Why I Am Hostile Toward Religion

I oppose fundamentalist religion because it is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless eager minds.

rootedwanderer

03/11/2008 05:15:39 PM

There are many churches, including the one I belong to that's part of the United Church of Christ, that welcome questioning from children as well as adults, and do not teach that "unquestioning faith is a virtue." Many churches such as ours also wholeheartedly support the teaching of evolution and all sciences and empirical knowledge. I agree that Kurt Wise's rejection of his dreams and hopes in science is terribly sad.

theoldhenk

12/27/2007 12:58:35 AM

Self-replicating RNA strands have been discovered, or "created" in vivo. Further, the application of current (which would have occurred naturally, in lightning) to elements such as nitrogen, oxygen and others has, I believe, caused these sRNA strands to form, which are fundamental units of life. be that as it may, simply because biological evolution may not be a "brute fact" yet, its explanatory powers are as wondrous as they are extensive. the physical laws of nature, prior to general and special relativity could not properly describe extremely large objects, nor were sub-atomic particles understood prior to quantum mechanics. Newtonian mechanics, however, were not wrong, nor were they considered wrong. Theological explanations were not imputed to describe the motion of such objects. I

nickkopernik

10/05/2007 12:20:49 PM

Dawkins is not really a "fundamentalist" in the strict sense because as he points out, he's not willing to engage in irrational or illegal behavior to convince others of the legitimacy of his beliefs. Sure, he may employ sharp words - and even insults every now and again - to try to win over converts to his way of thinking. But he's not willing to go beyond that. However, one problem with Dawkins is that whenever he provides a condensed account of religion (or a quick summary of his own views on religion), he winds up simplifying the target phenomenon. Religious is JUST a delusion, nothing more. Religion has retained a powerful grip on people for a reason - or, more accurately, for a number of reasons. For those interested in a more measured, enlightening discussion of the clash between reason and science than the New Atheists can provide, see Athens and Jerusalem (http://athensandjerusalem.typepad.com/).

aveteran

06/03/2007 03:06:48 AM

The foolish thing is believing the "Intelligent Design" mythology touted by the religious snake-oil peddlers, having no scientific basis whatsoever. You're obviously not looking in the right places (the Bible, Fox "News") if you can't find any evidence of evolution. There is one huge difference: evolution researchers may not know the complete origin of life, but they keep looking for evidence from which to draw an explanation. "Intelligent Design"/Creationism propagandists claim they know absolutely, but can offer no proof whatsoever, just the usual lame "goddidit".

DistinctivelyBaptist

05/12/2007 04:53:41 AM

Very interesting to read that the author of this article is convinced that evolution has "overwhelming quantities of mutually buttressed evidence." I wonder what realm of science this author is studying. Certainly not the realm of mico biology or he would surely hesitate to make such grandiose claims concerning evolutionary evidence. Evolutionist are silent in areas of origins, because they have no answer that can be proved by evidence. For instance all life evolved supposedly but what about the basic part of life, the cell, how did it evolve. Evolutionists have no answer. Soooo to say that Biblicists start out with a belief in something scientifically unproven and evolutionists do not is a lie. Evolutionists believe in an evolutionary process that breaks down at the very beginning. To say that you evolutionists have a system based upon mountains of empirical evidence is as foolish as saying that man came from apes, wait a second... oh thats right they say that too!

Yann

04/07/2007 09:25:31 PM

UnivOfSouthCarolinaFan, Consider that there are billions of galaxies in the Universe, and that there are billions of stars and planets in each of those galaxies. Also, consider that the Universe has been evolving for billions of years. With such odds, is it so hard to consider that all the right conditions for life might happen by coincidence on at least 1 planet ? This being said, if the Universe is «far to fantastic and perfectly made for it to all have just been "by chance"», as you say, don't you think the existence of a God so powerful that it could create it all is even more improbable? Finally, the fact that something is there doesn't in any way prove that someone put it there. I don't want to sound pedantic, but it seems to me you do not understand the nature of knowledge, science and scientific proof. A little incursion into the field of epistemology would be useful, if I can offer the suggestion. Popper, Bachelard and Russell could be a good start, if you honestly seek knowledge and truth.

UnivOfSouthCarolinaFan

03/29/2007 12:29:26 PM

Further examples of how science PROVES that there is a Creator, and that the universe is far to fantastic and perfectly made for it to all have just been "by chance"... Example one: If the moon were only 50,000 miles away from the earth instead of 250,000, the tides might be so enormous that all continents would be submerged. Example two: If the crust of the earth had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, and without it all animal life would die. Example three: The earth's weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons. Yet, it is perfectly balanced, and turns easily on its axis. It rotates daily at a rate of more than 1,000 miles per hour. Considering this tremendous weight, rolling at this fantasic speed, around an invisible axis, held in place by unseen hands of gravitation. Chance? Happenstance? I think not.

UnivOfSouthCarolinaFan

03/29/2007 12:13:10 PM

Sir James Jeans, the British astronomer, once said, "The universe appears to have been designed by a Pure Mathematician." Joseph Campbell wrote of "a perception of a cosmic order, mathematically definable." Science doesn't negate the existence of a "Master Planner", who left nothing to chance. For example, the slant of the earth, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, produces our season. Science tells us that if the earth had not been tilted exactly as it is, vapors from the oceans would move both north and south, piling up vast continents of ice. There are many, many fascinating fact found in Science, that only serve to further PROVE there has to have been a Grand Design...hence, a Grand Designer. It's pure arrogance to think any of these things just happened "all by themselves"....It was once said that it "takes a lot more faith to believe that it did happen that way, than it does to believe that it wasn't happenstance."

informedattimes

03/24/2007 08:08:29 PM

I believe in science and rational thought. It must be difficult for the conservative religious; trapped in a world they refuse to understand , and are too subbornly ignorant to realize it. I wonder if the bible hasn't been updated all thoughout hstory and they missed it .The 'updates' would be found in books called Biology, Chemistry , Physics , and Mathematics.

PIEalamodem

03/14/2007 04:30:06 PM

It doesn't really matter what I think, feel, or believe! I know what I like and I know what I don't like, and I know what I can't, and don't, 'believe!' It is good not to be trapped by various 'beliefs' as so many people are! Freedom from fixed (and often illogical) beliefs is truly a blessing! Think free, be free! 'Fundamentalists' of whatever sort, are unreasonable and closed to rational argument. A world without fundamentalists would be ideal, but it looks like we may be stuck with them. But forever? Not forever. Perhaps the whole world needs to be deprogrammed and then reeducated in a more positive and healthy way!

sagenav

03/08/2007 10:59:48 AM

You're caught in a conventional trap of mass generalization. There are many Liberal Christians or Christian Left who have the same problems with the conservative Christians as you have, and interpret the bible very differently. These people could be a good ally for you if they didn't see you as being just a dangerous as the Religous Right.

darkmoonman

03/07/2007 10:13:18 AM

"also im sorry, but i cant understand why people who arent christian or religious get so upest about those of us who are. why does it bother you so much that we believe?" Because Christians have a long & on-going history of forcing their religion on others, and of punishing those who either disagree and/or who don't/won't convert. Non-Christians DON'T care what Christians personally believe or worship, but we do care what you force down our throats, into our laws, and use to deny us employment, housing, and our rights as fellow humans.

blinkpink47

02/26/2007 11:27:13 AM

also im sorry, but i cant understand why people who arent christian or religious get so upest about those of us who are. why does it bother you so much that we believe? i mean in this little article this guy i cant find his name is so upset because he thinks that were missing out by being so religious but i never feel that way. i love to read and explore science and theories and whatno and even to look at the bible critically, and yes there are things there that dont jive with what science tell us but i guess i just dont worry all that much about it. if God wants me to figure it out i will, if not, well then i guess its not for me. i have faith that God has a plan, and i still enjoy science and critical thinking, i just wnat to know why its so alarming to those not like me

blinkpink47

02/26/2007 11:22:20 AM

sure that that antibiotic was discoverd and made avaiable to me so i could get well, maybe HE didnt heal cancer in me or give me a new leg if i lost one of mine but i do know that everything goes back to Him in some way or another even if i dont understand it.

blinkpink47

02/26/2007 11:22:09 AM

chris, i have to respond to what you said about alcoholics mostly because at leats one person i love dearly is a recoverd alcoholic of over 20 years and he does thank God for his being sober because he knows he wouldnt have been able to accomplish that without God. Maybe ive misunderstood you, however it seems as if you believe that no one looks to God for all the little miracles in their live slike a little recovery of the flu but i think that many people do. i will say that most people in out society have forgotten about God or have become so cynical that they dont see any part of a bigger picture and that they have no faith whatsoever that there even is one. i know that when i get sick and take an anitbiotic that whats making me better is the antibiotic, but what i think God for is making

sheri1555stl

02/19/2007 04:31:27 PM

I think the seeking, though, is very important. (Isa.55.6-13; Rom.1.18-23,28-32).

sheri1555stl

02/19/2007 04:27:36 PM

And as for God healing across cultures, indifferent to beliefs, God loves us across cultures as well, having created us all(which is not to say, that He does not love those who go unhealed in this world. My pastor's wife has struggled with pancreatitis for years). Do all the theistic systems, in their various expressions, ascertain the same truth values about God, being "radically incmpatible?" No. Does God love all anyway? Yes. Why have I chosen Christianity as my faith tradition? Because it conforms to my worldview of both there being a God and our very present need for His help both in how to become like Him and in how to please Him (no other faith presenting a Savior already incarnated to provide redemption). What will happen to those who do not adhere to my faith tradition, but follow another? I do not know. What will happen to me, if one of their theistic expressions turns out to be more 'true'/ truer or closer to the reality of God than mine? Again, I don't know. Maybe God grades "on a curve." :)

sheri1555stl

02/19/2007 04:18:05 PM

I drank something, which, at the time, I did not know, but later, found the source of, to be contaminated by an open metallic container of fruit that had spoiled with mold all over it, in the refrigerator, and had drained/leaked into the soda can from which I drank. After first tasting this drink, I (no other way to put it), passed out. When I awoke, I had a very high fever that flushed my entire body (would have required medical attention). I feared for my life, and barely able to walk, immediately began to pray. Just as immediately, the fever left me, and a palpable cool came all over me. Are you suggesting that that would have happened anyway had I not prayed or believed, taking no antipyretics and not seeking any medical care?

sheri1555stl

02/19/2007 04:12:38 PM

That is your worldview, chrisrkline, that science does, or at least, will, eventually explain everything that is yet unexplained. I respect that. That is not my worldview however. You see my miracles as consistent with nature and statistical probability. Statistics involve looking at past events and their regularity and extrapolating towards future events. Their is a scientific "hope" involved in that (in the general consistency of knowledge, object permanence, and universal consistency, etc.), which is why events that don't conform create new statistics. I don't rely upon statistics. I have a different hope.(I Pet.3.15). I hope you're not implying by "unproven disease," that I misrepresented facts.

chrisrkline1960

02/18/2007 07:07:15 PM

Look, I do not mean we should make demands like we are some union bosses threatening a strike. But refusing to do some ”X" because we demand it, is not the same as designing a universe where he is invisible, and then punishing those who are skeptical. But, you say he clearly exists. I don't see it. He does not answer prayers in a way that is distinguishable from statistical chance. Every aspect of the universe is, or most likely will be, explainable by science. We do not need to imagine angels carrying each raindrop to the ground. You might say that “nature” is just how God made the world. But His “creation” is indistinguishable from a perfectly naturalistic world. The more we learn, the more theists have to explain why God hides--except in those purely subjective areas like "He warmed my heart and taught me to love," "He saved me from drink," or "He cured me of some hidden, unproven disease," all of which happen to people of all faiths (or none,) most which are radically incompatible.

sheri1555stl

02/18/2007 04:48:42 PM

The Incarnation is the only sign that He GUARANTEES to give, that He is God, that He DOES, indeed, love us, and wants us to be with Him, which we can only do sin-free. Hell wasn't even for man, but was prepared for the devil and his angels(Matt.25.31-46, v.41). We have a choice to come to Him, broken, hurt, angry, saddened, imperfect, discouraged, injured, and all, and allow Him, by faith, to do more with us in this crappy state, than we ever could have in what we could imagine as a perfect state for ourselves. And then, the true mystery unfolds, as we await that perfection, and go through the grueling process of the life of suffering on earth towards it. He didn't say He'd take it all away now, but for sure later; and, in the meantime, He'll go through it with us and also suffered for us, which is pretty humbling to me (as I don't feel that I deserved that). And He may have other plans for His glory - that don't make sense to us right now, but will - for that maimed surgeon.

sheri1555stl

02/18/2007 04:34:11 PM

He answer is always the same as it was in those passages. The problem with needing the signs is it a). puts all of the work on God (the faith part and trusting Him part being our jobs), and, as in any relationship, He requires us to meet Him halfway; and b). it has never served to give faith to those unwilling to believe. (Jms.1.6,7; Heb.11.1-12.3(v11.6 in particular); Rom.8.24,25). What kind of relationship is that where God is doing all the xyz, and we don't even hav to do the only thing that we are capable of doing: trust Him/have faith in Him to do it? There is no faith where everything is seen; there is no life with God without faith, on His terms. He doesn't hide everything (Deut.29.29); but, He doesn't have to show everything either, or anything, on our terms, just because we demand it of Him. He addresses our willingness, not our knowledge. If we are willing to believe without, then He shows us more(John 20.24-31).

sheri1555stl

02/18/2007 04:19:22 PM

God has never said in the Bibl ethat we can demand (with some sense of entitlement) anything of Him. that smacks contrarily with the entire position of our relation to Him of humble adoration. It says that we can bring our requests (in the context of those that are in accordance with His will). Not all of our requests are, so we can't be guarateed positive responses.(Matt.7.7-12; Psa.37.3-5; I Jn.3.16-23; 5.14-16. Compare the context of in these passages of asking for things for ourselves as believers that are consistent with the Christian lifestyle vs. asking for faithless show-and-tell demonstrations from God in such passages as Matt.17.15-21; Luke 9.37-45; Matt. 12.38-42; 16.1-4; Mark 8.11,12; Luke 11.16-23,29-32; John 2.18-22; 6.29-40). This is not, nor will be the last, generation to seek miracles signs and wonders from God as prerequisit for faith.

chrisrkline1960

02/18/2007 02:41:05 PM

You say that God won't do XYZ if I ask, why not? The Bible says in many places that he will. But what is the logic of it? Why hide himself from me. It would be so easy to believe. It was easy for you because he clearly, you claim, cured you of a disease. My niece with muscular dystrophy would love that. Anyway, you say god cured your botulism. Does that mean you were suffering certain symptoms, a hospital diagnosed botulism, did tests that detected the bacteria, you then prayed, your symptoms immediately changed, and a new test showed no bacteria? Well I am happy that happened. But why is it OK to use that as proof? And why does God seem to want to miraculously cure things generally hidden. We can't see germs, and even medical tests are inconclusive. Why not something more devastating or at least more obvious? Why not someone torn in half in a car accident? Why doesn't God ever, and I mean ever, cure a surgeon who has lost his or her hand?

sheri1555stl

02/18/2007 03:46:39 AM

I call recovering from botulism immediately/instantaneously with prayer, and without hospitalization or taking any antipyretics, more than just "out of the ordinary," chris, although medical science is being faced with more and more "unexplainables." I don't know why others are not healed more frequently or why innocents have to suffer when *I* don't see the need; and, as for needing to hit rock bottom to call on/thank God for deliverance, it is human nature to not be more thankful when God does move on our behalf. It doesn't mean that He didn't because we're not thankful or that it would have happened anyway, which is the epitome of ingratitude to me. It just means, that as with all good things, that we tend to take Him for granted.

sheri1555stl

02/18/2007 03:38:38 AM

I didn't say what Dawkins would do, as I don't know; but, I do know that demands to God like, "If you're really God/really out there, then do xyz," won't work.

chrisrkline1960

02/17/2007 09:43:18 AM

As far as the "thinking" reference in my first post, I was reacting to the typical Christian argument that God hides from those who look too closely. If I fall off a thirty-foot cliff, I know from elementary physics that I might end up head down, or feet down. Does the fact that I survive such a fall when others don't give evidence of God. If I fall sixty feet, then I am far more likely to die, but surly some will survive, just based on science. (Some people, very rarely, die falling off a six-inch porch.) If I am in the 5% who survive the sixty foot fall, is that more of a sign from God, then if I fell thirty feet and survived, or if I fell six inches and survived? If I say that the laws of physics and biology make it reasonable that 5% will live falling off a sixty-foot cliff, does this anger God? Do we claim that God decided for purely coincidental and theological reasons that he would only save 5% of the people who fall from this height, exactly what we would expect from science. (Part 1)

chrisrkline1960

02/17/2007 09:42:05 AM

How would you answer a proponent of Astrology? (if you want to see statistical fallacies in action, go to an astrology forum.) You can hear stories there about how “accurate” their predictions are. “My horoscope said I would meet someone fascinating…” as if that never happens on its own. Am I mean or unfair to point out the fallacy and to claim that I am thinking? Would you point out to the astrologer their lack of evidence? Many Christians would not, and settle on the “Astrology is the work of the Devil,” argument. In fact, some of the same evidence that astrologers use to “prove” astrology is used by Christians to “prove” miracles—something out of the ordinary. But it is highly probable that improbable things will happen to us every day, if we look for them. (Part 2)

chrisrkline1960

02/17/2007 08:34:17 AM

So you have seen a miracle that cannot be explained by science. And you are saying a scientist like Dawkins, if given the evidence, would reject it out of hand? Then that miracle would not be something hidden. Truthfully, though, we are not a very statistically literate society. We underestimate how often statistically unlikely things happen in our lives. I know what would move me. I would like to see just one amputee cured. If God will cure a hidden cancer, why not a lost limb? But cancer is deadly. It scares us. When someone survives the flu, they rarely thank God. When we are one of five who survive a plane crash, we thank God. It is almost necessary for us to know that God did not save lots of other people for us to feel compelled to call something a "Miracle." If every alcoholic freed himself or herself of the addiction, they would thank no one. It is the existence of skid row that brings that rare “saved” to their knees.

sheri1555stl

02/17/2007 12:04:11 AM

chris: Both. Atheists don't go about finding God in the right ways, and therefore, never do. i've experienced miracles, chris - not the "I saw a vision" kind either, things that can't be explained by science, like miracles, instantaneous healings. There's no "warm, fuzzy feeling" there, too many positive "coincidences" for ME to consider them all random or a "statistical bit of luck," so it's NOT indistinguishable from a random world for me. And also think that I use my brain, thank you very much.

chrisrkline1960

02/16/2007 10:23:43 PM

Sherri, Do we simply "refuse to accept" the evidence, or is the evidence hidden from us? Is God above our haughty silliness, or is he simply acting like a petulant child, taking home all of his toys because we won't play the way we want? All of this is typical Christian apologetics--if someone says that they have found God in the world, then Christians accept that as evidence. If an atheist shows that this "evidence" is nothing more than a warm fuzzy feeling inside, or the result of a statistical bit of luck, then he or she is just not looking hard enough. Things that are appear coincidental and random are usually exactly that. A God that creates a world that is indistinguishable from a random one, and hides from those of us who use our brain to examine said world, is not nice.

sheri1555stl

02/06/2007 05:37:47 PM

I concur, GreatWhiteBuffalo. God meets us halfway.Tthose who refuse to accept anything in nature as evidentiary of God, will never find Him because He will "hide" from them, as it were, not given to be subject to their demands for test/lab rat. His holiness procludes our haughty silliness that He is answerable to us. Those who will step out on faith are surprised (but not really surprised)to find that God reaches out to them to confirm so much; and faith builds upon more faith. Much of what was previously viewed as coincidental and random suddenly is undersood to be providential.

jonker1

01/23/2007 01:23:03 PM

To read the idea from Richard Dawkins "Why I Am Hostile Toward Religion" is a perfect example of not understanding that he is hostile to his own mind structure. ideas/thoughts that only exist in his own mind. In the book " The God Delussion" what he declares as false is true, what he declares as true is false. It is the double negative that makes a positive.

jonker1

01/23/2007 01:00:42 PM

I believe there is no answer in the belief of space and time, because it is a condition of consciousness that has no reality.

sewells1951

01/18/2007 09:49:59 AM

Mr. Dawkins is no more a 'fundamentalist' atheist than a mathematician who doesn't believe 2 + 2 can possibly = 5 is a 'fundamentalist' mathematician. It's been known in logic for a long time that if a premise that entails contridictions is valid than all possible statements are equally logically valid. Children ask the right questions. Can god tell himself a secret he doesn't already know? Can god make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it? The premise of an omnisicient or omnipotent god necessarily entails contradictions. Since some statements are true and others are false, it must not be the case that any premise that entails contradictions can be valid. Therefore, the premise of an omnipotent, omniscient god cannot be valid. That's not a fundamentalist belief, it is simply a logically necessary consequence of the fact that we inhabit a reality where there is a difference between true and false.

steppen0410e

12/27/2006 05:08:42 PM

Make that "blog".

steppen0410e

12/27/2006 04:25:49 PM

(continued) Furthermore, and I have to say it, there has been absolutely nothing in any of your posts that would convince me that you have anything relevant to share. What could you say to me that would entice me to possibly waste my time persuing your recommended bolg, or whatever it is? As I say below, personal protestations from personal experience mean nothing to me. The world is full of delusions perpetuated by that means. Give me some cold hard facts, verifiable by objective study, and that are subject to little dispute perchance that would tease me into persuing your - at this stage - insupportable assertions.

steppen0410e

12/27/2006 04:19:17 PM

Sorry, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, but personal protestations carry no weight with me. People testify of all kinds of contradictory stuff from personal experience. If one cannot find God in the surrounding world, then I would suggest that would mitigate against the existence of a God. In fact, I would suggest that the facts of nature would justify the conclusion that there was no God. And you are surely being hyperbolic when you suggest that you'd be "persecuted" for saying what you "know to be true". Is it really that outlandish or fantastic that you would draw down upon yourself such ire? No, methinks you protest too much on this account.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

12/27/2006 03:28:26 PM

Below I posted a link you might want to copy the URL I posted and put that in a search bar to open that link in a new window... Otherwise? You'll see...

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

12/27/2006 03:23:47 PM

Hi Steppen, You know like all singers of old I have to put my message in between the lines, I have to hide my true thoughts for the fact that I will be persecuted for saying what I know to be true. As you've already seen, I can't say what I really mean, I offered you some of my real experience with the divine, you claimed that my experience had no merit, how dare I say look at my experience as proof, so what did you leave me to use? The world around me... Would that work? No you just can't see or find GOD in the world around you, while GOD is there, you can choose to look right past the evidence. But again I said I had personal proof using both my experience and the world around me. But I didn't think I could possibly find a way to connect you to my proof. Below is the start of an internet puzzle, follow the link...

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

12/27/2006 03:22:35 PM

Thanks to the internet there is a way. All you have to do is click away. It is up to you to follow the links. Start Here: http://www.beliefnet.com/study_groups/studygroup_message_list.asp?pageID=7&studyGroupID=8649&discussionID=543404&messages_per_page=12 Follow the Link

steppen0410e

12/27/2006 02:43:01 AM

That is all so vague and diaphanous, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, and, well, wishy-washy, and certainly not a very sound basis on which to build one's spiritual life. It also ignores certain facts about the nature of the Universe and life that would suggest anything but that there is a "source from beyond". I cannot see that what you are saying is anything but wishful thinking which compels you to see the most innocent and unconnected events as "coincidental". Incidentally, your "In order to know you have to be willing to follow" is simply unadulterated nonsense, just another way of phrasing the noxious "believe first and you'll come to understanding". But why should one believe when there are no compelling reasons to do so?

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

12/26/2006 10:26:04 PM

Steppen, Sorry... I tried to correct my mistake and I should have added an addendum citing the correction. I still say that something is in control, as a human I get tired, but I also know that things happen and they are not all coincidental there is a greater force at work, some of it is the human collective and some of it is a source from beyond. I can't explain it any better than that, as for evidence, the only evidence that I can offer is that "you" experience and know. In order for you to know you have to be willing to follow. Good luck everyone,

steppen0410e

12/23/2006 03:15:05 PM

That's 'steppen', TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, and it is unfortunately quite easy to read your posts out of context for several reasons, the main one being their ambiguous and vague nature (like the third paragraph of your lastest message below, which is little more than pure speculation). But the thrust of my response to you still stands, i.e., you make the assumption of God while failing to advance the least evidence for your God's existence, something you don't address to any degree in your latest missive. Merry Xmas to you, too.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

12/23/2006 01:19:37 PM

Hi Steppin, You wrote: "If you are aware of some such compelling evidence, why don't you advance it? There is no call - not to mention ill-mannered - to get all high-and-mighty and cast aspersions on people by calling them "Blind, Deaf and Dumb" " You completely took my words out of context, would you read the scriptural texts the same way? It is written that Jesus healed the Lame, the Blind, the Deaf and Dumb (Mute). My point was that these people that have infimaties that were healed also could have been written about and been of the spiritual realm and less of the physical realm. To wake up the sleeping or dead in the spirit. To call back to life, the spirit of Love that exists in each and every living thing. To come to know GOD... Merry Christmas and Love to you and yours Steppin...

steppen0410e

12/23/2006 01:10:48 AM

You simply make the assumption of God, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, but you advance no evidence for the entity. It is not about "deny(ing) that GOD actually exists", it is about perceiving that there isn't any compelling evidence that suggests that a God does exist. If you are aware of some such compelling evidence, why don't you advance it? There is no call - not to mention ill-mannered - to get all high-and-mighty and cast aspersions on people by calling them "Blind, Deaf and Dumb" simply because they won't draw the same assumptions as yourself, especially when the assumptions are completely groundless.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

12/22/2006 11:20:24 AM

Needless to say that if a person is not heard or his comments are expunged then a theologian might not get credit for calling for religious change. I've declared a need for religious change for quite a while now because I saw a need in the hearts and minds of people claiming to be leaders and teachers that have absolutely no ears to hear the words of truth when it is spoken to them, even when these words of truth include portions of text from their very own sect supposedly precious and not understood. Why has the truth been silenced by people? If you remain ignorant to the true spirit of GOD then you can deny that GOD actually exists and refuse any fact as evidence thereof. Talk about the Blind, Deaf and Dumb the very ill of the people that Jesus healed. GOD does work miracles even today, but you have to experience the miracle for yourself. Anyone have a clue? Maybe a fact or two? Peace and Blessings? Well wishes for Christmas? Happy New Year? Anything?

namchuck

12/18/2006 02:19:07 PM

Thanks, jacknky. My experience on university campuses is a couple of decades shorter than yours, but I, too, have yet to encounter that species of "red-faced spittle spraying academic".

jacknky

12/18/2006 01:17:26 PM

Namchuck, well said.

jacknky

12/18/2006 01:15:49 PM

douglasah, "there is a red-faced, spittle spraying Academic." Nice turn of a phrase. very visual. Would you care to support such a generalization with a fact or two? I've worked in and attended universities for about 40 years and I've yet to see a "red-faced spittle spraying avademic".

namchuck

12/18/2006 01:33:57 AM

(continued) But like GodnScience, I believe spirituality is vital, and along with the late Carl Sagan, I think that science is capable of providing it. What it cannot provide, or guarantee, is our survival. 'We are', as someone has said, 'contingent, ephemeral, animated star dust cast upon a random shore, a brief incandescence.' But we are here, now, lucky to be alive, and science, like all great art, has the power to transport us beyond our immediate concerns and free our minds and spirits to wander the Universe's marvels.

namchuck

12/18/2006 01:21:14 AM

Like GodnScience, I stand in awe and wonder at the magnificence of the Universe, but I wonder why he is so adamant that there is a "very real God" that fundamentalists have traduced? Does he possess some compelling evidence that gives him such certitude? If so, I wish he would share it. If the wonders of our Universe cry out that "there is a maker", then, surely, in turn, the wonderful Maker also cries out for a Maker? But then, that leads to infinite regress (like theodicy, the theologians nemesis), so one may as well heed Ockham's lucid suggestion and cease to complicate the issue and tentatively conclude that the Universe is self-existent, especially in light of the clear absence of any real or compelling evidence for there being a God.

namchuck

12/18/2006 01:03:13 AM

Douglasah surely jests in his post when he writes "It would be easy to write a book Why I Am Hostile Towards Science"? Actually, Dawkins didn't write any book with that title, and I'm sure Douglasah would retract his claim the first time his child, or any other member of his family, required one of the medical boons that science has vouchsafe to man. There is, for those that are familiar with both, a huge and significant difference between science and religion. For instance, science is both evidence-based and self-correcting, while religion is neither of these. And it is just plain nonsense to suggest that scientists depend solely on their five senses and that the emotions do not come into their endeavors. The essential difference between the scientist and the theologian is that the latter doesn't have to concern himself with pesky little things like facts. I wonder what any theologian has ever said anything that is of the slightest worth to anyone?

GodnScience

12/17/2006 08:11:32 AM

Excellent Article. To me, the wonders of our universe shout out that there is a maker, but Fundamentalists insist upon making the very real God into a crude man-made creation. Hopefully the new century can bring both spirituality, and at the same time, less fundamentalism. I'm not optimistic, though. Our current age seems to be a full attack upon science which will probably have to just play out before people get sick of being told how and what (and what not) to think.

Douglasah

12/16/2006 04:28:34 AM

It would be easy enough to write a book "WHY I AM HOSTILE TOWARDS SCIENCE" - almost all of the words would be the same, except I would place the word "Acedemic" in the place of "Fundamentalist". A large part of the science/relegion delema is that we use the same words - that have different meanings. For every raving Fundamentalist Mr. Dawkins can present, there is a red-faced, spittle spraying Academic. The weakness of theology is that it is represented by religions, and accomplished by people who have a vested interest in the outcome. The weakness of Science is that is is founded and funded by corporation laboratories and Universities by people who have a vested interest in the outcome. The main difference is PERCEPTION. The thelolgian trusts his heart and texts precious to his sect - not his five physical senses. The scientist depends wholy on his five senses - and discounts the inspiration of his heart and soul.

jacknky

12/11/2006 12:31:28 PM

Actually, those who can see and speak of actual human truths are very rare. Those who believe without much questioning or searching are many.

namchuck

12/10/2006 04:10:29 PM

Godfactor's statement below is a variation of that old chestnut, "How is it possible that over 90% of all human beings who have ever lived could believe in God?". Let me add only to steppen's most adequate response that this is the classic argument from popular assent - a.k.a. the fallacy of argumentum ad numerum - which is the weakest kind one can muster. One doesn't take a poll to determine truth.

steppen0410e

12/10/2006 02:57:09 PM

(continued) Finally, atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color, but the need for books like The God Delusion are necessary because history has clearly shown the parlousness of God-belief. Actually, The God Delusion advances many reasons why God-belief is still popular, so I would recommend you read it and familiarize yourself with them. And vast majority of the Earth's population once thought that the Sun went around the Earth, but that vast majority were definitely wrong, weren't they?

steppen0410e

12/10/2006 02:49:30 PM

(continued) You write that supposed "God haters...don't believe in anything except what they have evidence for". But why should one believe in something for which there is no evidence, especially when the overwhelming evidence would strongly suggest the non-existence of the thing not believed in? As has been often said, science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God (or flying spaghetti monsters), but the God-hypothesis simply has no explanatory value and is epistemologically unnecessary. So, disbelieving in supernatural entities for which there is not the slightest evidence doesn't require any faith whatsoever.

steppen0410e

12/10/2006 02:41:05 PM

Godfactor: I don't know who you are addressing yourself to, but there is a whole bunch of misunderstandings in both of your posts below. First of all, the flight of your imaginary bird would be somewhat askew if by 'religion' you mean something along the lines of inerrant Bible belief. There is, and can never be, any complimentary relationship between literalist biblical belief and science. Such a bird is destined only to crash dive. And while, indeed, there may be "God-haters", I don't know many atheists who are such. Surely, to "hate" God one would have to believe in him, and as there is no compelling evidence that even suggests that such an entity exists, the "hating" of some hypothetical God would seem down right silly.

Godfactor

12/10/2006 06:57:51 AM

Why do you all feel such a need to make a religion out of Atheism. You are all just as fundie as the Christian fundies only trying to win converts to atheism. If this is not true then why even print a book like this? Instead of questioning my knowledge of phsycology, why not give me some "evidence" to support their reasoning regarding why the majority of the Earth's population believes in a supreme being?

Godfactor

12/10/2006 06:48:59 AM

First of all. I never said I didn't believe in scientific evidence. I think science and religion are like a bird's wings. without one or the other the bird only flies in circles. Interesting that so many God haters like to spend so much time trashing religion and don't believe in anything except what they have evidence for. Yet with no evidence that there is no God they believe it whole heartedly. That takes faith! As far as the "wretched man" Jesus also said we are as Gods.

steppen0410e

12/10/2006 01:13:02 AM

Actually, it is not Dawkins who suffers from a credibility problem but those who maintain - without a scintilla of evidence - baroque assumptions about God, angels, devils, heaven, hell, and the whole haunted-house view of the cosmos.

steppen0410e

12/10/2006 01:08:32 AM

gracenotlaw: Show me where and in what context Dawkins says what you claim he says?

gracenotlaw

12/09/2006 06:44:55 AM

Richard Dawkins says " we dont need evidence, we know it to be true". That has removed any credibility he may have had a chanceat having.

namchuck

11/30/2006 04:31:06 PM

(continued) And the great demotions of modern science have clearly identified that we humans have no central role to play in the cosmic drama. The universe was not made for us.

namchuck

11/30/2006 04:28:39 PM

Yes, jacknky, you are right, assuming a supernatural source in light of the fact that there is not a shred of evidence for such a source is a non-explanation and, as you suggest, a "copout". Believers in the supernatural seem to be dedicated to the notion that the universe is a machine constructed around the drama of salvation, by which they mean that, despite explicit orders to the contrary, a woman and a man once ate of an apple, and that this act of insubordination transformed the whole Universe into a contrivance for operant-conditioning their remote descendants. I guess anything - even a consoling lie - is better than grappling with the unbearable burden of being tiny and not having any significant role to play in the cosmic drama.

jacknky

11/30/2006 04:02:37 PM

Namchuck, "The fact is, we evolved in a solar system that already existed," Good point. The fact is, presuming a supernatural source is no explanation. It's really a bit of a copout. Personally, I find it more honest with myself to admit and acknowledge that there are aspects of life we just don't understand. That way I can relax and not pretend I know what can't be known.

namchuck

11/29/2006 04:09:49 PM

No miracle required whatsoever, airbot. One doesn't have to go to the extraordinary lengths of imagining that that entire universe was carefully set up just in order to produce the conditions that would suit us. The fact is, we evolved in a solar system that already existed, and evolution moulded us so that we fitted the solar system. On another world, evolution will automatically fine-tune organisms to whatever the local environment may be. While this is not a complete explanation of 'why we are here', it makes it entirely clear that if we are here, then 'here' has to be the kind of place where we can survive.

jacknky

11/29/2006 03:26:53 PM

airbot, Why is a "miracle" any sort of explanation for how we arrived here? If we were created by a supernatural being (God) then where did God come from? Somehow it all had to spontaneously arise. A non-created creator is a mental concept, not an explanation. In an infinite Universe, why does it take a "miracle" for conditions to arise that support our forms of life? Infinite means the possibilities are endless.

airbot

11/29/2006 03:07:32 PM

Is God’s word and spiritual presence my personal delusion? Well all I can personally say is Wow the Earth is the largest and densest ball of matter able to sustain life in our solar system and just miraculously hovers on a 23.5-degree tilt (causing an occasional climatic shift) while orbiting a nuclear furnace (our solar sun) within a few degrees of total climatic catastrophe. Now that’s miracle worth 4.57 Billion.

jacknky

11/29/2006 12:55:54 PM

Steppen, "we carry a lot of dangerous evolutionary baggage." Agreed. "Dangerous evolutionary baggage" works as well as the word "ignorance".

steppen0410e

11/28/2006 05:38:03 PM

Apologies for some of the grammar in my previous post, the result of having a two-year old demanding attention.

steppen0410e

11/28/2006 05:35:03 PM

I have always had a natural inclination toward Buddhism and have been impressed with the fact that few have probed the psyche to the deepth and extent that Buddhism seems to have. You suggest, jacknky, that "Buddhism teaches that we already have basic wisdom within us, clouded more or less by our own ignorance". I would read "ignorance" as our lack of self-knowledge and "wisdom" as our inherent ability to adapt to a changing environment, something that served us well our species in its distant past. Along with those 'wise' instincts - accompanied by love for our children, a capacity for compassion, and, as Carl Sagan called it, "a great soaring intelligence" - we carry a lot of dangerous evolutionary baggage. Only time will tell which aspect of our amphibious nature will prevail.

jacknky

11/28/2006 11:23:27 AM

Sobeit, I reacted to "wretched Man" because Christianity teaches that we are inherently "guilty" of "original sin" and that we are worthless without the grace of God. In other words, the Answer is outside ourselves. In my understanding, Buddhism teaches that we already have basic wisdom within us, clouded more or less by our own ignorance. It doesn't need to be bestowed upon us from outside and there is an inherent distrust of external sources of wisdom. "Be a light unto yourself." the Buddha said. Our complex nature (I presume that's what you mean by "plurality") is indeed evident. calling that complexity "wretched" is indeed a judgement and label which may be more or less true. Once we accept our basic nature as "wretched" we tend to be a light unto ourselves less and seek wisdom from external sources and from intellectual machinations more. Rather than learning to See we seek wisdom from a Holy Book or a religious or secular gurus. They may or may not point the way but they aren't the way.

Sobeit9

11/28/2006 09:56:09 AM

jacknky "Wretched man" is not an answer. It's a judgement, a label. To know oneself is to look beyond labels. BTW, Buddhism doesn't offer the "truth" that we are wretched. I won't discuss it here but just to let you know another side. The "Wretched Man" is not a judgement but an observation of Paul that inwardly he exists as a plurality in opposition to himself. Buddhism also asserts that Man is a plurality that gets in his own way. Take away all the "interpretations" and they are really the same.

jacknky

11/27/2006 01:28:54 PM

F1Fan, I appreciate your posts. Thank you.

jacknky

11/27/2006 01:26:26 PM

Godfactor, "But then as Dawkins would assert, religion stifles science. What a bunch of garbage." Religion CAN stifle scientific progress, wouldn't you agree?

jacknky

11/27/2006 01:24:54 PM

Godfactor, "My answer is that God put the need in us...or at least most of us." Yes, we humans need answers to the unanswerable. It is the rare individual who can simply accept the unknown.

jacknky

11/27/2006 01:23:13 PM

Godfactor, "He makes an assertion whith absolutely no evidence." No, he gives examples. You should study history or sociology. They have plenty of examples of how religion is and has been used to sap the intellect. Have you ever asked yourself why "faith" is the most important virtue in most monotheistic religions? not reason, not compassion, not wisdom. Rather the primary virtue is the (blind?) belief in what can't be seen. Isn't that a bit anti-intellect anti-reason?

jacknky

11/27/2006 01:14:51 PM

Sobeit, "Religion offers the answer you don't want to hear; that you are the "wretched man." It is a very disturbing revelation when one begins to "know thyself." "Wretched man" is not an answer. It's a judgement, a label. To know oneself is to look beyond labels. BTW, Buddhism doesn't offer the "truth" that we are wretched.

jacknky

11/27/2006 01:10:14 PM

Sobeit, "The trick is how to become open to understanding rather than blocked in skepticism." For me, the trick is how to become open to understanding rather than blocked in fear, desire and inrtellectual conceptions like gods. For me, the answer is in learning to see, not substituting one intellectualization for another.

F1Fan

11/27/2006 10:36:39 AM

My answer is that God put the need in us...or at least most of us. What god? How do you objectively test for god so that it is “your” answer? It’s ironic you are skeptical of psychology as speculative, yet then speculate that a god exists and implants a “need” for religion. But then as Dawkins would assert, religion stifles science. What a bunch of garbage. Many scientists are able to manage their intellectual work with religious beliefs. Belief in myth is arguably motivated from subconscious motives, thus a person can operate with intellect, but still be trapped to some degree to social conformity, like religion. But, look at the children who believe creationism. They have been taught this by fundamentalist adults. And it is these kids who are being cheated. Anyone who also believes that a belief in god is necessary for morality are under their own, mortal authority to judge a god exists. No gods are known to exist, which is why people have to believe. Why believe?

F1Fan

11/27/2006 10:28:43 AM

Another question I have is why is there religion in the first place? -Godfactor There is more and more research done on this behavior. However, if you have contempt for the science involved, then why ask at all? The primitive rituals and beliefs that became the major religions today generally stemmed from a need for social structure and law (social contract), and myth evolved from people trying to answer natural phenomenon with stories about gods. Creation myths are such an example. There are hundreds of creation myths the biblical version is among the least accurate. Check out the Hindu myths. I have heard many spot a bunch of phsycological melarky which is also not based on any evidence but merely speculation and conjecture. What is your level of expertise in psychology that allows you to dismiss it?

Godfactor

11/27/2006 09:24:28 AM

One final note: Today is the birthday of John Harvard the Clergyman who's bequest financed the startup of Harvard University. But then as Dawkins would assert, religion stifles science. What a bunch of garbage.

Godfactor

11/27/2006 07:18:54 AM

Another question I have is why is there religion in the first place? I have heard many spot a bunch of phsycological melarky which is also not based on any evidence but merely speculation and conjecture. My answer is that God put the need in us...or at least most of us.

Godfactor

11/27/2006 07:10:26 AM

It amazes me how much time and effrort some atheists spend trying to "get rid of religion." I believe that evolution happened. I also believe that there is a God. I believe in the Christ. A limited interpretation of the Genesis story leads many to beleive in a literal 6 day creation, Christ told the desciples that one day to God is many years to a man, to paraphrase. The writer laments all intellectuals who have experience the Grace and Mercy of God, and says religion saps the intellect. Interesting assertion from someone who only follows what evidence shows. He makes an assertion whith absolutely no evidence. There are many, many scientists who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and every othe religion. So most of this Atheist's assertions are simply religious bigotry not based in fact nor reality.

F1Fan

11/25/2006 01:51:41 AM

A person can find challenges in life through the normal cyclical societal reactions. I’m not sure what this means. The real challenge though IMO and obstacle is oneself. Like attachment issues, holding a view that become a filter to perception that distorts and colors. The real challenge is to "know thyself" if one is interested in the truths that provide real human meaning. This is a life process, as life is dynamic, and all is in flux. And ALL meaning is real to the person, not just your ideal. Some kids playing video games for 12 hours a day gains meaning, achieving levels. But can he find a better challenge? Sure. That remains personal. We seek where our courage and insight take us. Some settle for easy imaginative or ideological answers. Others test the breadth of human knowledge through rigorous study. Either way, meaning is not set in stone, nor tied to an idea or ideal.

F1Fan

11/25/2006 01:08:33 AM

Speculation in this sense is pondering and contemplation followed by a systematic verification. But not objectively methodical so that verification can be made by others, not just you. Falling victim to imagination here as is normal for New Age practice may make one feel good for a while but leads nowhere. Then why do you do it? Speculation IS imaginative. The trick is how to become open to understanding rather than blocked in skepticism. And why are you skeptical that we don’t? What leads you to believe that we don’t understand something when it is us who applies a critical methodology to the ideas?

F1Fan

11/25/2006 01:04:44 AM

I thought it was clear by now. Like some others, I grew up with certain questions that were always annoying to authority around me…..outlook senses objective human potential and what it entails beyond the earthly secular. Your story is vague, but it sounds like growing up, and looking for life’s meaning by engaging philosophy, theology, and personal experience. This does not implicate secular views at all in tests in reality. People can invoke ideas of gods and supernatural ideas for personal meaning ONLY, as these perspectives do not trump or invalidate objective study of reality. I’m not sure what you mean by “objective human potential” as human potential varies from person to person. If you mean that the history of modern man, and even current events, suggest a severe compromise of what we are capable of as individuals, then I would agree. But this is to be expected, as you would notice if you studied human behavior. Study psychology.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 11:12:18 PM

F1fan Real courage is shown in those who can reject the temptation to believe ideas that are likely wrong or inaccurate. Those who can reject the bondage to ideas in order to feign a false sense of meaning will be open to find real and true personally developing challenges. And they will know that the meaning that results will be authentic. A person can find challenges in life through the normal cyclical societal reactions. The real challenge though IMO and obstacle is oneself. The real challenge is to "know thyself" if one is interested in the truths that provide real human meaning.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 11:05:10 PM

F1fan You seem to be finally realizing that speculation about various scenarios is something about YOU and FOR you , and not a fault of other, more rational people. Quite true. My speculations are about the freedom of human evolution. the rational people full of pride in their ability in associative thought are often oblivious of it. As a result, they sacrifice their potential freedom from the limiting attachments to illusion. As Simone said: "The difference between more or less intelligent men is like the difference between criminals condemned to life imprisonment in smaller or larger cells. The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like a condemned man who is proud of his large cell." Simone Weil Religion has never offered a final answer, only an answer people were willing to accept as final for them. Religion offers the answer you don't want to hear; that you are the "wretched man." It is a very disturbing revelation when one begins to "know thyself."

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 10:52:04 PM

F1fan Good for you. Just don’t confuse what YOU like and think is important with what others feel and think about it. It’s evidence from your approach that you put a lot of emphasis on what feels good emotionally when you ponder various concepts. I look more for what is true on a larger, more objective scale. I know my views are minority views. They will be condemned for the same basic reasons suggested by those like Jesus and Socrates for example. It is only natural since they refer to the illusion of objective human "meaning" on earth. As such, they are not wanted on the earth in the domain of "The Great Beast." as described by Plato Simple enough. It is not a matter of feeling good but the experience of higher "meaning." Also, cosmology is an intellectual pursuit that opens the space for meaning to enter.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 10:40:03 PM

F1fan And sometime the word doesn’t imply anything at all in regards to truth and reality. I noticed instead of answering my direct question about your reliance on speculation that you fall back on quotes again. Why is that? Speculation in this sense is pondering and contemplation followed by a systematic verification. Falling victim to imagination here as is normal for New Age practice may make one feel good for a while but leads nowhere. I will ask questions before I accept the claim. The trick is how to become open to understanding rather than blocked in skepticism.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 10:28:10 PM

#2 of 2 Where I had felt before that life on earth as it is carried out in society was absurd and just leads to the outlook I'd found so lacking, I quickly began to see that it was exactly as it should be under the circumstances and could not be any other way. A very scary but necessary truth to ponder. It is through speculation about what is presented that a person with this outlook senses objective human potential and what it entails beyond the earthly secular.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 10:26:13 PM

F1fan I asked you why you rely so heavily on speculation, why didn't you answer? I thought it was clear by now. Like some others, I grew up with certain questions that were always annoying to authority around me. I thought the situation was hopeless until years after college when I learned that there were people that dealt with these questions not from the usual method of the exchange of partial truths and BS but from having understood that all truths including the great questions of the past such as "who am I," actually were a part of an organic whole as distinct from fragmented parts and these questions could never be resolved without the awareness of relative "wholeness. This understanding totally dwarfed what I had believed was my common sense cynical outlook on "meaning." continued

F1Fan

11/24/2006 07:27:08 PM

All we can do to begin with is to admit to the fragmented truth of the human condition. And that means to fight the temptation to believe speculative thoughts. Fight it, man. You can do it. Denying it just maintains the status quo regardless of any politically correct BS. No, maintaining beliefs in self-verified concepts are status quo, as there is no test in reality that challenges the mind’s attachment. Real courage is shown in those who can reject the temptation to believe ideas that are likely wrong or inaccurate. Those who can reject the bondage to ideas in order to feign a false sense of meaning will be open to find real and true personally developing challenges. And they will know that the meaning that results will be authentic.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 07:20:44 PM

People like us speculate and keep an open mind since the meanings of normal secularism are insufficient for us. You seem to be finally realizing that speculation about various scenarios is something about YOU and FOR you , and not a fault of other, more rational people. Notice how Simone in the following doesn't seek blind belief but has the courage to admit to a lack of meaning. This is much different than the usual Dawkins/Atheistic position that human meaning can be found through a ffurther involvement with science. Personal meaning will be different among people, Sobeit. You will find as your investigation matures that there is no “one size fits all” where it comes to the sort of religious mental imagery. Religion has never offered a final answer, only an answer people were willing to accept as final for them. Yet there is no advancement and no challenge in such attitudes. An open mind will never settle on ideology.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 07:14:42 PM

But when we prove that life is meaningless yet feel it must have meaning but also feel the need for meaning, we make a hypothesis and seek to verify it. Life has personal meaning to varying degree. The more one meets goals that challenge the self, the more they get back. Now just because I race bikes and do pretty well at it doesn’t mean YOU should do the same to feel meaning. You get a kick out of Neddleman. I don’t. I like the hypothesis I've discovered and it has explained both theoretically and experientially concepts I've found very helpful. Good for you. Just don’t confuse what YOU like and think is important with what others feel and think about it. It’s evidence from your approach that you put a lot of emphasis on what feels good emotionally when you ponder various concepts. I look more for what is true on a larger, more objective scale.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 07:09:58 PM

Sometimes it takes a while before beginning to experience what "vertical" means. When you do the following by Simone Weil may not seem so absurd if she associates consciousness with purity. And sometime the word doesn’t imply anything at all in regards to truth and reality. I noticed instead of answering my direct question about your reliance on speculation that you fall back on quotes again. Why is that? Everything ends up with "prove it" with you.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 06:59:59 PM

It is hard for you to rationalize how consciousness could allow life on earth to exist as it does.-Sobeit o you mean actual consciousness, or what you are projecting onto the unverse? Once you see that man on earth is meaningless with his meaning as potential, it will make more sense. This statement makes no sense. You are confusing consciousness with "contents of consciousness." In order to try and explain it I will quote from Jacob Needleman: As was already explained to you, there is no “content” of consciousness. It is a state of awareness. Now, if you want t be comprehensible, do some reading of legitimate work in the cognitive sciences, and get a handle on reality. If you mean thoughts as content, then say thought. I asked you why you rely so heavily on speculation, why didn't you answer?

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 02:54:54 PM

"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good... It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him." -- Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- © All we can do to begin with is to admit to the fragmented truth of the human condition. Denying it just maintains the status quo regardless of any politically correct BS.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 02:54:09 PM

F1fan You are speculating. How do you know? Everything ends up with "prove it" with you. But when we prove that life is meaningless yet feel it must have meaning but also feel the need for meaning, we make a hypothesis and seek to verify it. I like the hypothesis I've discovered and it has explained both theoretically and experientially concepts I've found very helpful. People like us speculate and keep an open mind since the meanings of normal secularism are insufficient for us. Notice how Simone in the following doesn't seek blind belief but has the courage to admit to a lack of meaning. This is much different than the usual Dawkins/Atheistic position that human meaning can be found through a ffurther involvement with science. continued

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 02:31:48 PM

Sometimes it takes a while before beginning to experience what "vertical" means. When you do the following by Simone Weil may not seem so absurd if she associates consciousness with purity. "Purity is the power to contemplate defilement." Simone Weil

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 02:20:35 PM

F1fan Again, to contend that the universe is alive, conscious, or a god exists (all the same thing) presumes too much to be consistent with reality. And the real killer for your beliefs is NO test in reality. Why can’t you offer tests in reality? It is hard for you to rationalize how consciousness could allow life on earth to exist as it does. Once you see that man on earth is meaningless with his meaning as potential, it will make more sense. You are confusing consciousness with "contents of consciousness." In order to try and explain it I will quote from Jacob Needleman: http://www.rawpaint.com/library/jneedleman/jnch1d.html continued

F1Fan

11/24/2006 02:14:38 PM

Jacob needleman is describing a skeleton of the universe known since ancient times. Also called myth. Great for speculation. Terrible for reality. We are invited to fill in the details from our own efforts to "know thyself" and from our observations of the external world. Can you share with us what you know about yourself in how you rely so much on speculation? It may not be of interest to you but it is to a certain minority that sense the great truth in it. Sure, personal human meaning, that is subjective. Why do you rely so much n speculation? As I said, the conscious universe exists as a giant perpetual motion machine with the necessary function of transforming substances maintaining the two universal flows of involution and evolution. You are speculating. How do you know?

F1Fan

11/24/2006 02:11:00 PM

But if the intelligence is not anthromorhic as we know it, then there is nothing immoral just as karma is not immoral. It is part of the mechanics of the universe. I am maintaining that our choice in these matters can only come through consciousness. You need to be open-minded here. Understand that we humans decide what is moral or not, and these rules are abstractions that we create, via use of creating cost-benefit scenarios and trial and error examples. This is normal and completely independent from any source, such as gods. Thinking demonstrates consciousness. Through thinking we can create and follow rules. To assert that all this requires a god or universal consciousness is just humans not wanting to acknowledge what we are capable of ourselves. That is closed minded. And fear-based, btw, which is why religions use the argument.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 02:10:18 PM

F1fan OK, so Needlman’s weakness is that he makes too many broad, and unsubstantiated assumptions, for which there is NO evidence. Typical religious assertions, with no test in reality. Theology and philosophy are NOT truth, but simple ways for the mind to be active and creative. Jacob needleman is describing a skeleton of the universe known since ancient times. We are invited to fill in the details from our own efforts to "know thyself" and from our observations of the external world. It may not be of interest to you but it is to a certain minority that sense the great truth in it. Explain the purpose of that to a conscious universe. I would be impressed if children never got anything worse than a cold, and then once an adult began genetic/chronic illness As I said, the conscious universe exists as a giant perpetual motion machine with the necessary function of transforming substances maintaining the two universal flows of involution and evolution. continued.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 02:06:26 PM

But this is the point. Man on earth is serving the same purpose as all of organic life which is the cosmic necessity for the transformation of substances on earth. See the problem here, YOU call it necessary, but the fact is nature just works the way it works. By saying “necessary” you imply a meaning that YOU are assigning. I don’t think you have the presence of mind to be aware of your own impositions of meaning. That is what the Buddhists mean by asleep. From that perspective, man on earth is no more important than a worm since we are doing the same thing. Our potential for importance can come through acquiring consciousness. And here you go again, “acquiring” suggests there is something giving it, which you fail to provide any evidence for. All forms are conscious to varying degrees. That the neocortex in capable of abstract thought is a function of its capacity, not evidence of gods, or a conscious universe.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 02:01:54 PM

Here is a transcript of Prof. Needleman's interview of Krishnamurti. It is probably rubbish for you yet they can relate like this in front of others. Why don't they know how naive they are? I don’t have time to read it all. But it is clear that Needlman wants to promote man’s self-worship by practicing “transcendence” in the pop-culture, religious manner. This is accepting various concepts and ideals and trying to mirror them, or act like them. Acting Buddhist is not practicing Buddhism. To transcend the need to believe in myths and fantasies is an actual move away from the illusions we live under. This includes the rabid grasp some folks have on their own speculations about things (like conscious universe). You hold onto your illusions while skeptical of the grasp illusions have on people. How do you make such contradictory statements?

F1Fan

11/24/2006 01:55:12 PM

If consciousness doesn't fit inside of the broad scale of consciousness it just means that it is separate from the mechanical universe if higher consciousness doesn't exist. Seems rather basic. Basic assumptions. Again, you self-indict your own view here. You are simply speculating, and then trying to justify the speculation. Where’s the evidence? Actual evidence, not more speculation, or quoting someone else’s speculation. Evidence? F1fan, Why is it that intelligent men can have deep conversations about "thought" and all you see is nonsense unless scientific. No, we can speculate (look this word up), but speculation is NOT true at face value. Theology and philosophy feeds creativity, and gives people personal meaning. This is separate from what is concrete and demonstrably true. You continue to blur the practice and discipline of science to personal meaning.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 01:54:30 PM

Man, unlike other life on earth, has the potential for a choice of necessities. Man can either serve the same purpose as organic life or the more conscious purpose of connecting life on earth with higher life as implied in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." this asserts the potential for a conscious connection between these two levels of existence. Both are necessities. Man can have the choice of necessities if he awakens to it. If the universe is conscious, then it’s an immoral consciousness. I see many believers in the supernatural not take responsibility for framing the universe in an anthropomorphic manner. It’s not intelligent, either intellectually or emotionally, to assert this. But if the intelligence is not anthromorhic as we know it, then there is nothing immoral just as karma is not immoral. It is part of the mechanics of the universe. I am maintaining that our choice in these matters can only come through consciousness.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 01:52:05 PM

F1fan And yet human life is often no more important than a worm’s life. We see criminals live long, healthy lives, and some little kids suffer the last several years of their lives dealing with Leukemia. But this is the point. Man on earth is serving the same purpose as all of organic life which is the cosmic necessity for the transformation of substances on earth. From that perspective, man on earth is no more important than a worm since we are doing the same thing. Our potential for importance can come through acquiring consciousness. continued

F1Fan

11/24/2006 01:50:17 PM

You must try to live without imagination before you will understand its hold on you. -Sobeit You probably have no training in cognition. There is a part of the mind called the visual-spatial sketch pad. This requires abstract thought. Now, if what you mean by imagination, and speak of its hold, then I wonder why you keep making these fantastic assertions that are very imaginative. Skeptics minimize the use of speculation (imagination) to explain phenomenon, and require evidence. So you are pointing a finger in the wrong direction. Imagination takes the place of attention (presence). This is why true pondering and contemplation are so rare in these times. We are satisfied with imagination. You are talking about a busy mind. It is one that constantly remains active with concepts and drama to avoid present awareness. Part of the strategy is to use and employ fantasies and concepts that distract the mind from inner awareness. This includes many ideas, like what you promote.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 01:36:45 PM

F1fan So much is obvious, for a conscious universe is the only reality that can include human consciousness. Logical fallacy, one does not imply the other. So NOT at all obvious, and requires an illusion. If consciousness doesn't fit inside of the broad scale of consciousness it just means that it is separate from the mechanical universe if higher consciousness doesn't exist. Seems rather basic.

msabdullah

11/24/2006 01:31:52 PM

F1fan Many of the scientific facts in the Quran have only been discovered or proven in the last few centuries using the most advanced technology. When did humans find out that the Sun rotates around itself and the earth rotates around the sun and the moon reflects light and doesn't create its own and that mountains have roots and they stablise the ground and how rain clouds form and how lighting and thunder are created and are all 100% accurate and there is much more. That is all evidence of Gods existence. Now He could have revealed this in full scientific form to humanity but first of all we wouldn't have understood it and it was not intended to be scientific. It is only intended that we reflect on his creation His existence so that we can worship Him of our free choice.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 01:30:58 PM

Quite true. This can be either intentional or unintentional fantasy or escapism. The universe is completely indifferent to our fantasies. There you go again, implying the universe have human qualities. It’s an indifferent universe, no consciousness, no awareness. Yet you assert the universe has a consciousness, and do see how this unverifiable idea is a fantasy. Fantasies are fantastic ideas that are both unverifiable, AND out of touch with reality. Plausible ideas are at least plausible. Fantastic ideas are not. What you tend to propose is fantasy. Your prejudice is showing again. It’s not prejudice to note that an idea is myth. It’s reasonable to weigh the concept against reality, and if it does not measure up, it is discarded.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 01:29:14 PM

#2 of 2 F1fan, Why is it that intelligent men can have deep conversations about "thought" and all you see is nonsense unless scientific. Here is a transcript of Prof. Needleman's interview of Krishnamurti. It is probably rubbish for you yet they can relate like this in front of others. Why don't they know how naive they are? http://tuljo.store20.com/krishnamurti/awakening_of_Intelligence/1971-03-26_the_awakening_of_intelligence_part_i_chapter_1_1st_conversation_with_jacob_needleman_malibu_california_26th_march_1971_'the_role_of_the_teacher'.html

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 01:28:16 PM

F1fan More nonsense. Imagination is CRUCIAL for abstract thought. It is a helpful tool in rational and objective thought as well. You must try to live without imagination before you will understand its hold on you. Imagination takes the place of attention (presence). This is why true pondering and contemplation are so rare in these times. We are satisfied with imagination. More presumptions on your part. What objective purpose is there to deny, except the one You think exists, but can’t demonstrate? The purpose is the transformation of substances as explained in several sources including Jacob Needleman's "A Sense of the Cosmos." continued

F1Fan

11/24/2006 01:23:04 PM

It requires becoming open to the essence of religion to better understand. A person can go outside and pick up an ordinary rock from the street, and build a small shrine to it. They can worship the rock three times a day and after a while the ritual will assign so much meaning to the rock that it will take on what seems an inherent meaning. This is how the mind works: to assign personal meaning that can be distorted by ritual. It’s still just an ordinary rock. Religious ideas are ordinary ideas, but they have been assigned so much meaning and significance that they seem to take on inherent meaning. That is an error. And those actually open-minded will realize the role of humans where it comes to religious icons and concepts. You seem to want to accept the fervor that is the baggage of religious concepts, and go a lot with the popular consensus. Discriminating minds know how to see the trap.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 01:16:38 PM

You can believe this if you like but IMO it is limiting to do so. -Sobeit The only thing being limited is the degree of speculoation. Speculations, and the beliefs that stem from it (like universal consciousness) is NOT truth. You might want to believe it is, but then this opens MORE mystery and more questions, such as “Why choose to believe speculation as truth?”. Until you can reconcile your motives t believe speculation is truth,. The all the speculation and reasons that follow only murky the view of reality. It is also quite possible that the essence of religion is natural for higher consciousness and its purpose is to aid in man's conscious evolution. If this were true. We would see natural and demonstrable results. We don’t. We see people BELIEVE they do, but that is delusion, not evolution. The fact that we continue to destroy its meaning through our interpretations doesn't make it non-existent by definition. We destroy meaning because we humans make meaning.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 01:08:10 PM

F1fan Sometimes the mind what to project imagery or its own work (like making religion, ceremonies, marriage, ritual, the supernatural) onto an indifferent universe. That shows us an insecure mind. This is a mind that can't cope with the fact the we live in an indifferent universe, so creates imagery and fantasy to soften, or buffer, the reality. Quite true. This can be either intentional or unintentional fantasy or escapism. The universe is completely indifferent to our fantasies. Your prejudice is showing again. Belief in a myth does not imply objectivity or precision of that myth. Secular people would have the objectivity. Your prejudice is showing again. The refusal to be open to a myth may only just deny you the opportunity to discover the truths hidden within it to be discovered. They are placed like that to avoid the limitations of the literal mind.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 12:59:52 PM

F1fan It’s just religion. The “essence” comes from human beings. And as such it could be literature or doing science that exemplifies the beauty of the human mind. Trying to place that solely on the results of human endeavor steals the essence from its real place: the mind. You can believe this if you like but IMO it is limiting to do so. It is also quite possible that the essence of religion is natural for higher consciousness and its purpose is to aid in man's conscious evolution. The fact that we continue to destroy its meaning through our interpretations doesn't make it non-existent by definition. It requires becoming open to the essence of religion to better understand.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 10:45:18 AM

OK, so Needlman’s weakness is that he makes too many broad, and unsubstantiated assumptions, for which there is NO evidence. Typical religious assertions, with no test in reality. Theology and philosophy are NOT truth, but simple ways for the mind to be active and creative. So why is the speculation useful, Sobeit? It’s just more speculation and anthropomorphism. And it defies what actually IS obvious: that we live in an indifferent universe that allows little kids to die horrible painful deaths. Explain the purpose of that to a conscious universe. I would be impressed if children never got anything worse than a cold, and then once an adult began genetic/chronic illness. Again, to contend that the universe is alive, conscious, or a god exists (all the same thing) presumes too much to be consistent with reality. And the real killer for your beliefs is NO test in reality. Why can’t you offer tests in reality?

F1Fan

11/24/2006 10:38:58 AM

But a universe that is a manifestation of great consciousness and order places man, and therefore calls to him. Or so the mind of some people THINK. You have no evidence of this. So much is obvious, for a conscious universe is the only reality that can include human consciousness. Logical fallacy, one does not imply the other. So NOT at all obvious, and requires an illusion. Only a conscious universe is relevant to the whole of human life. And yet human life is often no more important than a worm’s life. We see criminals live long, healthy lives, and some little kids suffer the last several years of their lives dealing with Leukemia. If the universe is conscious, then it’s an immoral consciousness. I see many believers in the supernatural not take responsibility for framing the universe in an anthropomorphic manner. It’s not intelligent, either intellectually or emotionally, to assert this.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 10:32:26 AM

Imagination as I am using it is defined as a function that takes the place of a necessary function. I am not referring to problem solving. You just have no concept of how we all live in imagination and create our own reality in imagination. This is fine for most but no good for those that seek the truth. More nonsense. Imagination is CRUCIAL for abstract thought. It is a helpful tool in rational and objective thought as well. The dilemma of your perspective is that you confuse what you image with reality: stating that there is a universal consciousness, and cannot show evidence of it. Your words and belief are not evidence. The very fact that you deny objective purpose doesn't make it so. it just means you don't know. A true seeker must be free of skepticism to acquire an inpartiality necessary to become open to new ideas. From Jacob Needleman: More presumptions on your part. What objective purpose is there to deny, except the one You think exists, but can’t demonstrate?

F1Fan

11/24/2006 10:26:06 AM

Sometimes the mind what to project imagery or its own work (like making religion, ceremonies, marriage, ritual, the supernatural) onto an indifferent universe. That shows us an insecure mind. This is a mind that can't cope with the fact the we live in an indifferent universe, so creates imagery and fantasy to soften, or buffer, the reality. This is all valuable but do they understand "awakening?" Yes, the Eastern practitioners do. And I would wager better than you understand it. This is like a gqthering of secularists calling themselves the Jesus Seminar believing they understand something about Christianity while oblivious of re-birth, the essence of Christianity. It is meaningless in relation to Christianity and only supports Christendom. Your prejudice is showing again. Belief in a myth does not imply objectivity or precision of that myth. Secular people would have the objectivity.

F1Fan

11/24/2006 10:20:21 AM

I don't deny that humans can use their intelligence just that what is derived from intelligence is based on universal laws initiated by a conscious intelligence the scope of which is beyond our comprehension. -Sobeit Well you can assert this, but without evidence, or a credible argument, ten it is ONLY speculation. If you chose to make it a part of your overall philosophy, then it will only act to weaken it. Any sort of “higher consciousness” will not include holding illusions as true, as this implies a mental attachment to ideas. I disagree as far as imagery and symbolism. It may be a part but far from the essence which requires an open mind. It’s just religion. The “essence” comes from human beings. And as such it could be literature or doing science that exemplifies the beauty of the human mind. Trying to place that solely on the results of human endeavor steals the essence from its real place: the mind.

namchuck

11/24/2006 02:23:38 AM

One last post for Sobeit9. Mystical "truths", by their nature, must be solely personal, and they can have no possible external validation. Each has equal claim to truth. Tea-leaf reading and astrology; each is equally sound or unsound if we judge by the absence of related evidence. The mystic is in a paradoxical position. When he seeks external support for his views he must turn to external arguments, and he denies mysticism in the process. External validation is, by definition, impossible for a mystic. It is only science that leads us forward. Science is the only news.

namchuck

11/24/2006 02:17:09 AM

Make that 'parochial Gods' of the established religions'. I'm tired. It's time for bed.

namchuck

11/24/2006 02:15:26 AM

I have always considered it a curious thing that, while believers are utterly unwilling to explain the existence of their deity, they do not hesitate to demand that we non-theists explain the existence of the universe! I question that there is some entity up there - like some oriental despot only bigger and invisible - who coos and purrs over our praise and prayers and who is interested in our sartorial styles and sexual proclivities. I agree with Dawkins that, if there is a God, "...its going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has proposed". The universe is just too big and too grand for it to have been the product of any of the parochail Gods' of the established religions.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 12:45:16 AM

Stepp People are different. They always have been and always will be. Consequently there will always be the associates of the Great Beast and those individuals that seek and discover truth in spite of all the righteous indignation. Calling for world peace and the like is meaningless since because we are what we are, life is as it is. No amount of speeches and platitudes will change it. Common sense will always be rejected so everything continues as is. IMO it will be only through the subtle efforts of the true thinkers and with the courage to lead by example that the damage of the lawful harmful cycles will be lessened. This ability will not be secular in origin but as a result of help from above.

Sobeit9

11/24/2006 12:35:00 AM

IMO Jacob Needlem describes well the reality that we've created an artificial barrier between thought and feeling. This is what men like Dawkins will never understand because they insist on just such a division and fragmentation which IMO is just poison for the psych of Man.

Sobeit9

11/23/2006 11:57:33 PM

Again, I have no contempt for science. Like Simone, I believe its greatest value will be when it reflects the higher knowledge and wisdom of the great teachings. Thank goodness people are working on it. I don't feel I've got the final answer. I just believe I've found valuable questions to be open to and not block the resulting impressions through skepticism. I am willing to say I don't know but you insist on saying "prove it" without any willingness to be open to it.

Sobeit9

11/23/2006 11:55:20 PM

F1fan Cognitive scientists, psychologists, and Eastern practitioners (such as acupuncture, yogas, meditation, and Chinese medicine). These practices have been shown to reduce physical imbalances is used for well-being. This is all valuable but do they understand "awakening?" This is like a gqthering of secularists calling themselves the Jesus Seminar believing they understand something about Christianity while oblivious of re-birth, the essence of Christianity. It is meaningless in relation to Christianity and only supports Christendom.

Sobeit9

11/23/2006 11:40:38 PM

With all due respect, you do build a false barrier of sorts, by using science as a contrast to religion as a sort of good/bad scenario. I wonder why you don’t see this. I don't see it because it doesn't exist. I'm the one that is saying that they are essentially complimentary. It is the corruption of the human condition that prevents the obvious from being experienced. Science serves one purpose and religion another. There is no good or bad about it. It is our misunderstandings that causes any abuse. But it’s how you are distorting what they said to make a picture Give me an example. Saying it is mystical is an assumption. The contention is that we are born with this knowledge. Gradually, through inner work and the process of "Know Thyself" it begins to be revealed. There is nothing mystical about it. An acorn becomes an oak mechanically. A man becomes a MAN consciously.

Sobeit9

11/23/2006 11:37:54 PM

F1fan Laws are the same everywhere so I don't know what you mean by supernatural. If you mean that universal laws are the result of intelligence, I say yes. Give me an alternative that makes any sense. I don't deny that humans can use their intelligence just that what is derived from intelligence is based on universal laws initiated by a conscious intelligence the scope of which is beyond our comprehension. However, not in the same ways. Science deals with facts and sensory data, where religion relies on imagery and symbolism. Sure, a person can manage both, but it requires a skillful mind that does not pitch one against the other. You do. I disagree as far as imagery and symbolism. It may be a part but far from the essence which requires an open mind. continued

namchuck

11/23/2006 11:15:48 PM

Actually, and just as an aside, I don't know if anybody is at all too sure whether Harun Yahya is an individual or simply a front for some Turkish creationist group that does little than rehash those old well-worn and yawn-inducing arguments from American Young Earth creationists.

msabdullah

11/23/2006 10:20:17 PM

I beg to differ. I guess if you had read anything of Yahya's you really would not be making that comment. I know many ex Dawkins fans. They totally think Yahya is the one that wins hands down. For those who have not read any of his stuff I suggest start with "Darwinism Refuted". At least his proofs make sense unlike some of Dawkins.

namchuck

11/23/2006 09:52:54 PM

Dawkins vs Harun Yahya? No contest. Dawkins hands down.

msabdullah

11/23/2006 09:29:30 PM

Richard Dawkins vs. Harun Yahya (http://2believeornot2.blogspot.com/2006/11/richard-dawkins-vs-harun-yahya.html#links) You be the judge for yourself. No God or God?

steppen0410e

11/23/2006 04:01:23 PM

(continued) Yes, for these reasons, and a whole lot more (the suppression of disquieting facts, the sense that 'sacred science' should be kept for a small elite, the distaste for experiment, the embrace of mysticism and the easy acceptance of slave societies, the ancient mystics set back the human enterprise. It was only after a long mystical sleep that the tools of real scientific were rediscovered), that I am skeptical, even if Simone Weil's own mystical propensities lead her to disparage the word and gloss over its real meaning.

steppen0410e

11/23/2006 03:51:07 PM

(continued) For all his marvelous achievements in mathematics, Pythagoras and his followers were loath to divulge a nasty little fact or two (the square root of two and the dodecahedron) when they came along to challenge the seeming beauty and symmetry of their mystically construct. The outside world was not to know. And what, according to Montaigne, was Pythagoras' response when Anaximenes put this question to him: 'To what purpose should I trouble myself in searching out the secrets of the stars, having death and slavery continually before my eyes'? Plato, for all his mystical ruminations, is said to have urged the burning of all the books of Democritus - and may have succeeded - because Democritus didn't acknowledge immortal souls or immortal gods or Pythagorean mysticism. So much for their acceptance of conflicting ideas.

steppen0410e

11/23/2006 03:29:22 PM

Great posts, F1fan! Again, Sobeit9, simply because some ancient thinkers - inspired by curiosity and using their rational faculties - discovered certain mathematical truisms, or recognized the odd recurring pattern or two in Nature, hardly gives one licence to construct baroque assumptions or invoke a haunted-house view of the cosmos. Erastothenes, whose only tools were sticks, eyes, feet and brains, plus a taste for experiment, deduced the circumference of the Earth with an error of only a few percent, an astonishing achievement for 2,200 years ago. Is it justified to extrapolate from Eratosthenes achievement that he was mystically in touch with some 'higher power'? And which one of these 'enlightened' ones supposedly functioning out of their highly evolved consciousnesses spoke out against the slavery that was endemic in their societies?

F1Fan

11/23/2006 12:04:42 PM

In order to truly Know thyself, one has to live consciously and without imagination. I would say this is only relevant in how one discerns reality. There is nothing wrong with imagination. In fact, it is the nature of the capacity of the neocortex that we can form abstract thought. Then they would have had to have developed the will power to do what is necessary in relation to human purpose rather than be a creature living in imagination and expressing it as reactions to external stimuli and societal conditioning as does the majority of mankind. Yet it is “purpose” that is devised by a human being. There is no inherent meaning anywhere. Some imagine there is, but that is an assumption, not fact. Again, you are speaking contradictorally. These people don't normally exist for us. Living in Plato's cave, we rarely have the light to recognize them That is the dilemma of being distracted and not knowing it. I hope you have a good holiday.

F1Fan

11/23/2006 11:59:52 AM

There is nothing to be insecure about when you have the sources I do. You'll have to do better than that. It’s not the sources, it’s how you are trying to piece them together, and in a way that shows contempt for science, that you should be questioning yourself about. You seem to believe you have found a final answer, and that is the biggest sign of not knowing anything. No. I live in Plato's cave as well. My advantage is that I know enough to admit it rather than deny it. We don’t deny humility. And it is being skeptical of claims, like yours, that demonstrate that we DO acknowledge our own limitations. You say you live in the cave, but you then insist you put together a picture of reality that would assume a god’s eye view. You want you pumpkin pie and to eat it too. Pick one. In order to truly Know thyself, one has to live consciously and without imagination. Then why do you use your imagination so frequently? This includes presumptions.

F1Fan

11/23/2006 11:40:21 AM

It is not necessary for me to become closed minded in defense of one or another preconception. Consequently it makes it easier for me to be open to what some brilliant balanced minds have discovered. But it’s how you are distorting what they said to make a picture YOU want that is dilemma. You are trying to make a stew of words, shoving and shoehorning irreconcilable concepts into a picture that is inconsistent. Then you call us in denial when we point this out. The union of three forces or the Trinity in religion is as Dr. Nicolescu points out, the scientific expression of the included middle. You don't care and I do. Such is life. Thus: meaning assignment and opinion, not absolute truth. Sure, there have been aspects of religion that used patterns in nature, that later became useful in science, like cosmology. The Mayans knew a lot about the stars that is amazing. But why shouldn’t they be aware of natural phenomenon? Saying it is mystical is an assumption.

F1Fan

11/23/2006 11:35:15 AM

I don't have this problem with defending a preconception since I begin with the premise that religion and science are both essentially true and valid ways of perceiving the external world. However, not in the same ways. Science deals with facts and sensory data, where religion relies on imagery and symbolism. Sure, a person can manage both, but it requires a skillful mind that does not pitch one against the other. You do. It is only through this human condition of "sleep" suggested in many ancient traditions by different names that some artificial barrier has been created. With all due respect, you do build a false barrier of sorts, by using science as a contrast to religion as a sort of good/bad scenario. I wonder why you don’t see this.

F1Fan

11/23/2006 11:27:41 AM

This is just silly. How can I offer evidence in a post of 1000 characters for Pythagoras Law of Octaves, or The ancient law of the Union of Three Forces for example? -Sobeit You can site these as examples of an assertion. However it is your assertions that some ancient people had a supernatural source to tap into that is disputed. Humans through various ages showed occasional brilliance. But some in modern times show quite primitive and simplistic thinking. Your Achilles heel is your lack of evidence for a supernatural, not that humans can use their innate intelligence. So I post two links where a person can get some ideas and you still gripe. What can I say; that is denial. You want to deny rather than think simply because being more open-minded would make your preconceptions vulnerable which doesn't feel good. Nope. Again, we deny what YOU claim, as you cannot provide evidence of a supernatural. Being open minded does not mean gullible.

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 09:22:07 PM

F1fan Would you consider yourself "master of yourself"? Whether or not you do, please explain with detail what a person's condition is as a result. How do they act, and what have they mastered? No. I live in Plato's cave as well. My advantage is that I know enough to admit it rather than deny it. In order to truly Know thyself, one has to live consciously and without imagination. Then they would have had to have developed the will power to do what is necessary in relation to human purpose rather than be a creature living in imagination and expressing it as reactions to external stimuli and societal conditioning as does the majority of mankind. These people don't normally exist for us. Living in Plato's cave, we rarely have the light to recognize them

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 09:11:01 PM

#3 of 3 The union of three forces or the Trinity in religion is as Dr. Nicolescu points out, the scientific expression of the included middle. You don't care and I do. Such is life. And who are these experts that you believe know about the mind and meditative practices? You keep speaking as if you have some kernel of truth that only you seem to get. But it’s not only the ideas that don’t add up This is why I always post another saying the same so anyone reading sees instantly that these attacks are purely ad hom. I am expressing minority opinions but it is a minority I am happy to be a part of. There is nothing to be insecure about when you have the sources I do. You'll have to do better than that.

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 09:09:12 PM

I don't have this problem with defending a preconception since I begin with the premise that religion and science are both essentially true and valid ways of perceiving the external world. It is only through this human condition of "sleep" suggested in many ancient traditions by different names that some artificial barrier has been created. It is not necessary for me to become closed minded in defense of one or another preconception. Consequently it makes it easier for me to be open to what some brilliant balanced minds have discovered. continued

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 09:07:56 PM

F1fan stepp isn’t in denial. He (and others) are denying the claims you make for 1.) you offer no evidence or support, and 2.) the ideas you put forth are not consistent with what we know about the mind, well-being, and meditative practices. This is just silly. How can I offer evidence in a post of 1000 characters for Pythagoras Law of Octaves, or The ancient law of the Union of Three Forces for example? So I post two links where a person can get some ideas and you still gripe. What can I say; that is denial. You want to deny rather than think simply because being more open-minded would make your preconceptions vulnerable which doesn't feel good.. continued

F1Fan

11/22/2006 06:18:13 PM

You posted a while ago that we must know orselves, and I wonder how aware you are about this trait in how you relate.

F1Fan

11/22/2006 06:16:55 PM

You can live in denial and name call all you like but there are people that don't just live in denial but investigate simply because they hypothesize the unity of science and religion. stepp isn’t in denial. He (and others) are denying the claims you make for 1.) you offer no evidence or support, and 2.) the ideas you put forth are not consistent with what we know about the mind, well-being, and meditative practices. You keep speaking as if you have some kernel of truth that only you seem to get. But it’s not only the ideas that don’t add up. Those who do speak spiritual truths have a strong spiritual essence, and a deep resonant continuity and maturity, like Gandhi, MLK, Dalai Lama, and Krishnamurti. The sort of inner strength these people had, yet exposed themselves as humble mortals, is a rare quality. One thing that makes evangelical preachers spiritually suffocated is the obviously high degree of insecurity emoted from them. I’m sorry, but your posts show the same quality.

F1Fan

11/22/2006 06:05:26 PM

Suppose science has as its greatest potential to reveal the laws already known to exist within the great traditions rather than create anything new. Supposing it doesn't mean anything in reality right now. It's JUST speculation. With suppositions you can twist and arrange things any way you want, with no test in reality. However, when you propose that a supposition might displace what we know via an objective method, that is very reliable, then you are simply fantasizing. “Maybe’s” and “what if’s…” are useful when they have a foundation and continuity with what is known to be true. When speculation aims to reinvent a whole new view, with no test in reality, it is simply fantasy. Now, you can speculate, but try to offer support and substance.

steppen0410e

11/22/2006 06:03:18 PM

And simply because some clever Egyptian mathematician discovered Pi, or some equally sagacious greek the square root of 2, doesn't convince me that they were in touch with some 'higher power', but it does go along way in convincing me that rational inquiry achieves the best and most productive results.

F1Fan

11/22/2006 05:58:10 PM

We make the same mistakes because we are not master of ourselves. We cannot be master of ourselves without coming to "know thyself." -Sobeit Would you consider yourself "master of yourself"? Whether or not you do, please explain with detail what a person's condition is as a result. How do they act, and what have they mastered?

steppen0410e

11/22/2006 05:53:44 PM

Who is "name calling" or "living in denial", Sobeit9? And I want to learn, too, but I've researched these things and I'm simply not convinced that any of your assertions holds water or, as you claim, that moderm science is "only now" finding out things that the ancients knew already. It seems to me that anyone who won't go along with your insupportable claims is going to be labelled "in denial".

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 04:41:51 PM

Stepp You can live in denial and name call all you like but there are people that don't just live in denial but investigate simply because they hypothesize the unity of science and religion. Men like Bassarab Nicolescu, a highly regarded physicist who understands how Pythagoras law of Octaves explains the included middle. http://nicol.club.fr/ciret/bulletin/b12/b12c3.htm On a lesser level there are men like Thomas Mcfarlane and the whole of integralscience.org for example that open interesting paths for investigation as with symmetry in science and religion. http://www.integralscience.org/sacredscience/SS_symmetry.html. You want to deny and I want to learn. May we all profit from our paths.

steppen0410e

11/22/2006 04:24:23 PM

(continued) The problem, though, is that the probability calculation implicit in the argument is bogus. The probability of, say, Hindu sages and modern scientists concurring is not what is at stake. What is at stake is the probability of someone's finding an interpretation of a fragment of text that concurs with something said by scientists. And as anyone familiar with the exegetical excesses of theism will testify, such 'coincidences' are all but inevitable.

steppen0410e

11/22/2006 04:19:29 PM

"Suppose science has as its greatest potential to reveal the laws already known to exist within the great traditions rather than create anything new." There you go again with that kind of stuff, Sobeit9. Now, if any aspect of this were true, it would be the easiest thing in the world to prove, so, again, I ask, where is the proof that modern science is only now learning what the ancients supposedly knew already? I have witnessed this kind of thing so often, people who attempt to interpret religious texts or ancient traditions in such a way as to make them consistent with modern science.

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 11:41:54 AM

"Pondering is answering questions from essence and answering them practically." Orage We think on the surface but ponder at the depth of our being. How many have gone below the surface even once so as to sense the difference? http://www.meditationsociety.com/contemp.html Meditation, contemplation, and concentration should be complimentary. But out of proportion we remain earthbound in imagination that prevents the contact with higher consciousness. There is both subjective and objective thought but how many have experienced the essential difference?

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 11:40:35 AM

jacknky I've also never received any instruction or teaching about the nature of the gods, except that thinking about their nature is a distraction from awakening. IMO one of the big failings in both Western Buddhism and Christendom is that it has largely lost the subtle and not so subtle distinctions in the meaning of words. You say that thinking is a distraction but what kind of thinking? There is a big difference between mechanical associative thought and both pondering and contemplation.

Sobeit9

11/22/2006 11:11:18 AM

jacknky For me, it's personal. I kept making the same mistakes in my life. I wanted to break the cycle of blindness. We make the same mistakes because we are not master of ourselves. We cannot be master of ourselves without coming to "know thyself." We prefer instead to try and adapt to a situation but since nothng has changed so we eventually revert back to our normal conditioned ways. We are not master of ourselves so we lack "choice" and assume choice to mean finding the acceptable conditioned response. To begin to know thyself on the way to becoming master of oneself can be frightening and unpleasant since it requires consciously experiencing our conditioning rather than mechanicially going along with it. It requires a willingness to suffer which few have especially in modern times where the temptations for escapism through technology are so strong.

jacknky

11/22/2006 10:12:56 AM

You too, JD70. I've appreciated your posts.

jd70

11/22/2006 09:48:22 AM

Yes, jacknky us 30-something folks can be a little wacky. I can see where you are coming from and it makes perfect sense. Happy thanksgiving to you and all the folks here.

jacknky

11/22/2006 09:05:38 AM

"Why do you hunger for this? What do you think it will provide you that you don't already have? _Sobeit" For me, it's personal. I kept making the same mistakes in my life. I wanted to break the cycle of blindness.

jacknky

11/22/2006 09:02:11 AM

jd70, "I am not sure if I understand what he meant by that. One either has an open mind or not." IMHO, an "open mind" does not mean that all is received equally without discernment. An example might be those 30-something folks who committed suicide so their souls would join the spaceship they believed was behind a nearby comet. They were open but to my mind they lacked discernment. It's a Buddhist teaching not to accept something because it is written in a Holy Book or a great teacher tells you. We are to be open but to test the teaching (discernment). Likewise we wouldn't want to reject something simply because it was not in our Holy Book. neither totally open or totally closed. the middle way, if you like. I remember hearing the great Krishnamurti speak. he said words to the effect "Don't simply believe what anyone tells you. Not even me." I loved that.

jacknky

11/22/2006 08:49:25 AM

Sobeit, "I see this as "alert." A dog is alert and sees clearly but is not awake." Interesting. In all of the meditation teaching I've received I've never heard the term "alert" used. I have heard the term "awakened" a lot. I've also never received any instruction or teaching about the nature of the gods, except that thinking about their nature is a distraction from awakening. "we wouldn't be having all these disagreements but people often don't want to get out of their own way to experience the meaning" We don't know how to do that.

Zartosht

11/22/2006 07:53:25 AM

Dear Friends, In order to get a good understanding of Zoroastrianism vist: http://www.w-z-info-c.page.tl/

FutureShy

11/21/2006 11:15:25 PM

Some links previously discussed on the so-called Creation Museum and musings of Creationists (aka "Intelligent Design") - evidence that supports Dawkins' statement that "fundamentalist religion...is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless eager minds": http://www.answersingenesis.org/museum/faq.asp?vPrint=1 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june05/creation_3-28.html And yet, the Intelligent Design case in PA was decided by a Christian judge, selected by GWB (!) Judge Jones ruled ID is NOT science: http://www.thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=6096&key=37161214 Which means Dawkins should be "clapping his hands red"...for a Christian!

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 10:46:22 PM

I believe that one identical thought is to be found--expressed very precisely and with only slight differences of modality-- in. . .Pythagoras, Plato, and the Greek Stoics. . .in the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita; in the Chinese Taoist writings and. . .Buddhism. . .in the dogmas of the Christian faith and in the writings of the greatest Christian mystics. . .I believe that this thought is the truth, and that it today requires a modern and Western form of expression. That is to say, it should be expressed through the only approximately good thing we can call our own, namely science. This is all the less difficult because it is itself the origin of science. Simone Pétrement, Simone Weil: A Life, Random House, 1976, p. 488

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 10:45:30 PM

Suppose science has as its greatest potential to reveal the laws already known to exist within the great traditions rather then create anything new. Could you be open to accept such an idea that requires the results of a conscious will that could be revealed by science? What would it take for you to be open to the following visionary words of Simone Weil: continued

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 10:41:02 PM

Dear Mr. Dawkins You wrote: The truths of evolution, along with many other scientific truths, are so engrossingly fascinating and beautiful; how truly tragic to die having missed out on all that! Of course that makes me passionate. How could it not? But my belief in evolution is not fundamentalism, and it is not faith, because I know what it would take to change my mind, and I would gladly do so if the necessary evidence were forthcoming. The question becomes if your passion makes it impossible to be open to what it may take to change your mind. Perhaps real evolution is not a matter of chance but of lawful return to a source as well described by Simone Weil: Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea, the idea of progress, is poison. Continued

F1Fan

11/21/2006 08:48:24 PM

What you fail to grasp is that exaggerated reliance on science to satisfy unique human needs is hell bent on ruining the essential religious education of countless thousands of innocent, well meaning, eager young minds and hearts. Non-extremist "sensible" science may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for the extremists of scientism by teaching children, from the earliest years, that unquestioning belief in the supremacy of science is a virtue. How could you? -Sobeit I almost responded, but I had to stop to ask, is this post satire?

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 08:20:41 PM

F1fan We can be open to explore ideas, but not so eager for a place to settle, and hope others do not judge us harshly on our adventure. No, we just recognize the lack of inner balls that accepts rationalizations over experience. Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand." Simone Weil People like Simone are unafraid to experience what others can only express fine thoughts about. That is how they become reality based Her advantage is that being open to experience, she was also able to appreciate the unification of science and religion impossible for those who define themselves by their skepticism.

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 08:00:34 PM

Mr. Dawkins What you fail to grasp is that exaggerated reliance on science to satisfy unique human needs is hell bent on ruining the essential religious education of countless thousands of innocent, well meaning, eager young minds and hearts. Non-extremist "sensible" science may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for the extremists of scientism by teaching children, from the earliest years, that unquestioning belief in the supremacy of science is a virtue. How could you?

F1Fan

11/21/2006 07:53:04 PM

About Sobeit. I’ve debated a lot with him and he is quite consistent. He does post a few wise bits now and again, but as others have noted he has hostility and bias that off sets the continuity. It’s like he’s sewing a quilt, with a few bits of cashmere interspersed with burlap and double-knit polyester. In the end the quilt is off square, and the quality lacking continuity. It’s not easy to make sense of it. As such, we are all on a path seeking truth, and sorting out the false from the true. As may be contended, this isn’t just a rational approach. It requires a maturity of mind, and a courage to look beyond the motives of what emotional security often demands from us. It is so easy to give in to the whims of what feels good, and hard to apply the virtue of mind that exemplifies human beings from other animals. We can be open to explore ideas, but not so eager for a place to settle, and hope others do not judge us harshly on our adventure.

jd70

11/21/2006 07:48:39 PM

Interesting post F1fan, That makes a lot of sense.

F1Fan

11/21/2006 07:37:03 PM

Leaving ones mind open, yet at the same time realizing that we are products of the unfolding universe and not vise versa leave us in a position to see what can be seen clearly. As humans we have the desire to know it all. When we realize we can't, we settle for belief. -jd70 Yes, the mind is a sharp instrument and it does seek the most efficient way to process it can. This does not mean that efficiency discerns the content of thoughts. If it is more efficient to accept a framework that is accepted by other people, and this is supported by a relatively simple and small amount of data, then the mind will go that route. This could apply to academics who are poor maintaining a relationship, but precise with facts and reality. Or a fundamentalist who accepts creationism, and relates well with people. The academic may not care about honing relationship skills, and the fundamentalist not care about the facts behind evolution. I want to note that these are just examples.

F1Fan

11/21/2006 07:28:59 PM

Why do you hunger for this? What do you think it will provide you that you don't already have? _Sobeit We know from experience that many things cause a lose in clarity of thought, such as being tired, drunk, or on drugs. We also see by comparing results of observation and perception that not all people have the same ability, skill, or capacity. Clarity of mind and thought offers an advantage, especially for people of high mental and intellectual capacity. Being able to problem solve and be creative stems for the flexibility of the mind, and often the ability to tap into memory and recall.

namchuck

11/21/2006 07:27:14 PM

Yes, F1fan. Good response! I can go along with that. I also now have to go and make a living. ciao

F1Fan

11/21/2006 07:23:27 PM

I hunger for more than anything else is perceptual and cognitive clarity, but I perceive that holding beliefs is a major obstacle to this clarity .. -Namchuck Krishnamurti went on quite a bit about this. He also noted that we are in bondage to imagery until we can recognize the imagery, and see that the ideas we hold are not who we are. We see how easily people label themselves as Christian, or whatever, and clinging to this label maintains the need to hold the beliefs, and ward off challenges. Why is that, after two or three million years or more, man is still not capable of clear perception and action? Cognitive science reveal that a lot goes on in the brain that taps into the more primitive parts, and bypasses the neocortex, rendering some stimuli causing responsive behavior. It is thought that disciplined work and practice can re-map the neural pathways in the brain over time and allow a more precise perception. Buddhist practice is thought to produce a similar effect.

jd70

11/21/2006 07:22:01 PM

Ok that makes sense. When I see brain matter leaking out my nose I know I am in trouble in more ways than one.

namchuck

11/21/2006 07:17:14 PM

Not so open, jd70, that one's brains fall out. Open mindedness does not necessitate that one entertain or swallow every conceivable belief - no matter how sincere the believer - that comes along. I suppose one would have to discriminate between rational and irrational beliefs.

jd70

11/21/2006 07:11:03 PM

"(no)wide-eyed type openness that lacks discernment" I am not sure if I understand what he meant by that. One either has an open mind or not.

namchuck

11/21/2006 06:57:57 PM

And I agree about keeping an open mind, but to do it while keeping jacknky's proviso below in mind: "(no)wide-eyed type openness that lacks discernment".

jd70

11/21/2006 06:54:22 PM

"And if the world is to ever going to be a "better place", perhaps it is entirely up to us to make it so" Yes, Namchuck, a wise Rabbi once told me those exact same words. Seems to make sense to me.

namchuck

11/21/2006 06:49:27 PM

I liked your post, jd70 especially for its honesty. Perhaps there are questions that will forever remain unanswered, but is it not fantastic to have a chance to live in this "unfolding universe"? And if the world is to ever going to be a "better place", perhaps it is entirely up to us to make it so.

namchuck

11/21/2006 06:44:26 PM

Sometimes all the issues are not utterly clear to me. But perhaps I am underestimating my own lucidity.

jd70

11/21/2006 06:44:18 PM

Namchuck: "Why is that, after two or three million years or more, man is still not capable of clear perception and action? Are there additiinal obstacles to that clarity I speak of? is such clarity even possible for man?" Leaving ones mind open, yet at the same time realizing that we are products of the unfolding universe and not vise versa leave us in a position to see what can be seen clearly. As humans we have the desire to know it all. When we realize we can't, we settle for belief. I for one would rather be humbled by the fact that I can't know it all, and thankful for the opportunity to know what I can. In the end I just hope I can do my part to make the world a better place.

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 06:28:57 PM

Namchuck The thing that I hunger for more than anything else is perceptual and cognitive clarity, Why do you hunger for this? What do you think it will provide you that you don't already have?

namchuck

11/21/2006 06:10:04 PM

Perhaps we should cap the hostility and keep to the issues. The thing that I hunger for more than anything else is perceptual and cognitive clarity, but I perceive that holding beliefs is a major obstacle to this clarity (and obstinately defending them evokes hostility in both the defender and the traducer of belief), especially when one keeps in mind that one only believes because one does not know. Why is that, after two or three million years or more, man is still not capable of clear perception and action? Are there additiinal obstacles to that clarity I speak of? is such clarity even possible for man?

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 06:00:14 PM

Stepp wrote: While I am taking on board some of what Sobeit9 has been talking about, there is a quality of hostility in some of his posts that reminds me of the frustration that one sometimes encounters in religious proselyters when folk won't swallow wholesale what they are offering up. Well let's see: In part, Simone has been called on Beliefnet, anorexic, dowdy, delusional, deranged, a woman denying she is female, a girl wishing she was a boy, a Marxist waif. All this from the courage to experience reality with the natural invitation to do the same. I see this as hostile. Where is the similar hostility towards a prominent Atheist on this site? You cannot produce it. Who then is the more hostile?

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 05:29:09 PM

It seems the end of the url was left out which is: awake.htm

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 05:25:12 PM

jacknky "awakening" is learning to see clearly without relying on mental conceptions like gods. I see this as "alert." A dog is alert and sees clearly but is not awake. Here is Buddha's famous description: http://www.teachingsofthebuddha.com/i_am_awake.htm IMO if it were understood, we wouldn't be having all these disagreements but people often don't want to get out of their own way to experience the meaning

jacknky

11/21/2006 03:35:59 PM

steppen, Thank you for your response.

steppen0410e

11/21/2006 03:02:10 PM

I, too, know a colleague of Dawkins who says that Dawkins is a deeply humane person, something which is all too often forgotten by the religious people who criticize him. And I'd like to think, jacknky, that I might be one of those 'true' skeptics you refer to, and I certainly do not hold to any ideology. While I am taking on board some of what Sobeit9 has been talking about, there is a quality of hostility in some of his posts that reminds me of the frustration that one sometimes encounters in religious proselyters when folk won't swallow wholesale what they are offering up. I think you summed it up for me in your comment about nature of the open mind, which is not "a wide-eyed type openness that lacks discernment". Thanks.

jacknky

11/21/2006 01:26:41 PM

Sobeit, I'm having trouble understanding your point. Like Steppen some of what you say resonates with me and seems a description of Buddhist thought. But your contempt for skeptics seems dissonant to the goal of seeing clearly. To me, the true skeptic, and I admit there aren't very many, are more open than those who have embraced an ideology, religious or otherwise. But it isn't a wide-eyed type openness that lacks discernment. No belief in fairies for the open skeptic.

jacknky

11/21/2006 01:14:08 PM

rbethell, "Nobody with even a passing acquaintance with Dawkins' work would take exception to me labelling his deportment as 'smug.'" I would. And I have a freind who knows him and she says he's not smug either. Passionate...yes.

jacknky

11/21/2006 01:08:51 PM

Sobeit, "Naturally, I'll need some Buddhists." Count me in. I'm not a card-carrying Buddhist but I try to practice the meditation.

jacknky

11/21/2006 01:06:18 PM

Sobeit, I don't believe I understand your point except that you put a lot of labels on atheists which may or may not have validity. "I posted ...a beautiful quote from Meister Eckhart explaining the futility of such speculations." If you and Meister Eckhart meant speculations about the nature of gods then I totally agree. "Have you ever really thought what awakening means personally?" I've practiced Buddhist mindfulness meditation daily for nine years. Perhaps you are using the term "awaken" differently. In Buddhist terms, "awakening" is learning to see clearly without relying on mental conceptions like gods.

steppen0410e

11/21/2006 12:26:08 PM

This might come as a bit of a shock to you (it was to me!), Sobeit9, but your last post resonanted quite deeply with me. There was a clarity to it that I hadn't experienced in any of your previous missives. I have to say that, I'm attracted to the notion that one might be able to acquire the "...ability to impartially experience reality with the whole of oneself", although I suspect a better choice of words may have been 'with the whole of one's being', rather than "with the whole of oneself". I mean, can it be denied that the 'self' is not simply something along the lines of a packet of memes, the product of one's conditioning, education, experiences etc? I'm going to have to go away and think about this for a bit.

F1Fan

11/21/2006 12:12:04 PM

wishing to defend the status quo, they are of no value since they don't feel the reality of their nothingness. Unfounded judgment, probably a projection of your own feelings. Have evidence? A chess player can by experience see how a variation or line of play can be true in one in one context or postion and faulty in another. That is the reality of partial truths. There usefulness is determined by context. Indeed, but the strategies apply in a real sense, that being moves and consequences of moves. Realize here that there are rules to chess that make consequences real. You are making up your own rules in chess, trying to sidestep the procedure, and claiming an unwarranted success. Wholeness is the the essence of religion or "context." Partial truths by definition have limited validity in the context of wholeness since their creation is based only on an aspect of wholeness. You won’t find wholeness in words, philosophy, or religion.

F1Fan

11/21/2006 12:07:33 PM

This problem has been with mankind from the beginning and you don't think the concerned haven't devised ways to deal with it? -Sobeit Yes, rules of logic and the scientific method came out of this problem. Yet folks like yourself, who want their cake to be nutritious, ignore the objective, and dance around the issues of the failure to test your ideas in reality. Of course there are methods but methods are only of value for those that have felt the questions and wish to deal with them. I’m not against people being creative, and speculating about the nature of things. I oppose having contempt for the success of the objective methods when speculative ideas cannot meet the same degree of demonstrable success. This only demonstrates the insecurity of the human mind, and to what lengths some folks will go to to convince themselves they have “truth”.

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 11:47:21 AM

F1fan This form of denial leads to partial truths which by definition are limited in being representative and analogous to the higher reality of wholeness. You’re making assumptions here that you fail to support with any substance. A chess player can by experience see how a variation or line of play can be true in one in one context or postion and faulty in another. That is the reality of partial truths. There usefulness is determined by context. Wholeness is the the essence of religion or "context." Partial truths by definition have limited validity in the context of wholeness since their creation is based only on an aspect of wholeness.

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 11:40:13 AM

F1fan Yet you have no method to do this, just creative guesswork And how do you know you are doing this, and not simply building an illusion you think is reality? I ask as you have yet to offer any objective method to weed out fantasy from reality. This problem has been with mankind from the beginning and you don't think the concerned haven't devised ways to deal with it? Of course there are methods but methods are only of value for those that have felt the questions and wish to deal with them. For those only wishing to defend the status quo, they are of no value since they don't feel the reality of their nothingness.

F1Fan

11/21/2006 10:18:12 AM

It is the skeptics that are exclusive and as such, why they are doomed to turn in circles. If being rooted in reality is deemed a circle, then it is virtue and honesty that leads the way. A skeptic IS exclusive, as there is much that is claimed to be true (like religion) yet has no test in reality to back up those claims. They are excluded due to their own failure to provide evidence. That is the integrity of the method at work. This form of denial leads to partial truths which by definition are limited in being representative and analogous to the higher reality of wholeness. You’re making assumptions here that you fail to support with any substance. This sort of posturing is not going to fool anyone, except those who really, really want to justify their unverifiable beliefs. THAT is denial. There’s no denial in acknowledging a lack of evidence for a claim, and suspending judgment until the claimant can provide evidence, assuming they can.

F1Fan

11/21/2006 10:13:06 AM

Again, you refer to exoteric or mechanical secular religious practices. --Sobeit Then why are you closed to them? You go to extremes to criticize others for excluding your unqualified propositions for the consideration of truth, yet you do it yourself, but still claim truth. My interest is in the development of the esoteric or inner capacity to understand the fullness of reality. Yet you have no method to do this, just creative guesswork. There is no exclusion but there is perspective in which the wheat and tares can be compared. Yes, wheat is an objective methodology, and tares are whimsical thinking. The idea isn't to believe but to acquire the ability to impartially experience reality with the whole of oneself. And how do you know you are doing this, and not simply building an illusion you think is reality? I ask as you have yet to offer any objective method to weed out fantasy from reality.

Sobeit9

11/21/2006 12:10:51 AM

F1fan And how accurate is a view that excludes elves? Or excludes Mayan rituals? Or Wicca beliefs? Or doesn't pray towards Mecca five times a day? Again, you refer to exoteric or mechanical secular religious practices. My interest is in the development of the esoteric or inner capacity to understand the fullness of reality. There is no exclusion but there is perspective in which the wheat and tares can be compared. The idea isn't to believe but to acquire the ability to impartially experience reality with the whole of oneself. It is the skeptics that are exclusive and as such, why they are doomed to turn in circles. This form of denial leads to partial truths which by definition are limited in being representative and analogous to the higher reality of wholeness.

F1Fan

11/20/2006 09:36:31 PM

Please. Nobody with even a passing acquaintance with Dawkins' work would take exception to me labelling his deportment as 'smug.' -rbethell Well, he does have reality on his side. He was nothing of the sort. He famously abandoned his faith on the death of his daughter, and remained a resolute agnostic until death. OK. Give him credit for yet another sound decision. No, but it certainly speaks to where I began, which is the alleged superiority of atheism to agnosticism as scientifically supportable. Face to face with religious concepts, and believers who maintain belief that myths are reality, I’d say atheist who is actually smug would have a justifiable reason. Believers maintain their beliefs in debate despite no foundation of reality. This behavior is the subject of more and more research.

rbethell

11/20/2006 09:05:39 PM

There is something stunningly narrow about how the Anthropic Principle is used and phrased. If so, it remains especially true of those who are only prepared to consider and speak of its Weak variant.

rbethell

11/20/2006 09:03:47 PM

So, if an atheist doesn't accept the myths that some folks believe in, he's smug? This sounds like sour grapes. Is it? Please. Nobody with even a passing acquaintance with Dawkins' work would take exception to me labelling his deportment as 'smug.' Darwin was a Christian. He was nothing of the sort. He famously abandoned his faith on the death of his daughter, and remained a resolute agnostic until death. Besides, what is the relevance of this statement in regards to using "atheist" as a qualifying word? Does it imply anything about the assumptions made about various gods? No, but it certainly speaks to where I began, which is the alleged superiority of atheism to agnosticism as scientifically supportable.

F1Fan

11/20/2006 07:30:42 PM

The far more curious limited and created universe of Einstein, Neils, Schroedinger, and Heisenberg offers no such steady state for the atheist to smugly cling to. So, if an atheist doesn't accept the myths that some folks believe in, he's smug? This sounds like sour grapes. Is it? Of the 19th century assumptions atheists made, only Darwin's survives, and even that may be nothing more than another of the curious mechanisms of the Anthropic Principle. -rbethell Darwin was a Christian. Besides, what is the relevance of this statement in regards to using "atheist" as a qualifying word? Does it imply anything about the assumptions made about various gods?

F1Fan

11/20/2006 07:23:12 PM

It is the Atheist that suggests analysis at the exclusion of anything else. -Sobeit And how accurate is a view that excludes elves? Or excludes Mayan rituals? Or Wicca beliefs? Or doesn't pray towards Mecca five times a day? You see that what you propose inevitably leaves out a lot of other mystic and religious tradition. You rely on two or three main writers, but then do not account for what you exclude yourself. Again, you are being critical of others for something you do yourself. the atheist may be more complete, and approach investigation of reality from a more objective method. Of what value is analysis for sleeping people other than to support justifications? You do realize that what you are using here is what esentially references people immersed in their ideology? And this may be projection.

jd70

11/20/2006 07:20:33 PM

F1fan: "I stand firm in that we don't have to accept any label." Yes well said. For some reason we humans have a need for them. Not quite sure why.

F1Fan

11/20/2006 07:14:00 PM

I don't even classify myself as agnostic, because I do know what I know, and know why I'm not convinced by the popular religious concepts of society. I stand firm in that we don't have to accept any label.

jd70

11/20/2006 07:12:51 PM

No problem stepp, that makes sense

F1Fan

11/20/2006 07:12:20 PM

To be fair, athiests are perfectly capable of feeling superior to others. Personally, I find agnosticism to be a more appropriate belief. Somehow, "I don't know" seems more honest for me than any statements of beliefs. -jacknky I don't consider myself an atheist. But others label me that way since I am brutally honest about the nature of belief.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 07:07:59 PM

(continued) Yes, only certain laws and constants of nature are consistent with our kind of life. But essentially the same laws and constants are required to make a rock. SO why not talk about a Universe designed so rocks couls one day come to be, and strong and weal Lithic Principles? If stones couls philosophize, I imagine Lithic Principles would be at the intellectual frontiers. There is something stunningly narrow about how the Anthropic Principle is used and phrased.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 07:04:02 PM

Sorry, jd70, that was my mistake. While I thought I was agreeing with you, it was in fact jacknky's post that I was agreeing with but misascribed to you. rbethell: What a confusing and befuddles post! How do you work out that "Einsteins (and I suppose you mean) Neils Bohr.." etc, "more curious and created universe" engenders greater difficulty for the modern atheist? And just how to you come do you manage, particularly in light ogf the overwhelming evidence for evolution, that it may be "nothing more than another of the curious mechanisms of the Anthropic Principle"? Where is your evidence for that?

jd70

11/20/2006 07:01:44 PM

Steppen "Atheist n A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others." I don't know if I have the "inner balls" to call myself an atheist, but I think human beings need to be pitied rather the those with specific labels. jacknky: "I find agnosticism to be a more appropriate belief. Somehow, "I don't know" seems more honest for me than any statements of beliefs." I would agree.

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 06:59:03 PM

I've just decided that after the holidays I'll begin a dialogue group on the transcendent teachings of Plato's Cave and the Buddhist Parable of the Burning House. Needless to say. I'll be using a lot of Simone's notes since IMO she is right on. If I can't clarify some of this in that type of format, it is time to retire. Naturally, I'll need some Buddhists. If you want to be a part, you may find it interesting and dialoging may bring additional insight as to what "awakening" means.

rbethell

11/20/2006 06:51:22 PM

Actually, agnosticism has only grown as a reasonable position to take. Atheism, on the other hand has become more in need of something akin to faith. (This is certainly true for positive atheism.) The atheists of the post French revolution until the end of the 19th century had at least a steady state cosmology to fall back on. For them, the creative question was irrelevant, since there was no reason to believe anything other than that the universe was a steady state Newtonian cosmos, steadily supplying worlds on which life could evolve. The far more curious limited and created universe of Einstein, Neils, Schroedinger, and Heisenberg offers no such steady state for the atheist to smugly cling to. Of the 19th century assumptions atheists made, only Darwin's survives, and even that may be nothing more than another of the curious mechanisms of the Anthropic Principle.

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 06:37:54 PM

jacknky In the Buddhist sense I believe you are reversing the concept of being "awake". To dwell in the world of the conceptual, such as ideas about the nature of the gods, is to be asleep. But this is not what I am doing. this is the domain of the Atheist. I posted Simone's excerpt as to why not to believe and a beautiful quote from Meister Eckhart explaining the futility of such speculations. It is the Atheist who exaggerates the value of science that is suggestive of the illusory world of sleep. It is the Atheist that suggests analysis at the exclusion of anything else. Of what value is analysis for sleeping people other than to support justifications? Have you ever really thought what awakening means personally?

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 06:11:10 PM

You are probably right, jacknky, but it is not something I have personally experienced in the attitudes of atheists I have met and associated with. And while agnosticism was probably a reasonable stance to adopt in former times - based largely on an absence of compelling arguments either for atheism or theism - I don't think that is any longer the case. While there may be some sort of slim outside chance that some sort of God may exist, I think there are now some very powerful and compelling arguments that would lead one to extrapolate just a bit and declare God very likely non-existent.

jacknky

11/20/2006 05:43:31 PM

stepp, To be fair, athiests are perfectly capable of feeling superior to others. Personally, I find agnosticism to be a more appropriate belief. Somehow, "I don't know" seems more honest for me than any statements of beliefs.

namchuck

11/20/2006 05:40:32 PM

Love that definition of an atheist, steppen!

namchuck

11/20/2006 05:39:06 PM

Well, you know, jacknky, that God loves a tryer :-)

jacknky

11/20/2006 05:34:58 PM

Namchuck, "But since the number of possible absurdities is infinite, I am careful to choose those that suit me." Cool... Of course I do that too. But I try not to.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 05:32:52 PM

Atheist n A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others. -Chaz Bufe, The Heretics Dictionary

namchuck

11/20/2006 05:17:55 PM

It is impossible to shake one of the Elect by rational arguments, but what faith is not sure about, it uses argument to affirm with desperate certainty. When it comes to theology, especially of the mystical kind, faith uses reason as long as it serves a purpose, then discards it when the winds of the mind begin to change. Credo quia absurdum - I believe because it is absurd. But since the number of possible absurdities is infinite, I am careful to choose those that suit me.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 05:00:45 PM

I don't know that the example of some dowdy anorexic is quite the inducement to "experience of reality" as you think, Sobeit9. And what "reality" have you experienced that leads you to believe you are in possession of some 'spiritual' advantage? So, the irruducible mystery at the heart of things is sleep, is it, Sobeit9?

jacknky

11/20/2006 04:56:54 PM

Sobeit, "Yes, this mystery has always referred to in one way or another as "sleep." In the Buddhist sense I believe you are reversing the concept of being "awake". To dwell in the world of the conceptual, such as ideas about the nature of the gods, is to be asleep. Stepp's willingness to let go of conceptual concerns is actually closer to the concept of Awakening than getting mired down in mental conceptions. BTW, this is also a reason why Buddhism doesn't have much of a problem with science. They both strive to see objectively what is.

F1Fan

11/20/2006 04:21:37 PM

The fuzzy and warm arms of theology and philosophy don't have to be accountabe to tests in reality. So anytime someone takes a position from these two perspectives, and uses unfounded assumptions, and erroneous judgments, to frame the process of science in a mythological light, then it tells us yet again how theology and philosophy are not self-correcting, as science is.

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 04:18:47 PM

Stepp I'm quite willing to concede that there is an irreducible mystery at the heart of things, but I'm also quite content to leave that irreducible mystery alone. The real mystery for we humans who have evolved over millions of years, is our ordinary consciousness in which we are immersed each and every moment of our lives Yes, this mystery has always referred to in one way or another as "sleep." Probably its most famous description is in Plato's Cave Analogy. This ordinary consciousness is actually life in the cave. There is a minority though that is not content with cave life and seek the freedom of the outside.

F1Fan

11/20/2006 04:17:54 PM

Science is not a belief system? Are you not a scientist, or one who believes in and follows science? -alE2 No one has to "believe" in science, as the results speak for themselves. This sort of mythologizing of science is ridiculous. And there's a reason why it is people not trained in science who make these appeals.

jd70

11/20/2006 04:11:19 PM

I don't think that NDEs confirm life after death, but they are interesting phenomena. Maybe I will find out when my flame goes out, but until then I am content not to know.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 03:48:21 PM

Hello jd70! I have never actually come across one of those NDE claims that stands up to close scrutiny. Even the Dalai Lama has expressed doubt that NDE's confirm life after death.

jd70

11/20/2006 03:35:54 PM

steppen: Interesting posts. I have read about people having NDEs that have described details about other parts of the hospital for which they have never been in while they were living and breathing so to speak. Quite interesting if they are being truthful.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 03:21:39 PM

Finally, I would suggest that mystical experiences are entirely fabricated by a priori' beliefs and expectations. Find or advance me a truth that transcends your personal context?

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 03:17:44 PM

(continued) This view echoes the suggestion of some cognitive scientists that there is no unifeied self at the core of each individual. The self is a byproduct of the interaction of a host of cognitive functions. I think the concept of memes has similar implications. The individual self is just a bunch of memes sustained by the information-processing system in the brain. When the brain goes, the bunch of memes goes. Actions exist, and also their consequences, but the person who acts does not.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 03:12:59 PM

(continued) I'm quite willing to concede that there is an irreducible mystery at the heart of things, but I'm also quite content to leave that irreducible mystery alone. The real mystery for we humans who have evolved over millions of years, is our ordinary consciousness in which we are immersed each and every moment of our lives. This is why I'm fairly convinced that Buddhism has indeed anticipated some of the latest theories emerging from cognitive science. For example, the Buddhist concept of anatta, or "no self", holds that if you eliminate all the passing thoughts, perceptions, and emotions, that constitute your mind, you will realize it does not truly exist as a discrete, independent entity.

jd70

11/20/2006 03:11:03 PM

jacknky: I would say that one would have to give the "Something" a name, and a personality to push it into the supernatural relm instead of the relm of awe, but I do see your point.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 03:05:03 PM

That was some philosophy lesson indeed! "We have a lot to learn" (Duh), so don't think you can discount the supernatural, or fire breathing dragons, leprechuans, goblins, or that angry green unicorn that lives on the dark side of the moon. I wonder if alE2 has ever heard of John Locke, who suggested that the 'One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant.' And Sobeit's posts have only reinforced to my mind that mystics, thunking (not misspelt) themselves vertically orientated, are simply mulling around in a completely horizontal continuum of language formed and based experience, not failing to mention the fact of being utterly preoccupied with themselves. As someone once said, and correctly, I believe, that mysticism stars with 'mist', centers in the 'I', and ends in 'schism'.

jacknky

11/20/2006 02:59:05 PM

JD70, It's all semantics, isn't it? Capitalize "Something" and it tends to take the discussion into the supernatural realm. Doesn't it? Something can be Anything. Semantics again. I just wasn't impressed with the philosophy of aIE2.

jd70

11/20/2006 02:40:34 PM

jacknky: "Yeeess... Now take the Capital "S" off of "Something" and we are all essences of natural phenomema." I am just curious what is the difference? Semantics?

jacknky

11/20/2006 01:35:29 PM

aIE2, "Is there any way for you not to be after you have been?" This is dualistic thinking. If the Universe is constantly changing energy and if we are part of the Universe then it's all in flux, including "us". "Being" and "not-being" are subjective terms. You aree semantically trying to enclose what is infinite (the Universe). what is the "you" you're speaking of? If it is consciousness and ego then claiming to "know" where consciousness comes from and where it goes falls more in the realm of religion. "We are all essences of Something." Yeeess... Now take the Capital "S" off of "Something" and we are all essences of natural phenomema. Is it good philosophy in your opinion to assume the supernatural because we can't explain everything natural? Thanks for the philosophy "lesson".

jacknky

11/20/2006 01:25:37 PM

aIE2, As a philisopher speaking of "belief",do you make any distinction between religious belief and belief based on rationality and objective experience? Religious belief is based on what can't be seen. Objective faith like science is based on what we can see. I don't believe in the existence of supernatural gods. This is a question with no answer and the existences of which are solely based on strongly held opinions, not observable phenomena.. I do believe the sun will rise in the morning, based on many years of experience. It may not but if it doesn't it will be for reasons we can understand if we survive. It's observable. To confuse religious belief with belief based on the natural world doesn't seem very deep for a philosopher.

alE2

11/20/2006 12:59:09 PM

I am a Philosopher, by trade, and I am fairly if not expertly aware of problems with religion, especially fundamental types of religion. Fanatacism and false beliefs go hand in hand. Mr. Dawkins Please!!! Science is not a belief system? Are you not a scientist, or one who believes in and follows science? Sorry for my value judgement, but that is a belief system. Ok now for a philosophy lesson. Expressional Philosophy (Expressions: A Philosophy of Mind) states that Nothing as non existence is impossible, so therefore there has always been something. As for you Mr. Dawkins, perhaps you and your other Anti-Religion Scientists can answer this question: Is there any way for you not to be after you have been? We are all essences of Something. Sadly fundamentalists see this as final, when we all know we still have alot to learn.

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 11:38:28 AM

#3 of 3 Our higher nature is vertical in relation to before and after. It is the conscious quality of "Now" as distinct from mechanical reaction as what constitutes our normal lives. This verticality is the basis of the famous expression of Hermes Emerald Tablet: "As above, so below." It is a cosmological expression. It is by awakening to verticality that we begin to sense our higher nature. The difficulty is in becoming aware of it which has been the challenge of all the great traditions initiating from a conscious source.

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 11:36:38 AM

Stepp "When science, art, literature, and philosophy are simply the manifestation of personality they are on a level where glorious and dazzling achievements are possible, which can make a man's name live for thousands of years. But above this level, far above, separated by an abyss, is the level where the highest things are achieved. These things are essentially anonymous." Simone Weil Our lower nature reacts and governed by the relationship between before and after. We sense a plate as hot. This has now become "before, and the result is "after" or moving our hand away from the hot plate. continued

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 11:23:52 AM

Stepp Stepp And do you really believe, Sobeit9, that it was only our 'lower nature' that completed the reconnaissance of the solar system by space craft; or achieved the preliminary mapping of the visible universe that surround us, and that has charted the universe within, the human genome? Yes and no. Functioning from your lower nature, you will not be aware of the workings and results of efforts from higher nature such as those done by Jesus Christ. What you see are interpretations into the results of our lower nature called Christendom. Don't make the mistake some make that lower nature implies something bad. It doesn't, it only means sense based. All of the visible you are describe is the results of our physical senses. continued

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 11:10:19 AM

Stepp Perhaps the most important consequence of skepticism is that it enlarges the scope of scientific inquiry to any topic amenable to logical discussion and empirical investigation. You don't seem to be drawing any distinction between skepticism and impartiality which, IMO is a big mistake. Impartiality is not concerned with results in relation to an emotionally established preconception since its goal is understanding. Skepticism includes an attitude that is a preconception and must taint results. If your sentence had the word "impartiality" instead of skepticism, I would agree. As it stands though, for me it is just another psychological obstacle in the way of "understanding."

Sobeit9

11/20/2006 10:59:08 AM

Stepp The reason I am a skeptic rather than a religionist, or a mystic, is because I think the idea of skepticism is immeasurably healthier and closer to the truth than the ideas proposed by any religion, or mystic, regardless of human fallibility in all three camps. This is the trouble right here but you refuse to see it. Allowing oneself to be a skeptic can be a matter of choice but you cannot choose to be a mystic yet you can allow yourself to be an escapist.. You can allow yourself to be a religionist which has devolved into a meaningless term without any sense of scale like "artist." It sounds impressive but is only a statement of "intent." So given the choice of being an escapist, a nothing (religionist) or a skeptic, all IMO based on denial, who is to say which is the lesser of these evils?

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 06:03:42 AM

(continued) And do you really believe, Sobeit9, that it was only our 'lower nature' that completed the reconnaissance of the solar system by space craft; or achieved the preliminary mapping of the visible universe that surround us, and that has charted the universe within, the human genome? We now possess numerous historical examples of naturalistic explanations supplanting supernatural and mystical ones, but not one case going the other way! When people's belief in God, or their totally self-self-self-indulgent proccupation with the vagaries of mysticism start producing the same real-world results of science, like cures for diseases or worldwide comunications or life-saving weather forecasts (to name a few), then we might have something to talk about.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 05:51:25 AM

(continued) And, yes, I do think that skepticism (Goethe's kind) gives one a measure of protection against lunacy. The reason I am a skeptic rather than a religionist, or a mystic, is because I think the idea of skepticism is immeasurably healthier and closer to the truth than the ideas proposed by any religion, or mystic, regardless of human fallibility in all three camps. Perhaps the most important consequence of skepticism is that it enlarges the scope of scientific inquiry to any topic amenable to logical discussion and empirical investigation.

steppen0410e

11/20/2006 05:35:20 AM

I have never said at any time, Sobeit9, that science is our only means of knowing, only that science remains by far the single most successful set of tools to learn about the natural world and to predict its behavior. Furthermore, science is the only human activity with a built-in system of self-correction when tested against the vagaries of the real world, unlike, say, astrology or mysticism. But I like Namchuck's question. Just where is the evidence that consciousness is a basic characteristic of the universe?

F1Fan

11/19/2006 09:32:56 PM

The value of the results of research are determined by the needs suggested by the questions. -Sobeit Only as it applies to humans who assign what is valuable in science. Science itself has no such meanings. If science can reveal what is true about nature, then it matters not whether it is knowing how ants mate, or finding a weakness in the AIDS virus. Of course, we humans are emotional creatures who benefit to varying degrees from science. So we may get more excited about the results about the virus than the ant sex. The results can be accurate but serve only to be of service to our lower natures. Like having computers so we can dabble over these issues with each other?

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 09:30:21 PM

F1fan Of course this does not account for the assumption of god, and the denial of any rational or objective measure for their assumption. This way illusion is the means to frame ‘reality”. Only a very large ego would assume the ability to comprehend "isness" beyond time and space as the source of creation itself. It is only the impossible that is possible for God. He has given over the possible to the mechanics of matter and the autonomy of his creatures. Simone Weil

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 09:16:50 PM

#2 of 2 If such an ultimate consciousness exists in which all possibilities exist as potential, it seems foolish to me that there is just God and these beginnings of conscious here on this very insignificant planet. If consciousness exists at levels between god and Man, then it would be plentiful within the cosmological universal structure. This is impossible for you not only because you don't believe in this source but also since you don't distinguish between consciousness and contents of consciousness.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 09:16:18 PM

Stepp All you are indulging in, Sobeit9, is a version of "special pleading", or the invisible fire breathing dragon in the garage. If the only thing giving you evidence of something's existence is a certain feeling in the mind (inflated to a special kind of consciousness), then the odds are that a feeling in the mind is all it is. It is far more than that. First of all this idea of everything sprouting from nothing by the laws of chance is just foolish for me. It makes much more sense to envision creation as lawful actualized fractions of ultimate potential existing as wholeness within consciousness and emanating into creation.. continued

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 09:14:46 PM

Stepp "Evidence can only come to those open to it psychologically", or, in other words, if you like the idea, or find it consoling or comforting, you'll eventually talk yourself into believing that it is true. And, of course, everyone wants to prove the truth of their beliefs through experience, but the belief begets the experience. Again reading things into a concept that are not there. Being psychologically open does not mean blindly accepting. You seem to believe that skepticism protects you from lunacy but in reality it denies you the possibility of outgrowing the fantasy that science by itself explains reality

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 09:12:28 PM

#2 of 2 There is a deeper problem here explained well by Thomas McFarlane in the following essay http://www.integralscience.org/questioning.html Our culture's materialistic worldview is rooted in scientism, which is not the same as science itself. Science in its purest sense is not a worldview but a method for systematically investigating and organizing aspects of reality that we access through our senses. Simply put, science is a way of knowing reality. Scientism takes this one step further and claims that science is the only way of knowing reality. Whereas science is silent regarding the aspects of reality beyond its scope, scientism asserts that there is no reality beyond its scope. According to scientism, if something is not rational, or not verifiable through the physical senses, then it is not real. This IMO is the problem with Atheists. They often substitute scientism for science which IMO is unfair to science not to mention the human spirit.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 09:10:48 PM

Stepp Furthermore, scientific growth is more like organic growth: a seasonal affair, occurring in spurts and stops. It is a huge mistake, however, to suggest that because the choice of question is under the influence of society's needs and ideals, so must the results of research also be. The value of the results of research are determined by the needs suggested by the questions. The results can be accurate but serve only to be of service to our lower natures. Only a minority of science is concerned with the revelation of the higher nature and wholeness of reality at the expense of our lower satisfactions so consequently there is little money in it. Yet efforts are being made in that direction. continued

F1Fan

11/19/2006 08:22:09 PM

Simone is one of the few willing to sacrifice temporal benefits to experience the truth. Or what she thought was the truth, assuming you are using her words and meaning with accuracy, of which I am also skeptical. This is why she strived for impartiality and not skepticism making her impossible for you to comprehend. Once anyone assumes a god exists and tries to integrate it into their framework of perception, then anything that impedes that view of things will be regarded as “missing something”. Of course this does not account for the assumption of god, and the denial of any rational or objective measure for their assumption. This way illusion is the means to frame ‘reality”.

F1Fan

11/19/2006 08:12:23 PM

You imply that the intellect is sufficient to digest the big picture of reality. That in itself is fantasy and IMO a dangerous one at that. -Sobeit The intellect is adequate to determine when someone presents a bogus and unverifiable concept, and then calls it reality when no standard has been met. This is why skepticism is such a poison. Bogus claim, since skepticism is an excellent attribute of critical thought that weeds out bogus assertions like the above. Skepticism is surely poison to religious claims, and for good reason. Do you have any actual evidence of a god existing? Yes or no?

namchuck

11/19/2006 06:42:05 PM

I would like Sobeit9 to provide the evidence that consciousness is a basic characteristic of the universe? We know that it is a phenomenon here on Earth, but our planet is little more than a mote of dust in the vastness of space, hardly grounds on which to extrapolate a universal quality. But perhaps Sobeit has already provided the answer, but not the evidence, to that question. Just believe it.

windbender

11/19/2006 06:26:25 PM

The notion of a conscious universe isn't new and it isn't demonstratable. When I was a child I was "open psychologically" to the idea that my dreams while asleep and my experiences while awake were simply two different sides to the same awareness that is me. That didn't make it so and the inability to demonstrate the reality of the dream state made for a conscious recognition of this side of the mirror as reality. Thankfully, reality isn't as simple as what you're willing to believe - though perhaps a Scientologist or two would take issue with that statement.

steppen0410e

11/19/2006 06:14:25 PM

Make that "broad".

steppen0410e

11/19/2006 06:13:34 PM

"Evidence can only come to those open to it psychologically", or, in other words, if you like the idea, or find it consoling or comforting, you'll eventually talk yourself into believing that it is true. And, of course, everyone wants to prove the truth of their beliefs through experience, but the belief begets the experience. I think it was Steven Weinberg that said that some people have views of God so braod and flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him, even in a lump of coal.

steppen0410e

11/19/2006 06:06:58 PM

(continued) The culture-independent, epoch-independent nature of rational enquiry is important. If scientists are grappling with the world as it really is, then the fruits of their endeavours should resemble one another insofar as they are accurate. Culture and epoch may vary, yet the results of rational enquiry do not vary with them. All you are indulging in, Sobeit9, is a version of "special pleading", or the invisible fire breathing dragon in the garage. If the only thing giving you evidence of something's existence is a certain feeling in the mind (inflated to a special kind of consciousness), then the odds are that a feeling in the mind is all it is.

steppen0410e

11/19/2006 06:00:56 PM

Sobeit9: Do you know how many citations one could provide from famous people claiming to have been influenced by other "great minds" of the their time? Yes, we do test knowledge by its logical consistency and its power to predict, and, consequently, we do see its production and some of its marvelous feats, but to suggest that this is all the result of simple desires is a perversion and a misunderstanding of the nature of science. There is also in man an insatiable curiosity coupled with an urge to explain that has been the real driving force in science. Furthermore, scientific growth is more like organic growth: a seasonal affair, occurring in spurts and stops. It is a huge mistake, however, to suggest that because the choice of question is under the influence of society's needs and ideals, so must the results of research also be.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 05:50:28 PM

http://www.rawpaint.com/library/intro.html Click on "A Conscious Universe" and you will read why I think as I do. I admit I know the same things from much older sources but it is roughly the same idea. This format prohibits relating in depth Evidence can only come to those open to it psychologically. If you wish to stand off in skepticism, you can never acquire the impartiality necessary to experience the fullness of evidence. It is your choice.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 05:48:54 PM

Simone is one of the few willing to sacrifice temporal benefits to experience the truth. This is why she strived for impartiality and not skepticism making her impossible for you to comprehend. Take Sobeit9's notion of consciousness permeating the universe. In a universe we know to be largely characterized by randomness and chaos, where is the least favorable evidence that it is permeated by consciousness? Each post can only take a little over a thousand characters. I cannot go into depth on it. If you want to know why I say it, read the first chapter of Jacob Needleman's "A Sense of the Cosmos" Chapter One the Universe found here: continued

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 05:45:15 PM

The fact that we are bedazzled by the pragmatic successes of science shows us that when we pursue science our real intentions do not match what we sometimes claim to be searching for. We say we want knowledge about the universe, but we test our knowledge only by its logical consistency, its power to predict and its production of marvelous feats. Our real intention, therefore, is to satisfy our desires or allay our fears--desire for explanations, a sense of security, or material gain; fear of the unknown, death, pain and loneliness. We must therefore recognize that there is a great difference between the wish for knowledge and the wish to satisfy desire, which is the basis of pragmatism. And that knowledge in the service of our ordinary desires may produce a very different picture of the universe than knowledge which is connected to other motives.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 05:43:01 PM

The idea is that skepticism should not simply be a negative position, but one of active investigation: a true sceptic is someone who does not believe until the evidence is favorable enough, but who actively searches for such evidence before rejecting a new idea. Skepticism is another means for corrupting science since it denies impartiality and its value as for revealing truth in favor of satisfying desires. From Jacob Needleman's "Sense of the Cosmos:" continued

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 05:38:54 PM

Stepp The more I read and hear of Simone Weil the more I am inclined to believe she is simply a mystic-moocher with very little that is relevant to say. Find me someone else so deep that they could influence people as diverse as both Leon Trotsky and Pope Paul V1. Find me another who also could earn such approval from a known intelligent thinker as the following: Existentialist philosopher Albert Camus in a letter to Weil's mother in 1951 wrote: Simone Weil, I still know this now, is the only great mind of our times and I hope that those who realize this have enough modesty to not try to appropriate her overwhelming witnessing. For my part, I would be satisfied if one could say that in my place, with the humble means at my disposal, I served to make known and disseminate her work whose full impact we have yet to measure. Perhaps it is your inability or unwillingness to understand the wholeness she expresses rather than Simone's nature. continued

steppen0410e

11/19/2006 04:26:55 PM

The more I read and hear of Simone Weil the more I am inclined to believe she is simply a mystic-moocher with very little that is relevant to say. For instance, Weil's appreciation of scepticism seems rather perverse. Where would science be without it? Of course, science's scepticism is along the lines of Goethe's Thatige Skepsis or "active doubt". The idea is that scepticism should not simply be a negative position, but one of active investigation: a true sceptic is someone who does not believe until the evidence is favorable enough, but who actively searches for such evidence before rejecting a new idea. Take Sobeit9's notion of consciousness permeating the universe. In a universe we know to be largely characterized by randomness and chaos, where is the least favorable evidence that it is permeated by consciousness?

F1Fan

11/19/2006 02:09:47 PM

Emotional experience was the only claim that I ever made, as to my proof, I was looking for a tangible way to present that, the only thing that comes close is personal experience. -GWB OK, then if this is your preference, tell how much you respect the devotional and emotionally charged acts of the 9-11 hijackers. They went really far in their experience, can you match them? My experience is written in an outline of my situation, not yet written into a book form. My rhetorical questions above point to the absurdities of using experience as a means to prove or validate beliefs. Your experiences are irrelevant to discussion. You can share them on a devotional part of the site, but not here. After all who am I? A mortal and fallible being, who holds beliefs that may be in error. You’re not a god, and your judgments are not final. The evolution of religion requires a GOD. Which is why humans create gods.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/19/2006 12:54:11 PM

Emotional experience was the only claim that I ever made, as to my proof, I was looking for a tangible way to present that, the only thing that comes close is personal experience. My experience is written in an outline of my situation, not yet written into a book form. The difference between an outline and a book is a lot of words and that takes a lot of work, and even if I was to write a book would I have an audience? After all who am I? The evolution of religion requires a GOD. Peace on Earth requires a miracle provided by GOD. After all Scientists think I'm to Creation oriented while liberals think I'm too conservative. I am the man in the middle. Where does that put the universe?

F1Fan

11/19/2006 11:47:46 AM

I would Love to see Mr. Richard Dawkins respond to my post and that would be another miracle and proof that GOD does exist... ;)/i> -GWB There was no demonstrable miracle. You over-estimate your own ability to present a logically-valid story. And he would respond as I am here. You have NOT provided any sort of rational and objective argument that merits consideration sufficient to believe gods exist. You are trying to use logical fallacies to present your case, and surely Dawkins is smart enough to see it as I do. That you fail to understand logical fallacies, or don't know about them, again falls on you, and is your responsibility to learn. Do you not understand what I’m saying? Do you not understand you break the rules with your appeals to emotion?

F1Fan

11/19/2006 11:43:00 AM

How is a child supposed to stand against this unless he is fortunate to have someone around him that understands something? Like a child taught that evolution is a lie, and that Jesus saves, and non-believers are condemned to hell? Yes, children don’t have the critical thinking skills to challenge what adults say. Heck, even some adults don’t have these skills. Who protects kids from these false claims? Who challenges adults who believe that myth is reality? Religious fervor become a bigger problem in the USA and in the Middle East in recent years. It is ALL the same sort of mental attitude, and it needs to be challenged. That attitude is the assumption that dogma has an inherent and complete authority in ways that ordinary humans don’t have the right to claim. And make no mistake: there is no god coming forth to claim this authority. Neither the 9-11 hijackers, nor the Creationist, have any authority over those who believe differently. The authority of god they assume is human judgment.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 11:36:08 AM

GWB Like, Christian and Jews, Gentiles and Pagans, Mayans and Buddhists. All under one banner, because there is only one GOD; while many worship GOD in many forms. The truth is that all paths lead to the same end. We help others and tell the truth. You may appreciate another perspective on this. Read the intro to this thread. If the idea appeals to you, we can discuss it. For me it is the intelligent observation that it is us that must change which is why the desired blend of religion into anything meaningful and beyond secularism is impossible. http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?boardID=36253&discussionID=528409

F1Fan

11/19/2006 11:35:06 AM

However, there is a sizable minority that feel the source of meaning and purpose outside of life. This is what the Dawkins mindset considers outdated. -Sobeit Yes, because it stems from ancient beliefs and myths carried into the present. Such beliefs are based on nothing but emotional satisfaction, and driven by base human behaviors that are typically not available to rational thought. Such behaviors are processed through the limbic system, and bypass the neocortex, thus self-verified and enabled as belief. Despite efforts to point out this phenomenon we see believers simply ignore this and prefer to believe what they want to believe. This demonstrates that autonomic nature of belief, and how it is not readily available to reason, nor applied to self-reflection. This is the influence of the modern scientific mind that has become unnecessarily closed./I> It is closed to myth and fantasy, which ensures accuracy and reliability. This is not a fault, but deliberate.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/19/2006 11:03:27 AM

Sobeit TheGreatWhiteBuffalo 11/13/2006 9:42:04 PM I would Love to see Mr. Richard Dawkins respond to my post and that would be another miracle and proof that GOD does exist... ;)

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 10:58:56 AM

#5 of 5 Yes, science can serve materialism but is materialism the true driving force of Man or, as suggested by Prof. Needleman, compensation for the loss of the respected search for meaning? I'll stick with those like Prof. Needleman and Simone Weil. They have a "humanity" about them far beyond the artificial platitudes, the influence of which I would never want to be without.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 10:58:10 AM

The result is the loss of the ability to question from the depths of ones own being: the essential religious questions. It becomes easier to suppress them. The results of the gradual loss of this ability is no better described IMO than by Prof Jacob Needleman in his book "The American Soul" where he writes: Our world, so we see and hear on all sides, is drowning in materialism, commercialism, consumerism. But the problem is not really there. What we ordinarily speak of as materialism is a result, not a cause. The root of materialism is a poverty of ideas about the inner and outer world. Less and less does our contemporary culture have, or even seek, commerce with great ideas, and it is the lack that is weakening the human spirit. This is the essence of materialism. Materialism is a disease of the mind starved for ideas. continued

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 10:54:59 AM

This is the influence of the modern scientific mind that has become unnecessarily closed. It has become politically incorrect to feel outside of prescribed societal norms. How is a child supposed to stand against this unless he is fortunate to have someone around him that understands something? continued from below GWB's posts

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 10:53:45 AM

Both have in common the idea that they KNOW what is real and unreal and what they define as real is supposed to fill the need for meaning and purpose within Man. This isn't the place to really discuss these ideas since the format is not good for it so I'll just put out some general ideas. All people are not the same. Many people are made so that they are able to derive sufficient meaning and purpose from their involvement in life itself. However, there is a sizable minority that feel the source of meaning and purpose outside of life. This is what the Dawkins mindset considers outdated. "The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry." Simone Weil

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/19/2006 10:50:54 AM

F1fan 11/19/2006 1:06:37 AM Worship what exactly? The Great Spirit of GOD. Like, Christian and Jews, Gentiles and Pagans, Mayans and Buddhists. All under one banner, because there is only one GOD; while many worship GOD in many forms. The truth is that all paths lead to the same end. We help others and tell the truth.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 10:48:10 AM

Dear Reader, the following to quotes from Dawkins and F1fan provide what I see as the potential psychological harm to the spiritually aware: First from Dawkins: Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young minds. Non-fundamentalist, "sensible" religion may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith is a virtue. Now from F1fan Yet we don’t need religion for purpose and meaning. Even work in science can reward a person with great purpose and meaning. Frankl defined the search for meaning as seeking a goal worthy of the self. There is no obligation or dependency of religion for this. Even people with fervent belief can be devoid of substantial meaning

F1Fan

11/19/2006 02:34:55 AM

So we have a majority standoff as proof of its collective stupidity. Republicans?

F1Fan

11/19/2006 02:32:42 AM

Science wants to know how the universe and its functions work and religion is interested in purpose and meaning. They should be related but are not. Yet we don’t need religion for purpose and meaning. Even work in science can reward a person with great purpose and meaning. Frankl defined the search for meaning as seeking a goal worthy of the self. There is no obligation or dependency of religion for this. Even people with fervent belief can be devoid of substantial meaning. Many have developed a contempt for religion since its scope minimizes the importance of science which is felt as an attack on self importance. When the religious attack science it is for envy and greed. The religious envy the truth demonstrated in science that it cannot match, and holds desperately to the mystery it can muster from what remains uncertain. This sort of pettiness is not respectable, nor honorable, especially from those who claim some sort of “higher understanding”.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 01:33:40 AM

F1fan It’s the same thing. We see nature and wonder at its marvels. We want to know how it works, and discover the reality of the things we don’t understand. Science wants to know how the universe and its functions work and religion is interested in purpose and meaning. They should be related but are not. Now, many folks have developed a contempt for science because it displaces their myths and mysteries with real answers. That is a shame. Many have developed a contempt for religion since its scope minimizes the importance of science which is felt as an attack on self importance. So we have a majority standoff as proof of its collective stupidity.

F1Fan

11/19/2006 01:13:46 AM

Awe and wonder was experienced when the ancients first looked at the heavens. What did science have to do with it? -Sobeit It’s the same thing. We see nature and wonder at its marvels. We want to know how it works, and discover the reality of the things we don’t understand. Now, many folks have developed a contempt for science because it displaces their myths and mysteries with real answers. That is a shame.

F1Fan

11/19/2006 01:06:37 AM

The problem is that you’ve gone too far to exclude all religious practices… Actually I haven’t. I’ve pointed to the intellectual and emotional dilemmas that rigid belief in irrational ideas can cause. … if we step back for a minute and work together we can reconstruct a true worship practice that is solitary bringing people together where true justice can flourish. Worship what exactly? I know this sounds like a dream not founded in reality, but at the same time, we are talking about changing the world for the better. Well unity and justice are real and possible. Anything short of nothing will be better than the multiple duplicities and contradictions that we have today. Like Hindus and Muslims?

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 12:26:54 AM

#3 of 3 Maybe the most alluring image of love which Nature bears is the borderline between water and dry land, where water circumscribes the earth, and the earth circumscribes the line of water. The horizon, taking off from the shore and stretching far into the distance, connects Man with the awesome endlessness of the universe, and here, right here, one acutely feels the miracle of his fleeting life." Khachatrian This is the experience of awe by both the artist and man of God. Science is not necessary for these experiences. At a higher level I believe that both means for experiencing the external world can become complimentary when we become better aligned inwardly.

Sobeit9

11/19/2006 12:23:50 AM

to me that essence is the feelings of awe and wonder that comes from what our science has revealed about the structure of the world. Awe and wonder was experienced when the ancients first looked at the heavens. What did science have to do with it? The universe is mathematical so lends itself to scientific investigation. But this mathematical correctness we find in nature that allows us to experience beauty and awe is not the end all. In fact taken as the goal is very limiting since the source of beauty and awe lies beyond these experiences. continued

Sobeit9

11/18/2006 11:55:18 PM

Stepp Actually more research is being done all the time on astronomical measurements contained in the Great Pyramid as written here: http://www.crystalinks.com/gpstats.html How did these calculations become so precise. This is not accidental but real knowledge obtained in a way we do not understand but are experimenting with now. Perhaps within this knowledge of mathematical relationships lies the secret of how they were built in the first place. No one argues that we could not duplicate it if we wanted to. Furthermore, where is the evidence that the universe is "permeated with consciousness above a certain level of existence..."? Explaining the hypothesis requires becoming familiar with Cosmology. As I said. Jacob Needleman's "A Sense of the Cosmos" IMO is a good introduction to cosmology. It has no appeal to you so there is no sense pursuing it with you. continued

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/18/2006 11:53:52 PM

Here is a thread to read that is relevent to this discussion. Is Panentheism a new term? http://www.beliefnet.com/study_groups/studygroup_message_list.asp?studyGroupID=8607&discussionID=541889

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/18/2006 11:46:00 PM

F1fan and Bobzilla Talking about the mental health attributes of people and their religious ideologies the benchmarks that we seek are balance and you’ve made a good point about how religion is the culprit of setting people off balance and obscuring what is the true meaning of critical thinking and real justice. The problem is that you’ve gone too far to exclude all religious practices, promoting atheism if we step back for a minute and work together we can reconstruct a true worship practice that is solitary bringing people together where true justice can flourish. I know this sounds like a dream not founded in reality, but at the same time, we are talking about changing the world for the better. Anything short of nothing will be better than the multiple duplicities and contradictions that we have today.

steppen0410e

11/18/2006 09:49:34 PM

(continued) Furthermore, where is the evidence that the universe is "permeated with consciousness above a certain level of existence..."? The fact is, we know that randomness and chaos largely permeate the universe with little pockets of order here and there, a fact which would belie the notion that consciousness permeates it very much at all. The notion is simply a fancy of the mystics and their followers who are not attracted to the fact that science has exposed the truth that humans do not play any significant role in the cosmic drama. While the above mentioned fancies of the mystics may represent the 'essence' of religion to some, to me that essence is the feelings of awe and wonder that comes from what our science has revealed about the structure of the world. It touches the mind and heart like nothing else and doesn't oblige anyone to embrace untestable and unprovable assertions and claims.

steppen0410e

11/18/2006 09:40:19 PM

Yes, Sobeit9, there is much about Egyptian astronomy and mathematics that is extraordinarily impressive and stands as a great monument to human curiosity, imagination, and reason. But their astronomy, impressive as it is, was limited to what was available to the human eye, which is why they recognized only five of the nine (or is it eight) planets of our solar system. But impressive as Egyptian, and Greek, astronomy was, I don't see how it can lead anyone to assert that only now are we learning things that they knew!?

Sobeit9

11/18/2006 06:45:46 PM

Well said jd. that is why I say "essence of religion" I know the corruption of which you speak. Knowing that someone else (you) has seen the importance of this distinction has made my night. Thanks

jd70

11/18/2006 06:38:42 PM

"A person can learn a great deal of scientific truths but do they satisfy the needs of the human heart?" While for me that is a truthful statement, most religions are riddled with dogma which not only don't fill the void, but prevent one from filling it. For me the longings of the heart and the natural world give me the sense of awe and the realization that I am apart of something more. The problem with religion is that it keeps attempting to define what that "more" is, which then does not feed the heart, but rather the ego. With that said many of the mystical branches of religion such as sufi, kabbalah, and others do not fall into that same trap and are efforts withen their respective religious traditions to overcome the need to feed the ego.

Sobeit9

11/18/2006 06:21:40 PM

#3 of 3 If you feel what she expresses, you feel the essential religious calling. If you don't feel it and feel no lust for meaning, then don't bother with religion other than as a meeting place to accomplish secular aims. If the universe is permeated with consciousness above a certain cosmological qualitative level of existence, we initially feel it emotionally as did Simone. Naturally there are those like Simone who feel it far more than others.

Sobeit9

11/18/2006 06:17:16 PM

As usual, Simone Weil describes it as well as anyone since she lived it. "...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good... It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him." -- Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- © continued

Sobeit9

11/18/2006 06:13:25 PM

The Atheists here including Dawkins seem to be underestimating the validity needs of the human heart. Granted, negative emotions do us no good but the deeper essential positive emotions I call "feelings" are vital for our well being if one desires to be more than a robot. A person can learn a great deal of scientific truths but do they satisfy the needs of the human heart? This is the domain of the essence of religion. As opposed to blind belief to satisfy egotism, the essence of religion caters to our admittance that there is something lacking in the world that the inner man needs. Science then becomes good and useful but is still lacking. continued

Sobeit9

11/18/2006 05:51:21 PM

Stepp I'll do you a deal. You tell me what the ancients supposedly knew about astronomy that we are only now learning and I'll tell you about cosmic evolution? If you look up detailed info on measurements of the Great Pyramid you will find a great deal. For starters consider the findings in this article: http://www.sacredsites.com/africa/egypt/great_pyramid.html How was this all known without telescopes and knowledge of the movements of heavenly bodies? By the way, while I do not draw a distinction between consciousness and its content - because there is no such thing as consciousness without content This is why we cannot discuss consciousness. We understand it differently.

Bobzilla

11/18/2006 05:25:15 PM

I believe that in my life, I experience myself as more than a body and a mind. I am also an awareness with a will and a set of emotions. It is this important aspect of life that religion tries, but does not always succeed in addressing. To me, it seems that to be an individual awareness is inherently an individual quality, so religion can go wrong by adopting a "one size fits all" approach to spirituality. On the other hand, many humans frequently need guidance and education regarding matters of spirit. The "truth" that might be available in a spiritual path is therfore not either "set in stone" nor so flexible that any and all behavior is allowable. In short, a good spiritual path needs to be regulated by principals that are known and accepted as good and worthwhile things like love, hope, compassion and charity. Hate and intolerance, being ruled by fear and anger are not good things. These are my brief ideas on how to reform spirituality so that awareness can be a useful concept for all human beings.

steppen0410e

11/18/2006 04:40:40 PM

Sobeit9: I'll do you a deal. You tell me what the ancients supposedly knew about astronomy that we are only now learning and I'll tell you about cosmic evolution? By the way, while I do not draw a distinction between consciousness and its content - because there is no such thing as consciousness without content - I do draw a distinction between consciousness and awareness, but that's an altogether different thing.

F1Fan

11/18/2006 12:13:07 PM

Within the context of this discussion, you seem to be arguing that this is a uniquely theistic problem. Clearly, though, this isn't the case. How many people adopt a political ideology and then only vote in the occassional Presidential election? Right you are. The patterns of ideological-based behavior is the same. So it makes no difference if the concepts include supernatural aspects or secular. The Nazis self-confirmed their hatred of the Jews. Muslims self-confirm their belief in god. The experiences of this behavior and beliefs are self-confirming, which is why we can’t accept “personal experience of god (concept)” as a valid argument. The emotions can, and do, sway decision more often than we realize. If we do not gain mastery over how our emotions direct our lives, then we are at the mercy of this blind spot. The reliance on illusion and fantasy for a meaningful framework that cannot be discerned from reality is one such example.

F1Fan

11/18/2006 12:05:12 PM

Are you using an absolute instrument that measures everyone according to the same scale, or a relative instrument that tracks individual growth of the devotee? There is no instrument, although we can see brain images when people meditate or pray, as it activates certain areas. But to the point, it is fairly obvious when a person claims to be righteous, yet frequently condemns people who don’t believe a fate in hell. That indicates a fairly shallow practice. Or is it possible your assessment is colored by your own prejudices? Unless I’m missing the depth and virtue in haranguing others, and vilifying them for not believing in ideas that are irrational. And we can see patterns of behavior in religious belief that correspond to base human drives. And we see the justifications for belief are often superficial reasons, i.e.: feels good. There are some good demonstrable effects from religious belief. But the benefits are due to the practice, not the concepts believed in.

F1Fan

11/18/2006 11:46:09 AM

By what criteria do you make such assessments? Easy. Listen to evangelicals on the radio and listen to them vilify and use abusive tones against their fellow man, like gays and liberals. When these leaders are supposed to exemplify the lessons taught by Jesus, namely “love thy neighbor” yet cannot relate the message without interpreting a few laws from Leviticus (most of which they do not follow) instead, it suggests something quite petty. Is there some sort of reliable benchmark of spiritual depth? When people are in balance emotionally and physically, it is easy to identify. We all have hang-ups to some degree. But success is to what degree we face and deal with challenges realistically and honestly.

F1Fan

11/18/2006 11:38:18 AM

I think there is only so far that you can take this argument. Taken to its extreme, everything could be an illusion. -Tysson But we’re not talking about extremes. We are talking about our five senses and clear reasoning. And we are also using the tools of hundreds of years of objective thought that allows us to divide what is real from what is fantasy. Growth is essentially mental health, and a sense of well-being. In Health Psychology, the aim is help people adapt and adjust to the stressors of their environment, including illness. It also helps educate people about nutrition, habits like sleep and eating, and offers advice to help people solve issues they might not realize are problems, such as not enough exercise. A huge percentage of American citizens are obese. And they didn’t get this way because they were deliberate in bad habits. It was from social queues and not being aware, or caring, about the effects of those habits. Yet they need a change, and take control.

F1Fan

11/18/2006 11:27:13 AM

However, where I have seen the largest drawbacks on the theistic side is with those who reject tradition in favor of ecclecticism. In my experience, such an approach all too often leads to stagnation as the individual continually adds spiritual elements that reinforce currently held beliefs rather than confronting challenges that can lead to meaningful change. -Tysson I’m not against tradition. What I see as a problem is when tradition tries to hold onto obsolete ideas that are clearly inconsistent with the modern word. This places people in a dilemma having to manage reality and learned ideologies that contrast. These beliefs do not imply spirituality just because they are religious. I see many religious people who are insensitive and empty. There is no shortcut through religious beliefs-as-tradition. Belief and faith guarantees nothing through adoption of social norms. In the end it is an individual path one must walk.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/18/2006 10:51:45 AM

Tysson, You are wise, I thanked you for your input before, I'll do it again. We'll talk more, I've got a lot to say, for the moment, I've got a lot to do. Sobeit... You are one of GOD's special children, allow me to offer a little help, to turn off italics ue the switch Less than sign, /i Greater than sign... Same for b as in bold. You know how to instruct the computer to switch on this feature, and now after your text is selected you also know the switch to turn off this feature at the end of the text. FYI

Týsson

11/18/2006 10:29:18 AM

"It’s easy to be adopt an ideology and get comfortable in it as a short cut to hard work. Some Christians “accept Jesus”, and they are pretty much done. Oh, they should show up to church once in a while." Within the context of this discussion, you seem to be arguing that this is a uniquely theistic problem. Clearly, though, this isn't the case. How many people adopt a political ideology and then only vote in the occassional Presidential election? Although I'm not sure exactly how one would measure it (and I realize I am entertaining my own prejudices here), I would argue that most people, regardless of theistic bent, live shallow lives. While adopting an ideology is certainly no guarantee of personal growth, it's equally true that failure to adopt an ideology hardly ensures personal development either. I just don't see anything in your argument here that is uniquely theistic. Rather, you seem to be describing something that is all too human.

Týsson

11/18/2006 10:15:24 AM

"I have to wonder why many people I encounter fall into a fairly shallow devotion and think it is spiritually deep." By what criteria do you make such assessments? Is there some sort of reliable benchmark of spiritual depth? Are you using an absolute instrument that measures everyone according to the same scale, or a relative instrument that tracks individual growth of the devotee? Or is it possible your assessment is colored by your own prejudices?

Týsson

11/18/2006 10:09:51 AM

"Typically this is the case. Yet belief that one is growing can be an illusion of growth." I think there is only so far that you can take this argument. Taken to its extreme, everything could be an illusion. I find it more helpful to evaluate growth through a juxtaposition of individuals' self-assessment and an observation of their behavior.

Týsson

11/18/2006 10:00:03 AM

"What sort of drawbacks? Well, I'm not sure where they would fall in an atheistic/theistic dichotomy. However, where I have seen the largest drawbacks on the theistic side is with those who reject tradition in favor of ecclecticism. In my experience, such an approach all too often leads to stagnation as the individual continually adds spiritual elements that reinforce currently held beliefs rather than confronting challenges that can lead to meaningful change. Such an approach also has problems in terms of cultural misappropriation, but that's a topic really outside the scope of this discussion.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 11:44:27 PM

Stepp Nothing has expanded human consciousness to the degree that science has. After 40,000 years of our ancestors searchings, we have come to discover our coordinates in space and in time and have been able to reconstruct the grand sweep of cosmic evolution. In doing so, we have also found our own part in its great story. I can see that you don't draw a distinction between consciousness and contents" of consciousness. Without that distinction you will never appreciate consciousness. Now you've got me curious. What is cosmic evolution and what have you learned about man's place within it? As an aside, you would be surprised at what the ancients knew in astronomy that we are just learning.

steppen0410e

11/17/2006 11:27:49 PM

Thanks for you non-answer, Sobeit9. In actual fact, you have no evidence to advance for your proposition that man's consciousness is involved in "a process of returning to its higher origin" whatsoever, merely the ramblings of some mystic-moocher. I'm reminded of the late Douglas Adams response to this kind of thing: "God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and now we've got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation for anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining". Nothing has expanded human consciousness to the degree that science has. After 40,000 years of our ancestors searchings, we have come to discover our coordinates in space and in time and have been able to reconstruct the grand sweep of cosmic evolution. In doing so, we have also found our own part in its great story.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 11:18:18 PM

#2 of 2 I disagree and would instead side with Simone on this. She wrote in contrast: Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace. Simone Weil That would have been worth $100 to me for a front row seat to a debate between Simone and Dawkins on this matter if she were alive today. Frankly IMO there is no way a free society could flourish and remain free based on secular values. I believe that Dawkins is making a very dangerous mistake to suggest otherwise.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 11:17:07 PM

But getting back to Dawkins for a moment, he wrote: I might retort that such hostility as I or other atheists occasionally voice toward religion is limited to words. I am not going to bomb anybody, behead them, stone them, burn them at the stake, crucify them, or fly planes into their skyscrapers, just because of a theological disagreement. But my interlocutor usually doesn’t leave it at that. He may go on to say something like this: continued

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 10:58:29 PM

#2 of 2 I know that consciousness is relative. I have verified that it is relative for me. If it is relative, what determines the limits of its relativity? I've found the mathematics of cosmology and the explanations of universal laws to satisfy my intellectual need to understand this relativity and its function within a larger universal context. Understanding the qualities of such inner space has lead to a corresponding emotional acceptance for me indicating that I am on to something that far greater examples of humanity than me have profited by in their humanity. The bottom line is that my evidence is my experience which you would be a fool to just accept especially over the Internet. Your evidence will come from your experiences if and when you ever make the necessary efforts towards awakening.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 10:57:58 PM

Stepp Again, I ask, Sobeit9, where is your evidence that man's consciousness is "a process of returning to its higher origin"? There is now way to prove it. It is a hypotheses that fits together with the biblical teaching of the Fall of Man.. In all fairness I've spent several years of both intellectual and spiritual efforts to better understand the meaning and purpose of life on earth and man in particular. I was motivated in this direction by the writings of what would appear to many as exceptional people. They in turn were helping those concerned like me to better appreciate what the ancient traditions have been speaking of. The proof is in the experience of "presence" and this is personal. continued

F1Fan

11/17/2006 10:06:55 PM

Threats and Coercion, like sign this document to prove that you love your husband? Coercion that is illegal like that? GWB No, like the bride’s father holding a gun to your head while you sign. I'm surprised you didn't give your point of view on anti-matter or dark matter. This discussion s about belief in irrational ideas. I don't think we have found any, I think dark matter is still a theory that we can't prove exists... Do you believe in Dark matter? I have no opinion on the matter. Besides, it’s not my area of expertise.

steppen0410e

11/17/2006 09:57:28 PM

Again, I ask, Sobeit9, where is your evidence that man's consciousness is "a process of returning to its higher origin"?

F1Fan

11/17/2006 08:25:39 PM

That can happen. On the other hand, working outside an established tradition also has its drawbacks. -Tysson What sort of drawbacks? In the final analysis, I think it depends on each individual which approach leads to the greatest personal growth. Typically this is the case. Yet belief that one is growing can be an illusion of growth. One may simply be slowly habituating to certain behaviors and mind sets. I have to wonder why many people I encounter fall into a fairly shallow devotion and think it is spiritually deep. This is a bigger danger of ideology: that it satisfies the primitive emotions, and isn’t a path that challenges the person on any level. It’s easy to be adopt an ideology and get comfortable in it as a short cut to hard work. Some Christians “accept Jesus”, and they are pretty much done. Oh, they should show up to church once in a while.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 07:48:53 PM

We are now entering the 7th day which began in 2001 when the Euphtates was dry. 9/11 marks the first day of the battle of "that great day of God Almighty," also called the Battle of Ar Mageddon. theinterpreter I find it interesting how many people through time had tried to make the obscure biblical stories relevant to them. It’s all about the believer, and the ego. Look at the Left Behind books. It’s all about this time in history appearing to be THE time of Rapture. What this points to believers seeking significance in an indifferent universe. It’s odd that people have to whip up so much drama and bad news in order to seem as if they are indeed tapped into god. Strange and petty behavior.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 07:44:45 PM

It doesn't work that way in astronomy or particle physics for example. In both cases there are instnces with enough evidence to conclude a high probability that something exists but as yet cannot be found. -Sobeit We’re not talking about astronomy or physics. You are trying to frame a statement that forces a person who goes along with it to assume some god exists, and is the creator. This assumption is worthless and unqualified. And it is insulting to our intelligence. It’s the sort of thing you might say to a naïve child. The scientists search and often after a while they find it. As of yet: no gods. Sorry. "Seek and ye shall find." Create illusion and ye shall find what you want and expect to find. Any luck tapping into those elves who permeate all things?

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/17/2006 07:26:50 PM

Absurdity, presented as plausible reinforces the impossible which is not possible. As a realist, it is absurd to me to believe that GOD does not exist when I know GOD is there and here. Unexplainable for now, but not ignorant beyond belief.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 06:52:20 PM

#2 0f 2 "Nothing is so beautiful and wonderful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy, as the good. No desert is so dreary, monotonous, and boring as evil. This is the truth about authentic good and evil. With fictional good and evil it is the other way round. Fictional good is boring and flat, while fictional evil is varied and intriguing, attractive, profound, and full of charm." Simone Weil From "Morality and Literature,” an essay published in Cahiers du Sud, January 1944 Intellectually I know it to be true but am not open and brave enough yet to truly experience it and open to prefer fantasy. Shows you what I really know about good and evil. :) Simone is the only woman I know that embarasses me as a man so much and yet I appreciate it even more.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 06:51:37 PM

tyson's response Sometimes truth hurts." Indeed! :-) We seem to be content with avoidance which only perpetuates the horrors that continue in the world. When I first came upon the following observation from Simone Weil I had to grudgingly admit that I do it myself and from so much conditioning, don't know how to do differently, a real wake up call. continued

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/17/2006 06:10:16 PM

Sobeit, I got the message that links don't work well in this format and since I posted a link to my writings the evolution of religion, I will now post the URL http://tgwbevolutionofreligion.blogspot.com/ Another URL is to Helping others tell the truth found here. http://thegreatwhitebuffalo.blogspot.com/ And that URL has links to other things that I've written. If we deny the test to expose a substance then we deny the possibility that the substance exists. What is the test for dark matter? Anti-matter? Do you believe that Dark matter is causing the universe to expand?

Týsson

11/17/2006 05:44:53 PM

"Sometimes truth hurts." Indeed! :-)

Týsson

11/17/2006 05:34:52 PM

"I’m all for mystic practice, but I advocate for simple and ideologically-free meditative methods. If we have preconceptions, like prayer to Jesus, we tend to just recite habitually, and reinforce imagery." That can happen. On the other hand, working outside an established tradition also has its drawbacks. In the final analysis, I think it depends on each individual which approach leads to the greatest personal growth.

Týsson

11/17/2006 05:27:10 PM

"That is the nature of all things: evolution. Today’s ideas may be obsolete tomorrow, so we must learn to ride the waves, not stand firm against the tide." While I am deeply cognizant of the conflicts that play out in this culture between science and some politically powerful Christian groups, and while I am keenly aware of times in history where some religious institution has stood in the way of scientific advancement, I nevertheless think it is a mistake to equate all religious expression with "standing against the tide." This is the pars pro toto fallacy that Dawkins so often invokes. Indeed, the two have not always been antagonistic and they can coexist peacefully. The friction tends to come when one side intrudes on the other's domain, especially in the political sphere.

Týsson

11/17/2006 05:12:24 PM

"There is no secret that science never offers a final answer, at least in the way religion does." Indeed. At some point in my career, however, I would love to undertake a detailed anthropological study of science. While more objectively universal than most other human endeavors, science is, nevertheless, culturally constructed. I have witnessed this unfold in the laboratory countless times over the years and I think it would be fascinating to explore how a person's cultural background affects the way he or she approaches science, the kinds of questions taken, the experimental frameworks constructed and the kinds of interpretations put forth. I think it could be quite revealing. Of course, such a study would do nothing to undermine the validity of science, nor would it likely shed any light on the persistent friction that plays out in this culture between science and many expressions of mainstream religion. Nevertheless, I find the question compelling.

theinterpreter

11/17/2006 04:53:16 PM

Hawkins needs to realize that many, if not most, of us Christians do not take the creation story literally. I am a dispesationalist, and believe that, in the creation story, the 7 days represent a 7 thousand year dispensation of God's grace and his plan for man, with 1 day = 1000 years. We are now entering the 7th day which began in 2001 when the Euphtates was dry. 9/11 marks the first day of the battle of "that great day of God Almighty," also called the Battle of Ar Mageddon. Barry

eleisawolf

11/17/2006 03:58:13 PM

jacknky, While I do take your point, I do have two comments: 1) You're right: faith is one thing, blind faith certainly another. I was taught, and I still believe, that faith is worth nothing without serious questioning and skepticism. 2) Those who don't have faith may assert those who do are blind no matter what, but that doesn't negate the fact that many of us who have faith experiences have seriously questioned everything we're taught, and, further, have questioned our own real experiences. Nevertheless, there is such a thing as skeptical, questioning, serious faith that is not at all based on ignorance of the options. And please note: I'm not Christian, even though one of the religion experiences I have regularly is through an Episcopal church. A believer's view of God is not always a personal, do-goodie, anthropomorphic being who has power over the whole universe. Many serious, skeptical people who still believe have ceased to see anything in that view. Peace

Scitoast

11/17/2006 03:16:15 PM

He's hasn't answered the question. He just thinks fundamentalists are irrational. Fair enough, but if miracles happen, then faith is reasonable. He should show that believers are wrong, not that they are unreasoning. After all, some secularists are unreasonable; a point he makes in his little story about the Golgi apparatus.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 03:11:46 PM

jacknky Just as few are willing to make the effort to establish a meditation practice though, perhaps few are willing to use a belief system to gain greater insight. It appears that often what is "true" in many religious beliefs is merely what makes us feel good. Well put and as I know from experience, not something people normally want to consider.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 02:55:35 PM

F1fan There’s nothing to dodge. You have to establish that some other force exists FIRST, then work from there. You want to create a false dilemma that necessitates some cause, for which you then avoid addressing what its cause is. You’re chasing ghosts. It doesn't work that way in astronomy or particle physics for example. In both cases there are instnces with enough evidence to conclude a high probability that something exists but as yet cannot be found. The scientists search and often after a while they find it. "Seek and ye shall find."

jacknky

11/17/2006 02:53:25 PM

Tysson, "In the final analysis, I determined that the question was far less important than the effect my beliefs and practices had in my life." Not that you asked for my opinion but this sure sounds valid to this agnostic. It sounds like your belief has led you to personal insights. Just as few are willing to make the effort to establish a meditation practice though, perhaps few are willing to use a belief system to gain greater insight. It appears that often what is "true" in many religious beliefs is merely what makes us feel good. Sometimes truth hurts. Peace...

jacknky

11/17/2006 02:47:53 PM

eleisawolf, "Personally, my only protest is to Dawkins's statement that non-fundamentalist religion teaches children that blind faith is a positive attribute." Most of my religious upbringing was Christian. In my experience and as I was taught, the greatest Christian virtue was faith. We aren't "saved" by being compassionate, by understanding our world more clearly or by good works. We are saved by faith and faith alone. I think that's what he's referring to. Now Christians may object to adding the qualifier "blind" but it does seem blind to those who don't adhere to the faith.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 02:06:49 PM

That's not quite accurate, though I can see how you would have interpreted my statements in that way. I do not believe that the gods exist because my life has improved. Indeed, I readily acknowledge that the improvements in my life may be, and indeed likely are, due to non-supernatural causes. OK, understood. When we problem solve, or look for answers, the most probable and plausible, and typically the simplest, tend to be the correct option. To my mind, invoking supernatural causes, as Sobeit is trying to do, only complicates clear and concise understanding. To my mind this includes how we self-monitor, and what tools we use to make sense of our life’s journey so that we don’t get lost in certain illusory dreams. I’m all for mystic practice, but I advocate for simple and ideologically-free meditative methods. If we have preconceptions, like prayer to Jesus, we tend to just recite habitually, and reinforce imagery.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 02:00:12 PM

Again speaking from the perspective of an educator, I find that people come to science with a tremendous number of models of the natural world that contradict scientific models. Moreover, many people, far more than I think science educators are comfortable admitting to, never adopt the scientific models despite our best efforts. -Tysson There is no secret that science never offers a final answer, at least in the way religion does. In more abstract areas of science there are things not yet fully understood, and even string theory is getting a rough ride these days. That is the nature of all things: evolution. Today’s ideas may be obsolete tomorrow, so we must learn to ride the waves, not stand firm against the tide.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 01:54:12 PM

Try and dodge it all you like but the question still becomes what the force is that sustains motion even if you do not accept its initiation -Sobei There’s nothing to dodge. You have to establish that some other force exists FIRST, then work from there. You want to create a false dilemma that necessitates some cause, for which you then avoid addressing what its cause is. You’re chasing ghosts. . The idea of God can be fantasy as in idols or reality since it already exists within us and just requires "remembering." It’s probably elves. Why don’t you just admit that you deny the existence of elves and their effect on your life.

Týsson

11/17/2006 01:42:30 PM

My statement is really a reflection of an internal struggle I fought with myself for years about whether or not my beliefs were simply self-delusion. In the final analysis, I determined that the question was far less important than the effect my beliefs and practices had in my life. If the existence of the gods and ancestral spirits were disproven tomorrow, it would not make any practical difference in my life. I would still pour out libations to the Elder Kin and pattern my life on mythic models because I have come to trust the symbolic wisdom of these patterns handed down from countless generations before me and the powerfully positive impact they can have in my life.

Týsson

11/17/2006 01:42:17 PM

"You have stated that you choose to judge that god exists because you life has improved. That is emotional." That's not quite accurate, though I can see how you would have interpreted my statements in that way. I do not believe that the gods exist because my life has improved. Indeed, I readily acknowledge that the improvements in my life may be, and indeed likely are, due to non-supernatural causes. (continued)

Týsson

11/17/2006 01:28:40 PM

As a practical example, a commonly held misconception about the natural world is that the seasons are caused by the relative distance of the Earth from the sun. Clearly, this is not an accurate model. However, the seasons pass in the same predictable way for those who cling to it as for those who understand differently.

Týsson

11/17/2006 01:28:27 PM

"But how well do they conform to reality, to what is demonstrably true about nature?" Reality seems to be rather a tricky thing to nail down in discussions of this nature so I appreciate that you have provided a definition of what you mean when you use the term. Again speaking from the perspective of an educator, I find that people come to science with a tremendous number of models of the natural world that contradict scientific models. Moreover, many people, far more than I think science educators are comfortable admitting to, never adopt the scientific models despite our best efforts. I have come, though the years, to believe that the primary reason for this is that those who fail to change their views have no compelling reason in their lives to do so. (continued)

eleisawolf

11/17/2006 01:19:52 PM

Personally, my only protest is to Dawkins's statement that non-fundamentalist religion teaches children that blind faith is a positive attribute. Where did he get his data to make that statement? I certainly didn't get that from my religious upbringing, I don't get it from any of the religious or spiritual groups in which I'm currently involved (which are several and far more varied than for many people, I'm sure), and I certainly have not met anyone who is a non-fundamentalist who has. That's a toss-off final statement from him that really should not be tossed off because it requires backing. This is where I protest that Dawkins throws out the baby with the bathwater...

Týsson

11/17/2006 01:15:36 PM

"I think Buddhist mindfullness/awareness meditation practice offers a third factor by increasing our mindfullness of what we are doing and why and more objective awareness of our world." And we could add to the list the meditation practices of many other religions as well, not to mention various mystical or ascetic traditions as well. "Developing awareness can be an alternative to blindly following the myths and mores of our society. It's more difficult so few bother." It is more difficult. Most people just don't feel a compelling enough need to undertake the work.

jd70

11/17/2006 12:50:42 PM

Interesting perspective Sobeit9 and you very well could be right. The problem though is that there is no way to prove or disprove your theory. As human beings we want answers even for things that can't have answers. As long as ones sense of awe results in a greater sense of humility that is all that matters in my book.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 12:24:31 PM

#3 of 3 Now if he can write the following don't you think there may be more to this than initially meets the eye. From André Weil: Every mathematician worthy of the name has experienced ... the state of lucid exaltation in which one thought succeeds another as if miraculously... this feeling may last for hours at a time, even for days. Once you have experienced it, you are eager to repeat it but unable to do it at will, unless perhaps by dogged work... The Apprenticeship of a Mathematician. God exists since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists since we cannot prove it. Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977). Why not try opening yourself to the mystery rather than limiting yourself to superficial proofs

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 12:23:55 PM

Andre Weil, a former professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., whose work in algebraic geometry and number theory recast the basics of mathematics, died Thursday at his home in Princeton. He was 92. At the institute, Dr. Weil was considered an intellectual peer of colleagues who were among the century's most influential scholars, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the mathematician John von Neumann and the logician Kurt Godel among them. ''I think of him as one of the few people who shaped the mathematics of the 20th century,'' said Dr. Enrico Bombieri, a professor of mathematics at the institute. ''His ideas are still fundamental.'' continued

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 12:23:08 PM

F1fan Try and dodge it all you like but the question still becomes what the force is that sustains motion even if you do not accept its initiation . The idea of God can be fantasy as in idols or reality since it already exists within us and just requires "remembering." You've got to temporarily get away from authors like Dawkins and Dennett, take a deep breath, and start again without so much rigidity. Andre Weil, Simone's older brother, was one of the world's most brilliant mathematicians. When he died the NY times wrote of him in part: continued

F1Fan

11/17/2006 11:22:18 AM

There seem to be two basic possibilities. One is that life somehow just began and can continue to evolve. Somehow Newton's law of motion was gone beyond since matter at rest should remain at rest unless acted upon by another force and this force or God's will doesn't exist. Somehow without any intelligently created universal laws, something was accidentally created that continues to work. -Sobeit False dilemma. You are trying to create an argument where the conclusion is the default. However, you are assuming that matter was NOT in motion, or stable, to begin with, and required a ‘first cause”. More murky propositions, as now you have to explain what caused your idea of god (of course, YOU caused your idea of god in your mind). But what caused your god in your creation concept?

F1Fan

11/17/2006 11:16:01 AM

Indeed, success (or fitness) does not seem to be tied very strongly at all to holding rational models. Furthermore, while eventually rational models approach the most precise and accurate descriptions we have of the objective universe, they aren't always particularly useful to people outside the rational field of study in which the models were constructed, even if the rational models have direct impact on people's daily lives. If reality isn’t useful, what would be? What is the nature of some other model? The point is that not everyone has to be a scientist. The universe is more complicated than ever before, and none of us can absorb all knowledge. We have the chance to frame our models, or perceptive lens, more in line with reality than the fantasies of religion. I say fantasy because there is NO test in reality, yet people still insist on calling the ideas “truth”. That is fantasy. I have more respect for people who believe, but at least don’t consider the ideas “truth”.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 11:07:22 AM

There is nothing in our biology that requires these internal models be entirely rational. -Tysson Correct, and adults use emotions to sway judgment in inappropriate ways. You have stated that you choose to judge that god exists because you life has improved. That is emotional. Biology does not require objectivity, but it can be motivated to rely MORE on emotions than appropriate. As I said before, this is an artifact of human evolution. And not all have this. Some people are devoid of access to their emotions, and that tends to be sociopathic. If we have the capacity to reflect on our emotional and intellectual processes, I suggest we use it. This will address the dependency on ideology. >>>

F1Fan

11/17/2006 10:59:42 AM

For most people, that simply doesn't happen. Their internal model works for them in the sense that it explains the world around them in a way that makes sense, in a way that provides meaning to their life and in a way that allows them to navigate or negotiate in the world with confidence. -Tysson Indeed, we all require a framework, or model, to navigate in a complex society. The dilemma is what is the nature of that framework. Is it based on reality, or fantasy, or a messy combination? Muslims have their framework, as do Christians. Some are fundamentalist and quite rigid. These folks use this framework to relate to the rest of the world. Hitler had his model of reality too. Yet when this framework goes too far into fantasy, trouble begins. Sure, they offer meaning in life. But how well do they conform to reality, to what is demonstrably true about nature? When belief becomes authorized by the whims of human judgment, with no test in reality, there is a risk for conflict.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 10:37:54 AM

#3 of 3 The idea that existence begins as a unified whole and involutes into fractions of itself determined by vibratory frequencies makes a lot more sense to me then defying Newton's laws and the extraordinary odds of chance. The involutionary process explains the force that powers the gigantic universal perpetual motion machine. For example, life on earth exists as a whole within consciousness at a higher cosmological level. When necessary to manifest on earth, it does so as fractions of itself or as all the different forms of life you see necessary for its mechanical purpose on earth. We begin with a different hypothesis. You begin with nothing and I begin with no-thing, a level of conscious existence inconceivable for us in which all potential exists as yet unmanifest. This is God for me.

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 10:36:54 AM

Creation is initially an involutionary process. It begins as complete consciousness: GOD That is to say it occurred in steps and each step or cosmos has a different ratio of consciousness to the amount of mechanical laws that it functions with. A conscious being natural to higher cosmos would have a more conscious less mechanical existence. At our level, a dog would have a less conscious greater mechanical quality of existence. As the involutionary movement is away from the source and into greater diversity and densities of matter like circles within circles , the evolutionary movement of conscious evolution simply means developing consciousness that doesn't require so many mechanical laws to sustain its life. It is the development of a higher quality of life that is more conscious and less mechanical and begins to participate in conscious universal purpose rather than blind reaction as does the dog. continued

Sobeit9

11/17/2006 10:35:58 AM

Stepp There seem to be two basic possibilities. One is that life somehow just began and can continue to evolve. Somehow Newton's law of motion was gone beyond since matter at rest should remain at rest unless acted upon by another force and this force or God's will doesn't exist. Somehow without any intelligently created universal laws, something was accidentally created that continues to work. The odds against this are so great that it seems absurd to me which leaves another possibility. The universe is actually a living creation in which spirit is in matter manifesting as vibratory rates that determine qualities or densities of matter. continued

F1Fan

11/17/2006 10:34:41 AM

Man's evolution beyond that of the dog is the evolution of his consciousness. -Sobeit In my experience there are dogs that demonstrate more sophistication than humans. These are personal experiences. But if one accepts that they can experience higher states of consciousness, what is there that makes us deny the possibility of still higher states of consciousness. What then does one call the highest state of consciousness? You guessed it. You can guess all you want, and imply even more. This is still just a cheap emotional ploy, no better than Pascal’s, as you have no evidence to back it up. There’s no doubt the mind has different operating frequencies, and these ranges have different physiological effects. There is more and more research in the cognitive science about this, and nothing has yet implied that there is an external agent at play in the consciousness. All it says is you want a god to exist, and have no evidence for it. You keep busy implying it.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 10:26:05 AM

You’re not understanding that to me and many others, we have this belief in something because we know, feel or understand that GOD does exist, so yes, I’m a believer in that GOD does exist, and that our souls live forever joined with the source of all souls in a perfect place after we have lived a full life on Earth. -GWB It’s a nice sentiment, and great for a Christmas card, but as a claim, it fails pretty badly. To say “I believe in god because I believe in god” is a sort of confession about the self’s own mind creating god for the sake of itself. The dilemma with personal judgment about gods, that has no test in reality, is that they will default to any justification. And it is reciting the above to children or those needing emotional reinforcement due to low self-image, will pick up these ideas and continue to perpetuate them in society. As a result, religion won’t evolve. This is why we need to teach kids critical thinking skills, and what the truth is about religious claims.

jacknky

11/17/2006 10:23:47 AM

Tysson, "I suspect it comes down primarily to two factors--upbringing and purely subjective personal experience." I agree this is true for the vast majority of us. I think Buddhist mindfullness/awareness meditation practice offers a third factor by increasing our mindfullness of what we are doing and why and more objective awareness of our world. Developing awareness can be an alternative to blindly following the myths and mores of our society. It's more difficult so few bother.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 10:20:51 AM

Conforming to social norms, and the need to have these traits long ago, is the reason that we need to evolve religion. First we need to fix the Bible with other texts, and get rid of the Churches. -GWB As much as I agree, why not simply evolve thinking? If we teach people the root truth about the Bible and religion, perhaps fewer people will believe religion is “truth” in an absolute sense. I don’t mind mysticism, but fervent ideological belief brings serious problems for human potential. Imagine all of the housing that would be made available and open space, and money in the pockets that is earned by the parishioners that would not be put to use building fancy buildings. A solitary practice changes the paradigm. As much as it seems a good idea, people still need to be taught critical thinking skills. The capacity for intelligent thought is inherent in humans. The skills of thought, including ways to better manage one’s emotions and social relations, requires real knowledge.

F1Fan

11/17/2006 10:14:46 AM

So for me, no church, the Bible has errors and Satan is the biggest lie ever told. -GWB I can agree with this. I can’t show you my GOD. That doesn’t mean that something isn’t there, it acts in a way that we can not see it. Yet can’t we say this about elves? How else could those delicious cookies be possible? As for absolutes, cognitive dissonance is provable in believers that are closed minded and fundamental in their understandings. I was taught to respect the truth, and to remain true, it made me open minded and able to go beyond. My belief isn’t fundamental. The question becomes: why believe at all? Whether it’s gods or elves, why believe at all? Some have said their life is better. OK, that is an effect, but it doesn’t imply the ideas believed true are reality. So then, why depend on belief for feeling good? Any why pretend the ideas are real and true?

jacknky

11/17/2006 10:13:55 AM

Buffalo, "Proof you can’t explain, and happens far too frequently to be happenstance." I've read that the human mind is endowed with the ability to see connections where there are none. That's why it's considered bad luck to cross the path of a black cat or break a mirror. Somewhere those two things happened and someone's mind created a connection. Seems real though, doesn't it?

Týsson

11/17/2006 08:19:18 AM

"I thank you, thank you, thank you… So much… LOL" LOL! Well, I'm not quite sure what I'm being thanked for, but I'm gratified to know that whatever it was struck a cord. :-)

Týsson

11/17/2006 08:16:35 AM

There is nothing in our biology that requires these internal models be entirely rational. Indeed, success (or fitness) does not seem to be tied very strongly at all to holding rational models. Furthermore, while eventually rational models approach the most precise and accurate descriptions we have of the objective universe, they aren't always particularly useful to people outside the rational field of study in which the models were constructed, even if the rational models have direct impact on people's daily lives.

Týsson

11/17/2006 08:16:05 AM

"Don’t you find that worth investigating? Don’t you think it’s a good idea to see what is going on in the mind that behaves this way?" As an educator, I guess I just don't see this as any great mystery. Our knowledge of the world is constructed from a combination of cultural programming, personal experience and education. Once this internal model is laid down, people, as a rule, only make modifications if their established models break down. For most people, that simply doesn't happen. Their internal model works for them in the sense that it explains the world around them in a way that makes sense, in a way that provides meaning to their life and in a way that allows them to navigate or negotiate in the world with confidence. (continued)

steppen0410e

11/16/2006 11:58:43 PM

I don't need consciousness to be verified to me, Sobeit9, the question I asked was, where is the evidence that man's consciousness is a "process of returning to its higher origen"? And you can quote all the mystic gobbledegook you want, but that won't alter the fact that it is all grounded in unfounded baroque assumptions. Man's evolution beyond that of a dog can be understood in Darwinian ways, again without the need to believe on things without evidence. And just what do you mean by "higher consciousness"? Higher than what?

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 11:17:35 PM

(3) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty." This is what Prof. Needleman was referring to when he describes consciousness. Becoming self aware allows higher consciousness to become aware of you. Man's evolution beyond that of the dog is the evolution of his consciousness. These are personal experiences. But if one accepts that they can experience higher states of consciousness, what is there that makes us deny the possibility of still higher states of consciousness. What then does one call the highest state of consciousness? You guessed it.

steppen0410e

11/16/2006 11:08:08 PM

(continued) And if I feel intensely that the Spaghetti Monster exists, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, does that make it real? All you are spinning here are beliefs for which you cannot advance the least evidence. The beauty of science lies in its freedom - freedom to search for truth based on reality, not on ideas for which there is no evidence. Believers have got to get it into their heads that personal subjective experience is no guarantee of the truth. There just happen to be people disposed to experience extreme conviction and the substance of the conviction, God, Allah, the Spaghetti Monster, or other, is entirely incidental.

steppen0410e

11/16/2006 10:52:15 PM

"Evolution for man consists of the conscious process of returning to its higher conscious origin". Where is the evidence for that, Sobeit? Yes, man is an animal, but his consciousness is an emergent property of a brain that evolved incrementally over millions of years. Had the dinosaurs not been wiped out, man probably wouldn't have evolved at all, and all that so-called "esoteric knowledge" dizziness would have come to nought. And, no, sciece and religion are not compatible. Science is evidence-based and self-correcting, while no religion I know of is either of these, including the vague notions of Simone Weil.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:37:12 PM

One more thing, F1fan, I should have pointed out that one of the posts you made parsed out a paragraph that had meaning out of context. It was as though the origins debacle was not relevant to the discussion but it was actually only to that post. I didn't call you out on it but it has been weighing heavy on my mind. I should have been more clear.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:33:17 PM

Namchuck You’re not understanding that to me and many others, we have this belief in something because we know, feel or understand that GOD does exist, so yes, I’m a believer in that GOD does exist, and that our souls live forever joined with the source of all souls in a perfect place after we have lived a full life on Earth. I’m not saying that this belief will make me a perfect person on Earth, but I am saying that there is a teaching that allows us to be perfectly made in the image of GOD through following the teachings of Jesus and repentance. Not that we have to sacrifice our lives or ambitions, we only have to follow the true path.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:32:50 PM

(Cont'd - Split post 1 of 2) Steppen I agree that the phenomenon is difficult, as I pointed out it is more an experience that leads you to know. Talk about your scientific method and have the same experience happen over and over again and then say that the experience didn’t happen? There is no empirical proof, I know what you see, and I agree that I would also be skeptical, so there is no way I can prove what I can’t explain. Sorry, All I can do is invite you to experience this stuff yourself.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:32:14 PM

(Cont'd - Split post 2 of 2) How will you know? You’ll just know. I can do it over the internet if you’re looking for it, but I can’t do it on demand. The experience is awesome and phenomenal, but it doesn’t prove GOD it proves that people are interconnected through space and time. Once you establish that connection you will come to know it is only possible through GOD. Then your question is answered. You’ll have experienced what I’m trying to show you, and you won’t be able to explain it either. LOL

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:31:27 PM

(Cont'd) Sobeit Thank you for your sharing, I see you are spot on… I just heard a commercial for Larry King live and read your post about vibrations, that is the stuff that I’m talking about, how odd is it that the mass media commercial TV would run a commercial at the moment just before I read a post about the very topic being advertised. Stuff like that… Proof you can’t explain, and happens far too frequently to be happenstance.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:30:48 PM

(Cont'd) Jacknky What Dawkins said is true, many people will not agree with what Dawkins is saying and it is very similar to what I am saying. The Bible has errors and needs to evolve. Wouldn’t it be fun to go back in time where we could talk to Jesus, and ask Jesus about bits and bytes, processors and speeds. What would Jesus do? What is in our future and beyond? The point is we have to understand that what is in the Bible was written about things that happened 2000 years ago, we are moving forward, we need to bring our beliefs forward. What would you change first, think small and then large. Start small and slowly and then build up speed and yet, they still can’t take away what I believe. They will have a stumbling block.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:30:17 PM

(Cont'd) F1fan I’m reading, but I still believe… LOL I lost my church, I found the Bible errant, and yet I still believe. Tysson, I thank you, thank you, thank you… So much… LOL Thunderbrew Welcome…

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:29:33 PM

(Cont'd - Split post 1 of 2) F1fan Conforming to social norms, and the need to have these traits long ago, is the reason that we need to evolve religion. First we need to fix the Bible with other texts, and get rid of the Churches. Imagine all of the housing that would be made available and open space, and money in the pockets that is earned by the parishioners that would not be put to use building fancy buildings. A solitary practice changes the paradigm.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:28:53 PM

(Cont'd - Split post 2 of 2) As for absolutes, cognitive dissonance is provable in believers that are closed minded and fundamental in their understandings. I was taught to respect the truth, and to remain true, it made me open minded and able to go beyond. My belief isn’t fundamental. A progressive understanding comes easy as long as you’re looking for the answer, the fix or the cure. At the same time, I don’t have to give up my belief. My belief is inclusive and even you could accept it if you wanted to. I understand you, might not want to, because I haven’t given you the proof that you wanted. But the non-fundamentalists and there are many are everywhere. We are the good guys. Spiritual suffocation? Ha, some of the stories that I could share.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:26:47 PM

(Cont'd) Steppen The Dance of neurons and electrons also includes something unseen the actions or connections and the ability to decipher is not just a response or reaction because we can predetermine and examine these things. You can’t show us how we think; I can’t show you my GOD. That doesn’t mean that something isn’t there, it acts in a way that we can not see it. Spirituality is considered to exist in a realm not of this Earth, which is true. You can’t see certain types of gases but you can know they are there, yet we have not developed a test that proves GOD is there. We don’t know where to begin. I suggested to seek through experience, and that is the best that I can offer.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/16/2006 09:26:19 PM

(cont'd) Sobeit, The duality of religion and the evolution would require a major modification in what many religions believe. That is the need to remove the sin self or devil (Satan) from the text. Any exegesis that tries to explain the need for demons will lead to more of the same sort of corruption that we already currently suffer from. In the evolution of religion, we reform our morality to focus on an awareness of the good in helping others and find that in doing so we ultimately help ourselves. Prevention is worth a pound of cure. So for me, no church, the Bible has errors and Satan is the biggest lie ever told.

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 09:05:34 PM

Sterr You can think this if you like but I disagree. Where scientific knowledege develops through new discoveries, Eesoteric or inner knowledge of human "being" is the science of remembering what has been forgotten. Man is dual natured with both an animal (lower) and conscious (higher) origin. Evolution for man consists of the conscious process of returning to its higher conscious origin. In this way science and religion are compatible. Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea, the idea of progress, is poison. Simone Weil

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 08:52:08 PM

I forgot that the links won't appear full size. Anyhow, and with flushed cheeks, I'll post first the link to Buddhist cosmology: http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/buddhacosmo.html And this for the book: http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?boardID=36253&discussionID=528409 Gotta remember about links

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 08:46:36 PM

I suggested a book once about the transcendent unity of all religions at which point Christianity and Buddhism would be the same. Click HERE You may find it food for thought and suggestive that at higher levels they may be more similar than first believed.

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 08:46:04 PM

Jewish nationalism and the fact that Rome made Christianity its religion forced the Hebrew god upon it. The purpose of re-birth is to allow man to form a contact that exists within him as a potential. God the father is too distant from man. This is why we deal with the Son. But the adoption of the Hebrew God corrupted Christianity into a religion of power which was the exact opposite of its intent. Christianity teaches the need to and value of awakening to the obligation to carry ones cross without rose colored glasses. In this way it is like Karma Yoga and Buddhism. You are reacting to Christendom as I do. Christianity is something else that relatively few are aware of.. continued

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 08:44:46 PM

jacknky I believe in cosmology the way Prof. Needleman explains it which is the way of Esoteric Christianity. It allows for different levels of intelligence to permeate the universe as well as relativity of time. What may appear as "day" for a higher cosmos can include several generations for us. Buddhism has something very similar as seen CLICK Kalpas are a measure of time but from a higher cosmological perspective. Mount Meru IMO is a cosmological depiction. I believe the Buddha was quite right to postpone investigations into a god or gods etc, since it requires a level of awakening to make any sense of it and without it would just lead to foolish arguments. Buddha must have anticipated Beliefnet and how common sense would become the victim of fragmentation. His concern that speculation would do more harm than good seems appropriate. continued

steppen0410e

11/16/2006 07:00:59 PM

You wrote, Sobeit9, that, "Awe is an emotion. It is an emotional reaction to an expression of universal laws through which God's will is maintained in the universe. Science can produce it in us through manipulation of these laws but it is not the source of the laws themselves." This is exactly the kind of gobbledegook that I was referring to in a previous post. Of course awe is an emotion, but it is a response of a nervous system to the perceived beauty of the universe and not some "manipulation" of any laws by which some hypothetical 'God' maintains its "will" in the universe. Where is the evidence for that? And you labor the whole consciousness thing. The typical human cortex contains around 30 billion neurons. Those 30 billion cells are you. They contain almost all your memories, knowledge, skills, accumulated experience. The mind is the creation of these cells. There is nothing else, no magic, no special source, only neurons and the dance of information.

Týsson

11/16/2006 06:33:33 PM

I'm afraid I'll have to leave this discussion soon. It's a shame, too, since we are touching on some interesting topics. "The issue is why some end up believing some of the ideas, such as gods, are real or true." I suspect it comes down primarily to two factors--upbringing and purely subjective personal experience. It would be hard to say which is the stronger influence, though I suspect the former. I am open to the possibility that there may be some subtle point of physiology, perhaps even genetic in origin, that either predisposes some people for belief or that prevents others from connecting from the divine. However, I find the possibility remote and, while interesting to contemplate, utterly unnecessary to an exploration of these issues.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 06:27:04 PM

Again, I'm not sure the significance of this beyond the fact that many fall into their beliefs with little conscious consideration. -Tysson Don’t you find that worth investigating? Don’t you think it’s a good idea to see what is going on in the mind that behaves this way? In my experience, many would say yes if it investigates other religions, but not their own. Be that as it may, almost all human behavior beyond, perhaps, the first cries uttered by a baby are learned. They are, in fact, culturally constructed. Indeed. And many behaviors are so automatic that we give little notice to them, until we go to a different culture. We can excuse minor elements. But when kids learn outright hatred, prejudice and bias, and the adults exposing them to this should know better, it needs looking into. I remember hearing a child dismiss evolution as a lie, but could not tell the interviewer what the theory states. Ignorance never has virtue.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 06:20:34 PM

You apparently do not accept the idea of relative states of consciousness. -Sobeit We haven’t been talking about it. Well, maybe you were and didn’t tell the rest of us. Well done. It must seem odd to you that Buddha taught awakening when we are already awake but it is the same with Christianity. I am Buddhist. Jacknky got it well explained about “awake” meaning fully aware of one’s state of being. This goes against any case of one being lost in their illusions of religion.

Týsson

11/16/2006 06:18:04 PM

"Religion is often learned behavior, not objective choice. And as such, we examine the root motivations for this behavior." Again, I'm not sure the significance of this beyond the fact that many fall into their beliefs with little conscious consideration. Be that as it may, almost all human behavior beyond, perhaps, the first cries uttered by a baby are learned. They are, in fact, culturally constructed.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 06:14:22 PM

I am also quite certain as a biochemist that I would not have ever explored these fields of study were it not for my religious beliefs. Finally, I feel confident that such studies have given me a much richer perspective on the world around me than biochemistry alone ever could, freeing my mind to consider possibilities I never could have previously explored. -Tysson I never would have raced bikes had I not lost my license in high school. I too have studied religion for about 15 years. But also philosophy and then psychology. We dip from the same well, as do many atheists. The issue is why some end up believing some of the ideas, such as gods, are real or true. We know very well the history of how religions evolve, and as such we see the hand on man in all of it. Following a tradition and ritual is one thing. To believe the fantastic ideas are real is another. Yes, there is a real effect on life from belief. This doesn’t imply the ideas are real, too.

Týsson

11/16/2006 06:13:04 PM

"However, from a psychological perspective, there are clear dynamics going on that lead a person to value a framework of belief and meaning that helped them find personal meaning." Yet this is true regardless of what belief structure one ultimately chooses to adopt, whether theistic or atheistic. It is simply a factor of intellectual development. We are, all of us, the product of our experiences. I fail to see, then, the significance of this point as it relates to the discussion at hand. Do my beliefs stem from emotional considerations? Of course they do. I readily acknowledge that and recognize it for what it is.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 06:07:47 PM

It's not at all clear how speaking to one's "insecure mind" is discussing behavior rather than the person, but in any event, I said you were bordering on an ad hominem argument. It is a small step from "insecure mind" to calling someone "feeble minded," a tactic that Dawkins engages in frequently. -Tysson Insecurity can be exhibited in any number of behaviors. If those behaviors are being exhibited by someone, or showing behaviors that are caused by anxiety or emotional immaturity, then it is no more an ad hominem than to point to damaged DNA causing a cancer. Studying human behavior tends to point to little quirks in all of us. These observations are a direct basis to what Dawkins points to in his arguments. Religion is often learned behavior, not objective choice. And as such, we examine the root motivations for this behavior.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 06:01:21 PM

Namely, I believe because my life is better now than before I believe. It really is, for me, a simple cost/benefit analysis. -Tysson Of course it is. My interest is what were the root causes of the circumstances of your life before you began believing. And could these circumstances been addressed by other methods that didn’t require belief. I don’t want you to go into it. The point is that if belief brings a meaning to a life that lacked before the option then it will be seen as a “life saver”. However, from a psychological perspective, there are clear dynamics going on that lead a person to value a framework of belief and meaning that helped them find personal meaning. This does not exempt the fact that the ideas are supernatural and questionable from an objective pint of view.

Ibsearchin

11/16/2006 05:38:59 PM

Actually I think that the use of the word atheist (there is no god) is a misnomer. In fact, we are all really agnostics and this is because of argumentum ad ignoramum (argument from ignorance). The existence of God or soul is something that can never be proven on way or the other. As to the use of the word atheist, "absence of proof is no proof of absence."

jacknky

11/16/2006 05:02:26 PM

Sobeit, "It must seem odd to you that Buddha taught awakening when we are already awake but it is the same with Christianity." While Thic Nhat Hanh and others have tried to draw parallels between the teaching of Jesus and the Buddha I personally think the comparisons don't hold up much past the obvious wisdoms they both taught about love and compassion. The Buddha seemed to have little concern for gods, making it clear that it is a waste of time to try and figure out their nature because they are basically unknowable. In my humble opinion, the Buddha was about waking up, seeing ourselves and our world as clearly as possible wirthout fear or pre-conception. Monotheist religions are basically about seeing the world through the colored glasses of their god. Some theists may manage to see more clearly than others but faith is often the goal, not waking up. Peace...

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 04:13:07 PM

Freedom of speech as a value asserts that the good that comes from allowing speech to stay free outweighs the harm of those saying stupid and hostile things. Free speech then makes the world safe for the perpetuation of stupidity and hostility. I wonder if Dawkins would favor denial of free speech so as to avoid people saying stupid and hostile things?

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 04:12:47 PM

Dawkins writes: Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young minds. Non-fundamentalist, "sensible" religion may not be doing that. But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith is a virtue. Dangerous stuff. First of all, the essence of religion invites questioning. Efforts to deny questioning are natural for secular efforts such as those of secular religions and politics. Christendom for example, has changed the concept "Faith OF Christ" to mean "Faith IN Christ" which are two entirely different concepts. The fact that they are confused is not the fault of "Faith" as a human quality but of our gullibility. continued

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 03:55:19 PM

F1fan You apparently do not accept the idea of relative states of consciousness. You assume we either have it and are awake and aware or don't. It must seem odd to you that Buddha taught awakening when we are already awake but it is the same with Christianity. You won't understand awakening until you temporarily experience it as the Christian does with gnosis or the Buddhist with satori. The closest we come to it through our own efforts is in self awareness which I know as consciousness. Lacking self awareness means we lack consciousness. A dog is more alert, awake, and aware then we are but is not conscious. It is a creature of reaction The fact that we walk around with a computer on top of our shoulders doesn't make us conscious either.

Týsson

11/16/2006 03:42:13 PM

"Maybe you could share that. But, is it really rational, or simply mental imagery?" I am reasonably certain that the study of Old Norse, Old English, linguistics, philology, comparative mythology, history, Germanic studies, anthropology, Old Icelandic literature, etc. represent rational fields of inquiry. I am also quite certain as a biochemist that I would not have ever explored these fields of study were it not for my religious beliefs. Finally, I feel confident that such studies have given me a much richer perspective on the world around me than biochemistry alone ever could, freeing my mind to consider possibilities I never could have previously explored.

Týsson

11/16/2006 03:37:10 PM

"Nope, I talking about behavior, not you." It's not at all clear how speaking to one's "insecure mind" is discussing behavior rather than the person, but in any event, I said you were bordering on an ad hominem argument. It is a small step from "insecure mind" to calling someone "feeble minded," a tactic that Dawkins engages in frequently.

Týsson

11/16/2006 03:34:49 PM

"You’re open about telling us WHAT your beliefs are, but with an inner dialog with WHY you are motivated to believe." I am assuming that there is supposed to be a "not" in there somewhere. If so, then, as I have already explained my reasons for believing are simple, far more simple than what I believe. Namely, I believe because my life is better now than before I believe. It really is, for me, a simple cost/benefit analysis.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:59:33 PM

This is simply not true. Myths embody the cultural wisdom of a people. -Tysson They CAN be, but not always, which is why I said they do not correlate. Wisdom can be completely divorced from myth. As such, they are eternally true. Only if humans assign it this meaning. However, I would agree that myths are not literally true and I think you and I would readily agree that literalism is not only highly irrational, but also, in many cases, dangerous. They can be. It comes down to how the individual manages the mind, but also what has learned in the environment. My concern is that many simply habituate to certain ways of thinking that then go unchecked through life, rendering one an obedient ghost. As such they may be religious, but spiritually suffocated.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:55:21 PM

Note, however, that I am not saying that religious belief is required, only that the adoption of religious beliefs does not a priori limit intellectual freedom. It doesn’t HAVE to limit intellectual freedom. But given the theme of this discussion, what we do see is just that: such as with evangelicals denying evolution and stem cell research. These are examples of not only a limit to intellectual thought, but deliberate denial of reality. And this is due to adopting and accepting religious views that have no basis in reality. Surely humans are capable of holding supernatural beliefs, while able to work unabated in an objective sense. These folks tend to have a better grasp on the limits of religious view, or at least the appropriateness of how the ideas are applied to life.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:51:00 PM

Who's holding back? I am quite open about my beliefs. -Tysson You’re open about telling us WHAT your beliefs are, but with an inner dialog with WHY you are motivated to believe. This means the actual and real depth of the human psyche, not the superficial reasons. Ignoring for the moment that you are bordering on an ad hominem argument Nope, I talking about behavior, not you. You may feel a sting of pride, I don’t know, but it is the nature of the mind’s cognitive dissonance when its dependency is revealed. Moreover, my own experience has been that my religious beliefs have opened up vast new rational fields of research that were unknown to me before. Maybe you could share that. But, is it really rational, or simply mental imagery? >>>

Týsson

11/16/2006 02:48:56 PM

"This does not correlate to mythic concepts, however." This is simply not true. Myths embody the cultural wisdom of a people. As such, they are eternally true. However, I would agree that myths are not literally true and I think you and I would readily agree that literalism is not only highly irrational, but also, in many cases, dangerous.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:45:16 PM

Absolutes like these about any topic shows tremendous arrogance and a condescending mind. Absolutes? Demonstrable traits and behaviors are not categorized as absolutes. Many believers tend to respond negatively and defensively when their behaviors and motives are revealed. There is a sort of “off limits” to the discussion of how and why people believe in myth, and other non-rational ideas. These ideas, the emotional attachment to them, and the dependency people develop are tenuous, and protected. I suspect the believer has a sense that the ideas are not real, and as a result a sort of duality-of-thought inhabits their mind. This duality allows the believer to be reasonable in some aspects of life, while holding onto, and justifying belief in myth on the others. It’s called cognitive dissonance. But I suspect people learn to avoid the problem by accepting wholesale the “reality” of their myths. This involves self-deception, but it’s for the sake and benefit of the believer.

Týsson

11/16/2006 02:45:07 PM

"But like any dependency, it limits freedom." Ignoring for the moment that you are bordering on an ad hominem argument, I think this is a modern conceit with little rational support. Moreover, my own experience has been that my religious beliefs have opened up vast new rational fields of research that were unknown to me before. As such, I have been set free to explore subjects that were once completely inaccessible to me. Note, however, that I am not saying that religious belief is required, only that the adoption of religious beliefs does not a priori limit intellectual freedom.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:39:12 PM

When did believing in a higher power equal an "insecure mind and wanting to living in a box". -tbrew It’s not equal. The motivations for typically rational people to adopt and treat irrational and implausible concepts as reality are rooted in a mind that is insecure, and anxiety-ridden. This stems from an evolutionary trait where those early humans who cooperated with others tended to develop a social contract. Primitive man used myth and stories as a tribal marker. Those who accepted the tribal myth and rituals made them a trusted member. The motive to organize, for security, favored those beings, while those on their own had less advantage for survival. These traits were useful long ago, but not so much today. Yet those traits, plus fear of the unknown, are still prevalent. The behaviors that result are demonstrated by a need to conform to social norms. >>>

Týsson

11/16/2006 02:35:42 PM

"I’m curious why you can’t be more open about it. Why hold back?" Who's holding back? I am quite open about my beliefs. Within the context of your original question, however, I recognize a difference between objective and subjective realities. As such, I am not prone to try to convince others that my subjective reality is better than their own and I am fully aware that there are few objective or rational criteria by which to support such a claim in any event. Moreover, I place a very high value on the folk religions of many different people. It would by hypocritical in the extreme to propose a polytheistic world view of my own deities while simultaneously denying the existence of the deities of other people. As such, the second part of your original question seemed inapplicable to my world view.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:28:06 PM

By unconscious I mean the lack of conscious self awareness which is not the subconscioius. -Sobeit The unconscious and subconscious are the same thing. Still making up phrases and using words with your own stealth definitions, I see. Consciousness is a rarity for us and normally we just live unconsciously through conditioned reactions. Conscious means awake and aware. When we drive a car we are conscious. We may use autonomic behavior, but we are conscious, so no, it isn’t rare. Unless you’re in a coma. This is why consciousness isn't necessary for life as we know it. We can speculate unconsciously just as a computer does. You are still being vague, and using your stealth definitions again.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 02:23:17 PM

While folk religions cannot be said to have been rationally constructed, they nevertheless contain the collected wisdom of countless generations, much of it won through trial and error. I readily grant that this was often not any sort of systematic investigation, but it's not quite a flight of fancy either. -Tysson The issue of wisdom IS one of trial and error. This does not correlate to mythic concepts, however. Many parables thought true today, such as Jesus as savior, have roots in Greek and Roman mythology, yet accepted as reality in the modern world, by some folks. While ancient stories may represent lessons for humans living life, the literal belief in the myths used tends to suggest the wisdom has been missed.

jacknky

11/16/2006 01:10:23 PM

Tysson, "Namely, I have evaluated my life since coming to my beliefs and compared it to my life before coming to my beliefs. By every objective measure, my life is far better now than it was before." Thank you. Personally, I believe religion is a tool we can use to open up or shut down, a tool we use to express our own wisdom or our own confusion. It sounds like your belief in God is taking you to greater wisdom and inclusion so... Peace...

thunderbrew

11/16/2006 12:47:31 PM

F1 Fan When did believing in a higher power equal an "insecure mind and wanting to living in a box". I hope that you don't believe that these absolutes characterize those of faith. Absolutes like these about any topic shows tremendous arrogance and a condescending mind.

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 12:17:17 PM

The relative value of the various religions is a very difficult thing to discern. It is almost impossible, perhaps quite impossible. For a religion is only known from inside. Religion is a form of nourishment. It is difficult to appreciate the flavour and food-value of something one has never eaten. SimoneWeil This is one reason it is so hard to discuss religion with Atheists including Dawkins. They are so caught up with external proofs that they cannot leave themsselve open for the inner verification impossible to describe. They confuse it with escapism which is exactly the opposite since the true religious experience is a conscious experience which cannot exist during our normal psychological states governed by imagination.

Sobeit9

11/16/2006 12:10:30 PM

F1fan By unconscious I mean the lack of conscious self awareness which is not the subconscioius. Consciousness is a rarity for us and normally we just live unconsciously through conditioned reactions. This is why consciousness isn't necessary for life as we know it. We can speculate unconsciously just as a computer does. I did not say that God manages law. The law is mechanical and needs no management making the universe an enormous perpetual motion machine. Conscious life within the universe can redirect universal laws altering its effects. Jesus' efforts serve as an example.

Týsson

11/16/2006 11:51:11 AM

"Clearly, religious ideas are not rooted in any sort of objective reality and investigative thought." I'm not sure the picture is quite as clear as you would paint it. However, I come from a very different religious perspective than most, valuing as I do native folk religions over revealed religions. While folk religions cannot be said to have been rationally constructed, they nevertheless contain the collected wisdom of countless generations, much of it won through trial and error. I readily grant that this was often not any sort of systematic investigation, but it's not quite a flight of fancy either.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 11:31:52 AM

Sometimes people like a safe life confined to a box. In this way people can apply their own locus of control, and create the walls that sheilds them from the anxiety of uncertainty. Putting up walls of ideology does not address the anxiety, it only masks its effects. I still maintain it is better to face fears and address the root of anxiety. It is hard, and some may not have time or confidence. Life offers no guarantees, eh?

nnmns

11/16/2006 11:31:12 AM

Tysson, I think you've given the best justification for such beliefs one can give. And I feel comfortable you won't try to impose those beliefs on others. If only fundamentalists were equally reserved!

F1Fan

11/16/2006 11:28:54 AM

I can really only speak to the first part of this question since I am extremely reserved in which contexts I speak about the "reality" of my beliefs. -Tysson I’m curious why you can’t be more open about it. Why hold back? That said, my tenacious hold of irrational ideas is based strictly on a cost/benefit analysis. Namely, I have evaluated my life since coming to my beliefs and compared it to my life before coming to my beliefs. So you have derived meaning from belief in these popular ideas. We know this is one way religion becomes attractive to insecure minds. The mind has a need, and develops a dependency on a popular framework from which it can define itself. But like any dependency, it limits freedom. I suppose one can have their dependency, so long as they are aware of it.

jd70

11/16/2006 11:20:02 AM

jacknky: I would completely agree with both of those statements by Dawkins. Since I have not read any of his books I can't make a judjement as to his other views. From this article though he does come accross on the tad bit conceited side. I would not call myself either an atheist or a theist, since both terms are related to belief or lack of in the existance of something purely conceived in the human mind. I myself start with one assumption that being that we did not bring the universe into existance. Based on that assumption we cannot ever absolutely know the "truth", but rather only know it to the extent the evidence points at any given time. Accepting this simple fact is humbling and gently reminds us that we are simply a part of a bigger picture.

Týsson

11/16/2006 11:10:05 AM

"What Dawkins does ask, as I do, is WHY theists believe in irrational ideas, but make claims about them as if they were reality." I can really only speak to the first part of this question since I am extremely reserved in which contexts I speak about the "reality" of my beliefs. Moreover, I make no pretense of speaking for all theists. That said, my tenacious hold of irrational ideas is based strictly on a cost/benefit analysis. Namely, I have evaluated my life since coming to my beliefs and compared it to my life before coming to my beliefs. By every objective measure, my life is far better now than it was before. As such, I have concluded that my beliefs, while clearly irrational, are nevertheless healthy--for me. I fully accept that others' mileage may vary.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 10:57:25 AM

While I think most theists probably agree that fundamentalism can be a dangerous thing, what Dawkins deliberately and repeatedly ignores in his many diatribes against religion is that most theists are not fundamentalists in the way he describes. -Tysson What Dawkins does ask, as I do, is WHY theists believe in irrational ideas, but make claims about them as if they were reality. Clearly, religious ideas are not rooted in any sort of objective reality and investigative thought. It tends to be a behavior rooted in social structures. Why believers think the ideas are reality, and not simply mythic frameworks, and spread this attitude to children, is what Dawkins objects to. It is a classic example of the pars pro toto logical fallacy and Dawkins has made a reputation for himself with it. Believers have no doubt made Dawkins a villain. Yet his views are honest, clear, and concise. Is any of what he says in error (assuming you look beyond your attachment to religion)?

F1Fan

11/16/2006 10:39:15 AM

All matter vibrates at different rates of speed. What is the source of vibrations? What is this force? Did they begin from nothing or are vibrations just the natural slowing down from a higher source of vibration that remains a perpetual source? -Sobeit This is an example of how one can imply or manipulate an answer by creating an un-natural question. To ask this implies there IS a force or source. That is intellectually fraudulent if you intend to wedge in your idea of god, or open that sort of assumption. We who are clever enough to see your ploy, and who know how to ask responsible questions, know better. The question becomes: why don’t you know better? It is more logical for me to assume a living source from which vibrations slow down and all of creation is comprised. Don’t just say this, explain WHY you think it is logical. And your reason better had be logical. If it isn’t, then can you admit such forms of thought are just intended to reinforce your beliefs?

Týsson

11/16/2006 10:35:59 AM

"It seems that many condemn Hawkins for being arrogant but what specifically is he saying that isn't true?" Well, I think you have to accept that Dawkins has spoken with such vitriol against all religious expression for so many years now that most people are reacting to the totality of his remarks, not to just what he states in this article. While I think most theists probably agree that fundamentalism (at least in the sense it is being bandied about in this discussion) can be a dangerous thing, what Dawkins deliberately and repeatedly ignores in his many diatribes against religion is that most theists are not fundamentalists in the way he describes. It is a classic example of the pars pro toto logical fallacy and Dawkins has made a reputation for himself with it.

F1Fan

11/16/2006 10:32:38 AM

Awe is an emotion. It is an emotional reaction to an expression of universal laws through which God's will is maintained in the universe. Science can produce it in us through manipulation of these laws but is not the source of the laws themselves. -Sobeit Yes, awe is an emotion that comes about from being able to recognize the atypical from the norm. But what god? No, you are assuming a god exists, and that it manages law. That means you are trying to impose what you imagine onto what is demonstrably true. And you state this as if it were as valid as the science that inspires awe. You are (as you typically do) try to mix religion with objective investigation, which renders your view a sticky goo that mires the intellect like quicksand, from which you seem to have no escape. I still have no confidence that you understand what Weil in on about. All matter vibrates at different rates of speed. What is the source of vibrations? What evidence is there of a source?

F1Fan

11/16/2006 10:20:51 AM

The mistake often made IMO is to try to attempt to verify consciousness through unconscious speculation and science which is impossible. -Sobeit How odes the subconscious speculate? Speculation is deliberate and conscious thinking, not subconscious. Your statements make no sense.

jacknky

11/16/2006 09:50:04 AM

I wonder if some of theists could respond to what Dawkins actually said in the article. For example: "Fundamentalists know they are right because they have read the truth in a holy book and they know, in advance, that nothing will budge them from their belief." "When a science book is wrong, somebody eventually discovers the mistake and it is corrected in subsequent books. That conspicuously doesn’t happen with holy books." Isn't this true? It seems that many condemn Hawkins for being arrogant but what specifically is he saying that isn't true?

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 11:27:48 PM

All matter vibrates at different rates of speed. What is the source of vibrations? What is this force? Did they begin from nothing or are vibrations just the natural slowing down from a higher source of vibration that remains a perpetual source? It is more logical for me to assume a living source from which vibrations slow down and all of creation is comprised.. It is beyond our comprehension but some call it God.

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 11:27:35 PM

Stepp You don't like Jacob Needleman so I'll stick with Simone Weil. Awe is an emotion. It is an emotional reaction to an expression of universal laws through which God's will is maintained in the universe. Science can produce it in us through manipulation of these laws but is not the source of the laws themselves. "Beauty. Impossible to define it psychologically, because of the fullness of the aesthetic contemplation." ". . . matter is not beautiful when it obeys man, but only when it obeys God. The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because we know ships have wrecked on it. On the Contrary, this adds to its beauty. If it altered the movement of its waves to spare a ship it would be a creature gifted with discernment and choice, and not this fluid, perfectly obedient to every external pressure. It is its perfect obedience which makes the seas beauty." Simone Weil. continued

steppen0410e

11/15/2006 11:05:17 PM

No, sorry, Sobeit9, I don't go along with all that palaver one little bit, and I have very little confidence in Needleman. I reiterate and ask again, what experience of the human psyche is "higher" than the feeling of awe and wonder that science can give us? It is truly one of the things that makes life worth living, and it identifies the universe as a far more wonderful and beautiful place than theat capricious one tricked out with ad hoc magic espoused by believers in the supernatural.

steppen0410e

11/15/2006 10:56:10 PM

Yes, F1fan, and in respect to the 'mysterious', we now possess numerous historical examples of naturalistic explanations supplanting supernatural ones and not a single one going in the other direction! So there is a very clear inverse relationship between the amount of human knowledge and the credit we are willing to give any god, or gods, for direct intervention in the universe. The more we learn about the universe, the less we attribute to supernatural causes. What is any reasonable person to make of such an astoundingly consistent trend? I would suggest that one would extrapolate a bit and declare God likely non-existent.

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 10:54:35 PM

I see that links don't reproduce well in this setting so here is the URL: http://www.rawpaint.com/library/intro.html

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 10:52:07 PM

Stepp A higher experience is a conscious experience. We are rarely conscious but instead live through condtioned imagination, or as the ancients say: "asleep.". Consequently we lack the higher conscious experiences exceptt through intentional efforts or acccidental shocks that temporarily awaken us. I know this seems absurd but if you understand what Dr. needleman is saying HERE about, it will clarify everything. You will see "A Sense of the Cosmos" and a section on "consciousness" He describes the experience I have had when I become conscious of myself, I am aware also of a greater consciousness which is the direction of our potential for human perspective. The mistake often made IMO is to try to attempt to verify consciousness through unconscious speculation and science which is impossible. Consciousness is an objective quality of the moment (Now) while science compares between before and after. They are not the same yet complimentary.

F1Fan

11/15/2006 10:12:43 PM

Just like the UFO phenomenon, the whole business of God is surrounded by so much vaguery. -step Indeed. There is an aspect to religious fervor that uses the mysterious. How many times do we here about the mysterious way the Christian god works? This helps the believer maintain some interest and wonder about an unknown god. This no-mans-land is also a tactic in discussion, and being vague and on-specific about evidence is claimed to be part of the nature of god, and why it takes “faith”. Of course we know what is really going on in the mind seeking significance. But it is interesting to see otherwise normal people act in a way that is completely irrational. They really think their illusion of god is real, and cannot open themselves to monitor and examine their own mental state in this regard. This is what Dawkins talks about as the god delusion.

steppen0410e

11/15/2006 10:06:56 PM

Explain "higher experiences" to me, Sobeit9? Is there any higher experience of the human psyche than the feeling of awed wonder that science can give us? it is a deep aesthetic passion that ranks with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. And one can experience it without the need to embrace untestable and unprovable propositions.

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 10:01:39 PM

Stepp I would agree that Dawkins does not believe it relevant since he hasn't experienced it. That is the whole point. Simone is suggesting that as we are, reacting unconsciously, all we are contemplating is false gods so it is useless to try to draw distinctions. The idea of retaining detachment allows us to develop consciousness which provides the intellectual means to conscious remain conscious to life's impressions and open to higher experiences. This is the eastern idea of "attachment" and the necessity for detachment to make life meaningful. It is also the message of the Crucifixion and Resurrection though often not recognized as such as Christianity became more secular and devolved into Christendom.

steppen0410e

11/15/2006 10:01:38 PM

Just like the UFO phenomenon, the whole business of God is surrounded by so much vaguery. What is it about God that he (she/it) finds it so difficult to reveal himself (herself/itself) in unambiguous ways? Perhaps he/she/it doesn't actually exist. As Namchuck rightly points out, it is not as if the concept is required to explain anything.

namchuck

11/15/2006 09:28:52 PM

You are still making the assumption of God, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo! Surely in our quest for truth and understanding, it would be wiser to start with a minimum number of assumptions rather than begin with the most baroque and complex, and even these minimum assuptions would never be immune from criticism, revision, or rejection? Where is the evidence that there is some supernatural and benevolent God presiding over the universe? My point is, the origin of the world and the development of life can be explained without recourse to any such entity, so why bother with the concept? As the evidence shows, believing in the concept doesn't make one a better person, and while the belief may be consoling to some and give their lives a bit of meaning, I find meaning enough just in the fact of being able to experience the wonder of being alive.

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 09:08:33 PM

"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good... It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him." -- Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- Quite an extraordinary idea. To invite the experience of meaning, one has to become conscious of the fact that pure reactive life is mechanical and consequently meaningless

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/15/2006 08:58:03 PM

Harvest G F1fan Steppen How to prove what I know that can not be proven, a micron telescope won’t reveal what can not be seen. But how do we know that it is there? There is only one way to prove what is, when it can not be seen. You have to experience it, so you have to be open to the work of GOD in your life. You have to find out how GOD works. I think Harvest G alluded to this fact. And I offered you to join me in a group to just follow along or participate, and maybe you can get the experience that others share. It is the only way I can think of to answer your questions. Obviously I believe that there is something that can not be explained, but the random acts that are also accompanied by sequential actions that are not complete chaos by design. There is an organized order to the universe. You have steps up and steps down.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/15/2006 08:57:35 PM

(Cont'd) Omanasson Interesting points that you make; I like the comment about he source of all life back, back and back… Future Sky Interesting, agreed we need to reframe our own beliefs as not of those that are fundamentalists, where the scientific method and our religions do bridge into greater knowledge and growth.

Do_unto_others

11/15/2006 04:07:57 PM

FutureShy, Thankx 4 the link (tho I doubt I'll go to it - I have less than zero interest). Also I'm not sure where the following quote you posted came from... "Our increasingly anti-Christian country must return to a belief in the authority of the Bible and be presented with the life-changing gospel message." But I have a question or two about it. First, WHY "must" we return to such a belief? Who says we "must", and on what grounds? Does it apply to Jews? To Bhuddists? To Jains? To Unitarians? To Muslims? I thought we had 'freedom' of (and hopefully FROM) religion?

jd70

11/15/2006 03:45:48 PM

"We can't scientifically prove dinosaurs and people lived at the same time because you can't scientifically prove anything in relation to the past." But they accept a 6000 year old earth? I guess there are exeptions to the rule. One can only scratch ones head.

jd70

11/15/2006 03:40:05 PM

If the musuem is for entertainment I have no problem with it, but if it is being presented science then I have a real problem. Either way there are better causes to spend ones money on.

FutureShy

11/15/2006 02:13:42 PM

One last quick comment: Don't tell the Creation Museum people that there wasn't much of a "Christian foundation" to America...Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln were, at best, theists, but would be disgusted by fundamentalism, particularly Jefferson, as evidenced by his many writings. FACT.

FutureShy

11/15/2006 02:09:19 PM

And to read more about these fundamentalists who are indeed "ruining the scientific education of countless eager minds" - take a look at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june05/creation_3-28.html Extra note to Do_unto_others: FYI - A quote without comment from the above link: "We can't scientifically prove dinosaurs and people lived at the same time because you can't scientifically prove anything in relation to the past." - Kevin Ham, "Answers in Genesis"

FutureShy

11/15/2006 02:03:46 PM

Do_unto_others and all, Here is a link to the "Creation Museum" being built now to the tune of $25 million in Kentucky: http://www.answersingenesis.org/museum/faq.asp I will leave it up to the readership which comment from this page is more delusional: Why is this museum needed? Our increasingly anti-Christian country must return to a belief in the authority of the Bible and be presented with the life-changing gospel message. Evolutionary indoctrination has undermined the Christian foundations in America. or... Why did you choose the Cincinnati area? About 2/3 of America’s population can drive to Cincinnati in one day! LOL...Tough choice IMHO! ;-)

GlennM14

11/15/2006 01:18:12 PM

My, these disbelievers surely are verbose, and they can't take a joke either! Sheesh!

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 12:29:25 PM

I hope that Simone Weil is right in her vision of the eventual union of science and the essence of religion. Such a vision would combine the coherence of mathematics with the spirit of religion to give us a truly sacred science. In the visionary words of Simone Weil, "I believe that one identical thought is to be found--expressed very precisely and with only slight differences of modality-- in. . .Pythagoras, Plato, and the Greek Stoics. . .in the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita; in the Chinese Taoist writings and. . .Buddhism. . .in the dogmas of the Christian faith and in the writings of the greatest Christian mystics. . .I believe that this thought is the truth, and that it today requires a modern and Western form of expression. That is to say, it should be expressed through the only approximately good thing we can call our own, namely science. This is all the less difficult because it is itself the origin of science." Simone Pétrement, Simone Weil: A Life, Random House, 1976, p. 488

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 12:28:21 PM

believe that science and religion in a person of balanced psychology are actually complimentary. Religion should open a person to the "meaning" of his life within the higher universal scheme free of the abnormal negativity or sentimentality from imagination The literal truths of science can then be a valuable tool for furthering the needs of our "wholeness". But, as Chesterton suggests, something went wrong somewhere so we've developed this unnatural condition that appears to put religion and science at odds. So the problem IMO is us but we've become to egotistical to realize it which consequently just perpetuates the unnatural division between science and religion.

Sobeit9

11/15/2006 12:27:32 PM

"Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head." CHESTERTON Dear Mr. Dawkins I would agree with you that the advantage of science is the possibility for simple verifications of phenomena and how they relate to one another. These are literal truths "etched in stone." The essence of religion asserts that there are also psychological truths, living truths, that allow a person to experience living "meaning" in relation to the living function of the universe. It is the experience of the holy or "wholeness" in contrast to verification of the relationships between certain parts as in science. However such psychology requires abilities that we have lost through our acceptance of imagination as truth resulting in the abuse of religion you are well aware of. continued

Do_unto_others

11/15/2006 11:58:13 AM

Harvest G, "To act as if science replaces religion or that science in any way disproves the existence of God is unimaginable to me." Except the reverse is also true. No person of faith can PROVE the existence of God. That's why it's called "faith".

Do_unto_others

11/15/2006 11:55:47 AM

Dear future Shy, Wow! I find the idea of a museum "complete with Adam and Eve among the dinosaurs!" to be quite laughable for two reasons. First because it has been proven that "man" did not co-exist with the dinosaurs (except for maybe in government). And secondly because the "museum" seems to have forgotten about "Adam's" first "wife" - Lillith. Makes one wonder why the "fundamentalists" are so selective, eh?

F1Fan

11/15/2006 11:53:55 AM

Simple, I take the best of all religions that which we know makes moral, scientific sense. Apply the philosophy that I’ve been writing with, as you said, “we would see all believers go to all ends to be moral,” we could then write this up as one script. -GWB That’s essentially a social contract, which is what most religions became for their relative societies. But who gets to decide? You? Of course, you will hone your own religion, and soon discover others wanting a different “evolution”. This is the sort of conflict we have already. What is solved? You are relying on human beings willing to agree and compromise, yet they are not willing now. Part of culture includes ritual and ceremony, as this in itself is of no threat to other cultures. It is the employment of gods and assumptions that they have authority that become threats.

FutureShy

11/15/2006 11:42:52 AM

(part 1 of 2) Let's all take a step back and consider Hawkins' basic point, which is the tagline of the article: "I oppose fundamentalist religion because it is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless eager minds." I suggest non-believers and Christians who do not identify with Christians of the far right megachurch variety can agree that this basic supposition is spot on. How else do you explain the need of fundamentalists to believe that our world is 3,000-4,000 years old? A Kentucky "museum of natural history" is being built with this absurd belief in mind - complete with Adam and Eve among the dinosaurs! And why do fundamentalists have to believe in intelligent design aka creationism? I know of Christians who are not intimidated by theories of evolution! Why must fundamentalists be?

FutureShy

11/15/2006 11:42:26 AM

(part 2 of 2) As we all recently heard the cantankerous, self-parodying Elton John say "Religion" creates "hateful lemmings", he and others often interchange "religion" and "fundamentalism" as synonyms. They most certainly are not. With that in mind, I say Dawkins is at his best in debunking the odd emotional need for fundamentalists to believe bizarre facts about the world, which are disproved by very simple facts and research. He falls very short, though, when he disparages non-fundamentalist Christians as enabling fundamentalism through their own religious practices. That said, the real debate is not between Hawkins and the likes of Haggard and other "The world is 4,000 years old" reality deniers, but rather between Hawkins and other scientists, doctors, etc. who are Christians, or perhaps Jewish, and share Hawkins' spot-on disdain for fundamentalism, and see no conflict between scientific method and their religion.

omanasson

11/15/2006 11:28:18 AM

I too, like Dawkins, consider the rule of religion over our lives to be very destructive; however, the recent Haggard revelation makes me wonder about Hawkins' closet. I cannot comprehend the idea that a claim of atheism by anyone is valid and to prove my point just read thru the struggle of opinions posted here. All living matter, notwithstanding human beings, is programmed with God Code or Divine Code or Pregenesis Code, in-other-words something that preceded it and going back, back, back in time and distance to the Ineffable Original Source from which the Laws of Nature emanate. Since Hawkins’, a brilliant scientist, gives facts, evidence and evolution, as he should, the supreme place in his intellectual brain, it is absurd for him to declare atheism. You know that he must wonder about the mysterious and Incomprehensible Wonderful that is hidden and that gives Life to Life otherwise he would not be compelled to search for answers. Continued in 11:26:34 post.

omanasson

11/15/2006 11:26:34 AM

My best advice to Doctor Hawkins’ and other declared atheists is come out of your closets admit that you wonder about the IAmIAm-IsIs, before you suffer a humiliating revelation. Distinguished scientists, in particular should heed this common sense advice since they tend suffer greatly when a long held belief is proven false. Were I Hawkins, I too would have had tears in my eyes for the dethroned professor at Oxford, tears of sympathy.

Harvest_G

11/15/2006 11:24:28 AM

(continued from previous post..I didn't realize it was this long, sorry) To act as if science replaces religion or that science in any way disproves the existence of God is unimaginable to me. Science, by it's very nature, should abhor such ideas. Rationally, God may not be the most likely answer to the great questions of the universe. God may in fact be the least likely of all possiblities. Even the least likely possiblity is still possible and to unequivocally state otherwise sounds to much like playing God. The claim of absolute truth is dogma, whether religious or scientific. I accept science but, thank you very much, I'll place my faith elsewhere.

Harvest_G

11/15/2006 11:23:28 AM

(continued from previous post) The problem is this. Science does not disprove anything. Measurable, statistical evidence is collected, reason is applied, conclusions are drawn. Science only categorizes the most likely scenario or outcome. Do an experiment a hundred times and observe the same effects a hundred times and you've only proven what happened a hundred times. You may reasonably conclude what is most likely to happen on try 101, but until you've actually done it that..mutations, changes in factors that are incalculable, call it what you will. Even the least likely possibility is still possible.

Harvest_G

11/15/2006 11:20:04 AM

I wrote this in response to an article elsewhere but the sentiment is the same. The lack of sensitivity among the scientific elitists does not surprise me. The lack of objectivity does. Modern science has somehow taken on this infallible persona with all the answers and an absolute authority in what is right, what is wrong, and what is best for everyone else. Science, in this sense, is really nothing more that hypothesis and theory reconstructed as absolute truth. What I remember from class many, many moons ago is that a hypothesis is a reasonable idea and a theory is a hypothesis proven over time. Simplistic, I know, but bare with me. Science begins with an idea of what might be possible and then through experimentation and observation proves whether or not it is in fact possible. Basic scientific method.

GlennM14

11/15/2006 08:07:29 AM

Well, I don't know who said it, but they are dead right: "To a believer no proof is necessary. To an unbeliever no proof is possible."

windbender

11/15/2006 07:04:22 AM

"I can’t prove it but I can see it." That's how magic WORKS! Don't you get it yet?

F1Fan

11/14/2006 11:32:26 PM

You do not object to a chaotic happenstance that suddenly allowed life to occur and yet you do not agree that to have being and move puts us in the middle of the universe that allows us to be. -GWB We know that life exists. We have very good evidence that suggests natural causes was the reason why life exists. Life is not special to nature, but humans do assign value to it, as you seem to, and mistake that reverence as an aspect of nature. That is an error of meaning assignment. What we don’t know is if any of the thousands of gods exist. We do know the origin of many god myths, including the one Christians adopted from the Hebrews. You want to see the mind of GOD and I’m trying to show you that you are searching and seeking with and for the wrong mind. Yes, you’re suggesting distorting interpretation so that one assumes a god exists. I’ve seen it before in other believers. The question is why you can’t self-monitor well enough to be aware of your actions and intent.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 11:28:12 PM

You say that the infinite universe and the uncreated universe you do not oppose, and yet, you do not wonder at the Life that exists in the universe and how this life came to be… -GWB You couldn’t be more wrong, at least about me. In my travels I have often been at awe of the natural beauty of the planet, and universe. I remember sleeping at the top of the Maroon Bells and couldn’t sleep because of the carpet of stars tat night. I could see the Milky Way like never before. The canyons of the southwest are amazing. I’ve climbed up to the Continental Divide during winter and looked out over the Rocky Mountains. That is what life is about, those experiences. What my life doesn’t need is to adopt and be tempted to believe myth. I can look at nature and be part of it, not a bystander for a god I imagine exists via a religion popular in my culture.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 11:22:04 PM

You're starting off on your journey in the wrong direction. I had to break all of the information down to one single point, not the origins, which I’m trying to answer for you here, I came to the conclusion that you can not prove GOD, mind or anything, then I looked around me and said, yes, I see the work of GOD. I can’t prove it but I can see it. -GWB This is an example of imposing an interpretation onto natural with the intent to confirm beliefs about god. One can observe a tree that really exists. But if one expects trees to be a creation of god, then seeing that tree will queue a confirmation of the belief held about the god one judges exists. Of course, the tree does not imply a god exists. It is humans imposing their beliefs in order to confirm what is implausible and non-evident. Many believers refer to their beliefs in god as if it were a reality. Treating the unverified ideas as if they were true in passive conversation is a way to condition the self to think god really exists.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 11:08:25 PM

If I purchased an electron microscope, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, do ya think I'd catch a climpse of your God?

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 10:36:17 PM

Before I head off to bed, allow me to introduce you to some friends. They are in the Nurturing and Positive Thinking Group, we are starting group 19, it is a good group of people very interesting, I was going to say down to Earth, but I reconsidered, they are very warm and compasionate, and they like to have fun. Here is a link to sign up Click Here

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 10:26:17 PM

I'm Sorry Steppen, I just checked on my other boards, so I wasn't sure if you were going to respond further, I have to get up early tomorrow to do my job... I want to add that when the right amount of molecules come together under the right conditions life will begin. The catalysis and the fabric or root of such life is where you will finally find GOD, unlike anything you would have ever thought you would see. You call it imagination, I know it is something more. I wish I could better describe what I know, in a way that would be more convincing. Have a good nights sleep... Peace and Blessings

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 10:02:22 PM

I dare say that the origin of life will eventually be explained by science along the lines of a Miller-type variant, then the god-botherers will have to find some other as yet un-solved mystery within which to fit their belief in a deity.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 09:52:14 PM

(continued) And there is certainly nothing in your posts that would lead me to conclude that you possess any favored insight that allows you to show me anything. But I am listening.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 09:50:00 PM

Yes, GreatWhiteBuffalo, I'm certainly not opposed to the possibility that the universe is eternal and uncreated which, obviously, would give happenstance ample time an opportunity to generate environments conducive to the possibility of the arising of life. None of this, of course, requires any hypothetical god, nor gives us a central role in the cosmic drama.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:49:27 PM

steppen0410e 11/14/2006 9:43:33 PM That would be my point, I can't tell you how that life originated there, but the fact that life is there proves that something in this great vast Universe, is alive, and I am alive, and so are you. Ergo Sum = GOD

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 09:43:33 PM

Actually, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, the planet Earth plays across the board in varieties of environments, from the most pleasant to the harshest imaginable, and yet life has evolved and adapted to almost all of them. Is there an environment any harsher than that which surrounds an undersea volcanic vent, yet certain forms of life thrive there, which greatly extends the possibilities that life may exist on other worlds with environments once thought utterly inimical to life.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:37:50 PM

Steppen, Henrietta Reddopto and F1fan You say that the infinite universe and the uncreated universe you do not oppose, and yet, you do not wonder at the Life that exists in the universe and how this life came to be… You do not object to a chaotic happenstance that suddenly allowed life to occur and yet you do not agree that to have being and move puts us in the middle of the universe that allows us to be. You want to see the mind of GOD and I’m trying to show you that you are searching and seeking with and for the wrong mind.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:37:26 PM

(Cont'd - Split post) You're starting off on your journey in the wrong direction. I had to break all of the information down to one single point, not the origins, which I’m trying to answer for you here, I came to the conclusion that you can not prove GOD, mind or anything, then I looked around me and said, yes, I see the work of GOD. I can’t prove it but I can see it. My belief is that there is a GOD, I step out in time and see that something is delivered to me and I can’t show you what I have been given. So I write using the mind that I have, and you read and communicate back to me with your mind. I believe that GOD is… No one, not anyone could ever take that away from me, all of the attributes of GOD are clear to me, I can sense that GOD exists. That doesn’t change anything about how the Bible has to change so that my point of view can be widely known, it changes nothing about how the theory of origins and this existence of GOD can be brought together in a new theory that is the Evolution of Religion.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:32:36 PM

(cont'd) bardmountain 11/14/2006 9:54:39 AM Good Post MMarcoe 11/14/2006 11:34:14 AM Good point about the heart being different than the mind, I want you to know I heard that. jacknky 11/14/2006 1:35:40 PM The belief that "God is love" is an example. Therefore, without our belief in God we lose the ability to love. Actually you are close, GOD is Love and with out the ability to Love there is NO GOD It was then that I figured out the lie in the Bible that Satan was the absence of Love, while many humans do not express Love, not one of them was Satan, pure evil the antithesis to GOD pure Love. truthinjesus 11/14/2006 5:30:39 PM Good Post, except that the Bible can be used against itself in this discussion, be very careful what verses you use. We should have a book that has no contradictions; now that would be a pure and holy book that corroborates both science and religion.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:31:46 PM

(Cont'd) Fromoz I agree that generational sin and reward is pathetic. We should have good laws to protect our children. I would also rather hang around those that I can reason with, and the fundamentalists both Religious and Atheist have a long way to go. I like open minded willing to think people that listen and care and understand what true justice really is. I love good people and good laws. Sean4Peace Not only do we need to be allowed to question we need to be able to point out specific errors that need to be corrected. Or mark those places where it is more than certain that an exaggeration has been inserted.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:30:26 PM

(cont'd) F1fan What would the Evolution of Religion look like and why would it be needed? Simple, I take the best of all religions that which we know makes moral, scientific sense. Apply the philosophy that I’ve been writing with, as you said, “we would see all believers go to all ends to be moral,” we could then write this up as one script. We’d have a best seller for one. We’d have a moral compass without all of the voodoo or curses that plague all religions. We have a tool where we can apply these writings for everyone; they would be based on religious beliefs and change the nature of worship. The practice would become solitary instead of lead by special leaders. There would be no need for meeting and tithing, we would all work to Help others; and tell the truth. We would also help others to tell the truth. It would be a major paradigm shift globally.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 09:29:50 PM

Henrietta, no I asked what your intention was to post something that is limited to self-verification, and is by most accounts self-deceptive. There's no doubt people adopt the god concept popular in their culture. It then falls on the individual to invent ways to maintain and reinforce belief in an idea that is both fantastic and has no supporting evidence. That requires imagination. And that is not being in touch with reality. It's OK to have a fantasy life. It's a problem when normally rational adults can't discern fantasy from reality. And it's a bigger problem when this delusion becomes rampant in a society, and become a social framework. This is happening, and why folks like me who are not tempted to believe in myth are seen less favorably. To my mind this harsh judgment reflects poorly on the moral fiber of the believer. Ironic.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 09:29:15 PM

(Cont'd - 1024 Just doesn't cut it) Jacknky I believe it will be a hard sell for me to get my theory accepted; therefore the world of science is closed to me. It is a fundamental flaw that they will not accept what I proffer. Namchuck Don’t call me a dreamer… LOL But Windbender you put your name in the list… Why would you cry foul? ;)

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 09:25:25 PM

And what I am suggesting, Henrietta22, is that your beliefs and experience don't necessarily point to anything outside of the human mind. I'm not denying the reality of such subjective religious experience, but I know that it can be psychologically explained without reference to any transcendent realm or entities.

Henrietta22

11/14/2006 09:17:06 PM

You wonder why I'm on this public forum? It asks "What do you believe?". I told you. I'm not trying to disprove how you look at the world. I was trying to explain that your reasons for my faith, and believing in God, are in error.

windbender

11/14/2006 08:59:29 PM

And then simply has added other names to the list. Why, when he comes to mine, must I cry "foul"?

windbender

11/14/2006 08:58:25 PM

Perhaps Dawkins isn't really saying there is no Apollo, but rather that he sees no evidence of him.

namchuck

11/14/2006 08:32:12 PM

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo goes on in a completely uninformed way about Dawkins seemingly "closed minded(ness)", comparing him to a religious fundamentalist, and yet, just the other day during a debate with Francis Collins (printed in the November 13 issue of Time), Dawkins acknowledged that, "My mind is open to the most wonderful range of future possibilities, which I cannot even dream about, nor can anybody else". He then goes on to say something that I am in complete agreement with: "What I am skeptical about is the idea that whatsoever wonderful revelation does come in the science of the future, it will turn out to be one of the particular historical religions that people happen to have dreamed up".

jd70

11/14/2006 07:59:28 PM

LOL, steppen. With that I think I will sign out and practice my real guitar.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 07:48:25 PM

Hello jd70! Yes, but it's not an air guitar like the one the biblical God plays.

jd70

11/14/2006 07:45:58 PM

steppen, You mean God plays guitar? Cool..

jd70

11/14/2006 07:29:08 PM

Thanks jacknky.

jacknky

11/14/2006 07:18:09 PM

Buffalo, Buffalo, You said: "they both seem to be closed minded to the reality of the unknown." Dawkins said: "--"My dear fellow, I wish to thank you. I have been wrong these fifteen years." We clapped our hands red. No fundamentalist would ever say that. In practice, not all scientists would. But all scientists pay lip service to it as an ideal--" "I was wrong." Show me a fundamentalist who will say that about their beliefs. Science is about refining and changing, not holding fast to beliefs.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 07:15:13 PM

I'm sorry, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, but nothing that you have written below makes a lick of sense to me! How, for instance, other than the fact that you have read or heard it somewhere, do you know that "God is love"? Somebody once told me that Eric Clapton is God, which may be right, at least there is no question that he exists. By the way, I, too, love justice, but I don't see that as demanding that I believe six impossible things before breakfast. Mind you, it may be a lot easier for those with an insufficient taste for evidence.

jacknky

11/14/2006 07:11:47 PM

jd70, It was something like Smithsonian. I have a bad memory for names.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 07:11:07 PM

Now about the GOD that has the last laugh. GOD is Love, to Love GOD is to Love Justice, and to understand the Great I Am that I Am who has sent me to you, is to see the GOD that will Laugh and Cry first and last. -GWB then why do the most fervent believers not act with this in mind? If this god really exists, and if believers really believed themselves, we would see them go to all ends to be moral, compassionate, and humble. Since many act with so much certainty in their beliefs and judgments, I suspect they know deep down the god they worship is a mental fabrication. Together we need the Evolution of Religion. What would this look like, and why would it be needed?

F1Fan

11/14/2006 07:04:50 PM

Ifan, I have no trouble with my spiritual awareness. -Henrietta What is it that you think you are aware of that you consider “spiritual”? Would that be religious beliefs? Or something else? Neither am I consumed with ideas that suppress them. Because of my lifes experiences, beyond any planning of my own, there can not be any other reason than God exists. So you think a god exists because you have had experiences that confirm your belief? Are you aware that this is a common human behavior: that one can create experiences that confirm bias or judgments in order to justify them? Can you explain how your experience actually confirms a god exists to anyone else but yourself? If no, then what was your intention to make the statement on a public forum?

jacknky

11/14/2006 07:04:11 PM

was, "Hostility is not a scientific method, so I take his remarks to be unscientific and unbelievable." It's simplistic to point out that Dawkins is "hostile". As a scientist he is also passionate that religion is harmful. Are scientists not allowed to be passionate about their society? Personally I think his summation of "Holy Books vs. Evidence" is right on the money. So much so that folks can't seem to refute what he is saying so they attack Dr. Dawkins.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 07:00:13 PM

Sorry, truthinjesus, but Isaiah 40:22 doesn't say that the Earth is a 'sphere' at all, but a 'circle', or disk, like a coin, which is completely consistent with the rest of scripture which undeniably conveys a flat Earth perspective. That this picture of a flat Earth was also common to Jesus and his Jewish Palestinian contemporaries is known to us from many surviving Jewish and Christian documents. Furthermore, their worldview was a wholly mythological one, as can be easily shown. And it is nonsense to write that while Jeremiah was writing about innumerable stars "science then said that there were only 1,100". The astronomer priests of many civilizations that pre-date the ancient nation of Israel, including the Egyptian and Chaldean, had charted all the stars observable to the naked eye and postulated that there would be vastly many more.

Henrietta22

11/14/2006 06:57:57 PM

Ifan, I have no trouble with my spiritual awareness. Neither am I consumed with ideas that suppress them. Because of my lifes experiences, beyond any planning of my own, there can not be any other reason than God exists.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 06:53:24 PM

While the Bible is not a scientific book, it is consisitant with modern science. For example, the Bible says that the earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22)when everyone else thought the world was flat. -truthinjesus If I remember right, it says more literally that it is a circle. Still, the moon was an easy queue for any ancient observer. It also says the Earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7) It doesn’t hang at all. In fact, none of your references are very impressive, and say nothing about the stories of men being swallowed by whales, dragons and unicorns.

Henrietta22

11/14/2006 06:52:11 PM

SteppenO410e, you and Ifan, must have missed reading the second page of this article. See page 2, and read it, and you will see why I said what I said. It was about a young promising scientist, name of Kurt Wise. He now directs the center for Origins Research at Bryan College, Dayton, Tenn. Steppen, my beliefs "stood on their own two feet", before I even had knowledge of the word "faith", and what it meant.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 06:47:48 PM

Namchuck Ibsearchin Steppin Okay, where to begin, with the three of you, the mind of GOD, Hmmm? Show you the mind of GOD and give empirical evidence that you might dissect this information as a verifiable fact that you can reproduce on demand. Uhmmm? Let me see, where to begin. Reading and Understanding is first on my list of things to teach you guys... LOL About Dawkins, being in bed with the Religious Zealots; if your theory that you are trying to prove begins at the same point in time, it is possible that you are sleeping together in the same camp. My point is that while one claims that the other is closed minded, they both seem to be closed minded to the reality of the unknown. As Steppin so eloquently pointed out, nothing about the universe and it's borders is yet proven.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/14/2006 06:47:19 PM

(Cont'd) Now about the GOD that has the last laugh. GOD is Love, to Love GOD is to Love Justice, and to understand the Great I Am that I Am who has sent me to you, is to see the GOD that will Laugh and Cry first and last. I just read a couple of posts, and not all that has yet been written, I'm curious about what others have contributed and will be back to follow up shortly. Peace and Blessings, Evolutionists need to evolve Religionists need to evolve Together we need the Evolution of Religion.

jd70

11/14/2006 06:43:11 PM

jacknky "I( remember seeing an article in a magazine about one of the few remaining "cargo cults" left in the South Pacific from contact with Americans during WWII" Interesting. Do you recall what magazine you saw this in?

Sean4peace

11/14/2006 05:52:54 PM

I wonder which religion are you so passionately against?I myself, a christian, believe in evolution, so would you be against my beliefs still? If one may speculate,you don't mention any religion in detail where this religion says its bad to believe in evolution or something where science contradicts a specific religion.I'm assuming you live in the USA,as most know the USA has a huge population of Christians.So I'm wondering if you are really against Christianity?Wouldn't that be a reasonable assumption,since the Christians are really the one behind ID and they(Christians) are the most vocal about this topic? Just to point out,in Reformed Judaism,"Most believe that Genesis is to be understood symbolically"-Beliefnet.com.They,being the Reformed Judaism,largely do not believe that the Exodus of millions of Jews leaving Egpyt is historical fact.I agree with what I believe your saying, one must be allowed to question without the threat of "your going to hell" or be stoned etc.

fromoz

11/14/2006 05:43:03 PM

I look around the world at secular countries, and I look at countries where religion dominates, and I make my judgements accordingly. The USA is the most Christian Western country and it is also the most dysfunctional, and there are the Muslim countries. I look at the justice of Common Law and compare that to religious law that quite often discriminates, and for me, the greatest injustice is that of generational sin or reward. I would rather hang about with Rationalists and scientists any day. Because I can reason with those people I feel much safer around them.

was

11/14/2006 05:35:46 PM

I agree with Dawkins: he is hostile to religion. All religion. The claim to be the voice of unbiased, liberating scientific objectivity...founded in hostility??? Hostility is not a scientific method, so I take his remarks to be unscientific and unbelievable.

truthinjesus

11/14/2006 05:30:38 PM

steppen0410e says "It is a fact about God that He has never proved Himself a viable cog, nut, or bolt in any theory of how the world works or is." While the Bible is not a scientific book, it is consisitant with modern science. For example, the Bible says that the earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22)when everyone else thought the world was flat. It says that there is an innumerable number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22) when science then said that there were only 1,100 stars. It also says the Earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7) when science then said that the earth sat on a large animal. The Bible says that Creation is made up of invisible elements (Hebrews 11:3) whereas science then hadn't a clue. Modern science today verifies that matter is made up of atoms too small for the naked eye. In matters of cosmology the Bible says that each star is different in brightness (1 Corinthians 15:41) when science then said all stars were the same.

jacknky

11/14/2006 03:52:13 PM

Zero, Okkkaaay... Religion obviously can motivate us to create beauty. My point was that religion isn't required. It's in us and it has to come out. If the tool we use isn't religion we humans will find something else.

Zero-Equals-Infinity

11/14/2006 03:48:14 PM

Zero, "Religion does however have a positive contribution to make when it's narratives are seen as literary, artistic and ethical. It may instill an awareness of beauty, provide a basis for law and society." jacknky, I don't think so. I think the ability to appreciate beauty and create laws and societies is innate within humans. We express them through our religions and our religions appropriate what is best in man. ------------------------- That does negate that a positive aspect of religion is its ability to inspire the artist, the ethical thinker and the law-maker. It is not exclusive in that ability.

iris_alantiel

11/14/2006 03:34:41 PM

This is not my first encounter with Dawkins, and every time I see or hear him speak, I always get the impression that he is hostile, not just to fundamentalist religion, but to all religion. Sure, he's entitled to his opinion, but I don't think it's useful for him and other scientists to stereotype religious people as uninformed, irrational, pigheaded, and blind.

jacknky

11/14/2006 03:28:43 PM

dplatt, "My point was that Dawkins and Harris lump all religion together." Since at its most basic Buddhism is non-theistic there are some who contend it's not a real religion. From what I've read many scientists are quite amenable to Buddhism because the Buddha made no supernatural claims and basically said it's a waste of time to try and figure out the nature of the gods because it's an unanswerable question. Of course that didn't stop later humans from creating a religion around Buddhist concepts.

jacknky

11/14/2006 03:25:07 PM

dplatt, "it says that the cults often supplanted previous rteligions." That makes sense. Not much was said in the article about what went on before the cult.

dplatt

11/14/2006 03:12:59 PM

I juar read the Wikipedia article on Cargo Cults, and it says that the cults often supplanted previous rteligions. I think it could be seen as an extreme form of syncretism, in which "rituals" from another "tradition" (in this case, the trappings of the US military) are grafted on to the existing indigenous beliefs.

dplatt

11/14/2006 03:06:34 PM

"dplatt, "I also have to disagree with the notion that atheists don't let their hostility turn to violence." I certainly wouldn't agree that atheists aren't capable of violence. Very, very few human beings aren't capable of violence. I think the true enemy is dogma, whether religious or non-religious. Once "our way" becomes the only way then violence isn't far behind." My point was that it isn't true that atheim "never" leads to repression and violence. What I find most bizarre is that when confronted with these examples, Harris has the gall to say that they aren't "really" atheists! Spoken like a true believer.

dplatt

11/14/2006 03:04:42 PM

As for the Cargo Cults, I find it interesting, however, I've always been skeptical of it. For one thing, I find it hard to believe that the islanders had no previous religion.

dplatt

11/14/2006 03:02:06 PM

"dplatt, I don't get the point about your reference to Buddhism, which is the religion most amenable to science." I thought I was pretty clear. My point was that Dawkins and Harris lump all religion together. While here Dawkins seems to argue that he's only talking about fundamentalism, elsewhere he has broadened his attack to all religion. When confronted with Buddhism, he essentially changes the subject, which doesn't strike me as very scientific. I realize that Harris practices Buddhist meditation, but in interviews he stresses the need to do away with any mystical aspects of Buddhism. What really riles me about Harris, however, is his claim that religion doesn't evolve. His claim that a 14th century European would know "everything there is to know about God" is preposterous, and flies in the face of centuries of comparitive religious studies.

jacknky

11/14/2006 02:46:05 PM

I wish someone else had read or commented on my post about the cargo cult. I found it fascinating how this religion emerged so quickly in such an isolated place and how it had so many elements in common with older established religions. Didn't that strike anyone else?

jacknky

11/14/2006 02:44:12 PM

dplatt, "I also have to disagree with the notion that atheists don't let their hostility turn to violence." I certainly wouldn't agree that atheists aren't capable of violence. Very, very few human beings aren't capable of violence. I think the true enemy is dogma, whether religious or non-religious. Once "our way" becomes the only way then violence isn't far behind.

Lostsocks

11/14/2006 02:41:58 PM

I would agree with Prof. Dawkins, I think what he has to say in this article is important. But the trouble is, he doesn't just go after fundementalists and anti-scientists. He insists on a relentless (and often misinformed and poorly reasoned) attack against moderates of all religions. Most of Dawkin's criticisms for example do not even apply to faiths like Buddhism which on the whole, completely accepts evolution.

jacknky

11/14/2006 02:41:37 PM

dplatt, I don't get the point about your reference to Buddhism, which is the religion most amenable to science. The Dalai Lama is allowing his monks to be studied objectively to learn about the meditative mind. The Dalai Lama was asked what would happen to the Buddhist teachings if the scientific study differed from what Buddhism teaches. The Dalai Lama said "We'll change the teaching." Contrast that response to the response from religious fundamentalists.

dplatt

11/14/2006 02:39:08 PM

"That's what he said in this article. Are you aware that a scientific theory is a bit more than a "best guess" as the word "theory" implies to the rest of us?" I am well aware of that, which is why I used the example of Quantum theory, which is widely agreed-upon but not "provable". My point was that ther is some dispute about Darwinian evolution. Dawkins is conflating Darwinian evolution with all evolution, just as he conflates fundamentalism with all religion. For all his talk about being open, he sees things as very black and white. " "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God" is not dogmatic or fundamentalist. Ask a religious fundamentalist if God is "almost certain". You'll see the difference. He addressed this issue when he discussed the difference between passion and fundamentalism." My point is that, despite what Namchuk wrote, Dawkins did indeed make such a statement, "almost" qualifier notwithstanding.

dplatt

11/14/2006 02:31:11 PM

"By contrast, what I, as a scientist, believe (for example, evolution) I believe not because of reading a holy book but because I have studied the evidence. It really is a very different matter." I have to disagree. One of the key phrases of JC is "by their fruits you shall know them." Similarly, Buddhism preaches not to simply believe but to experiment, to see if it works for you. I also have to disagree with the notion that atheists don't let their hostility turn to violence. The obvious examples are the various totalitarian communist regimes (Harris likes to argue that these "don't count" because they weren't "rational". However, the fact is that they believed themselves to be based on "reason" and the fulfillment of progress based on the "science" of history). However, another example is the French Revolution. Almost as many people executed in the Inquisition were killed in the name of "reason."

jacknky

11/14/2006 02:24:24 PM

dplatt, "We believe in evolution because the evidence supports it, and we would abandon it overnight if new evidence arose to disprove it. No real fundamentalist would ever say anything like that." That's what he said in this article. Are you aware that a scientific theory is a bit more than a "best guess" as the word "theory" implies to the rest of us? "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God" is not dogmatic or fundamentalist. Ask a religious fundamentalist if God is "almost certain". You'll see the difference. He addressed this issue when he discussed the difference between passion and fundamentalism.

dplatt

11/14/2006 02:02:41 PM

"11/13/2006 10:34:09 PM I don't think, Ibsearchin, that any atheist, at least no atheist of my acquaintance, and certainly not Dawkins, speaks about the "certainty that there is no God"." Actually, Dawkins wrote an article for Huffingtonpost.com called "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God". (His exact words.) He is as close to a fundamentalist atheist as possible. He is also a fundamentalist Darwinian. He has had many battles with other biologists who subscribe to other theories of evolution. Evolution *is* a theory, just as much as Quantum theory. That doesn't mean it's not true, just that Darwinism is not the only possible explanation.

jacknky

11/14/2006 01:43:44 PM

Religion is the only area of our lives where reason isn't applied or isn't a virtue. If I said I have little green men living in my toothpaste few would believe me unless they actually saw the little green men. But if I were able to create a religion around the little green men complete with a Holy Book with some human truths, and rituals and answers to unanswerable questions, then those who needed to believe would no longer ask to see the little green men.

jacknky

11/14/2006 01:35:40 PM

Zero, "Religion does however have a positive contribution to make when it's narratives are seen as literary, artistic and ethical. It may instill an awareness of beauty, provide a basis for law and society." I don't think so. I think the ability to appreciate beauty and create laws and societies is innate within humans. We express them through our religions and our religions appropriate what is best in man. The belief that "God is love" is an example. Therefore, without our belief in God we lose the ability to love. Not true, in my opinion. The Buddha said we all have basic wisdom and compassion and we lose sight of it through the many forms of human ignorance. This makes more sense to me.

reddopto

11/14/2006 12:39:40 PM

Scientists tend to overvalue the contributions of science to existence. They are immersed in it, and it seems to provide for their emotional needs. For non-scientists, science is not their god. Karl Jaspers commented that science detects certain measurable aspects of reality, but cannot grasp the essence of that reality. The world of transcendence is largely untouched by science, and that's where religion comes into human thought. Furthermore, concerning fundamentalism and liberalism, Reinhold Niebuhr said that a fundamentalist is someone whose beliefs are more rigid than mine are, and a liberal is someone whose beliefs are more flxible than mine are. This is to say that people should be tolerant of other peoples religious beliefs. Our own beliefs are not devoid of irrationalities. This holds true even for Richard Dawkins

MMarcoe

11/14/2006 11:34:13 AM

What Dawkins says about non-fundamentalist faith is not quite true: it does not espouse unquestioning faith as a virtue. Only fundamentalist faith does that. As soon as any faith begins to promote unquestioning belief, then it becomes fundamentalist. I do not believe that Jesus Christ wanted us to practice unquestioning belief. When he told us to open our hearts rather than our minds, he was not advocating blind faith. That is not what the heart does.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 11:17:55 AM

frgough, those men are scientists from the early years. Many of them saw their work as discovering the way god works. Plus, relgion was so much a part of social life back then that one simply accepted the notions as part of culture. It was when Darwin published his works that the major split really began to become evident. It is what we know today that continues to discount the need to believe in gods and myths as a basis for understanding how things are. No doubt, some still do believe in social myths. But examining the reason WHY they adopt social frameworks tells us it is more for emotional security, and not for understanding reality (especially since myth tends to be counter to what we know of reality). It is the believer's dilemma to manage both myth and objective learning if they choose to study science. I've simply rejected myth as a means to providing answers. But I might be lucky, as a natural skeptic, I am not tempted to believe.

darkmoonman

11/14/2006 11:15:12 AM

"Deeply held Christian beliefs didn't seem to bother the great thinking of these men." Indeed, some especially gifted individuals are capable of rising above the limitations of their religions as practiced and proselytized by their fellows, but why insist on forcing beveryone to jump such a hurdle? BTW, you might want to do a bit more research on Newton as he came very close to being excommunicated for his beliefs & practices.

frgough

11/14/2006 10:51:13 AM

Isaac Newton Sir Francis Bacon Michael Faraday Johannes Kepler Deeply held Christian beliefs didn't seem to bother the great thinking of these men. Find some other Red Herring, Dawkins.

Henry7

11/14/2006 10:24:47 AM

Wonderful to hear from the growing number of Atheists, Agnostics and Humanists. As an Ex Christian, reason makes for a more inclusive world.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 10:09:32 AM

Or are you so naïve that you believe you can “observe” evolution? -MdS Hmmmm, no, since the process take hundreds of thousands of years. But by examining the evidence that essentially is a history of biology we can see what happened and when it happened. Just as seeing a 100 year old man, what we know about human life we can assert that he had a childhood without observing him as a child. But neither am I so naïve to assume popular religious concepts are true, especially when they are implausible and inconsistent with reality. How about you? You believe in myth? As for experiments, a simple one could have been attempted with fast reproducing species (say microbes),…, was artificially “evolved”. Then get to work. Of course, how does your proposition ensure a reliable test? Do you think you know something that those who are experts in the field don’t know? Are you being impatient? Many seem to expect science to give answers NOW. Yet the research takes time and money.

bardmountain

11/14/2006 09:54:38 AM

With all due respect to Dawkins (I really liked The Selfish Gene), I think he doesn't quite get religion. He seems to see religion and science as competing means of finding "truth". ~99% of religious people are not seeking "truth". They are seeking comfort. In that sense, religion plays a meaningful role in people's lives that science has no role or interest in. The "truthiness" of religion is secondary to its use in providing comfort to people in the face of insecurities and uncertainties. The other 1% of religious people that are actually seeking truth tend to be pretty open minded and are willing to change their views given evidence to the contrary.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 09:49:30 AM

Fundamentalism can't liberate us, but looking toward science isn't the answer either. Where else do we look when it comes to ethics? -greling “Liberation” is a psychological problem. The dilemma many face is expecting their anxiety to be solved by popular religous beliefs. The problem of religion as a solution is that it both provides the basis for emotional dependency, and claims to be the solution. The freedom of mind and intellect comes by understating one’s own attachment to popular cultural myths as a means to define the ego for what it is. Science s simply a means to understand how things really are in nature. Philosophy is the answer. Philosophy is what humans do to provide creative answers for his own need for meaning. Yet it cannot give us demonstrable answers as we find in science. And every great philosopher that I know advanced the science was a theist. Irrelevant. They probably ate meat, wore shoes, enjoyed music, etc.

Zero-Equals-Infinity

11/14/2006 08:20:57 AM

Religious narrative provides a basis for communal identity. It is supported and affected by the cultures and communities in which it exists. Dogmatic fundamental religious narrative has serious deficits in a shrinking modern world. Collisions between cultures and their narratives often results in schism, cognative dissonance, and violent expression. Religion does however have a positive contribution to make when it's narratives are seen as literary, artistic and ethical. It may instill an awareness of beauty, provide a basis for law and society. It also alludes to what is called 'God', but is more properly an allusion to what is experienced in ecstatic states. The label 'God' is problematic when it becomes the absolute authoritative container through which experience of life is filtered and interpreted. The scientist is willing to dispense with that container to allow what is to speak for itself to follow where the evidence leads, and to avoid overlaying and overloading it with projection.

Ibsearchin

11/14/2006 08:01:15 AM

One of the things that scientist have been saying lately is that the "belief in a God is unnecesary." Now this makes sense when you consider what gave birth to the idea of gods and deities in the first place. It's what has been termed "god of the gaps." I.e., when fire, electricity, storms, volcanoes, and other "unexplained" things took place, it was necessary to invoke the idea of a deity. As time progressed, just about every "gap" got broken down by a physical explanation. Therefore, do we believe we will one day approach an enigma for which we will still need a deity in order to make sense of it? I think this is an important point to consider because this how the God concept evolved in the first place.

Miguel_de_Servet

11/14/2006 07:56:24 AM

[F1fan 11/14/2006 12:08:03 AM] Of course, what we do know about the process of biology tells us that the old man [I suppose this is a way of figurate speech to refers to the overall life process as a single being] DID indeed have a childhood, and we can state that with confidence since it follows from the rules of biology. I was distinguishing between theory and observation and/or experiment. Or are you so naïve that you believe you can “observe” evolution? As for experiments, a simple one could have been attempted with fast reproducing species (say microbes), artificially increasing their mutation rate with radiations (say X-rays), while, at the same time, artificially selecting a randomly “emerging” new “trait”, until gradually an new species, with new traits, not part of the genetic pool, was artificially “evolved”. This kind of experiment (again, very simple and straightforward) it if has ever been successfully attempted, has never been reported.

Charnitzky

11/14/2006 04:17:36 AM

The debate between science and religion is between to different value spheres--the means and ends of each are completely different. They can be, but don't necessarily have to be, at odds. Here is an apropos quote from Max Weber (who was an atheist and a (social) scientist) on the subject: "Science has created this cosmos of natural causality....Science, in the name of ‘intellectual integrity,’ has come forward with the claim of representing the only possible form of a reasoned view of the world. The intellect, like all culture values, has created an aristocracy based on the possession of rational culture and independent of all personal ethical qualities of man"

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 03:32:28 AM

It has always been easier to attack what one imagines to be someone's motives rather than take on what they are actually saying. Just maybe it is for the believers own good. I wouldn't mind a bit seeing some of the more militantly fanatic of religions adherents heed Dawkins call, albeit extraordinarily unlikely, even though, as Sam Harris points out, it is moderate religionists who provide the cover for the fanatics.

namchuck

11/14/2006 12:45:46 AM

Unlike greling, I do not think there are any grounds for believing that there is any "orchestrator" behind that complex process we call evolution. The haphazard and jury-rigged nature of much of evolution would preclude me from concluding so. Mind you, there is always the possiblility that the 'orchestrator' is not necessarily the omnipotent God of the theists but some lesser God, one that is very powerful but not omnipotently competent. Perhaps this world may be the best that a very powerful deity can manage, for all we know. Or maybe God is only intermittently capable and benevolent and fitfully forgetful. If that were the case, it might be best to keep on his good side?

namchuck

11/14/2006 12:37:56 AM

That should have read: "God hasn't proved itself a viable cog, nut, or bolt in any theory of how the world works or is."

namchuck

11/14/2006 12:35:12 AM

I completely go along with the fact that we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, or dragons, leprechauns, faeries at the bottom of the garden, or if there is a teapot in orbit around the sun, but the odds that any of the foregoing exist are getting increasingly remoter by the day. But while we cannot either prove nor disprove the existence of God, science can tell us where God isn't. God isn't to be found in the creation of the Earth, nor in the evolution of life. In fact, and as I've already stated, God hasn't proved itself a viable cog, nut, or bolt in how the world works or is.

namchuck

11/14/2006 12:28:35 AM

You are only identifying, Greling what every scientist, including Dawkins, already knows, so you haven't uncovered or exposed any great mystery. And I agree with Dawkins, science can give us real answers, but I'm not too sure just what we are supposed to be "liberated" from, except, perhaps, our ignorance. And you are quite right, steppen, evolution has been observed both in the field and in the lab. Miguel_de_Servet: Perhaps we could extract a little of Jesus' DNA from the wafer or the wine at communion and check out a few things about his genetic background. We might discover that, like the rest of us, his goes back beyond Adam and Eve.

greling

11/14/2006 12:27:17 AM

Remove the word "does". Don't know why I typed that.

greling

11/14/2006 12:26:34 AM

Either prove to me that God exists, or stop taking your supposed moral high ground based on myths that you can't prove to be true. You cannot no more logically "prove" that God exists anymore than you can "prove" that evolution occured does. Neither claim is falsifiable. However, I a proponderance of life evidence to believe in both. I think that there is sufficient grounds to believe that God may be the orchestrator of this complex process we call evolution.

greling

11/14/2006 12:22:37 AM

"advanced the science" should be: "that advanced science"

greling

11/14/2006 12:19:41 AM

I went from Christian fundamentalist to negative atheist to Progressive Christian. I know the ropes of this debate. I'm getting a college degree in it. Sorry, Mr. Dawkins. Science cannot liberate us or give us real answers. It's simple logic: Major Premise: Theory Implies a Prediction (T -> P) Minor Premise: Prediction is True (P) _______ Resulting Conclusion: Theory is True (T) (HOWEVER... NOTE: This is a Fallacy of Asserting the Consequent!) Hence why it is never possible to "prove" anything with science. You can only "confirm" things with a certain degree of probability, until they are later disproven. Fundamentalism can't liberate us, but looking toward science isn't the answer either. Where else do we look when it comes to ethics? Philosophy is the answer. And every great philosopher that I know advanced the science was a theist. Their ideas were extracted from their theology.

steppen0410e

11/14/2006 12:18:43 AM

Wrong, Miguel_de_Servet. Evolution by random mutation and natural selection has considerable support from both observation and experiment. You ought to extend your researches a bit. Henrietta22: 'Faith' is simply the transparent admission that one's beliefs cannot stand on their own two feet. And I too would like to know which "Scientist" supposedly excised the Bible? Actually, it has been my experience that it is Bible-believers who "cut out" biblical verses by the very act of ignoring those unconfortable one's that challenge or contradict their a priori beliefs, like the one's that describe God like any human dictator, only bigger and invisible.

fromoz

11/14/2006 12:13:23 AM

Either prove to me that God exists, or stop taking your supposed moral high ground based on myths that you can't prove to be true. In the end all religions reflect the cultures in which the religions exist, that is why there are so many different versions of so many different religions. Often members of the same religion are at odds with each other. I look for environments where I can become a better person, and after a life of experiencing different religions, I've found peace and contentment with Rationalists. No more do I have to twist things in my mind to try to be comfortable with people who insist their myths are true and insist that belief, not evidence, is all that's needed.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 12:08:03 AM

Evolution (to be specific, by random mutation and natural selection), which is a highly complex theory, very limitedly supported by observation, and non at all by experiment -MeS Meaning what? Maybe it's not a valid theory? Those who discount the theory are essentially looking at a 100 year old person and suggesting they didn't have a chld hood because you didn't see it. Of course, what we do know about the process of biology tells us that the old man DID indeed have a childhood, and we can state that with confdence since it follows from the rules of biology. If the emotional attachment that some to ther religous beliefs are strained by what we can know via science, well, that's bad luck.

F1Fan

11/14/2006 12:01:06 AM

It was extreme of the Scientist who cut out all verses of the bible, because evolution proved it began before the bibical text. It had to be one or the other. -Henrietta What scientist did this? Or is it an issue of a myth being accepted as true (due to ignorant popularity) until science developed an objective investigation that revealed how things really are? There are hundreds of creation myths, not just the two in Genesis. The Bible has no authority on the matters of realty. Isn't it just as extreme to only believe what science can prove to you? You don’t have to believe in what is demonstrably true. Science self-corrects, and offers a method for testing reality. Religion does not. I would not throw the Bible or Science out. I always thought of science as another path of seeking God. Yet another manner to self-deceive the self about myths that have no basis in reality. Odd.

Miguel_de_Servet

11/13/2006 11:52:27 PM

Namchck, apparently neither Dawkins, nor you, can tell the elementary difference between on one side, Evolution (to be specific, by random mutation and natural selection), which is a highly complex theory, very limitedly supported by observation, and non at all by experiment; and on the other side an observational truth as "New Zealand is in the Southern Emisphere", witnessed by counless sailors.

F1Fan

11/13/2006 11:52:12 PM

Religion is "Faith", not based on proof. -Henrieta The problem arises when believers treat their beliefs like certainty, and imply it is truth by referring to the concepts as if reality. If you do not have faith your religion is empty. Why do people need religion at all? Could it be motivated by a feeling of emptiness, and it is filled with the social commitment common in religion? Religion does solve certain anxieties of uncertainty, albeit through self-deceptive means. When your experience's in life seem to indicate a life beyond the physical it increases your belief. Yes, people do create experiences that confirm established beliefs. This is most crucial when the beliefs are based on fantastic and improbable ideas.

Henrietta22

11/13/2006 11:25:45 PM

Religion is "Faith", not based on proof. If you do not have faith your religion is empty. When your experience's in life seem to indicate a life beyond the phyical it increases your belief. The fundamentalist religions are extreme, accepting everything literally. It was extreme of the Scientist who cut out all verses of the bible, because evolution proved it began before the bibical text. It had to be one or the other. Isn't it just as extreme to only believe what science can prove to you? I would not throw the Bible or Science out. I always thought of science as another path of seeking God.

steppen0410e

11/13/2006 10:45:20 PM

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo doesn't seem to grasp that an infinite and uncreated universe - which I'm not opposed to - would do away with the hypothesis, or need, of a creator-God completely.

namchuck

11/13/2006 10:38:17 PM

Sorry about the 'bold' print! slip of the keys.

namchuck

11/13/2006 10:37:23 PM

Living in New Zealand, Miguel_de_Servet, I see nothing laughable at all about Dawkins statement. Am I a fundamentalist, and is it laughable, if I say that the moon is approximately a quarter of a million miles away?

namchuck

11/13/2006 10:34:09 PM

I don't think, Ibsearchin, that any atheist, at least no atheist of my acquaintance, and certainly not Dawkins, speaks about the "certainty that there is no God". Atheism deals, like science, in probabilities, not certainties. Although unable to advance any evidence for such strength of conviction, certainty has invariably always been the province of believers, which has caused, as Dawkins has pointed out, to most of the abominations committed in the name of religion and God. Atheists simply claim that God is b>unproved, not disproved.

Miguel_de_Servet

11/13/2006 10:29:05 PM

Dawkins, from the article: "I am no more fundamentalist when I say evolution is true than when I say it is true that New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere." Simply laughable

namchuck

11/13/2006 10:23:51 PM

The universe may be infinite, but that is something that we, and TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, do not as yet know, therefore, as steppen suggests, it is just another rather assumptive belief. Evolution is undeniably the way that life has developed on Earth, but even that doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility that there is a providential mind behind it, even though I personally doubt it given the haphazard, jury-rigged arrangements and poor planning one finds along with some elegance and precision in the nature of the universe. Having read all of Dawkins material, I'm inclined to go along with his professed hostility toward religion. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from childish mistakes, but pehaps the time has come to grow up and assume responsibility for ourselves.

Ibsearchin

11/13/2006 10:22:57 PM

I agree with much of what this author says. I feel that to truly believe something, you must be free to question everything, and this is something that most religous belief does not allow (just ask Galileo)! On the other hand, I don't understand why disbelief in the "literalness" of the bible (or other religous texts) is automatically equated with the certainty that there is no God (atheisim).

steppen0410e

11/13/2006 10:05:48 PM

And who or what, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo is this supposed God who is going to have the "last laugh"? Is that not just a belief and an assumption without evidence just like that held by every other believer. If you are going to imply, as you do, that you possess something along the lines of a greater or superior view of what it is all about, why not lay the evidence out before us so that we can check it out?

steppen0410e

11/13/2006 10:00:47 PM

You may be right, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, that the universe is infinite and uncreated, and there is no doubt that the diversity of life on Earth can only be successfully explained by evolution processes, but why do suppose that Dawkins and the religious zealots are "sleeping in the same fundamental bed"?

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/13/2006 09:45:22 PM

Ha... The great big vast unlimited universe and both the Scientist Dawkins and the Religious Zealots are sleeping in the same fundamental bed. A Universe that has no borders has no origins. GOD's last laugh, as scientists look for the singular event the beginning of the Universe, the real truth is that the Universe has always existed there is no origin to the infinite.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/13/2006 09:43:58 PM

(Cont'd) Evolution is the way that life began, but could life have evolved in more than one place in more than one time frame? Using the same exact set of chemicals, it is certainly possible to create life and have all life created of similar molecular structure and yet have different origins. One lineage out of Africa isn't as likely as multiple origins, given the number of individuals that have turned to dust through decomposition the remaining items left to be found are of a very small group of individuals that happened to be fossilized at just the right moment in time. Back to the Universe, if the Universe contained Black Holes and Super Nova's. We are witness to the after math of many Explosions all over in the Universe. The total mass and energy remaining constant as it has always been.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

11/13/2006 09:42:03 PM

(Cont'd) Do you think Dawkins will evolve? I have to agree that the fundamental zealots that think the Bible is the innerrant word of GOD will not have a change of heart, even if it is for their own good. The real problem is that the Bible believers wouldn't recognize an error even if that error included the erroneous spelling of the name of Jesus as Joses. The Bible is rife with inconsistancies and contradictions. It is certainly not a pure and holy book, although if you look close enough you can find the word and message of GOD in the Bible as well as in other places even as wide and vast as an infinite universe. I believe that Jesus existed and taught and was betrayed, and I believe in GOD. I believe that GOD is the fabric of the Universe found in everything and that GOD is pure and holy, A source of Love and Truth and to Love GOD is to Love Justice. I would Love to see Mr. Richard Dawkins respond to my post and that would be another miracle and proof that GOD does exist... ;)

steppen0410e

11/13/2006 09:26:16 PM

That should have read "grounds", not "gorunds". I actually have no idea what a gorund is.

steppen0410e

11/13/2006 08:59:26 PM

Truthinjesus' argument that "for an atheist to say there is no God, he would then have to know everything there is to know, and that is impossible. It's an extremely arrogant position" is simply silly. Based on that argument, one couldn't say that there is no such thing as Santa Claus or a Tooth Fairy. Does truthinjesus know everything? How does truthinjesus know that Santa is not hiding somewhere under the ice? Now, I cannot speak for other atheist's, but my atheism consists largely of an intellectual rejection of the traditional arguments and evidences for deities, on the gorunds that they are insufficient in light of modern knowledge and thinking. It is a fact about God that He has never proved Himself a viable cog, nut, or bolt in any theory of how the world works or is.

steppen0410e

11/13/2006 08:32:02 PM

Good on Dawkins! Mastim writes tha: "It seems a bit too far to say that a Christian is insane or unreasonable for believing that God might have created the universe. It's pretty big, and it's complex..." While I might tend to agree with Mastim that it might be a bit excessive to say that a Christian is insane for believing that God might have created the universe, I'm with Dawkins that, if a god did create the universe (about a 5% chance), it is not one of the parochial gods of our extant religions, including the Christian one. But Mastim is right, no absolute answer to this question is possible, but the probability is extremely remote. When I look at a picture of conjoined infants or read about such things as cloacal exstrophy or Lesche_Nyhan syndrome, I find the thought of an All Good Omnipotent being absurd.

Carter_of_Edgewood

11/13/2006 08:28:35 PM

To be fair, while Dawkins calls himself an atheist, the label agnostic would really be more appropriate. He thinks it's possible there is a deity, but in his view, if there is, it is so much greater than anything ever conceived of by a theologian. He also believes that science will eventually be able to prove one way or the other, and he would change his mind based on the results. I think atheist is more of a political statement for him.

mastîm

11/13/2006 07:40:20 PM

I have no problem with Dawkins being passionate in defending science and reason. My problem comes when it appears that he views any belief in religion as "pathetic". In the case of Wise, I think he was just being honest. He just chose a different path than Dawkins would have liked. But it's the same in his series on BBC, if you choose religion, Dawkins thinks there's something wrong with your brain. It seems a bit too far to say that a Christian is insane or unreasonable for believing that God might have created the universe. It's pretty big, and it's complex. Either theists are wrong or atheists are wrong. but until we die, I don't think an absolute answer is possible.

truthinjesus

11/13/2006 07:37:49 PM

Someone saying that there is no God is like saying "There is no gold in China" It's an impossible position to hold to. For instance, if I say there is no gold in China, then in order to prove that, I would have to go through every square inch of China, look into every mouth of every individual to make sure they have no gold fillings in their mouth to conclusively hold to my position that there is no gold in China. However, if I find just a little gold in China then I can say conclusively that there is gold in China. For someone who is an atheist to say there is no God, he would then have to know everything there is to know, and that is impossible. It's an extremely arrogant position.

rmcq

11/13/2006 07:31:16 PM

"As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect." I read a book called "Weighing The Soul" and it describes how scientific advancement was as much about ego and politics as it was about the "Quest for Knowlage". The lives of many scientists were ruined because their discoveries ment some other prominent scientist was wrong and would loose their status. I'm sure similar things happen now in the scientific community without the help of one single fundementalist.

espiritus85

11/10/2006 11:31:46 PM

Why not live and let live This is my first reaction too, but at the same time, it's probably true that the people he's talking about won't live by that rule, so it's almost as if you have to beat them to the punch. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. I would disagree slightly. For me, there is no "it" involved. The people themselves choose not to change their minds - not being mere victims - but rather being people who exploit wordly knowledge for an otherworldy agenda...whatever doesn't help the agenda, toss it. Take the geologist as an example. He's now going to use his acquired scientific knowledge and use it for a particular agenda.

Appy20

11/09/2006 04:16:02 PM

I believe in God and natural selection. I can understand Dawkins' frustration and am much more comfortable with him thinking that I am crazy (one of my better traits) than I am with people who dismiss science. He is right that science is under threat. In my own state, we have had political incompetents embrace religious zealots and try to replace the teaching of evolution with creationism. That is an outrage and it frightens me. My God does not require me to worship ignorance.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook