TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

The biggest threat to mankind. What will end the world as we know ?

Does the world need to be saved ? Are we heading toward an inevitable extinction ? will that be a new generation bomb ? or will it be pollution ? will it be depletion of natural resources ? or will the machines be our killers as it is suggested in many sci-fi stories ?

Share:
  • Jun 19 2012: Rick Thompson: "Apathy and stupidity will end us all"

    Allen Macdougall has a very important point. As I see it, the key word in his submission is "Unless."

    Mankind is capable of change, but if history is any indication, we will retain our selfish, shortsighted behaviors until forced to change.

    Personally I think a natural disaster will trigger our demise, but the actual reason behind it will be our apathy and stupidity, which will keep us from preparing for it. We are becoming more and more dependent on technology that is becoming more and more complex in a world that is more and more interconnected. One day a small asteroid (or an earthquake, an epidemic, a terrorist attack, a bad hurricane or tsunami) will wipe out a city, possibly a small one. We will soon learn that this city supplies some crucial pieces of technology that we all depend on, and the real know-how for building this technology has all been lost. Because the globe is so interconnected, this will cause a cascade of economic failure around the globe followed by widespread death from starvation, or cold, or heat, or thirst. With each persons death more knowledge is lost, accelerating the cascade, and in the end if anyone survives they will be living a stone age existence.
    • thumb
      Jun 20 2012: There will be broken cars without spare parts everywhere. phones without the cellular network etc ...
      I see your point.

      what can we do for the apathy ? stupidity can be addressed with education but apathy is an inner attribute and I see nothing changing in people watching children killed in war on late night news. may be we are so over-fed by the news on pollution, depletion of resources and people dying in wars ...or are we under-informed about them ?
  • thumb
    Jun 19 2012: The planet is very resilient to disasters, and will bounce back into equilibrium no matter what we do. The same may be true of mankind - but our path towards equilibrium will be painful.

    Rightly or wrongly, this is how I see it:

    The biggest threat to mankind might be a period of 'normalising' of population numbers, as we are forced to veer away from the unsustainable practice of unbridled consumption on the back of easily available, cheap - and ultimately finite - natural resources.

    Unless a dramatic sea-change of morals, ethics and natural justice happens in the areas of politics and economics, then the poorer countries will initially suffer the most from this population loss, through drought, famine and mass migration (exacerbated further by climate change). Next will be population loss through war, as the wealthier countries fight each other for remaining fossil fuels, by now fast dwindling through their own military consumption. The remaining populations in the northern latitudes will try to heat their homes with biomass (in the absence of fossil fuels), so there may be a period of unsustainable levels of deforestation, ultimately further depleting population numbers.

    What remains will be a population culled by our own stupidity, and a world trashed by blind consumption.

    The planet will re-green itself. Mankind has a choice either of living sustainably on what remains, or of searching for the next resource that will cause our population to explode again. Which will it be? Can technology help? Can technology only exist in an era of cheap, plentiful fuel?

    This doom-laden scenario may have some truth in it, or it may not. The point I'm trying to get across is that lessons can be learnt right now by the many glaring mistakes we are making, instead of sleepwalking into the possible disaster outlined above.

    Is the future one full of ideas of space exploration and incredible labour-saving technology - or is the future primitive?
    • thumb
      Jun 20 2012: Dear Allan,

      You described it so well that I almost saw it in front of my eyes ... and It was frightening.
      You have considered the image you described inevitable UNLESS we change. and I think change is very unlikely because we have not solved the conflicts in communication and unfortunately we will be heading toward future primitive.
      nature likes equilibrium, as you mentioned it will always bounce back into equilibrium but mankind has proven to be against equilibrium and whatever we do we are messing with the balance enforced by nature ... I think this is the main reason we are doomed.
  • P C

    • +2
    Jun 19 2012: The greatest threat to mankind are idealists that are unable to perceive reality accurately. We do not see reality as it actually is but interpret it through filters of personal, national, and religious prejudices. If everyone sees reality as it is, then we will all recognize our common shared humanity and the value of human life everywhere will be high. But the more that prejudice will filter what we see, the more likely we are to dehumanize others and call them less than human. If everyone perceives everyone else through their own filtered reality, then the value of human life every where is low.
    • Jun 20 2012: While I agree with your idea that we should strive to recognize our common shared humanity, I must take issue with your ideas about perception. I remember taking a logic class many years ago in which we discussed this problem of filters. It is literally impossible to exist as a human without filters and prejudices. The very nature of consciousness requires a filter, in that we can only be conscious of one thing at a time, and there must be a method (filter) of choosing what we are conscious of at any particular moment. Reality is just too big and too complicated to know it as it truly is. Science understands this, and attempts to build models of reality that make the universe understandable. Rather than trying to comprehend an "objective" reality, we can try to understand each others view points.

      We cannot completely rid ourselves of filters and prejudices, but we can become aware of them and make better choices. We can choose to try to empathize with all humans, regardless of their beliefs.
      • P C

        • 0
        Jun 20 2012: The problem isn't the filter, the problem comes from not having a feedback loop to verify that the filter is accurate. Remember the story of the WSJ reporter who wrote false but sensational articles that cited fictional people, but particularly the part how the rest of the media simply repackaged and copied what he said without verifying his sources?

        The fundamental point of all science is showcased in Galileo's trial. He checked the validty of his filter and found it to be false, and uncovered objective truth through evidence, while the church held fast and flexed its power even though it was wrong. If people do not have the ability to verify that what they think is true or not, it will only be a matter of time before such people have access to doomsday weapons and seek to destroy other people not for what they have actually done, but what such delusional people imagined they have done. It's a lot like two psychotic people in a room full of people trying to kill imaginary beings with real weapons.
        • thumb
          Jun 20 2012: Dear Philip and Barry,

          What a wonderful discussion. this small part of this conversation deserves to start a new conversation for itself.

          I agree with Philip's idea of filters being the problem and I see examples of that causing conflicts everyday. I can also understand the point of Barry which is logically true and scientifically human mind can not understand the whole picture. Brain can only think about 6+_2 items simultaneously and that is why the image we see is very small and not reflecting the whole reality. we also have the tendency to believe in things which destroys the possibility of doubt and understanding each others points of views.

          The problem is that mankind is too sure. there are only a few people with the ability of checking the validity of their arguments. the rest is almost always sure and worse than that have faith ! in something which closes all the doors to analyzing and exploring the truth.

          How is it possible to persuade those closed minds with weapons in their hands to re-think and open their eyes to other possible truths other than their own ? personally I have no hope in that and the last scene Philip painted seems inevitable.
        • Jun 21 2012: I wish I had a better answer, but unfortunately I agree with you both.

          In my experience, it is nearly impossible to change the thinking of an adult that has no interest in discovering the flaws in his/her own thinking. In other words, a closed mind is indeed closed.

          As long as we have people like Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush in this world, violence is inevitable.
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Jul 16 2012: Behind all of the woes that you offer, there are two things that bring them into being.

    1. It is a very rare person who is functionallly educated - not matter how many doctorates one may have.

    2. Our current economic model (that is sustained by enforced ignorance by calling diseducation education) is sustained by war, depletion of natural resources, and human potential.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 27 2012: I sincerely doubt your kindness as your comment is ambiguous, which is typical of someone who is less than forthright and has the intention of subterfuge.

      Sincerely

      Pat
  • thumb
    Jun 25 2012: The biggest threat to mankind is that we fail to wake in time to realize we have to take a radical departure from consumerism and step even beyond mere sustainability to tthiveability..to conviviocracy. We need to step toward stewardship for present people, present earth,e; stewardship for future people, future earth.
    • Jun 25 2012: Thank you for adding a wonderful word to my lexicon! Conviviocracy! I always loved Ivan Illich's term "Tools for Conviviality".
      • thumb
        Jun 26 2012: Hi Mike, glad you readily recognized the meaning of "coviviocracy" I made it up in the context of a search for a fuller vocabulary to envision a more inclusive and thriveable global and local community. It was inspired by a young activist named Erin in Mexico and by fellow tedster and favorite collaborator here Jaime Lubin, also Mexican.

        As Sina discovered wandering though our exploration of a new and more powerful vocabulary for envisioning new geo political possibilities we covered lots of interesting ground closely related to the heart of this conversation:

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/6953/occupy_a_new_vocabulary_learni.html
    • thumb
      Jun 26 2012: Lindsay,

      English is my fourth language and I had to look up the word "Conviviocracy" in the dictionary and then google it to make sure I really understand the concept and that's how I came up with your own conversation http://www.ted.com/conversations/6953/occupy_a_new_vocabulary_learni.html

      I enjoyed surfing the comments and I was blown away to see the word "UBUNTU" there.
      I love this word and the great philosophy of Ubuntu.and I think It can also be an excellent addition to this conversation.

      I have used it in my video a few years ago:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF_PT8rRjFg&feature=plcp
      • thumb
        Jun 26 2012: Sina,

        You are a marvel.

        Yes inspired by fellow Tedster and favorite collaborator Jaime Lubin & a young Mexican activist named Erin from Occupy Cafe I made up that word to express a vision of something bigger than democracy and more humanely centered than capitalism and continual growth.,

        I tried to add it to wictionary but a word has to be in use before it can be added.

        I many ways UBUNTU is the same thing as what I meant in inventing the word "conviviocracy".

        Words inadvertently get worn out and come to limit our thinking and speaking when we are looking to fresh new ways of living together and governing ourselves.. Buckminster Fuller understood this. He actually went into silence for two years before he started his famous work ..in part he was trying to understand how one poor marginalized creature's life could "belong to humanity" and serve humanity and in part he was looking for a new vocabulary to express the radically importantly different ideas he was bringing to the world through his designs. ( He was challenged by a voice just as he was about to commit suicide that said to him "What do you think you are doing? Your life doesn't belong to you. It is not yours to take. It belongs to all of humanity")

        Thanks for sharing your You Tube video and its empowering message.
  • Jun 24 2012: The biggest threat to the existence of everything on this planet is fear.

    Fear clouds judgement and sparks panic. I think most importantly though people need to stop living in fear and just get on with life. Worrying won't solve anything. In the end, everything has it's time.
    • Jun 25 2012: I posted this TED link at the bottom of this page in question to another post about fear. What do you think? http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_gilding_the_earth_is_full.html
      • Jun 26 2012: Another really great video,

        This video touches one of the major problems of our economic system. With the monetary reward system you have to ask one major question, where does the money come from? Without a source of money you can't offer the reward, encouraging the search for profit in order to offer the rewards.

        The problem is, not everything that needs to be done in this world maximizes profit. This leaves the world deeply involved in something that isn't directly solving the problems the world needs to solve, and in some cases it is working against solving these problems. Often we are forced to think about money before we can think about the actual problem.

        Money is a major distraction, and our problems are looming as we struggle against the monetary current. We need to look more critically at the base of this system. If we continue to use it, we have to make solving the world’s problems profitable. Something is going to give, what will it be…
    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: The idea that fear will end us all has been suggested and I agree with you. I should also add that what makes the problem worse is the fact that Those who should fear, do not ... and those who do fear shall not.
  • Jun 23 2012: Continued from the previous post...

    Having said all that, now we can see, mankind has created all the possibilites - politically, naturally and economically - to destroy his own race. Nature might even favor the need since it needs its own survival. At the same time, if we take the fact which I previously mentioned - "Nature keeps all its extinct species in their simple forms" - we can say not the entire mankind would fall extinct. There'd be a little amount of population that might survive the danger.

    And this population would have survived the extinct because they might have reached the next step of evolution, may be by learning from mistakes or by totally understanding the social structure by it's original value, which is that a human needs another human, another living being and the whole system of nature for his own survival.

    If you wonder, how that big evolution step could be, I'd like to give you all a hint which might ignite your answer or exploration towards the answer. There were and are a lot of philosophers and people like Nietzche, Jesus, Buddha who attempted, said and searched for one simple idea by identifying the need for it.. NEW MAN.... :)
    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: This is the most thought provoking comment I received in this conversation, I must admit.
      and you have a beautiful way of putting it that doubles the effect.
      we are all talking about the concept of NEW MAN without knowing it. all the talks we have on the NEW WORLD indirectly includes the emergence of a NEW MAN that either creates or lives in it.
      I would rather survive the possible self-termination of mankind and not continue life as happy monkeys under the moonlight by the seashore as Mike suggests and instead be sophisticated enough to solve communication conflicts. Isn't it possible ?
      • Jun 26 2012: Yeah.. Might be possible Sina. This idea of New Man got lot of physical, mental, socialogical attributes to it.

        As all species live in different groups, Homosapiens too happened to live in various groups for different reasons. Particularly, in anthropological view the blood lineage became an important reason to facilitate legal sexual bonds to produce legitimate heirs who can be accounted to the society unit. And we all know what this has turned into. Groups became castes, religions and then they became business enterprises wanting more consumers and so created God as product. Naturally as the number of groups increased, the conflicts between them increased creating invasions, countries, so on and so forth.

        What a man needs basically and why he needs it? Happiness? If we can bifurcate this idea, as they say, being happy is an art. The beauty of truth is that it is so simple to understand but man's preconclusive nature is making this realisation to be very far from understanding.

        As long as we give the reason to be happy to others or tools, we not gonna achieve it, since they or those tools doesn't have the necessity to make us happy anyways. We fail to understand that those people or tools actually become separate entities which in turn create goals, ideas for their own survival.

        For an animal, to be in group, is a factor of convenience. But if it happens to be alone it's got its own instinct to survive. But for man, living in group, is a factor of necessity. If he happens to be alone, he won't survive. Because his instinct of survival is directly proportional to his interaction with society. The problem is when man uses this necessity for his convenience.
      • Jun 26 2012: The animal instinct which is man's subconscious mind(when I say Mind, I use the term as a metaphor of brain and dna combinations) inherits the residue of our ancestral animals(not just human ancestors). But the conscious mind, on the contrary, has formulated an entirely different mind which is not used to this subconscious any time before (because no ancestral species needed a friendly chat while having coffee). Thus a man gets ripped off between his animal instinct and human instict. The basic idea of these conflicts is that subconscious feelings are getting suppressed. These feelings usually would be lust for life, lust for money, lust for fame, lust for identity and so on.

        So now humans are in a juncture where they have to choose either the subconscious mind or the conscious mind to take upper hand. In a way, they have to annihilate any of these two. Eliminating the conscious mind would retain us as animals. Eliminating the subconscious mind would take us to the next step of evolution.

        Seeing the world's condition we can say what we seeing is the lust for winning. This lust for winning could be for fame, money or identity. This demolishes the purpose of nature in evoluting man to a completely different form giving the responsibility of his own survival by cutting off from the previous nodes, leading to completely a new tree of evolution. That's the NEW MAN.

        Man has succeeded a little in this purpose by forming a society with relations and values. But he failed miserably in taking this to next level. He's having the animal instinct of looking for his own survival instead of looking for the whole mankind's survival.
      • Jun 26 2012: One can see a contradiction here. A man relies on society till he grows up and then he neglects it. Needless to say it's from the society a man takes all his inputs before and after his growth. We can conceive one thing in this. That is idea to form a society is right because it's the nature's need for man's survival. But the way he has formed the society is not right because it's against the nature, which in turn, is against his own survival.

        A society where the man's living is to help other men and where the man's happiness has become intuitive would be the New Society and that man would be the New Man.
  • Jun 23 2012: Biggest threat for mankind is mankind itself. No other species has endangered the very system in which it can survive.

    As we have seen in the evolution, evidently nature hasn't extincted any species completely. If we say, dinosaurs are extincted, we still can see nature retaining that species in its simple forms like crocodiles, lizards etc. Nature has always designed its models in such a way that the model itself would be the reason for its survival or its end which depends upon the way it survives. Thus man becomes the sole responsibility for his extinction.

    The next step of evolution ? That's a big question with a lot of answers or I'd say speculations. If I may add one :)

    The next step of evolution might not occur physically but mentally, which are the ways a brain could relate and evolve the social relations. We all know the occurrence of Homosapiens needed various forms to be tested like Neanderthals for instance. Homosapiens survived because of one factor which is his ability to adopt. He had the ability to form a social structure of his kind which doesn't rely on nature completely for its survival as the other species does. So if we speculate, with the fact that Homosapiens managed to survive such long years after going through various branches of the species tree, we can derive that Nature's purpose of evoluting Homosapiens through the various branches of species tree is to make him consume his brain for his survival.

    To be continued....
    • Jun 25 2012: I agree R John that we are our own biggest risk. Makes me reflect on the idea of devolution. Perhaps we would be better off from a long-term survival perspective by losing some of the complexity of our pre-frontal cortex... and once again be happy little seashore apes gathering shellfish and snoozing in cuddle-puddles under the tropical moonlight.
      • thumb
        Jun 25 2012: that is one common point in most of the comments. we are the biggest threat to ourselves.
        do you see our prefrontal cortex complexity, paradoxically in the way of our evolution ?
        I mean the second type of evolution that R John meant which is mentally ?
        • Jun 25 2012: I am just surfing my brain-waves Sina... but it could be that, like the ridiculous tail of a Bird of Paradise, our big brains may have evolved not from being an effective adaptation for survival (long-term) but from sexual selection. Women like smart dudes... or smart dudes have sex more often than simpler fellows.
          Call this theory a possibility that remains unproven but shouldn't be discounted! The jury is out on whether a big brain will be a longterm positive adaptive trait.
          Personally I think our brains evolved as one of many animal experiments intended to get bacteria into space and onto other host-worlds but that is another topic.
      • thumb
        Jun 25 2012: Thank you for sharing your brainwaves dear Mike,

        I find your theory of how we got here and how we have evolved (ET experiments) very probable since we find amino acids in meteors.

        regarding your sexual selection theory I must add that it has not always been the smartest ones getting the females but the strongest ones ... and perhaps in the long run as Richard Dawkins suggests the most fit ones ...

        I think John Nash's theory will be interesting to you and may add or extend your sexual selection theory. "If we all go for the blond ..."
        • Jun 25 2012: Agreed that the strongest ones have a certain success rate but if strength were the only or primary selector we would all be alpha males. Fortunately that isn't the case! Have you ever tried working in organizations with too many alpha males? Complete dysfunction in my experience. Always trying to assert their perceived dominance.
          When the Alpha Arses and their Beta Boys go over to the next valley to thump some heads and steal a few mates they sometimes run into resistance and don't return. That leaves a village full of ladies for the Gamma Guys and Delta Dudes to procreate with... thus leading to a world full of "average" folks.

          I'll check out John Nash... cheers M
      • thumb
        Jun 25 2012: This is one of my favorite topics and that's why I am continuing this conversation with joy altough it is now a deviation from the subject of the main conversation.

        I do not agree that alpha males failed to mate and naturally pushed out of the gene pool simply observing the wolf packs in which the strongest (Alpha) is the only one allowed to mate with the alpha female and the rest of female wolves.

        reading about wolves I realized the Alpha is not necessarily the strongest but also the most intelligent as wolves like other animals do engage in a psychologic mental war before being physical. the intelligent one often knows this game better than the rest. wolves also send their Omega to battles in which they know they will not survive! that may be the case with humans also.

        where alphas and beta will not survive because of resistance, Gammas and Deltas will not survive because of the attack of other tribes therefore the balance and the survival of the fittest remains true.

        BUT having had your experience with the alpha males in work environment and watching the female behavior toward them, I can confirm your theory of sexual selection that they are the winners in the short run (in human case that does not lead to reproduction because they are dysfunctional in their relationships as well) and in the long run it is still the most intelligent that gets the female (and that leads to reproduction). !
        therefore we must be heading toward a more intelligent society even if we are now bunch of "average" folks.

        Cordially, Sina
        • Jun 26 2012: Yes Sina, it takes all types to make a world. When we, as a collective, learn to respect and value all the various contributions that the full spectrum of humanity offers, we will have finally matured as a species.

          I am not sure wolves are the best example to use when discussing parallel social groups. Better perhaps are chimpanzees, where the Alpha gets first opportunity, then the Betas, while those lower in the social order seems to have more success with clandestine affairs off in the bushes with adventurous females often from neighbouring clans.

          Also I wasn't suggesting Alpha males fail to mate, just that they don't mate with any more frequency than the rest of us, suggesting that strength has only limited practical applications in reproduction of homo sapiens. In many other animals it seems to be the final arbitrator, though careful observation often reveals that opportunity, luck and initiative can play a part as well.

          Yes back to the subject! Thanks for your great moderation on this forum. Best I have encountered!
  • thumb
    Jun 18 2012: honestly, i think i'll be something completely ridiculous and unexpected. oh, and magical! :)
    • thumb
      Jun 18 2012: Yeah I do agree, It may be someone stupid pushing the Big Red Button by mistake and OOPS will be the last word of our civilization.
  • thumb
    Jun 18 2012: More Michael Bay movies? God save us from Transformers 4!
  • thumb
    Jun 18 2012: We will replace our conventional sun with an energy-saving sun and all die in darkness waiting for it to fully power-up!
  • Jul 17 2012: Great question? especially with Mayans predicting Dec 2012 as the end :) well its time i put on my thinking hat and come up with really good answers.
  • Jul 13 2012: I would have to guess, War; Starting with natural resources, and ending with a bunch of Nukes!
  • Jul 7 2012: There are three in my O.
    Hope, faith and insanity.
    Hope is not real.
    Faith becomes blind.
    And the world needs sanity because its inhabitants are insane and insane people commit suicide.

    Absolutely nothing is achieved by hope.
    Faith is not wanting to know the truth (which means being insane), and it becomes blind if it doesn't transform into
    'knowing'.
    Insane people have all kinds of clarity all the time, but it doesn't make them sane. They have clarity on jumping off of buildings and being able to fly, they can stop a bullet, or see and talk to people no one else can see, but they do very clearly.

    What the world needs is sanity, seeing the truth about our condition and what needs to be done and then doing it.
    Right now, most are following the enormous amounts of lies they worship in so many forms from religion, education, government, military, parenting and on and on.

    Studies and research have shown the human being holds true and false simultaneously but the truth is in the unconscious and the false in the conscious mind. So, the truth is constantly trying to be heard but is shut out more and more by the lies people worship. That is why the truth is so upsetting to most when it is shown, heard, spoken, seen or in some way revealed.

    The world wants its lies just as it has been trained to. Those who don't forget the past are doomed to repeat it because one cannot repeat what they cannot or do not remember. But that isn't what everyone has been told for so many decades. Don't forget it, so that you can repeat it and that is still happening. Ever wonder why?

    Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results? Even that is a lie for it is being called the "definition of insanity' when it is not.
    It is however, a description of "insane behavior" regarding the fact we keep repeating what we know doesn't work, we don't want, we know where it leads, we know it is wrong and not true, yet we keep doing it.
  • Jun 29 2012: The boggiest threat to mankind is mankind themselves. Mankind, as history has explicitly stated has been responsible for the disastrous damage caused to the planet, coupled with their own brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, mankind threatens its own survival
  • thumb
    Jun 29 2012: List of Top 3 Threats:

    1) Property Rights Issues

    2) International Politics

    3) Human-Made Uninhabitable Environments
  • thumb
    Jun 27 2012: If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.

    Sent plagues, destroyed cities killing hundreds of thousands.

    Wiped out all humans once already, except for Noah and his family.

    Created conditions for viruses and disease, earthquakes, and us stuck between animal instinct and reason.

    And will be sending most of us to a nasty place.
    • thumb

      E G 10+

      • +1
      Jun 27 2012: Yes , someone could have this image of Yahweh ; I'm not sure how much the impressions this image creates fits with the Yahweh Itself ; but you don't believe in Yahweh , do you ? so all is just about an image for you , isn't it ?
      ................. there is anger there , isn't it ? frustration , maybe hate , otherwise why would you be so determined of this certain image ? ...... because this isn't the single image the Yahweh has , He has good ones too and you know it .
      • Jun 27 2012: But this is an image created in the head of someone who doesn't believe, therefore it is important. This image might not have been created by a believer (which is why we made our assumptions of what his beliefs are), showing a possible perception of: a lack of vision and critical thinking about a believer's own religious belief.

        *edit
        This is to say that a believer may not be encouraged to question his beliefs in the way a non-believer would (with true doubt, for example).

        -set aside from the fact that this is an "end of the world post"
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 28 2012: From the same place you pick up bad images you can pick up good images too without no doubt whatever your beliefs , whatever your intellectual abilities and you know it . So you said what you said because you are rather pissed off by my comment than that you care of objectiveness. So you let yourself guided by your subjectivity to talk about objectivity : what a contradiction !!!!
          So who has ""end of the world post"" ? At least I'm not in contradiction with myself .
      • thumb
        Jun 27 2012: The good side to Yahweh was being nice to that one tribe who he just so happened to choose as his favourites whilst occasionally testing their faith and killing those within the tribe who didn't believe.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 28 2012: Thanks for informing me about what you think .
      • thumb
        Jun 28 2012: Hi E G,

        No anger no hate. Thanks, butI don't need your help guessing my emotional state or motives. This is not relevant to the argument anyway. Just you trying to discredit the commentator rather than deal with the argument on its merits. Are you self aware enough to see the your pattern of attacking the messenger not the message Why don't you try focus on the argument not the person for a change? Might be refreshing for you and your comments might be taken more seriously.

        I think this is a reasonably interesting observation even if you don't like it. If god is real he might be the greatest threat to humankind. Roll on Armageddon and final judgement.

        On the argument side of your comment, I agree that the perception of Yahweh will depend on how the individual beholder interprets the bible. Some believe the stories literally. Others don't. Some through the filter of the new Testament or Koran. All through their particular 21st century world view.

        Even if not taken literally, the message is partly of a jealous, petty, murderous deity.

        I agree if you ignore all the nasty bits, hell, endorsing slavery, the tribalism of a chosen people, the blind obedience required, the hissy fit leading to Adams expulsion first time he makes a mistake, orders to kill, killing by the deity itself, and a ridiculous set up requiring primitive animal or human blood sacrifice, forgetting your responsibilities, blaming the Jews, then there are some positive messages such as the golden rule, helping the poor etc.

        I see it in its entirety. Everyone can pick and choose what they like to believe, but my point is this stuff is in the bible. Its not all love thy neighbour. And this reasonably may be interpreted as a deity that is more dangerous to humans than anything else.

        It also created us as dangerous to ourselves, almost as if we have evolved if a competitive dog eat dog world, with a tension between cooperation and selfishness and negative aspects of survival instincts still embedde
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • +1
          Jun 28 2012: Obey:
          I actually made some arguments (even though in a disorganized way) : - that your interior feelings determine your judgement and focus (and that your interior feelings seem not to be better than that image of Yahweh ) .
          - that you can't be sure of how much of what you talking about is true as long as you aren't sure if what you said fits Yahweh Himself . (they will remain as untouched by you, see below) .

          You can look at my post as an attack to your person and maybe in a certain degree it is , I don't have a problem with recognizing it , but aside of it , why don't you see anything else than some some nonsense I'm going to comment ?

          You said first that the perception of Yahweh depends on how the individual beholder interprets the Bible ; I went even further : the perception depends on our interior. We agree that our perception depends on our reason .
          So to summarize : our perception of Yahweh depends on our interior and our reason .
          Are you sure now that : " the message is partly of a jealous, petty, murderous deity" ?
          In fact there is nonsense in your claim if we consider the basic fact that our perceptions of different things are different than the things themselves . So your perception of Yahweh is not Yahweh , so that claim is wrong (you confused your perception with the perceived thing ) , to be correct that claim should look like what follows : ' it seems that everybody , whatever their view , perceive Yahweh as a jealous , petty , murderous deity ' . But this is not true , I don't perceive Yahweh like that , there are guys who don't either (even though we consider that nasty things you talk about ) .

          - ' this stuff is in the Bible ' so we can choose to believe what we like , this is another thing you said , another nonsense in the end : - the mere fact that something is in the Bible doesn't justify you to choose and believe what you like because the Bible has a meaning
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 28 2012: it is a whole like any message of this scale . At least you should assume it .
      • Jun 28 2012: EG, this is not an attack, just pointing out some stuff,

        "From the same place you pick up bad images you can pick up good images too without no doubt whatever your beliefs"

        This is very true, but this is the title of the debate: "The biggest threat to mankind. What will end the world as we know ?" (ie: end of the world), therefore what was said is relevant.

        "So you said what you said because you are rather pissed off by my comment than that you care of objectiveness."

        You are just plain wrong here, which you would know if we were in person, but that is a sacrifice we make by having these talks over the internet.

        "So you let yourself guided by your subjectivity to talk about objectivity : what a contradiction !!!!
        So who has ""end of the world post"" ? At least I'm not in contradiction with myself "

        This part I really just don't understand, what are your trying to say? and has any of it changed now that I've told you your assumptions about me are wrong?

        "...In fact there is nonsense in your claim if we consider the basic fact that our perceptions of different things are different than the things themselves . So your perception of Yahweh is not Yahweh"

        An interesting argument, who's perception do you believe is real, who's do you believe is right? Since: for everyone it is a perception, is any of it real? by this argument, "So your perception of Yahweh is not Yahweh", your perception of real is not real.

        "the mere fact that something is in the Bible doesn't justify you to choose and believe what you like because the Bible has a meaning"

        A meaning that is perceived.

        My main point is, use our eyes to see what you might not (as I have used yours), and think about it critically in a way that you might not.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 28 2012: Ok , it's not need to talk any more about our change , at least for me , I understood what it was to understand .

          "who's perception do you believe is real, who's do you believe is right? Since: for everyone it is a perception, is any of it real? " of course our perceptions are a real thing , the perceived thing is a real thing too , only that they are different , what else is unclear to you ? did you mean to say : whose perception is the same with the perceived thing ? nobody's ; everybody has his perceptions which are different from anybody else's (but not entirely ).

          "A meaning that is perceived." yes but it doesn't exclude that someone could be wrong and someone else right about this meaning (if I got what you meant to say).

          Anyway , my point is that Obey talk nonsense .
      • Jun 28 2012: "of course our perceptions are a real thing , the perceived thing is a real thing too , only that they are different , what else is unclear to you ?"

        I believe this is still unclear:
        If the two things are different and both you only ever perceive, then you never "truly" "see" what is "real" -- only a perception of what is real. This is actually true, which is why we use systems to help us keep things as close to real as possible (systems like math and measurement). Since these systems are defined consistently, we use them to help us interpret constancy, inconsistency, and “truth” -- things have been found to be inconsistent in people’s interpretation of the bible (which is why many people have changed their interpretations, and others have developed serious doubts in some areas through this trend).

        However, "truth" itself has been taken as a belief, one that many people chose to interpret in their own way using their own methods (like the method of believing in their feelings). The problem is, methods like emotions (which is what feelings fall under in this case) have not produced the consistencies in the area of "truth" that math and measurements have produced. This is why many people are skeptics.

        Though many people feel like, and believe that, the bible is true; the belief in the feeling has many times contradicted the belief in math and measurements. Still, skeptics know that people can (and do) chose not to believe in the truths that they have found; so skeptics attempt to use other methods to help people open their minds to what they perceive. One perception is: “If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.”

        I know all of that is long and the way I have stated it may be confusing, but take some time to think about it, and you might see why: his perception may be more important to reality than you have given credit.

        *edited to in an attempt to be more clear
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 29 2012: Robert :

          "If the two things are different and both you only ever perceive, then you never "truly" "see" what is "real" -- only a perception of what is real " not exactly: I don't see the perceptions than after I have them , I see the real thing but through me resulting the perception ; I continued: this perception is real because it exists in me ; it's not the same with the perceived real thing, that's true, but the perceptions are real even though they aren't identical with the perceived thing , why wound't they ? (it depends on what meaning you give to the word 'real' : if real= exist in reality , then both the perceptions and the perceived thing are real , one exist in the exterior reality , the other in me ) .
          - you seem to confuse the meaning of 'real' in different situation : real=exist in reality with real=the same with what exist in reality ; the second meaning is wrong here . Am I clear now ?
          Well , I understand what you said , I understood it from the first time actually but I don't agree with you : -it's true there are people who based their belief on their feelings and that skeptics may have what to offer to them , but this doesn't happen with everybody . In fact the thing is that skeptics are sometimes more wrong than the simple believer who base naively maybe but sincerely his beliefs on his feelings . So the skeptics are not actually of a big help .
          Very few times happen that an unbeliever/skeptic to see more clear something about spirituality or God than a believer ; be careful now : I said about God not about some stories about God. So that perception (“If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.”) is very likely to be wrong .
      • Jun 28 2012: "A meaning that is perceived." yes but it doesn't exclude that someone could be wrong and someone else right about this meaning (if I got what you meant to say)."

        This is what I mean to say:
        His perception may be more important to reality than you have given credit. (for reasons explained in the above reply).
      • thumb
        Jun 29 2012: Hi E G, making assumptions and claiming to know personal motives or asserting emotional states of commentators is impacting their comments is all about the person not the argument.

        I'm not saying you are making a grievous personal attack on me. You just keep switching between the argument and the motives and emotional state of the commentator. You don't need to know the emotional state to counter or address the actual point made.

        You are doing it again with "that your interior feelings determine your judgement " - how do you know what my interior feelings are and what has this got to do with countering the actual points I raise? Is your counter argument "I refute your point because I assume it reflects your emotional state". If I say that many passages of the bible claim god killed people - the claim does not stand on whether I have some emotional issues in this regards or not.

        If you want to discuss what lies behind comments that is a completely different type of conversation. Are you here to psycho analyse everyone and to understand where their arguments come from, or are you here to discuss the points on there merits.

        Can you see the difference between:
        - The earth is not flat, because we have information X, Y, Z
        - Your argument that the earth is flat is a poor one because of your emotional state

        Maybe you can not even see the difference. Maybe you do but will not admit it. Its getting a bit tired sifting through your psychological analysis and put downs to the relevant points you make.

        If you addressed arguments on their merits rather than bringing it back to the commentator then we wouldn't need to have this side debate arguing up about how you are arguing.

        Look up Ad Homenim

        Or as sports mad Australians say, consider playing the ball not the man.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 29 2012: Hi Obey :

          Ok, I guess you have to choose a bit between my assumptions about your feelings and the arguments I made against what you said .

          "Can you see the difference between:
          - The earth is not flat, because we have information X, Y, Z
          - Your argument that the earth is not flat is a poor one and reflects your emotional state" of course I see the difference ; however , the second do not reflects exactly what I said .

          Letting aside your feelings , my arguments :
          - you are an atheist , I see in it the reason of your focus on the bad images of Yahweh , it's not that hard , is it ? So we talk here abut a bit of subjectivity and determination to prove what you believe is correct even though it may not be, in other words your atheistic attitude blinds you a bit ..
          - you confuse the perceptions with the perceived thing : your perception of Yahweh with Yahweh , due to this follows :
          - you can't be sure of how much what you said about Yahweh is really about Yahweh .
          The conclusion : - you are an atheist , this guides your focus and make your perceptions of Yahweh which aren't Yahweh anyway even worse .

          In order to prove my second I used this sentence , yours of course : " the message is partly of a jealous, petty, murderous deity" ? " , I used it as an example because your entire comment is in this way . I don't need to prove the first ; the third is a logical derivation .

          Instead of that sentence you should say (if you wanna be correct ) : - I perceive a murderous , jealous , petty deity from that message . An entirely different thing than : the message is partly of a .... deity . So from now talk about your perceptions not about deities .

          So the final conclusion: "If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind." is far from the truth .
      • Jun 29 2012: EG (I had to post is three parts, sorry about the length),

        “"If the two things are different and both you only ever perceive, then you never "truly" "see" what is "real" -- only a perception of what is real " not exactly: I don't see the perceptions than after I have them , I see the real thing but through me resulting the perception”

        You “see” your perception of what is real, not what is actually real. If you “saw” what was actually real we would not have illusions. (This may be what you mean to say also, If so just skip to the next page. If not, please read on.)

        The reason I put “see” in quotations is because the information given off of the object may be different than the information your eyes collected which is in turn almost always different than the way your brain organizes that information.

        Consider this illusion (An off shoot of the Ponzo illusion):

        http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.moillusions.com/wp-content/uploads/3.bp.blogspot.com/albums/bb234/vurdlak8/illusions/images439.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.moillusions.com/2008/09/ponzo-illusion-collection.html&h=277&w=500&sz=102&tbnid=YD3jiGXFm3l8CM:&tbnh=66&tbnw=120&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dponzo%2Billusion%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=ponzo+illusion&usg=__puZSoR8WBxS6qx1v1BRLO61NKac=&docid=1JPTQisk3jPzxM&sa=X&ei=wsftT4TvA4Gk8QSR3omHAg&ved=0CGQQ9QEwAw&dur=1396

        Your eye’s collect the information, but you have no clue your eyes are doing this until your brain interprets it. Illusions are example of the way your brain organizes information and gets it wrong. Your brain has taken reality and changed it, and because of this you don’t “see” what is real, you “see” what your brain interpreted. (I will accept that you have some understanding of this because of previous arguments mixed with what you said after this).
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 29 2012: Robert :

          So what you're saying is that I don't ever see the real thing due to everything what exist between the thing I wanna see and the thing's image I actually get in my brain (I include here the way the brain organize the information ) . I don't have a problem with it , in fact I said it partially : I used the expression 'through me' , you filled me and I agree with you .
          Now the thing that creates a bit of confusion here is , that's why I said 'not exactly' , is the moment of perception . I think you agree with me that I already perceive something before having that image in my mind , otherwise how could I collect the information from the exterior things ? :
          "Your eye’s collect the information, but you have no clue your eyes are doing this until your brain interprets it." I don't have any clue until then , that's right, but it doesn't mean I don't perceive anything until then .
          So I think we should talk about a chain of perceptions which culminates with that image in our brain , do you agree ?
      • Jun 29 2012: “you seem to confuse the meaning of 'real' in different situation : real=exist in reality with real=the same with what exist in reality ; the second meaning is wrong here . Am I clear now ?”

        I do this on purpose in showing that the word real is used for two very different things which are confused to be the same thing. (It looks like we are "on the same page” for this part, so I will move on)

        “In fact the thing is that skeptics are sometimes more wrong than the simple believer who base naively maybe but sincerely his beliefs on his feelings .”

        This is true, you don't have to be skeptical to be right. But, there is a difference between being right for the wrong reasons, and being right for the right reasons. Someone who believes naively may be a mixture of the two, but the skeptic (if sincere in their search and well trained (and practiced) in the scientific method) will tend toward being right for the right reason (because being right for the wrong reason is not acceptable to them). The reason why that is important comes in here:

        “So the skeptics are not actually of a big help .”

        The skeptics aren’t that big of a help when allowing for the perpetuation of naive beliefs. But the believer will tend to perpetuate naive beliefs (also known as ignorance) without even knowing it. (In a sense, teaching ignorance). This teaching of ignorance does happen and is only fixed by skeptics (as seen with examples like Heliocentrism, not only was the truth ignored but it was taught to be ignored, a common practice with "believers").

        *edit, please don't take me for being rude or an insulting here, that is not my intention.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 29 2012: Well you aren't rude here , if you wanna be rude with me you should be RUDE not like that, ok ? , I don't take you as rude , I don't have why .


          Look maybe the skeptics tend to be right for the right reasons but we are not in science here , ok ? we talk about religion , their methods is very likely to not work here in other words their methods is very likely to not provide them that 'right reasons' . So I still give more credit to a sincere believer than to a skeptic (this is our point of debate , it's good to have it all the time in our face).
          So more exactly my argument against what you said is : - what makes you think that the scientific method is a good/appropriate method for religion ? ---- if it's not skeptics lose any credibility for any category of believers not only for the one we talk here (sincere and naive believers) .
      • Jun 29 2012: “Very few times happen that an unbeliever/skeptic to see more clear something about spirituality or God than a believer ; be careful now : I said about God not about some stories about God. So that perception (“If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.”) is very likely to be wrong .”

        You are mixing two things here though: the seemingly physical and the spiritual.

        The first part of this statement: “Very few times happen that an unbeliever/skeptic to see more clear something about spirituality or God than a believer,” is true as long as it doesn’t affect the physical world. But as soon as it comes into the physical or observable world, it can then be tested. In the case where it can be tested, the believer tends to believe (as you said) “naively”, and the skeptic seeks for more information that would attempt to either prove or disprove the interpretation of the observation.

        The second part of this statement: “be careful now : I said about God not about some stories about God. So that perception (“If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.”) is very likely to be wrong .” is all mixed up (from my point of view)… You said, “I said about God not about some stories about God.” But then you reference the quote that is about Yahweh stories and said that this argument which is not about stories has bearing on the stories (not consistent).

        As far as a belief in God goes, a skeptic really can only offer circumstantial evidence bearing on God. But, this is because there is no directly observable proof of God beyond what the believer believes. So, this is just a choice in beliefs -- a choice that the non-believer has not made and the skeptic is questioning.

        (sorry about the length of all of this, I tried to keep it as short as possible)
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 29 2012: It's good to differentiate between the physical and the spiritual ; so you say that the skeptics can help that category only for the physical . Is it (this help) really important ?
          I did mixed that up but I did it consistently , I referred to something else , in fact you are a bit inconsistent here , you'll see :

          - a believer sees more clear about God while a skeptic do not , so a believer knows more about God , that's why he sees some stories about God different of a skeptic , in a better way maybe , so “If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.” is wrong ; it's clearly from the context of the sentence that " Yahweh stories' have already a different meaning than that of the believer .

          You said that the skeptic has what to say only about the physical , then how the skeptic could help a believer about God ? do you assume a relation between the physical and the spiritual ? what is it ? you start to not be consistent here . And it goes on :

          "As far as a belief in God goes, a skeptic really can only offer circumstantial evidence bearing on God. But, this is because there is no directly observable proof of God beyond what the believer believes"
          You try to argue that a skeptic can be of help to a believer about God , you already limited this help only to the physical , so I guess that that "circumstantial evidence bearing on God" are about physical ; but you said here : " there is no directly observable proof of God " in other words there is nothing physical really important (which worth to be taken seriously) about God ; so what you're talking about (not consistent) ?

          " the believer tends to believe (as you said) “naively”," I didn't say it .
      • Jun 29 2012: “"Your eye’s collect the information, but you have no clue your eyes are doing this until your brain interprets it." I don't have any clue until then , that's right, but it doesn't mean I don't perceive anything until then .”

        It does mean that you don’t perceive any visual stimulus until then.

        “So I think we should talk about a chain of perceptions which culminates with that image in our brain , do you agree ?”

        Honestly, I think our understanding of this is close enough that we don’t need to talk about it more unless the problem resurfaces in later discussions :-) But if you would like to talk about this I have studied this area with great interest and would love to talk about it more. However, it may be off topic at this point, since our understandings relevant to the topic seem to be so close to each other.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 30 2012: It's up to you ..... if you studied this area .
      • Jun 29 2012: “Well you aren't rude here , if you wanna be rude with me you should be RUDE not like that, ok ? , I don't take you as rude , I don't have why .”

        I say this because: in my culture the word “ignorance” is often used as an insult, and I wanted to make sure you knew I wasn’t using it that way (since we are not talking in person you cannot hear me speak – so I don’t know what tone you are giving my words).

        “Look maybe the skeptics tend to be right for the right reasons but we are not in science here , ok ? we talk about religion…”

        Granted; but, when religion tries to talk about the physical world (which it often does), such as the order of the solar system, the creation of the earth, the reason for floods and the reason for plagues (as in “the Yahweh stories”): then science is more likely to provide the right reasons.

        “So more exactly my argument against what you said is : - what makes you think that the scientific method is a good/appropriate method for religion ?...”

        The scientific method is used to explain the observable world. There are many parts of the observable world that religion seeks to manipulate, like the topic of this part of the discussion: “If the Yahweh stories are correct, he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind.” The fact is; the interpretations of these stories are questioned by skeptics, and since they are often not consistent with the observable world, skeptics become more skeptical and non-believers grow in greater numbers.

        “So I still give more credit to a sincere believer than to a skeptic (this is our point of debate , it's good to have it all the time in our face).”

        I agree, it is good to keep in mind what we are talking about. For the reasons stated above: I give more credit to the skeptic, when it comes to religion talking about the observable world -- like it does in Obey one’s post about “the Yahweh stories” with plagues, floods, disease, earthquakes, etc.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 29 2012: Robert :

          My time here for today is over , I can't stay any longer , anyway we seem to reach to conclusions , I wait you tomorrow . At me it's full night right now .
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 30 2012: Robert :

          As much as I know an simple understanding of the Bible do not say that Yahweh is the direct reason for any flood or plagues or I don't what else ;

          It seems we have a big problem here (related to your entire comment) : I don't give a damn on what religion says or try to do, I don't trust too much the priests or the preachers , frankly don't take this part as rude or as arrogance but I think I'm smarter than them ; if you have something from the Bible that link God directly to something you think is wrong , I'm willing to talk about that if not , I'm not . ok ?
          So "religion seeks to manipulate" , "religion tries to talk about the physical world" it's not my business .

          " I give more credit to the skeptic, when it comes to religion talking about the observable world" I don't have a problem with it , maybe I do like you too but don't think this is an answer to "So I still give more credit to a sincere believer than to a skeptic on God " because we don't talk about the observable world here if this isn't in direct relation with God . We talk about God , stories about Him and how could a skeptic help a believer about them . You already said that not too much ,however you still try to prove that the word of the skeptic has some importance about it , how come this ?
      • Jun 29 2012: EG, after you have considered my above reply, I am also trying to understand more deeply what you mean here (because I don't think I fully caught the meaning when I first read it):

        “I said about God not about some stories about God.”

        I think maybe this means that you say, Obe No1kinobe is talking about God as a “bad” person/entity because of “the Yahweh stories”, and you think this is a misguided interpretation of God’s personality. Did I get this right?

        If that is close to what you mean, then:

        Don’t we often judge people by what they say and what they do? If a person said, “I think you guys are all evil sinners, so I’m going to kill you all.” Wouldn’t we think that this might be a bad person (or maybe a person with bad tendencies), because he is taking away the lives of others? And, I know that people say, “well he’s not a person, He’s God”. But what gives God the right to take life away? And what Kind of God would kill masses of people because he didn’t like their actions? How "good" is an entity that does this?
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 30 2012: To "“I said about God not about some stories about God.”", yes that's what I meant to say .

          Then (to your questions) :

          First, I have to say that I don't have any problem with what Obey said if that haven't a bad connotation for Yahweh .
          "“I think you guys are all evil sinners, so I’m going to kill you all.” Wouldn’t we think that this might be a bad person (or maybe a person with bad tendencies), because he is taking away the lives of others? " why would we think that ? I mean , if we are all sinners , bad entirely , isn't it a good thing to stop the evil ? (by killing if this is appropriate at a certain moment of time) .
          You talk as if to take the life away is always a bad thing , but it is not and if you don't prove that what God did is bad beyond the killing (when He did it ) what you asked is not rational .

          But what is with this diversion from the point we talk about ? Has it something to do with what we're talking about ?
      • Jun 29 2012: ” You said that the skeptic has what to say only about the physical , then how the skeptic could help a believer about God ? do you assume a relation between the physical and the spiritual ? what is it ?”

        The relationship between the physical and the spiritual is made in “the Yahweh stories” when it talks about God causing floods and plagues (among other things), when it is known that these things are not cause by God but instead are caused through natural processes (and in fact: the degree that some believers say these events happened is not physically possible, because the earth would not still be here -- raising further questions). This is important because: At one time the weather was all thought to be caused by God, but this has since been shown to be false (by skeptics). So already the skeptics have helped some religious believers with beliefs about God that are not true.

        All that we know about God is what people say were his actions, and people’s interpretations of events (actions and events that are said to have happened in the physical world). These are all highly questionable. We have already talked about the difference between what is real and what you perceive, so a persons non repeatable perception is hardly evidence. And the physical aspects have also been disproven, or are strongly questionable - like the age of the earth, the life spans of some of the humans in the bible, the weather, the cause of diseases, the order of the solar system, the creation of the earth, the creation of life on earth, etc. So, all the evidence in which a believer might bases their belief is circumstantial and highly questionable in the observable world. If you eliminate all of that, then the only thing that is left is: a belief with circumstantial evidence that can easily be explain with other methods. This might be fine for a believer, but for a skeptic it is not fine. A believer may want to look at what skeptics have provided, when they chose what they believe exists
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 30 2012: "The relationship between the physical and the spiritual is made in “the Yahweh stories” " ok and the skeptics assume it . Everything for them is something theoretical they make some judgement with . That relationship for them is not real it's just theoretical , they want to see if the theory fits with what they think happened . They say we didn't find what the theory says so the theory must be wrong .
          It's a good reasoning but it implies some things : - that they know what the theory says , I doubt it and I resume only at your examples .
          - that the theory is something they could verify by comparing it with science . I doubt it .
          In other words they are entirely wrong about the theory . That's why they can't help a believer :
          - The skeptic in order to help the believer needs to know the theory as well as something else , then how could the skeptic help a believer if they are likely to don't know the theory as good as the believer does ?
      • thumb
        Jun 29 2012: EG, I think I get your points now.

        I don't think my opinion is void because we all have different perceptions of god.

        One of the 10 commandments says god is a jealous god. There are plenty of examples that indicate god is petty and murderous in support of my argument. Some might not like that portrayal or disagree. I'd like to hear their reasons why.

        I agree that it is useful to add qualifiers to opinions. I note my original statement - IF the Yahweh stories are correct, he SEEMS to be the greatest threat to humankind - was reasonably qualified.

        I'd like to hear why people see Yahweh differently and how they manage the verses that claim he kills people, or about hell in the New Testament etc.

        Semantics aside my essential argument is not void because people have different opinions or perceptiond. I'd like to hear how people perceive god in light of the biblical verses that enumerate god personally killing hundreds of thousands, and all the rest without number including the global flood genocide, and the threat of hell.Seems a valid position. even if it may conflict with the perceptions of others based on the God is love parts. I'd like to hear how they reconcile what is in the bible with their picture of God.

        Some Christians might actually agree that God is a jealous god and hell is something to be feared and we should all take this more seriously. I'd like to hear how others manage these passages if they see things differently.

        "Letting aside your feelings" you just cant help yourself. Calling my opinions feelings does not help your case it just shows your general lack of respect.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jun 30 2012: Obey :

          " I don't think my opinion is void because we all have different perceptions of god. " but you'd like to hear "why people see Yahweh differently and how they manage the verses that claim he kills people, or about hell in the New Testament " don't you ? You are not consistent here .

          " I don't think my opinion is void because we all have different perceptions of god. " Yes , that's right if you talk here only about the differences that appear between perceptions , we are similar in the end but I didn't talk only about it : I also talked about an amplification of this differences in the case of atheists who are focused on the bad images of Yahweh . Did you notice that ?

          "I'd like to hear how they reconcile what is in the Bible with their picture of God" here you go but be more specific .

          "Calling my opinions feelings does not help your case it just shows your general lack of respect." I didn't do it .

          So your opinion still may be wrong .
      • Jun 30 2012: EG,

        “But what is with this diversion from the point we talk about ?”

        First I must say that I am constantly searching for the truth, and though I have my own beliefs, I also have the understanding that my beliefs may need to be modified in places. For this reason I am constantly analyzing my interpretations of what has been said in order to ensure that I have a full understanding. During this introspection I realized that I may not have understood what you meant when you said, “I said about God not about some stories about God.” I wanted to make sure I had clarity in my understanding, because if I misunderstood what you said then my search for truth could not complete.

        “Has it something to do with what we're talking about ?”

        Yes. The original post was a skeptic’s point of view on “the Yahweh stories”. This point of view included a take on good and bad by saying “threat” in the statement, “he seems to be the greatest threat to humankind." Therefore a talk about good and bad has merit (although it may offer a different degree of impact). If you agree with this merit; then I might like to explore this a little bit.

        “I don't give a damn on what religion says or try to do, I don't trust too much the priests or the preachers , frankly don't take this part as rude or as arrogance but I think I'm smarter than them”

        Ah, so you too are a skeptic, and so you should be. Your lack of trust implies questioning and therefore skepticism; and skepticism is the greatest path to clarity. For if one is not skeptical they may never know the truth; they will only know what they believe. Because, a believer might be right for the wrong reasons or right for the right reasons (or just plain wrong), but a skeptic seeks to only be right for the right reasons, and in turn find where he/she/it might be wrong.
      • Jun 30 2012: “The skeptic in order to help the believer needs to know the theory as well as something else , then how could the skeptic help a believer if they are likely to don't know the theory as good as the believer does ?”

        All very sound reasoning, but this is what has been missed:

        The believers are the ones that give the skeptics the theories, and through the reasoning you described above, the skeptics then seek to test these theories. After testing the theories the skeptic goes back to the believer and gives them a summary of consistencies and inconsistencies, and any conclusions that can be drawn at this point (proven, disproven, trends, and/or needs more information).

        At this point one of two things happens: A) the believer seeks to explain any inconsistencies by changing or adding information; the skeptic then logs this change and any consistencies/ inconsistencies it may have with the original information. Or: B) the believer seeks to explain any inconsistencies with information that is not observable, repeatable, testable, and/or possible in the physical world. If “A” happens then the skeptic repeats the process until a summary can be made that concludes with either: proven, disproven, or “B” (along with any suggestive trends). If “B” happens: then the skeptic is able to identify the believer’s beliefs as requiring circumstantial evidence and/or impossible events, and concludes the tests.

        This is where the skeptic then present the summary of “B”: the beliefs you hold have been found to be lacking physical evidence and/or requiring evidence that is not physical, and a trend may be established that the information provided is in conflict with other known information; leaving the beliefs only well founded in the beliefs them self (circular, and also normally “fine” in the mind of a believer).
      • Jun 30 2012: *continued

        Through the earlier discussions we have identified that this circular belief leaves the believer being possibly: right for the wrong reasons, right for the right reasons, or even just plain wrong. But, because the believer’s beliefs are circular, they will never know this unless the skeptic tells them. This is important because: they may be wrong and never know it.

        In both cases the skeptic has helped them find the truth in their beliefs, but after a while there is a trend. You see the skeptic gets tired of doing all the work for the believer, and because the skeptics have done all of this work they have realized how often the believer is wrong and doesn't know it (because they lack the introspection of a skeptic). So the skeptic seeks to teach the believer how to test their own beliefs.

        This is where the skeptic offers the believer a choice: they either choose to keep believing what they believe based only on the belief its self, or they choose to seek the truth in the same way that the skeptic has shown them the truth (the scientific method).

        So you might ask, “well what did the skeptic offer the believer who chooses to believe based on the belief its self?” and the skeptic might say, “ …a choice, a conversation, a headache, or maybe just the confirmation of their sincerity in that: the believer believes what they believe, and that’s what they believe, because they believe it. This often gives the believer happiness and a spiritual peace.” In any case the skeptic has offered the believer something, if the believer is willing to listen.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jul 1 2012: Ok , so here we are : the skeptic needs to be careful at the believer first in order to help the believer . I don't have a problem with your A ,B , C .
          Frankly I think it's time to put an end to this , this was a simple idea , too much debating about something simple is boring and I think we manage something already . And I also realized this all is not about me .

          I gonna make a conclusion , you tell me if you agree with it or come up with one of your own , they shouldn't be different anyway .
          So , the idea up to debate was : - a skeptic may see the things differently than a believer , that's why he could help the believer . We agreed that this help is only about the physical and can be offered only after the skeptic understand 'the theory' . We also know that this help is for some categories of believers only , I'm not in one of them . More exactly this help is for the believers who are ignorant about the physical or who are less informed about this than the skeptic is . This seems to be all .

          Additionally I would say that the believers who are ignorant or less informed about the physical are so usually because they don't have that concern , because they don't care too much about that (due to a lot of reasons : from low intelligence to life's circumstances ) . This being said I think you should notice that even though theoretically the skeptic may help , practically it's almost impossible this help .

          I think you noticed I said that this help is not for me .

          As I said I'm willing to talk about the links you think exists between God and something wrong/bad/evil but let's finish this debate first .
      • Jul 1 2012: I know that the conversation does not appear to have ended in some grand discovery or a new understanding. But even still, this is the most important type of conversation two people can have. One that is left open to the free exchange of ideas, with both sides actually listening to each other, in the search for truth. People argue all the time in areas like politics and religion, but rarely do they listen, and even rarer still do they search for the truth beyond what they might choose to believe. However simple the idea, it rarely truly happens. And until this critical exchange happens more often, we are a great threat to our selves -- if only for our ignorance, obtained through beliefs that believers might not care to test with reason and openness. That is why this simple idea is of grand importance.
        • thumb

          E G 10+

          • 0
          Jul 4 2012: Ok , it's right that is important a change of ideas of that type you talk about but you know it depends on a lot of circumstances among which one of the most important is the TIME .
        • thumb
          Jul 12 2012: Wow! The pain that just generated is palpable. Thanks but I will not be able to even think aout this until it fades unto a dull roar. That might never happen.
        • Jul 13 2012: Robert and EG
          --"I know that the conversation does not appear to have ended in some grand discovery or a new understanding."--

          But it could!!

          There is now a new revelation available that explains in clear terms what you have been discussing (among other things).
          Whoever sees Yahweh or God or the Lord as the one ending this world is misinformed. The literal text of the Bible should not be taken literally! The literal text does not make it God's word, it is the spiritual meaning that does, fully.
          There never was a flood of water, an Ark or one actual person called Adam.
          In fact God made Himself a body in Mary and by using that, saved the world from self destruction, and now He is going to destroy it??
          Let's get our information right and then we'll see who destroys what.

          When someone thinks something or someone is going to end this earth, I totally disagree. There is someone in charge Who loves us AND this world and will protect it!

          This whole book (two actually) is about God and how He governs us. Please have a look and see how it applies to our life now and in the future.
          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/DLW_DP.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1
  • thumb
    Jun 27 2012: Hi Sina,
    According to me :

    Does the world need to be saved ? yes , and it is up to us .

    Are we heading toward an inevitable extinction ? I don't think so .

    will that be a new generation bomb ? or will it be pollution ? or will it be depletion of natural resources ? they can be threat to mankind but cannot eliminate mankind due to the technology advancements that are already going on

    will the machines be our killers as it is suggested in many sci-fi stories ? I again don't feel so as there is lot of importance given to quality of machines manufactured .

    To summarize , I can only say that we can build a much better world for the future generations.

    Regards,
    Bharath
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 26 2012: Dear Don,
      I understand your concern and I am thankful for it. I hope I can bring clarity you expect by answering your questions.

      This is a serious conversation.
      I am being serious most of the time and add some funny points occasionally to make the course of the debate a little smoother as I find necessary.
      There has not been a mistake in calling this conversation a debate as It has been one to this point.

      My question "Why is the sea blue in cloudy days" serves as a proof of me watching your video to the last minute of it where Jonathan asks the audience this question without answering it.

      Robert's answer I guess serves the same purpose as he addresses the hint Jonathan gives.

      my second answer to the question of why the sea is blue, is my own curiosity making me google it. you see I really didn't know why the sea was blue ! and I thought many members here will also not have a clue despite our mental self image that we know and understand much (This is exactly the point Jonathan makes in your video). I thought sharing it could serve as a small shock toward understanding the fact that we do not know everything and we should be open for new ideas and seek knowledge all the time and it is one little funny point that may calm the atmosphere after the recent tensions.

      please let me know if i succeeded in elaborating my point.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 26 2012: Don, I welcome your insight as I believe your experience will help.

          I notice that "evil" seems to be a recurring theme for you, as it seems you have been scarred by evil and I sympathize. But if someone becomes obsessed with something they will begin to project it everywhere they go. I too might say I see "evil", in the lack of day to day critical introspection expressed in pat’s, mike’s, and your own video posted.

          Emotions have a habit of blinding us sometimes. When an argument is seen as an attack it may cause the person to argue more passionately. But they will be less likely to develop a clear and deep understanding of the other person’s views; nor are they as likely to criticize their own. This very problem has perpetuated in all that we do, and is a large part of the reason we have some of the problems we have to day.

          For this reason it is good to keep the debate calm and civil, at least until clarity has been achieved. Even the most educated can be wrong. What’s the quickest path to discovering the truth? I would say it is amongst people who actually want to find the truth and not just argue their point.

          Look at cultural wars, some say they are fighting evil, some say they are evil. But, I say they are a lack of respect and communication. As we grow, we learn the idea of respect though out our lives. Many people learn their ideas of respect from their culture’s religion and/or their culture’s history. Not only does knowledge mold us, but so does the way we packaged and communicated it.
        • thumb
          Jun 26 2012: Don

          What percentage of TED contributors are Tea Party members?

          Can you give me a few examples of this evil?

          Apparently you are arguing for agreement to encourage love and kindness. Problem is that is not how it works.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: So why is the sea blue in cloudy days ? !!! ;)

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful talk with us Don.
      • Jun 25 2012: Is the sea still blue on a cloudy day? How thick are the clouds on this day, and how much do they actually cover the sea?

        That was a good video, I hadn't seen that one before.
        • thumb
          Jun 26 2012: I googled it ... and I felt good to know it.

          "In clear water, red and infrared wavelengths of light are mostly absorbed, while blue and green wavelengths are mostly reflected. This reflection accounts for the blue-green color of water. For this scattering effect to occur, the water must be a minimum of 10 feet (3 meters) deep."

          Source: UXL Science Fact Finder, ©1998 Gale Cengage
        • thumb
          Jun 27 2012: The scattering is called the Tyndall effect, it's also why the sunset is orange. I thought his four examples were all fairly obvious. Also with regard to why is it hot in summer he didn't acknowledge day length, which is the major contributing factor. Thats why the summer/winter variation increases as you move away from the equator.
      • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: Good one. I like this one as well

      http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html
    • Jun 26 2012: Don,

      It really was mostly a question, the closest thing to a sea by me is the gulf of mexico lol, I'm not sure that has ever been blue :-P. I did know why the sky was blue and with that I reasoned: if the sea wasn't blue then there may be some other factors effecting it.

      But, you are quite right it was far from the topic, and I'm sorry about that :-(

      *edtit--btw. my argument is that people need to question things more, thinking about them critically.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jun 27 2012: Hi Don, I probably shouldn't jump in. But suggest extending an argument may be a deliberate misdirection or simply exploring an idea etc. Probably depends on the intent whether it is an argumentative tool or not.
        • Jun 27 2012: Very well put Don,

          The only part that I don't agree with fully is in extensions and tangents. Sometimes these two things can be used to further explain your idea/argument.

          Examples: my questions about the sea were directly off topic, but also a strong part of what I have been saying will cause our destruction (and how we need to think more critically about everything). I also talked for a moment about mental and physical addiction in another reply on this topic. But, it was used as a tool to try and help relate the idea of money as a positive reinforcement system, by first disconnecting money from material.

          I am however going to copy your post onto another page for my own use, because I believe these are all good things to stay constantly aware of. Anyone who is interested in communicating with the intent of understanding and possibly solving problems would be well advised to keep these thoughts close. Very good advice, thank you.

          **edit, I would also like to add to your advice: Don't feed the trolls.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: well said, thnak you
    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: Checking your profile dear Don, I now understand that the subject under discussion is much more serious than I initially thought when I created the conversation. we should be hearing more from you on this, as you seem more qualified than us experiencing and feeling evil and man-made disasters first hand.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 26 2012: If I may interject this thought:

          -in 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus published De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (Heliocentrism).
          -in 1633 Galileo Galilei was required to recant Heliocentrism.

          In addition to being careful what you put in your head, also be careful of what you exclude.
        • thumb
          Jun 26 2012: What a joy it is to have you here Don,

          Thank you for the clues, I can already see how useful they are and I understand your point that Devil uses misdirection strategy. I am pretty certain that the door must be slammed on sarcasm but I am not quite sure How. what comes to my mind is that the is no single tactic. in some cases ignoring and in some cases direct response may be effective.

          I do comprehend why you do not want to reveal in public and your concern for the noise of Ego's and I am sorry about that. I can not guarantee you will not face Evil if you reveal, but it is the only way others can benefit from your knowledge and experience.
        • thumb
          Jun 26 2012: Two brilliant examples of breaking the silence and its price, thank you Robert.

          Your suggestion to also be careful on what we exclude reminded me of a quote that I am not sure who it is from.

          " In order to be Intelligent, you need to learn one thing each day
          In order to be wise you need to forget one"
        • thumb
          Jun 26 2012: “Be very, very careful what you put into that
          head, because you will never, ever get it out.” - Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, 1471 - 1530

          I do understand the point of this quote and it puts extra emphasis on being selective on what we choose to build our framework to see the world from.

          but this quote has two parts if we dissect it scientifically.

          1- Logical learning that can always be criticized, changed and replaced
          2- emotional learnings that once learned can never be unlearned. and that is because of the structure of a part in brain called Amygdala which is responsible for emotional learning and decision making.

          I think we should be extra careful on what we learn emotionally and choose the environment so that we will not get wrong and intense emotional feelings regarding subjects that do not require such response.
  • thumb
    Jun 25 2012: Homo Sapiens are the biggest threat to ourselves.
    Followed by germs or an asteroid
    At some stage the Sun will kill all life on Earth if we haven't moved on.

    Mankind is a little sexist by the way
    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: Homo Sapiens are the biggest threat to themselves. that is what we all agree upon.
      • thumb
        Jun 25 2012: Agree.

        To get a bit more specific, you have this intelligent ape with lots of increasingly deadly tools and plenty of animal instincts, plenty of negative emotions that can override reason, tribalism, dangerous ideas, and an ability to harm to others for different ideologies or greed, sometimes even if it hurts ourselves in the process.

        On the instinctual side, beside the greed and aggression, we have evolved to a point where we put much more weight on the present than the future - recency. This stunts our ability to do what is best for the future, because we want our cake now.

        We also have this economic model built on increasing consumption and population growth.

        There may be things we can do to lower the risk or at least prepare for pandemics etc, Not much we can do in regards to a planet killer asteroid. But the danger we present to ourselves and each other is something we can work on.
        • thumb
          Jun 25 2012: This conversation is getting better and better with participation of thinkers like yourself.

          I totally agree with the intelligent ape concept and the fact that we have lots of animal instincts, in fact a large part of our brain (emotion generation parts Amygdala, Limbic system) is our inheritance from our primitive ancestors. emotion is not an advanced system , it is the most efficient and fast (regarding less calculations) survival system.

          "we put more weight on the present that future". this is very interesting, I have never checked the brain structure that leads to this type of thinking. I wonder if there are any studies seeking the roots of our recency favoring behavior.
        • thumb
          Jun 25 2012: As Hitchens says, "Our frontal lobes are too small, and our adrenal glands are too big"
  • Jun 25 2012: The movie Idiocracy comes to mind as a parable about a very real threat that appears to be manifesting itself.

    Sperm counts have been dropping since plastics became common... so (as I posted below) it may be only men that disappear (parthenogenesis)

    Surely some mad (or very sane) scientist has been tinkering in lab on some kind of pathogen that will wipe most of us out... a karma-germ would be nice if it is going to happen!

    But as for all of us going extinct, it is probable that the last blade of grass on Earth will be eaten by a human. We are pretty darned adaptable!
    • thumb
      Jun 25 2012: the last blade of grass on Earth will be eaten by a human ... and it won't be a green and delicious one I am sure.