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What is with all the threads attacking atheism/atheists lately?

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posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 



Thanks for your answer.

You wrote:

["But it occurs to me that this is, in fact, the largest sort of "evidence" that we ever get."]

Again agreed. Maybe almost (there may be true sages somewhere though) every single person on this planet is a small epistemological bubble, whether this is formulated or not.

Deduction/science deserve all the credit I can give them. The existential part of the 'territory' they describe has manifested in reliable 'maps', and the 'good' contemporary scientist stays there, without making claims outside the scientific territory.

On the other hand we have the diffused inductive category 'supernatural/metaphysical' experiences, where the apparantly only common denominator is that a lot of people have experienced something, which could be called supernatural/metaphysical. Considering the amount of such experiences, it would be unreasonable to discard them out-of-hand by producing a 'scientism' argument, which 'defines' away the supernatural/metaphysical on grounds of self-defined systematical methodology exclusivity.

So, completely housebroken, we have some options.

1/ Supernatural/metaphysical is an intrinsic part of mechanisms in higher mammals (household pets often manifest signs of such experiences)). E.g. some psychological or bio-chemical reaction.

2/ Supernatural/metaphysical is a 'natural' part of cosmos, though sofar unknown/unexplained by 'natural laws'

3/ Supernatural/metaphysical phenomena really describe what the label implies. Trans-mundane phenomena.

In either case the subject deserves serious attention; from everybody involved. The many present sensationalist and pseudo-science approaches from metaphysicists are doing more harm than good, as are religionist claims of 'scientific' methodology.

I remember you recently mentioned Yogananda's book: "The selfbiography of a yogi", where he described (I believe) his own gurus epinioa experiments on recreating the 'mystical' experience in different religious contexts. Also (again I believe) Kübbler-Ross saying: I would like to see how near-death/out-of-body would be in e.g. buddhist culture.

There's nothing conclusive about such initial experimentation, even the methodology can be questioned. But it's a start.

On the subject of a 'science of mind' (or whatever suitable name it could have), we're not even at kindergarten-school level. There are mostly only speculations whether we should build such a kindergarten-school at all.

I believe we should. I also have had my share of the 'supernatural' in my life, so even if I'm just plain bonkers, I would still like some 'explanation'.

Quote: ["It's only on points on contention that we insist on additional "evidence", which is reasonable, but then that feeds back into my original point that we'll tend toward evidence that we're open to, based on experience and expectation."]

On this note, I hope we can keep up our present armistice.

edit on 8-2-2011 by bogomil because: semantics




posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by bogomil
reply to post by adjensen
 


1/ Supernatural/metaphysical is an intrinsic part of mechanisms in higher mammals (household pets often manifest signs of such experiences)). E.g. some psychological or bio-chemical reaction.

2/ Supernatural/metaphysical is a 'natural' part of cosmos, though sofar unknown/unexplained by 'natural laws'

3/ Supernatural/metaphysical phenomena really describe what the label implies. Trans-mundane phenomena.

In either case the subject deserves serious attention; from everybody involved. The many present sensationalist and pseudo-science approaches from metaphysicists are doing more harm than good, as are religionist claims of 'scientific' methodology.


Agreed. I like your categorizations, though you've either missed or buried "there are no supernatural/metaphysical aspects, it's all nonsense." I have been hallucinating lately in a meaningless manner, but I dismiss it as being a facet of low oxygen levels -- there's a reasonable explanation for it, I don't need to wade into the supernatural realm to sort it out.


I remember you recently mentioned Yogananda's book: "The selfbiography of a yogi", where he described (I believe) his own gurus epinioa experiments on recreating the 'mystical' experience in different religious contexts. Also (again I believe) Kübbler-Ross saying: I would like to see how near-death/out-of-body would be in e.g. buddhist culture.


The Yogi's book is on my "to reread" pile, it's been too many years since I last went through it. I vaguely remember something along those lines, specifically the Christian experience, but have lost the details, sorry. I haven't come across the Buddhist reference in any of Kubler-Ross' lectures that I've read, but I do recall something about the NDE experience being independent of religious background. But since she exclusively worked in the West, that may, indeed, point to a cultural reference. I've never looked into NDE reports from the East.


I believe we should. I also have had my share of the 'supernatural' in my life, so even if I'm just plain bonkers, I would still like some 'explanation'.


You and me both. Unfortunately, although there have been some credible efforts, a lot of what has been studied thus far is questionable, both in methodology and in findings. To be expected, I suppose, because the tools are either not there, people confuse unrelated matters (if I hear another proclamation that some random quantum phenomenon has practical application to the world, I think I'm gonna scream) or there's so much stigma attached to the field of study that no one wants to hang their academic career on it.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by something wicked
 


By the way, this video is for you. Looks like I was right about other civilizations existing in this universe. It was already obvious to me the entire time. Now that NASA has just recently found other Earth-like planets, my certainty still stands.




edit on 2/8/2011 by Condemned0625 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


You wrote:

["I like your categorizations, though you've either missed or buried "there are no supernatural/metaphysical aspects, it's all nonsense." I have been hallucinating lately in a meaningless manner, but I dismiss it as being a facet of low oxygen levels -- there's a reasonable explanation for it, I don't need to wade into the supernatural realm to sort it out."]

Personally I would accept any approach except the: It's all nonsense. Though I didn't forget this option, but tried to cover it under 'scientism's fake-epistemology.

Quote: [" To be expected, I suppose, because the tools are either not there, people confuse unrelated matters (if I hear another proclamation that some random quantum phenomenon has practical application to the world, I think I'm gonna scream) or there's so much stigma attached to the field of study that no one wants to hang their academic career on it."]


It's become very doctrinal, on both sides. And as the subject has a certain SF/fantasy entertainment value, it's not surprisingly, that it has run amok in the popular mind (the last spoken as a true intellectual snob on my part).



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:24 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by Noncompatible
Addendum for clarity : Not all believers suffer from this malady. Many are in fact good and worthwhile people who take comfort in their belief. Sadly, it seems that number declines as deities and other bogeymen lose relevance as our knowledge and understanding expands.


I'm curious to hear what expanding knowledge and understanding in, say, the last 20 years, has resulted in this declining number that you see? Personally, I see it as a social phenomenon, not an intellectual one -- the non-conformity perspective of the baby boomer generation which reacted against the pre-1960s materialism and the institutional nature of society has simply come home to roost.

Most scientific advances in the past 20 years are incremental and far above the head of the average person, so it's not akin to the advances of Galileo, Darwin or Copernicus, which pretty much horned in on religion's space, but didn't result in significant declines in church attendance, as has been the case in the past 20 years. (Arguably, there are lots of reasons that it didn't, but those reasons didn't suddenly go away in 1990 after the science was known for hundreds of years.)


Simply put, the ability to dispense and share news, information and knowledge has exploded for the "average" person, it has increased exponentially in the last 20 years.
This of course will always be a two edged sword as not all information shared is accurate. With regards to theism the ability to share knowledge, learn new things and experience differing points of view is dangerous indeed.
"Joe Average" now has access to a wealth of information at his/her fingertips. This has helped to induce a polarization between those that "know" and those that want to learn. Leading to less tolerance rather than more and a desperate scrambling by the faithful to fill in the inconsistencies in their beliefs.

Personal opinion : Nothing is above the "average" person unless they wish it. We never lose the capability to learn, many do lose the ability to change however.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:26 PM
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Not believing in God means you will burn in hell for eternity. Seriously, who would visit you?



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:29 PM
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Originally posted by Condemned0625
Looks like I was right about other civilizations existing in this universe. It was already obvious to me the entire time. Now that NASA has just recently found other Earth-like planets, my certainty still stands.


Actually, statistically speaking, the location (and seeming commonness) of Earth-like planets is a vote against the commonality of life belief (and, before you get in a rage about it, let me say that I'm disappointed by it, and that being a Christian has nothing to do with it -- there's nothing in the Bible that says there isn't life elsewhere in the Universe, and I think it likely that there is.)

Well, it might not be life itself that is rare, but intelligent life, because there is an obvious question that arises (and is formulated in the Fermi Paradox) -- if civilizations are common, where are they and why aren't they here? There are, of course, responses to the paradox, but none of them seem particularly enchanting. I remember seeing a simulation once that showed a civilization that had interstellar travel, and the intent to do so, would settle the entire galaxy in less time than humans have even been around, so give them a mere million years head start on us, and they would have colonized the planet while we were still swimming around in the soup.

If Earth-like planets were really rare, it would address the paradox in a favourable manner -- there aren't a lot of civilizations because there aren't a lot of places that are conducive to them (or that are conducive to the development of life that we'd recognize.) But if the planets are pretty common, as seems to be the case (in a way that sets aside most people's mathematical assumptions in the Drake Equation) then it doesn't seem like intelligent life gets to the civilization stage very often.

Like I said, I see that as a big old bummer, but the more we learn, the more it seems to be borne out. All the more reason not to treat our own planet and species with so much indifference -- we're likely as special (or more!) as we like to think we are



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by Noncompatible
Simply put, the ability to dispense and share news, information and knowledge has exploded for the "average" person, it has increased exponentially in the last 20 years.


Well, that kind of plays in with my belief that it is a social phenomenon. It's not likely that anyone is suddenly discovering the concept of evolution or orbital mechanics as a result of the Internet. Well, at least I would hope not


But it does put people in contact with each other who share the same views on matters such as faith, just like it puts people who like collecting stamps or climbing mountains. The person who lacks faith will gravitate to others who lack faith, they build a community and there you go. Suddenly the lonely non-believer doesn't feel quite so lonely, there's less stigma attached to not believing, and attitudes change.

In my opinion, for those who don't believe, that's a good thing, because why should anyone feel alone or rejected?


Personal opinion : Nothing is above the "average" person unless they wish it. We never lose the capability to learn, many do lose the ability to change however.


Based on personal experience, I guess that it depends on the "wish" part of your statement. Most heavy maths and sciences are not something that one picks up on the weekends, though if I can learn the History of Greek Mathematics on my days off, I guess that there's hope for most people.


But there are many fields and discoveries that require an effective lifetime of study and experimentation to comprehend, and those would absolutely be over the head of someone who hadn't done the work. That's not elitism, just a simple fact, somewhat akin to your chances of becoming a professional hockey player being pretty slim if you didn't start playing when you were three.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 03:52 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


You wrote:

["Well, it might not be life itself that is rare, but intelligent life,....]



There's an additional factor to consider:

Invasive doctrinalism + increasing technology = potential self-desctruction.

From one angle considering 'life' as an expression of complexity, this could be a universal principle, explaining the absense of 'civilizations' advanced enough to break the interstellar transport barrier.

Enough technology for self-destruct, to little 'wisdom' to handle it. A 'shift' all species have to pass.

Only a working hypothesis though, and

PS I'm not referring to any specific doctrinalism.
edit on 8-2-2011 by bogomil because: clarification



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:16 PM
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Originally posted by bogomil
Enough technology for self-destruct, to little 'wisdom' to handle it. A 'shift' all species have to pass.


That's a factor in Drake -- variable "L" is the length of time that the civilization is going to be around, with the assumption (based on what, I'm not sure -- I wouldn't assume it) that no civilization can be "everlasting". One would think that, once you got past a certain point, and were geographically dispersed (on multiple planets) the chance of anything cleaning your clock to that degree would be pretty slim.

Wish I could find that galactic colonization simulator, it was pretty cool and I remember finding that the maths and assumptions were reasonable.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:22 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
or the Invisible, Incorporeal Dragon which is currently living in my garage and spewing out heatless, lightless, fire. Do you accept these claims even though there is no evidence?


Are you making this claim?


Nope, but I really wish I could. I just can't do the deadpan too well.



Here's the problem -- we do this stuff all the time. You have told me where you live. I have no evidence, beyond you telling me that that's where you live, but I accept it, because I don't really see any reason not to. If I knew that you were a pathological liar, I would be less likely to take your word for something, but you're a stand up kind of guy, so I'll just take your word for things.


But this is a statement of little consequence and one that could be easily backed up. You could ask me to go to a local landmark and take a picture with a sign reading "Hey adjensen!" while wearing a specific color...and you could get into intricate details about other things that would need to be taken into account in the photo.

You have a way to verify the claim that I am where I claim I am.
Hell, you could even bother checking the times at which I post (though there are a few outliers there because I've been known to suffer from insomnia and post up to 3-4AM...)



Now, the counter-argument is that the likelihood that there is such a dragon in your garage is pretty small (though never zero) and I would be foolish to take your word for it.


And the same applies to a deity. I'll cut to the chase and allow you to read the original version of this by Carl Sagan here.

Or you can listen to it being narrated.






But the one side -- your testimony -- is based on what I know about you, and the other is based on my life experience and how I have been shaped through events (and, arguably, prevenient grace) to judge the chance that something can be true. Both are subjective, and will result in vastly different determinations of whether to take your word for it or not in each person.



And thus we cannot make a verifiable claim about reality. Subjectivity has no place in claiming things about reality. Sure, you can claim personal preferences and all sorts of other things through subjective experience...but reality?



In other words, your testimony is evidence, in itself. Whether I take it as such, though, depends on the conclusions that I've come to about you, and about whatever it is that you're claiming. Because I have seen things in my life that point to the supernatural, I'm going to be more accepting of such claims than someone who has never seen such things. Whether they are actual events or simply the result of a fanciful imagination doesn't matter all that much, because they are real enough to me, the one who experienced them.


And that is no way to live life. The words "real enough to me" have no room in a world we can gain an understanding from.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:25 PM
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God is a good myth, why do you want to screw with it? Potty training?



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I'm vaguely familiar with the Drake-equation (though I didn't remember its name).

But it's as speculative as anything else on the subject, based on statistical estimates and approximations of 'species' durability. It's interesting, but as an abstract concept a blind alley for further 'knowledge'.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:35 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


You wrote:

["And thus we cannot make a verifiable claim about reality. Subjectivity has no place in claiming things about reality."]

The objectivity claim can correspondingly be carried too far.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:42 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
But this is a statement of little consequence and one that could be easily backed up. You could ask me to go to a local landmark and take a picture with a sign reading "Hey adjensen!" while wearing a specific color...and you could get into intricate details about other things that would need to be taken into account in the photo.

You have a way to verify the claim that I am where I claim I am.


Ah, but the point is that I don't need to, and in some ways, I don't even want to. Because short of me going there, nothing that you could present, nothing, would be conclusive evidence. In the age that we live, it could all be faked, pictures, video, phone calls, whatever.

So I'm content to agree that you live where you say you live, simply because I respect you and I don't see any reason to mislead me. To a certain degree, in fact, your word is more powerful evidence than anything else you might muster (photographs and so forth.) But that's a matter of philosophy, and I don't know that we need go there.


Subjectivity has no place in claiming things about reality. Sure, you can claim personal preferences and all sorts of other things through subjective experience...but reality?


In the absence of objective data, does subjective data have no value? Does something which is unverifiable, but subjective, mean nothing? I'm not sure that I have a good answer to that (though I would lean towards "no",) but I'm curious as to your opinion.

Flippantly, perhaps, but if a woman were to tell you that she loved you, would the answer need be "prove it, baby!"

edit on 8-2-2011 by adjensen because: missing "but"



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul

Because short of me going there, nothing that you could present, nothing, would be conclusive evidence. In the age that we live, it could all be faked, pictures, video, phone calls, whatever.



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:55 PM
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Originally posted by StlSteve

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul

Because short of me going there, nothing that you could present, nothing, would be conclusive evidence. In the age that we live, it could all be faked, pictures, video, phone calls, whatever.


Interesting quote that illustrates one of the problems I have with atheism as an alignment of thought. In my experience with atheists and "skeptics" it seems that "God" and such usually boils down to a rejection of evidence that others might find conclusive in favor of a "I'll believe it when I see it" stance. Yet their very alignment of thought short-circuits the mystical states of consciousness that one must be open to in order to "see it" in the first place. They trap themselves in a psychic catch-22 and so they never "go there". What they need is a "I'll see it when I believe it" stance.

And in addition, they are usually uninterested in evidence that points to the existence of that catch-22. I refer to the sheep-goat effect.

Oh well. Its human nature I guess.


edit on 8-2-2011 by Student X because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:58 PM
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reply to post by Student X
 


Couldn't care less what you believe, why the hell do you care what I believe



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:00 PM
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reply to post by StlSteve
 


I'm just using the quote to make a point. Settle down, tough guy.


edit on 8-2-2011 by Student X because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:05 PM
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Originally posted by Student X
reply to post by StlSteve
 


I'm just using the quote to make a point. Settle down, tough guy.


And it's my quote anyway, lol.

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