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Author Topic: God: The Failed Hypothesis
M. Spector
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posted 21 February 2007 05:11 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
God: The Failed Hypothesis
How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist

by Victor J. Stenger

quote:
Many authors claim that modern science supports the proposition that God exists, but very few authors have directly challenged this assertion. Physicist Victor J. Stenger points out that if scientific arguments for the existence of God are included in intellectual, not to mention political discourse, then arguments against his existence should also be considered. In God: The Failed Hypothesis, Stenger argues that science has advanced sufficiently to make a definitive statement on the existence — or nonexistence — of the traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. He invites readers to put their minds and the scientific method to work to test this claim.
...

"Darwin chased God out of his old haunts in biology, and he scurried for safety down the rabbit hole of physics. The laws and constants of the universe, we were told, are too good to be true: a setup, carefully tuned to allow the eventual evolution of life. It needed a good physicist to show us the fallacy, and Victor Stenger lucidly does so. The faithful won't change their minds, of course (that is what faith means), but Victor Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide. I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book." - Richard Dawkins



Looks like a good read. I'll let you know what I think after I get my hands on it.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 21 February 2007 07:14 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And for only $19.95, we can worship at the temple for the enrichment of Dawkins and Stenger.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 21 February 2007 07:28 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm getting it free from the library as soon as it comes in.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 21 February 2007 10:17 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Fidel: And for only $19.95, we can worship at the temple for the enrichment of Dawkins and Stenger.

For your pledge of only $10 to my church, you help can spread the Word of God to those damned to hell....

What are you saying here, Fidel? Dawkins and Stenger are religious in their anti-religiousity? And because they are religious in their attacks on religion does that make them more evil than those that defend religion with religious intensity and damn the unbelievers to fire and brimstone? Are you saying that the church(es) are at a fundemental level based on a capitalist principle (to make money)? Or maybe atheism? Are you equating religious worship with militant atheism? Are you some post-modern philospher that despises all points of view and thinks it all relative (and can be bought for a price)?

Are you equating science with belief? Testability with faith? The price of religious books to the price of books that support atheism?

Do tell.

edited: I have a problem writing "of" as "or" and it pisses me off.

[ 21 February 2007: Message edited by: clockwork ]


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 21 February 2007 10:29 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As a matter of fact, nnnnnyes, I am. Their god is mammon. I believe there were Greek and Roman gods of prosperity.

Today, capitalism has reduced it to a few gods but demands many more human sacrifices than the gods of ancient history. UNICEF says 29,000 children, 21 every minute on your wrist watch, are sacrificed to economic gods each and every day around the democratic capitalist third world. They die of malnutrition and treatable diseases. This is a particulary cruel capitalist god referred to as the free market. Like most religious beliefs, the free market requires faith but doesn't have the same escape hatch reward of an afterlife for the faithful. It has the next best thing though - it's called the economic long run. (condensed religious analogy borrowed from Linda McQuaig, "Greed, Lust and the New Capitalism: ALL YOU CAN EAT")

Sorry M. I couldn't help myself. I was thinking of monumental failures in general. Back to the thread topic: God: The Failed Hypothesis

[ 21 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 21 February 2007 11:24 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This may be hollow coming from me, but I like the answer, "nnnnnyes". I giggled at that.

So you're beef is capitalism, not science and religion (the tie in, I assume, to the thread is equviolency in belief and the price that can be put on it). You view capitalism as much as a beleif as religion (or atheism). This is correct, no? (And sorry, M. Spector, I'm, we, are bit off topic but I already admit to digressing and being confortable about it.)


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 22 February 2007 05:22 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I wonder, if after this book is published, the fundy atheists will wring their hands, pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on a job well done. God doesn't exist. Mission Accomplished. We can move on.

God, I hope so.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Brett Mann
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posted 22 February 2007 06:33 AM      Profile for Brett Mann        Edit/Delete Post
Did anyone hear the excellent CBC Tapestry program last Sunday interviewing Francis Collins (I think I've got the name right?) talking about his journey from aetheism to belief? Dr. Collins is the director of the Human Genome Research Project in the US, and he points out that he is hardly a scientific freak. He mentioned a poll done which found that about 40% of scientists believe in a creator God who has a particular interest in human beings. Collins has debated Dawkins repeatedly, I believe, and while he has great respect for Dawkins as a debator, there's little doubt in my mind that Collins wiped the floor with him, argument-wise. Not that there is any definitive proof from science, one way or the other, about God's existence. The thing is, to argue, as Dawkins does, that belief itself is disprove-able by reason, is an irrational argument.
From: Prince Edward County ON | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Caissa
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posted 22 February 2007 06:56 AM      Profile for Caissa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I read Collins book over the holidays. A cogent argument that science and religion address two very different topics. I look forward to reading Dawkins most recent work.
From: Saint John | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Toby Fourre
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posted 22 February 2007 07:26 AM      Profile for Toby Fourre        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
[QBI look forward to reading Dawkins most recent work.[/QB]

I did; it's extremely boring. Dawkins rambles too much. He makes his point on the cover blurb; no need to read the rest.


From: Death Valley, BC | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 22 February 2007 03:23 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think they will stop. We live on a very religious continent. If an author says that God doesn't exist in this part of the northern hemisphere, it is an extraordinarily controversial statement and is bound to get a large number of Usians and Canucks to purchase his or her books. There is also the fact that the best-known representatives of Christianity in North America are backward fanatics who use their faith to spread hatred and misinformation. As a result of this blinkered appoarch to religion, people like Dawkins have a pretty big audience of bitter, confused and undeniably angry lapsed Xtians to preach to. If the moderate branches of the Christian faith were more strongly represented in Canada and the US, Maybe soviet style atheism wouldn't be such an attractive option for these poor, traumatized souls, but unfortunately that third option dosen't seem to be available on this side of the atlantic.

quote:
I wonder, if after this book is published, the fundy atheists will wring their hands, pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on a job well done. God doesn't exist. Mission Accomplished. We can move on.
God, I hope so.


[ 22 February 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 22 February 2007 04:25 PM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The thing is, to argue, as Dawkins does, that belief itself is disprove-able by reason, is an irrational argument.

How so? Religion is based upon no reason at all. How is arguing against a completely unreasonable and contradictory set of books irrational? Can anyone come up with a reasonable question as to how, exactly Adam and Eve managed to start world population? How about how two of all species in the world managed to fit on a boat?

Religion is completely irrational and requires noting from a person accept complete blind faith. We're all going to hell, according to most of the world's religions. Is that a reasonable hypothesis?


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 22 February 2007 04:30 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Since, in my view, "god" is primarily a human concept, the idea that scientist can disprove its existance, is, in my view, insane. Barking mad, actually.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 22 February 2007 04:35 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That said, people who are interested in such mental gymanstics, might want to try and figure out how this machine operates:


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 22 February 2007 11:22 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Catchfire: I wonder, if after this book is published, the fundy atheists will wring their hands, pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on a job well done. God doesn't exist. Mission Accomplished. We can move on.

I don't get this comment at all. Are you saying that, like Iraq, the fight ain't over? Are you saying atheists have a poor position and are argueing from a point of view that is obviously false? Are you argueing that athiest, in order to do anything, need a 22000 troop surge to maintain societal norms in the US?

Why is the author a spinster? Why is Dawkins (another athiest who has a book out) a spinster? Why is any preacher of the Word of God not a spinster? Why don't preachers pat themselves on the back on some stupid supposition of rightness?

The equation of atheism to Bush's position on Iraq.... needs further comment. Why is it so inherently false that "Jesus is my philosopher" Bush, the one that precipiated all the errors in Iraq, the religous disciple, can be used as a metaphor to seemingly attack an atheist polemic?

This makes absolutely no sense to me and I need further comment.

Who needs to move on? Who was defeated by a book? Which Kansas school board backed down from not teaching creation science in their cirriculum?


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 23 February 2007 03:22 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I believe that Catchfire is saying that he is sick and tired of atheists that refuse to see that religious faith and science are compatible and pour scorn on people who believe (regardless of how they interpret their religion) I haven't read any of Dawkins work, but judging from the blurb in the quote box at the beginning
of this thread, I'd say he uses rhetoric that could quite easily have been spouted by Vladamir Lennon.
Why do we have to ferret out religion and make it disappear? If a person of faith isn't violating someone's human and/or civil rights, and isn't encouraging anyone else violate human and/or civil rights, why can't we just leave them alone?

edited because the last part of this post was badly written.

[ 24 February 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 24 February 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 23 February 2007 03:36 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My point is that Dawkins, Stenger and Spector here have formed themselves a smug little coterie that believes they've figured it all out. Religion is stupid because...because...because it's just stupid, that's all. They don't bother to understand it at all.

As Cueball says, and as Marx famously said in a quote now routinely taken out of context, God is a human construct. It is the opiate of the people because people created it to soothe their pain. God is society's representation of compassion and of loss. For society to then turn around and say--no, "prove" by science, natch--that God doesn't exist is pure lunacy. Is God any less real than Egos and Ids? Than desire? Than homelands?

So I was simply hoping beyond hope that if these atheists have finally "proved" without a shadow of a doubt, with quantum physics, differential calculus and complex geometry that God doesn't exist, they no longer need to keep publishing their tripe. The God equation is solved. Next question.

Isn't it rather odd that Dawkins et al. believes that the easy solution to conflict in the Middle East and America is simply to get two billion people to stop believing in God?


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 23 February 2007 03:40 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I believe that Catchfire is saying that he is sick and tired of atheists that refuse to see that religious faith and science are compatible

I am equally sick and tired of religious people trying to redefine science to fit their narrow preconceptions or denying it altogether.

quote:
Why do we have to ferret out religion and make it disappear? If a person of faith isn't violating someone's human rights, and isn't advocating that anyone else should violate human rights, why can't we just leave them alone?

Because religion prevents us from moving forward along a rediscovery and respect for life. Because religion all at once fears death while glorifying it, religion often becomes a culture of death. But more than that, religion externalizes responsibility to ourselves, each other, and the planet. Only when we realize it is nature, not some invented concept, that is responsible for the "miracle of life", will we begin to protect and restore the health of the planet.

Of course, that time is limited.

quote:
Isn't it rather odd that Dawkins et al. believes that the easy solution to conflict in the Middle East and America is simply to get two billion people to stop believing in God?

If we remove God from the equation, then what are they fighting for?

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 03:44 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The problem with Dawkin's position is that he conflates fundamentalist intolerance with "religion" in general, and starts to sound intolerant himself. He also seems to think he can "reason" people out of their perfectly pedestrian need to believe in something "more" than an often meaningless and painful existence which usually ends before we're ready. Talk about hubris. Science unfortunately can offer nothing of comparible personal value, except greater convenience, higher productivity rates and much more interesting creation myths.

Lucky for the rest of us, most "believers" are only nominal at best, they also recognise more concrete civil authorities, and noone in their right mind actually Relies on divine intervention when they're on the job. Unless their boat is caught in a hurricane perhaps.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 23 February 2007 04:05 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If we remove God from the equation, then what are they fighting for?

Ha!

From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 23 February 2007 04:28 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If we remove God from the equation, then what are they fighting for?

King and country. Why do you think the soviets faught so hard to drive the Germans out of Russia?

Why do you think the PLO (a profoundly secular organization) battled the Isreali army?

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 04:38 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That's another of his arguments flaws, that human conflict is largely a result of big bad religion. Organized religion may aggravate it in some ways, by appealing to invisible authority figures that some maybe too superstitious to question, but the idea that it's a prime Cause for violence or ignorance is doubtful at best.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 04:39 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How the hell can anyone "disprove" the existence of something that's supposedly completely transcendental anyhow?
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 23 February 2007 04:58 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Science unfortunately can offer nothing of comparible personal value, except greater convenience, higher productivity rates and much more interesting creation myths.

I couldn't disagree more. God can only offer what death delivers: final peace. Nature, on the other hand, can offer wonder, awe, meaning and purpose far beyond the invention of a God that requires dogmatic behaviors that are often xenophobic, intolerant, and life destroying.

quote:

King and country. Why do you think the soviets faught so hard to drive the Germans out of Russia?

Why do you think the PLO (a profoundly secular organization) battled the Isreali army?



Excellent. Now, would you rather negotiate or fight with someone who says he wants your land and resources or with someone who says God gave him your land so get off?

Most would choose (if you had to pick one), I think, the latter. Because bullies and brutes will go away in the face of resistance, Believers will tell themselves they are doing God's work and "evil", the other side, must be overcome.

Conversely, would you rather confront someone who says "your policies and dispossession of me and my people is driving me to desperation and violence," or someone who says "I an strapping dynamite onto my chest and I am walking into a crowded space to be a martyr for God"?

Again, I think I would prefer the former.

quote:
That's another of his arguments flaws, that human conflict is largely a result of big bad religion. Organized religion may aggravate it in some ways, by appealing to invisible authority figures that some maybe too superstitious to question, but the idea that it's a prime Cause for violence or ignorance is doubtful at best.

You miss the point. The real reasons for conflict, land, water, oil, are less important than the reason people enlist in the fight: "because God gave me this land". Remove God from the equation and what do you get? Well, Catchfire said it best: Ha!

quote:

How the hell can anyone "disprove" the existence of something that's supposedly completely transcendental anyhow?


I think the premise is misplaced. There should be no effort to disprove something that doesn't exist. The effort should merely to abandon it.

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 05:08 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Please stop telling me "I missed the point", it's others who framed the question this way not me. The assumption that I'm arguing "for" religion is patronizing and misses MY point, I've been laughing at bible thumpers since I was a kid. Saw some of the BS all on my own. What I'm saying Here is that Dawkin's arguments are at best unoriginal and poorly put, and will convince Noone needing convincing. The ability to exploit others desires, fears or ignorance does not begin or end with religion, nor does the drive to do so. That's all I'm saying, I'm not Defending it. Some religious communities Have played a role in Resisting most forms of exploitation and aggression too. So once again, it depends on How we choose to interpret their "teachings".

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 23 February 2007 05:20 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But you did miss the point and I didn't make the assumption you were arguing for religion. Why do you assume I did?

quote:

The ability to exploit others desires, fears or ignorance does not begin or end with religion, nor does the drive to do so. Thats all I'm saying.


And I agree with that except that religion makes the job easier.

quote:

Religious communities hasve also played a role in Resisting most forms of exploitation and violence.


I would disagree with that. In fact, religion has been a standard bearer behind virtually every colonial expansion and almost every atrocity. Yes, there have been cases where religious people have acted in a Christian way, but against the whole fabric of history, a few bible carrying missionaries in Latin America can hardly begin to answer for, say, the inquisition, or the Crusades, or the Spanish priests who marched alongside Cortez as indigenous peoples in the "New World" were liquidated.

But I really have no interest in painting religion as evil. I will leave that to religion. Rather, my argument is that people must be emancipated from religion, as Marx argued, before the human race can come to terms with itself and its place on this planet. A failure to do so will severely limit humanity's future.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 05:28 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FM: "quote: Science unfortunately can offer nothing of comparible personal value, except greater convenience, higher productivity rates and much more interesting creation myths.

I couldn't disagree more. God can only offer what death delivers: final peace. Nature, on the other hand, can offer wonder, awe, meaning and purpose far beyond the invention of a God that requires dogmatic behaviors that are often xenophobic, intolerant, and life destroying."

And that's an exanple of what I'm arguing against. You yourself as potraying "religion" as such and such a thing, bound by your our own Western limitations. Does Dawkin's even Consider other religions from other cultural traditions, or does he qualify his assertions about "religion" in general? So far I've seen little of either in his rants.

(And since I was cut off at the pass before I had a chance to reply to an earlier thread on him, I have read some of his articles and he's frequently evoked by the likes of Stephen Pinker, alonside EO Wilson, in defence of His ideas of Biological Darwinism, or socio-biology. No word that either disagrees with His representation of it. Not Social Darwinism, as I had already said, but a belief nonetheless which Does take seriously the "positive" effects of biological selfishness on natural selection, which does have a bearing on what's commonly thought of as public morality and the success of Some groups and cultures over others. But that's another subject, yes)

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 05:36 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FM "Religious communities hasve also played a role in Resisting most forms of exploitation and violence.


I would disagree with that. In fact, religion has been a standard bearer behind virtually every colonial expansion and almost every atrocity. Yes, there have been cases where religious people have acted in a Christian way, but against the whole fabric of history, a few bible carrying missionaries in Latin America can hardly begin to answer for, say, the inquisition, or the Crusades, or the Spanish priests who marched alongside Cortez as indigenous peoples in the "New World" were liquidated.

But I really have no interest in painting religion as evil. I will leave that to religion. Rather, my argument is that people must be emancipated from religion, as Marx argued, before the human race can come to terms with itself and its place on this planet. A failure to do so will severely limit humanity's future. "

I have no problem with what athiests believe either, but asserting that people Must be freed from a particular belief system before they can free themselves, is very much in the mainstream of Western historical currents as well, and would be seen by many as inviting another kind of crusade, if seen as "self evident" -whether desired by the author of such statements or not. Marxes' ideals too were taken as a call to crusade, though I doubt he'd want to take responsibility for some of the eventual results. But once again, believers have played a major role in many reformist movements, including the propogation of Marxes teaching. Including Some who obviously missed the egalitarian humanist spirit of what he was trying to get at. And many "believers" from other cultures live (or have lived) an unusually peaceful and egalitarian lifestyle, for some centuries apparently, moreso even than the more secular ones we've slowly advanced.

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 23 February 2007 05:36 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And that's an exanple of what I'm arguing against. You yourself as potraying "religion" as such and such a thing, bound by your our own Western limitations

And you are not? Have you read The God Delusion? Dawkins tends to go a bit easier on Bhudists and polytheists. His main attack is on the monotheists of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

Maybe for good reason:

quote:

Buddhism goes beyond most of these other religions in that it is positively anti-theistic because the very notion of God conflicts with some principles which are fundamental to the Buddhist view of the world and the role of humans in it (see section "The God-Concept and Buddhist Principles" below).


Buddhism

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 05:53 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Good to see. Yet you still seem to be arguing against "religion" in general. Whether Dawkins "goes a bit easier" on Buddhist or socalled "polytheistic" religion is almost irrelevant to this too. Most Buddhists aren't exactly "anti-deistic" in practice either, The majority "Mahayana" (greater vehicle) sects definietly include deities in their cosmology, they just don't put the same onus on them or see "One God" as being exclusive to others, as again, it's not the prime focus or motivating principle invoked.

OTOH Buddhist societies aren't immune to the same problems we have in the West. The more "a-theistic" Theravada schools, which some say comes closer to the Buddha's original teachings, just happens to support two of the most oppressive regimes in the entire world, using religious chauvinism taught to the masses to further their causes. Without religion, cults of leaders and beliefs in immutable "market forces" or self correcting "forces of history or evolution" often spring up, to the advantage of rulers and destroyers alike. From that perpsective I'd say it's more likely that the Organization of religion for the potential profit of professional preisthoods might be somewhat closer to their ultimate corruption.

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
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posted 23 February 2007 06:01 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Yet you still seem to be arguing against "religion" in general.

Not really. It probably comes across that way as it is difficult to discuss God without discussing religion. But to me, the problem is God. It is the concept that we are not responsible to ourselves, each other, and our planet. Did you read The Pagan Christ? I found that book very useful.

Harpur's argument is that by externalizing God, by making God responsible for all that happens and for forgiving our sins, we ceded responsibility for inner growth and development. He argued the pagan Christ was an inner spirit. That people were individually responsible for nourishing that spirit and becoming more God like, if you will. That by externalizing God, we contracted out our own responsibility to become better people.

As Homer Simpson so brilliantly put it, "don't worry, sweetheart. If I'm wrong, I'll recant on my deathbed".

Anyway, off to say my calculus calculations and then to bed.

[ 23 February 2007: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 06:10 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I would agree with that, no problem. If there's one common Tendency I've noticed even among more moderate nominal "believers", it's a slightly greater tendency towards political passivity or complacancy, as opposed to the Truly Orthodox who combine inward complecency wirth the need to control Others. But then "God helps those who help themselves"...just ask any robber baron.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 23 February 2007 06:32 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One more point though, I always read that the Mahayana traditions of the North are commonly considered to be the ones with the stronger tendancy towards Diesm than the Theravada schools practiced in the South by the Singhalese or Burmese.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/schools-three-vehicles.shtml

Guy must be a faithful follower of the Mahayana branch.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 24 February 2007 11:26 AM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
But to me, the problem is God. It is the concept that we are not responsible to ourselves, each other, and our planet. Did you read The Pagan Christ? I found that book very useful.

Harpur's argument is that by externalizing God, by making God responsible for all that happens and for forgiving our sins, we ceded responsibility for inner growth and development. He argued the pagan Christ was an inner spirit. That people were individually responsible for nourishing that spirit and becoming more God like, if you will. That by externalizing God, we contracted out our own responsibility to become better people.


When Moses (likely) asked God why He allowed the Israelites to suffer, He said:

quote:
"I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

This passage, to me, helps to deal with the question as to why God allows evil and injustice to reign, and is a clear call for us to stand up against it.

So you believe in God?

quote:
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.



From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Policywonk
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posted 24 February 2007 06:44 PM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Because religion prevents us from moving forward along a rediscovery and respect for life. Because religion all at once fears death while glorifying it, religion often becomes a culture of death. But more than that, religion externalizes responsibility to ourselves, each other, and the planet. Only when we realize it is nature, not some invented concept, that is responsible for the "miracle of life", will we begin to protect and restore the health of the planet.

Totally stereotyping religion. Some religions are exactly the opposite of this. Some of these could hardly be classified as faiths though.

quote:
Yes, there have been cases where religious people have acted in a Christian way, but against the whole fabric of history, a few bible carrying missionaries in Latin America can hardly begin to answer for, say, the inquisition, or the Crusades, or the Spanish priests who marched alongside Cortez as indigenous peoples in the "New World" were liquidated.

The abolitionist movement leading to the end of the slave trade is a positive for at least some religions, notwithstanding that there are more slaves now than there ever have been (partly because there are more people).


From: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Brett Mann
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posted 25 February 2007 08:36 AM      Profile for Brett Mann        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:

How so? Religion is based upon no reason at all. How is arguing against a completely unreasonable and contradictory set of books irrational? Can anyone come up with a reasonable question as to how, exactly Adam and Eve managed to start world population? How about how two of all species in the world managed to fit on a boat?

Religion is completely irrational and requires noting from a person accept complete blind faith. We're all going to hell, according to most of the world's religions. Is that a reasonable hypothesis?


What I was trying to get at was this, Stargazer - rationality is only part of the way humans know the world. We also have intuition, personal revelation, etc. In fact, rationality has little to tell us about the most important questions in life. Why is there suffering? What happens after we die? What is love? Who can I trust? Dr. Spock may be able to navigate on sheer rationality and science, but we can't, in our real lives. Think of the person you trust most. Is there any way to prove that trust, or the basis for it, scientifically? Do you think that science will ever be able to completely account for the felt love of a mother for her child?

These may not be the best examples, but I hope you take my point - rationality and reason have inescapable limits in their capacity to understand and explain human reality. That's why we have art. There is a tendency these days for some people to assume that rationality can answer all questions. A moment's reflection will demonstrate the falseness of this assumption. That's the problem with Dawkins, whether one believes in God or not. He's simply not very bright and ends up producing a rather meaningless treatise.

In our present world, I'd say the tyranny of reason, which tends towards producing rather anti-human systems, such as our modern global system of predatory capitalism, represents as great or greater a threat to freedom and humanity as do religions. For a look at a classic anti-human, be-nighted and dangerous worshipping of pure reason, check out the discipline of behaviourism as propounded by BF Skinner. Only the United States could conceivably have produced such a souless, empty and pathetic view of our world. This is a good example of where reliance on science alone leads.

"We're all going to hell?" Actually Jesus' message was that we are all going to the "Father's Kingdom" or rather, it is coming to us, here and now, if we only recognize it (in ourselves and in others - someone said that God exists in the spaces between people). The core of Jesus' message is that God loves us, in spite of, rather than because of, as someone here put it so well recently. Islam and Judaism stress God's benevolence and mercy. Budhism perhaps comes closest to locating us all in hell - this world is an illusion and pure suffering at its core, according to its tenets. But even Budhism offers the chance of escape into primal peace - to all.

One could endlessly point out the misuses and abuses of the religious impulses. I like to remind myself that, as the Sufi said, there would be no counterfeiters, were it not for the existence of real gold.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Brett Mann ]


From: Prince Edward County ON | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 25 February 2007 09:41 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
In fact, rationality has little to tell us about the most important questions in life. Why is there suffering? What happens after we die?

Actually, I think rationality and reason have everything to tell us about these topics.

For example, suffering exists for a thousand reasons, such as unequitable distribution of resources.

What happens after we die? we rot.

The problem with the "limits of reason" school is that if "X" can be justified on the basis of not rational criteria, so can "Y", and so can the holocaust.

Generally, those who argue for limits to reason do so because they do not want any criticism of the status quo based on shared criteria. Instead, they want everyone to say: "Oh, I intuit this!" What do YOU intuit?" Progress in reducing unfairness can never come with that sort of public discourse.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 25 February 2007 09:44 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Brett Mann:
... rationality is only part of the way humans know the world. We also have intuition, personal revelation, etc. In fact, rationality has little to tell us about the most important questions in life. Why is there suffering?
Indeed a very important question in life. What is the answer, based on intuition and revelation alone? Anybody? I didn't think so.
quote:
What happens after we die?
Another very important question. Science and rationality have an answer for it that has never been disproved in the entire history of humanity. What's the answer that intuition and revelation provide, and why should we accept that answer?
quote:
Do you think that science will ever be able to completely account for the felt love of a mother for her child?
We don't have to wait. Science says that over a period of time, mothers who love their children tend to have children who live long enough to reproduce. Those who don't love their children, on the other hand, tend to be eliminated from the gene pool, because their children tend to die young. We who think rationally like to call that "natural selection". As a result of natural selection, we are all descended from a long line of mothers who loved their children. That's why it's such a common phenomenon today.

What's the intuitive or revealed explanation?

quote:
A moment's reflection will demonstrate the falseness of this assumption. That's the problem with Dawkins, whether one believes in God or not. He's simply not very bright and ends up producing a rather meaningless treatise.
Perhaps more than just a "moment's reflection" is called for here. Certainly Dawkins has given it more than that. The least you could do is read the fucking book before you trash it and call him not very bright.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 10:43 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Don't be blaspheming Dawkins, Brett. It's sacrilegious around here.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 25 February 2007 10:46 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Why is there suffering" is an odd choice for a question which "reason" supposedly can't answer.

In fact, "why is there suffering?" has always been the most difficult question for believers in a benificent God. If God is good, why does He allow suffering?"

http://classiclit.about.com/cs/articles/a/aa_candide.htm


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 25 February 2007 10:50 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's an even more difficult question: Why assume God is "good"?
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 25 February 2007 10:52 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Indeed a very important question in life. What is the answer, based on intuition and revelation alone? Anybody? I didn't think so.

Jacques Lacan gave a lecture challenging Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Kant asserted that man, as an autonomous ethical being, if offered the choice of sex with a beautiful woman followed by execution, would never choose sex if it meant he had to hang. Because Man is a reasonable entity.

What Kant misses, however, as Lacan points out, is that our reasonable man would think about it.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 25 February 2007 10:55 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That's neat.

quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Here's an even more difficult question: Why assume God is "good"?

Well, well I guess if one were a believer, one would inevitably come to the conclusion that god was the supreme arbiter of what is good and bad, and thus determine that "gods will" was ultimately good, no matter how bad it seemed to us. This theme appears commonly in religion when the subjects of any religious orthodoxy are confused as to the intentions of the supreme being when disaster befalls them, no?

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 11:38 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The logic proposed so far says, if there is a god, then life should be easy and pain-free. But there is wide-spread suffering, so therefore god doesn't exist.

From this I have to conclude that not all human beings are intelligent, and so therefore natural selection rules, and we have no hope of ever escaping insect-like dominance of a few over the many.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 25 February 2007 11:44 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
...o therefore natural selection rules, and we have no hope of ever escaping insect-like dominance of a few over the many.

You seem to think that natural selection is some theory that explains the rise of capitalism. You seem to have Darwin confused with Marx (who admired Darwin, by the way).

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 12:01 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What I wanted to say is that I do see the logic that says we can "believe" only what's known to us now, in this life and this existence. There is no tangible higher truth for humanity than what science can prove empirically. And so, there do exist theories of the way the universe operates on the scale of the very large(Einstein etc) and on the scale of the very small(Bohr, Heisenburg etc). But there's something missing inbetween to tie the two theories together to have it all make complete sense and truth for scientists.

According to people like David Deutsch, one of the physicists who contributed to DWave of Vancouver's creation of the first commercial quantum computer, there could be multiverses of existence. And to be fair to the non-believing scientists, these proposed extra dimensions of reality might not prove useful to people in any meaningful way. At least not in this reality. Some physicists, like Fritjof Capra, propose that we do interact with these theoretical other existences on different levels and perhaps on the creative level, intuitive levels, dreams, and through (cough) some sort of psychic level.

I find discussing something as wild as a possible existence of god or a number of god-like entities is only as far away as theoretical physics. And some of the world's best and brightest think paradigm shifts and outside the box all the time. Science may not be in total agreement with string theory and possiblity for multiverses of existence, but these kinds of theories do exist in the here and now and thought up by real human beings. And David Deutsch is one of the more conservative theoretical physicists. His theories are not as fantastic as some are.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 25 February 2007 12:04 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Are you making a God of the Gaps argument?
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 12:15 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No, I am not pessimistic about science. I can admit to myself though that there are unknowns and that science will discover the truth at some point in the future. The real hurdles for science and humanity right now are not the ponderance of whether god exists, believe it or not.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Brett Mann
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posted 25 February 2007 03:37 PM      Profile for Brett Mann        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:

Actually, I think rationality and reason have everything to tell us about these topics.

For example, suffering exists for a thousand reasons, such as unequitable distribution of resources.

What happens after we die? we rot.

The problem with the "limits of reason" school is that if "X" can be justified on the basis of not rational criteria, so can "Y", and so can the holocaust.

Generally, those who argue for limits to reason do so because they do not want any criticism of the status quo based on shared criteria. Instead, they want everyone to say: "Oh, I intuit this!" What do YOU intuit?" Progress in reducing unfairness can never come with that sort of public discourse.



Ken Wilber has a useful way of thinking about this. Off the top of my head, read two years ago, it goes something like this:

We need to view reality through four quadrants to fully know it. The dimensions are: subjective and objective: personal and group.

We may "understand" suffering in an intellectual way as a necessary and beneficial part of human evolution. "Understanding" the most immediate and personal and irrational loss in one's own private life - I'll leave the reader to fill in the details - this requires a bit more than an understanding of the broad evolutionary purposes of suffering. We need a good reason why we shouldn't just cut our own throats right now. There are different kinds of "knowledge". It is not an offence to rationality to point this out. It is an offence to rationality to presume that everything can be understood by rationality, or that rationality is always the only and best way to approach things.

Edited to add - damn it Jeff, some part of me feels like I could just as easily argue your side of this question. Even the current Pope has said that it is important that faith be grounded in reason. I'm not even sure I have a point to defend anymore. I'm just enjoying seeing where this whole thread will go.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Brett Mann ]


From: Prince Edward County ON | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 05:12 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Dennett kicks Dawkins ass. Yea, i know they're friends. But Dennett is better. He addresses the concerns of believers and is convincing anyway. Dennett shows that "God" is unneccesary.That's a more powerful argument. But you and I, Spector, have had this argument already.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 25 February 2007 05:54 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
We are really in a circular argument here because the existence of God can neither be proved or disproved by empirical methods. This is the area of faith or, if you will, mysticism. I like Stephen Jay Gould's philosophy of Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) which sets out that science and religion are two separate fields that don't overlap. This theory can be found in his 1998 collection of essays Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms

Also worthy of reading is Karen Armstrong's A History of God which shows how our view of God has changed over the centuries as influenced by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Almost a companion piece to this is The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels who demonstrates that our idea of Satan is non-Biblical.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Bobolink ]


From: Stirling, ON | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 05:58 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Gould blows. In fact.. he's simply wrong. It's a war and to the victor goes the spoils. But there are better and worse ways to fight.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Policywonk
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posted 25 February 2007 06:37 PM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned Bertrand Russell, who skewered the arguments for the theist version of God, in Why I am not a Christian before Richard Dawkins was born. Pantheism is a different story, since God is more of a metaphor for existence/reality.
From: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 25 February 2007 06:49 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
Gould blows. In fact.. he's simply wrong. It's a war and to the victor goes the spoils. But there are better and worse ways to fight.

There are no "victors" in this or any "spoils" to be had and the only ones wanting "war" are the true believers. And Jeff cannot seriously claim to Know if there is No afterlife either, anymore than an ultimate Cause for life, or that science will Ever provide answers to such ultimately unanswerable (and possibly meaningless) questions ---other than say there's no reason known to believe Otherwise yes. Well actually there is One some keep forgetting, people Want to Believe because we'll all remain mortal forever and life can be unfair and science offers no relief from either fact. (thank the Goddess for the mortality part) It however can also Claim to provide answers and solutions at times, that by its own nature cannot. Another reason why Dawkins sucks too, besides his obnoxious manner of presenting an otherwise rational case. Glad we agree on that much.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 07:18 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Policywonk:
I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned Bertrand Russell, who skewered the arguments for the theist version of God, in Why I am not a Christian before Richard Dawkins was born. Pantheism is a different story, since God is more of a metaphor for existence/reality.

Russel apparently devoted a chapter of his book to the question of an existence beyond the grave. His main argument for non-survival is based on a materialist view that the mind or consciousness is a function of brain "machinery" - when the brain dies so do we. Russel believed that people are the result of chance, "the outcome of accidental collucations of atoms." He said, "no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can perserve an individual life beyond the grave." Bertrand Russel concluded that, "Only on the scaffolding of these truths , only on the foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built."

There's a problem with Russel's views today though. They are based on an old world materialist view of science that has been completely revolutionized and transformed since Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg etc.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 07:48 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Gould is wrong because he ... abandons ship. It's an abandonment to assert SEPARATE magisteria. That's all I'm sayin'. In other ways, I'm I big fan of Gould. And I always will be.


quote:
Fidel: They are based on an old world materialist view of science that has been completely revolutionized and transformed ...

Nothing is better than materialism. And nothing ever will be. Amen. Ha ha!

Seriously, there is no credible view of the mind other than the materialist view. Just ask any cognitivist. Goddam it. Get with the program.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 25 February 2007 07:53 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I am equally sick and tired of religious people trying to redefine science to fit their narrow preconceptions or denying it altogether.

Just to be clear, I do believe in evolution. What I'm arguing is that one can believe in evolution and god at the same time. It may require a couple of slight modifications in theology (no proponent of evolution would ever tell you that the story of Adam and Eve is true for example) but so what? As long as you don't hurt anyone (yourself included) whose business is it what you believe?

[ 26 February 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 08:03 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
CMOT Dibbler: As long as you don't hurt anyone (yourself included) whose business is it what you believe?

That's cowardice and you know it. You should be able to defend your spiritual values anywhere, anytime, in the face of anyone. Your values ought to be universal. Else why believe what you believe?

Sorry for such categorical views. Perhaps I'm being mean. But it does matter. We share this planet and ... who knows? Maybe wht youy believe will kill us all. That, why that, would matter.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 25 February 2007 08:21 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Gould's done a lot but he maybe mistaken on some points. True that recent cognitive science is making steps in directions which earlier philosophical efforts never could, another true breakthrough thanx to artificial intelligence. Still a long way from really explaining how living consciousness arose from inanimate matter and energy IMO, but more promising results than prior attempts which didn't properly account for pre-organic organizing principles or the logical biological steps towards cognition.

The inherent problem with the "ghost in the machine" or "spark in the, ah, bio-engine" scenario of human consciousness, is that if any Physical evidence to Support it IS ever found (Gawd knows how it would) or causal traces detected, then That Physical evidence will then be the seen as the "only" Cause -not our divinely gift of "free will". Whole game's rigged from the Start, dammit.

Actually, reminds me of earlier thread Beltov, there IS one other religious/spiritual (just out of interest -mostly my own probably) explanation I heard that might better explain the always incompatable Western dualism of Spirit stuck Within Body or Above it somehow. Some Asian and other pantheistic beliefs say that the universe itself is merely another "thought/dream" of God or Brahma, made manifest by his/her/its supreme...will, imagination? Most Aboriginal beliefs also invoke some other dimension of "being" that can under special circumstances be experienced if not understood rationally. Ok, so noone ever said they were well thought out Theories exactly, but maybe the germ of more Internally consistent concepts. Call them pre-Quantum intuitive leaps if you will, if only to irritate Jeff House.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 08:24 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
Seriously, there is no credible view of the mind other than the materialist view. Just ask any cognitivist. Goddam it. Get with the program.

If I'm not mistaken, you once told me that I was spouting a materialist view of mind and matter. Too funny.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 08:30 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Fidel:If I'm not mistaken, you once told me that I was spouting a materialist view of mind and matter. Too funny.

Well go ahead and dig it up. I'm happy to be corrected. I'm defending PHILOSOPHICAL materialism. Perhaps I was mocking a "primitive" version of materialism?

I like Dennett. And I'm also happy to go to my particular church. Call me fucked up, Fidel.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 25 February 2007 08:32 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:

That's cowardice and you know it. You should be able to defend your spiritual values anywhere, anytime, in the face of anyone. Your values ought to be universal. Else why believe what you believe?


I've heard some people say they believe that their personal Beliefs, feelings or perceptions Make them so, it doesn't even Have to be shared by others, only perhaps some common underlying field of "reality" that responds to Each by making itself manifest to each Belief. I never thought much of that one myself, but I don't see it as particularly harmful or dangerous, except perhaps to the believer if they take it too seriously. Personally, I prefer material reality to most ideas anyhow, more depth to it and way cooler patterns.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 08:37 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
EriKtheHalfaRed: ... Still a long way from really explaining how living consciousness arose from inanimate matter and energy IMO ...

I've been reading Dennett's Freedom Evolves and I'm very impressed. I need to read it again. But Dennett seems to substantiate a view of "freedom" that flows from his own philosophical materialism and derives some very interesting conclusions. i cannot urge you strongly enought to have a look yourself.


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Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 08:38 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm not sure what you were accusing me of here.

Suffice to say that someone here brought up Bertrand Russell. His views might be relevant from an historical pov. I've never read him actually.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 08:42 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
EriKtheHalfaRed:

I've heard some people say they believe that their personal Beliefs, feelings or perceptions Make them so, it doesn't even Have to be shared by others, only perhaps some common underlying field of "reality" that responds to Each by making itself manifest to each Belief. I never thought much of that one myself, but I don't see it as particularly harmful or dangerous, except perhaps to the believer if they take it too seriously. Personally, I prefer material reality to most ideas anyhow, more depth to it and way cooler patterns.


I don't want to be mean. But one should be able to defend one's views by the virtue of their content ... and not simply because they are what one believes.

Of course, we all respect each other. But it is more compelling when we can convince each other. And that means reason.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


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N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 08:53 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Fidel:nI'm not sure what you were accusing me of here.

Suffice to say that someone here brought up Bertrand Russell. His views might be relevant from an historical pov. I've never read him actually.


Russell is worth reading. He falls in the tradition of David Hume. but he has independent philosophical merit of his own.

Anyway, I had a look at the old thread. At the time I was only saying that there are different versions of philosophical materialism ... and the version I am comfortable with is the orthodox, boring, even Leninist, version that (I think) the author of Man the Machine, Marx, and Denneett belong to.


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Erik Redburn
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posted 25 February 2007 09:01 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
NB: "I don't want to be mean. But one should be able to defend one's views by the virtue of their content ... and not simply because they are what one believes.

Of course, we all respect each other. But it is more compelling when we can convince each other. And that means reason."


Not being mean at all, I certainly don't buy it myself, way too convenient to say "well you have to Believe it to See it in the first place..." Uhuh. There has to be Some ground of common reality that Everyone can agree on for Any sort of issue to be decided in any direction or even to be discussed rationally. I hope it didn't look like I was arguing against evolution as another "belief" either, even the most interesting religions have to bow to the physical sciences when it comes to our physical existence.

I'm just a bit more tolerant of what I see as far-out beliefs when I don't see the harm it does to others, unlike active politics. Athiesm has no need to defend itself, and I don't believe we really Need to believe in a God/spirit/whatever to lead a meaningful life either. I've found that most who insist otherwise were conditioned to some religion at a young age. I just think that religion does seem to fill some positive emotional role for some people, give them some sense of order or security or community they might otherwise lack.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 09:02 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:

Of course, we all respect each other. But it is more compelling when we can convince each other. And that means reason.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


But the new story of science isn't so rational that it can be explained. Even scientists themselves avoid certain truths about quantum mechanics. One theory says there are bits of us continually breaking off and forming new us's in parallel universes. William Tiller, a crystallographer at Stanford said that after studying the evidence for ESP and life-fields, that scientists are dealing with energy fields different from those known by conventional science. He said that ~~"the universe seems to organize and radiate information in other dimensions than just the physical space-time frame." I think it reflects Schroedinger's work on wave theory. I think it's fascinating.

Physicist Fritjof Capra believes that the universe and all living things are interdependent, and teaches corporate management teams to organize and delegate according this principle. I think a similar concept is advocated by Marxism, that individualism taken to extremes tends not to serve a higher purpose namely the common good. People are driven by more than a single aspect of our nature, self-interest. And therefore capitalism distorts human nature toward everything from a monotonous pursuit of personal gain to appalling greed which can tend to defeat the purpose of self-interest itself when systems, like corporations, can disintegrate when accounting or good conduct rules are broken. Capitalism works on the principle that corporations that are highly organized and team-oriented are at greater advantage over smaller companies and a disorganized labour force. I think trade deals like NAFTA are designed to remove certain powers of democratically-elected governments and place economic decision making and control of natural resources in the hands of powerful, non-elected corporate leaders who run highly undemocratic companies choosing to organize themselves by highly unequal top-down management hierarchies.

[ 25 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 February 2007 09:15 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
EriKtheHalfaRed: ... I just think that religion does seem to fill some positive emotional role for some people, give them some sense of order or security or community they might otherwise lack.

I'm a church-goer myself. I get something out of it. I would lean towards community as the benefit - but there is more than that. However, I don't have any problem being highly dubious about "God".

Eventually, the parts of religion that can't be defended will be let go of ... and the part that remains, the useful part, will be all that is left. The sooner this happens .. the better.


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Erik Redburn
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posted 25 February 2007 09:22 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
I've been reading Dennett's Freedom Evolves and I'm very impressed. I need to read it again. But Dennett seems to substantiate a view of "freedom" that flows from his own philosophical materialism and derives some very interesting conclusions. i cannot urge you strongly enought to have a look yourself.

I'm mostly just against "determinism" of any sort, myself, but then physical reality doesn't have to Determine our entire existence or Being either, but rather just prescribe our common boundries and potentials somewhat. If there were No limits at all then Nothing would make much sense.

I'll definitely check it out, sounds like it should be an interesting read at the very least. My natural philosophy collection is getting rather dated again.


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Fidel
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posted 25 February 2007 09:57 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A Cistercian monk was transcribing some biblical manuscripts one day and came across an original text mentioning strict conduct practice for men of God. He poured over the words scribbled out and written over through the centuries. He suddenly began banging his head on the table as he realized that the world celibate was originally just, "celebrate."
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Policywonk
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posted 26 February 2007 11:37 AM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There's a problem with Russel's views today though. They are based on an old world materialist view of science that has been completely revolutionized and transformed since Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg etc.

Russell outlived Einstein and Bohr (if not Heisenberg) and his writings stretch from the 1890s to the 1960s. While some of his views evolved he was an anti-war activist most of his life. His views on religion have little to do with a materialistic view of science e.g. Russell's Teapot:

quote:
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

This is developed further by Dawkins in
A Devil's Chaplain

quote:
The reason organized religion merits outright hostility is that, unlike belief in Russell's teapot, religion is powerful, influential, tax-exempt and systematically passed on to children too young to defend themselves. Children are not compelled to spend their formative years memorizing loony books about teapots. Government-subsidized schools don't exclude children whose parents prefer the wrong shape of teapot. Teapot-believers don't stone teapot-unbelievers, teapot-apostates, teapot-heretics and teapot-blasphemers to death. Mothers don't warn their sons off marrying teapot-shiksas whose parents believe in three teapots rather than one. People who put the milk in first don't kneecap those who put the tea in first.

Other similar analogies are the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the
Flying Spagetti Monster

I will give Russell the last word though:

quote:
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. […] A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

From: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Policywonk
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posted 26 February 2007 11:43 AM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Nature, on the other hand, can offer wonder, awe, meaning and purpose far beyond the invention of a God that requires dogmatic behaviors that are often xenophobic, intolerant, and life destroying.

If you are a pantheist, God is Nature.


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B.L. Zeebub LLD
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posted 26 February 2007 12:07 PM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My trouble is that the Dawkins' of the world take a blindly literal fundamentalist reading of the Bible (and the conception of God, physics, etc.) and then refute that without considering that there is something else in there that isn't so damn literal.
They're no different from the fundamentalists in their impenetrability to layers of meaning.

If God is essentially beyond definition (as both Jews and Muslims would alledge) how can one "refute" a definition-less proposition?


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Fidel
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posted 26 February 2007 12:38 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Policywonk:
His(Russell's) views on religion have little to do with a materialistic view of science e.g. Russell's Teapot:


Like most materialists before him, Russell believed that the human mind is a mere sum of its parts and mechanical in nature. 19th century biologist Thomas Huxley also believed that brain function is a matter of "molecular exchanges", nothing that isn't explainable by laws of chemistry.

Not all neuroscientists or physicists in the last century or today are convinced of that. Charles Sherrington was the first doubting Thomas. John Eccles believed that mind and brain are separate.

Adolf Portmann in his book, "New Pathways in Biology" put it this way, "No amount of research along physical or chemical lines can ever give us a full picture of psychological, spiritual, or intellectual processes."

In his watershed book, The Mystery of the Mind, A Critical Study of Consciousness and the Human Brain, Canadian neurosurgeon Dr Wilder Penfield said that the mind seems to act with an energy all its own. It makes decisions and puts them into actions using mechanisms in the brain. While doing dozens of brain surgeries, Penfield noted that certain areas of the brain are responsible for motor functions, speech, memory, vision, and he noted that stimulating certain areas could bypass something. That something was the person's human will and mindful consciousness to act. Penfield spent his life's work searching for the "I am" part of the human brain but never found it.

[ 26 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 26 February 2007 12:52 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If the brain does not work mechanically, how does it work?

If we say that the "I am" has no physical basis, we are basically agreeing that it is a soul, a "ghost in the machine".

Someone referred to the "God of the gaps", and it may be that THIS is the last gap to be filled.

Of course, it is the overwhelmingly unanimous human experience that the "will" is basically "free". Theories which grant cognitive status to "intuition" will always say that we intuit our freedom, and that makes it so.


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Fidel
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posted 26 February 2007 12:59 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It could be the last gap, Jeff. I think Bohr, heisenberg etc opened up a new universe to scientists. Some have said that synapses of the brain pass signals across such small spaces that perhaps rules of quantum mechanics are at play. I have no idea myself. It's a mystery to me.
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Policywonk
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posted 26 February 2007 01:43 PM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If the brain does not work mechanically, how does it work?
Chemically and electrically?

quote:
Not all neuroscientists or physicists in the last century or today are convinced of that. Charles Sherrington was the first doubting Thomas. John Eccles believed that mind and brain are separate.

That doesn't make them right either.

quote:

Adolf Portmann in his book, "New Pathways in Biology" put it this way, "No amount of research along physical or chemical lines can ever give us a full picture of psychological, spiritual, or intellectual processes."


Possibly because the brain is too complex. However, this almost sounds like the prediction that we will never know the composition of stars, a prediction that was famously proved wrong just a few years later.

quote:

In his watershed book, The Mystery of the Mind, A Critical Study of Consciousness and the Human Brain, Canadian neurosurgeon Dr Wilder Penfield said that the mind seems to act with an energy all its own. It makes decisions and puts them into actions using mechanisms in the brain. While doing dozens of brain surgeries, Penfield noted that certain areas of the brain are responsible for motor functions, speech, memory, vision, and he noted that stimulating certain areas could bypass something. That something was the person's human will and mindful consciousness to act. Penfield spent his life's work searching for the "I am" part of the human brain but never found it.


The fact that a person (or any complex system) is more than the sum of its parts does not negate the successes of reductionist and materialist science. On the other hand, I don't think you would volunteer for a frontal lobotomy.

[QUOTE] Like most materialists before him /QUOTE]

Russel was not a materialist, or if he started out as one, he eventually became some sort of neutral monist.


From: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 26 February 2007 01:54 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I wouldn't volunteer to be a comatose vegetable either.

quote:
Originally posted by Policywonk:
Possibly because the brain is too complex. However, this almost sounds like the prediction that we will never know the composition of stars, a prediction that was famously proved wrong just a few years later

Many Worlds ?

quote:
A growing number of physicists, myself included, are convinced that the thing we call ‘the universe’ — namely space, with all the matter and energy it contains — is not the whole of reality. According to quantum theory — the deepest theory known to physics — our universe is only a tiny facet of a larger multiverse, a highly structured continuum containing many universes. Everything in our universe — including you and me, every atom and every galaxy — has counterparts in these other universes.
Comforting thought for atheists here, Deutsch is one too.

I vaguely remember something from Sunday school about the kingdom being all around us. Or was it "within us"?. Use the force wisely, I say.

quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
If we say that the "I am" has no physical basis, we are basically agreeing that it is a soul, a "ghost in the machine".

If the multiverse view of all there is is true, then maybe we do interact with other universes in obscure ways. Maybe what's considered a physical entity here, what we are, can materialize so to speak as "ghosts" in another space-time continuum/dimension. Maybe "this" isn't real. I'm pretty sure there's a place where all odd socks end up. So there's a time saver tip for today: don't bother looking.

[ 26 February 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 26 February 2007 08:13 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
If the brain does not work mechanically, how does it work?

If we say that the "I am" has no physical basis, we are basically agreeing that it is a soul, a "ghost in the machine".

Someone referred to the "God of the gaps", and it may be that THIS is the last gap to be filled.

Of course, it is the overwhelmingly unanimous human experience that the "will" is basically "free". Theories which grant cognitive status to "intuition" will always say that we intuit our freedom, and that makes it so.



Scientists Already grant status to cognitive intuition, and use it themselves, they just don't bother trying to Quantify human Qualities. They just check and verify any intuitive leaps afterword, and if the results confuse them more they either scrap them or look for a better explanation for the data.

There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding here, religion is about Psychology -uplifting the spirit, healong the soul, looking for more harmony with nature, all that jazz. Saying -look, where IS this Spirit or Soul, how exactly do we even Define them? It all kind of misses the point and is about as meaningless as, I dunno, what shape or sex the creator"" might be. Or the "colour" of love. Or the ultimate "meaning" of a light bulb. When one goes out, we all know the real answer to that one, put a new one in or check the fuse box. If that fails phone an accredited electrician.

Dawkins just makes me mad when he says things like teaching our own religion to our own children is somehow akin to "child abuse". He obviously doesn't "get" religion, outside the thinking of European medievalism.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 26 February 2007 08:27 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fidel: "Maybe "this" isn't real. I'm pretty sure there's a place where all odd socks end up. So there's a time saver tip for today: don't bother looking."

I have a hard time with some Quantum ideas like that too, but I have no way of judging, being that most trained physicists admit they struggle with parts of it too. Maybe when it comes to religion, what's ultimately "real" and what's not -that is, what's immediately "self evident" to anyone who walks in the door, any old day of the year -isn't all that relevant either.

I'm beginning to think this kind of "ratonalist" hang up on "show me the diety", is based on similar kind of legalistic thinking as the old Catholic church got hung up on. What does it Matter what others Believe, and who Decides what Belief is "valid" or not when it comes to interior realms of being or speculation about alternative states of "reality"? Because in the bad old days when religion Was science it could get you burned at the stake? The world has turned a few times since then, thank Gawd -least outside of Kansas and Taliban country. So mother nature still shows nomore sign of yielding any "moral order" than when the old humanists first adopted Aquinas's primitive "faith" that science must inevitably lead to the Same place as religion. Maybe they never will. Maybe it doesn't matter.

[ 26 February 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 26 February 2007 08:51 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
BTW Fidel, this reminds me, I might be able to dig up some actual "proof" for "psychic" phenomena that I could share with others on Babble. I swear I've read some old native prophecies which predicted things they shouldn't have been able to predict even from when I first read them. Course I don't know if even psychic phenomena is Proof for a "spirit world" either, and coming from a higher culture they always insisted we Could alter course (we only got worse unfortunately) but be interesting to see how closely they actually match my fading memories. See if I can dig up some of my old "new age" books again....I Know the answer is Out there somewhere. (basement probably)
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 26 February 2007 08:59 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Or am I now going to be seen as providing final and irrefutable Proof that I'm only another crank? This might be fun, back later.
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Policywonk
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posted 26 February 2007 09:18 PM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding here, religion is about Psychology -uplifting the spirit, healong the soul, looking for more harmony with nature, all that jazz.

That can be one aspect; another is controlling people.


From: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 26 February 2007 09:35 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Of course. I never deny the real or potential downsides, but again, I think it depends a lot on the religioun in particular, as well as purely mechanical economic or political pressures. Largely secularized societies like ours can also become overly controlling, for purely "practical" reasons. Could even be argued that in some ways we're still closer to our our old Judeo-Christian background than other more traditionally religious societies are. Anyhow, should see check if I've gone crazy or not.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 26 February 2007 10:18 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Policywonk:

That can be one aspect; another is controlling people.


Yes, in an alternate universe ruled by the dark side,
Jesus was rich and declared it a sin to be poor.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
angrymonkey
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posted 27 February 2007 07:17 PM      Profile for angrymonkey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I love that cartoon.
From: the cold | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 March 2007 07:05 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just for more Babbling fun, here's a few sections I found in an old copy of "Rolling Thunder", published in 1974, page 50-51:

(author Doug Boyd speaking)
I have since come to know some part of the Indian prophecy that is preserved by the Hopi people and maintained by traditional-Indian spokesmen everywhere. The currently significant part of these prophecies pertains to an approaching transition that is often called "the day of purification". This prophecy coincides with the claims of ecologists and scientists who believe the imbalance in nature has passed the point of no return. {or soon would -myself} Yet the traditional Indian does not await some kind of ecological doomsday. Instead he waits the moment of climax with hopeful anticipation. {I believe this appraisal has become more pessimistic lately-myself} Rolling thunder said, "When you have pollution it spreads all over. It spreads just as athritis or cancer spreads in the body. The earth is sick now because the earth is being mistreated, and some of the problems that might occur, some of the natural disasters that might happen in the near future, are only natural readjustments that have to take place to throw off the sickness. A lot of things are on this land that don't belong here. They're foreign objects like viruses or germs. Now, we may not recognize the fact when it happens, but a lot of things that are going to happen in the future will really be the earth's attempts to throw off some of these sicknesses. This is really going to be like a fever or like a vomiting, what you might call a physiological adjustment."


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 01 March 2007 09:07 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
RollingThunder was spot on. I think it's capitalism that doesn't belong, Erik.
Merci and me she wa ka tom ka wop ne tin

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 March 2007 09:25 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This "day of purification" is not only said to involve widespread flooding, droughts, unseasonal storms and wildfires, but earthquakes and volcanos too. Predicting environmental decay is onething, predicting increased tectonic activity in what's supposed to be an inaminate ball of rock is what gets my attention again. This is fairly common though among Aboriginal traditions everywhere. The subject of this old classic also foresaw the rise of fascism in North America (more than the usual exploitation and bigotry) from a vantage point of 1972 or so -if we didn't wake up and change course. (which we still haven't)

page 47:

Rolling Thunder often referred to right-wing politics of any kind as fascist, and he spoke of fascism with profound gravity. He did not use the word lightly but he used it often, not usually about people themselves, but about ideas and actions. He was apprehensive of fascism as a growing danger in America. In my field notes I recorded that Rolling Thunder had considered fascism "the tool of the dark forces". He was far more concerned with what he called "the signs of fascism creeping up" than any of the obnoxious mischief of Communists or capitalists. He spoke of the new no-knock law as one omen that people with political power would begin to consider themselves privileged, endowed with special rights, exempt from principles of justice and honesty.


Only others I know with That much foresight were the old school Marxists --but then they Always predicted fascism.

Nawitka (indeed) Fidel, Meegwich.

[ 01 March 2007: Message edited by: EriKtheHalfaRed ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 March 2007 10:14 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And you maybe right there too Fidel, capitalism is now into what John McMurtry called its "cancer stage". Sitting Bull said way back that our society knew how to make almost everything...but didn't know how to distribute it. Makes sense, as any part of an organism that starts to feed and grow without giving anything back to the rest of the system, will eventually overtake the whole body and kill it. Democratic socialism could be more sustainable, if only because it wouldn't have to rely on ever increasing growth and consumption just to make up for the lack of redistribution back to its productive parts -labour and land.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 01 March 2007 10:50 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wow, Sitting Bull. I think there was a time when the promise of democratic socialism seemed possible. Socialists across the country were enthusiastic about it in the 60's and 70's. The elite have ways of subverting democracy that defy the average person's imagination, imo. They get their way in the end. Even so-called benign capitalism is about putting in the least to extract the most. The superrich don't care about what the next generation has to deal with.

I read something that Crazy Horse said to the newcomers that made me think. He said something to the effect that, the whites should work if they want to, but leave the Sioux alone. It's not our way, he said. I think we have to figure out what we are working towards and how best to do it while doing the least harm to the environment. And to me it means central planning. The elite in North America will never voluntarily share real decision making with the left. Before voting becomes proportional here, I think they'll work overtime toward North American Union on the quiet from news media attention. As if the news media was on our side anyway, which they aren't.

Capitalism is fascism with the mask on until democracy threatens the status quo.

Viva la revolucion!


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 March 2007 11:44 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, revolution and democracy don't Have to be exclusive either, I suppose. Democracies too can be Reinstituted under more legitimate, more complete forms. If eighteenth century colonial peers could try to pattern a new republic around a twenty two hundred year old Athenian idea, then there's no reason others couldn't do better with more recent examples to work from -some to avoid as well.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 02 March 2007 12:54 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I truly think the superrich are unique in comparison with the average person. At some point, the little people realize just how much disdain the rich have for the poor and even middle class slobs. Historians have argued over the number of people who will remain loyal to the power elite during a revolution, from a few thousand to several million. Look at the gains workers in the west made after Russia and China pink-slipped the Tsar and last emperor a few decades ago. Change can be a good thing.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 22 March 2007 08:23 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That's cowardice and you know it. You should be able to defend your spiritual values anywhere, anytime, in the face of anyone. Your values ought to be universal. Else why believe what you believe?

What I believe:
I am an agnostic. I believe that there might be a god, simply because the one question that science hasn't answered yet is, what caused the big bang. We know what happened after and during the seminal event in cosmic history, but we don't know who or what started the whole process.
I've sometimes thought that if there is a god, he's far too busy to deal with we silly naked apes on our little blue marble. Eath might be but one job in a list of celestial tasks he has to get done.
He probably has left us to go build a solar system somewhere, letting us to figure things out as we go, without any sort of intervention.
Because he has such a busy schedule, he doesn't have time to fuck around with virgin births or mass infanticide. He probably kickstarted evolution and that was it. There have been no miracles. We wrote the holy books of the various faiths ourselves. We made a magnanimous father figure, bursting with forgiveness. We also made him into a vengeful sex of obsessed asshole with a penchant for turning people into salt.
I think I prefer a modernist approach to the Scriptures. One where none of the stories actually happened, but they can still be used as fables to help people through their lives.

Atheistic extremists don't see how unfair their being to the vast majority of the human beings, who are suffering and need something greater than themselves to pray to.
I will fight the firebreathing fuckwits who pollute this world with their hate, but don't really feel comfortable scorining an entire faith grouping.

[ 22 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 23 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 22 March 2007 08:28 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:

Atheistic extremists don't see how unfair their being to the vast majority of the human beings, who are suffering and need something greater than themselves to pray to.

Anti-Santa Claus extremists don't see how unfair they're being to the vast majority of children, who are suffering and need something greater than themselves to bring them gifts.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
trippie
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posted 22 March 2007 10:52 PM      Profile for trippie        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The conflict between science and religion lies at a more fundamental level than Dawkins’s empiricism. The foundation for atheist belief is not really that God is an unlikely proposition (though the hypothesis, if taken as a scientific hypothesis, is the most unlikely hypothesis one can come up with), but that atheism flows from a materialist world-outlook—a philosophical position that holds that everything that exists consists of the law-governed development of matter in its various forms. Since matter is law-governed, it can be subject to scientific investigation, and at the same time science requires the presumption that the objects of its investigation follow causal relationships. This, ultimately, is the central conflict between religion and science, which is conflict between materialism and idealism, rationality and irrationality.

The proof of the materialist world outlook lies in the entire historical experience of mankind in its interaction with nature, particularly in the extraordinary development of scientific knowledge over the past several hundred years. The proof of materialism is demonstrated in this historical practice, whereby mankind has not only formed hypotheses, but realized these hypotheses in the transformation of the material world.

It has become a fad among those who argue that science and religion are compatible, while also arguing strongly for the teaching of evolution in schools (and perhaps most prominent among these is Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education), to make a distinction between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism. Science, according to these thinkers, depends on methodological naturalism—the assumption during scientific experimentation that there exists nothing outside the material world of cause and effect. This is distinct from the claim that there is actually nothing outside of this material world of cause and effect.

Such an argument, taken up by those who would defend science education, in fact undermines the foundation of science altogether, since it eliminates any solid connection between scientific investigation and reality. There may exist a God—or any other supernatural entity—but science can never discover this underlying truth (what Kant would term the noumena), since science relies on the assumption of causal relationships and natural law-governed processes, which supposedly may or may not allow humans to arrive at a complete understanding of the universe.

The ability of science to predict and transform the material world demonstrates, however, that it is not only a useful method, but a means of arriving at an understanding of the real world. Through a rigorous system of observation, reason, hypotheses and experimentation, science allows humans to arrive at truths about the world as it is “in itself.” It is a systematic means of testing the truth of our conceptions through practical interaction with the world. Its rationality is what distinguishes science from religion, which in one way or another relies on the irrational, on superstition, on “faith.”


Taken from the book review at....

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/mar2007/dawk-m15.shtml


From: essex county | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 23 March 2007 07:12 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Anti-Santa Claus extremists don't see how unfair they're being to the vast majority of children, who are suffering and need something greater than themselves to bring them gifts.

If a belief in Santa Claus helps a child cope with the fact that his mother and father have just been shot by a heavily armed government backed malitia, I have no problem with it. If on the hand a child uses his belief in Santa as an exuse to abuse others, then he deserves to be taken to task.

[ 23 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 23 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 23 March 2007 10:22 AM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Atheistic extremists don't see how unfair their being to the vast majority of the human beings, who are suffering and need something greater than themselves to pray to.

What's unfair is to suggest that what they need is something to pray to, cause that sure as shit doesn't feed their children or stop the machete swing and it certainly hasn't shown itself as a something that defeats hate.

Do you think the violence in Ireland has ebbed because Catholics and Protestants felt the love and they prayed hard enough? What's happened is people are less poor and have hope for a better life and they don't need to cling to religion and hate.

The world is unfair and people need justice not a placebo or hope for a better life when they're dead. They don't need paternalistic religion to take credit for their acheivements or to absolve them of their responsibiltes.


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Shazum
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posted 23 March 2007 12:22 PM      Profile for Shazum     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
i think that South Park said it best...


Science H. Logic!!!!!


From: Somewhere out there | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 23 March 2007 01:03 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
...cause that sure as shit doesn't feed their children or stop the machete swing and it certainly hasn't shown itself as a something that defeats hate.

Alright the praying bit is unimportant, but...

Religion has motivated many good people to do many good things. It inspired the liberation theologians of latin America, has convinced Isreali Rabbis to help disinfranchised Palistinians in the West Bank, caused the foundation of the CCF...

Religion has caused a lot of hatred, but extreme atheism does not provide a solution to that particular problem.


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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Babbler # 4117

posted 23 March 2007 01:28 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The world is unfair and people need justice not a placebo or hope for a better life when they're dead. They don't need paternalistic religion to take credit for their acheivements or to absolve them of their responsibiltes.


Some People do need it. Praying may be unimportant, but I think we all need hope on occasion. Religion(at least the moderate brances of it) is one way of getting your daily dose of inspiration. It can be a way of reassuring yourself that another world is possible. (The most progressive sects talk abut a more equitable earth as well as the afterlife, the least progressive only talk about the afterlife.
I think it's exceptionally judgmental to dismiss religion out of hand as theological smack.

[ 23 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
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posted 23 March 2007 01:41 PM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Now that things are settled at 100 posts, I am closing the thread. Just kidding. As usual, you are welcome to continue discussion in a new thread if it's not finished.
From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
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posted 24 March 2007 11:37 AM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
AHA!


From: The 10th circle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged

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