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January 24, 2015

Comments

"When pushed to defend an indefensible world view, religious people often run away, aggrieved and irritated that someone has asked the excellent question, "What proof do you have for a supposed supernatural reality?"

-- What proof does x have that there is no supernatural reality? It is likely that nobody really knows anything in any absolute sense. Life is a mystery and those of us who try to figure it out, and those who don't, are just flailing helplessly like turtles turned upside down.

The responder to x's comment wasn't running away at all. Rather, the responder was expressing his/her belief, I think, that x's position is just as dogmatic as any religious person's belief and therefore it would be futile to continue discussion.

So Formerly, do you really believe that "nobody really knows anything." How do you know that, since you say that nobody knows anything? Could you be wrong, or are you someone who knows it all, albeit without knowing anything?

Could science actually know something? In fact, more than religion knows something? Maybe. Well, I'd say, actually, for sure.

Also... do you really live your life based on the assumption that proof is needed that something DOESN'T exist, rather than that it DOES?

Do you go around every day pondering that fairies could be causing your Internet connection to work, and that gravity really is the result of invisible elephants moving things around in precise mathematical ways?

After all, you can't prove that these things don't exist, so maybe they do. Maybe you should invest in a Fairy Detector, and tell the National Academy of Sciences that modern theories of gravity are all wrong, and you know the Complete Invisible Elephant Truth.

They'd have to give you a Nobel prize, wouldn't they? Just tell them, "prove that fairies and invisible elephants DON'T exist."

Of course, mental hospitals are filled with people who similarly believe that something there is no demonstrable evidence for really does exist. They believe this because their minds tell them so. They see things no one else does and hear things no one else does.

Instead of calling these people "crazy," I guess you'd say they simply have an alternative understanding of what is real -- believing that what doesn't exist for other people, but exists only in their own mind, is the most real thing.

Me, I either call this "crazy" or "super egotistical."

"So Formerly, do you really believe that "nobody really knows anything." How do you know that, since you say that nobody knows anything? Could you be wrong, or are you someone who knows it all, albeit without knowing anything?"

--I said "it is likely" not "nobody" really knows anything (absolute). There may not be anything absolute. Not that I'm saying there isn't.

"Could science actually know something? In fact, more than religion knows something? Maybe. Well, I'd say, actually, for sure."

--Science thinks it knows what it knows until the Kuhn Cycle changes that. Already orange is the new black.

"Also... do you really live your life based on the assumption that proof is needed that something DOESN'T exist, rather than that it DOES?"

--Neither. Rather, I was pointing out that there are those on this blog who seem to.

"Do you go around every day pondering that fairies could be causing your Internet connection to work, and that gravity really is the result of invisible elephants moving things around in precise mathematical ways?"

-- I will have to look into fairies messing around with my peculiar internet connection, but I always thought it was ghosts. The laws upon which we base our science are relative and when a paradigm shifts, the old rules no longer apply. Ghosts into fairies.

"After all, you can't prove that these things don't exist, so maybe they do. Maybe you should invest in a Fairy Detector, and tell the National Academy of Sciences that modern theories of gravity are all wrong, and you know the Complete Invisible Elephant Truth."

--Current theories of gravity may change. Science admits it is on a shifting platform while at the same time arrogantly proclaiming its stability.

"They'd have to give you a Nobel prize, wouldn't they? Just tell them, "prove that fairies and invisible elephants DON'T exist.""

--Again, I never asked anyone to prove a negative.

"Of course, mental hospitals are filled with people who similarly believe that something there is no demonstrable evidence for really does exist. They believe this because their minds tell them so. They see things no one else does and hear things no one else does."

--Sounds like someone who believes in quarks and bosons. Someday, it may be revealed that quarks and bosons are not that at all but rather convoluted blutpeens.

"Instead of calling these people "crazy," I guess you'd say they simply have an alternative understanding of what is real -- believing that what doesn't exist for other people, but exists only in their own mind, is the most real thing."

--Sort of like nutty professors.

"Me, I either call this "crazy" or "super egotistical.""

--Probably both.

Thanks for replying. I'm flattered.

Thanks for the brief description of this "Kuhn Cycle"!

Two things there that I'm just a bit unclear about:

First, the starting point. The diagram has the scientific method start with "prescience". Is this some technical term, with distinct connotations, or prescience simply as used in everyday speech, to mean something like "presentiment", an advance knowledge so to say. If the latter, then this looks a bit dicey. Surely it's much more precise to simply call it a hypothesis?

And the other thing : Why this emphasis on "paradigm shift" (meaning, I suppose, a very signficant change in the way a body of knowledge is viewed)? Science is a PROCESS, not frozen knowledge ; and of necessity it is subject to changes, sometimes small, sometimes merely incremental, and somtimes huge, major. But is there really any qualitative difference between these two types of changes (minor changes and major changes)? It's the same process, ultimately. (Or do I misunderstand this discussion, and does "paradigm change" merely refer to change, without additional nuance about the magnitude or import of the change?)

Appreciative Reader, you raise good points. I looked at some critiques of Kuhn's book. One person said, as you did, that scientific knowledge always is changing, evaluating itself, leaving behind old ideas and exploring new ones.

The speaker I heard at the brew pub distinguished between normal science and what I guess would be called paradigm-shifting science. Meaning, at some point the changes to a scientific viewpoint become so large, they require a whole new perspective.

The oft-heard example is of the earth-centered vs. sun-centered view. Ptolemy and others fiddled with epicycles and what-not to preserve the earth-centered view. But eventually it was discarded in favor of the sun-centered view, which better fit the facts.

So even though I haven't read Kuhn's book, I'd say that, yes, a paradigm shift refers to both the quantitative and qualitative change in a scientific viewpoint. Again, scientists always are learning more and expanding the boundaries of knowledge.

When a big change in understanding occurs, I guess that is a "paradigm shift." I read an interview with Kuhn where he said he wished he had chosen a different term, because it is subject to misunderstanding.

One misunderstanding is that Kuhn was skeptical of the ability to learn about reality. Kuhn said that he didn't like how his book was used by anti-science types to justify saying (as religious people do in comments on this blog) that because science is always coming to new understandings of reality, it can't be trusted.

Actually, of course, science's openness to new understandings is why it CAN be trusted. Same applies at an individual level. It can be assumed that anyone who claims "I've never changed my mind about ____" doesn't know much about it.

Because science acknowledges that humans can ascertain only so much, science is not uncomfortable with doubt. Religion, however, is all about certainty, faith, a kind of knowing that is emotional, irrational, and duplicitous enough to claim it knows nothing.

Religion is ridiculous and science has better things to do than ridicule it, but (thanks to science) there is no shortage of people doing a fine job of ridiculing religion.

The beauty of science is lost on the religious mind, so religious people sacrifice themselves to whatever little ugliness they consider sacred. It never dawns on the religious mind that if anything is sacred, everything is, and the word "sacred" is meaningless.

Today a comment interchange on a recent post pointed to this inability of true believers to recognize that their worldview lacks a solid foundation. -

The understanding of solid foundation of an apple is to be one.

Like that little tiny sweet sound, so fragile , , , is your Soul

In my case i got the energy loaden words I can push against this sound
Next it starts living and you really need the words to stay , , , in this game

But is stays subjective
although it got a a kind of objectivity when explaining this to someone and then suddenly She starts hearing and so much goose bumps to start with

anyway , , , , in rssb you better stay on the subjective part
You and the Guide
An ex cocaine addict told me it's so much better , , , no side effects, ,,, and it's free, also it doesn't stop
:) - I added : no value added taxes , THANKS TO THE SUBJECTIVITY
How about that


Cheers to all

777

Brian wrote: "Meaning, at some point the changes to a scientific viewpoint become so large, they require a whole new perspective."

-- This is what I mean about the likelihood that nobody really knows anything absolute about life and the cosmos. Religion has pretty well been decimated on this blog. Science remains more intact but, as I said earlier, it may one day be realized that there is nothing absolute and that, really, all we are doing in attempting to understand this may turn out to be akin to coyotes trying to run on a greased highway.

Of course I appreciate many of the advances in science that have improved our lives. I'm not sure that smart phones are one of them, however. Life as we knew it ended when flip phones became antiquated.

But what I would really like to say is that I wish everyone here well and that their experience in this life will be as pleasant as possible.

...it may one day be realized that there is nothing absolute...

It was realized a long time ago "that there is nothing absolute". Where have you been?

Formerly, "x" makes a good one sentence point.

The whole basis of modern science is that nothing is absolute. Scientific knowledge is being constantly revised. Scientists love to demolish theories which don't match facts as well as newer ones.

Yes, there is some resistance to a new paradigm. But in the end the truth wins out, because science is committed to truth more than dogma. Religions, on the other hand, are the reverse: they revere dogma more than truth.

Science makes progress. Religions don't. So if anyone is acting like your "coyotes on a greased highway," it isn't scientists. It is religious believers.

Science makes progress. Religions don't

Ah, progress! Ain't it wonderful. Science takes on all comers. Cures disease, tames atoms, dispels ignorance. There's no end to its wonders. But, wait, there's more. Most scientists will freely profess their massive ignorance of both material and non-material realms.

No matter. The intrepid skeptic, waving the banner of scientific proof, sallies forth to slay the charlatans. No one has the guts to say it but even agnosticism is for wimps. Atheism is the wave of the future. Hail science!

Religion is the "opiate of the masses". Their ilk pigeon-holes together nicely...all of them. They can be ripped to pieces in a few blog-minutes. They have no place at the "show 'n tell" of scientific proof.

Forget the few who talk about an arduous inward journey, long hours of introspection, a life of unwavering discipline. They're charlatans... all of them, unable to adduce a shred of proof for their claims. They're as credible as the world resting on an elephant.

Yet nobody - science nor religion - can explain war, greed, death, or answer the eternal questions. The "grease" taketh down the mightiest and maketh road-kill of them all. Put your money on science though. One day, they'll unravel it. The true believers among us know.

Science will change, Soul won't.

The scientific theories fails and give way to the new ones.
Because they are bound to fail. They will always fail.

The Entropy of the Universe is always increasing,
It will always be increasing, until the night is here.
It's been said by every saint since thousands of years and beyond.
The d-day is near than we think.

If not the d-day of the physical world,
surely, the d-day of every living being is coming up.
Death is coming up next. And also the Life, for some.

~
OI

Yet nobody - science nor religion - can explain war, greed, death, or answer the eternal questions.

I don't know what "eternal questions" you're referring to, but "war, greed, and death" are explicable by anyone of average intelligence.

It isn't clear what you're being so snarky about. Are you religious? What, if anything, do you find good or worthwhile about religion? Do you think humanity would be worse off without it? Do you think that atheists worship science?

You're so sarcastic you're inscrutable.

One initiated, you're right about one thing. Soul won't change. That's because soul almost certainly doesn't exist. Likewise, God won't ever change. Because God doesn't exist.

So long as many people use their human mind to embrace concepts that point to entities that only exist within those minds, the concepts will continue to exist, changelessly.

The question is, what kind of living is this? Living in a thought-creation of one's own making, rather than the directly experienced world shared by all.

The truth isn't far off. It's just sad that religious believers look for it everywhere but the most obvious place: right here, right now, in this world.

Our thoughts create our direct living experience - yes - but how many are aware of the infiltration that is happening, the barrage of conditioning and brain washing which is not only coming from the old religions. Science is now becoming the "new religion".

Below is a small example of how scientific methods are used in advertising and if you have "faith" in science you should probably be a bit more wary...

"... marketers can use psychology to manipulate you into doing what they want (we don't think "brainwashing" is too strong a word).

We know what you're thinking: You're far too cynical to fall for the ads you fast forward through on your DVR or the little tricks employed by marketers and politicians to push your subconscious buttons. But are you sure? Because science has found ...

http://www.cracked.com/article_19646_5-creepy-forms-mind-control-youre-exposed-to-daily.html

...if you have "faith" in science you should probably be a bit more wary...

Thanks for the advice, but you can't have "faith" in science because one can only have faith in what is beyond one's ability to prove the existence of, and no one doubts the existence of science.

That's a lot of suppression Brian

You said you don't exist,

777

Of course I exist. I respond to a blog comment that says I don't exist, therefore I am. Modified Descartes 101.

Quote cc
one can only have faith in what is beyond one's ability to prove the existence of, and no one doubts the existence of science.

...uf that was a bunch of bogus
Nothing wrong if people have a belief...fighting against belief became very dogmatic here

lordi, fighting against religious dogmatism isn't dogmatic, it is the opposite of dogmatic. Which is being open-minded.

I'm open to evidence for reality being whatever it is. But I'm opposed to people claiming that reality is such and such, when there is no evidence that this is true.

Nobody is "fighting against belief". When you believe in what you can't prove the existence of and someone asks you why, and all you can say is that it's your prerogative to believe in whatever goddamned thing you choose to believe in, you are the problem.

so long as many people use their human mind to embrace concepts that point to entities that only exist within those minds, the concepts will continue to exist, changelessly.

Hm, what about fantasies...or maybe you meant entities to subsume those
too. Or perhaps by "entities" you mean just those beliefs that the
faithful can ridicule with tropes about "BS Detectors" and "Little green men".

But, the ordinary fantasies are fine. Today, maybe it's "One day my ship
will come in" for the ten-millionth time; tomorrow, it's "I'll stay healthy...
disease, death is meant for some other poor shlub". The next day, it's "Somebody will save me from this mess".

The question is, what kind of living is this? Living in a thought-creation of
one's own making, rather than the directly experienced world shared by all.

Indeed what kind of world...? All live in a thought-creation of one's own
making. The "thoughts that run on endlessly in the head" are universal.
Listen to them closely. We're riddled with a tsunami of absurd, childish,
at times demonic thought. An unstoppable steam-rollering wave. It's an
eternal, pervasive "song" that afflicts everyone. Its extreme expression
is depression, suicide, madness, criminality...arguably all attributable
to thought that we don't control.

Yet there's a thread of consciousness in mankind that a transcendent reality
exists, a potential, a super-consciousness lying latent. A sense we're not
meant to be at the mercy of thoughts or chained inescapably by the materiality we perceive outside. The yearning is timeless. But, perhaps some have faith that a super-scientist will discover a brain flaw and we can put this childish fantasy to rest forever.

The truth isn't far off. It's just sad that religious believers look for it e
verywhere but the most obvious place: right here, right now, in this world.

Yes, I suspect the truth isn't far off. But the prism may be bent. Both
for believer and skeptic alike. What is perceived as "here,now, this world"
is filtered by thought, prejudices, the imprinting of materiality, an
overwhelming need to make sense of it all and be correct.

Who has subdued his mind and its tyranny... likely neither the religious
or the brainy doubter. The elephant is still in the room. A mind we don't
control, weaknesses we don't really want to see, the same song endlessly
eddying around... We're the "poor player strutting and fretting his hour
on the stage" with "more things in heaven and earth than are ever dreamt
of in his philosophy".


In defense of the spiritually inclined, mystically inclined, transcendentally inclined or whatever name you wish to ascribe to those who claim or believe to have direct or partial experience of what may be called God, Reality, Truth, Nirvana, Great Spirit and so on, I think there is one thing many here too readily dismiss. In some cases, quite arrogantly.

If there is Something that transcends normal everyday perception, awareness and thinking processes, it is, therefore, obscured by every objective description used in an endeavor to reveal that which is beyond the scope of the tools used in an attempt to describe it. Which is to say that all verbal formulation of intuitive perception or apprehension obscures rather than clarifies what has been apperceived.

So, atheists, I think the door is not latched and could swing either way. It is not cut and dried yet. Science may one day lead to realizations reached by so-called mystics ages ago..or not.

I still think it appears most everybody here is trying to gain traction on a greased highway. Sometimes gaining a little purchase for a while where they feel comfortable, such as with atheism, science or religion, only to once again find themselves out of control and sliding inevitably toward the great abyss of death.

This is why I wish everyone well and as much peace and equanimity as possible while we are here in this human condition, both a curse and a blessing, as we make this relentless slide together through this vast, wondrous and mysterious life to the utterly unknown.

When you believe in what you can't prove the existence of and someone asks you why, and all you can say is that it's your prerogative to believe in whatever goddamned thing you choose to believe in, you are the problem.
....
Boring bogus...

If there is Something that transcends normal everyday perception, awareness and thinking processes, it is, therefore, obscured by every objective description used in an endeavor to reveal that which is beyond the scope of the tools used in an attempt to describe it.

"If", indeed.

Why distract yourself with the notion of "Something that transcends normal everyday perception, awareness and thinking processes" when everything real and perceptible is in dire need of attention? Why not pull your head out of the clouds and address the facts of life, one of which is that religious people make life on earth a hell of a lot more difficult and dangerous than it need be.

Brian said : "Of course I exist."

So , , , , where did It come from ?

777

Yet there's a thread of consciousness in mankind that a transcendent reality exists, a potential, a super-consciousness lying latent. A sense we're not meant to be at the mercy of thoughts or chained inescapably by the materiality we perceive outside. The yearning is timeless. But, perhaps some have faith that a super-scientist will discover a brain flaw and we can put this childish fantasy to rest forever.

This "yearning" is for escape. Why yearn for what you don't have and are not? Why not face what is and work with what you have? Why not use your imagination to find practical solutions instead of indulging in grandiose, childish fantasies of a "transcendent reality" or "super-consciousness"?

Lordi
That's funny : You said :
"Existence is a / the problem "

nice book title

77

Lordi wrote: "When you believe in what you can't prove the existence of and someone asks you why, and all you can say is that it's your prerogative to believe in whatever goddamned thing you choose to believe in, you are the problem."

--You aren't a problem if you don't foist your beliefs and experiences upon others and expect them to believe the same.

cc wrote: "Why distract yourself with the notion of "Something that transcends normal everyday perception, awareness and thinking processes" when everything real and perceptible is in dire need of attention? Why not pull your head out of the clouds and address the facts of life, one of which is that religious people make life on earth a hell of a lot more difficult and dangerous than it need be."

--This may be true in the case of someone without transcendent experience who seeks it, and it has been well demonstrated throughout history that religion is often problematic. However, in the case of someone who feels they have had transcendent experience, who is to say what is appropriate for them in terms of what they should focus on in their personal, private lives?

Formerly, the problem is, religious believers don't remain focused on their "personal, private lives" as you put it. For example, they come on to the Internet and claim that their personal experiences reveal something about an objective supernatural reality. Happens on this blog all the time.

In that case, people have a right to question them about the evidence and reasons they have for making such a claim. Everybody has profound personal experiences. I have them every day, as does everybody. But most of us don't go around trying to make other people believe that our personal experience has meaning for everybody.

...in the case of someone who feels they have had transcendent experience, who is to say what is appropriate for them in terms of what they should focus on in their personal, private lives?

A psychiatrist


Why distract yourself with the notion of "Something that transcends normal everyday perception, awareness and thinking processes" when everything real and perceptible is in dire need of attention? Why not pull your head out of the clouds and address the facts of life, one of which is that religious people make life on earth a hell of a lot more difficult and dangerous than it need be.

Religion does lend itself to images of backwoods bigots, scripture thumpers,
cultists, dangerous fanatics and zealots. Or even the other-worldly, the
far out, "head-in-the-clouds" theorists. I'd agree...but then to a great degree,
politics draws from exactly the same pool. History too...revisionists spout
lunacy of all kinds. Various causes seem to pull from the "pool".

However, I think the best religious practices are countering the
difficulties and dangers of life by actually practicing to stay in the "here-now", struggling to tame the intractable mind and its impulses, inculcating discipline, living in harmony with others, being tolerant of other views, and by having a "reverence for life". All very "real and perceptible" issues and "in dire need of attention".

Of course, arguably you don't need religion for this. But that doesn't and shouldn't denigrate the efforts that are made by any religion or quasi-religion. Certainly beliefs of transcendence and the unlimited potential of mankind to achieve a God-state are not the trappings of the "pool". To claim otherwise, I believe is seriously flawed, as judgmental, rigid, ignorant, and dogmatic as any "pool" denizen.

I have yearning that will not let me be..It haunts me night and day, and yet I have a peace now I have never known..I'm highly functional, have never taken drugs, except smoked dope years ago, am in perfect health and am financial secure, but all this means little to me as my hearts desire is not of this world..So tell me oh ever wise cc...Do I need a psychiatrist?

...beliefs of transcendence and the unlimited potential of mankind to achieve a God-state...

..."transcendence and the unlimited potential of mankind" are fantasies. There is no reason to believe in such grandiose notions - only the pathetic yearning you spoke of. But there most certainly is a crying need for people to come down to earth and attend to what's going on in the very real world.

.."transcendence and the unlimited potential of mankind" are fantasies. There is no reason to believe in such grandiose notions - only the pathetic yearning you spoke of.But there most certainly is a crying need for people to come down to earth and attend to what's going on in the very real world

But what if your "pathetic yearning" is only to transcend your own anger and lack of focus. Maybe to be cognizant of the thoughts that fill your days and nights 24x7; to explore what's going on inside you; try to understand and channel the energy more constructively. Nothing too gradiose at all...

How do you know it's a fantasy? Do you judge it by the rabid tenor and rants of "pool denizens"? Or was this just a reflex against something you deemed "churchy". Or perhaps you've tried it already and dismissed it.

Maybe if the inner exploration had a proper scientific name, it'd be more acceptable. Free of the "churchy" taint. You could try it just for the hell of it. See if there's some room for improvement.

Really, how can anyone know what man's potential is or circumscribe its limits. Or call it "fantasy" or "pathetic yearning". Will you always be better served by a physical exam, or time with a psychiatrist, or by popping a scientifically tested pill free of all but a few side effects.

Surely there are areas of improvement before anyone should rush off to tackle the real problems on earth. Without doing so, you could be exacerbating your own as well everyone else's problems... both churched and unchurched. Being more aware, focused, less intolerant yourself you could reach a "god-state" nirvana (or a "churchless" equivalent). Halleujah, they'll cry...saved at last!

Apparently believers have nothing better to do than seek out unbelievers to preach to. It seems that calling your blog "Church of the Churchless" is tantamount to putting up a brightly lit sign saying, "Religious nuts welcome!".

Like moths to a flame, believers fly to where their tedious, trite, self-serving drivel will be most annoying because preaching to the choir gets no response.

Religious faith would sooner die than listen to reason, and this obstinacy, moronic and fanatical as it is, is the pride and joy of the believer.

Apparently believers have nothing better to do than seek out unbelievers to preach to. It seems that calling your blog "Church of the Churchless" is tantamount to putting up a brightly lit sign saying, "Religious nuts welcome!".

Like moths to a flame, believers fly to where their tedious, trite, self-serving drivel will be most annoying because preaching to the choir gets no response.

Religious faith would sooner die than listen to reason, and this obstinacy, moronic and fanatical as it is, is the pride and joy of the believer.

Gosh, I'm so glad you didn't name names!

I don't mean to sound ad hominem but that response comes
across as dismissive, truculent, and totally unfactual.
There's such a wealth of opprobrium: "pathetic", "religious
nut", "trite", "drivel", "obstinacy", "moronic", "fanatical".

In some circles they'd call it an "attack dog" tactic. Bark,
threaten, lay down suppressive fire. All from behind a fence
and then retreat quickly if anyone nears, has a conciliatory
word, doesn't do an immediate about-face to wherever the hell
he came from.

They're so quick to the reflex that there can never be any
common ground. Growl, curse, put-down,.. Don't address any
of the issues, they deserve no civility, no quarter will be
given. That's for wimps.

The world is black and white, either "nut" or "unchurched".
If there's a whiff of the infidel, then by the gods of reflex,
they're gonna get bit.

If you don't like it, stay the hell off my street!

Don't address any
of the issues...

For me, the only issue is whether one indulges in wishful thinking or remains with facts. People who indulge in wishful thinking and build their lives around what they believe (as opposed to what they can verify the existence of), live in a world of rosy imagination. Most of them congregate in religious support groups, but many operate as freelance advocates of their particular brand of faith.

The latter group tends to be attracted to atheist blogs and websites because of their compulsion to testify, and no doubt all atheist and realist blogs and websites are plagued with these preachers. But in another sense, this plague is a blessing because it amounts to "activity", the lifeblood of any blog.

So it turns out that I'm the wishful thinker in this matter. In real life, believers are a waste of an atheist's time. But online, an atheist blogger lives and thrives only by providing constantly updated graphic proof of what a waste of time believers are.

cc you say: "the only issue is whether one indulges in wishful thinking or remains with facts".

What facts do you contribute to this blog? You assume that everyone who isn't a confirmed atheist is a wishful thinker and a believer, living "in a world of rosy imagination". This is your assumption. Many commenters here have a more 'not-knowing' and questioning attitude. This is called being open minded.

You attack and criticise all commenters without exception. You are more dogmatic than any of the 'believers' imo. You are a preacher, preaching your own point of view. You are the "freelance advocate of your particular brand of faith".

You say: "So it turns out that I'm the wishful thinker in this matter. In real life, believers are a waste of an atheist's time. But online, an atheist blogger lives and thrives only by providing constantly updated graphic proof of what a waste of time believers are."

What is this upgraded graphic proof and why are you wasting your time, as you call it?

Why does your contribution to the activity on this blog have to be so cold, calculating and vicious? Why so defensive of your own atheistic approach?

Many commenters here have a more 'not-knowing' and questioning attitude.

Not "many"...one or two, perhaps...but most are believers.

What is this upgraded graphic proof and why are you wasting your time, as you call it?

You should read more carefully before commenting. The phrase I used was, "constantly updated", not "upgraded". For your sake, I'll explain what I meant: in real life, atheists tend to avoid believers because they're irrational (not to mention, boring, tedious, and emotionally overwrought). But when an atheist has a blog, it's success is dependent on how many people go to the blog, and as it happens, believers flock to atheist blogs. Therefore, a successful atheist blog is dependent on how many believers come to it to provide written proof of how irrational they are.

Why does your contribution to the activity on this blog have to be so cold, calculating and vicious? Why so defensive of your own atheistic approach?

As I said, I was indulging in wishful thinking. I am now enlightened.

@cc

Let me enlighten you a bit more here :)

If we count success of a blog by the visitors count,
which is a common parameter,
we'd be amazed to know that most of the readers of this blog
are avid followers of the Sant Mat and not the atheists.
And you know many of them never even comment,
the are so full of love, they don't even get upset by anything
which is being said against the Sant Mat.

They just visit here to read the positive comments from so many other commenters.

And it is surely a big thanks to Brian,
who is maintaining this blog from his pocket and allowing
the commenters who posts the varying comments.

Long story short, this blog is not a success because
of the commenters who are just pure bare atheists.
This blog is a success because of
1) Brian
2) The readers/commenters who are the followers of Sant Mat and Love.

It's high time now for us,
we have been growing hatred in our hearts since very long now.
Atheism doesn't essentially mean that what all we need to do is hate.
Our comments appears always to be hurting and full of hatred.
At least we can start seeding some Love in our heart now,
which will blossom to lovely flowers one day and brings in the
fragrance and the beauty of Love.

So even when not believing in God/Soul/SupremeBeing/Guru we
can still spread Love and happiness, can't we ?

Love of the Lord to you and all of you.

~
OI

"In some circles they'd call it an "attack dog" tactic. Bark, threaten, lay down suppressive fire. All from behind a fence and then retreat quickly if anyone nears, has a conciliatory word, doesn't do an immediate about-face to wherever the hell he came from.

They're so quick to the reflex that there can never be any common ground. Growl, curse, put-down,.. Don't address any of the issues, they deserve no civility, no quarter will be given. That's for wimps. The world is black and white, either "nut" or "unchurched".

If there's a whiff of the infidel, then by the gods of reflex, they're gonna get bit.

If you don't like it, stay the hell off my street!"

Spot on, Dungeness.

The thing is, it's not black or white. I for one don't mind being called an atheist (I have no affinity with religion or anything supernatural) but I'm not a physicalist because the question of how reality is ordered has not yet been resolved - it is an article of faith to suggest otherwise.

And although science is the most effective method of acquiring empirical knowledge of the physical universe, the subjective world - the world of qualia etc. remains problematic. There is still a great deal to be done in this area - we are only just scratching the surface.

They're so quick to the reflex that there can never be any common ground.

Apart from the fact that we're all human, Dungeness, there is no common ground between atheists and religious believers. The difference is radical. A believer is convinced of what he cannot provide any credible evidence of, and an atheist considers credible evidence to be the sine qua non for any discussion.

x wrote: "A believer is convinced of what he cannot provide any credible evidence of.."

--but that may be the fault of the atheist and not the believer. That is, the atheist cannot see what is readily apparent to those who do see and I am not speaking of theory, dogma or pages of scripture.

I am not saying "I" see anything the atheist doesn't but apparently there are those who think they do, and to them it is the atheist who is unfortunate in their lack of perception and arrogance in their lack thereof as proof that the believer's perception is false.

Therefore, I remain guardedly receptive to the possibility of the factual reality of what the atheist holds in absolute dismissive disdain.

I am not saying "I" see anything the atheist doesn't

But you are, and this is the duplicity that characterizes the religious mind.

"But you are, and this is the duplicity that characterizes the religious mind."

--Incorrect. I said nothing of the sort.

...the atheist cannot see what is readily apparent to those who do see...

Really? Who are these superhuman beings who "see" what others do not? How do you know such beings exist? What evidence is there that what they allegedly see has any verifiable existence?

I am not saying "I" see anything the atheist doesn't

Why the quotes? Why hedge? Either you see or you don't. If you claim that others are doing this magical seeing, how can you know they have sight if you admittedly don't?

"Really? Who are these superhuman beings who "see" what others do not?"

--They have been throughout the ages. Who says they are superhuman? That is an assumption. Their ability may be "human" but not commonly achieved.

"How do you know such beings exist?"

--YOU know that such beings exist. That is you have heard of various visionaries and mystics. Right? So, the issue is whether their experience is valid.

"What evidence is there that what they allegedly see has any verifiable existence?"

--That is what people like you and I don't know, but that doesn't mean they don't experience what they say.

"how can you know they have sight if you admittedly don't?"

--Why would I necessarily know they have such sight even if I did? Anyway, I don't know whether they have such vision or not. The difference between me and you is that I admit that I don't know what they experience and therefore maintain an open mind, though skeptical. I do not categorically dismiss the possibility with haughty arrogance and condemn such people to the care of psychiatrists straight away.


how can you know they have sight if you admittedly don't?

Believers or atheists I don't give a shit about
names. But tell you what a heavy barbell makes me grounded like superglue. It made my hand break through thick wooden wall. Need a scientific proof? Need a belief? ..No.. just come and check the hole in my wall and my hand it still bruised a bit.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aWACCWBzAmc

Ps. And don't come with philosophy on me or next time I will land my hand somewhere else..buahaha..jk I love you all..moon

How true and as Charan Singh Maharaj Ji used to say in their discourses:

"It's impossible for a blind to follow/hold The Sighted.
Unless and until The Sighted holds his hand."

A blind will never believe in the sight and will keep believing those who does are dogmatic.


~
OI

The difference between me and you is that I admit that I don't know what they experience and therefore maintain an open mind, though skeptical.

Not true. Nothing you've said suggests a scintilla of skepticism. You give credence to these alleged seers because your idea of an open mind is one that doesn't require credible evidence to support questionable assertions.

Tucson I love your phraseiology "Dismissive distain and haughty arrogance" Its pure poetry to my ears.

x wrote: "Not true. Nothing you've said suggests a scintilla of skepticism. You give credence to these alleged seers because your idea of an open mind is one that doesn't require credible evidence to support questionable assertions."

--Bullshit. I just don't deny the possibility of certain things I don't understand. You do. You are presumptuous and self-righteous about it, as dogmatic as a Sunday preacher.

I just don't deny the possibility of certain things I don't understand.

What you don't understand is that where there's no evidence to support a statement or claim, there's nothing there but a statement or claim; no reason to believe or assume anything until there's evidence.

Thank you for your graphic (and theatric) demonstration of the religious mind.

"Thank you for your graphic (and theatric) demonstration of the religious mind."

-- You're full of it x. You know there is nothing religious about my statement. You just don't like to be made to look the fool. Thank you for a demonstration of resorting to sophistry in a futile attempt to salvage a failed argument.


" there is no common ground between atheists and religious believers"

There is no common ground between dogmatic believers and dogmatic atheists, because they have different dogmas.

But open mindedness and skepticism can be combined.

You know there is nothing religious about my statement. You just don't like to be made to look the fool.

Here's your statement that incited the exchange that led to your angry reaction:

...the atheist cannot see what is readily apparent to those who do see and I am not speaking of theory, dogma or pages of scripture.

Then what are you speaking of? Who are "those who do see"? By what magical means do they see what atheists don't? If you can calm down, perhaps you can explain.


Hey Brian, this one gets a bit personal but it is germane to the topic tangentially. I do not intend to continue in this vein unless provoked by sophistry.

x repeats: "...the atheist cannot see what is readily apparent to those who do see and I am not speaking of theory, dogma or pages of scripture."

--OK... what they THINK/KNOW they see PERSONALLY that is not foisted upon others in an evangelical or compulsory manner.

Fucking parsing words here goddamnit to satisfy this creep. No, I am not going to calm down and am going to play the role of one who is perturbed.

I am willing to allow mystics/transcendetalists their perceived validity of their experience and the possibility that others may do the same. This is not saying I believe what they believe, or know what they think they know, but I do not throw the possibility of mystical/transcendental insight into the dustbin of offal and madness as you do. Yet, I am skeptical as well.

You, x, are here to denigrate, not just the religious, but even those with a receptive mind who you feel operate with a deficient reasoning capability compared to the lofty intellectual heights from which you believe you operate.

But you also have no clue as to the origin and foundation of the Universe the same as any religious zealot. Yet you have the audacity to judge others as if you do. It's time you are called what you really are..a pompous, fatuous, snarky bully judging others from your own limited perspective...a self-constructed intellectual ivory tower whose walls confine you to pitiful and lamentable limitation.

tucson, you're right: your comment is indeed pretty damn personal, in a critical way. However, "x" isn't a fragile flower, and I'm sure he won't wilt after reading your comment. And like you said, you did address the subject of this post. More or less.

...what they THINK/KNOW they see PERSONALLY that is not foisted upon others in an evangelical or compulsory manner

There is no significant distinction between the religious nonsense one cooks up in one's own mind and what conventional religion dishes up. It's all subjective experience with no validity in the real world. That you choose to revere so-called seers and not those who go by the book is your conceit, but it doesn't make your mind any less religious.

Fucking parsing words here goddamnit to satisfy this creep

A "creep" being anyone who asks tucson to make himself clear.

...a self-constructed intellectual ivory tower whose walls confine you to pitiful and lamentable limitation.

Here's something you can bet on: a frustrated believer, after venting his spleen at an atheist who has questioned his belief, will express pity for the atheist. Whether this is to draw attention away from the believer's pitiful defense of his faith, or it's just the standard parting shot, I don't know.

x wrote: "That you choose to revere so-called seers and not those who go by the book is your conceit, but it doesn't make your mind any less religious."

--This is what I mean. You put words in my mouth to support your argument. This is disingenuous. Where is the evidence of my "reverence" for "seers".

"A "creep" being anyone who asks tucson to make himself clear."

--I have made myself very clear a number of times. It is simple, but you insist on reading my comments through the colors of your prejudice.

I took the adversarial tone because I have seen x-c-cc use bullying and distortion to run roughshod over others on this blog. Many just bend over and take it. I am not so inclined.

But I agree with your basic premise, x. There is not much empirical evidence for the scientific, rational mind to support what seers/mystics/gurus/priests claim. It is all subjective and much of it may well be some form of self deception, but maybe, just maybe, not all.

"Where is the evidence of my "reverence" for "seers"."

A while back you spoke of your fondness for the sayings of Wu Wu Wei. It seemed reverential to me.

"I have seen x-c-cc use bullying and distortion to run roughshod over others on this blog."

Produce the evidence when you make accusations.

"but you insist on reading my comments through the colors of your prejudice"

Another accusation without any evidence.

The religious mind is all about babble and bluster, facts be damned.

Hi Tucson

Of course it's not ALL self deception.

Quite a bit of what x/cc says is on target but much of it isn't.

Earlier in the thread he writes:

"For me, the only issue is whether one indulges in wishful thinking or remains with facts. People who indulge in wishful thinking and build their lives around what they believe (as opposed to what they can verify the existence of), live in a world of rosy imagination."

In this, x/cc sets up a false premise; that there are only two options:

1. Those who remain with facts - who can verify things. Or:

2. Those who indulge in wishful thinking - who build their lives around what they believe.

Now as far as I can see, there is at least a third category:

3. The awareness and investigation of phenomena that cannot be verified by the usual empirical means.

The inexplicable nature of consciousness remains a massive predicament for science. Subjective states/qualia cannot be confirmed or denied by scientific means. That I am imagining a red triangle cannot be measured on any instruments. There is no scientific test to ascertain that I miss my daughter. Or that I am in a deep meditative state in which I perceive phenomena as in a state of continuous flux. You can take MRI scans of the brain but they will not reveal the nature of these and other subjective instances. Thus there are facts about the universe that cannot be measured or tested for or proved to either exist or not exist. There are truths which cannot be verified.

Jon, in his video talk about his book, "Waking Up," Sam Harris correctly says that consciousness is THE fact about the world that doesn't need to be verified, and in fact can't be.

So you're right in that regard. But this is quite different from religious belief in things unseen.

I'm pretty sure commenter "x" accepts that consciousness is an objective fact about the world which can only be experienced subjectively.

This seems obvious and unarguable to me, however we define subjective and objective. My problem, which I share with "x," is that religious believers don't stop there.

Meaning, they don't simply say, "I had this conscious experience," They go on to claim that though the experience was entirely personal/subjective, and didn't pertain to anything in the observable objective world, the experience reflects a fact about the cosmos -- a fact that is more than subjective.

Again, the words used will differ. But that's the meaning. As I write about frequently, there is a big difference between what we can call "internal" and "external" facts.

Yes, the experience of red is subjective. However, it can be confirmed by other observers, who also use the word "red" to describe what they are seeing. And a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum can be associated with the light called "red."

The same doesn't apply to supernatural, godly, and religious claims about a subjective experience that supposedly points to an objective "outside" reality.

So, sure, everybody would agree that a conscious experience is ours alone, because consciousness is private. But we shouldn't blindly accept that a personal conscious experience tells us something about reality outside of the confines of that consciousness, not without persuasive evidence that such exists.

I said to x: "but you insist on reading my comments through the colors of your prejudice"

x responded: "Another accusation without any evidence." and then x further says about my accusation: "The religious mind is all about babble and bluster, facts be damned."

--This is evidence of x's prejudice and reading my comments through the lens of that distortion because I have not expressed any sort of personal religious belief, faith or acceptance of dogma.

However, I will concede one point to x as evidence of my vast magnanimity... My mind is all about "babble and bluster".
That's what we do here.


Brian

The point that I am making is that if something cannot be verified by empirical means, it does not by default make it wishful thinking or delusion. This is what x/cc often seems to imply.

Earlier in the thread he writes: "...one can only have faith in what is beyond one's ability to prove the existence of."

That I miss my daughter IS a truth. It is something that is in accordance with reality. Yet there is no scientific test to prove that this is so. MRI scans may show activity in the limbic system etc., but the particular emotion cannot be determined by this activity.

But I do agree with you and x/cc that the burden of proof of "religious claims about a subjective experience that supposedly points to an objective "outside" reality" rests with the one who makes the claim.

I have not expressed any sort of personal religious belief, faith or acceptance of dogma.

You have expressed the belief that you can understand something you can't explain. A while back when you paraphrased the words of Wu Wu Wei, it sounded like nonsense to me and I asked you to explain what it meant. You said it would be like trying to explain what gasoline smelled like to someone who had never smelled gasoline, thus implying that one had to be somehow initiated to grok Wu Wu Wei. I then went on to say that if you can't explain it, you don't understand it, and this proposition you haughtily dismissed.

On a previous occasion you expressed absolute certainty about your eternal identity, or some such nonsense, but I'll have to search the comments archive to find it.

Jon, I think we're on the same wavelength here. I realize that "objective" is a dirty word in some post-modern, New Age'y, mystical, and religious circles.

But to me that word still has a lot of value. What i savor, what I most enjoy, almost always relates to the objective world. A dream, a concept, a passing thought -- this doesn't really satisfy.

Your feeling of missing your daughter has depth because of your daughter's objective reality. Missing the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus is quite different.

...there are facts about the universe that cannot be measured or tested for or proved to either exist or not exist. There are truths which cannot be verified.

Yes, and this is why we don't persecute schizophrenics and we laud poets, but it doesn't justify the establishment of organized religion or sanction the activity of religious leaders.

@x

I observe you are probably not picking up what tucson is trying
to convey here.

For example:

Can you try to explain how would you define the taste of a pea-seed to someone who has not yet tasted/seen/heard it ever?

We are not talking about the attributive comparisons here, like "it tastes a little sweet" "it tastes a little this or that" ... No, a clear cut taste definition.

I am sure, no one can really explain that.
Because it's unique.
In order to let anyone know how does it taste, the person has to taste it. There are no words by which you'd be able to explain it. Because, the pea-seed will taste just like the pea-seed.

(Also, no one can be dogmatic about a pea-seed because it's easily accessible, right ? We can extrapolate this logic if we are open enough in our thinking.)

Theoretical explanation can not always work. Let alone Spirituality, not even for a pea-seed.

Are you getting the point ?


~
OI

One Initiated, I agree with your basic point -- that someone's conscious experience of something can't be adequately described to anyone else.

But we need to apply this to everything, not just supposed "spiritual" experiences.

For example...

You really don't have any idea what "x" has experienced that leads him to look upon the world the way he does.

He has a unique way of experiencing reality, just as everyone does. You believe that you understand him through his words, which you tend to disagree with, but that is a judgment based upon your own experience.

"x", like all of us, can't really explain his inner experiences that have led him to deny God and embrace his view of reality. He may have an amazingly enlightened perception of the cosmos that, were you able to share it, would blow you away.

So my suggestion is to look upon atheists the same way as you look upon spiritual people: as individuals who may have insights into reality that can't be conveyed in words, yet are deeply meaningful to them.

Yes Brian good advice but why not give it to x/cc as well..He most certainly does noafford the same respect to "spiritual" minded people..I have not words like delusional, crazy, the worst kind of people, cause of all ills ETC coming from the otherside...More gentleness and tolerance is shown, so what is perfered a sharp critical mind or a soft heart?

Ok so share the amazing insights Mr x man, but no I forget Roger sometime ago got into a discussion with you and you decline..And so did I when asked if you had spent time with any of the gurus..You were x then with Roger it was cc..So who and what are you exactly? You reveal Nothing..Perhaps we are all just beneath your contemt.

You reveal Nothing

June, you've revealed more about yourself than anyone needs to know. But one thing you haven't revealed is why you (and other believers) frequent a blog advocating the abandonment of religion. Isn't there a more suitable place you can all go to and support each other?

Why don't you and the other disaffected Gurinder folks start a blog where you can go and congregate? Or would it be too boring without at least one pitiful unbeliever there to serve as a constant reminder of how blessed and fortunate you are?

Talking of Gurinder, this is the latest news:

To Dear Sangat/ Sewadars:

We are sorry to inform you that Mumbai satsang programme of our beloved SAINT Babaji on Tuesday & Wednesday, 10th and 11th of February 2015 is cancelled.& this is done on the advice of DOCTORS who have requested MASTER to take some rest, further it is clarified that there is no cause of Worry.

Babaji has got back pain and it has nothing to do with previous problem. He is still in Hyderabad and there is Darshan.

R.S.


Today Babaji gave 1.5 hours satsang in Hyderabad. Those who have have got Namdan Parchies (Slips) will need to keep with them and they will get NamDan in Banglore or Beas.

Hi I am scientist and atheist and must say I never met till now such aggressive person posing like atheist and sceptic like you x. Till next... stay calm and less insulting and aggressive..come on boy you can do it I know you can cause deep down in yourself you are a wonderful person.

Thankyou fake "scientist and atheist". I am a robot replying for x. Insulting is good. Don't call x "boy". Learn how to spell "skeptic". That is all.

x just to inform you I also cringe when I see comments like "our beloved Saint Babaji" as I'm sure do many others, so I can identify with you there, but I don't hold it against Juan he is afterall only posting and trying to be neibourly by sharing news.

“Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there, and finding it.” ― Oscar Wilde

So we shouldn't blindly accept that a personal conscious experience tells us something about reality outside of the confines of that consciousness, not without persuasive evidence that such exists

Nor should we blindly reject that it could.

What if you're really sleeping and your only reality is a dream world with a few, brief moments of lucidity and dim memories of wakefulness. Many share these compelling glimpses but they fade and once again are immersed in the dream. It's a phantasmagoric world, careening wildly out of control, with little or no understanding of ourselves, or our consciousness, our minds, full of surreal events, hatred, pain, disease, helplessness, and death waiting at the end. It's sad and there's no pervasive evidence of a reality outside this life which is "nasty, brutish, and short". Except for the glimpses...

The skeptic is right - there's no evidence - but he is lost himself in the dream. The most virulent will frame the argument so only the materialist's evidence matters and scoffs at the idea of controlling the mind and perceiving anything outside the phenomenal. In fact he dismisses the scantest mention of the transcendental and likens it to theories of "little green men". He dogmatizes with the vehemence of the holy roller.

The wakeful doubtlessly perceive the illusory power of the dream. But there's still no demonstrable evidence for those still dreaming. There never will be.

This old story sort of goes with Dungeness' point. Nothing great or profound here, but why not...

There was a toad who lived deep in a well surrounded by stone walls. The toad's entire world was this pool of water, the edge of a stone it was sitting on, the walls, and the insects it would snatch with its tongue. Occasionally some creature would come down in the well looking for water or something and tell the toad of this wide magnificent world or trees, fields, lakes and mountains beyond the confines of the walls of the well. The toad would scoff at such nonsense because it was perfectly clear and obvious to the toad that the world consisted of its known environment. It was impossible for the toad to conceive that anything else could exist. The creatures would tell the toad that if it would just work its way to the top of the well it could see for itself what there was to see. The toad thought this would be a waste of time because it was plain to see the world consisted of the walls of the well and the pool of water. To the toad, those who reported of a greater world beyond the well were deluded fools prone to fantasy and self-deception. So, there the toad remained, content in his little world. Nothing wrong with contentment.

Your "old story", tucson, is a false analogy. The toad could put what he was told to the test because it was real, but in the real world of human beings, what religious people believe and claim to be true can't be tested. All an unbeliever can do to find out where a believer is coming from is take drugs or somehow become similarly deluded. It takes subjective experience to become religious - not discovery and observation of what is real.

x, good point. A story is just a story. An atheist/religious skeptic could make up a similar one with a different message. Such as:
-------------------------

"There was a toad who lived deep in a well surrounded by stone walls. The toad's entire world was this pool of water, the edge of a stone it was sitting on, the walls, and the insects it would snatch with its tongue.

The toad spent its days and nights imagining that there was another world, an amazing world, a world where a divine supernatural being existed who loved him, a world the toad would get to see after he died if he just believed in that being strongly enough.

Occasionally a creature would enter the well and tell the toad about a REAL world above the well. A physical world just like the one the toad was in, but vaster. It wasn't based on imagination, but could be explored if the toad would just give up his fantasy about a divine world and embrace the reality of what lay beyond his imaginings.

But the toad was so happy with his conceptual mental world, he never felt like leaving his imaginary world."

But the toad wasn't even trying to find out if there was a vaster (more vast?) world beyond the well, she is just sitting there content with her mouth full of the same old insects and decrying the possibility of such a world with a grunt, a belch and a few pieces of half digested slimy insects spewing out.

Well, actually one time she did try climbing out of the well using the directions of some sick (slick) toad sitting on a rock nearby. When the directions didn't work she decided that other directions must also be false and decided to just stay put stuffing herself with the same old insects she had always been eating.

Of course this doesn't mean there really was a world of fatter or different insects accessible to the toad somewhere, somehow. But it doesn't mean there wasn't either. This particular toad figured a gnat on the tongue is worth two somewhere up and over the wall just on some salamander's say so. "Show me the goddamn gnats" said the toad. "I'm not going anywhere until I see the gnats". Understandable. It was a Missouri toad.

I worship this GURU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYeAzLMq1r8

rip GURU.

http://www.salon.com/2015/04/26/bill_maher_american_hero_laughing_at_religion_is_exactly_what_the_world_needs/

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