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On Atheists and Easter

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Posted on Apr 6, 2007

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

WASHINGTON—This weekend, many of the world’s estimated 2 billion Christians will remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    While some Christians harbor doubts about Christ’s actual physical resurrection, hundreds of millions believe devoutly that Jesus died and rose, thereby redeeming a fallen world from sin.

    Are these people a threat to reason and even freedom?

    It’s a question that arises from a new vogue for what you might call neo-atheism. The new atheists—the best known are writers Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins—insist, as Harris puts it, that “certainty about the next life is simply incompatible with tolerance in this one.” That’s why they think a belief in salvation through faith in God, no matter the religious tradition, is dangerous to an open society.

    The neo-atheists, like their predecessors from a century ago, are given to a sometimes charming ferociousness in their polemics against those they see as too weak-minded to give up faith in God.

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    What makes them new is the moment in history in which they are rejoining the old arguments: an era of religiously motivated Islamic suicide bombers. They also protest against the apparent power of traditionalist and fundamentalist versions of Christianity.

    As a general proposition, I welcome the challenge of the neo-atheists. The most serious believers, understanding that they need to ask themselves searching questions, have always engaged in dialogue with atheists. The Catholic writer Michael Novak’s book “Belief and Unbelief” is a classic in self-interrogation. “How does one know that one’s belief is truly in God,” he asks at one point, “not merely in some habitual emotion or pattern of response?”

    The problem with the neo-atheists is that they seem as dogmatic as the dogmatists they condemn. They are especially frustrated with religious “moderates” who don’t fit their stereotypes.

    In his bracing polemic “The End of Faith,” Harris is candid in asserting that “religious moderates are themselves the bearers of a terrible dogma: they imagine that the path to peace will be paved once each one of us has learned to respect the unjustified beliefs of others.”

    Harris goes on: “I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss. We have been slow to recognize the degree to which religious faith perpetuates man’s inhumanity to man.”

    Argument about faith should not hang on whether religion is socially “useful” or instead promotes “inhumanity.” But since the idea that religion is primarily destructive lies at the heart of the neo-atheist argument, its critics have rightly insisted on detailing the sublime acts of humanity and generosity that religion has promoted through the centuries.

    It’s true that religious Christians were among those who persecuted Jews. It is also true that religious Christians were among those who rescued Jews from these most un-Christian acts. And it is a sad fact that secular forms of dogmatism have been at least as murderous as the religious kind.

    But what’s really bothersome is the suggestion that believers rarely question themselves while atheists ask all the hard questions. As Novak argued in one of the best critiques of neo-atheism, in the March 19 issue of National Review, “Questions have been the heart and soul of Judaism and Christianity for millennia.” (These questions get a fair reading in another powerful commentary on neo-atheism, by James Wood, himself an atheist, in the Dec. 18 issue of The New Republic.)

    “Christianity is not about moral arrogance,” Novak insists. “It is about moral realism, and moral humility.” Of course Christians in practice often fail to live up to this elevated definition of their creed. But atheists are capable of their own forms of arrogance. Indeed, if arrogance were the only criterion, the contest could well come out a tie.

    As for me, Christianity is more a call to rebellion than an insistence on narrow conformity, more a challenge than a set of certainties.

    In “The Last Week,” their book about Christ’s final days on Earth, Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, the distinguished liberal scriptural scholars, write: “He attracted a following and took his movement to Jerusalem at the season of Passover. There he challenged the authorities with public acts and public debates. All this was his passion, what he was passionate about: God and the Kingdom of God, God and God’s passion for justice. Jesus’ passion got him killed.”

    That’s why I celebrate Easter and why, despite many questions of my own, I can’t join the neo-atheists.

    E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is postchat(at symbol)aol.com.

    © 2007, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Stephen, May 1, 2008 at 6:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Funny that someone who has read so much of the King James Bible never happened to notice that there is no “S” in “Revelation”.

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By JimH., July 11, 2007 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

COPY
NOTE: This was first sent to several MENSA email addresses including “National, International, Australia.
——————————————————————
TO MENSA;
RE: “Mensa’s goals”
“Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence;?) and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.”
————————————————————————-

Hello You-all; With the above stated aims in mind,
What, if anything is MENSA and their Members doing to enlighten the world about the EVILS caused by the propagation of the criminal ponzi-like racketeering scheme ‘Religion’, that indoctrinates, and enslaves innocent childrlen and fools and converts them to shills to proslytize and spread their infectious plalgue-like disease that causes delusional thinking, and an absurd child-like fairytale conception of the world that is a constant threat to those of us who live in the ‘real’ world and are ceaselessly threatened by their illogical TAX-FREE AND (faith-based!) GOVERNMENT-FUNDED, BIGOTRY?

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By Jim H., July 9, 2007 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: 83666   Hello DSA;
Thank you for your good ‘thoughts’ about Sam Harris!

At:http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070529_sam_harris_fights_back/

He too, like Rushdie, has taunted a gigantic man-eating octopus, and must take many precautions to prevent a repeat of the Madalyn Murray O’Hair debacle that the “Religious “faithful” fanatics do a dance of joy over! 
Although I too am thankful for “The End of Faith”, I believe no one has come within a ‘light year’ of pointing to, or discussing the ‘epic’ proportions of the ever broadening destructive criminal influence, evil intentions, designs and calamitous results of the Religious “Faith” Organization’s unwavering pursuit of total Theocratic domination our once Democratic, USA, and the entire World!
How many people can even imagine: any ‘one’ organization of any kind, that can, and does accumulate, free from taxes, every day, more money, including donations of taxpayers hard earned funds that are contributed to them by G. W. Bush’s “Faith”-based” operations, than any other company, business, or other type of honest enterprise in the world, accumulates in one month? 
And, how many people can even imagine: the amount of influence all this ill gotten wealth is able to purchase?
Through the use of all type “Holding Companies” and many other similar methods of hiding ownership, the Religious Organizations own, or control a major portion of all Media, including newspapers, radio stations, publishing houses, television stations, and, many Congressmen, and Senators, plus G. W. Bush, and Dick Chaney!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations have repeatedly caused our ‘bigoted’ Congress, and ‘bigoted’ US Supreme Court, to deny, and violate many parts of our US Constitution, and The Bill Of Rights!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations have repeatedly supported, and influenced the installation of G.W. Bush a ‘bigot’, and Military Deserter, into the White House!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations continually object to, and repeatedly violate the Constitutional Law: “Separation of Church and State!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations repeatedly deny “woman’s rights”!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations use the “Pulpit” to electioneer and promote religious bigot candidates for elective office, and use big bushels of their money lucre to help this happen!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations also use bundles of money to pay lobbyists, and influence all Congressional actions that are destructive of our Democratic way of life and detrimental to all US citizens!
These same Religious “Faith” Organizations fight against any and all means of limiting family size, including medicines that prevent childbirth, because without innocent children to brainwash, mesmerize, brand, and indoctrinate into their fantasy world of ‘Godism’ their Religious Organizations would soon ‘dry up’ and go out of business!
Of course this is but a mere minute insight into the monstrous behemoth the ‘Ponzi-like’ racketeering Religious “Faith” Organizations embody and represent, and the perpetual horrific infectious plague-like disease they are ever more widely spreading every hour of every day through the means of newspapers, radio, and television, and even door-to-door-proselytising!

And, if we secularists, the rational ‘ones’, don’t soon confront this war on sanity and reason, before long, if it is not already too late, we will be surrounded, smothered and inundated by the horrible putrid dung these Religious “Faith” Organizations are everyday filling the airwaves, and earthly environment with!

Ciao, Jim

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By jonathan, June 29, 2007 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

to Arheon of Trace;
In Search of Truth         (499 w0rds)

On the question; Have I ever read an entire book cover to cover, that opposes my personal views?
By the time I was twelve – I had been thoroughly indoctrinated, I was a Catholic. In the Catholic doctrine we were taught that one should never question the existence of God and we should never read The Holy Bible, especially the book of Revelations. (the intention is clear)
When I was thirteen I was converted and my mother purchased and gave me a beautiful King James, leather bound bible with a biblical concordance.
I read searched and analyzed every conceivable topic, only to discover that the Holy Bible was jammed packed with concoctions and inconceivable fabrications – Lies. Yes – the book was my Holy Bible.
I nearly cried with amazement in realizing that I must be an Atheist!
If any one is interested in truth, you will find it in the book of Revelations etc. All about the Jewish God “Yahweh-God-Jehovah” and that Abraham designed “God” from the single word “YAHWEH.” (from nothing) At that time, Abraham was one of the richest men on Earth !
In reading the bible you will find that religious theories derive from Nimrod Baal the sun god and Christianity derives from Astronomy and Astrology. From the “Seven Stars of Orion” and the “Seven Churches of Christ” of which “Smyrna” in Turkey was the First. Such as all Churches named “The First” and all Banks named “The First.” Churches and Banks are about accumulation of Money, property and Political Power) Large church congregations, operate Credit Unions !
Yes – the book that I read, that opposes my views, was/is my treasured “Holy Bible.”
It is not my business to indoctrinate any one into disbelief.
If you want to keep your “Faith” don’t read the Bible and avoid the book of Revelations. (For there you will see the fallacy of it all)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Revelations chapter 1 verse 20 says; The Seven Stars of “Orion” (in the constellation of Orion) are the Angels of The Seven Churches.
Revelations chapter 1 verse 11 says; The Seven churches are; Ephesus, and Smyrna the First, and Pergamus, and Thyatira, and Sardis, and Philadelphia, and Ladocea.  Ancients believed Pharaohs became Stars.
Revelations chapter 22 verse 16 says; I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these things, in The Churches; I am the root of David, the bright ”The Morning Star.” (catch 22) The Morning Star is not Jesus and is not a star – it is the Planet “Venus.”
Isaiah chapter 44 verse 10 says; Who? Hath formed a God, or molten a graven image (of a God) that is profitable for nothing?
Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 12 says; Wisdom and Money is a defense, but the excellence of “knowledge” is that Wisdom gives more life $$ to those that have it.
Ecclesiastes chapter 10 verse 19 says; A feast is made for laughter, wine to make merry; but “Money” is the answer to all things. The end

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By Jim H., June 27, 2007 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:70606

Rev. “Stray;
You say: “I believe in a Supreme Intelligence,(?)  which is identical to my understanding of God.(?)

Didn’t you once ‘claim’ to be an atheist?

So, You you finally admit that you are a “Scientologist”?

You ask: “Why your desperate need to deny the existence(?) of God? (?)        (Imbercile!)

I suppose, you are happy living in a once Democratic Country that is now a Theocracy, completely dominated, and run by ‘Ponzi-racketeering’ thieving Religious Fanatics!

What can any of you “Godists” hope to gain by echoing each other while spouting absurdities none but you thieving charlatans, can accept, as anything but attemptsWhat can any of you “Godists” hope to gain by echoing each other while spouting absurdities none but you thieving charlatans, can accept, as anything but attempts to discredit the greatest minds in the world with your asserted stupidities, and invented “Creation” or I. D. bulldrap? If you totally refuse to see the light, and wish to remain an asinine robotic slave to that group of criminal ‘ponzi-racketeering’ bigots who ‘brainwash’ mesmerize, indoctrinate, and rape little kids in their spare time between proselytising, and counting the pennies they swindled from the kids, and others; then your wasting your time away from those nefarious and criminal activities which, if you had the least bit of sense and integrity you would totally renounce instead of continuing your equally felonious condoning and abetting of those atrocious crimes!    The worst form of child abuse is the warping of their mind!

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By archeon of thrace, May 25, 2007 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Trish I would say the same about you, and have find your analysis of Straighty “right-on”.  He seems very much in love with his own thinking, I am happy it satisfies him.  I however am not convinced of it’s “truth”.

Thus I too must sign off.

Thanks all.

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By Trish, May 25, 2007 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

Archeon,

In our discussions here, you have seemed to be educated, intelligent, thoughtful, patient and a “fair-fighter” of a debater.

Straighty has shown him/herself to be willing to use disreputable techniques of rhetoric [such as ad homimen attacks, twisting a person’s words, false accusations of name-calling].

It is obvious to me that Straighty only wants to win and feel smarter than atheists, and has no actual interest in exchange of thoughts & ideas.

Since I have other, more productive & more amusing things to do with my time, I am signing off from this thread, and turning off its alerts to my mailbox.


Farewell.

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By straight_talk_11, May 25, 2007 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

“On the one hand you claim that true or false are boolean and thus mired in a classical paradigm, and on the other hand you claim to speak truth to the falsehood of classical thinking.”

This is only one small corner of what is classical and not classical. It is explainable in terms of the special-case nature of physical behavior at this microscopic level of observation. It is not a unifying aspect of physical theory to which we must go in order to get the big picture.

The essential point is that ordinary, everyday observation tends to separate consciousness and matter, not to mention everyday things or objects of perception. Comprehensive physical theories now embrace the widest range of existence of any science, from subatomic to astronomic scales that include meta-meta-galaxies, etc. and do an impressive job of unifying them even at their current level of development. As understanding in this field advances, the superficial separation of consciousness and matter gets very nebulous and highly questionable.

Modern research in theoretical physics is predicated on the premise that all physical phenomena in the entire cosmos can ultimately be explained as fluctuations within a single unified field. So explain this to me:

1) Are you intelligent and conscious?

2) Can you exist outside of this single field?

3) If not, then how can you say intelligence and consciousness are not properties of this single field?

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By straight_talk_11, May 25, 2007 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

“Just calling something “spiritual” doesn’t make it so.”
- Trish

I can say the same thing about anything. “Just calling something physical doesn’t make it so.” Are you going to say that consciousness is physical? Prove that just like you ask me to prove that God exists.

We know that individual awareness is associated with and dependent on physical states, but prove to me that awareness itself is physical. That means explain to me why we perceive ourselves as aware and not just intelligent machines with no consciousness. Are machines conscious? Is your computer conscious? How about rocks? Can you create consciousness physically in a laboratory?

Can you observe it directly in anyone except yourself? Prove to me that it is physical. If you can’t, then I have just as much right to say you’re off the wall for believing that it is physical as you say I am for accepting the standard understanding of it as spiritual.

You have to arbitrarily redefine the meaning to back yourself up. Aren’t you just “saying” that it’s physical, believing that this makes it so? There are millennia of vocabulary in multiple languages defining the meaning of spirit and its association with consciousness. Aren’t you the one redefining terms?

What atheists don’t seem to get is that they believe in magic. The perception of magic resides in the projection of ignorance. In the nineteenth century, magicians used magnetism and electricity to mystify people who were ignorant concerning that level of nature. Many today deal with high technology with no understanding, and they’re not that different from the audiences of the nineteenth magicians.

You don’t understand consciousness as even more fundamental than space and time, and so you project that it just magically appears from a certain confluence of physical phenomena. That’s magic. It’s the projection of ignorance concerning the existence of awareness as a fundamental property of the cosmos as a whole, just like ignorance of electricity and magnetism created the illusion of magic in the minds of nineteenth century audiences.

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By Trish, May 25, 2007 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Another possibility on the issue of whether spirituality is “real” is this: People could just observe &/or experience perfectly normal aspects of primate behavior [social contact, friendship, awe inspired by beautiful sights like sunsets & autumn landscapes], and label these observations & experiences “spirituality.”

Just calling something “spiritual” doesn’t make it so.

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By archeon of thrace, May 24, 2007 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

“If spirituality is indeed real, then I think the physical must inevitably point to the spiritual.”

Unless it is not real, in which case “seeing” the physical point to the spiritual is a false observation/assumption/conjecture.

On the one hand you claim that true or false are boolean and thus mired in a classical paradigm, and on the other hand you claim to speak truth to the falsehood of classical thinking.

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By straight_talk_11, May 24, 2007 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

How electron microscopes actually work, however, is very pertinent here, since a classical view of the world would make it’s development impossible. It is based on the discovery of wave-particle duality. Have you ever heard of this? This is fundamental to any understanding of modern physical theory and the non-classical paradigm that reality actually fits, whatever that may ultimately be.

Classical theory sees light as electromagnetic radiation within a certain range of wavelengths. We can do spectrum analysis of starlight and detect what elements constitute a star based on this classical paradigm for light. However, light is seen by quantum physics as particles called photons. Oddly, any experiment devised to detect one of these properties of light will eliminate observation of the other and vice versa.

Further, electrons, classically regarded as solid little balls whose most usual home is in orbit around an atomic nucleus, also have wave properties. Electron microscopes use the wave property of electrons to “illuminate” microscopic objects using sophisticated electronic techniques and electron “optics”. Their advantage is that their wave property can manifest at much shorter wavelengths than light. The shortest wavelength of visible light is way too long to get the resolution needed to view extremely microscopic phenomena.

The lasers ubiquitous in CD players, bar code scanners, and other such modern technologies were only discovered by means of a deep understanding of quantum mechanics, which is a microscopic order of reality that functions in ways that utterly defy the “common sense” classical view of logic and how the world functions. This level of physical reality defies the Boolean logic of either true or false.

So there are worlds of scientists out there around the world who are essentially clueless about all this, and who function perfectly well within their limited scientific domains nevertheless. That doesn’t mean their world view is philosophically well founded. It is, in point of fact, quite the opposite. Modern cosmologists know this. The rest are barking up the wrong tree.

That’s what I have been trying to communicate. However, although understandably quite typical of humankind at this juncture, I seem to be running into a profound lack of information about the state of cosmological inquiry at this point in human history. The question of whether or not a Supreme Intelligence exists and underlies all physical and non-physical phenomena is a profound cosmological question.

I do not believe it is possible to bring any clarity to such an issue if we are stuck in a classical perspective on the fundamental nature of even physical reality. As I have already indicated, I see the recent and current evolution of advanced scientific research and theory strongly pointing to the spiritual. If spirituality is indeed real, then I think the physical must inevitably point to the spiritual.

But you will never be able to hear, touch, see, taste, or smell it any more than you can gravity. To set this up as a criterion for accepting God as existing or not is to stay stuck in a classical paradigm that at this stage of human evolution is absolutely known to be false. The nicest part is that the reality of the spiritual realm is what we experience every day simply as our own awareness.

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By straight_talk_11, May 24, 2007 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Trish, I’m sorry if my “Good grief” insert hurt your feelings. I just get tired of having what I say get all bent out of shape and it’s still happening.

Archeon, you make my point about gravity for me again. You can’t see it; you can’t touch it; you can’t hear, taste, or smell it. It is totally imperceptible in and of itself. Only its effects are observable. You can feel it only if you resist it. In free-fall, you don’t even feel it. I can say the same thing about God. You show me the difference.

Even “primitive” people had the common sense to recognize that “Something” smarter and grander than they were had to have created them and everything around them. We’ve gotten so sophisticated we can’t see the forest for the trees.

I include most religious people in this last category, unfortunately, because their concept of God is typically very superficial and often worse than useless on a practical level, not to mention their lack of personal involvement in really fathoming anything for themselves rather than simply swallowing somebody else’s dogma.

As to the “nineteenth paradigm” comment of mine you address, Archeon, are you and Trish aware of what physicists call classical physics and a classical world view? It died early in the twentieth century and started dying well back into the end of the nineteenth. It is an oxymoron to call anyone a cosmologist who is unaware that atoms and the particles that constitute them cannot be described in classical terms as solid or fields or anything else classical. The electrons classically “orbiting” around an atomic nucleus are more like probability waves. Now how’s THAT for abstraction?

Even chemists are exposed to little that would disabuse them of a classical view of the world, unless they’re in physical chemistry or some aspect of their field that gets them deeper than the molecular level and Bohr’s essentially classical model of the atom. Physics doesn’t have a fully developed model of physical reality and likely will never have one. It just develops models that are ever closer approximations of reality.

The only perfect model of anything is that thing itself. However, there is one thing for sure. We now know that the classical model of the world is bogus. Nevertheless, just like Euclidean geometry, it works well under the special-case, local conditions in which it evolved.

Biologists have even less than chemists that would disabuse them of a classical world view. The smallest stuff they deal with are objects viewed under microscopes. Even electron microscopes, as powerful as they are, still produce images that do not challenge a classical perspective in the mind of a biologist, who would typically have only the vaguest notion of the very non-classical physics underlying how it functions.

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By Trish, May 24, 2007 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Straight,

1.  I do not worship scientists, or gods or anyone or anything.  I do respect the work that scientists do.

2. Insults [and expletives like “good grief”] do not add any strength to an argument or position.

3. There is a difference between “provable” which is basically a mathematical term, and scientific evidence or fact [to use a more or less lay term].

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By archeon of thrace, May 23, 2007 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

If truth has been distorted how do we know where the truth ends and the lie begins?

If thruth has been distorted how do we know it is the truth?

What is “truth”?  Accepting the idea of an idealized “truth” is in my mind akin to proposing the possibility of objectivity.  The idea that the observer influences that which is observed implies an inherent subjective nature of the universe, and precludes the possiblility of “truth”.

If we can’t observe something, how can we prove it exists?  By observing planets in orbit, and stars in galaxies we see “proof” that the idea of gravity at least explains why things don’t just fly off in random directions.  While we can’t “observe” gravity, we can however observe it’s effects. I can’t “see” heat (infrared radiation) either but when it is -40 outside I can sure feel the effects of it.  I can’t actually “feel” the infrared radiation, I only feel the effects it has on molecules in my skin. 

And on this:

1) The distortion of truth is an ancient ploy of those who wish to exploit others by using the power inherent in truth, but bent and distorted to serve their evil purposes. It is the very power of truth that makes this evil trick so effective.

An even more evil trick is to present a truth as a distortion of truth, and attempting to subsitute a falsehood as the real undistorted truth in it’s place.  This I would say is the bible, and the faiths associated with it - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

2) The distortion of truth is not an indictment of the truth it distorts. To conclude that it is constitutes a severe distortion in itself.

I don’t understand? This is a self evident truism.  But I suggest this, the ease with which a so called truth is distorted to evil purposes, can be a clue to it’s value as “truth”.

“The important thing to bear in mind is that it is totally and utterly naive to pretend that everything in the natural world or the cosmos that is provable must be directly accessible to the senses. That kind of world view was already obsolete among serious thinkers in the early part of the twentieth century. It is essentially a nineteenth-century perspective.”

Which “serious” thinkers?  This an expession of opinion, not fact.  Everything new, is not neccessarily “right”.  Unless we can observe (this is the term for “directly accessible to our senses) how can we know that something exists or that something is happening?  What proof exists other than the observable?  Are you suggesting, that one can observe and not prove, or prove and not observe?  Even “thought” experiments rely on a “virtual” or “implied” reality in which observations take place.

The theory of electromagnetism is also a 19th century idea, as is the theory of radioactive decay, even Einsteins theories are “essentially” 19th century.  Almost everything we have talked about here is 19th century - what exactly has the 20th century developed?  I guess it is time for some 21st century ideas…....better not use any old ideas as a starting point, must create something new and original out of nothing.

Even Eistein’s and Hawking’s theoretical musings are being put to the “experimental” test, where direct observation of the material world attempts to assertain the actual “truth” of the theories.

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By straight_talk_11, May 23, 2007 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

Trish, I didn’t say that using the senses is obsolete, did I now? Good grief! Why don’t you go back and read what I actually did say. It might be a really productive exercise to focus on noticing what peopel actually said every once in a while.

But not EVERYTHING that is provable is so by direct sensory perception. This is especially true in the most successful theoretical discipline in science, namely physics. Biologists cannot be said to fall in the same category, for example, because they do not deal with the weird world underlying matter and energy. That is very abstract. And Einstein explicitly used Gedankenexperimenten, which is German for “thought experiments”.

Most scientists do laboratory research and theorize over physically sensible data. This is vastly different from the subtle levels that physical theory deals with, and unfortunately most scientists who are not physicists unfortunately are still stuck in an essentially nineteenth century paradigm (and we’re talking some major, world-class scientific figures here).

Richard Feynman of Feynman diagram fame stated that his tour of world universities revealed that even among university physicists few were more than glorified lab technicians and cookbook engineers, unable to think deeply, insightfully, and creatively even in their own field. It was clear he was rather disgusted with the situation.

So please don’t talk to me about world famous scientists if you want to use them as examples of up-to-date cosmologists. Most are anything but and their philosophical speculations often reveal it only too clearly! I would suggest that you quit worshiping such human rigidity as the ultimate intelligence in the universe.

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By Trish, May 23, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

“The important thing to bear in mind is that it is totally and utterly naive to pretend that everything in the natural world or the cosmos that is provable must be directly accessible to the senses. That kind of world view was already obsolete among serious thinkers in the early part of the twentieth century.” - straight talk


I’m sorry, but I personally know quite a few scientists - some that have world renown - and not one of them think the idea of using our senses [included with our senses are aids from lenses to electron microscopes] is obsolete.  In fact, I can’t think of any of them would consider “information” gained *without* the use of senses to qualify as science.  If that viewpoint is “19th century” then the 20-21st centuries must be a dark-ages backslide into prescientific superstition.

Also, there is a difference between “serious thinkers” and actual, working scientists.  Someone can be serious, do a lot of thinking, and still be producing fiction. [Sigmund Freud comes to mind] Procedures like “thought experiments” went out of style in science centuries ago.

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By straight_talk_11, May 23, 2007 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

“Straighties ideas are intriguing,....”
- Archeon of Thrace

The important thing to bear in mind is that it is totally and utterly naive to pretend that everything in the natural world or the cosmos that is provable must be directly accessible to the senses. That kind of world view was already obsolete among serious thinkers in the early part of the twentieth century. It is essentially a nineteenth-century perspective.

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By straight_talk_11, May 23, 2007 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Archeon and Trish, I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again:

1) The distortion of truth is an ancient ploy of those who wish to exploit others by using the power inherent in truth, but bent and distorted to serve their evil purposes. It is the very power of truth that makes this evil trick so effective.

2) The distortion of truth is not an indictment of the truth it distorts. To conclude that it is constitutes a severe distortion in itself.

That’s all I have to say about that.

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By Trish, May 22, 2007 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

Archeon,

I would defend your right to cheer Falwell’s death, your right to hate him [I do too] and your right not to care about the people who loved him.  I just can’t claim to feel what I don’t feel.  Sorry, maybe I’m just too much of a softie.

I think there are important differences between the recent coming-out of atheists, and their proud treatises of nonbelief, and fundamentalist religion.  First, I haven’t seen any atheists standing in public parks or on street corners handing out flyers, yelling their beliefs to people walking by, or trying to get any government office/department/entity to publicly affirm the lack of God [which is not the same as trying to get the government to stop affirming belief in God/Yahweh/Jesus, or even supporing “civic religion” with a bland form of deity that seems to be a stripped-down K car version of Yahweh.

I think the main reason we atheists are being accused of being “fundamentalist-like” or too strident, is that just saying publicly that one doesn’t believe in gods or superpowers [whether of supernatural beings or prophets or psychics], and that one does not expect to survive bodily death so jibes with observable reality and so conflicts with the claims of religion and spirituality [organized or not] that it shocks the believers so severely that they react as if their position were under actual attack.

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By archeon of thrace, May 22, 2007 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

Trish, I do however celebrate the passing of Falwell.  Why? First I don’t give a dam that someone may have loved him - this is not an important point.  Second he did so much damage, and was personally responcible for the killings of abortion doctors and the beating of homosexuals.  Third he was a fascist lying charletan who stole for the very people he claimed to help.  Fourth he could not and did not believe the shit he preached, he was a hypocrite

I will state here again, I cheered when I heard the fat pig was dead.  I chuckled that the “rapture” was not for him, he died alone in his office and was found lying on the floor - good.

I put him in the same class of people as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the rest of the worlds demagogues.

Straighties ideas are intriguing, but they don’t hav much to do with the issue of religion vis-a-vis the church, christianity, judaism, and islam. They are ideas (straighties) best discussed with some good wine, maybe a good cuban cigar, after a good meal.  It might also be a good idea to interject a bit of humour now and then.

In anycase this thread is based on an article about how neo-atheism is the new “fundamentalism” of the non-believers.  I reject this characterisation.  Indeed I say, there is only the old atheism - the one that says religion is crap, and god is an illusion created to control men by making them afraid to die.  The religiou-zealots are simply not use too people taking them on by using the very religion they are selling.

It’s like Hitchens said, the only place left were bigotry, hate, mysogny, etc are still fair is when someone says: “it’s part of my faith”.  When an atheist says, “NO!” to that, we are accused of religious intolerance.  But let me ask this, is intolerance of intolerance really intolerance?

My dad always asks: “Where do you get your strange ideas about the bible/god/christianity?”  When I say, it comes direct from the bible, people like Falwel and and the pope, and the general unkindness and intolerance religion inflicts upon people.  He says: “you are just interpreting it wrong”.  When some ass says lesbians, feminists, atheists, gays are what caused god to strike at the USA on 911, I say I am not.  I say I have pegged religion correctly - that it is a tool and weapon of enslavement, subjugation, injustice, and inequity.

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By straight_talk_11, May 22, 2007 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

Now we move on to Abrahamic scripture and religion per your request, Archeon. I do go to church. I pray, I worship, both privately and in religious services.

Why? Since I believe consciousness and intelligence are hierarchal I believe that God is therefore (surprise, surprise!) conscious and intelligent. I believe His creation is fundamentally beautiful. I enjoy life. Shouldn’t we ideally enjoy life? So why do some suffer? Why are some lives just downright miserable from start to finish?

I believe we evolve from primitive forms both physically and spiritually. I believe that whatever happens to us is simply part of a much bigger picture that represents evolution, just as planets cannot evolve from first generation stars, but must await supernova explosions in first generation giants to form the heavy elements, then planets can evolve around second and later generation stars. There is violence in this process. There is locally apparent chaos, but cosmically it serves an ultimate purpose that is exciting, beautiful, and fulfilling. The cosmos finally manifests locally as humankind or humanoid life on other planets so it can turn around and look at itself. Wow!...the ultimate reward of recursive process.

I don’t wish to enter into the specifics of how I think this all works out. I’ll just say that you have to believe in the continuity of life, consciousness, and spiritual evolution for any of this to make sense. Let’s leave it at that.

As to ancient scripture, even in terms of my perspective on a Supreme Intelligence, it follows that such an intelligent, conscious, ultimate being would be omniscient, omnipotent, and would be the Father and Mother, the ultimate Progenitor of us all and as such, we are His/Her children. S/He loves us.

I agree that much of scripture is provincial and chauvinistic in the extreme. However, as I’ve stated earlier, once a human being experiences his own consciousness repeatedly in its simplest, purest manifestation, free of focus on any object of perception, but left alone in a state of completely silent, peaceful alertness, aware only of itself, that human being is changed forever. It is the highest form of bliss and fulfillment I believe a human being can experience.

I believe it is an experience that reflects locally the nature of that single field that fluctuates to generate all physical phenomena. It is the purest, highest, most abstract yet personally palpable state of human fulfillment, yet it does not distract from practical life. On the contrary, it drives it, fulfills it, and fills it with meaning.

This experience then enables us to recognize in others that same recognition. I don’t care that the ancient scriptures came from primitive cultures. The eastern spiritual paths use all kinds of weird imagery and mythology, at least in western terms, to convey their points. But their polytheistic pantheon of gods is viewed by their own sages merely as a natural means by which to communicate metaphorically the nature of the hierarchy of intelligence and consciousness to which I referred scientifically.

Our bodies are objectively observable, but our consciousness and intelligence are only observable subjectively. I teach voice. I use modern acoustical theory and vocal anatomy to inform my teaching, but I also use subjective language and imagery as indispensable to teaching my art. Likewise, I accept traditional ritual and metaphor as complementary to my experiences in the evolution of consciousness. I am tolerant of the local dissonances, because they ultimately resolve beautifully into a lovely, harmonious whole.

That others don’t get it or understand what they’re doing; that they allow themselves to be manipulated by those who abuse the religious authority wrongly imputed to them by their followers is too bad, but it doesn’t take away the essential truth at the core, or take away my fulfillment in participating.

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By straight_talk_11, May 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Without going into more detail about their proposed solutions to the “what time was it when time began” problem, I merely wish to say that 90% of reality is not perceptible to the sense and the rest is made of “stuff” that is not perceptible to the sense. To request proof of anything truly fundamental in terms of the infamous “show-me-I’m-from-Missouri mindset, has long been understood by physicists as misguided.

From all we do understand about the nature of reality, a primary, cosmically comprehensive consciousness and intelligence that functions as the source and maintainer of all physical phenomena could never manifest itself directly to the senses. Physics long ago, way, wa-a-a-a-y back, concluded that sensory perception represents an extremely superficial level of reality. To think of cosmically fundamental “anything” as subject to proof in terms of direct sensory perception is simply naive. No serious modern cosmologist worthy of the name, atheist or not, would ever propose such a thing.

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By straight_talk_11, May 22, 2007 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

Gute Nacht, oder guten Tag, mein lieber Herr Archeon. You do very well and you have all the slack you want. Forgive my hasty judgment, please. I hope you’ll forgive that I got tired of people whose first language is indeed English calling me an idiot and an unoriginal copycat for what I believe while demonstrating high levels of torpidity in our conversation. I just got fed up with it.

I know you want to change the subject a bit, and I will comply, but your response invites for me another clarification of my view. As to observability, I have already mentioned that we don’t observe gravity, but only its effects. Gravity is very fundamental. Space and time are also. I’ve pointed out that while we feel we know what space and time are, we can’t define either one without going around in circles.

That’s the nature of anything truly fundamental. That’s why the things you ask theists to prove to you cannot comply with any criteria for proof in terms of a God we can perceive with the senses. The idea of proof of anything strictly in these terms exists only on an extremely superficial and primitive level of current scientific investigation and thought.

Einstein’s General Relativity equates gravity and acceleration. Acceleration is nothing but a variation in the time rate of change in spatial position with respect to some reference point in space-time. It doesn’t even require objects. He then further explained gravity as a curve in four-dimensional space-time geometry.

For a lot of scientists, that was pretty abstract and weird stuff. He took a major chunk of physical reality and boiled it down to space-time geometry, which from a “common-sense” perspective is just bending around “nothingness” to get “somethingness”, namely gravity, which we can’t see, but which nonetheless has a powerful effect on what we can indeed see and feel.

Despite its weird abstraction, his theory represents a great advance. At macroscopic levels of existence (astronomical levels) it predicts relationships between events, etc. a lot better than “common-sense” Newtonian physics.

Now here’s the crux of this point:

Virtually all current research in theoretical physics is based on the premise that every local event, chunk of matter, or phenomenon of any kind is nothing more than a fluctuation in one single, abstract unified field. This field has space, time, and every other component of physical existence implicit within its abstract nature, yet it is one single field. This line of thought led to the “big bang” theory of the origin of the cosmos. This theory is also weird from a “common sense” viewpoint, since it states that the entire universe sprang forth from the violent explosion of a single particle called a “singularity”. This is totally abstract, since it has no position in space and time because its existence transcends both. It’s more fundamental.

There is the further cosmological question of when this happened. Physicists have long disliked the idea of a beginning of time, since it begs the self-contradictory question of what time it was when time began.

(I’ll have to continue this in a new comment.)

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By Trish, May 22, 2007 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

Archeon,

I’m glad to see you agree that scriptures are flawed and clergy are harmful to society & individuals.  But I see no more social or intellectual value in the sort of mix-&-match theology that Straighty proposes than I do in more conventional forms.  I don’t think Straighty is in touch with any being other than Straighty. 

Trying to reinvent religion or spirituality [with or without scriptural ingredients] takes effort and attention that could be expended pursuing actual truth, or enjoying the pleasure that we have only too brief an opportunity to taste.

Another sad thing about the pursuit of non-material values or experiences, is that those who do tend to follow the position of more conventional religious people/organizations/writings in devaluing the actual pleasures of the physical world [and I don’t just mean coarse pleasures like sex&drugs;&rock;&roll;, I also mean love, learning, sharing, achievement, etc.].  This whole quest for “something more” decreases the pleasure of the pleasures the seeker does experience, and convinces the seeker to avoid further pleasures in favor of attempting to contact/experience the unreal [interesting how people who chase unreal spiritual experiences are appalled when unbelievers take drugs to experience things the drug-user knows to be unreal and temporary].

Another thing I think is harmful, even in the most quiet & unmissionary individual pursuit of spirituality is that belief in noncorporal superbeings who interact with people or events on earth also takes the satisfaction out of accomplishments.  If God/god/spirit/superstraighty/whatever gives a human help in reaching a goal, then one wouldn’t deserve to enjoy a feeling of accomplishment.  I think this sort of destruction of deserved pride in one’s useful acts drives the kind of nihilism we see in believers of whatever brand who think the end of earth is something to look forward to, or who destroy themselves in the name of religion.  This would explain the earth-isn’t-enough attitude of the sorts of nonpoor, educated, healthy young men who executed the 9/11 plot.


On the use of the term “neoatheist” - I never use it myself, and suspect it’s an invention of people who are not unbelievers.  Re-naming the other side without their consent is a popular way to try to undercut the oppposition’s position.

P.S. I think you are right about how awful Falwell was, but I don’t celebrate the death of him or anyone else for two reasons: 1. he has now permanently lost the opportunity to realize that he was wrong about earth/life after death/social policy/punishment of children/etc/etc/etc.  2. however much we hate him & everything he stands for, there are people who did love him [family/friends/secretary?], and they are sad right now.  Plus, his departure hasn’t exactly taken the wind out of the sails of the hideous movement he spawned.

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By archeon of thrace, May 22, 2007 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Trish I agree whole heartedly.

We also have this problem of those who claim to have the powerfull “spiritual” experience (Falwell, Graham, et-al) clouding the issue.  These Elmer Gantry types who make grand pronouncements, who are infact Nazi’s in not as nice uniforms.  Yes for the catholics, I include the pope, the cardinals, priests, and bishops in this class of charletans.

What I don’t understand is why atheists, who finally have had enough of standing quietly by are called neo-theists (this is a blatant attempt to paint us with the same negativity that neo-conservative has as a term).  While criminal charletan assholes like Falwel disparage our characters while eating caviar in private jets giving interviews by satphone and all the while paying for it with money donated by poor widows and pensioners hoping to earn a few browny points with the really big asshole in the sky.

I abosolutely agree that once we understand we are mortal, with afinite time here, to live, breath, feel, love, have sex, eat, shit even, then we begin to have fear that it will all one day end.  In many ways, we are trained to have this fear.  It starts with the childeren, we instill them with insecurity and fear almost from day one.  We ly about god, the easter bunny, and santa.  We even lie and tell them we love each of our childeren equally - you don’t think they see through that immediately?  Childeren don’t love their brothers and sisters or each of their parents equally, so why would they believe that lie?  Because we tell them lies, we breed insecurity and a need for certainty.  Insecurity and a need for certaintly and abosolutes are a bad combination when we then present them with messiahs and prophets.

Thus we have nations that fear for their survival and are willing to oppress their neighbours for resources.

Ok I am going off on a tangent here…...

Why is being sure in ones lack of belief seen as aggressive towards religion?

If the religious loudmouths are on the barricades agains homosexuality (hey mr. evangelist if you don’t want to suck dick, don’t), against same sex marriage (hey mr. graham if you don’t want to marry a man, don’t), against choice (hey mrs. christian if you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one) then those of us who do believe in freedom, choice, liberty, and the right to be left alone will have to say something.

The Falwells, Robertsons, Grahams, for all their eloquent (yeh right) speaches on religious freedom, don’t really want any.  They want a autocratic theocracy where THEY decide who gets to do what, and who gets to stick what where in whom.

Now Straighty’s talk of the metapyhsical possiblilities about god/consiousness/spirituality are fine intellectually, and indeed are far more romantic than the silly theologies of abraham and moses.  But they will fail to grab the limited imagination of the average citizen (person), for it relies to heavily on making a personal commitment to THINKING about the nature of being.  It relies to heavily on questioning how we KNOW what we know.  In short it requires us to exercise freewill, and to be ready to accept our conclusions even if they don’t reinforce our preconceptions.

Most will toss the evidence, and keep the preconceptions.  Most already have, which explains the rise of fundamentalist evangelical christianiy, and fundamentalist jihadist islam, and settler judaism.

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By Trish, May 22, 2007 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Archeon,

Scripture aside, I think that what people identify as god/gods is an amalgam of powerful, but normal emotions; experiences that they hope will support their deep hope that they will survive the death of their bodies; and social experiences that they have learned to label as “spiritual.”  Thrown in with this is a belief [usually taught by religions &/or scriptures] that people who classify these emotions, experiences & hopes as “god” or “spiritual” are somehow morally superior to those who accept that these are perfectly normal, earthly experiences of verbal, social primates.

Powerful does not equal supernatural.  Believing in things that you can’t prove are real is no basis for a system of morality [props to Python].  Being convinced of things that you can’t prove are real doesn’t make one a better or smarter person than those who accept that there is no evidence that we do anything more than rot after we die.

I think that behaving in an ethical way, with no expectation of post-physical rewards, is the only way that a human can demonstrate morality.  Those who conform their behavior in expectation of reward/punishment after death may increase the domestic tranquility, but their behavior is essentially selfish, not moral.

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By archeon of thrace, May 22, 2007 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

Trish, I think you and I are in agreement about the valuelessness of organized religion.  We agree that the texts of the judeo-christians is basically trash.  I surmise from this that the koran (I have read so portions of it) is also worthless crap.

If I examine x number of faiths find them all to be logically contradictory and voilating all reason, I can assume that religion y (islam) is also false.

The “god” that Straighty speaks of is, I think unrelated to the god you find in this world’s, or at least the USA’s churches.  Here you will only find Falwel’s god, the god of greed, hate, lust, deception, subjugation, and enslavement.

God does not live in the vatican, or Canterberry Cathedral, he does not live in Mecca, or on some sacred mountain, he does not even live in the hearts of men (or women).  He is a fiction created by men.

The entity, or consiousness, or energy or awareness of Straighty is not this god.  The term god is so loaded that it is best we leave it to discribe the supreme being of revealed religions.

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By Trish, May 22, 2007 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Here’s an example from my life of an event that I could take as evidence of survival after death:  A friend of mine died around the time I met my husband, but before he & I were close.  Years later, after I hadn’t thought of my friend for years, my husband woke me up one morning and asked if I had a friend named Drew.  He dreamed that he’d answered a knock on the door, and Drew told him, “Take care of Trish.”  As Drew walked away he disintegrated into a collection of sparkly, colored lights, starting from the head & going down his body.  When hubby told me the dream, I told him Drew was dead.

The request to “take care of Trish” and the colored lights reflected aspects of our friendship.  I thought that appearing to someone he’d never met and sharing with that person images [for lack of a better word] that the person couldn’t have known would be a remarkably clever way for Drew to demonstrate his survival. 

I told it to a mutual friend of Drew & me, who was extremely impressed with the dream as evidence of contact.

So why am I not convinced by this that there is an afterlife?  1. No physical evidence. There’s nothing to show anyone that would cause a scientist to conclude there is survival after death – or even as a starting point for an investigation.  2. It wasn’t an event, only words.  Hubby could have made it up.  A cruel hubby could read a wife’s diaries to find something to claim to have dreamed to impress/frighten/convert her.  3. I could have said more about Drew than we remembered.  4. The dream could have come from things hubby knows about me.  5. Hubby had met Drew’s roommate.

Belief such an experience is proof can be reinforced by the responses of others told about it.  The people told could be responding to the conviction of the person telling or the credibility they usually give to that person.  Those told may already believe in nonphysical beings,  and accept it as further evidence of what they already believe.  The person telling the experience can increase their estimation of the evidence value of the experience because of the reactions of others. 

It’s important that surviving death is dearly hoped by many.  The more someone wants to believe something,  the weaker the evidence they’ll accept as support of that belief.  That’s why science demands experiments, recording observations, peer review, double-blind tests, etc.

I later tested responses to a dream that could be taken as evidence of post-life existence:  After the unexpected death of a friend, I dreamed he appeared & said, “Hey, how you doing?  I replied, “Fine, how are you?” He said, “You know I can’t tell you that.”  Then I woke up.  Friends who believed in nonphysical existence spoke as if they thought I believed I’d actually had contact with this friend.  Even though I didn’t believe I’d had contact – only a dream – I found myself feeling excitement in response to people’s reactions to my report of this dream.

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By Trish, May 22, 2007 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Archeon & Straighty, My point about scripture is this - if there were an omniscient being running the show, why would he/she/it allow such a batch of misunderstandings, untruths & cruelty to be spewed in his/her/its name?  I used the Bible because it is the scripture Americans are most familiar with - the sacred texts of every civilization/religion are all full of similar flaws.[I also used Lord of the Rings as an example, and i don’t claim that anyone on this strand believes those books are scared]  Also, Straighty, you remarked earlier in this strand that you do attend church, so I concluded you find some value in their position, which churches claim to trace back to the Bible.  Just think of this one example:  An all-knowing creator of the universe watching healthy humans torment people who were already suffering from physical diseases caused by germs.  Healthy people have told sick people that they deserve their sickness as punishment for sins, or were given disease as a “test” or to teach them a lesson.  Healthy humans have exiled sick people to punish them for the sins that led to their illnesses. The healthy humans not only do these things, they support them by referring to scriptures they claim were written &/or inspired divinely by this all-knowing creator.  If that all-knowing creator had the power to communicate with humans [even if only a few humans], would not that creator’s *not* telling humans that diseases are almost always caused by germs [or accidents or birth defects] be at minimum a cruel omission?  It’s not just people in bible-based religions, or only pre-modern people who have treated sick people as if they brought it upon themselves.

As for “other” ways of knowing there is a “supreme” being, when a human feels they’ve had an encounter with a non-physical being, what evidence does that person, or the rest of us, have that this is a true encounter and not a hallucination?  To the person experiencing a hallucination, what they see is indistinguishable from normal experience.  Otherwise, such an experience is a daydream or a fantasy.

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By archeon of thrace, May 22, 2007 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Straighty, I was not saying that consiousness and awareness are not hierarchical.  I was merely pointing out that applying the evidence of the observable on the unknown or un-observable is not 100% reliable. Granted, if the all that is observed demostrates order that is hierarchical, it would a plausible and reasonable conclusion that the other things are too.

Now that we have at least come to somekind of consensus on the “meta” questions.  What is your opinion about the validity or even neccessity of the (for the sake of simplicity, we will deal with the other theologies in time) abrahamic faiths?  Setting aside for the moment the previously discussed larger issues regarding the metaphysical questions of being, existance, objectivity vs subjectivity etc.

Do you find within the source texts of these faiths evidence of truth?  I would argue that, what ever small bits of truth there are to be found, they are tainted and negated by all the (for the lack of a better word) untruths.  Any claims to be valuable life guides is negated by for example, the keeping of slaves, poligamy, beating of wives and childeren, the divine sanction of war and genocide, etc. described and condoned in the texts.

Furthermore the religions men have created based on these texts (or did the religions create the texts?) have a long history of abuses and excesses.  This inspite of and often because of the words in the texts.

Now the universe may well have a “meta-consiousness”, of which my consiosness may be a part (granted, a tiny infinitly small part).  This consiousness I would say has little, and probably nothing to do with the “god” of the bible, torah, or koran.  I for one would say, the biblical abrahamic god, the god that has a personal relationship with me or/and you, the god that listens to my prayers, the god the intercedes on a person’s or nation’s behalf, this god is a fiction and utter fabrication.

Your discription of the meta-consiouness as permeating everything, being everywhere, is far more intellectually and “spiritually” satisfying than the childish petulant vengeful silly biblical god and his need to constantly micromanage the universe.

(as for some of the gramatical structures, and spelling I use, please grant me some leeway, as English is not my first language - German is.)

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By straight_talk_11, May 22, 2007 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Good, Archeon. Thank you! Now we can have a productive conversation, or at least a coherent one. I agree with most of what you say. We all empirically experience our own consciousness and intelligence. (I also assume we all do from personal experience and we tell each other that we do. Science calls this empirical evidence confirmed by replicability.) This, I believe, has to be the most universally experienced , generalizable, and well replicated empirical evidence known to humankind.

Given that we all do, then we know at the very least that consciousness and intelligence is somehow associated with our physical existence. We know that our physical states affect the quality of our consciousness and the efficacy of our intelligence.

I find it theoretically highly inconsistent, uneconomical, and not at all compelling to notice that physical structure is hierarchical and then assume that the consciousness and intelligence we find associated with our little part of that structure in our own experience is not, simply because it is not as immediately evident locally. This last little fact follows naturally from the nature and relative size of the larger systems of which we are a part. Why should we expect the intelligence implicit in the structure of a galaxy that may have evolved human-level intelligence elsewhere to talk to us?

If you can offer a compelling argument that assuming that consciousness and intelligence are not hierarchical while the physical world is is both rationally and intuitively compelling, my hat will be off to you or anyone else who can.

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By archeon of thrace, May 22, 2007 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

Yes I agree Straighty.  Yet I do not accept that the god of the bible is the god you propose.  I do not accept that the writers of the bible were remotely sophisticated enough to think about the nature being in the terms you propose.

The abrahamic faiths are founded on the musings of simple sheep and cattle herders. Their conclusions about the nature of the world based on their obesrvations were false. (the “firmament” that Trish spoke of is but one example) They produced a theology the is hateful, racist, and bigoted.  This can be demonstrated as I have previously pointed out in this thread, by simply examining the texts.  The texts contain logical and factual errors that cast doubt upon the veracity of the other parts.

You god, Straighty may well exist.  I can’t know or prove one way or the other.  That I and presumably you (I assume that you do because I have) have awareness and consiousness, and because the other parts of the world are ordered in hierarchies, that awareness is too, is in my mind “jumping” to conclusions.  However, I accept this as a plausible theory of existance.

I also accept that this “universal” consiousness could always have existed and will always exist. Yet I am compeled to ask, does this “god” resemble the biblical god in anyway?  or any god worshiped by any faith on earth?  I would say not.

As I have said before, I do not ask the beleivers to prove that “a” god exists, only that “the” god of the bible, torah, koran, or other holy text exists.  This they cannot do.  Yet I can show, and many others have shown, that the texts used to “prove” god, are not consistent, and are internally logically contradictory.

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By Skruff, May 22, 2007 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At the risk of exposing myself as a middle-of-the-road “flip flopper” I have, since age 14, considered myself an athiest.  My father’s family has a long line of non-believers going back to settlement before New York was a Dutch Colony…. BUT

When in the woods, and feeling low, I can get “restored” by sitting near big trees.  My mother claims this is religion (Panthiesm) I say the “power” is of a chemical nature… Any thoughts?

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

Trish, why do you keep harping on assumptions about what I believe that are not relevant to my points? The scriptures “that I value so much” are full of chauvinistic viewpoints that I do not share with them. You keep avoiding the issue that is important to me, and that is the existence of a Supreme Intelligence.

That has nothing to do necessarily with the scriptures to which you refer, so what’s the point? You say you do not believe in a Supreme Intelligence, which I happen to call God, since that’s the term my language uses. That term does not inherently presuppose anything about a particular religion or even any particular culture. So why don’t you respond pointedly and with a strong, clear intellectual focus on my last previous post, namely:

“Physical structure is demonstrably hierarchical. I believe it is incumbent upon atheists to defend the reasoning underlying their implicit assumption that the consciousness and intelligence we all empirically experience are not also hierarchical.”
???

That request is not complicated, long, or difficult to understand, but a cogent response could be not only difficult but even impossible. Want to try it?

- straight_talk_11

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By Trish, May 21, 2007 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

”...there is not one piece of information in any book of the Bible that was not known to people in 800 B.C.  No mention of DNA, bacteria, galaxies, atoms…”
- Trish

This assumes that only a certain type of knowledge and mode of acquiring knowledge has any value and that’s the one scientists use today….
- straight talk

Well, Straight Talk, I don’t think it is very straight to leave off half of my point - not only do the scriptures you find so valuable not mention so much that we now know to exist, like atoms, DNA, etc. - but they also describe things that demonstrably do not exist, such as the Firmament.  The Biblical writers did not claim to be speaking metaphorically, they were describing the Firmament as an actual physical object.

The idea of “more than one way of knowing” is just another excuse for the inadequacy of the biblical claims about the physical world.  Why would an omniscient being leaving out important info [e.g. diseases are caused by germs, not demons, nor as punishment for bad behavior]  be excusable, never mind helpful to those who live on earth?  Why would telling people that physical structures that don’t exist, like the Firmament, actually do help people live better lives?

Yes, people in pre-scientific times, and even some people today, claim that metaphorical thinking is an equal “way of knowing” to science.  But I look at it this way, religion has had several thousands of years head-start on modern science, and yet, in the 20th century, thanks to medical science [not medical metaphysics, or medical wishful thinking, or medical “treating the whole person”] nearly doubled life expectancy from 47.3 years, to 77.2 years.

As far as the usefulness of knowledge about scripture, let’s take a literary example.  I can read all the books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and literary criticism of these books, until I know off the top of my head that elves are x” tall, live y # of years, dwarves are a” tall, live b # of years, etc., not to mention which races in these books have treaties or wars with which other races, but that doesn’t make any of the characters from Lord of the Rings real, and it doesn’t mean that knowing this stuff in my head makes me smarter, or morally better, or more able to function in the world outside of maybe the English Dept at a college. 

Metaphors & allegories are no substitute for knowledge.  And while it is true that our current level of science does not provide us with flawless knowledge [and perhaps never will, since the universe is a big place and there may always be things far off to explore], what science does is this: It provides a structure for thinking about the physical world/universe that decreases the chances that we will continue to believe in things that we wish to believe but are not in fact true.  Religion provides a structure in which people can ignore what is physically true so they can believe that their dearest hopes are more true and important than what actually exists.  These are not equal pursuits.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

I would like to know when some atheist is going to take my challenge and respond to the following from my next-to-last post:

Physical structure is demonstrably hierarchical. I believe it is incumbent upon atheists to defend the reasoning underlying their implicit assumption that the consciousness and intelligence we all empirically experience are not also hierarchical.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

“...there is not one piece of information in any book of the Bible that was not known to people in 800 B.C.  No mention of DNA, bacteria, galaxies, atoms…”
- Trish

This assumes that only a certain type of knowledge and mode of acquiring knowledge has any value and that’s the one scientists use today. That, in my opinion, is extremely myopic and chauvinistic. There are things the ancients knew how to do that we’ve never been able to figure out even with all our advanced technology. I’m not talking about pyramids,  either, but extremely fine fabrics woven from gold and other amazing things that mystify moderns.

Every mode of acquiring knowledge has its limitations, so I think it’s a very good idea not to restrict ourselves to only one. “Know thyself” is not a bad idea, I feel, and that involves a profoundly different mode of knowledge acquisition than what modern science provides. I think both modes are terrific and would never want to give up either.

And why should I? They don’t conflict, unless you want to insist on taking ancient scriptures as the whole story and throw out the baby with the bathwater just because you quite rightly don’t accept that some physical god, probably old with a white beard (sheesh!), was at the other end of the pen and wiggling it just right. I don’t believe in a physical god. If you read what I’ve written with any understanding you won’t have any trouble understanding that it is reasonable to accept that some aspects of reality transcend the physical and even modern physics points clearly to that.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

Trish, as long as you stick to a literal-minded, fundamentalist interpretation of Abrahamic scriptures. you are right. However, it is clear that right up through Caesar and well beyond, even into medieval times, the predominant mode of thought and written communication was metaphorical. In this day and age, few people get that and consequently we’re looking back with the wrong glasses.

Moreover, I repeat for the zillionth time that you don’t have to subscribe to Abrahamic scriptures to believe in a Supreme Intelligence. None of the eastern spiritual traditions do, and I think most of the higher forms of those traditions are closer to the realities of spiritual existence than the Abrahamic scriptures.

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By Trish, May 21, 2007 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Archeon,  I have a simpler observation about the worth of Abrahamic [& post-Abrahamic] texts - there is not one piece of information in any book of the Bible that was not known to people in 800 B.C.  No mention of DNA, bacteria, galaxies, atoms - not to mention no accurate predictions of any later historical events on earth itself, e.g. surprise, Caesar will be assasinated by the Senate.

In fact, the Bible describes as real one item that is now known to *not* exist - the Firmament [a solid object that holds up the stars]. 

If this book were written, dictated, or inspired by an omniscient being, why would there be such gaps in knowledge, and mis-information?

If it were written, dictated or inspired by an omniscient being who knew about atoms, molecules, DNA, the solar system, galaxies and the universe, and allowed texts to be disseminated in his name with such glaring inaccuracies, then I can only assume that such a being is as mean as he looks in Biblical stories like Job or the Book of Haggai, in which he wrecks destruction upon a town because he didn’t like the paneling in the temple they built to him.

Science uses Occam’s Razor - the simplest explanation is probably true.  Those who would be apologists for such blatantly false claims as the Bible will strain for extremely complex justifications to keep convincing themselves and others that there is some value in these obviously inadequate descriptions of the earth & beyond.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

One short addendum:

Physical structure is demonstrably hierarchical. I believe it is incumbent upon atheists to defend the reasoning underlying their implicit assumption that the consciousness and intelligence we all empirically experience are not also hierarchical.

Thank you for allowing me the luxury of boiling this debate down to what I feel is its simple essence.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Archeon, you and other atheists have said the burden of proof lies with believers, but in fact, we all empirically experience awareness or consciousness, which is undeniably a global property of our physiological functioning, and not attributable to any specific part of it, not even our brain, since its function demonstrably relies on too many factors outside the brain, especially the biochemistry associated with the entire endocrine system.

So unless you’re interested in convincing me that you’re not actually conscious or aware, but simply a complex bio-chemical-neurological automaton that is reacting with apparent intelligence to its environment without any consciousness of it, I suggest that the burden actually lies with you and others of similar belief. You need to show one of two things:

1) that our awareness doesn’t exist and that it’s an illusion, in which case you have the problem of explaining who is the victim of the illusion.

OR

2) that the tiny, organic human subsystems whose evolution the cosmos has fostered for billions of years, starting with the big bang, exhibits both intelligence and awareness despite the lack of any such qualities in the infinitely greater cosmic, organic ecology of which it is only a tiny subcomponent.

To me the second option is like saying that your finger has feeling and the perception of that feeling is independent from the rest of you. In other words, your awareness is not a holistic, global trait of your existence as a complete human organism, but exists independently in some parts of your body, while you as a whole person are an unconscious automaton no more aware than a stone.

The unification that modern theoretical physics seeks implies that there is a level of reality that underlies all phenomena, and that whatever manifests physically anywhere is just a fluctuation within that level of existence. If this is so, then if we are intelligent and conscious, then so is this level of existence.

The truth is simple. You can’t even show me a gravitational field. You can only show its effects. You can’t tell me what it is. If you’re Einstein, you can explain it as synonymous with acceleration, or how the time rate of position change in space varies. However, you then have the problem of defining space and time. Can you tell me what they are, Archeon, without circular definitions?

Yet we all deal with these things every day in practice. We also experience consciousness every day in practice. So if you think that God can only be defined in anthropomorphic terms (i.e., He occupies a local, physical body somewhere in the cosmos) then you’re right, He doesn’t exist. But He could be an all-pervasive, omnipresent intelligence and awareness which is the source of the entirety of the manifest universe and this makes perfect sense in terms of the physics we know.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Archeon, thank you for your clarifications and your much more gracious response to what I’ve said than I was getting from anyone before. That is a very positive development. Now I can also address some of the things in your last post meaningfully, since you have provided a clear point of departure for a response to your views.

If you read what I’ve said in my previous two posts, you will see why the Supreme Intelligence I propose as indeed existing could never by definition be perceived locally. Neither can General Relativity. Neither can Quantum Field Theory.

They are abstract, conceptual frameworks that infer global generalities from local specifics. They do not exist physically. Physical books about them are useless until their content enters a human mind. Generalized concepts have explanatory power. Local phenomena explain nothing. The simply exist and remain what they are: local instances of general laws.

In my view, this dichotomy undeniably exists within what we call reality. I propose that it represents the essence of what I call the material/spiritual, physical/metaphysical, or matter/consciousness dichotomy, whichever you choose to call it. In eastern thought, this exists as the manifest/unmanifest dichotomy. Even gravity falls in this category, since it is quite fundamental to physical theory and yet, like time and space, not physically visible or touchable. We only perceive its effects. Neither gravity, time, or space are directly accessible as physical entities, but only indirectly through their effects and their specific, local physical analogs.

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By straight_talk_11, May 21, 2007 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

You’re more than welcome, Skruff! At long last, a response that doesn’t reflexively vomit all over everything I’ve said. Neither the believers nor atheists participants ever demonstrated that they had read anything I’ve contributed with any significant degree of understanding until now.

Wish you had come into this conversation much earlier, Skruff! You got a good digest of everything I’ve said so far anyway, though. I actually appreciate that you provided the impetus for that.

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By archeon of thrace, May 21, 2007 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think evolutionary theory, or science in general has anything to say about the existance or non-existance of god/supreme being/divine intellegence.  By and large science is concerned with discribing what we can observe, and explaining the interactions between what we can observe.  Science in my view is being abused when attempts are made to use science to prove or unprove god.  For one thing “god” is not testable.  Concidering the nature of god as claimed by the various faiths we will never be able to hold something and say: “this is god”.

My atheism is not so much concerned with the idea of “a god” but rather the phoney gods of judaism, islam, and christianity.  I question the existance of the gods of the other earthy belief systems, but will for the time being confine my efforts to the abrahamic god/s.  One brick and one god at a time is my motto.

To discuss the god of the bible, I don’t think we need to delve too deeply into unified field theory, metaphysics (at least not the kind Straighty is talking about).  To debate the merits of christianity, judaism, and islam we need only confine the debate to the repective holy texts.  It is also best, I suggest that we don’t linger too long on a the previous chatter about the texts from the theologians from the past, and maybe we should ignore the current ones also.  We should simply examine the texts, and see if and how they hold together - logically, rationally, etc.

Take the bible, it begins with the creation story.  Not one, but two verision of the creation.  Two versions in which the order of creation is different, and most importantly the order in which male and female is created.  In one man and woman are created simultaneously, in the other woman is created from man.  Why the two stories?  If the text begins with a contradiction what are we to assume about the veracity of the rest?

If the texts contain inconsistencies and are internally contradictory what are we to assume about the the theologies based on these texts that are claimed to show each of us how to live a moral and ethical life?  In other words - if the texts are false, would not the rules of life based on those texts also be false?  OR should we assume that the basis for morality and ethics is some other source, possibly not divine, but rather a product of natural developement much like hair, scales, flight, or the ability to swim?

I am much happier with the direction the discussion is taking now.

I just re-read something you said Straighty:

“Further, if you think you can prove mathematical theorems in any ultimate sense, you’re wrong. The famous Goedel’s Proof showed in the early 20th century that we can’t even establish with certainty the internal logical consistency of our number system, never mind complex higher mathematics. Goedel showed that for completely reliable mathematical proofs, you either need to reduce the principles of logical deduction to a point at which their power is not comprehensive enough to show internal consistency of any but the most elementary and severely limited mathematical worlds, or you have to use logical principles that are themselves in question.”

This is what I was trying to say with my:

all dogs are animals, the only animals are dogs, therfore all animals are dogs.

I realize that quite often we are saying the same thing, but not reading the words the same. LOL

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By Skruff, May 21, 2007 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
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Not only an appology, but a change in dialogue!!  These last two posts were REALLY good reading.  I wish to tender my thanks.

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By straight_talk_11, May 20, 2007 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

An added note:

The perspective just outlined below explains a lot about eastern spiritual paths and some of the more meditative western traditions. It provides a positive rationale for the persistence in humankind of belief in a higher intelligence which our intelligence and consciousness reflect locally.

Its recursive nature and our reflection of that nature explains our unquenchable curiosity about our origins, and our ability to recognize natural laws operating in the world around us, since what I’ve stated clearly implies that those same laws have their analogs embedded and functioning within our own psycho-physiognomy by virtue of the evolutionary processes that produced it. Further, it provides a scientific interpretation for the scriptural statement that humankind is created in God’s image, as well as many additional and otherwise opaque scriptural statements. Neither does it violate any scientific knowledge that we have so far accumulated.

I see evolution as underscoring the existence of a Supreme Intelligence rather than substituting for it. I view the latter perspective of many atheistic scientists as very short-circuited thinking. If there is indeed a unified field that can serve as the basis of a theory of everything, we cannot exist outside of it. If we are intelligent, I see that as inevitably implying that It is intelligent.

Is this not theoretically more compelling than simply explaining it all away as some kind of primitive psychopathology? I’ve stated several times that spiritual truth has been abused by those who wish to dominate others to their own selfish, short-sighted purposes through distortion of the power inherent in the intuitive recognition of truth.

This actually constitutes evidence that demonstrates truth even when evil-doers utilize its power to manipulate. Distortions of truth on any level to nefarious ends is an ancient ploy in those who wish to exploit others. It in no way implies falseness in the truth itself. Distortion is short-sighted. I believe that morality is nothing more than practicality with a comprehensive, long-term view.

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By straight_talk_11, May 20, 2007 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

The cosmos is continually and recursively modifying itself. All structural change is a result of energy transfer within the cosmic system. How energy transfer modifies cosmic structure depends on two things: the natural laws that govern energy transfer and the cosmic structure itself.

The evolution of well-organized structure is therefore, without any doubt, a recursive process: the evolution of galaxies, first generation stars, the forming of heavy matter via supernova explosions, then second generation stars with planetessimals, the accretion of planets, then primitive life, etc.  This reflects a continuous and recursive modification of cosmic structure according to the natural laws that govern energy flow within the cosmos.

Energy flow is always modulated by the system through which it flows. We modulate electromagnetic radiation with intelligence to communicate with each other. On the level of the cosmos, we can say that local energy flow is everywhere coordinated and modulated by the holistic structure of natural law, which is a highly coherent and orderly set of laws.

In light of the growing use of holographic models of physical reality in theoretical physics, where every point reflects the nature of the whole, recursive process is also clearly implied. Since coherence and orderliness are defining qualities of intelligent organization, I proposed that we can legitimately view the cosmos as modulating everywhere locally the flow of energy within itself according to the globally implicit intelligence of natural law.

I say “globally implicit” because these laws are universal and cannot said to be locally confined in any way. Natural law is global and manifests everywhere locally. So the global intelligence implicit in natural law evolves everywhere locally subsystems that increasingly reflect the nature of the whole. This is both a natural consequence of recursive process and holographic structure: global law continuously communicating itself to ever-changing local structure by globally modulating cosmic energy flow, which change modifies in turn the flow.

A few statements made above stand out. Natural law is global and manifests everywhere locally. The recursive nature of evolutionary process is fundamentally self-referent. These are fundamental defining properties of awareness. Natural law is a coherent and orderly set of laws. Coherence and orderliness are fundamental defining properties of intelligent organization.

Contained in these statements is the possible implication that there is a supreme level of intelligence and consciousness that governs cosmic evolutionary process. Then I ask, which is more elegant and theoretically economical? To assume:

1)that intelligence and consciousness emerge mystically from nothing at some arbitrary threshold of complexity in subsystems that arose mystically or by cosmic accident from dumb, chaotic matter and energy

OR

2) that intelligence and consciousness are primary, fundamental properties of a unitary cosmic system that are not initially obvious locally, but which during long evolutionary processes increasingly manifest locally in organic subsystems that increasingly reflect the nature of the whole, in holographic style.

I don’t think these are the ravings of a deluded idiot or lunatic, as most atheists here would have it. It is the result of a lifetime of thought I have devoted to linking subjective and objective means of acquiring knowledge to form a conceptually coherent perspective on life. I have read little that tries to do this, but have instead been in conversations with both the scientific and subjective/spiritual sides of this issue and had deep conversations with those who think in a similar way, including one of my brothers.

Much of the thinking behind what I have just stated is entirely original, including my manner of expressing it. Yet some here have accused me of blindly aping others while they do exactly that, often irrelevantly.

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By straight_talk_11, May 20, 2007 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Archeon, for adding your apology to mine. That is a noble gesture. Anyone who bothers to read the early comments will note how I pleaded with those with opposing views to quit using four-letter epithets and to coherently address the points made. They claimed that was impossible because my points were absurd and senseless, this all liberally peppered with continued foul language and nasty epithets that boiled down to calling me an idiot for believing in a Supreme Intelligence.

They even assumed because I believe in a Supreme Intelligence I buy all the extra baggage that most organized religion mixes in with that. Their responses dealt with those assumptions while totally ignoring the salient points in my comments. I explained that I am an avid follower of evolutionary theory, theoretical physics, and cosmology in general. In fact, I just finished reading some very interesting articles regarding new and competing theories of the origin of life on early earth. No intelligent dialog was possible, however, because the responses were almost invariably more of the same.

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By archeon of thrace, May 19, 2007 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

If one accepts Aristotle’s definition of hubris as follows:

“to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.”

I would have to say that both I and Straighty would be guilty of hubris in this case.  I appologize for my part.

I did find a funny piece of historical tivia:

When the works of Aristotle were arranged by Andronicus of Rhodes, his (Aristotle’s) book on Physics came first, and the book on First Philosophy came next. This book he (Andronicus) called “Metaphysics” - ie “after physics”.  This was misinterpreted/missread by later latin scholars to mean “beyond the physical”.  Thus 2000 years of misunderstanding was born.

This gave me a chuckle.

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By archeon of thrace, May 19, 2007 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Skruff, I accept your comment.  Thank you for trying to bring this back to a more, shall we say pleasant state.

I am one who accepts Hume’s characterization of metaphysics. ie - it is pointless, circular, and self referencing.

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By straight_talk_11, May 19, 2007 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Oh, Skruff, I guess you mean “hubris”? One definition would be “unbridled arrogance”.

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By straight_talk_11, May 19, 2007 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

Point well taken, Skruff. I’ve stooped to the level of some of those debating the opposing viewpoint simply to point out graphically the futility of much of what has been said in response to my previous arguments. If you look at the whole history of comments here (admittedly a somewhat onerous task), you will see that rather than addressing any points I’ve made, those opposing my views merely resorted to nasty epithets, unwarranted assumptions, and gross distortions of my points rather than directly addressing my points or answering my critiques of their logical fallacies or false assumptions regarding what I had said.

You and other innocent bystanders have my sincere apologies. I owe no apologies to those who have so consistently corrupted early on what should have remained a coherent debate.

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By straight_talk_11, May 19, 2007 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

“No should have read: Relax Straighty, your an…”
- archeon of thrace

Illiterate bathroom graffiti. Corrected:
“No, should have read: Relax, Straighty. You’re…”
“Relax, Straighty” is in imperative and a complete sentence requiring a period. The possessive is not the same as you’re, which is a contraction of “you are”. “Your stinking mouth” is the correct use of “your”, a possessive pronoun. Your grammatical and literary discrimination correspond nicely to the rest of your abilities.

Later:
“No, actually it should have read: Straighty relax and ....”
- archeon of thrace

Slight improvement.
- “Straighty”

So I guess the vacuousness characterizing your posterior alimentary exit is synonymous with anyone who knows how to read, write, think, and reason as opposed to the limited capabilities of the more solid remainder of your anatomy?

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By straight_talk_11, May 19, 2007 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

“No should have read: Relax Straighty, your an…”
#70980 by archeon of thrace

Illiterate bathroom graffiti. Corrected:
“No, should have read: Relax, Straighty. You’re…”
“Relax, Straighty” is in imperative and a complete sentence requiring a period. The possessive is not the same as you’re, which is a contraction of “you are”. “Your stinking mouth” is the correct use of “your”, a possessive pronoun. Your grammatical and literary discrimination correspond nicely to the rest of your abilities.

Later:
“No, actually it should have read: Straighty relax and ....”
- archeon of thrace

Slight improvement.
- “Straighty”

So I guess the vacuousness characterizing your posterior alimentary exit is synonymous with anyone who knows how to read, write, think, and reason as opposed to the rest of you?

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By Skruff, May 19, 2007 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
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#70980 by archeon of thrace on 5/18 at 9:11 pm

“No should have read: Relax Straighty, your an asshole.”

#70949 by straight_talk_11 on 5/18 at 5:40 pm

“Run-on sentence, no punctuation for the noun of address… Yeah, OK, you’re all intellectually erudite folks too smart to believe in a Supreme Intelligence, but you can’t write, your reading comprehension is zilch, and you can’t follow simple logic or understand the most elementary math functions. You read a few books by your favorite atheist apologists and quote them with no real understanding of the issues actually being addressed and accuse all us “believers” of exactly what you’re doing.”

I suppose your intention was to make this thread unusable for any who wanted to have a coherent conversation. You have succeeded.

From the stands it appears you two are different sides of the same coin, and not all that dissimilar.

Can either of you define H-U-B-E-R-I-S

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By archeon of thrace, May 18, 2007 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

No, actually it should have read: Straighty relax and fuck off.

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By archeon of thrace, May 18, 2007 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

No should have read: Relax Straighty, your an asshole.

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By straight_talk_11, May 18, 2007 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

OK

“Straighty relax I was only making a joke…..”

Should read:

Straighty, relax. I was only making joke…

Run-on sentence, no punctuation for the noun of address… Yeah, OK, you’re all intellectually erudite folks too smart to believe in a Supreme Intelligence, but you can’t write, your reading comprehension is zilch, and you can’t follow simple logic or understand the most elementary math functions. You read a few books by your favorite atheist apologists and quote them with no real understanding of the issues actually being addressed and accuse all us “believers” of exactly what you’re doing.

Great! Keep up the good work.

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By archeon of thrace, May 18, 2007 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Straighty relax I was only making a joke…..

The dog and animal bit of logic was to demonstrate that we can render almost anything true if we set the parameters in such a way as that line demostrated.

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By straight_talk_11, May 18, 2007 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Archeon, good grief. I am not a scientologist! They’re full of it. And like you, they can’t think for themselves either. Your understanding of the most elementary ninth grade math is clearly whacked out and the “logic” you use at the end your comment demonstrates as much confusion as I’ve found in the rest of yours and most of the other comments here. I rest my case. At this point, everything is crystal clear for any thinking person who bothers to read any of the comments to this article.

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By jonathan, May 18, 2007 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Writers of the Bible inserted, that the number of the beast (Anti Christ) is 666.
In so doing they created the most mysterious definition of the Anti Christ.
Mankind has inquisitively pondered over this mystery for 2,000 years.
In doing analysis and research I came to one conclusion – 666 can be contrived and be concocted as the identity of several persons, in several ways but (still mysterious) with out any proof whatsoever.
Here however is the “true version” as presented in the King James Bible.
In - 1st KINGS CHAPTER 10 VERSE 14 it says; Now the weight of Gold that came to King Solomon, in one year’s taxes was Six Hundred and three score (twenty per/score) and Six Talents of Gold. ( This totals 666) six hundred + 60 + 6
There is no mention here of any beast or Anti Christ and there is no mystery about this verse. It is clear that 666 talents of Gold are just that ! < 666 > there is no such person.
The number must have been selected at random – there is no such person.
Therefore; we can dismiss the search for a person with the number 666 - like many other mysterious verses in the bible, the writers merely sought to mystify
the identity of the Anti Christ (there is no other worthwhile explanation).

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By archeon of thrace, May 18, 2007 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

like I said -x+y=6 is infact y-x=6, and x+(-y)=6 is x-y=6.  Which I indicated.

I don’t think however that x+y=6 nor x-y=6 is metaphysical because the result is known.  IE it is like the godblievers claiming there is a god, but they don’t know exact what he is or how he became, they only “know” he is.

“All dogs are animals, but not all animals are dogs. If you say that because some metaphysical ideas are off the wall, mathematics and theoretical physics are therefore not metaphysical, you are saying something that is logically equivalent to saying that because all dogs are animals, all animals are dogs.”

I can however say all animals are dogs, if the only animals that are, are dogs.

I still suspect you are a scientologist.  Seen any clams lately?

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By straight_talk_11, May 17, 2007 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

Well, Archeon, I’ve been advised for a long time by the commentaries I see here that many here barely know how to read or write. Now I see that some have no knowledge of ninth grade algebra. Whew!

However, on the positive side you contributed this:

the formula x+y=z is open and is a place holder in the abstract for potentially real world “things”.

Excellent! Exactly my point. And so it is with all physical theory and mathematics, which makes them, by all accepted definitions, essentially metaphysical. They are abstract concepts that model physical reality but are not that physical reality. That fits the core definition of what metaphysics is. Metaphysics also includes zany, goofball speculations about the nature of reality. This does NOT mean that theoretical physics is not metaphysical.

All dogs are animals, but not all animals are dogs. If you say that because some metaphysical ideas are off the wall, mathematics and theoretical physics are therefore not metaphysical, you are saying something that is logically equivalent to saying that because all dogs are animals, all animals are dogs.

By the way, the number of possible solutions to x+y=6 is infinite and represented graphically by a line with a negative slope of one (a line angling 45 degrees downward to the right and passing through the vertical y axis at y=6. Either x or y can be negative, and its negative sign is indicated by the negative value substituted for the symbol and not in the equation itself. For example:

If x+y=6 and y=8, then x= -2.

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By archeon of thrace, May 17, 2007 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Straighty what is with you, you start to say things that are correct, are logical, and can be supported by reason.  But then you go off on tangents that indicate something else.

“psycho-physiological structure is so overloaded with system noise that you can’t perceive much of anything” this almost seems like you are a scientologist.

So what is YOUR idea of intellegent design?
Why do we need this “intellegent design”?
Who is the “designer”?
What made the “designer”?
Where is this “designer”?

The quote from Hume does illustrate some of the issues certain philosophical approaches have with metaphysics.

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By archeon of thrace, May 17, 2007 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

x+y=6 is a conclusion not a formula.
It is a statement the result of wich is contained within itself.

x = 1,2,4, or 5
y = 1,2,4, or 5

x or y cannot equal 3 because then the statement would be x+x=6 or y+y=6.

I suppose x or y could be 0 but the you get x+6=6
or 6+y=6

granted x could be a negative number but then the statement would be -x+y=6 and would more correctly be y-x=6 thus x and y can be any numbers aslong their difference is 6.

the formula x+y=z is open and is a place holder in the abstract for potentially real world “things”.

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By straight_talk_11, May 17, 2007 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

“...echoing each other while spouting absurdities none but you thieving charlatans, can accept, [sic]...”
- Jim H.

So you apparently are unable to accept that I don’t fit any of your concepts of who I am or what I believe. I’ve never made a penny peddling religion and I don’t fit any of the pigeonholes into which you’re trying to retrofit me. I think what Falwell and Robertson have preached came from true jerks, but you’re hanging right in there with them on the other side of the ledger.

I am not a creationist and what I have said about physics, metaphysics, etc. doesn’t fit any of the de facto definitions of either creationism or “Intelligent Design”. That which I do believe could be legitimately called Intelligent Design if that term hadn’t already been subverted to connote stupidity to which I don’t subscribe in the least.

How can anyone believe the earth was created roughly 7,000 years ago in six days when the light from the other side of our own galaxy started off at least 40,000 years ago and that of our closest neighboring galaxy started off about 2.5 million years ago?

So you don’t even think for yourself enough to understand anything I’ve written well enough to recognize this, but just keep acting as if I do fit all your stupid stereotypes even though even a little research would demonstrate I absolutely don’t at all. Why don’t you at least demonstrate that you understand what I’m saying even if you don’t agree with it? You, on the other hand, haven’t said anything of substance except that you don’t believe in a Supreme Intelligence, but that you think that it’s all bunk. How much intelligence and independent thought does it take to say that and yell a bunch of vitriolic epithets across the Internet?

So much for independent thought and intelligent dialog! If you believe Ultimate Reality is a dumb universe of chaotic matter and energy devoid of any of the coherent structure we call intelligence or consciousness, then you are definitely made in its image, pal! Actually, I don’t believe that. It’s just that your psycho-physiological structure is so overloaded with system noise that you can’t perceive much of anything and the noise all spills out in your commentaries.

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By straight_talk_11, May 17, 2007 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

OK, never mind, Jim H. You just quote somebody else’s context-dependent stuff and misapply it here to demonstrate again your total cluelessness with regard to what is actually being said. Why don’t you learn to think, period? Then the next step might be, if we’re really optimistic, to actually learn to think for yourself.

That might even include responding coherently to what others are actually saying instead of shooting off blindly while foaming at the mouth with irrelevant material from third parties who haven’t addressed my points at all, but who are making generalizations that don’t apply to what I’ve said or to my critiques of what you’ve said.

In fact, why do you always skip over the specific fallacies I’ve pointed out in your mad monologues? Why don’t you ever address what I say about what you’ve said, but simply repeat your ravings. This is the true sign of “blather”, silly.

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By Jim H., May 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reverand Stray Mind;

All your idiotic blathering only plunges you more deeply into the slime of that cesspool life of “Godism” fantasy!

“Metaphysics”?  (“METAPHYSICAL”?)
Metaphysics has been attacked as being futile and overly vague.(!)
If we take in our hand any volume of “metaphysics”, let us ask,
  Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No.(!)
Does it contain reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No.(!)
Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.(!)
David Hume

What can any of you “Godists” hope to gain by echoing each other while spouting absurdities none but you thieving charlatans, can accept, as anything but attempts to discredit the greatest minds in the world with your asserted stupidities, and invented “Creation” or I. D. bulldrap? If you totally refuse to see the light, and wish to remain an asinine robotic slave to that group of criminal ‘ponzi-racketeering’ bigots who ‘brainwash’ mesmerize, indoctrinate, and rape little kids in their spare time between proselytising, and counting the pennies they swindled from the kids, and others; then your wasting your time away from those nefarious and criminal activities which, if you had the least bit of sense and integrity you would totally renounce instead of continuing your equally felonious condoning and abetting of those atrocious crimes!
The worst form of child abuse is the warping of their mind!

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By straight_talk_11, May 17, 2007 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

“Stray;
You say:
‘I named three theories that work rather well within the domains for which they were designed—-?’

“You should have added: ‘The FANTASY “DOMAINS” OF GODISM!’ ”  -  Jim H.

Your ignorance is apparently boundless! The three theories I named are accepted theories that have been and are used very successfully in engineering disciplines that have produced wonderfully precise results, taken us to the moon, Mars, etc. They are not my theories, but those of Newton and Einstein, two of the greatest figures in the history of physical theory. They have nothing explicitly connected with “Godism”, so why the irate diatribe?

I simply cited those theories to illustrate a point about the structural characteristics of reality, which latter includes both physical and non-physical components. You seem to misinterpret and confuse everything you read and your responses show an equal degree of confusion in how to express yourself. That seems to make you very angry. That anger is mostly, even almost exclusively what you express. Too bad!

I believe in a Supreme Intelligence, which is identical to my understanding of God. I don’t believe in hell or eternal damnation. I wonder whether that’s what you actually fear. Otherwise, what are you so afraid of? Why your desperate need to deny the existence of God? Are you afraid that if you accept that He exists, that might have some awful implications for you? What the heck have you done that makes you so fearful of a possible God?

Many here seem to accept or reject, “whole hog”, what fundamentalists like Falwell preach. Indiscriminately accepting or rejecting what somebody else thinks demonstrates an inability to think for yourselves. I’m simply saying don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

It’s perfectly possible, and I believe the most reasonable alternative, to believe in a Supreme Intelligence without all the superfluous baggage most organized religion would have us swallow. Some of you seem to think that one implies the other. Hogwash! Forget it! It just ain’t so. Prove that you know how to think for yourselves, atheists, before you accuse others of an inability to do so.

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By straight_talk_11, May 16, 2007 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Oops! ...rigorous testing for it practical utility (but not it’s “truth”) should have read this way:

...rigorous testing for its practical utility (but not its “truth”).

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By straight_talk_11, May 16, 2007 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

Well, first learn how to spell metaphysics. All theories are metaphysical, which simply means they are not physical. They are ABOUT the physical, dingy, but they are not physical. They exist only in the mind, which is one possible definition of metaphysics.

Physical theories fall in this category.  None of them are true in any final sense. They are intellectual models that humans devise to conceptually unify experimental data so we humans can deal with them efficiently, for example using mathematics (which also is metaphysical and exists only in the mind).

Find me anything physical that actually IS the equation I mentioned earlier
(x + y = 6) rather than simply a physical analog of its conceptual structure. Concepts have no physical existence. They only imperfectly model physical existence and themselves exist only in the mind (some people’s minds, anyway, present company apparently excepted).

“Meta” is a Greek-derived prefix usually meaning something generally like “about” whatever follows it. Metadata is data about data such as general properties of a data set, etc. However, philosophically it is generally used to point to a higher level of abstraction than whatever is currently under consideration.

It can also just mean a higher level of any hierarchy. A metagalaxy, for example, is a galaxy of galaxies. In the world of the intellect, “meta” generally is a prefix indicating a level that deals with a bigger picture than the current level does.

Theoretical physics is probably the most sophisticated and rigorous metaphysical body of thought currently on this planet. In the time of Newton physics was called natural philosophy. In fact, that is exactly what it is. It is simply human conjecture about the nature of physical reality that is subjected to rigorous testing for it practical utility (but not it’s “truth”).

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By archeon of thrace, May 16, 2007 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Staighty I don’t think you have any understanding of what metaphisics is.

So I direct you to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics

This is a wiki so the usual warnings apply.  It is however a good starting point.

Aristotle of course, the father of metaphisics was limited in his understanding of the natural world by the limits of “science” in his day.  He was also limited by his understanding of preception and the mind.

But I don’t understand how this has anything to do with the “grand unifying theory”?

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By Jim H., May 16, 2007 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stray;
You say:
“I named three theories that work rather well within the domains for which they were designed—-?

You should have added: ‘The FANTASY “DOMAINS” OF GODISM!’

WHICH YOU CAN SHOVE!
YOUR “THEORIES” ARE AS VALID AS THE LAST DUMP YOU TOOK!     
IF YOU WANT TO DISPUTE E=mc2,

DON’T EVEN MENTION THOSE RELIGIOUS PRETENSIONS AND ALL THAT ABSURD VERBIAGE YOOU NEED TO TRY AND MAKE SOME SENSE, WHICH NO REASONABLE PERSON WOULD GIVE THE LEAST BIT OF TIME FOR. WHAT SANE PERSON READS GARBAGE FAIRYTALES PRETENDING TO BE OTHERWISE?
WITHOUT A BEGINNING, NO “CREATOR GOD” EVER EXISTED IN ANY IMAGINABLE FORM WHAT SO EVER! THATS FACT!
YOUR FANTASY “GOD” IS A FIGMENT OF A THEIVING CHARLATAN’S IMAGINATION THAT ONLY INNOCENT BABIES, AND IDIOTS LIKE YOU COULD EVER GIVE ONE MOMENT’S THOUGHT TO. WAKE UP, AND STOP THE LYING INNUENDO, AND OUTRIGHT LYING ASSERTIONS BACKED UP BY ABSURD ASININE STUPIDTY ‘YOU’ CALL “THEORIES”. ALL YOUR WORDS, AND PRETENTIONS ARE WORTHLESS, AND BECAUSE YOU START YOUR DIATRIBE WITH RELIGIOUS GIMMICKRY,
YOU THEREBY IMMEDIATELY END A SANE REALIST’S INTEREST. AND STOP BEING A FLUNKY FOR A GANG OF CRIMINAL-PONZI-RACKETEERING ENSLAVING DEBAUCHERS
OF INNOCENT CHILDREN. IT MAKES YOU EQUALLY GUILTY, AND SUBJECT TO IMPRISONMENT!
THE WORST FORM OF CHILD ABUSE IS WARPING OF THEIR MIND!

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By straight_talk_11, May 16, 2007 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

The theories that relate particles and matter are not the particles and matter themselves, are they? I named three theories that work rather well within the domains for which they were designed to work and you’re going to tell me they are material? And do you think language does not exist in the mental realm, but only exists when it manifests as audible vocalization or written text intended to communicate to others?

Since the physics theories I mentioned are mutually incompatible in that they each start from premises that contradict those on which the others are based, if they are indeed material, which one is real and which one weighs the most? And what does the difference between mass and weight have to do with my point? I understand the difference a lot better than you apparently do, or has your superior intellect failed to advise you of that yet?

Is your thinking really that superficial that I have to bother to even make such obvious points? Good grief! This is not worth it. You people are going to blindly continue in your pet world view permanently set in concrete without any ability to reason clearly about much of anything at all, not to mention the question of whether a Supreme Intelligence exists, and accuse anyone who differs of exactly the same mental deficiency!

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By archeon of thrace, May 16, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

what about the realm of physics that deals with particles and matter?  Is this “weightless”? I think you are confusing “mass” and “weight”.

“Jim H., who said anything at all about POPULAR metaphysics? Physical theory is weightless, non-physical and is nothing more than the conceptual unification of the physical phenomena for which it describes relationships. It is based upon and tested by physical phenomema, but is itself nonphysical. Classical Newtonian mechanics is based on premises diametrically opposed to those of both special and general relativity, yet they ALL work as physical theories in their appropriate domains.”

This is like saying language is weightless and nonphysical and therefore “metaphysical”.  This is just another way to say “supernatural” and is equally as meaningless.

I thought that special and general relativity explained aspects of the world that so called classical newtonian mechanics did not?  Einsteins theories are also in apperent opposition to Quantum mechanics and theory.  What I don’t see is any theory that claims to violate the laws of the conservation of matter and energy.  Relativity doesn’t, quatum theory doesn’t, infact they too rely on this being a fundamental fact of the universe.

Everyone needs to get over the idea that god is something that can be proven by science.  It cannot, and science is silent vis-a-vis the spritual and divine.  This is most properly left in the realm of phylosophy and theology and cosmology.  God, the angles, and the after life is even better left in my mind in the realm of superstition and myth, I wouldn’t even elevate theology to the level of phylosophy.

Trying to equate god with some grand unifying theory of everything is bullshit.  This is the same old crap the faithies have tryed for years.  It is truly and indication of the lack of imagination on the part of the religious.

For judeo-christian-islam the facts of the contradictions and out right falsehoods of the texts is sufficient to “prove” the invalidity of those faiths.  The inherent evil that these religions have within their theologies, the evil that contradicts any claims of peacefull and loving foundations of faith, well quite simply negate any claims that these faith do any good.  Faith demands obedience, subujugation, and submission.  It produces only slaves and servants.  It is dehumanizing, depersonalizing, and demands the subjugation of reason to superstition.

Those who speak on the value of faith and religion should address the above before trying to speak in pseudo-intellectual terms about higher science where they only demonstrate their ignorace and sillyness.

Secular rational reason and logic are the only way.  Everything else is the handmaiden of doom.

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By straight_talk_11, May 16, 2007 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Jim H., who said anything at all about POPULAR metaphysics? Physical theory is weightless, non-physical and is nothing more than the conceptual unification of the physical phenomena for which it describes relationships. It is based upon and tested by physical phenomema, but is itself nonphysical. Classical Newtonian mechanics is based on premises diametrically opposed to those of both special and general relativity, yet they ALL work as physical theories in their appropriate domains.

So they are not only NOT physical, they can’t even be said to be true in any ultimate sense. They are theoretical models that conceptualize physical phenomena to unify them in terms of a coherent intellectual and practical framework.

That is the essence of what metaphysics means, that is, unless you deliberately choose the wrong connotations, all of which are going to be in the dictionary. So pick and choose irrelevant definitions all you like. You’re the one who ends up looking stupid to anyone who can think for themselves, which unfortunately does not seem to include many here. You keep trying to put that onto those who believe in a Supreme Intelligence, but you manifest it blatantly over and over.

I also notice you conveniently skip over my response when it comes to addressing your incompetence for absorbing the slightest intellectual complexity or quoting intelligently enough to demonstrate even the slightest modicum of comprehension. Naturally anything I say is going to look like excess verbiage to mindless readers.

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By archeon of thrace, May 15, 2007 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

A mass of slim?  I don’t understand.

Trish, I am happy for Falwel’s death.  And I am happy I am happy he is dead.  I just wish he had suffered a bit longer.  He caused no end of pain, lacked all tolerance, and was completely unforgiving.

Fuck him even now.
If there is indeed a hell, he will end up there.

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By jonathan, May 15, 2007 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Including the Lord’s prayer. (in India, called, The Kaddish)
With no further interest or research, religious fanatics, immediately “deny all this” in its entirety.
Refusing to “disbelieve” is actually “resistance to change.”  It may take several years or never/ever, to undo the religious mental fixation - pre positioned by a religious mindset. - Religious indoctrination (with brain washing).

I only read and writein search of world peace - with knowledge and understanding. Doing research among my six sets of Encyclopedias, several Bibles, plus, my personal library - I also - Frequently stumble unto truths, which I am not even looking for. The last supper - eating bread and drinking wine - assimilating human Flesh and Blood, is an abomination; it is a sin against humanity.

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By Jim H., May 15, 2007 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rev. Stray;
You talk like it comes out of your back end!
And, all your excessively elongated diatribe to support your ridiculous assertions makes you appear like your belovedly admired Falwell, who you likely plagerized that quote from.
Stupid statements to support stupid statements do not add any truth to the originally asinine words.  They only add to the documented idiocy of the purveyor! Your insideous insistance on supporting that false supposition no matter where you got it marks you, on record, a simple minded fool, and all
your wriggling, and squirming cannot change the stupity you have admitted. 
 

Mass/energy never disappear
Ever were ever here!
J.H. 5/8/07

Law of Conservation of Mass/Energy
  1. In the Universe there is a finite amount of matter and energy. We cannot create any new matter or energy nor can we destroy any of the matter or energy we have for the Universe as a whole.
  2. We can change matter to energy and energy to matter without gaining or losing any of either to the Universe. 
  3. Energy can be changed in form, from one to another, without any loss to the Universe. 
4. Matter can be changed in form, or state, without any loss of matter to the Universe.
———————————————————
Without something to ‘create! a “so-called “Creator-God” is an impossibel superfluous nonentity!

THE ORIGIN OF NATURE
  Beginning is never found but keep an ear to the ground
  Accept the word of a friend there’s no beginning or end
Natures origin for instance is ceaselessness Existence
JH 8/29/06
  The worst form of child abuse is warping of the mind!

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By Jim H., May 15, 2007 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CORRECTION!  CORRECTION!  CORRECTION!  CORRECTION!  CORRECTION! 

YOU SAY—-  “The unity underlying all physical phenomena is metaphysical by definition.”  I SAY: WRONG!
 
NOW READ THIS:
METAPHYSICAL
Popular metaphysics relates to two traditionally contrasted, if not completely separable, areas,
(1) MYSTICISM, referring to experiences of unity with the ultimate, commonly interpreted as the GOD who is love, and (2) OCCULTISM, referring to the extension of knowing (extrasensory perception, including
telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, and mediumship) and doing (psychokinesis)
BEYOND THE USUALLY RECOGNIZED FIELDS OF HUMAN ACTIVITY.
Stop reading that RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA
YOUR RELIGIOUS FANATICALISM AND GODISM IS ALL TOO OBVIOUS!      GET TO REALITY!

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By Jim H., May 15, 2007 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

70195
Stray Talk?
YOU ARE NUTS!

YOU SAY—-  “The unity underlying all physical phenomena is metaphysical by definition.
Modern theoretical physics and cosmology actually fall in the realm of metaphysics. (?)  WRONG!

NOW READ THIS:
METAPHYSICAL
Popular metaphysics relates to two traditionally contrasted, if not completely separable, areas,
(1) MYSTICISM, referring to experiences of unity with the ultimate, commonly interpreted as the GOD who is love, and (2) OCCULTISM, referring to the extension of knowing (extrasensory perception, including
telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, and mediumship) and doing (psychokinesis)
BEYOND THE USUALLY RECOGNIZED FIELDS OF HUMAN ACTIVITY.
Stop reading that RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA!
YOUR RELIGIOUS FANATICALISM AND GODISM IS ALL TOO OBVIOUS!      GET TO REALITY!

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By straight_talk_11, May 15, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

By the way, Jerry Falwell was a total fake. He was as spiritual as the toenail on the little toe of an atheist. If you take people like him as proof that believing in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence is foolish, you are foolish indeed.

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By straight_talk_11, May 15, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Jim H., that quote is not at all mine. You took five words completely out of context. To stoop to your level of dialog, I would need to ask whether your hair is growing on the wrong side of your skull. Here is what I said:

“The unity underlying all physical phenomena is metaphysical by definition. Modern theoretical physics and cosmology actually fall in the realm of metaphysics. If they did not, they would be useless as contributors to conceptual unification and utterly devoid of explanatory power.”

I later give a concrete example with a simple algebraic equation to illustrate. If you don’t understand that, you really are not competent to argue cosmological issues at all in the first place.

Worse, the subject of that first sentence from which you took your absurd attempt at a “quote” (if it really was an honest attempt) is “unity”, not “phenomena”. “Phenomena” is plural and doesn’t go at all with the singular verb “is”!

Phenomena “isn’t”; phenomena are! And I didn’t say physical phenomena are not physical, silly. I said the theoretical unity underlying them is metaphysical. You also have a funny dictionary if that is what you find under “metaphysical”. I wonder what your definition of metamathematics would be. Maybe you should learn how to speak English and acquire a little vocabulary before you start debating cosmology with the people you have the gall to call foolish for the way they think. I’m starting to wonder what’s the point in debating cosmology with people who barely know how to read and write.

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By David from Florida, May 15, 2007 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey archeon of thrace and jim h. maybe you are right about humans coming from a mass of slim, you two are certainly proof of that.You sure do show your intelligence.

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By Trish, May 15, 2007 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

I do not rejoice the death of any human.  Falwell has lost his chance to see the fact that there is no evidence of survival after death, heaven, heall or gods.

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By David from Florida, May 15, 2007 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#70132 by archeon of thrace

You are a sad case for a human! But your sick comment does not surprise me,coming from a protoplasmic blob or is that vomit I really can’t tell the difference.

Have a Blessed day

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By Jim H., May 15, 2007 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:70132
To Sir Archeon de Thrace’
Sir; I thank you very much for providing verification of the demise of another of those charlatans that encourage the abuse, both mental and physical of innocent children and fools!
I saw the news of Falwell’s ‘coma’ while watching and listening to the News at lunchtime.
Then, I received an email News Bulletin about his demise; and then your delightful message.
Party Time!
Merci Beaucoup, Ciao, Jim

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By archeon of thrace, May 15, 2007 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Jim H, Straighty will never get what you are saying.

I just heard something that made my day - Jerry Falwell is dead!  This is a great day! One more dim 40 watt bulb burnt out!

When I heard that he died at Liberty U - I immediatley thought: I guess they didn’t pray hard enough.  The fact thier prophet died, indicates that either their god does not exist, or he doesn’t listen. Ha, in any case it is a great day!

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By Jim H., May 15, 2007 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: 70022
Rev: Sick Talk;
You say; 
“—-all physical phenomena is metaphysical—-” (?)
(Absurd Lies)  You’re sick! Your mind is gone!
Dictionary METAPHYSICAL
Abstruse, ambiguous, spiritual, supernatural, gibberish(!)
Unintelligible or nonsensical talk or writing.(!)
SHOVE IT!

LOGICAL POSITIVISM
A philosophy asserting the primacy of observation in assessing the truth of statements of fact!
And holding that metaphysical arguments not based on observable data are meaningless. (!)
Also called logical empiricism.

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By Jim H., May 15, 2007 at 5:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: 70022
Rev: Sick Talk;
You say; 
“—-all physical phenomena is metaphysical—-” (?)
(Absurd Lies)  You’re sick! Your mind is gone!
Dictionary met·a·phys·i·cal  
Abstruse, ambiguous, spiritual, supernatural, gibberish(!)
Unintelligible or nonsensical talk or writing.(!)
SHOVE IT!

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By straight_talk_11, May 14, 2007 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Jim H., I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it here. Even physics doesn’t worship matter and energy as ultimate reality anymore. The unity underlying all physical phenomena is metaphysical by definition. Modern theoretical physics and cosmology actually fall in the realm of metaphysics. If they did not, they would be useless as contributors to conceptual unification and utterly devoid of explanatory power.

So I ask, do you think you and perhaps some other human beings are intelligent? If so, do you think we or anything else in the universe exist outside of the unified field underlying all physical phenomena? If we don’t, then do we not have to say that this field is also intelligent?

Intelligence has organizing power. Do you think think that nature is devoid of organizing power? If nature is intelligent, then might it not also be conscious? If matter and energy are conserved and do not appear magically from nothing, then why should consciousness suddenly pop up from nothing?

Is it not just as foolish to assume it does as to assume matter and energy do? Is it not more theoretically economical and elegant to assume that consciousness is identical with the unified field from the physicists’ much-sought-after “theory of everything” and that we are just local reflections of it in a holographic universe? Both that consciousness is not identical with the unified field and that it is are metaphysical assumptions. Which is theoretically more compelling? Which explains more from both the subjective and objective points of view? And how do you know that quite a few of us humans interested in this have not actually personally experienced this as reality? Is so-called objectivity really anything more than collectively confirmed subjective experience?

Does not such a comprehensive subjective/objective perspective explain a whole lot more than the alternative? Gross, obvious distortions of truth do not constitute evidence, much less proof, of that which they distort, but only its distortion. Most of the discussion here pretends to make these distortions do just that. Pointing out the absurdity of foolish human gullibility concerning what really amounts to nothing more than gossip concerning the nature of reality, both spiritual and physical, does not change the reality of either.

Just as it is true of a simple algebraic expression, underlying all changing diversity is its opposite, unchanging unity. for example x + y = 6 has infinite diversity of concrete, specific solutions, but the expression itself constitutes the unchanging relationship underlying them all. This reflects the essence of any theory, which is to conceptually unify. Physical theory has advanced to a very sophisticated level, but it still boils down to this in essence:

Underlying all changing diversity is its opposite, unchanging unity.

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By Jim H., May 11, 2007 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: 68974

You say: “—-belief in God.” (?) (WHAT “GOD”?)  “Proving—-(IT) is true—-is another matter—-isn’t it?”
 
Mass/energy never disappear
Ever were ever here!
J.H. 5/8/07

Law of Conservation of Mass/Energy
  1. In the Universe there is a finite amount of matter and energy. We cannot create any new matter or energy nor can we destroy any of the matter or energy we have for the Universe as a whole.
  2. We can change matter to energy and energy to matter without gaining or losing any of either to the Universe. 
  3. Energy can be changed in form, from one to another, without any loss to the Universe. 
4. Matter can be changed in form, or state, without any loss of matter to the Universe.
———————————————————
Without something to ‘create! a “so-called “Creator-God” is an impossibel superfluous nonentity!

THE ORIGIN OF NATURE
  Beginning is never found but keep an ear to the ground
  Accept the word of a friend there’s no beginning or end
Natures origin for instance is ceaselessness Existence
JH 8/29/06
  The worst form of child abuse is warping of the mind!

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By Trish, May 9, 2007 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

I recently had an argument about religion I had recently with a Catholic friend.  She claimed that I attend skeptic events & enjoy the friendships there because it is an expression of spirituality to gather with others of similar beliefs.  I said that all primates enjoy social contact with others of their kind [the degree varying from bonobos’ clinginess to the orang utan’s relative reserve].  Calling ordinary social contact “spirituality” is just renaming a perfectly normal activity as something “more.”

As someone who does not believe in God, I am still able to feel awe looking at a mountain range, or a sunset, or a fossil [especially a fossil - I held one in my hand this weekend, and it was a thrill, thinking of how much such objects have taught us about the extreme ancientness of the world].  I am as capable of awe as any church-going, bible-reading, taboo-abstaining believer.  And yet, to a believer, this awe constitutes “evidence” of the existence of God.

So, here’s the thing - if there’s a God, who is all knowing & all powerful, why should it matter to other puny humans whether I believe or not?  Can’t you just go about your day sniggering behind my back about how much I won’t enjoy the Lake of Fire?


In the real world, where we interact with each other, belief in God never seems to be enough.  Unlike money or power, it is something the possessor feels compelled to share or find in other people who are minding their own business.  If there were a substantial population of hermits, withdrawing from society to contemplate and enjoy their relationship with God, it might be plausible that one can believe without trying to muscle that belief into the minds and hearts of bystanders.


This, I think is the root of why belief in God is not and cannot be a force for good in the world: It makes people want to interfere in the lives & heads of other humans who have their own belief/non-beliefs and are happily minding their own business.


Also, I have never heard of an atheist parent beating a child to put the fear of void into the kid.

Finally, it is up to the claimant to prove the existence of the item they claim exists – from N-Rays to God to Relativity.  It is not up to the rest of us to make sure there aren’t any Easter Bunny footprints in the back end of the garden.

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By straight_talk_11, May 9, 2007 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

“Straight talk, you are still only parroting.”
- Archeon of Thrace

That statement says more about you than about me.

Trish, you’re absolutely right about the original intent of this discussion. You’re also right about the abuses of religion for political purposes, such as what is happening grossly right now in this country with the “religious” right.

That in itself, however, is not an indictment of belief in God. They are two entirely different subjects. The truth can always be distorted to serve nefarious ends. The truth remains the truth nevertheless. Proving what is true and what isn’t is another matter, though, isn’t it?

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archeon of thrace's avatar

By archeon of thrace, May 8, 2007 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

David from florida, you are an idiot.

Straight talk, you are still only parroting.

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By Jim H., May 8, 2007 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To: 68023 David
You say:
“It is philosophically impossible to be an atheist,(?) since to be an atheist you must have infinite knowledge in order to know absolutely that there is no God.” (?)

I SAY: I have, and will show you here, that I have, the “INFINITE KNOWLEDGE” you doubt possible!
READ THIS:
Mass and energy never disappear
They ever were and ever will be here!
J.H. 5/8/07
Law of Conservation of Mass/Energy
  1. In the Universe there is a finite amount of matter and energy. We cannot create any new matter or energy nor can we destroy any of the matter or energy we have for the Universe as a whole.
  2. We can change matter to energy and energy to matter without gaining or losing any of either to the Universe. 
  3. Energy can be changed in form, from one to another, without any loss to the Universe. 
4. Matter can be changed in form, or state, without any loss of matter to the Universe.
———————————————————
Without something to ‘create! a “so-called “God” “Creator” is an impossible superfluous nonentity! And “There is no “God”.”

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By Trish, May 8, 2007 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

It would have been nice if the back & forth on ths message board was addressing the initial question, “Are atheists being too pushy just because they’ve stopped remaining silent about their own opionions?”


The saddest thing is when people believe that repeating the 2000+ year-old stories, poetry & fragments [written to scare their target population into believing their ruling class deserved to rule them] equals thinking.  Adding references to mathematics or quantum physics doesn’t make them sound smarter, either.

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By straight_talk_11, May 6, 2007 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

“When you read through the postings here there is NOTHING NEW. It’s all either just parroting what someone else has told them, what they’ve read & interpreted in some edition of the Bible/Koran or whatever, or what they think they should say to as to remain part of their peer group.”
- #68182 by RAE

Silly. Just silly. Some people actually know how to think and others just can’t follow that. They just skim right over it and miss everything.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, May 4, 2007 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

I think we’re all wasting our time trying to make point/counterpoint on this issue.

Smart people READ, LISTEN, EXPERIENCE and come to an opinion or assumption.

Really INTELLIGENT people do all the above AND reserve the right to CHANGE their views when NEW evidence comes to their attention and is critically examined and found of substance.

The STUPID people hold strong opinions - mostly fed to them by others - which are reinforced by constant repetition and NEVER by testing their assumptions with legitimate evidence or fact.

The really STUPID people hold those same glib opinions and unsubstantiated assumptions and, in addition, REFUSE to change their views no matter what “evidence” is presented to them.

When you read through the postings here there is NOTHING NEW. It’s all either just parroting what someone else has told them, what they’ve read & interpreted in some edition of the Bible/Koran or whatever, or what they think they should say to as to remain part of their peer group.

That’s what I mean by “wasting” time - reading and responsing to regurgitation of predigested dogma is a profound waste of human time and energy…. in my opinion, of course.

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