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October 29, 2018

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There is no way to measure for the existence of God without creating a hypothesis based upon a straw man definition of God. One that can be controlled, manipulated and tested separately from other elements of the creation.

Therefore God is outside the capacity for scientific investigation. Unless you create a straw man of God. And then you aren't testing God. You are testing your straw man.

Many common religions create their own artificial version of God, replete with contradictory qualities and origin stories that literally and scientifically are impossible. But testing that isn't testing God. It's testing someone's limited notion about God.

Unfortunately some atheists cling to this unscientific approach rather than to take the more scientific and objective view of how systems of belief work for people. Then we aren't really testing God at all, but instead we are testing the effect of various beliefs, the practices of various beliefs upon their practitioners. That is scientific.

But this would mean acknowledging that while some beliefs are destructive, other beliefs, however strange they may sound, have very positive effects on some of their practitioners. Science has already confirmed the positive benefits of some forms of prayer, devotion and meditation for many people.

Atheism is also a form of belief itself. It is becoming the subject of review not by its chosen opponents, religion, but authors such as Gray, who are not wedded to religion, but who see some of the human failings, false reasoning, and blind spots within the modern versions of Atheism.

Hi Spence,
I like your post.
It is the subtilities that also counts and sometimes they even can be measured indeed.
Maybe there are unmeasurable ''things'',experiences also what can't even be measured.

@ Spencer - that is one well written view.

I know Brian is wedded to science and I admire that. Really - I love reading on the latest developments and will they be in for a shock when they discover that they cannot answer all the questions.

Ok CERN scientists have done some fab work - for example discovering the God particle but they appear to have hit a road block now and are wondering what next, according to recent reports.

Gods mind (and no that is not an attribute as someone will point out- itโ€™s the only way to express His thinking (another attribute damn) was never going to be easy for humans to understand.

To see Him and try by all means yourself - you need to engage him where He is. Not some Mind he sponsored Kal to create for whatever purposes to keep us here.

God bless you all

Brian: "What they reject about religion is simple: it isn't true."

In the context of determinism (which is a recurring theme here), the truth of an idea would not actually factor into one's acceptance or rejection of said idea. Let me explain...

While I do subscribe to a form determinism (with consciousness being causal), it seems that strict determinism results in a paradox, as the position itself undercuts anyone's claim to holding a particular notion due to its rationality, truthfulness, factuality or correspondence with reality.

For instance, one's resonance with a scientific explanation as opposed to a superstitious explanation of existence might be presumed to be due to the rationality of the former over the latter. In other words, one assumes that they hold those views because they are more rational than other competing views. Furthermore one might, in general, assume that they hold a view because it is true, factual, or probable.

Yet with determinism, none of these factors is the reason one holds their views. While it may be that idea X is more true, more rational, or more probable than other notions, with none of these factors is the cause of one holding the idea.

Likewise, it would follow that the trueness, rationality, and probability would not factor into the alteration of ideas that one undergoes. The mind would also not changed because of any of these factors. Dramatic changes of mind occur (such as transitioning from a superstitious religious devotee to skeptical rationalist) but these factors (truth, fact, reason, rationality) would have nothing to do with it.

One holds the idea only because this idea (i.e., physical brain state) is the inexorable end result of a physical cause-and-effect sequential chain stretching back to the origin of the universe. The identical dynamic operates for those holding irrational, superstitious ideas.

The fact that an idea is reasonable, or appears as such, would be entirely coincidental. Therefore, an idea's rationality or lacktherof have nothing to do with the reason one holds initially holds any idea or the reason why one's mind changes. These ideas are simply physical brain states and physical brain states proceed in a physically fixed chains of causality. This is the cause of physical brain states that we call an ideas.

Therefore, one cannot rightly claim that the idea's rationality is the reason one holds the idea. The reason one holds a rational notion is the same reason why another holds an irrational notion.

Hi JB
Your comment is very fine and well expressed.

'We think we think and move, but we are being moved....' - Goethe

Genetics, conditioning, culture...
Zero free will at our level.

But the illusion of choice actually is a function of our ignorance of all the above. The brain is limited, so this local decision maker is the organic tool to adjust to local conditions.

Rational thinking is based on premeses.

If they are false, or crucial ones are omitted from consideration, logic is incapable of doing anything more than producing a false result.

This is why I like to say rational thinking is a prostitute who will assume any position for a fee.

Or, more to my IT training: garbage in, garbage out.

The irony is that the rationality of determinism has nothing to do with why one holds the belief in determinism. Their belief in determinism was itself, determined...in exactly the same manner as one who believes in voodoo or animism. This is especially ironic when one considers the exhortations that are made, purportedly based on reason. The rationality of the belief would be entirely coincidental, and therefore accidental.

The same would be true for theism, atheism, progressivism, conservatism, and every other possible "ism".

In the context of determinism, nobody rejects religion because it is untrue.

It only feels like this was a reason, but like so many other feelings in this context, that feeling is an illusion.

@ Spencer - do you think we are commiting sin by contributing to this blog!

The thought popped up. Say if Brian (god bless him) is now a tool in Kals plan!

No one said Kal would be easy to beat!

๐Ÿ˜€

Hi Arjuna!
You wrote:
"@ Spencer - do you think we are commiting sin by contributing to this blog!"

I don't think so.

Brian is serving the Master, Arjuna.

There's a great story about George Gurrjieff, who was a mystic philosopher early in the last century.

The story goes (If my recollection is decent....Buyer Beware!) that he had a lot of followers living with him on a huge estate in France owned by another follower, which had passed down through old aristocracy.

He asked them to do things like building platforms out of mud. In this case it was digging holes in the beautiful lawns and transporting the soil to another area of the estate. And then moving it back again.

One particular follower had a habit of complaining about how stupid all this was. How it made no sense at all. He encouraged people not to be sheep. Gurdjieff was just screwing them over, he told them daily, several times a day, with each new silly task.

The followers were highly irritated. And they complained to Gurdjieff about this fellow daily as well. He was ruining their experience of the divine!

Gurdjieff calmly listened, and told them quietly to be patient, that he would handle it.

But, day by day as Gurdjieff gave them all nonsensical tasks this fellow became more and more irate.

Finally the complainer said "That's enough! I'm going. You can all be sheep. You spoiled rich brats!! But don't think you're getting any sort of spiritual value from all this BS!...Waste of time...There's a world out there you could actually becdoing something about!!"

And he marched to the front of the house, got into the luxury car that was reserved for Gurdjieff, and drove away.

The followers were elated. Finally a moment's peace! They cheered and hooted. Good riddance! They all strolled up to the palace in a mood of triumph to tell Gurdjieff, thinking that this was real progress for everyone.

But when they told him, he became both shocked and worried. He ran out, got another car, and went after the complainer.

Late at night they both returned.

One of Gurdjieff's closest followers was surprised that Gurdjieff would bring this irritating man back, and very disappointed. He asked "Why on earth did you go get him?!"

Gurdjieff whispered "I'll tell you a secret...Don't tell anyone else.....

I pay him to be here."


@Spencer.

I am having difficulty reconciling:

"Genetics, conditioning, culture...
Zero free will at our level.

But the illusion of choice actually is a function of our ignorance of all the above. The brain is limited, so this local decision maker is the organic tool to adjust to local conditions.

Rational thinking is based on premeses.

If they are false, or crucial ones are omitted from consideration, logic is incapable of doing anything more than producing a false result."

and the conclusion from your Gurdjieff's tale ending: " "I'll tell you a secret...Don't tell anyone else.....

I pay him to be here."

Are you implying economic determinism over shadows rational thinking?

Hi E. M.
You asked
"Are you implying economic determinism over shadows rational thinking?"

If I understand your question, and that's a big if, I'd say maybe!

Gurdjieff created a social economy then turned it on its head by placing its worst critic in their midst.

Result? Some picked sides. Others understood that the point wasn't the social reality but the reality they chose for themselves.

Free will? Irrational or rational thinking? Or just rational or irrational for that culture?

Gurdjieff wasn't going to let the latter happen.

People had to make their own social decision from their own social economy. And that would be different for each of them.

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