy years, you ignore or evade the issue. Because you can’t produce a scintilla of evidence.

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2010 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Hi DaveZx3, so glad you came back!  Being immersed in music, I love the idea
of harmonics.  I understand your flowing river analogy and pebble in the pool
causing ripples as a model for wave theory.  Forgive my ignorance, but in the
energy emanation “flat, smooth, and steady” riverwater (for want of a
better phrase), the “RF carrier” transports an infinite number of waves
composed of the particles.  Do I understand this rightly?  I understand the
frequency model of how they move but I can’t get an image of what is moving. 
Is it these particle somethings?  Are they a mixed bag, like electrons, muons,
gluons, photons, protons, ad infinitum as I understand there are hundreds of
different kinds of particles?  I read it somewhere.

And again pardon my lack of language to say it properly but it doesn’t seem I
put it the right way.  It seems that physicists have a language problem too of
not being able to say it so that ordinary non-physicist people can understand
them, so I am grateful you are taking the time to do that. 

But if we can imagine the whole universe, which would have to be a complete
fabrication because we don’t know if it has an end, but for the sake of asking
questions, say we can “sort of” imagine it even if it is infinite in every direction
(and yes I know it is difficult to imagine anything that is infinite), what kind of
formation is it theoretically moving in?  I am only interested in the front line of
the ripples not the back end that exists in infinity.  I am keeping in mind this is
only an analogy, nevertheless, from where would the rippling start and how
deep and wide is it and how do we know it has any direction? 

These might sound like really dumb questions (and they are) but I can’t get a
clear idea of what this stuff is and how it moves and I am reduced to a kind of
particlebabble.  And worse, from where do these particles originate?  I
understand when you say that as particles die, new ones have to replace them
to keep to the laws of thermodynamics. Even that notion is fraught with
questions, such as, where do the new particles come from, meaning how are
they manufactured, and as one particle dies, is its replacement in perfect
synchronization born in a sort of reverse ratio formation?  And in the same
place or are they created elsewhere in the universe?  Ohhhh groan, I know
these are very deep and specialized questions. I realize you may not be able to
answer these questions.  But the can of worms has been opened. (Ohhhh
Pandora!)  It must be time for a cup of good coffee!

If anyone wants to see and hear a really beautiful David Gilmore performance of
a really beautiful piece of music for 3minutes 41seconds go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvMNuuFSvN0&feature=related

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By DaveZx3, February 13, 2010 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 12 at 10:35 pm #

“Given the laws of thermodynamics, where do all the
electrons and their brethren particles come from?”

Tom Edgar has an extremely intelligent daughter.
“Broadly she says that there is this “Power” or “Energy” source from which all things emanate.”

Mass is an illusion created by a disturbance in an otherwise consistent high energy level which permeates the universe undetectable, but manifesting in the various forces such as gravity and the strong and weak nuclear forces.

I don’t know if it is what some might call dark energy in their attempt to find the missing mass/energy needed to complete the balance required in conventional universe models. 

The universe consists only of two constant energy emanations, and these make up all things, seen and unseen.  And the sum total of all this energy is all that is required to satisfy the universe models. 

You can visualize this using radio frequency signals as a poor but somewhat effective analogy. 

The first energy “emanation” could be called the RF carrier wave as the high level, constant amplitude energy state.  (Visualize it as a river of water flowing without a ripple, flat, smooth and steady.)

The second energy “emanation” or intelligence signal, is modulated onto this RF carrier wave by disturbing it in ampliitude or frequency.  Visualize this as throwing pebbles into the otherwise smooth river flow.  Ripples are created, which relative to the smooth undetectable flow, manifest as temporary bumps. 

The bumps are particles of all types, brought into existence intelligently to replace others which have spun out, reverting back to the steady smooth state.  The most basic particles do not last long, and must constantly be replenished locally.

It is in this way, that mass is really just an illusion.  There is only energy and nothing else.  Harmonics in a sense, generate the different dimensions which science is busy chasing at this time.

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By christian96, February 13, 2010 at 3:39 am Link to this comment

NightGaunt—-At this time I don’t want to take the
time and energy to respond to the contradictions you
quoted.  Perhaps I will in the future.  Thanks for
pointing them out though.  I looked at the site you
quoted(evilbible.com).  I wasn’t much impressed.
For someone to spend that amount of time reading the
Bible and not recognize the treasures it contains
seems rather futile.  I guess you find what you are
looking for.  I have more questions about the Bible
than are related on your site.  For example, the
Bible reads, “The love of money is the root of ALL
evil.”  That obviously is a false statement.  Lusting
after my neighbor’s wife is evil but it doesn’t
necessarily have anything to do with the love of
money unless she happens to be loaded and I worship
money.  I would think the love of money is the root
of most evil would be more accurate.  I can’t explain
how “ALL” got into the King James translation but
it did.  I am more interested in the conceptual
structure of the Bible than literal words.  If I
can find time in the future I’ll try to respond to
the contradictions you pointed out.  Right now most
of my time is consumed with writing a book for
teenagers about how the concepts in the Bible relate
to their everyday lives.  By the way I will be using
a mathematical design in the Bible to support some
of my contentions.  I believe scientists still
consider mathematics as a tool for proving or disproving ideas.

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By Tom Edgar, February 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

Shenon.

I have a daughter an Evironmental Scientist.  Out of three children she is the only one not an out and out non believer.  N.B I didn’t say, nor implied, she was the opposite.  However when visiting last week she expounded her philosophy, which, at times, lost me.
Well I am getting long in the tooth.

Broadly she says that there is this “Power” or “Energy” source from which all things emanate.

Bit like conventional religion.Can’t prove it, it isn’t verifiable, and I can’t refute it.

If it is so thence is a possible source of all those particles cited earlier. Let’s face it, there are some things we will probably never know, and even if we found out, it wouldn’t change my voting patterns.

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By Shenonymous, February 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

My comment about enlightenment was meant to imply that if one is in the
dark, where knowledge is on the dark side of the moon, or in the bottom of the
bottomless wine barrel, would the question of enlightenment even come up? 
Oblivion seems to be a state of mind when a limiting slice of life is experienced
and no questions are forthwith coming.  Given the vast amount of knowledge
contained in the world, the universe, we know we can never have “all” of it, but
isn’t it worth drinking up all the wine there is, then getting on to finding more
to gather up as much of that knowledge as one can in one’s lifetime?  To what
purpose?  Well that would be answered when an intuition about the value of life
comes to mind. 

Lots of people who are extreme pessimists, or deeply existential, think there is
no redeeming value to life.  I have great sorrow for them for while I don’t think
there is much determinism in the universe such that each life has a specific
trajectory (destiny), I think we make our own lives worthwhile in spite of no
promises.  Many lives are bleak and hopeless through no fault of their own and
these poor souls have more to overcome than others.  But those of us who
don’t have to scratch out a life, can find ways to exalt the mind, through the
arts, literature, science.  It is said that the solitary human being can only find
self-worth in helping others.  I believe that perspective.  There are many ways
to do that. 

The site about orbitals is nicely done for peanut gallery appreciators of physics,
etc., science in general, garth.  Thanks and I hope you gain much wisdom from
your lotus position meditations.  I have a few nagging questions and maybe
you can answer them.  I have not been able to find an answer from any of the
science websites.  Given the laws of thermodynamics, where do all the
electrons and their brethren particles come from?  Do they only have local
existence, or if not, how do they move around the universe?  Do they all get
‘created’ from novas and supernovas and such?  then fall into collapsed stars
where they become food for the next genesis of a star system?  As I noted
earlier, this recycling of the subatomic particles seems to be a paradigm for
various philosophical ideas of eternal recurrence.

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By garth, February 12, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

“Can one ask for enlightenment if one doesn’t know one is in a dark vast wine barrel?”

Yes, one can ask, but the enlightenment will come in the realization that one is at the end of his or her stash.  At that point, the supranatural circuity embedded in Desiny will kick in and deliver the appropriate impulses to the leg muscles and one can “speed walk” to his or her favorite winery to replenish the supply.

I find enlightenment in reading articulate writing and then contemplating it.  After reading, I sit in the lotus position with my back straight and my thumbs touching my index fingers with palms turned heavenward.  I release the barriers between the conscious and the metaphysical world.  I focus my inner eye on the place created by the eternal and, lo and behold, there is the answer, you know, and stuff like that.

Dr. Dickie Doo mispoke.  It’s not orbits.  That idea is misleading.  The preferred term is orbital.  For a good description of the orbitals, check out:
http://www.chemguide.co.uk/atoms/properties/atomorbs.html

As far as religion goes, I think that the current evangelist of tv and news noteriety have done most of the damage to Christianity.  I heard a discussion comparing European and American Religion.  After two major wars, the Europeans have quite a different take on religion, and one that I think would be advisable to adopt here in the HomeLaand before we too suffer a disastrous outcome perhaps more catastrophic than what the rest of the world experienced.

Night-Gaunt, I knew there was something I appreciated about you besides your excellent posts. You posted a link to Dmitri Orlov, but I didn’t pursue it.  People before have posted links that when I clicked on them I got warning from Norton. 

I’d better get cracking on some of these links and recommended readings.  My mind needs to be replenished.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

In what way can Christianity lay claim to the principles of love, forgiveness,
gentleness, and kindness?  That would say that non-Christians do not
exercises these behaviors which would be an absurd claim.

christian96 said ”...some Psychologists have used their?knowledge to further
the careers of politicians,?bankers, and business persons.”
   And conversely,
businessmen now under the sanctions of the Supreme Court will be able to
richly further the careers of politicians.  It isn’t surprising that men of the
mind, psychologists, use their knowledge to further the careers of politicians,
bankers, and business people.  One profession was forgotten, the clergy.  Nor
are they the only men who use knowledge, using the mind to further the
destiny of others, teachers K through Ph.D., do the same.

Covering quite a bit of ground there with a cavalier statement that “Most
Psychologists do not share my Christian beliefs.  Since learning? a little about
humans they set themselves up as God? and decided the way humans should
think and behave,
also says christian96.  You claim that ‘most”
psychologists…set themselves up as God.  What evidence do you have of this as
it has been my experience that this is completely opposite to the many quite
earthbound psychologists I have known.

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By Tom Edgar, February 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Night Gaunt.

No amount of irrefutable evidence will convince C96 that he is wrong nor the Bible is so equally.

Only passages supporting their preconceived and acceptable philosophies will be quoted, others are irrelevant.

C 96. I have asked you before and many others without even the courtesy of a reply.

Show the incontrovertible, replicable, verifiable evidence for the existence of your particular God.
With its production atheism is dead.  Not quotes, not biblical extracts, not personal experiences.  Just plain proof. Without it, all your religious pontifications are fluff and nonsense. P S It shouldn’t need more than a sentence or two either.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

Actually Christain96 you did. It was your words who did and if your god did than it too is foolish. But then if your god is as confused as your Bible then you are befuddled by them both.

At http://www.evilbible.com gives the skinny on the confusing texts of the “holy” work. Example;

Moral Precepts

    24. Robbery commanded
      Ex 3:21,22/ Ex 12:35,36
      Robbery forbidden
      Lev 19:13/ Ex 20:15
    25. Lying approved and sanctioned
      Josh 2:4-6/ James 2:25/ Ex 1:18-20/ 1     Kings 22:21,22
      Lying forbidden
      Ex 20:16/ Prov 12:22/ Rev 21:8
    26. Hatred to the Edomite sanctioned
      2 Kings 14:7,3
      Hatred to the Edomite forbidden
      Deut 23:7
    27. Killing commanded
      Ex 32:27
      Killing forbidden
      Ex 20:13
    28. The blood-shedder must die
      Gen 9:5,6
      The blood-shedder must not die
      Gen 4:15
    29. The making of images forbidden
        Ex 20:4
      The making of images commanded
      Ex 25:18,20
    30. Slavery and oppression ordained
      Gen 9:25/ Lev 25:45,46/ Joel 3:8
      Slavery and oppression forbidden
      Is 58:6/ Ex 22:21/ Ex 21:16/ Matt 23:10

Program those contradictions into anything and it would eventually self destruct! If you call others a fool than so are you. Saying that your god did means that the book itself pointed me out. I can’t wait to see my name translated from Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic in there. Please tell me where? You can’t because it came out of your mouth using your brain so own up to it. [Notice I haven’t called you a name have I?]

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By Night-Gaunt, February 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Better that than hostility I would say. I like the concept of live and let live, what doesn’t rob me or break my leg is okay. [It of course applies to me as well in relation to others.] We are normally a gregarious species and so we must join some group(s) just to maintain our sanity. Now if you are like me and have great difficulty in making acquaintances much less friends, so I find my self alone so I put it to good use. (Reading, thinking, writing an drawing.) Friends I wish I had but I take what I can get if only they will take me. Anyway if we don’t work together we will still sink together if we mess up big time on this old earth. Our spaceship.

All this reminds me of the scene in “Gulliver’s Travels” about the war between the Lilliputians and their arch rivals the Blefesque who fought bloody wars over which side of the egg must be opened i.e. the small or the large end. For them only one way is right and must be followed to the death! I consider this with religion, or philosophy to be on that same order as Johnathan Swift was referencing. As was the Monty Python group in “Life of Brian.” We need to loosen up and not be so touchy about what others think of the world. So far no Crusaders or Jihadis in Ba’hi & Amish. Good examples for us.

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By christian96, February 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

NightGaunt—-I didn’t call you a fool, God did.  The Supreme Court says we can’t teach Christianity in public schools but it doesn’t
say we can’t teach Christian principles(love, forgiveness, gentleness, kindness, etc.) Around 1990
I drove to Columbus, Ohio to ask the State Board of
Education to madate Child Dev. and Family relations
in public schools.  I was rejected.
I discussed this on another site.  The following
relates somewhat how the courses would be designed:

By christian96, February 5 at 3:47 am #


Garth—-School Psychologists are nothing more than
a specific group of people.  Anytime you study a
group of people you will find wide diversity within
the group as far as cognitions, values, and behaviors.  I’m not sure about School Psychologist
but I do know some Psychologists have used their
knowledge to further the careers of politicians,
bankers, and business persons.  Most Psychologists
do not share my Christian beliefs.  Since learning
a little about humans they set themselves up as God
and decided the way humans should think and behave.
The Child Development and Family Relations courses
need to be required of all high school students just
as math and science.  If offered as electives the
students who need them the most will not elect to
take them.  The Child Development courses would
teach parents the importance of diet while carrying
the child and immediately after the child is born.
It would alert parents of the tactics of corporations
related to diet, i.e. use of sugar, salt, and chemicals to make the food look and taste good.
The course would introduce basic principles of Child
Development to better understand themselves and their
children.  For example, all children want to be noticed and feel as though they belong.  When I was
serving as School Psychologist I wasn’t as concerned
with the “acting out” child in the classroom as I
was with the child sitting in the back of the class
being quiet but not participating in class discussions.  On the playground they didn’t have
any friends but played by themself.  Teachers aren’t
as concerned with that type of student because they
aren’t interruping the class.  Teachers as well as
parents need to know more about Child Development.
While in college teachers are usually required to
take a course in Human, Growth, and Development.
However the course just covers vague generalities
and not enough specifics about understanding children.  Because of space I’ll move on to the
Family Relations courses.  High school students need
to understand the characteristics to look for when
considering a mate.  Characteristics associated with
successful marriages.  Too many children are suffering today because they come from broken families.  The course would also teach how the media
influences values and behaviors within the family.
This is very important.  A little more than a 100
years ago if you were born in a certain location
you didn’t travel more than a 35 mile radius in your
entire lifetime, on the average.  That meant your
role models came from within that 35 mile radius.
Today you turn on a television set and your role
models can come from any where on the planet.  Families need to understand the importance of role
models on the attitudes and behaviors of children.
Considering the range of intelligence and large number students in the average classroom our public
schools do a decent job of teaching reading, writing,
and arithmetic but they do a poor job teaching
potential parents about the mental and social skills
needed for raising children and being successful
within a family environment.  In conclusion, I would
ask politicians to pass a law limiting the number
of students from kindergarten through third grade
to a maximum of 15 students.  This would allow
teachers more time to give individual attention to
students.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

It might have been a Freudian slip but not Big Bank, I meant Big Bang in “should
‘they’ figure out how to do a Big Bank (Bang) that would have to be in anticipation
of total repeating annihilation?

My goodness.

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