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February 09, 2009

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Brian, that's a really cool post. I'll checkout the article you recommend. It should make for great debate fodder on my blog as I have attracted a very religious young man and we're having a very spirited back-and-forth.

We come hard wired in many ways, surely this is not a surprise? There are almost certainly differences between the data coming in through our senses and the mental image we create in our minds ( as used by Darren Brown et al) as there is data from our senses compared with data available (consider the limited electromagnetic range of information of which we have sensitivity)
Experiments with mice wherein parent mice learnt their way around a maze and their offspring were found to have maze knowledge (I can find the link if requested) demonstrates one mechanism for some hard wiring.
That we may be pre disposed to believe in some form of God is not surprising considering how popular and successful religion has been, without any hard evidence. Try coming up with a new scientific theory and making it stick without any evidence for thousands of years!)
What I do find surprising is how much trust we place in our opinions, conclusions, mind, senses, and how we can feel we are correct in our beliefs.
There is almost zero evidence to confirm that what we observe is what there is, and even less evidence to indicate that our beliefs are anywhere close to actuality.
Almost any area of supposed knowledge can be examined and found to be based upon belief, even mathematics is based upon so called self evident truths, pure belief!
This hard wiring of the notion of God is interesting not because of new knowledge but because it shows how little confidence we can have in our beliefs arrived at as a result of our experiences.

cool!

Scientists might argue that evidence exists that God is no more than some mental pre-programming

Evolutionists might have trouble reconciling the notion that we are born with the tools required for survival as result of many years of survival and are now found to have a preset sense of God.

Those of religious bent might rejoice in that finally here is some evidence that we are all born with an imprint of God in our brains!

Tony, people can indeed read whatever they want into the article. If creationists can argue that fossils have been planted by the Devil to mislead people about God, then other sorts of deluded wishful thinking also are possible.

Regarding evolution, it's hypothesized that finding patterns (like purposeful creation) where none actually exist is a favored survival characteristic.

Saying to yourself "that's just the wind" when you hear a sound may be true most of the time, but in the rare time it isn't, and a tiger moving around in the brush eats you, your genes are lost to posterity.

So pattern-seeking is rewarded, which helps explain why religiosity is so natural to humans.

If someone wants to disbelieve in god, they can find many reasons to do so; but this doesn't strike me as a good one. In fact, it's more just the opposite. Supposing we are souls created before we are born, then we would be coming from a spirit realm where what is physical here wouldn't be the only thing we were familiar with. The older we got, the more we would be told what we 'should' see and hence could stop seeing what isn't acceptable to adults. Like I had an imaginary playmate that my parents worried about when I was very young. I stopped seeing him but does that mean he was never there.

Children at a certain age find it easier to remember past lives (two of my grandkids had such memories and not from parents teaching them that way) and some have folloerf up on details of where they lived before; so that also could explain this 'pre-wiring.'

The only way this makes one less likely to believe in a spirit world is if you wanted to find any reason to do that anyway...

Dear Rain,

"Supposing...."

Robert Paul Howard

It is all 'supposing,' Robert Paul Howard :) Until we are dead and who knows then...

Dear Rain,

Okay........I suppose.

Robert Paul Howard

Dear Rain et al.,

You might like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rooyt3ptNco&feature=email

Robert Paul Howard

Beautiful. I love that song and lovely video with it. So true. It's a wonderful world.

As spurred on by the recent reductionist type posts on this site, here's some random musings:

The more and more and more I ponder over it, the more & more I am convinced that experiences similar to those of NDEs do demonstrate to us the, errm, importance or reality of 'spiritual dimensions' of our being.

I find all the materialistic reductionist dismissals of NDEs 'reality' more and more irrelevant & misguided, too.

It's very hard to verbalise why. But I shall try.

Whether it be a lack of oxygen, or the last neural throws of a brain being deconstructed, or whatever other neuro-explanation doesn’t really matter.

It's the MEANING of the experience that matters.

It is the utter inconceivability of the fact that not only has insentient matter generated our conscious experience, our ordered universe, our infinite variety of experiences, emotions, sensations, thoughts, ideas, knowledge etc. It is the utter inconceivability of the fact that not only has insentient matter (through whatever processes) done all this, but it has also generated the so-called delusion of an ‘Absolute God’, of a 'self' and of *meaning*. Matter sneakily peaking at itself, objectifying itself as individualised 'self', and as 'God', and projecting itself on a *meaningful* trajectory from the relative to the Absolute. This is all undeniable reality, whether one is scientifically minded or spiritual, this is how it is!

Whether it is all matter or not literally doesn't matter. Whether our sense of existence, our emotions, our beliefs, our experiences etc are merely matter bouncing around doesn’t change a thing, does it?

So, to take the case of NDEs, what are they? They may well be the conscious after-effects of the bodily disintegration process. A panaroma of experiences that is merely the conscious consequence of the body-mind falling apart.

But isn't it astonishing that matter has deemed this necessary?! Just because everything is matter, doesn’t detract from the actual content or meaning of the experience, does it? Are we so sceptical of all our normal mundane activities such as love, education, parenting etc? All 'merely' matter moving about? No, meaning still remains.

Our entire conscious existence, our experiences (of name and forms) may just be a by-product of matter, or perhaps just a tip of the matter iceberg. There may be so much, much more hidden beneath the normal human awareness & experience of matter.

So, whilst our brains are disintegrating during the dying process, they throw up all manner of experiences which relate to our sense of being & place in the universe in relation to the disintegration of our physical embodiment.

Maybe these experiences are *projections* of a deeper process occurring within the physical matter that is /was our being? Symbolic representations of a far deeper 'physical process' that we as body-mind organisms are not normally able to perceive. Perhaps even our very lives and existence are actually projections, or by-products, of that deeper physical process/reality?

So, when matter is dying (the disintegration of our physical bodies), we experience that 'death' in the symbolic, phenomenological (name & form), representation of the NDE experience.

But perhaps something EVEN deeper, more profound, more primal, meta-meaningful is actually going on? Something that our body-mind organisms cannot process except in the symbolism of the NDE experience?

Indeed, perhaps that is what our entire lives are? The tip of the 'matter' iceberg, symbolic holograms projected out of an ocean of energy/matter that is MORE THAN these phenomena?

Dear Manjit,
Thank you for bringing up this subject of NDE's.I
had a short but very interesting e-mail discussion
with a person who had had 3 NDE experiences.
There wasnt a large difference between what happened to him and my inner experiences.
The biggest difference was that in his experiences he
retained some "human" aspect of himself,while I
lost all contact with my human part and became just
self awareness.
He also encountered a barrier which he was told if
he went past it he would not return.In his case
he was given the option to pass the barrier and
decided against it.
This reductionest business probably dates back to
Descartes but I am not sure about this.
Best regards
Obed

Dear Obed,

Would you mind sharing a bit of your 'inner experiences', and perhaps even this discussion over email with your friend?

Only if you wish to!

Thanks.

Dear Manjit,
I would prefer not to share these things in a public forum like this.If you would like to
communicate privately between us you can contact me at [email protected]
All the best
Obed

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