John Moonstroller

This conversation is closed.

Is Atheism just another cult, with their own dogma, like religious cults?

Is Atheism just another cult, like a religious cult, with people who believe there is no god, and in most cases also that what is presented by science is the absolute truth? Do people of an Agnostic persuasion believe, atheists have a blind faith in science, believing what they show, and measure is the last word about reality; believing that this Science supports their side of the debate while excluding the Religious view.

Those in the middle of the God/No God debate (Agnostics) have stated that such a claim is delusional and is indicative of cult mentality on par with religious cultism. It requires blind belief God does not exist which is dogmatic because there is no proof (currently) that is acceptably to the Agnostic crowd that God is or is not. Agnostics see the gaps in Scientific knowledge and try to keep an open mind pertaining to spiritual ideas and their connection to the real world. They have sometimes been accused of creating the Scientific idea of Creationism which has gathered steam in the last decade or so. Being in the middle, They are attacked by both sides of the debate, as will be demonstrated in this debate question.

Biting and Kicking is allowed by the Author and leaves it to TED to tell us where the limits lie.

Closing Statement from John Moonstroller

"Is Atheism just another cult, with their own dogma, like religious cults?"

“The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre.[1] The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The word was first used in the early 17th century denoting homage paid to a divinity and derived from the French culte or Latin cultus, ‘worship’, from cult-, ‘inhabited, cultivated, worshipped,’ from the verb colere, 'care, cultivation'.” ~ Wikipedia

“Dogma is the official system of belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization” ~ Wikipedia.

Organizations of atheists ritually denounce the existence of God. They have become an organization, dedicated to the activity of removing all relic’s of Theism from public places. Their dogma is based entirely on their notion or belief that God does not exist. These organizations work tirelessly towards this effort.

It is no longer possible for an individual to simply state they are an atheist, by reason of personal belief, and not be affiliated, by membership or indirect alignment with these organizations.

These organizations have an official system of belief and their doctrine is to end the belief of theism on this planet.

They are exclusive, ritualistic, and have a belief system which generates activity within and beyond the boundaries of the organization. They are a Cult.

Not everyone agrees with this interpretation but the meaning of words evolve over time. To be an Atheist is to believe in a dogma and be a member of a club or organization. In the least, an individual is indirectly aligned with these clubs or organizations by belief or personal assertion they are an atheist.

John Moonstroller

  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: If people get touchy, offended or angry about an opposing view in these atheism/God debates, then there is usually a strongly held belief system in there somewhere - on either side.

    Is atheism a belief system? Of course it is. In fact it has become just as dogmatic as the thing it seeks to oppose.
  • Sep 25 2012: "I don't understand the statement about agnostics or creationism. What do you mean?"

    I meant calling atheists cultists because they have blind faith that there's no proof that God does NOT exist, is not something I've ever heard an agnostic say. I've heard creationists say things like that, because they often do not understand where the burden of proof lies. Generally, agnostics understand that you don't need proof that something DOESN'T exist; you would need proof that it DOES exist.

    "Tim, most of this question has already been answered by other commentors."

    Sorry, I thought it was a debate, not a question. I was weighing in with my take. But you're right, I'm sure my points have already been made by others. (And, yes, the forum setup is a bit confusing, with newest posts on top, but nested replies.)
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: Well Tim Powers, you say, "I meant calling atheists cultists because they have blind faith that there's no proof that God does NOT exist, is not something I've ever heard an agnostic say.".

      I say, obviously you haven't heard everything there is to know on the matter.

      It is a debate. But if you don't read, how can you properly debate? How can your debate skills be demonstrated and used to persuade others of the correctness of your position or idea, if all you do is repeat the same thing over and again? Doesn't that have more to do with being a parrot in a tree, than a debater of ideas?

      We all have something to say, but if someone has already said it, of what worth is an echo? Why reinvent the wheel?
      • Sep 25 2012: "I say, obviously you haven't heard everything there is to know on the matter."

        Then you're prepared to cite your sources, correct? Given that it would be a really ignorant thing for an agnostic to say, I tend to wonder if you attributed the notion to agnostics, when you meant to attribute it to a common creationist stance.

        "We all have something to say, but if someone has already said it, of what worth is an echo? Why reinvent the wheel?"

        I find this curious. Surely you don't imagine your debate point is original, so what was the worth of your echo? If you're allowed to echo a question based upon an incorrect notion of where the burden of proof lies, I'm certainly allowed to echo a logical correction.
        • thumb
          Sep 25 2012: My intentions in the debate, were to illicit comments on the issue of how people view atheism and it's characterization as almost a religion of total counter theism, rather than a debate on the idea of religion. If religion is theism, than is atheism simply anti-theism? If the aura of religion or the idea that religion is justified in becoming organized and seeks to mandate their followers proceed to seed the population with this idea, then is it possible for the anti-theistic movement to also do the same?

          The role played by the Agnostic is one of wonder and introspection. From this perspective the agnostic can set back and view both parts of the debate and interfere in the mandates or take issue with the postulation of either side. This places the agnostic squarely in the middle. It has absolutely nothing to do with Creationism, but many agnostics are accused of being creationists as demonstrated by some comments to the author of the debate, which is me.

          Personally, I like to provoke debate on this issue and taking the side of the Devils advocate is sometimes a good tool to expand some commentators views about whither or not their comment should have weight in the final analysis. Your comments for instance, will be tossed in the bin because you don't offer anything new. I don't mean that personally, just as an example of how the analysis will take shape. I do have to write closing remarks to this debate when it ends. Think about that and see if you might want to participate in a different way. I appreciate your interest.
        • thumb
          Sep 25 2012: Tim I notice you don't have a PM feature on your profile Is there some way to talk to you privately? My personal email is rexrino@moonstroller.com
          I can't leave this post up very long because it is off topic and will be deleted. I usually delete them myself but sometimes forget and TED does it for me. :)
      • thumb
        Sep 25 2012: Why would you start a debate..and then attack people who respond?
        • thumb
          Sep 25 2012: Henery if you feel I've attacked you I apologize. It was not my intention to do so.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Sep 25 2012: George Carling was the Cyber bully of Television Don. He intimidated Liberal, conservatives, the innocent and the guilty, alike. Not many people can do what he accomplished in "Real" life. Nothing was sacred to George Carling.

        Virtual reality is just that Virtual. It's not real. The people are real (sometimes) but the human element, the soul, the thing inside us that makes us human to other human beings is easily subdued in this virtual environment. Those with a finer grasp of vocabulary have the edge in this arena.

        There is a moment in combat when you realize the enemy is dead. That's the time you should stop pumping the lead, so to speak. In the virtual word, the enemy never dies, they always come back and this is an obstacle to some personalities. So, they adopt other methods to try and kill the opposition, They develop Troll and Cyber-bullying techniques, become physiologically and additively attached to these techniques because they believe they have accomplished in the virtual world what they think is the equivalent of the real world. To the pathetic mind, the words and phrases are the ammunition by which they defeat their opponents. An internal sense of Catharsis usually follows the exchange when an opponent appears to be defeated. A sense of pleasure.

        There is an interesting debate which took place in October of 2011, involving a different set of TEDsters then are currently online today. It was a debate entitled: "jails should be more widely known as schools", introduced by Griffin Tucker of Canberra Australia. I found this exchange to be very demonstrative of how people can talk about a subject that they have little or no experience with
        as if they were experts on the subject and, in the case of some of the members, just outright lie about their connection and experience within the subject area. It was very interesting reading. Sometimes the old conversations are much better than the new. TED is a maze, sometimes a laboratory.
  • Sep 23 2012: Hi John. You have mixed up the two different kinds of atheism. The attribute, "people who believe there is no god", is not applicable to Dan Dennett and Richard Dawkins, and possible others in the list of TED speakers you have linked to.

    Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_atheism

    On the one hand, the agnostics I have come across have made stronger claims than you. Most state that it is impossible for us to know whether or not a god exists. (which god?) On the other hand, most atheists I have come across, personally or in books and other media call themselves "agnostic atheists" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism.

    Putting it in another way, I have come across many atheists, but none of them have the "blind belief God does not exist". They have all said, "demonstrate a proof, and I'll believe".
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: John you said, "On the one hand, the agnostics I have come across have made stronger claims than you.". I am an amateur agnostic and don't belong to any organization of agnostics so my pitiful attempts should be overlooked sometimes.

      hat said, I will repeat what I have stated in other places in this debate. It is a question that I hope will reveal more truth so we (I) can become more enlightened on the issue, via your wisdom and the wisdom of others. I would add your not the first to offer this information. It has caught my attention and made me scratch my head a bit.


      I have read about agnostics, I have not researched them with the intentions of writing a dissertation on their personalities or characteristics or belief system. My lot is internalized towards understanding and defining myself.

      If you have suggestions about how I should reword the question, then by all means, state them to me, perhaps the email would be a better venue. If you can prove this with some official evidence or a private poll conducted by you in request to an official posting agency, I will be more than happy to work with you and alter the question and remove the "blind belief" part with the permission of the other contributors here. I suppose we could try polling every one in an unofficial capacity:


      How many think the wording of "Blind Faith" should be changed or delete and what would I exchange it with?
      One person, one vote.


      Until then, I'm kinda stuck with it and don't clearly see any reason to alter it.

      Thanks for pointing this out to me John.






      Perhaps I should use CAPs more often?
      • Sep 23 2012: I'm sorry -- I should have been clearer. By "stronger claims", I meant the opposite. Consider the following:
        1. Obama has an apple in his left hand right now.
        2. Obama may have an apple in his left hand right now.

        Sentence 1 is a "stronger claim", requiring the person claiming it to provide evidence. I like the weaker kind of atheism and the weaker kind of agnosticism. I am a "weak atheist" myself. I think it is to your credit that you did not make the stronger claim.

        Only after writing what I wrote in my original post, above, did I scroll down and see that others had made similar comments, and mine was quite redundant.

        That said, I have a login id on richarddawkins.net. Many people there tend to blame religion for every little thing, rightly or wrongly. Many of them take the attitude that person X is a christian or muslim, therefore, all his principles are wrong. I have often argued against that attitude too. It's generally the opposite on TED. For example, I have heard claims that atheists are immoral, or even that we have no reason to live. I have argued against such people on TED. I don't know if I'd appear to be a cultist in your eyes.
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: Here in Cherokee county Georgia. TED is black listed because the people in charge of the school system deem them to bee too anteisic and Liberal, therefore, a danger to the mental health of their children....

          That's just the way regional attitudes flow. It's an indication that TED, as presented, as the tool to end all ignorance is just another stop on road to blog city. Some Tedsters believe they have fallen in Liberal Heaven and are very bold. Others think they are warriors on a quest to defeat the dragon monster TED. :)

          It's too funny really. you need to join my forum at www.moonstroller.com.

          And no John. I've read nearly all your posts on TED. You are one of the people I'd invite to my forum. I have no problems with you efforts to advance the cause of blogging. I just let you take the foreground in case there might be snipers in the trees. ;)
      • Sep 24 2012: I don't quite get what you mean by "I just let you take the foreground in case there might be snipers in the trees." Are you making me the bait for those snipers? I don't mind :-)

        I'm not sure if I'd let my own kids venture into TED forums unless they have developed a modest ability for critical thinking, and a hard-enough skin. So, I'm not sure I disagree with what the Cherokee county's decision, despite our differing motivations.
        • thumb
          Sep 24 2012: Yes, the image you imagined was correct. You're the bait.
          If your not a Vietnam veteran you don't see the humor in it.

          Yes. I agree. I've been a Liberal minded person all my life. Did you see the movie "The Hunger Games"?

          I've been trying to analysis the authors internal feelings about the theme. It could just be a commercialization without any real meaning, just pulling on people's neurons a bit. I've read the reviews.

          When I imagine the future it takes on the setting in that movie. Complete Isolation of the have from the have none. With education and technology centered near an energy rich, location Like Indiana, or up around the Great Lakes, with the rest of society spread out in districts. I guess it would look more like a Greek City State.

          The world my great grandchildren will live in.

          I'm not so sure I want the Liberal dream anymore. I'm not sure we will survive to create it.
          One day someones going to push the trigger and it will be gone in a flash.

          Did you know they exploded over 2000 Nuclear bombs between 1945 and 2009. That's 31.25 bombs per year since 1945.

          They say that wwIII would waste the planet but 2000 bombs is a very large number. 31 bombs a year is a large number.

          If 2000 bombs didn't destroy the planet, is it possible that we could survive a nuclear war with, say 500 detonations in one weeks time frame?

          We have really been beating this planet up since the end of WWII.
      • Sep 24 2012: No, I haven't seen The Hunger Games. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check it out one of these days. The sad part for me about all those nuclear explosions is that scientists can no longer do carbon dating of anything created after 1950. It's dead!

        Have you seen this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlE1BdOAfVc ?
  • thumb
    Oct 4 2012: Let me first assume that with atheism, you imply more than "not believing in any kind of god".

    If you assume the naturalistic worldview (like the Bright movement states http://www.the-brights.net/ ),
    then you cannot claim it is the same as a religion or a cult.

    Pure atheism is rare, I call myself an atheist because for me the likelyhood of any given god is close to 0... (I just round down).

    Of course a lot of people that have a naturalistic worldview still want to have rituals or spiritual congregations or other aspects that are found in religion (like Alain explains here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html)
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2012: "Pure atheism is rare, I call myself an atheist because for me the likelihood of any given god is close to 0... (I just round down)." ~Christophe Cop

      If pure atheism is rare, is impure atheism more common?

      IF you round up, does it change the likelihood?

      Your statement yields two questions which require answering before we can reach a conclusion.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2012: If it's a cult it's a cult everyone is born into.
    Atheism has become a handy term to define people who do not believe in god or gods. I am constantly referred to as an atheist but don't consider myself one. How would I describe it? "I don't believe in something that doesn't exist"? I simply consider myself a human being.
    That said, if people want to call me an atheist I don't lose sleep over it, better than saying I'm delusional.
    The term atheist depends on religion, if religions didn't exist neither would the term atheist. So if it's a cult it is because of religion.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: No one decided that the term atheist would apply to those who didn't believe in God or Gods. It was invented to describe those who did not believe in the God(s) of the defining society. It was a curse word a derogatory word intended to demean or belittle another person who did not share the beliefs of the society in charge.

      "The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative (derogatory term) applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society."~wikipedia {with emphasis added by me}

      When a Religious person calls you an atheist, it is this fashion they are using the word, so they are correct in their usage.

      In this sense it does depend on Religion and it is possible that if there never was any religion, there would not be such a word. But, it could also be argued that by the power of evolution that we would be dinosaurs instead of humans if they weren't wiped out by a cataclysmic event and you wouldn't exist at all as a human being. So, you are a human being by "what?" an act of providence or by design, or just by coincidence?
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: If we were having this discussion a few thousand years ago you would be correct but words and language are flexible and their meanings change over time.

        In your same wikipedia page you will find:
        "Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities"
        All other definitions say basically the same thing. This is the meaning of the word today.

        By the way, it is a well known fact that the dinosaurs were atheists. I imagine this angered the boss almighty and may have had something to do with their extinction.
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: I guess followers of a particular religion with its particular gods or goddesses are atheist to the gods and goddess of other religions.
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: @ John,

    I am not sure if you genuinely misunderstand or are just being obtuse.

    Yes there is no teapot, that is the point, but you cannot prove that, and any reasonable person would expect me as a 'teapotist' to prove it's existence, not for you as a teapot atheist to disprove it. That is the point of the example, religion is a belief, and that is fine if people admit it is just that. Otherwise don't hid being the 'you can't disprove it' fallacy and offer some genuine proof. Simple.

    Atheism is NOT a journey to disprove something, it is a position that this something does not exist and a statement that there is no real proof for it. It amazes me how words are twisted and games played rather than openness from those who claim to be honest and pious. This does not seem to align with my understanding of the point of religion. But then as an agnostic I guess I can claim I wouldn't understand.

    As per my reply to Peter, I don't think atheism is remotely cult like. Some proponent of atheism have been mistakenly drawn into reason and evidence free debates on this subject that does not do them any favours when we should stick to the scientific position of expecting reason and evidence, but that is as far as it goes for me.

    As my previous post stated this likely will go round in circles, and we clearly have opposing views the other is unlikely to change. This is proving to be true.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: There is no teapot to hide behind Kevin. I am in the open and never condescending. If theism is the belief then is atheism the anti belief?

      A position, as you imply is a point along the path of the journey

      What is closed minded and dishonest about the statement: "...there was a man named Jesus who was God, came to this earth as a man, preformed miracles, then ascended to heaven after his death?", which is the claim of the Christians. Perhaps it is true you don't understand; you would know better than I.

      Atheism the definition is not a cult. Atheism the dynamic population of organized members, I believe, is a cult. It matches all the definitions of "Cultism". They are an anti-belief.

      Your last statement is very true.
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2012: John you seem to pay attention to etymology (cultus in Latin, worship). So atheism or agnosticism doesn't imply to worship anything. It's a belief without any specific rules to follow, events to attend or authority.

    So I'd answer: No. It is not a cult.
    I believe it's just that simple :-)
    • thumb
      Sep 28 2012: 1 vote no from Bruno Carre. Thanks.
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: We all have gods..............money, power and so on. What we don't do is have worship services to adore that particular god.
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2012: We do have festivals to adore one another and birthday parties also. The idea of adoring successful people is documented all over the TED website especially in the Talks section. When we clap our hands, we give reverent respect to the speakers.

        Worship is a broadly defined term I think.
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2012: John...I guess so.....but I was thinking of special rituals.
  • Sep 26 2012: Not all atheists choose to be on the side of science. As for the ones who do, they do so because it makes more sense in their eyes. Atheists don't have a cult or cults, we do not have gatherings (I am atheist) in which we share our religious ideologies. Science isn't a cult either, its just the study of things. Religion has its views on what is true and what is false and they show these very strongly. With science, it looks for the facts of what occurred and didn't. In some sense science can be viewed as a religion because science is looking for similar answers that religion stories say are plausible. As for me I'm atheist because I feel that believing in a creator or a god isn't needed. That doesn't mean I don't take into consideration what others have to say about what they believe. I'll listen to what people say, just so I know their stand point on things, and I don't judge those who believe and who don't. A person shouldn't be judged by their beliefs, and in some cases I feel that religion changes the mind of people into doing just that. Its a way to make a religion grow. Again this is just my opinion, I'm not one to say what is plausible or not.
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2012: By (we) you are really taking about yourself I assume Stephen Torres.

      Stephen you can Google and see the number of atheist organizations that have grown since the 60's. It's a large number and the internet has only allowed them to grow stronger. They have a political agenda that is set off from their philosophical views and belief system.

      They aim to destroy all religious beliefs and set the world straight. They are just as powerful as a mob organization (criminal) and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. If you are religious, they want you off the planet. All you need do to discover this information is join up and move through the system to the inside circle. I suggest you don't get caught.

      These atheist organizations have their tools to stimulate hate, confusion, and conflict. It's strange but sometimes they are allied with christian hate organization. The recent film that has set the Muslim world on fire today is an example of such collaboration. I could say more but I won't. (a hint to the wise.)


      You can get more information from this site.
      http://www.splcenter.org/?ref=blog

      You have to email them to find specific information about such groups as Atheist organizations. These Atheist organizations have their own lawyers.

      The world is not the calm peaceful place we here in the US wake up to when we sit on our decks and drink our coffee in the morning. It's aflame.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Haha, I didn't know that you had renegade atheists in the US!

        I must say that I really enjoy seeing mankind transform into a more enlightened species.

        Anyway John, I easily tire of these debates so I'm just going to leave my thoughts and never return to this conversation, enjoy!

        First of all science is basically the opposite of dogma, religious people don't really seem to get that...

        You really don't get science at all! There would be few things cooler for a scientist then proving that everything we knew was wrong! There is no truth in science, only probability. So you see, the being dogmatic argument goes away quite fast.

        I think that religious people "attack" agnostics way more then atheists perhaps do. I as an atheist would only ask an agnostic what kind of odds he/she thinks there is for (a) "God". Most people here seem to be Teapot-Agnostic/Atheist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russells_teapot

        And to answer your question: No, we're not in a cult, it's the other way around!!! I'm really not kidding you, snap out of it man!

        (no offence)
        • Sep 26 2012: I am just like you in this one response. I don't get into the whole battle of faith and non-faith discussions. But I do like to read others opinion on the matter.
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: Jimmy: None taken :) It's been fun talking with you. Come back and join us when ever you can. It's refreshing to have a very young perspective on how we old people missed everything there is to know about the world, people and ideas. We were too busy destroying the world to notice I guess.

          Later.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: John,

        If I might make a suggestion. Your heading states is atheism just another cult.

        That is bundling up all those who don't believe in gods, all those who consider themselves atheists as part of a cult.

        Hopefully this is obviously clearly false. As discussed not believing in gods does not mean you automatically belong to any cult. It is a position on one question.

        Atheists can join any cult or group they like, but atheism isn't a cult. It is a position on one question.

        Now I get your point about some atheists organising for whatever reason. Some might consider religion harmful. Some might even cross lines I consider reasonable. Still I suggest you might consider most of these political or philosophical organisations rather than cults.

        You may be doing a disservice to your argument by bunching all atheists together as a cult.

        If there are atheists trying to force others to give up religion or other impingements on the rights of others that should be resisted.

        Others might like to see an end to religious type superstition or at least the negative impacts, but would not force people to be atheist.
        • Sep 27 2012: I really like the post by you obey, I've seen more of them in other debates. Kind of a side note to the last bits you said; if there are atheist organizations trying to end religion by any means, isn't that the same for religions causing trouble for atheists or those of a different belief. What I mean is something like the Crusades, Christians traveled across many countries killing all who didn't fallow their belief system. So in other words history is repeating itself on a daily basis. But now it's by other means.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: So you are saying that the definition of "Cult" is the point of your argument.

          That could be a valid point Obey. I could reword the topic but would that be fair at this juncture of the conversation?

          Atheism is accepted within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neopagan movements[17] such as Wicca,[18] and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods,[19] whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but some schools view the path of an atheist to be difficult to follow in matters of spirituality.[20] ~wikipedia

          It appears that in some religions, Atheism is a religious notion and as such can be called a cult.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Thanks Stephen.

        It is similar I guess. I support freedom of religion even though I argue against it in many regards. Mainly because it is so powerful and can be used to excuse many bad things. But I'm okay with religion if it doesn't harm people or isn't forced on others. Even then I will debate if people are willing. I will protest if religion is trying to undermine secular institutions like chaplains and scripture classes in state schools etc.

        It's a funny position, like supporting freedom of speech, within limits, even if you use it to disagree with me.

        But there is something about religion that is really hard to have reasoned discussion. How do you argue with " because god said so".
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Hi John - not asking to reword the statement

        Just suggesting that while atheists can join cults or be superstitious or not, atheism is not a cult.

        Some atheists may be part of something cultish. But atheism is not a religion or a cult.

        I suggest cults do exist. Often led by charismatic individuals. Usually very closed. Jim jones etc. there is a continuum and some groups might easily be classed a cult but others may share some cultish aspects. Remember the om supreme truth sect. Classic cult. Then you have particular immans or preachers under the umbrella of a larger tradition that may influence small groups in a cultish manner, but may not meet all the trappings of a cult.
        • thumb
          Sep 28 2012: Atheism is accepted within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neopagan movements[17] such as Wicca,[18] and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods,[19] whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but some schools view the path of an atheist to be difficult to follow in matters of spirituality.[20] ~wikipedai.

          Note religious affiliations.

          Your western minded world mindset is just a part of the whole world viewpoint Obey.
  • thumb
    Sep 26 2012: In some religions what you call "Dogma" is actually what I would call "A foundation"; a basic building block on which the belief stands. Even science has these basics.
    It is not that these basics have to be accepted without argument; it is just that sometimes arguing about both basics is like arguing with someone who tells of the sun rising from the north when we all know which direction to look in order see a rising sun.
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2012: you know science and religion are two different things .
      once religion had tried to prevent the science development .in the acient the religion try to kill pwople they hurt many famous person who do not agree with their cults ..
      while at last science broke out .and now science is the lead of the world .! ist it ?
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: They are similar in enterprise-ship, but different in behaviors.

        Lol, the way you reference them sounds as if they are in opposition to one another - which is not the case.

        Some religious groups do still try to prevent scientific investigation, but in touche topics like stem cells and fetus research. Which they should be touche, playing 'God' in a laboratory should be heavily mandated by some form of policy - similar to the laws involved in cloning.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: You are so correct about science taking the lead in developing our new knowledge Chen xin, but,

        science was developed so we could kill each other or, exploited if you like.

        Archimedes developed war machines, that's what got him started with sponsors.
        Leonardo Di Vinci, created some really good war machines. He needed sponsors too.

        If we removed all the military funding from science research today, there would be many scientist, applying for jobs at Wallymart and Home Improvements are us.

        I believe if we removed all the military funding world wide, Science might decline at a considerable rate.

        Science also invented the Atomic bomb...... yes Chen.... science can not only kill, it can do so very effectively and wholesale.
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2012: I was just thinking along this line yesterday, then forgot it. I'm glad you brought it up. I'll have to look at my notes but there is something very useful in what we call our "belief" system. Something basic, something lost to newer minds. Something we need to revisit and bring it back into our common knowledge bank.
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: Science has the scientific method as a foundation.
      Islam has the Koran and bible to a lessor extent
      Christianity has the nt and ot to a lessor extent

      Science changes when better explanations are found.

      Religions tend to resist change.

      More different than similar.

      In a way science and religion are responses to ignorance. One has led to vaccines, computers, electricity generation and a whole array of technologies that we know work.

      I'm writing this comment on an iPad running on electricity, harnessed by science. You can pray to god, sacrifice some goats, but that won't recharge the battery, or make crops grow in the way that science based technologies work.
      • thumb
        Sep 28 2012: I am yet to see a religion that tells one of the herbs for treating diseases; or the ways to build houses; or have a detailed description of the world and its citizens/its geography; I am yet to see a religion that gives one lectures on diet or how to prepare food.

        Mr No1Kinobe, you've missed the point. Religion is focussed on inter-personal relationships and relationships in human societies. There are moral laws and guidelines for harmonious relationships.

        There have been scientists who are christains, and christains have contributed immensely to science. No human system is perfect. Just as there have been times when so-called christains have done things that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, Scientists have also made mistakes.

        Scientic inventions are great, but what is the use of great inventions if it would be tools in the hands of depraved human beings?
        Now, depraved human beings are no good, either they are affiliated to any religion (the fact that someone makes a claim to a religion does not make the claim a right one) Or if they are scientists.

        True religion, as stated in James 1:27 in the Bible, is meant to give a human face to knowledge and science.
      • thumb
        Sep 28 2012: Obey, Science is a practical method of defining knowledge based on mass and energy.

        It is not a way of life, method of ideology, lessons in morality and other social concerns.

        It is not a political affiliation. I does not deal with issues of Vise, morality, Virtue, etc.

        This idea is old and off the track Obey...
  • thumb
    Sep 25 2012: Sure you have heard this one before 'Reality is a social construction'. Humans incredibly complex and diverse and aware of self. Have to develop some kind of filtration system to process information received in minute by minute existence. Filtration partly within ourselves and partly in communities we live in. Idea that lives dictated by' a higher conscienceness' pervasive throughout culture and history. Maybe it is about finding a balance. A person might feel paralysed by the notion they are ultimately responsible for what happens in their lives, a social structure helps creativity and communication even if the end product is detrimental to a particular individual. Lucky enough to live where I can observe nature and the seasons. Never fail to be impressed by sheer opportunism of life force. People notice energy. Where does it come from and where does it go and how can an individual survive a chaotic and random existence without some belief system, no matter how irrational or insane.
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: You make a good point Elizabeth. Do you think that a belief system is just a tendency of the human condition to make sense of the world around themselves?
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Not 100 percent certain and a combination of many other people's ideas. Got idea from thinking about people who end up in psychiatric institutions (and big business). Tend to be people with very specific information filters in place. So much so that communication with a range of people compromised. Good for individual if makes them good fit for a particular business (something about driven business leaders often being psychopaths). Do like your big idea 'keep your money in your own pocket'. Confusion in younger generation good consumer somehow good citizen. Cheeky article on internet, if you don't use Facebook, you are some kind of social misfit. Author was arguing social media just another method of sifting potential customers for product selling. Hope not straying too far off original debate here.
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: I think I understand. In my forum, we like to talk about these ideas, not debate them. We seek to understand, not only the idea but the person behind the idea. You are invited to join if you like. There, we have more room to discuss idea then we come to TED to test those ideas (hopefully_ on qualified minds. I'm afraid I haven't seen many and those who are tend to be a tad irrational if you disagree with them. But, considering the fact many people who are not qualified tend to offer suggestions that sound justified instead of inquiring, I see whey these qualified people get frustrated.
  • Sep 25 2012: I don't mean to be overly argumentative, but your closing line said biting and kicking were allowed :)

    "My intentions in the debate, were to illicit comments on the issue of how people view atheism and it's characterization as almost a religion of total counter theism, rather than a debate on the idea of religion. If religion is theism, than is atheism simply anti-theism?"

    Absolutely not. The prefix 'a' simply means "without." Asexual reproduction is reproduction without sex, not reproduction that is anti-sexual. Amoral means without morals, not bad morals or anti-morals. Likewise, atheism is without a belief in a personal god.
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: How would you suggest I correct this shoddy statement. I mean this sencerily. I would like to correct the statement and reach out to you for the proper criticism. Tim.

      When I changed the list selection from newest to oldest, it became apparent to me that I've inappropriately answered some of your comments in a disorderly fashion.
      Sorry. Later I will go back and alter those misnomers.

      I'd like to start over with this reply. Do you think I'm implying that I'm a creationist of sorts, within the religious context or that I'm associating agnosticism with Creationism?
  • thumb
    Sep 25 2012: Good thing about being agnostic...you can attack all you want....I have plenty to defend myself.

    I see this position as the only "absolute" position to have.

    However, let us not value information too much. Religion has positive sides.

    With our technology and new ideas..we may just be distracting ourselves.

    I guess the only answer...is to "not know" unless you "believe" which is not something you can just "pick up".

    I respect all opinions and all forms of debate. I cannot claim to know...because I do not...and any other statement is false.
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: Sounds like you're up to the task Henry Woeltjen. I see our profile. you are an interesting individual. I used to live in Miami in the park with the rest of the hippies. :)

      So you view yourself as Agnostic, is that correct?

      And, that this stance gives you ammunition to compete with other stances like Religion (Thesis) or Atheism (athesis)? Do you think that both Atheism and religion exhibit cult like behavior, requiring adherence to an explicit set of rules and ritualism to maintain it's membership?
      '
    • thumb
      Sep 28 2012: I'm right there with you on this. Well put. I'm not big on using logic in debates regarding this topic because it sort of becomes nonsensical to me. It's pretty simple, one cannot know. Using logic to try and 'win' a debate on this --semantics aside -- is fruitless in my book. burden of proof is irrelevant at best.

      I think a good take-away from these lively debates could be asking oneself -- for those debating from the atheistic or theistic sides -- 'am I debating from a context of having to be right?' 'what bias am I bringing into the equation, how open am I?'
  • Sep 24 2012: Atheists do not have a "blind faith in science." They simply default to the Null Position of not believing in something for which there is insufficient evidence.

    As for your claims that agnostics view atheists as cultists because they "... requires blind belief God does not exist which is dogmatic because there is no proof (currently)..." this sounds eerily like what creationists say about atheists, not agnostics.

    Atheists don't need proof to NOT believe in something. An atheist doesn't need proof that the tooth fairy doesn't exist. He's not in an atoothfairiest cult. Someone who doesn't believe in big foot is not an asasquatch cultist.

    The idea of agnostics being the inventors of creationism seems pretty absurd. That's like saying the NFL created baseball's designated hitter rule.
    • thumb
      Sep 24 2012: Come on Tim. Man up and tell me what you really mean. I can see it in your message. I won't be offended. Are you aware that it takes, roughly the same amount of electrical energy to send a post as it does to move a 2000 lb. Vehicle 3 feet? Why so many words and welcome to TED. :)
      • Sep 24 2012: "Are you aware that it takes, roughly the same amount of electrical energy to send a post as it does to move a 2000 lb. Vehicle 3 feet?"

        I've never heard that, so I guess I'm forced to take the null position unless and until I do some research on the matter. :)

        I'm not sure why you think I'm not saying what I really mean? Care to elaborate?
        • thumb
          Sep 25 2012: Tim. Unless you can create knowledge out of thin air, I guess your right. ;)
          Or, you could google it.

          Good joke Tim.... I like you already.

          I see you just joined up?

          I don't understand the statement about agnostics or creationism. What do you mean?

          Tim, most of this question has already been answered by other commentors. You might try reading the whole conversation. There is a button box where you can select oldest first to traverse the discussion from start to finish. I feel you question will be appropriate answered.

          I have heard from other commentators that the setup of this system sometimes allows the conversation to appear confusing.

          Enjoy.
          John.
  • thumb
    Sep 23 2012: Hi John.
    Good question.
    As you probably know I would be considered as a Christian Fundamentalist on this site. However, looking at things analytically, I would say that we are really all Agnostic. We are all fallible humans; we all think we are right, but are all open to deluding ourselves, or just simply misunderstanding things.
    I see a spectrum from Atheism to Fundamentalist, with guys like yourself in the centre. I came at this question seeking the truth of our existence, I studied the data & decided there had to be a designer. I studied the candidates & decided Jesus Christ was that designer. Changed my life. I assume Mr. Dawkins followed a similar path & decided Mr. Darwin had the right idea. We all decide for ourselves. Certainly many seem to be religious just for the sake of it, just like golf, or sailing; but to me that's a different issue.
    So, if you consider Christianity to be a cult, then you should really consider Atheism one also. They are just different interpretations of the same data. I don't consider either to be a cult, but if it fills a need in some of us to reinforce a prejudice then I guess that's understandable.

    :-)
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: I moved from one side of the question to the other, before finally settling in the middle to avoid all the rocks and bottles. but some of them landed on my property and almost hit me in the head a few times, if you now what I'm talking about. :)

      So Peter I assume you've at least examined the flagellum of bacteria and seen the super micrograph photos of them. They look amazingly just like a machine don't they.

      It easy for folk to defend the idea of evolution creating an eyeball, etc but when you get to the real itty biddy parts of the bigger machine, they start to take on the appearance of some very fundamental machinery we find in the garage and tool shed.

      We must admit, in front of the backdrop of genetic research that the possibility to create life is a promising proposal in the laboratory at some time in our future. Genomic researchers like our fellow Tedster: Dr. Gabriel Moreno-Hagelsieb Associate Professor, Biology, are bringing this information to our attention everyday. In Dr. Gabo's case, sometimes many times for days, with a peculiar type of insistence, that can sometimes put people off. :)

      Sometimes super intelligence comes with a price tag but, if we want the research we have to pay for it, not always in money :)

      Amazing stuff. Hence the tag in my profile of Super Alien Scientists.

      However. In my minds creationism will have to evolve towards a scientific stance to support their logic because Science is being hijacked to allude to a God creature with the expectations of dropping all that creation stuff and falling back to their "True word of God = the King James Bible" as soon as they capture a majority of the voters.

      So it's better to look at these things and develop some kind of rational flow of dialog, that offers others the opportunity to try and identify this race of aliens instead of giving the impression that God is the one and only creature with the capacity to create life which is distinct from creating all reality
      • thumb
        Sep 24 2012: Hi John.
        My training & career has been in mechanical engineering; most of my life has been involved in designing & building stuff. In the early days, when I looked at evolution, I was sort of persuaded, because it was to do with chemistry, about which I know zilch. However, thanks to electron microscopes we can see that this magical chemistry is really nano-engineering. The flagellum is just a little motor. I listened to a guy a while ago on about a part of the cell that seemed to act like a jet engine. He was interested in getting some effect, so he asked a jet engine guy how this could be achieved in a real jet. When he tried it in the cell, it did exactly as predicted.
        There is nothing magical about engineering, it involves a lot of directed, intelligent, funded, effort. Nano engineering more so. The cat is out the bag, this universe is a precisely engineered mechanism; humans & all.
        The majority of scientists down through the ages assumed a god of some sort. It is difficult to imagine such a uniform & predictable creation without a singular architect. This belief has never been a problem to doing science, & it isn't today. We can trust things to unfold in a predictable & orderly fashion.
        The reason many creationists start from the bible, & work out wards is that it saves time. Like me, they have discovered that these 66 musty old books were authored by the same guy that created everything. They still have to do the science though, which they have been doing for hundreds of years. The only real contention is with evolution, the majority of scientific endeavour sails on regardless.
        On the Super Alien Scientist front. This, of course, is a possibility, but we are still left with the question of where these guys come from, & what's the point in the whole shebang anyway ?

        :-)
        • Sep 25 2012: OK I think some of these points have not been addressed.

          Peter said:
          "However, thanks to electron microscopes we can see that this magical chemistry is really nano-engineering."

          No, it really IS just chemistry. For example, those pictures you see of flagellum are artists renderings made so we can visualize how it works. They're drawn to look like mechanical parts because their function is being described in terms of mechanical parts that most will understand. Actual photos from the e-scope are grainy and only show the general shape.

          That some things in nature act and/or look like things that man can engineer means nothing.

          "The cat is out the bag, this universe is a precisely engineered mechanism; humans & all."

          There are many examples of humans being very poorly designed. If we are the product of a Designer, he's no Master Engineer. More like a second-year liberal arts major who attended one chemical engineering lecture because he had a crush on one of the TAs.

          "The reason many creationists start from the bible, & work out wards is that it saves time."

          No, it's because they start and stop with the Bible. Where science and the Bible conflict, they'll just ignore the science. For example, C-14 dating is called completely useless by young-earthers. But when c-14 dating is used to date a tunnel under Jerusalem to Hezekiah's time (Hezekiah's tunnel), then suddenly C-14 dating is accurate and reliable.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Hi Tim.

        Never heard anyone on either side argue that the flagellum is anything other than what is normally depicted. Atoms arranged in the form of a motor. This is cutting edge & no doubt will be clarified as time passes.

        I have heard the poorly designed argument, what I have never heard is suggestions for a better one. We have to bear in mind that the creation is misfiring & we are stuck with disease, hatred, etc. In biology we also have the genetic load problem as mutations build up & make us ill.

        C14 dating is accurate during recorded history as we can normally use an artefact of known age to fine tune the dates. Prior to recorded history we have to make assumptions & these tend to be weighted by our worldview. Eg. Whether or not a worldwide flood actually occurred can have a massive impact.

        :-)
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: "Never heard anyone on either side argue that the flagellum is anything other than what is normally depicted. Atoms arranged in the form of a motor. This is cutting edge & no doubt will be clarified as time passes." ~Peter Law.

          It focuses on the flagellum.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7gMavetWuo


          "C14 dating is accurate during recorded history as we can normally use an artefact of known age to fine tune the dates."

          I remember someone arguing that because we exploded around 2000 nuclear weapons in testing from 1945 to 2009, that it has effected this type of dating. Know anything about that?

          Something about polluting the environment with dust, radiation, etc.
      • thumb
        Sep 28 2012: Hi John.
        The vid is where I live. There is no getting away from the fact that we are machines; our bodies at any rate. Apparently if you take away half the flagellum components you are left with a hole in the cell wall. This is touted as proof that the flagellum is not irreducible complex, & so didn't require a designer. If you take the engine out of a car, you get a boggie; what does that prove ? The fact that there are millions of different mechanisms working away perfectly (or nearly so) is just swept aside. There is just no possibility of this level of sophistication arriving without design & forethought.

        If you read a gravestone & it says 1000BC; then you dig up the corps & get a c14 reading, you can be fairly confident that anything giving the same reading is 1000BC. This will be the case regardless of nuclear explosions etc. If however you try to date something older than any artefact, you are into the unknown & your assumed starting values can be miles out. As the percentage of c14 is minuscule, the effect of any error is magnified. Then explosions, eruptions, floods etc become pivotal.
        It was calculated that the c14 in the atmosphere should be stable after c30,000 years. Ie production would equal consumption. Recently it has been discovered that the percentage c14 is still rising, & is nowhere near equilibrium.. Work it out for yourself.

        :-)
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: Hi Peter,

      When you state we are all agnostic, that we really don't know for sure, you don't sound like a fundamentalist.

      You may believe the bible is inerrant and that there is a spiritual realm and a triune god, but you are taking a slightly softer line than an absolutist of any stripe.

      I agree with you we really don't know if there are gods or goddesses.

      I suggest Christianity started as a cult, like Mormonism, like Buddhism, like Islam, but it is now an established religion like the others. Believers may still be part of a sub cult following particular Christian or Islamic leaders. Also, different believers may experience more or less cultish behaviours, such as being closed to outside influences and information.

      I still think people are mixing up world views that may or may not be religious, associations that may or may not be cultish.

      And also misunderstanding that atheism is a position on whether you believe in gods or not. You can be a buddhist, humanist, astrologer, even a scientoloist or anthing else, just not believe in gods. You can be an atheist and except evolution or not. You can be an atheist and not have any idea how old the universe is, just not believe in gods or goddeses.

      Also science is not dogmatic in the same way religions are. 100 years ago we were only aware of one galaxy. the milky way. There were blurry objects the best telescopes could see called Nebula. With more powerful telescopes we can see billions of galaxies now. Big bang is also a theory that developed in the last 100 odd years. We only identified the background radiation from it in the last few decades. We only figured out the universe is expanding in the last few decades. Science is the process that delivers just our current best guess. Things will change in science.

      To compare respect for science, that works - look at technology, with conflicting beliefs in thousands of gods and sects and dogmas, talking donkeys, virgin births, is a poor comparison indeed.
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2012: Obey how can peter "sound" like a fundamentalist? Did he send you some audio with his comment?
        :)

        What kind of sound does a fundamentalist make?
  • thumb
    Sep 23 2012: Atheism is a position on the single question - whether god exists or not.

    It is not a cult.

    However, cults could be formed that involve not having a belief in gods as one or perhaps a central tenants.

    But that is something more than atheism. That is something more than not having a belief in gods and goddesses.

    You could have a cult based on the supremacy of chocolate ice cream if you wanted, but that does not make liking chocolate ice cream a cult.
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: It's just confusion about the semantic syntax.... When you going to check out my forum?
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: Where is you forum JM?

        Also, the semantics tricks allow people like Deepak Chopra to make sentences including the word god which he knows includes anthropomorphic aspects to many but he sneakily borrows the word to for his own new age meaning e.g. God is the ultimate mystery that we cannot define. God is our highest potential to know ourselves and the end goal of our seeking.
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: it is meanless to talk about this .you know there is no bountries .you can belive or not .when things are going well.i dont think about this .when i am sad i may think of Buddhism.you know just for a better life .
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: It's here Obey..... www.moonstroller.com
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: it is not obey . it is my opinion . i dont like the word obey ..we are all equal
        on obey on order
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: Yes your right Chen,we are all equal but Obey's name is a statement to all humans to never bow down to an oppressive force.

          Obey no one

          Oh, by the way,that conference in Palm Springs is a little too expensive for me,i'm not a rich man.
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: Ken got it in one.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Chen, I'm sorry if I've appeared distant to you. I am coming to know you better and enjoy conversations with you.....
    • Sep 23 2012: Every Atheist is his own religion.
      Eberhard Schmitz.
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: Obey. The difference lies in the distinction between "ism" and "ist" One is a philosophical argument the other is a belief. This world "belief" has evolved over the years to mean many things it was not, I believe, intended to serve. Like many words, it has been hijacked from the social structure and bastardized to imply meaning to other ideas or objects.

      The Epistemological understanding of the word "belief" (are you looking Gerald, Brian?): "The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true." ~ wikipedia.

      Evidence is simply one of the assertions and not the sole priority.

      "Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge and belief. The primary problem in epistemology is to understand exactly what is needed in order for us to have true knowledge. In a notion derived from Plato's dialogue Theaetetus, philosophy has traditionally defined knowledge as "justified true belief" ~wikipedia.

      So belief doesn't have to be proved, it only has to be justified and true.

      So our job is to determine the "truth" of the argument stated in the question I posed in this debate. I have already "justified" it in my own mind and bring it to the table of discussion. You have given it "further justification" by contributing in the debate posed by the question.

      I say that Agnosticism is the middle ground because Religion has taken the stance to "believe" that God exists, and Atheism has taken the stance that God does not exist and Agnostics have taken the stance to be skeptical of either of these extremes, based on their parity or reconciliation with ideas of difference between "belief" and "knowledge".

      There is a difference between those who have a Philosophy of life and those who spend their life pursuing the Knowledge of life. And I ran out of Characters. Someone else can take over.
  • Comment deleted

  • thumb
    Sep 22 2012: Not another cult! Anybody can form a cult!
    We all have boundaries of knowing and believing in a "God". I believe most belief systems can cause a digression of the thought process; specifically by actively shunning other beliefs and/or idolizing certain people. Blind faith in science seems crazier than blind faith in religion if you ask me. Neither should be allowed to stagnate and where it does is where you'll see people who lash out.
    • thumb
      Sep 22 2012: I've said this often Justin. Astronauts have blind faith in Science every time they leave the earth. Not all astronauts are scientists they didn't design the vehicle they have faith will work as designed. Sometimes it doesn't and we've seen the results on the news.

      Blind faith is something you have to put on the line sometimes, especially if your faced with something that could do you great harm. With a cop or soldier, it's blind faith in the fact their weapon will work when needed.

      I see you live in NC. I live in the state below you in Georgia, Canton. Do you sail?
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: It takes a sort of daredevil mentality to get on something with that many tons of jet fuel. It has to be quite a journey not for the feign of heart. I haven't spent much time on a sailboat, John, but I do live by the intracoastal waterway.
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: agnostic = coward atheist

    there are no people on earth who would be equally agnostic to god, vishnu and zeus. most agnostics would happily agree that zeus does not exist, nor vishnu. they are agnostic only about god. the reason being, of course, is they don't dare to piss off the intolerant religious friends, family members and other people around them.
    • Sep 21 2012: Krisztian, I dont totally disagree with you, as i do not have much of a doubt that zeus did not exist, nor do I think Yehway exists, nor do I think any dogma that theism touts has an ounce of credibility outside of metaphor. I however, have my questions about a pantheistic God. If its one things humans naturally do it is to claim we know! we know this is true! and how many times has this turned out to be completely false. There are a vast amount of variables in regards to trusting the senses, I think the only thing one really accomplishes, when one claims to know if God does or does not exist, is a reduction in anxiety and a feeling of control.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Hi Brian,

        Usually, when a scientist proposes a new idea, it is not done in the form of a claim that it is "absolutely true".

        Some people following a concept called relativism assert that there is no absolute truth. And they quickly try to extend this concept to science by saying that what it is true today may be false tomorrow. It is indeed a common misconception

        Today it is known that the shape of the earth is not flat but almost spherical. But some relativists would have me believe that tomorrow it could be found that the earth's form is actually a cube, or a pyramid!

        I invite you to read this dissertation by Isaac Asimov, that tries to explain the way in which science considers an assertion to be right or wrong and the way new knowledge compares to old knowledge.

        http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

        Science is not an open field where every theory today can be turned heads down tomorrow. The way science advances is by taking the previous theory and finding the narrow band of cases where the theory and data do not agree... and then a new theory is proposed that accounts for those discrepancies. But the new theory is identical to the old theory when discussing the cases where there was no prior disagreement with the data

        cheers
        • Sep 21 2012: Andres i understand this is true and never claimed it wasn't..... This is why I have my questions about a pantheistic concept of God and do not have questions about the laws of physics which science has clearly demonstrated to be true.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Agnostic = someone who believes that being open-minded is more important than thinking.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: open minded to bad ideas ... what a terrible idea
      • Sep 22 2012: Gerald, you cant claim to know that a God, or gods, the concept of a creator of the big bang did not exist. Can you?
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: That is true, I can't. Because I have no idea what you are talking about. I could only refute you if you told me more about this concept of a creator... the boring technical details about it.
          Until then, I'm not even discussing it, or even considering it. And why should I?
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: You've polled them all Pinter"? A very commendable feat in itself. You should be proud of your self and publish your work.
    • thumb
      Sep 28 2012: @ Krisztian Pinter

      Oh boy.
      What a dumb thing to say.

      Theists: "I'm sure God exists". Atheists and agnostics ask "prove it!"
      Atheists: "I'm sure God does not exist". Agnostics ask "prove it!".

      I'm agnostic and although I'd say I'm 99% sure God does not exist, I don't rule out the possibility of.. It's not because men sent a man on the moon a couple of years ago that we know and understand everything

      As Bertrand Russel said: "The problem with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt".

      Well, I'm cocksure that I don't know much and will never rule out new things and that what you said is stupid and despising.
  • thumb

    Gail .

    • +2
    Sep 21 2012: In your original question, you say, "Scientific idea of Creationism". Creationism is not scientific. It's the OPPOSITE of scientific. It requires one to ignore science in the name of belief (faith). In a later answer to your own question, you say that you are sometimes accused of being a creationist. But in your question, you make it clear that you are.

    TECHNICALLY, you could call me an atheist, though I DO have a god-concept that bears no similarity to God of the Bible. I am not part of a "cult". Christians often think this way, but atheism is not a religion by any definition, and it is harmful to call them that because it's dishonest.

    I LOVE what has been happening in quantum mechanics. That science explains the world in a way that counters the Bible is good enough for me. The Bible was compiled by Constantine, and some very beautiful texts were deleted, and some important changes were made to the text, thus changing the story. If you read the pre KJV in koine-greek or Aramaic, the changes stand out.

    I can use math to prove that Noah's flood didn't happen as described.
    I can use quantum mechanics to show that the God of the Bible doesn't exist
    I can use geology to show that the creation didn't happen as described in Genesis
    I can use archeology, geography, historical records, and math to show that the Biblical Exodus never happened.
    I can use the bible to show how many times it contradicts itself.
    I can use the teachings of Paul & Jesus to prove that Paul is lying about Jesus' teachings.
    I can use quantum mechanics to show that Jesus and science are in agreement, and that Jesus was more of a pantheist.

    I do not close my mind to new information, but I do not dismiss what I know to be a fact about reality. When there is a question, I do not answer it with a word ("God"). I look for rational answers.

    Your understanding of what atheism is seems to be uninformed. Most American atheists are ex-christians - as I am an ex-christian.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: I beg to differ TL

      The generations of today and just after mine have probably never set foot in a church on a Sunday.We come from era's gone by,for John and you,i would say 1960 through to 69' were the growing years(it's a wild guess based on past posting info i can recall from memory) for me it was 1980 to 1990, after those years your more generally concerned with surviving.
      • thumb

        Gail .

        • 0
        Sep 21 2012: No, my world changed on April 24, 1984.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: I actually don't like using the word atheist as those of a religious demeanour give it a derogatory countenance and vis a vis it's returned in kind,it's quite interesting to watch in motion,it almost looks like we are using a form of mirror neurons with language,another take on it would be that we are actually just arguing with ourselves.

          In my first post i was referring to our teenage years where things are fuzzy but by the time we are 18-19 things gets set,whether a person continues or changes is up to the individual as they are considered adults and beyond parental guidance.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: Hello Ted Lover,

          Can I ask what event changed your world?
      • thumb

        Gail .

        • +2
        Sep 21 2012: I am convinced that our words are meant for US; therefore I talk TO me while I talk AT you. Life surely is a mirror
      • thumb

        Gail .

        • +1
        Sep 21 2012: Casey,

        That was the day my worldview crashed. A fleeting thought captured my attention. I saw an inustice occur in our legal justice system, and I thought "that's not justice - that's not even equality". Why I heard myself think those words so clearly, I'm not sure, but then I realized that there is no real freedom either. How I could have missed this having grown up at a time when women and blacks were treated like 2nd class citizens (and I was a woman)??? The awareness floored me. I reached my hand up to ask God what happened, and in a similar flash of awareness, I saw all of the contradictions and inconsistencies of my christianish worldview, and I knew that God (& evil) were a lie as well. The whole thing came tumbling down. I saw how I had been contributing to all that was wrong in our world, without knowing that I had been doing so. I no longer had an operational worldview. It was quite paralyzing. I didn't know what to do. I had no operational sense of right or wrong. I had been living a lie.

        That afternoon, I decided that I would devise a new worldview - one that would never be able to fail me because it would be fact based. Curiously, a friend stopped by less than a half hour after I made that decision. She gave me a book that she was all excited about. It talked about the recent advances in science, math, technology, and the inevitable changes that these things would do to our common philosophy.

        As soon as she left, I sat down and started reading, and I haven't stopped learning since. My life changed that day. That was the day I began my love affair with life-long learning. Today I have a new worldview. Most people think it's a rather weird one, but I've learned to trust it, AND, I've also learned that there are MANY of us who have arrived at the same conclusions from whatever circumstances led them to it.

        My hearing myself think an "unthinkable" thought caused me to pay more attention to my thoughts, emotions,, & feelings.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: You said: "No quantum physicist is a proponent of creationism. Creationism is not associated with any science.z
      I would say there are many who disagree with you and I'm positive your percentages are incorrect.

      Do you like Chocolate or Vanilla Ice cream? Are you blonde or Burnett, or Grey perhaps?

      I have grey hair with blue eyes and I like Strawberry Ice Cream.

      You said, "if god is powerless over your life (by choice or by design), what is the purpose of a god?"
      I don't know, what is the purpose of the drunk wino lying in the alley way you have never seen your entire life. If they don't have affect or impact your life in some way perhaps they have zero relevance in your mind.

      A chemist is well trained in the field of Chemistry and could be a deacon at his/her church. A computer can do chemistry and it's not even human.

      You are far from educated TL but if it make you feel better, then, with a touch of my finger, you are now educated, what ever educated means. You really should join my forum. www.moonstroller.com I find you ery interesting and likeable. Others already have joined.
      • thumb

        Gail .

        • +1
        Sep 22 2012: No quantum physicist is a proponent of creationism. Creationism is not associated with any science. It IS associated with three religions. More than 99% of quantum physicists who are studying areas that have implications regarding the existence of "God" have concluded that no such "God" exists. Most are atheists. Some are agnostic with respect to a deist type of god - which is more of an atheist view than a theist one, because if god is powerless over your life (by choice or by design), what is the purpose of a god?

        A chemist is technically a scientist, as is a biologist or a physician, but these fields do not count as exploring the god-realm. Christians LOVE to say the word "scientist" without saying what kind of scientist they are referring to. The educated among us know better.
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2012: No, the far fetched possibility I was referring to was god, not the Big Bang. Not sure how that got confused. I admit Zeus may have been responsible for the Big Bang but there are host of more attractive alternatives to consider. You use the word conjecture while I would state it as implausible bronze aged superstitious myths that have been created to fill gaps of ignorance. We flew to the moon and we flew planes into buildings, one science is responsible for, the other religion. We should know better in this day and age.
    You asked me about my god, I would lean with Einstein's interpretation or Frank Lloyd Wright's "“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” It's okay to say "I don't know" - the -Hocus Pocus- moment comes when you don't know but you pull a god out of your hat and act like you do know. That may not be formal logic as you mentioned but neither is arguing that an invisible deity who lives in a celestial Disneyland and can read your mind exists.
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2012: We are not in the bronze age Steve, yet, such conjecture continues to thrive. If you have anything to offer in the way of debate, other than your simple language stipulations then you will find it hard to relate to others here. Most of them are very smart and very logical minded.

      Don posted a video that gives an example of a very smart Prof. who argues these points quit elegantly.

      We live in a world where over two thirds of the population (that's .3 x 7 billion, to help you with the math) believe in a God. While individually, it is appropriate for one to not share this belief, to insinuate that they are stupid, ignorant and full of (Hocud-Pocus) momentum is, unfortunately, considered unlearned and unsocial behavior.

      If you go to Saudi Arabia talking this nonsense you might lose your head. :)

      Start with a simple statement about how you feel that Atheism is not cultist and should not be called a cult. It's easy. Even a child can do it.
    • Oct 4 2012: I think that John was just being facetious (or sardonic) when he exchanged "god" with "big bang" on you. There was no confusion. He seems to be playing you. Trolling. (Same he seems to do with others.)

      On the "debate." Of course atheism is not a cult. When a question is posed with such absolutism, it has thus been self-defeated. For a few or for a lot of people atheism might become their cult with dogmas, not unlike religious cults. But it is not by definition. It is not by itself. Atheism can be many things. It can be a belief system, sure, it can be a cult too. But it can also be a conclusion, or a position about rejecting until proven otherwise. It can be so many things that trying to define the whole thing into a cult is plain ignorance, and very poor logic.
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2012: Coincidently, Google and the online dictionaries define the word pretty much as I do: "a lack of knowledge". This can be pejorative if the person has the facts and clear evidence available to him but simple refuses to embrace the truth - like someone who thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old.
    Some people think this type of person is teaching religion but what he is teaching is ignorance - and yes I mean that in a very pejorative way.
    You argued that people can believe in all kinds of crazy things and you're right but they should also be prepared to be challenged when their views are forced upon society.
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2012: I agree with the Google and online dictionaries too Steve.

      What if "their" views are not "forced" on society? Is it alright to have views that differ with society?

      Is it possible that you're ignorant of the teachings of Religion? How many books have you read about Religion? How many different religions have you studied?

      How old is the earth...... exactly?
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2012: Sure, I'm ignorant on a lot of things, like everyone else.
        Your argument seems to be that there are things we don't understand so god is a possibility. Yes, that's true but it's a far fetched possibility and like I mentioned in my other post any god past or present could fit your argument.
        I call this the "Hocus Pocus Argument". We don't know how the Universe was create so... HOCUS POCUS... it has to be god (and my god to be specific). Very weak.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2012: Steve I get you now. The farfetched possibility you speak of is called the "Big Bang" theory.

          It is a widely held theory by many Cosmologist (Scientists who study the Cosmos). Here is a link to this Theory:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

          As to whether or not God had anything to do with it, it is a conjecture, not a theory. The difference is a conjecture is a proposition that is unproven, untestable by ordinary means.

          I've never heard of a "Hocus Pocus" argument in formal logic.

          "(and my god to be specific)~ steve Zagata

          Tell us about your God Steve.
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2012: I'm not sure what the point is of asking me how old the Earth is, do you want me to say, "I don't know, somewhere over 4 billion years old?. I'm comfortable saying "I don't know" I'm not comfortable saying "I don't know so it must be god".
        One question for you. How old do you think the Earth is?" I'm starting to think you are in that 6,000 year range and on the wrong website.
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2012: You ask me how old the Earth is… "exactly". That's a silly question. Because I respond to that you say I'm out of line? Then you call me simple minded while accusing me of improper etiquette? (and comically using bad grammar in doing so). I stand by my comments and challenge you to point to one where I used foul language, called you names or personally attacked you in the way you have me.

        I do discuss the immoral side of religion and I will continue to question aspects of it that harms society. Many people, because they are so tied to an erroneous doctrine will lash out when exposed to the illogic of their beliefs. I understand that and have compassion for them. They may have been programmed since an early age and lack the critical thinking skills to work things out.

        I also understand that you did not mean to be condescending by asking what's "maxism" when clearly the author meant marxism. Or when you cut and paste definitions of easily understood terms like "Big Bang" or "Atheist" or when you ask how many books someone has read.

        So if you think I am exhibiting "stupidity and rancorous postulations" as you so kindly stated I will leave you to "your topic area" so you can continue bullying people that don't agree with you.

        You may want to flag this as you threatened, but after reading your comments you may also want to go flag yourself.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2012: Occasionally, Steve I do flag myself by deleting my comments. I am just as given over to human emotional disfunctionality as anyone else.

          Personally, I think, ideologically speaking, you and have more similar ideas than opposing ideas.

          If I have overstated or understated your comments, by inference, I apologize. I think if we can find middle ground and we spend some time together, this feeling of difference will fade away.

          Chin is a virtual friend of mine. I meant him no disrespect. I wanted to suppose he meant Marxism but wanted to be sure before I answered his question. He is just learning to speak English and making remarkable progress.

          I'll put it this way. I am not a creationist but I am open to the discussion of things relating to the scientific ideas of a creator, a super scientist alien, perhaps on the level of a Class III civilization, as delineated by Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku. Such a civilization would have eradicated disease, mortality, and not necessarily be tied to material reality as we are. We are not yet a class I civilization because of the way we derive and manipulate our energy sources.


          I am not a practicing religious person, but I maintain a sense of spiritualism that is more meditative than dogmatic, more communicative than focus. If I were likened to a device it would be a SETI radio antenna. :)

          I don't accept the dogma of any religious organization nor do I accept the dogma of Atheism.

          I don't like to disrespect the arguments of others, I like to entertain myself with them in the hopes of learning or widening the scope of my perspective on reality.

          I hope this explanation helps us to draw closer together as respective members of an open-minded community.
  • thumb
    Oct 2 2012: John would you agree that if there are gods or goddesses we dont seem to have a reliable way to know anything about them?
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2012: Yes. Obey. On the surface it appears that way.

      I often wonder, if we rewind the Universe all the way back to the singularity, what lies beyond? If "our" laws of Physics can only be applied to a Universe with "our" particular physical peculiarities and they disintegrate at or inside of it's event horizon, how can we describe what lies beyond?

      My answer is we can't describe it with Science, only conjecture.

      "A conjecture is a proposition that is unproven. Karl Popper pioneered the use of the term "conjecture" in scientific philosophy.[1] Conjecture is contrasted by hypothesis (hence theory, axiom, principle), which is a testable statement based on accepted grounds. In mathematics, a conjecture is an unproven proposition that appears correct.[2]"

      So how can a conjecture be applied to describing what lies on the other side of a singularity?

      If we agree the singularity existed, is it plausible to suppose reasons for it's existence? With some people this reason is God. In fact, there is no reasonable scientific explanation basis by which we can fashion a conjecture about the singularity other than:
      1. It's gravity or force of containment is so strong it can contain an entire universe in a single point of position within an unknown framework.
      2. Equilibrium implies a state of stability created by balanced forces.
      3. It can be destabilized out of equilibrium to give up it's contents.

      It is at this point in the argument of existence that the ideas of the atheist disappear because science disappears, but the ideas of the agnostic can continue to be expressed and stipulated.

      These three points lead to one question:
      1. What is the the framework that contains the singularity?
      2. What kind of force to you need to destabilize a singularity to give up it's contents?

      Why is God a good conjecture? Because there is no other explanation offered.
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2012: You set the bar low for this argument. Not only can any god; Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Janus, etc be used for your analogy but any other figure the imagination can conjure up would suffice, as long as he, she or it is invisible.
        All you're stating is "I don't know how this happened so it must be god"
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2012: Steve, I gave you many things to think about and all you come back with is:

          "Not only can any god; Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Janus, etc be used for your analogy but any other figure the imagination can conjure up would suffice, as long as he, she or it is invisible."

          Actually, I was writing to Obey.

          I don't see this analogy you are speaking of. I did mention a "Reason" that may apply to "some" people. But you appear to be taking it for granted that "some" people includes me specifically.

          Have I misinterpreted your comment and you are relying to something else?
      • thumb
        Oct 4 2012: The edge of science may start with conjecture and then look for hypothesises to test. And if these fit the facts then a coherent theory may develop. This in turn may be improved and refined or less likely completely overturned if improvements are found.

        Some conjecture about the origins of the universe or self replicating molecules and life seems reasonable.

        Gods or goddesses are one diverse group of supernatural explanations for things people do not understand. It's just I don't give them much weight.

        When you get to the essential crux, we don't know, the universe is complex for our monkey brains, we evolved to assume agency, we mostly grew up surrounded by superstitious religions, astrology etc. For some assuming a god is comfortable assumption.

        For me it is basically saying its magic.

        Gods might be more compelling conjecture if there was anything to indicate their actual existence. If there was anything concrete we could say about their nature. If there was anything to indicate that magic or god was a better explanation than we don't know.

        I don't know how gravity works. I can use Newtons calcs. I'm familiar with proposals involving gravitational force carriers that move at the speed of light, but I don't really comprehend how it works, in the same way I can comprehend something more human in scale. By your approach, anything we don't know is a good reason to imagine gods or magic is involved.

        I disagree.

        I don't absolutely discount the possibility, but I disagree.

        Re: "Why is God a good conjecture? Because there is no other explanation offered." If some people want to adhere to this approach that is their choice. But I disagree. Resorting to gods or magic for which there is no evidence, just as gap fillers is a poor path to better understanding.
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2012: "By your approach, anything we don't know is a good reason to imagine gods or magic is involved." ~Obey No1kinobe

          Obey in the model I presented about the singularity, God is just another name for the unknown destabilizing force. It is a settling description for some and others are happy to simply call it the unknown.

          By the same argument for conjecturing God as a solution, you could substitute the word unknown. It does not change the fact it is the limit of Human knowledge, which was my point.

          This point is made to augment the idea anyone can claim there is no God, but no one can prove it. To be party to a club that has no hope of proof is a waste of time.

          Hence, people are never born atheists because there are no atheists in the sense they can prove God does not exist. It remains an open question for debate. However, the idea that atheists exist.... is closed in my mind. To believe in something that only causes a group of people to be exclusive and locked in their ideas and notions is still a cult and Atheism, fits this description.


          Magic is tricks not forces of nature and therefore cannot be used to compare a real or possibly existing force with simple sleight of hand.

          I don't use magic in discussions such as these to describe phenomenon that I don't understand, but I do use it in the parlor sometimes when playing cards.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2012: The best argument you seem to have for supernatural gods and spirits and angels and valkaries and various forms of afterlife is you cant disprove their existence because they are magic.

    That puts these beliefs alongside any claim you can not prove. Great.

    Then you mention that religious beliefs may be useful. Well they can also be harmful. Neither utility or harm goes to the issue of being true or false.

    Then you mention we don't have answers for everything. Or that you can not imagine natural processes resulting in life where most animals survives by eating other living things. So out of the argument from ignorance, there must be some god or gods or goddesses. In fact because it is totally subjective there is jsut as likely 40,999,888,123 gods involved in creating the universe as there is one. And we still haven't got any understanding of how they did it, and you still have no cause for them. You may assume they didn't need a cause, which is special pleading because you make this exception for them but not for the natural universe.

    You are left with millions of contradictory and subjective supernatural religious and spiritual beliefs that may or may not be useful, but definitely at best are all false but for one. And this one truth may be something humans have not imagined.

    If you look at the history of the contradictory religions they were nearly all started by men. A couple like Christian Science, by women.

    You suggest we may never know the truth about god. I agree. Especially if gods don't exist. Especially if there is no evidence for them or any reliable information about them. Its a subjectivesoup

    Then we have some unproven miracles. We have so called miracles today, but not one amputated limb grown back. Not one case of down syndrome being healed.

    Seriously if someone claim to earth claim to be the creator and made another moon I would take notice.

    As it stands it seems not believing theist claims that they know things they seemingly don't is reasbl
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: An hour and twenty three minute lecture? some break.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: I say that you are off topic posting a video about exploring "the legitimacy of miracles and their supernatural implications."
          Glad you are busy looking for truth. From what I viewed of the video you posted you may need to remain busy.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: Actually I am open to other explanations. The multi-Universe idea is intriguing, the idea of living in a computer simulation cannot be disproved and is worth consideration. I just don't give much credence to a bronze aged superstition based on outdated myths. Still if evidence revealed itself I would have to consider the possibility. It may be you who is stuck in one system of explanation. You believe what you believe because you were born at a certain time in a certain place brought up by certain people. Most people don't find religion, religion finds them. Let's face it, the claims for religion - virgin births, waking the dead, levitation, talking snakes, etc. is pretty far out there and you have zero proof.
          You seem like a decent enough gent so don't be taken aback by other views. This is an open conversation on the subject not simply a repository of one's views.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: I agree Steve. No proof.

          I note there are Indian gurus living today who many thousands believe are doing miracles similar to Jesus.

          Imagine is Jesus had created a 5 km high monument made from some exotic alloy that still existed today. That would be impressive.

          Imagine if all the amputated limbs of soldiers were healed. That would be impressive. Seems miracles don't have the power to regrow limbs or cure down syndrome. Lame.

          And even if they did occur, and would warrant examination, they don't prove the claims of being the creator god of the universe. They don't make the bible factual in total.

          Now if Jesus created a few extra planets that would indicate he may have had the ability to create much of the universe.

          But what do we get. Loaves and fishes created from loaves and fishes. That's the sort of creation miracle we see described in the bible, again with no proof.

          Odd that there are no known extra biblical references to Jesus made while he was alive, let alone miracles. Even the new testament was written decades after he lived. Pretty poor in terms of evidence for the theist claims regarding the creator of the universe, supposedly with some very important consequences - ie Yahweh/Jesus will kindly send us to eternal punishment if we get it wrong.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: 1. Science does not define the Limits of rationality.
      "You can speak of the ethics of science but you can't speak of ethics with science" ~Albert Einstein
      The car is a device invented with scientific knowledge but the knowledge came from the Agent, Henry Ford, et all.
      Alludes to the idea, who is the agent of creation?
      Science can, of itself, do nothing. Science is a creation of the mind.


      Excellent video Don, Thanks for the contribution. You have led me to myself. :)
      • thumb
        Oct 2 2012: Yet we can usually tell instantly whether something is natural or created by human agency.

        Yet nature seems to run fine without any obvious agency.

        And who created your creator. And who created the creator of the creator. You go around it circles until you assume that something didn't need a creative agency.

        On ethics I have a slightly different view to the quote. Ethical and moral analysis as best we know are human endeavours. Religion was/is one human technology used in part to convey morality, generally by assumed divine command. My god orders us to kill homosexuals and adulterers so this is good.

        While science is not the appropriate vehicle for discerning sensible ethical constructs it does inform us about ourselves and the universe. Combined with reason and evidence we can try and construct frameworks of human bestowed rights and responsibility without bundling them up in religion.

        In fact if Yahweh described in the old testament is real, what a monster. What he is supposed to have commanded and did is not moral unless you fall back to divine command theory.

        Why is it good to kill homosexuals and adulterers? Why is it good to slay the Canaanites and Ammonites etc. Was this god moral when he murdered every man women and child in the great flood? Was it moral for him to pick one tribe as his chosen people. Is it moral of him to eternally punish and torment other conscious beings. Other than divine command, how is this so.

        If a human did these things outside of a religious framework would they be good?

        Religion is a very flawed technology for moral and ethical analysis.
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: Hi Peter,

    I would suggest anything could be made into a cult, but most that I have heard of have a leader or leader who claim some divine or supernatural right for their position and for the cult so I guess it may be more difficult when your position is that there is no supernatural or divine being..

    I'd certainly suggest atheism isn't a cult as it is just a position on whether the is a god or not, nothing more. If some people who hold that position take a too strong a view or position that doesn't change the view point or it's validity. I expect you wouldn't want your entire religion judged because a few extremists under that banner may become a cult or go too far?
  • Sep 29 2012: I cannot fully agree with you. I have known many atheist and I'm an atheist myself. Before you place a judgement (I think that's a bit too late), I would like to say that atheist in general are against irrational and illogical statements. I am also a scientist and I know how science works and the all its gaps. However science is a process of logic thought and experimentation. It is not correct for scientists to believe that whatever "science" says is the absolute truth. Science inquiry and the ability to question everything in a logical manner is part of being a scientist. But there are facts that science has helped determine and that we use in our daily life. Those can be treated as truth, like the force of gravity, evolution, and the speed of light.

    Atheist do not believe in god because its existence is just not logical. It does not compute in any logical manner. And the fact that they don't believe in god does not mean they don't believe in human values like respect, love, friendship, cooperation, etc. We, atheist, don't need a god to blame for whatever happens to us, or to pray to when we are in a bad situation, or to regulate our behavior because logic itself is enough for us to decide how to act.

    I don't think science or atheism are dogmas. One is a process of understanding the word using logic. The other one is the lack of a belief of god or gods.

    That was just my opinion...and I would like to excuse myself for any grammatical error since English is not my native language.

    Cheers!
  • thumb
    Sep 26 2012: I honestly hate the argument "atheism is not a belief system, because you cannot possess a lack of belief"

    Ridiculous, only babies can truly 'lack' the anticipation of God, rather atheism is the rejection of God - because clearly you are aware of the option of theism v. atheism. Atheism is a belief system, or rather a quality of belief - atheistic perspective. Personally, the whole theism, atheism, gnostic, agnostic way of looking at things is pretty shallow when considering the central point of these arguments - religion. Deity worship is not the only concern of religion.

    Also, reading some of these post, I need to state very clearly:

    There is a very REAL cultural movement involved in neo-atheism (tendencies of being militant and authoritative in arguments). Many of you may reject the word 'religion' as having positive connotations, but that is the reality of the situation. New Age Atheism is becoming a religious movement, and it would be better if the unorganized practitioners would organize - Neoatheism would be a great religious movement to form; government recognition is important for whole groups of people to get their demands. Think of the smaller groups of minorities whom have representation politically.

    It's dumb to reject the ideals of religion (what it is, provides and contributes to culture/society). In cognitive science, theory suggest religious thinking is innate feature to our cognition development to be social creatures. We cannot escape recognizing ourselves with groups, we need to in order to have a self identity. How can you know your knowledge is justifiable, true or a solid belief if you do not have authority to rely on?

    Lastly,

    Everyone has belief systems, I am tired of hearing the argument 'I do not have beliefs' - just nonsense...

    The phrase 'belief system' does not entail purely religion. In fact religion is a composition of multiple belief systems - faith, dogmas, rituals, metaphysical concerns...
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2012: "I honestly hate the argument "atheism is not a belief system, because you cannot possess a lack of belief"~ Micholas Lukowiak,

      Good intro.

      "Personally, the whole theism, atheism, gnostic, agnostic way of looking at things is pretty shallow when considering the central point of these arguments - religion. Deity worship is not the only concern of religion."

      True.

      "Neoatheism would be a great religious movement to form; government recognition is important for whole groups of people to get their demands. Think of the smaller groups of minorities whom have representation politically. "

      Good point.

      "The phrase 'belief system' does not entail purely religion. In fact religion is a composition of multiple belief systems - faith, dogmas, rituals, metaphysical concerns..."

      Excellent conclusion.

      Thank you very much.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: l was looking to challenge any self proclaimed atheist, not praise John!

        But thank you sir!
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Sensitive you are.... I wish I could take my thumbs up back now.

          I hope you are talking about the Book of John and not me. :)

          Thank you sir.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Always good to be challenged in honest peaceful debate.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: One can learn more from challenging than accepting! That is all!
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: I challenged a guy in a parking lot once and learned I couldn't whip everybody's butt.

          Sometimes we think we are bigger and more powerful than everyone else. Sometimes, an attitude adjustment is all we need to bring that reality into proper perspective.

          Good luck on your adventure. Nicholas.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: I feel no pride in correcting semantics of those who argue in the atheist mindset...

        In fact it disturbs me, why are these bright people falling into semantic traps? Ignoring how the history of words developed to where they are today. Elitism seems to be apart of the atheist movement and that should not be apart of it... So I guess I am being anti-elitist by my challenge to the atheist on this conversation.

        But your words are wise and accepted/appreciated.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Very well, I give you full access. Please don't hurt anyone feelings. Be respectful, put yourself in others shoes.

          I have a forum too and I just sent a message to someone asking them to handle the questions about Islam that some members ask. If you have time, drop by if you feel the need to explain your religion and you have the time to drop by once in a while and do the question answer thing.

          Later, John.
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2012: Great response Nicholas, I guess I must try to answer your call from an atheist/agnostic point of view and see where this may lead us

      Let us, for a moment, turn this conversation to Santa Claus. Babies indeed lack the anticipation of Santa Claus, and it is only when their caregivers bring it up that they develop a "belief" in him.

      For some of us... by the time we grow a little more... (and here comes the spoiler), we learn that our "belief" was somewhat misplaced. Some of us become aClausists... because we no longer hold the old belief. Our "belief" turns into a different kind of understanding: Santa does indeed perform a very noble function, and we do not go out and start telling five year old kids that their belief is something wrong. We recognize all the good things that can spawn from Santa, and we even continue teaching him to youngsters generation after generation.

      But deep down, we know a little better. We know that things are not the way we initially believed.

      If you don't want to call this a "lack of belief in Santa", well so be it. I am still calling myself an aClausist.

      There are many people out there that never even talk to their kids about Santa. Not sure they qualify as New Age, but they are indeed adamant about not even teaching about him anymore.

      I do not hold that position though. I followed suit and my kids knew Santa for years until they figured things out on their own.

      Do i think that, prior to me figuring this out, there was a real Santa out there? Do I look back and marvel at my power, being that Santa sudenly ceased to be who he was and all due to my individual conversion? Do i switch and start telling myself that Santa only exists for people who believe in him? Actually, I don't think there was a supernatural Santa before i became aClausist... i just think now that older people were nice enough to let me be a kid for a few more years. And I am sure thankful for that

      cheers
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: No, no I fully consider the lack of belief in Santa is still a belief, because like you said it becomes a constructed belief. The premeditation of a claim to knowledge and rejecting it, is still a belief.

        The argument around 'aClausist' is immediately deceiving. Santa isn't a major foundation for 5 billion people in religious practices.

        It is not about 'lacking' it is about 'rejecting'. With the anticipation of knowing you have options and denouncing one is rejecting.

        Atheist do not lack a belief in God, they reject the belief in God. If anything they choose to lack the belief, which is still rejecting.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: It's starting to sound a bit like semantics. In the context of god and religion, a belief means something much more than a hunch. A belief in the existence of god is the absolute basis for a religious individual. So in that particular sense, the hunch that there is no god and the belief that there is god are definitely not in the same category

          For a religious person, it would be catastrophic to be proven wrong, not simply a small adjustment to his/her world view, but catastrophic indeed. where as i don't really consider much of an issue if my hunch turns out to be incorrect. As far as my world view, it's relevance would be quite limited.

          Yes, i use two distinct words (belief vs. hunch) to highlight this difference. So i think that putting those two "beliefs" as if they were equally meaningful, is what is deceiving.

          Seems that you think 5 billion people cannot be wrong about something while a few billion less (people who grew up believing in santa, or tooth fairy, or ghosts), well, they can be a little bit more wrong.

          That is the issue i have with relativism. It attempts to imply that all alternatives weight equally, and hence not only none of them should be discarded, but they should be given equal validity. But i assure you, no amount of prayer can make the shape of the moon suddenly to become a cube

          I would be interested to read why is aClausist deceiving argument, and what is the real difference between rejecting my previous belief and lacking one in the present.

          cheers
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: To the child Santa and god are both just as real.

          I suggest both are human constructs.

          There are also preachers who do not believe what they preach, but are stuck.

          Suggest gods and goddesses are the similar constructs to tooth fairy and Santa, except adults continue to believe in their different gods. The probable delusion is maintained.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: You're confusing faith and belief - which definitively are different. In every dictionary you find.

        It would not be a belief in God, it would be faith in God, for a fundamentalist of religious practice.

        Rejecting the word 'belief' (which also includes 'hunches' and 'valued thoughts') is fine and dandy as long as you recognize they are unavoidable in our subjective pursuits of exploring the world. We cannot know what is objective without first recognizing the subjective alternatives and dispositions in which allow objectivity to exist. A belief not simple a single unit of thought, but could be multiple. The belief in astrological energies for example depend on a large amount of beliefs. The evolutionary psychology paradigm is dependent on beliefs shared within scientific communities to be defended as the proper method to pursue research - rather than purely structuralism, behaviorism, etc.

        I never suggest 5 billion people are correct based on their belief, but rather I suggest one of their major dogmas in foundation is not Santa Claus but in God. To be atheist is to reject God, thus rejecting the faith of 5 billion people.

        I in no way suggested alternative mindsets to be weighed equally, but rather recognizing where alternatives derive from is important to considering what is the grounds for debate - this one being religion, theism, atheism and now belief v. faith issues.

        You are not lacking the belief in Santa, you rejected it, plain and simple. You consciously choose to not believe in Santa, you do not have to, but you so choose.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Fair enough... faith and belief are not exactly the same (though in practical terms they are not used much differently; just ask a random sample of believers what the difference is and you will find them pointing reciprocally between the two). And i did check a few dictionaries and they are a bit confused too.

          But i will use your distinction. My major was physics, so i must admit that i am much more ignorant in other fields. And english is my second language, so i have been known to confuse english words. Part or my confusion comes from the fact that the verb "to believe" is something subjective, whereas the particular meaning of "belief" (noun) that you are focusing here is closer to "dogma" which I agree is not subjective.

          So the god dogma is something outside of me, something that others can grab and hold on to (like a rope in the middle of the ocean) and i chose not to hold on to. (so far so good?)

          But when i say that somebody believes the bible to be literal, is he just holding to a smaller dogma? (since less people seem to hold on to that rope)

          Then i can follow your argument a step further and state that the belief in santa would be another dogma that eventually we chose to reject

          So if i may ask... have you rejected the santa dogma? what does that mean in terms of the objective reality outside of you?... in your opinion, is santa physically possible? if your answer is no, then do you think that someone who has not rejected the santa dogma has faith in something physically impossible? I lack that faith.

          Maybe the world out there does not really exist and we can only live within our own perception, open to the possibility that others may live in a world completely different. Such speculations are great for coffee afternoons, but useless if we want to design a machine that can fly people from LA to Seattle. There are physical qualities that you and I share, and we can build up from there a "dogma" of science that doesn't require a concept of god to work
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Well faith and belief are related.

          Isn't faith basically belief without much evidence or even in the face of conflicting evidence.

          To be an atheist is rejecting god beliefs not people in total. It is a contrary position for sure.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: How about we avoid the nonsense related to Santa Claus example?

        There is no Santa dogma to reject, rather the tradition of telling children about Santa Claus in order to behave good for presents, yes I reject those cultural norms. If those cultural norms create a dogma worthy enough to you, to be labeled one, yes I reject it.

        However replace your series of questions with something more substantial: God.

        First you have to define the terms of God in which you are asking that I reject. Judea God? Yes. That means ideas of God that exist in the history of religion do not necessarily derive from literal translation of scripture, but also cultural norms and constructions. Therefore I must never assume that God means the Judea God, and also does not necessarily equate to an omni-being, but perhaps energy, life force and/or everything. God-like entities are physically possible; consciousness has been considered energy-like since the beginning of Western philosophy, perhaps the ideal is not too far fetched. Depending on the terms in which God exist, they may or may not be possible. I approached this with an ignostic attitude.

        Your final statement avoids responsibility of what is in debate and concern here. Science is not apart of this dispute nor it is the opposite of religion in any manner. In fact enterprise-ship of both religion and science can be comparable, but then separated at belief modulation and thought construction.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: You can completely ignore my santa example, Nicholas. Sometimes i use artifacts during my replies that probably only make sense to me.... If i keep going back to it is because it highlights one of our fundamental disagreements: I do consider the tradition of god simply as a tool to help people to behave good, very similar to the tradition of santa for children. You obviously consider god in a whole different category.

          And i don't blame you for that. Many philosophers have seriously studied the question of god over thousands of years. But please don't blame me either, the vast majority of physicists have departed from that topic of study in the last couple hundred years.

          So you ask me to leave santa behind and address the more substantial topic of god. Ok then. But for the record, i was having some fun.

          I was not asking you to reject god in any particular terms. If anything, i was trying to trace my own steps from someone brought up as catholic, realizing one day that metaphors are quite effective for teaching good lessons, and then concluding that the important thing is the application of these lessons in our daily interaction with other people. The metaphor can be left behind once we have learned the lesson. Even more, the same lesson can be taught using different metaphors.

          if the metaphor of god is that "energy" or "entity" in charge of those things that we cannot explain scientifically, then it is indeed a receding and diminishing god. I may not need to reject it, just decide on how small my margin of error should be

          thank you for taking the time to read through all this

          cheers
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: - God has multiple categories - many interpretations of God exist, not just the Judea God

        - How 'some' believe in God could be considered a story to keep people in line, but not universally. Whether they accept that bias in thought (a fear driven thought) or not, is based on a level of rationality as well as their individual definition of God.

        The Santa to God parallel is an atheist trend of argumentation. It holds no real substance in religious studies, rather to prove a point based on predisposed beliefs - that God is automatically a being that can be described, measured and accounted for in one thought; that simply avoids a lot of realities in the topic at hand. The topic being rejection of beliefs. How can you reject every thought of God? Biased thinking - now the question for yourself; is that bias necessarily negative?

        God is hardly a metaphor, rather a dogmatic belief involved in the foundation of multiple religions.

        Science being apart of the argument... A dictated pattern of argument in my comment to Obey as being a neoatheistic position. There is no evidence of either existence or lack of existence, so why go outside philosophy?

        I ignored the Santa Claus example because it is unsubstantial. Want to discuss the relationship of man to God - talk about it, don't add what is believed to be a comparable story. Santa Claus is historically, culturally and dogmatically not equated to God. Rather a social construct for children to behave... perhaps even one that was created in order to easily associate those fear factors into the next step of a Judea God. However, ignoring the other interpretations of God is corrosive to the major topic here: religious belief.

        So thank you, for providing evidence that Atheism is moving into the religious spectrum of thought.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: It is the first time i read that the santa to god parallel is an atheist trend... i did make up that example on the fly, but i must have the exact same bias as other atheists (namely common sense).

          You are absolutely right on the interpretation of the scientific view of god: there is no evidence of the existence or lack of existence, so science (in particular physics) simply drops god as one of its subjects of study

          I could say back that the elusive, multifaceted, impossible to delimit god, is a new-theistic trend of argumentation. It holds no real substance to the physical world out there, so i am happy to leave it within the domain of philosophy.

          ====
          But now i realize that our disagreement is one of basic group theory. You see philosophy as the study of everything, physical and metaphysical, and hence god fits nicely and quite highly into the field of study of philosophy. Physical sciences only deal with a subgroup of the entire field of study of Philosophy, but there is no question on which group contains which.

          I see it backwards. Physics can explain chemistry, and chemistry can explain biology, and a combination of physics, chemistry and biology can explain the brain processes. This in turn can explain other subsets of brain processes like emotions, perception, memory, and one of these processes happens to be the conscious human mind. From this perspective, god is only a small subset of the subset called conscious human mind, which itself is a subset... well, you get the point

          So it is no wonder that when i dismiss god, i don't feel like i am really dismissing much, whereas you seem to take it as dismissing something vast and way beyond the physical world
          ======
          There is something that must acknowledge, though: there are no sacred dogmas in our collective knowledge of the physical sciences. Every piece of knowledge is fair game. I think that, even if small, is the key difference with the religious spectrum of thought
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: That's right many gods.
          Many interpretations and dogmas even with a single god tradition.
          So most religious beliefs must be wrong. In fact they could all be wrong.

          Let's say one specific interpretation is correct. What are the chances for a theist that they have the right one. And compare this to the dogmatic certainty many have that their particular sect has the truth.

          I'm much more on board with those who admit up front that they don't know for sure and don't push their sects morals etc on others.

          Santa Claus, elves and fairies can be useful illustrations or parallels for religion. Kids are credulous, they are easily indoctrinated. People can easily imagine agency. Go sit in a cave for a week and it is not hard to imagine a presence of god in a form reflecting your culture. Also it demonstrates how religion or Santa are cultural constructs. Human constructs.

          It's not the whole story. Humans seem to have evolved to have psychological experiences interpreted through religious paradigms for example that are used to validate a whole lot of dogma. I felt the presence of god, so the bible must be true. Or the Koran. Or whatever.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: https://www.google.com/search?q=aclausist&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

        Yes, you sporadically created the same term of aClausist and crafted the same exact arguments as hundreds of people prior to you.
        _______

        Ah, too bad science is no where near mapping out the brain - to the point where they are turning to holistic methods, including the Buddhist mapping involved with eddies and energy cycles. It is going to take a good while of theory making and breaking to get close in my life time.

        However, interestingly enough, I have been reading a wonderful journal about religious mindsets:

        Religious thought and behaviour as by-products of brain function - Pascal Boyer

        Abstract: Religious concepts activate various functionally distinct mental systems, present also in non-religious contexts, and ‘tweak’ the usual inferences of these systems. They deal with detection and representation of animacy and agency, social exchange, moral intuitions, precaution against natural hazards and understanding of misfortune. Each of these activates distinct neural resources or families of networks. What makes notions of supernatural agency intuitively plausible? This article reviews evidence suggesting that it is the joint, coordinated activation of these diverse systems, a supposition that opens up the prospect of a cognitive neuroscience of religious beliefs.

        From this perspective the God-idea could be a driving force behind why people believe in their religion as well as are concerned with preserving their traditions. Going beyond rationality itself, but being an instinctual behavior we all share in some dimension.

        This above nature of thought we have appears to be attached to metaphysical concerns; nature beyond our immediate understanding. Yet, this concern of God is subset of a subset in consciousness? Wrong. Stick to physics.

        - Ultimately you feel your bias is not negative, fine. But in multicultural rationality it is a bias of thought
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: I was disappointed to find only 301 google results. But that number probably makes the number of people who calls themselves aclausist into the hundreds, yes.

          I have not encountered any articles about this buddhist mapping with eddies and energy cycles... or any other "holistic" approach to study the brain. And believe me, i do read a bunch of those articles. Do you consider that one article, or two or ten mean that brain science has given up and is "turning to holistic methods"?

          I'll be really interested in reading Pascal Boyer and that relation between religious thought and brain function. I can always be proven wrong!

          No need to reaffirm the advice... I know that i don't even make a lousy philosopher. Nor do i want to become one... For the most part i do stick to physics (although here i am playing you my trick again, since to me everything including consciousness and perception is physics down below)

          Yes... new age atheism as you describe sounds exactly like a religion: namely just a different unquestionable belief. It is easy to make the case for it if you narrow down the definition in that way. But then you jump to the conclusion that all atheists hold the same belief. I think that you are falling prey to what some call "the illusion of asymmetric insight", which is the feeling that we know better than others about their own ideas or beliefs.

          As in religious people, not all atheists are cut the same... and for someone who seems to lean heavily on a relativistic worldview, your generalization regarding all atheists seems to me pretty black and white
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Odd, Buddhism and Cognitive Science are two tags I find often together.

        Also, no, not reverting to holistic practices but rather looking in alternative places for theories, because ours fall sort in the existing paradigms of psychology.

        The majority of those who label themselves atheist tend to hold similar traditions in belief modulation. As denoted in my comment to Obey.

        My generalizations are just that, general. Meaning I am looking at the majority not everyone.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Odd indeed, i guess the people who write blogs or tweets is not the same as the people who conducts actual research and publishes papers.. or maybe the intersection is a small one? group theory again

          I tried to learn what is belief modulation but could not find any info about it... is that a term you coined? what is the concept?

          Indeed Nicholas i use generalizations too. But the devil is in the details (forgive the pun), and that the true beauty of humanity is in the details too

          Nothing wrong in using generalities, as long as we don't pretend that by grasping those we get much more than a cognitive heuristics
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: No, what is odd was your inability to research such a claim...

        http://www.smith.edu/philosophy/documents/AskNot.pdf (Journal, not a blog)
        http://www.voicesfromoxford.org/B-S-Introduction.html (a seminar about science and Buddhism)

        Also there are organizations of such practitioners with the anticipation Buddhism can give light to mental activities

        http://www.mindandlife.org/

        Belief modulation is more or less not a real term but the idea of it resides in intelligence theory. What becomes structured thinking is based on multiple modules and vice versa. Note: Intelligence theory is really problematic today, even quantum consciousness paradigms asks more questions than they express in explanation. That being said, I feel the entire theory of the above, is missing major marks on cognition.

        Sorry but there are real attributes to a group's thought patterns and having highlighted them (below in the address toward Obey), does suggest that they can be further investigated in detail. Such as the Aclausist argumentative being a formal argument for many atheist. Or even the overstatement of science and religion as far as etymological realities.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Never said that there were no papers written on the subject of buddhism and cognitive science, and yes, my search abilities are above average at best. I was assessing the frequency of those two "tags" together, since you claimed it is "often" (not sure if that means certain percentage or if it was just a generalization)

          The first article you pointed is pretty good. I certainly agree with this, quoted from it:
          "I emphasize it only because we hear a lot about how much Buddhism has to teach cognitive science, how the truths of classical Buddhist metaphysics and philosophy of mind are finally being confirmed in the laboratory, and this work is often cited as evidence. But while this literature shows that Buddhism can provide data to neuroscience, for instance, regarding the particular regions of the brain involved in, or transformed by meditation, it does not demonstrate that Buddhist doctrine tells cognitive science anything"

          I think that you will agree that these article and the seminar hardly qualify as a demonstration that the entire field of cognitive science is turning away from the "shortness of their existing paradigms" to fully embrace holistic methods, but rather science will explore pretty much every avenue in parallel when a topic is still not fully understood

          Now you definitely got me interested with this "quantum consciousness" (for some reason i suspect they are not really talking of quantum as in quantum mechanics, the one i know about, but i shall see). i'll go do some average searches on it, and i may be back to ask you for some references if i am unsuccessful
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: 'Often' is used in reference to the idea of Buddhism having practical implication, and the frequency in the debating of such implication. Many researchers are taking up the debate and the concern of Buddhism in science. I feel that some things will be taken and others will be rejected - which is normal (Jay L Garfield's quote you posted, is example). So yes, my frequency is based on my understanding of developing theories in cognitive studies. Also the doctrines aren't intended to necessarily form new empirical fact, but again, shed light on new theory making to support fact.

        I never suggested the entire field is shifting, but rather a good amount of researchers are looking into alternative methods in the holistic tradition - more and more so. Not just Buddhism, but even Hinduism (body energies). Some of the best contemporary cognitive scientist are Eastern based which is why these theories are also being highlighted in our practice of psychology.

        http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/presentations/whatisconsciousness.html
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Gotcha, not talking about specific percents. Yes many researchers are taking up the debate of the concern of buddhism in cognitive science and i think, like you, that it has the potential of opening doors to new insights. Many people are taking on the research on strong magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain and their effects on our behavior and cognition. More and more so every year. That research is also opening a lot of doors to new insights

          Personally, i prefer actual research to debate. Philosophical debate made tremendous contributions to our understanding of the world around and inside of us, but long time ago (over a century) it stopped contributing much to further understanding. Since then, biology, chemistry and physics have contributed much more to the current understanding of how the world around and inside of us work than modern philosophy. It is refreshing to see transcendental meditation being researched, but i think that debating about buddhism and studying the brain of a person who meditates into a different mental state are two very distinct things

          I googled "quantum consciousness" and got a bunch of great info. I did the same search adding "site:edu" at the end of the search and the number of hits dropped drastically. This afternoon after work i will search for academic papers on the subject, since at first glance it indeed seems like the understanding of quantum mechanics that it is being talked about is faulty or mostly wrongly applied. But i am always open to reading more
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Well biology and chemistry are apart of cognitive studies, the fact is, how they work together to map out cognition is reliable purely on theory. And as far as the cognitive communities is concerned atomistic methods can only get us so far.

        We need new theory to be able to understand how the brain works rather than how each part works.

        Example: In psych. the following are major orientations of formulating systems: functionalism, structuralism, behaviorism, and evolutionism. Yet, each one are looking at the same thing in different highlighted methods, so much like quantum conscious theory suggest, they are reliable but there is no system that anticipates all of the systems in formulating.

        I put my attention to evolutionism as the foundation, while still accepting the determinable claims of the others.

        We have no theory of psyche/mind that is well rounded enough to truly answer: what is intelligence? what is personality? how do they relate, and how do they alter one another? Yet, we accept these two major thought constructions as being a real factor to an individual psychoanalysis. Yet, our nature of atomistic pursuits falls short in doing so, thus, why I feel communities are turning to the holistic practices of Buddhism for a refreshment on breaking down the entire psycho-process of a human - rather than just the chemistry and neurology, Which are important, but tells us very little in how the whole brain works together.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: I could not resist the temptation and went ahead to read a bunch of information on quantum consciousness. Most of it seems to be based on the work of Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff back in 1996.

          Nothing against them, both are quite bright individuals, but I could not shake off the sensation that i was reading some literature on intelligent design, just oriented to the physiology of the brain.

          Some of their basic assumptions, like the Orch OR model, have been examined since 1996 and found not feasible. (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009APS..MART40009R) Neither Penrose or Hamerof have proposed alternate, more feasible models to supersede them.

          So the reason why it sounds like intelligent design is because it starts with a speculation, then it uses a lot of complex scientific jargon to provide with a context, but then fails to use this context to support the speculation. It simply assumes that at some point, a quasi-magic mechanism, of which we don't really know much about, could be complex enough to allow the emergence of consciousness.

          Rarely in the documentation is mentioned that the same neuron physiology (microtubules and their coherence) is shared with the vast majority of animals, in a way diluting the speculation that it is the key factor enabling human consciousness (or conversely, opening the definition of consciousness as widely as to include neuronal processes that normally occur in worms and fruit flies every day)
      • thumb
        Sep 28 2012: Idk, what you want me to say here lol.
        • thumb
          Sep 28 2012: ahhhh... i don't know, something in spanish would be lovely! :-)
        • Sep 28 2012: Nicholas, I just read this whole jousting match and I agree that a complete science of the mind is incredibly improbably within our lifetime. You can make the argument that neuroscience doesn't explain certain aspects and i would agree it doesn't, but neither does Buddhism. Neurology is one categorial bucket amongst evolutionary aspects, fetal environment, genetics, hormones, and experience. Its true that cognitive scientists are reaching over to buddhism, this is nothing new, its been done in physics as well.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tao_of_Physics.

          Ill grant you reductionism has failed so far in regards to studying the brain, but I think your happily championing buddhism as something it isn't. Psychology even dating back to freud shows commonality with eastern philosophies, as well as western philosophers, especially Schopenhauer concering Freuds life death drive in "Beyond the Pleasure Principle". So what? Does this exalt buddhism in some way?

          In regards to quantum consciousness, why would the brain evolve quantum activity? Quantum physics is excruciatingly complex and its being used as a pseudo god of the gaps argument these days. Ill admit i'm an absolute layman when it comes to physics especially something as complicated as quantum theory.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WA76VTq3O8
          This was a pretty cool discussion I think you will enjoy, its changed some of my thinking and if you want to see Stewart Hameroff questioned by A physicist(Leonard Milodinow) skip to 1:34:25
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: Is not believing in Aliens that abduct humans a complete belief system, or just a small part of a world view?

      Is not believing in astrology a complete belief system, or part of a belief system?

      Does having a Christian belief system contain a lot more dogma or content that informs a world view than not believing in gods. Christianity comes with creation stories, descriptions of gods, mythical stories, moral directives from a creator, afterlife explanations, prophecies, instructions for avoiding hell etc.

      I really don't get how you compare not having a belief in gods or goddesses, a position on a single question, with say a bible literalist evangelical Christian belief system - Jesus born of a virgin, global flood, heaven and hell, how life and the universe came about.

      Of course atheists have world views. Atheism may be part of that but it is not a complete world view. Atheists might believe in astrology or not. Reincarnation or not. Immortal spirits or not. String theory or not.

      In the same way a Deist position is not as substantial position as being a Christian or Buddhist. It leaves a lot more open, just like atheism leads a lot more open.

      I agree probably everyone has a world view. It may be semantics but I tend to save belief system for say religious belief systems or something more comprehensive and detailed. But they probably overlap.

      It might help to say a religious belief system like Christianity fills more of the overall world view than an atheist or Deist position. Christianity is a system of beliefs. Atheism is just not having theist beliefs. you have to fill in all the other gaps left by not having a religious framework yourself.

      You might even say atheist - not having theist beliefs is generally based on believing it is most likely gods or goddesses don't exist, or if they do we have no idea of the specifics or implications so they might as well not exist anyway in a practical sense.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Answers in descending order:
        - Alien-based considerations are required to have a larger scope of thinking than simply 'they abrupt us' (singular belief) - so yes that single belief is a part of the belief system or world view involving E.T existence.
        - Astrology can vary between being apart of belief systems or it's own practice of interpreting cosmic events - so both.

        Atheism is quality of belief, and culturally made into it's own belief system over the past few decades, characteristics follow: when science and religion are overstated terms, militant behavior in research and argumentation, rejection of alternative views in fundamentalism and/or, but not limited to, authoritative recognizing of scientist/philosophers as references to debate in concerns of objective epistemological and ethical disputes. Indeed, a religious-behavior in pattern can be revealed when broken down to those who practice or recognize neoatheism traditions.

        I agree that just because one is atheist does not immediately concern their other metaphysical opinions relative to religious construction: death, life, energies, human nature, etc. However that doesn't dismiss the likelihood they will require 'proof' which is again, systematic towards considering science as the definitive means of understanding nature, which is false. Both theory and evidence are required, and theory does not solely derive from scientific efforts - it's a procedural manner of both crisis and culture.

        Belief systems... Are semantically not equivalent to religious belief. The biggest difference lays in what is dogmatic or fundamental to the religious person.

        To claim I am atheist - would then only mean one thing, the rejection of God. If an atheist were to stop there, there would be prob., rather they don't. They continue to assimilate other beliefs based on the foundation of 'no God'.

        Atheism is a major world view, it disagrees with millions, it is in fact a great foundation, but should still be thought as such.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: We seem to agree there are different scales from narrow belief positions to comprehensive ones.

          I agree we Atheists may build or have world views consistent with this. Just saying it is not prescriptive in the same way many traditional religions are.

          I agree some theist or deist views may be highly individualised and not as dogmatic as those related to organised religion.

          For me atheism comes from my general skepticism. So I don't think there is an afterlife. Whereas a Buddhist may be an atheist but believe in reincarnation.

          Perhaps scepticism is a higher more profound operating system for me than atheism. Like some atheists are into crystal healing or astrology or acupuncture etc.
        • thumb
          Sep 28 2012: Andres: Suggestion: religion = atheism X (-1);

          Andres: "So let's take the Judases/Christian religions as an example. People are told that following the 10 commandments, plus one more for the Christians, they will be saved."

          Jew = cmd (10);
          Christian = (Jesus factor + cmd(10)) = Jew + 1;

          Andres :"I can take the list and start at number 5, practice those and live a very decent and fulfilling life. Does that make me 60% religious? What if someone enters my house and i am forced to kill him in self defense... do i become 50% religious then? And besides... does the judeo/christian religion hold a copyright on the precept of "not killing" i suspect that is a little older than a few thousand years."

          Good life = 0.6 X cmd(10+1) ;
          Implication = (Jew + Jesus Factor) = cmd(10 +1);
          Suggestion(1) = CMD(10+1) X .6 = Good-life.
          If good-life = good-life + (murder or theft);
          good-life = bad-life.

          Therefore Suggestion Good life invalid.

          Andres: "I can teach a kid the precepts from 5 to 10 and never mention religion, and most likely he, too, will lead a decent life. Without a god. Does he qualify as atheist? if not, what should i call him then?"

          If atheist = cmds (10) X child(mind) and Religion = Atheist;

          Tmp = if test(Religion and atheist);

          if Tmp > 0 and good-life not equal bad life;
          Then atheist = religion.
          Assumption valid.
          If Assumption valid then let (Atheist = Relgion) = goodlife.

          Andres: "Bottom line, what makes religion a cult is the acceptance of a series of principles and precepts as sacred and never to be challenged."

          Religious cult = (sacred X (Principles + precepts)) X (challenge = 0);

          Andres: "What are the principles and precepts that an atheist holds as sacred and never to be challenged? Do they abide by 10 anti-commandments?"

          Sacred = undefined;

          Jews believe a good man gets a good man's reward and a bad man gets a bad man's reward, with or without religion.

          good and bad = undefined.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: "Is not believing in Aliens that abduct humans a complete belief system, or just a small part of a world view?"~Obeynokinobe

        If it didn't happen to you, or others, therefore it is not true is not a path to a tautology Obeyno1,

        "In the same way a Deist position is not as substantial position as being a Christian or Buddhist. It leaves a lot more open, just like atheism leads a lot more open."~ObeyNo1

        I see you implying similarities in Atheism and Religion, why stop here? Why not say they are similar in a religious perspective in a world view framework?

        A is a member of the set of all things religious (R) which includes Atheism because Atheism is the inverse of Religion or the Anti thesis of religion and therefor has a rationalized connection to religion. If A is the inverse of R then R = 1/A. If A = 0 then both are undefined.
        R therefore cannot be nothing because A cannot be nothing but, if Religion does not exist then A does not exist.

        If there are no Religious folk, there cannot be any Atheist folk because Anti Theism requires Theism to be valid.

        ergo, if Religion is cultism then Atheism is also cultism, because the definition of a cult is a group which requires members to be exclusionary and adherents of the group belief system. If you don't believe in God, you are by the notions of inverses relationships, an Atheist which blows Agnosticism away or renders it non existent in a logical sense.

        So the question becomes, Do Agnostics actually exist because there is no logical connection to the relationship between A and R.


        Obeynoone, I set the timer up for a few more days.

        We have room to ponder.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Hi john, I didn't make a judgement about alien abductions in the comment above

          Just pointing out that Christianity or Islam come packed with dogma on a wide range of issues. Origins of life and the universe, afterlife, that the creator of the universe took particular interest in one middle east tribe. Moral instructions. Who to kill and why. Instructions for slave ownership. What to eat. Outlined in dozens of books compiled into a bible.

          A belief in alien abductions is less content packed than a Christian belief system.

          Atheism at its core does have this store of dogma either.

          A belief in a non interventionist creator may not be linked to a religious tradition.

          Not having a belief in gods is not a religion like Christianity, or Hinduism.

          Lots of false dichotomy statements in your comment above in my view.

          Not playing tennis is not a sport.

          Bald is not a hair colour.

          Most theists are atheistic towards all gods but their own. Atheists just go one more.

          Atheism to religion is different to
          Christianity to Islam
          It is not an alternative religion

          Like not being a pet owner versus being a pet owner
          Is different to
          Being a dog owner versus being a cat owner

          I hope that makes it clearer.

          I guess you can see that distinction. Not sure why you are so committed to seeing not believing in gods as a religion or cult.

          Not having pets is not pet ownership. It is an alternative position to all types of pet ownership.

          There is a relationship between the positions. You can have pets or not. But the null position not having pets is not a type of pet ownership if you what I mean.

          Suggest your cult definition is too broad. Unless you are happy to have virtual cults for every belief proposition. Thinking chess is better than checkers makes me a cult member.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Hi John,

          Not sure i follow your argument that since there are similarities between religion and atheism, therefore they must be identical opposite twins

          So let's take the judeo/christian religions as an example. People are told that following the 10 commandments, plus one more for the christians, they will be saved.

          I can take the list and start at number 5, practice those and live a very decent and fulfilling life. Does that make me 60% religious? What if someone enters my house and i am forced to kill him in self defense... do i become 50% religious then? And besides... does the judeo/christian religion hold a copyright on the precept of "not killing" i suspect that is a little older than a few thousand years.

          I can teach a kid the precepts from 5 to 10 and never mention religion, and most likely he, too, will lead a decent life. Without a god. Does he qualify as atheist? if not, what should i call him then?

          Bottom line, what makes religion a cult is the acceptance of a series of principles and precepts as sacred and never to be challenged. What are the principles and precepts that an atheist holds as sacred and never to be challenged? Do they abide by 10 anti-commandments? Follow them blindly? It seems like the brand of atheists that we are discussing in this thread are a very narrow bunch... certainly not the kind i consider myself to be

          cheers
  • thumb
    Sep 25 2012: Hi John,

    Just on your astronautics having faith their rocket will not explode.

    I guess they know the rockets exist and have been tested as best as we know anything. I guess they know they are taking a risk. Its a calculated risk.

    Science works. Look at all the technology we have based on applying our scientific understanding. Its not perfect or complete but is works. It does not claim to know things it does not know.

    I have faith the sun will rise tomorrow as the earth rotates. And I can test this.

    Seriously, not all beliefs are equal.

    This is so different to religious beliefs. The sun used to be a god. Faith in gods, in one dogma, as opposed to taking the risk that a 747 will not crash are not reasonable comparisons. If trusting your car will start is okay then trusting in Madak, Yahweh, Baal, Vishnu, Zeus, Odin, Gaia are also equal...Sorry - False dichotomy.
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: What... not all beliefs are equal? Where's the fairnest in that?

      Obey you are too busy looking at the trees to realize you are lost in the forest and your memory is too short.

      Want to borrow my compass?
  • Sep 24 2012: most people i know who are atheist just stopped haven faith i there religion because they got titred of haven no answer. most of them have had a pretty rough past. i also know a lot of atheist who have turned to christianity. but yeah it all depends on the person id there fake or real they give up to easy or they hold on. ir just have no more left and want a sighn
    • thumb
      Sep 24 2012: It's a personal thing. I get that message. Nice to hear from you.
  • Sep 23 2012: The answer is NO.

    Every person, regardless of their religious affiliation, has a different interpretation or idea of what god is. An agnostic may believe in 'a god' but may not know necessarily what that is. When an atheist says they don't believe in a god, they are generally saying they do not know what god is and DO NOT CARE.

    For most people god is seen as a supernatural force, something we like to see as mysterious and powerful. Could god not be a physical phenomenon which we can explain with mathematics; for example gravity? Or could god be a physical object, for example that orange sitting in my fruit bowl? Can god be a human emotion - which in turn may be explained by chemistry?
    If not, why not?

    here's a quote from a TED video I watched today:

    "I'm writing a book about magic," I explain, and I'm asked "real magic?", by real magic people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts and supernatural powers. "No I answer: conjuring tricks, not real magic"
    Real magic, in other words, refers to magic that is not real, while magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not 'real' magic.

    To me god and 'the supernatural 'are also much like magic. They cannot be real, or else they would be real...
    • thumb
      Sep 24 2012: When I was working at a convenience store a long time ago, I guy came in and put a gun to my head, told me to give him all the cash in the drawer and said that he was God and I'd better do as he said. I saw no reason to disagree with him at that moment so I gave him the money in a bag. As he turned to leave, he smiled and said he was just kidding.

      When he had that gun to my head, in a way he was like the God of the bible in that he had complete control over my life or death.

      I guess God is a lot of things to different people. To some he doesn't exist at all. To others he is the controller of life and death but that probably has more to do with being a king.

      Ultraviolet light is real Justine, when was the last time you saw it? Carbon monoxide is real too. When was the last time you smelt it? Are aliens real? Are UFO's real?

      We all know that magic isn't real, just a bit of mirrors and sleight of the hand. I don't think it serves to classify unseen, unfelt or unsmelt phenomena.
      • Sep 24 2012: I have felt the second hand effects of ultraviolet light on my skin, yes. But I'm not sure what you're getting at with that point?

        Where do you draw the line between supernatural and natural?
        People talk about "supernatural" phenomenon (and "human induced" - but thats another topic). But if they are actually occurring then they have to be natural!

        Maybe you could define 'supernatural' as something we just don't know much about yet.
        I attest we (we - refering to a commonplace acceptance of a single god such as there is a fundamental knowledge of gravity across all cultures) don't know about god yet, if he does exist. Maybe oneday we will, at which point it will ruin all the fun of faith. Then we will need to find something else to believe in. I guess when you get to heaven and meet jesus, moses, buddha, shiva and mohammed; you say to yourself "uhh ok and what next?"
        • thumb
          Sep 24 2012: "Where do you draw the line between supernatural and natural?"
          Around pi/c^2.

          "Maybe you could define 'supernatural' as something we just don't know much about yet."

          Maybe yes....Maybe no..... I don't know.

          Gravity is a fundamental understanding by all cultures. Even in east Umbo, Karumba, if you see someone in a coconut tree, you will find a crowd around the bottom of the tree yelling, "....Jump....Jump.......jump."

          :)
  • Sep 23 2012: Eberhard
    I have no real opinion on the soul, however Cardinal George Pell of Australia in a debate with Richard Dawkins stated that the soul is the principle of life although Catholics do make a crucial ontological distinction between human life and all other forms of life. Plants and animals have the principle of life and therefore according to the Cardinal have a soul.
    As for newborn infants not having a religion, I think this should be obvious. If you were born in Denmark in the early 800's you would worship Odin, in Germany it would be Wotan, in India it might be Buddah. So it seems, that your religion is a change of birth.
    Unless you subscribe to the belief that only Buddah's souls show up in India and Viking souls show up in ancient Scandanavia.
    If not then you must be taught the dominant religion of the are you are born into.
  • thumb
    Sep 23 2012: The poster is not talking about the definition...but the usage.

    I do believe atheists have set themselves up as a "cult" or:

    Cult - : : a system of religious beliefs and ritual;

    Since an atheist's beliefs are indeed "religious beliefs" (i.e. I do not believe in God) they do fall under this definition.)
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: We are trying to resolve that issue. If you have anything to contribute it is is desirable.
    • Sep 23 2012: Is there a space I can occupy with my belief system that lies outside religion?
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: There are bible regions all over the world Justin Pearce. Plenty of those in Europe and Australia as well. A belt is something you use to hold up your pants.
        • Sep 24 2012: This may now be completely off-topic, but as an Australian living in Europe I think my lack of religious needs are well catered for. I do have a friend from north carolina and after hearing some of his stories, feel for those living in the so called bible belt in united states of northern america
    • thumb
      Sep 24 2012: Is not playing tennis a sport? How is not having religious beliefs a religion

      not all world views are religious.
  • thumb
    Sep 22 2012: In my opinion, atheists deny the existence of God based on the Catholic definition of what God is. In paraphrasing, they define God as "a male deity, apart from reality, a supreme being having a personality, and having total jurisdiction over the universe from some remote vantage point".

    The mystics never saw God that way. They saw the universe as the product of a common denominator that could not be equated to any person, place, or thing. To the mystics, God was the power driving the creative processes of the universe. Because you couldn't put it into words, it was referred to as the ineffable mystery. The atheists haven't questioned the definition of God, they have thrown out the whole concept.

    If you look at science, the ineffable mystery hasn't gone away. No one can explain why every atom in the universe conforms to the same model. No one can explain why every electron in the universe is exactly alike despite the fact that they are scattered throughout the universe, seemingly connected by nothing, the same being true for every proton and every neutron. No one can explain why the octet rule of chemistry works. No one can explain why electrons are arranged into orbital shells and subshells, each one of which contains a specified number of electrons, or why the shells and subshells are filled in a very specific order.

    So let me get this straight; a universe, which may be infinitely old, is deaf, dumb, and blind. It has created stars, planets, solar systems, galaxies, quasars, black holes, and the like with no concept of what it is doing. The values of subatomic particles are just right so that life could evolve purely by chance. And after many billions of years, the end result is the only intelligence out of all this! And how do we know this? Because the visible universe, of which we are a part, makes up a whopping 4% of the total. Now why am I not convinced? Because I have seen what the mystics have seen.
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: Sorta like 1/x ?
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: 1/x is fine until x approaches 0 or infinity.
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: Actually it doesn't have any problems at all as it approaches zero and infinity. It's when it is zero that the problem occurs. For some reason, We can nudge up to zero as small as we want but the implication is that gravity approaches infinity and at zero is infinity (conjectured). Looking in the other direction, the limit of f(x) as x approaches infinity is zero so it just disappears all together.


          So, for TED's sake and to the confusion of everyone else but you and I, I'm trying to relate how this is significant to the discussion.

          What does Einsteins Theory of Relativity say about infinity and how does it affect Physics theory when we take it to it's infinite end?

          Short cut: division by zero is undefined. The knowledge of physics falls into the black hole.
          Here is a huge stop sign that signals we have more work to do but there are no recommendations. I'm kinda stuck here Obey. Do you have any math skills?
          :)

          I'm going to delete this after I decide if it has any relevance to the discussion topic.
    • Sep 23 2012: "No one can explain why every electron in the universe is exactly alike despite the fact that they are scattered throughout the universe, seemingly connected by nothing, the same being true for every proton and every neutron."

      How do you suppose subatomic particles would differ from each other? Mass? Charge? Spin? We know that at such small scales, each particle can have very specific values. This means that there is very little room for variation. However, if you look at the quantum properties, you'll see that no two electrons have the same set of properties. i.e. no two electrons are alike. This is called the Pauli's exclusion principle. This, combined with the principle of least energy answers your questions about shells and subshells. Read http://www.dynamicscience.com.au/tester/solutions/chemistry/atomic%20structure/shellssubshells.htm.

      Coming to "Now why am I not convinced?". Well, because you started out with lies and falsehoods. Who told you that life and intelligence began after many billion years? Life on earth? Sure. Why have you concluded that that's all there is?

      Mystics have made all kinds of funny claims over the millennia. If only they had made concrete statements about the nature of things, we'd have always known that (1) the earth is spherical, (2) cowpox renders you immune to smallpox, (3) there are over 90 elements that make up everything we see around us, and so on, including the fact that they could have saved us from spending billions € on the LHC. Instead, mystics seem to be happy to always either lie about what science has already discovered, or make comments about which science itself is not developed enough to comment on. Since science is a moving target, mysticism also has changed accordingly. Earlier, the mystics were happy to pontificate on the 5 elements (earth, fire, etc.), and these days, since scientists have firmly demolished that, mystics have come up with "quantum philosophy".

      Colour me unconvinced.
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: John,
        Thanks for the link. It explains some things, but it still doesn't explain why the entire universe conforms to a common field theory. There is a unity that underlies all that exists that we accept without any understanding of why it is so.

        Who told me that life and intelligence began after many billion years? The atheists, who else. Richard Dawkins says that we are the intelligent result of unintelligent beginnings. I was on the verge of being an atheist myself. But my own mystical experiences led me to accept that life is not limited to this dimension of reality.

        Mystics don't see things in scientific ways, but they do see things that do not conform to what fundamentalists claim. What I experienced does not explain quantum physics, but is in total harmony with it. It allowed me to accept scientific claims without conflict to religious ideals, but it also caused me to question what religion is teaching and how religion conducts its business.

        Mystics have always known that the earth is spherical but they couldn't get the fundamentalists to see it. And yes, the mystics don't see all. Many things we had to figure out for ourselves. Mysticism is more about transcendence and self control; some behaviors are self destructive, particularly those that are linked to the animal passions. To rise above that mentality is the root of all religious claims concerning demons.

        I have no problem with atheists denying God based on the current definition. I deny it myself. But I have seen another view of what God means, and it is directly linked to the unified field theory. Quantum fields are everywhere, they are invisible, they are what is doing the creating. The right brain hemisphere sees the creative forces of nature as a creator, which is the root of all personifications concerning God as creator. But God is not the personification. God is what is being personified. Take it back to what is doing the creating, and it totally agrees with science.
        • Sep 23 2012: My point was that we know life exists on earth. We don't know enough about any other place or time to suspect that life is limited to Earth. For example, amino acids have been found on comets (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17628-found-first-amino-acid-on-a-comet.html or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAr6MbzRuEg). Later on, scientists have found amino acids in the winds of exploded stars.

          You probably know this already, but I'll write it anyway: the only mechanism that we know that produces the complex elements that we are all made of (carbon, oxygen, etc.) is in supernova explosions, i.e. we are all made of exploded stars. These stars too lived very long lives. Given how common planets are, don't you think it is likely that some of them have conditions to support the initiation of life? I remind you again: some of the fundamental chemicals have already been found floating around in space.

          I am not saying life is definitely out there. What I am saying is that it is wrong to draw one conclusion, or the other, and base an entire philosophy on that.

          "Richard Dawkins says that we are the intelligent result of unintelligent beginnings."
          Let's forget Dawkins for a while. Would you disagree with the statement that "intelligence" is not a binary state, but there is a lot of grey area between what is intelligent, and what is not? Some of the viruses are just fragments of DNA. Their behaviour is extremely deterministic. That's one end of the spectrum. From there, we have bacteria are capable of moving towards "food" or away from "danger". We have plants that have chemicals to enable phototrophic growth. We have animals with rudimentary muscles to enable them to move from place to place in search of "food". We have other animals that chase after some of these animals. Thus leading to an arms-race for faster and faster animals that chase after and/or run away from other animals. At each stage, we find animals that have moved one step closer to our own "intelligence
        • Sep 23 2012: continued...
          Looking at things in another way, we have extremely basic instruction sets on every computer around. Fundamentally, these instructions just control which set of wires current flows through in a circuit. From this we have developed all kinds of software. Some that can break Nazi communications code, some that can track a missile and fire another one to destroy it, some that can compress or decompress data, some that enable us to play games, etc. Then there are genetic algorithms (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_algorithm) that even evolve other programs. This playing field has several parallels with the chemical/biological playing field.

          Will this, one day, result in an intelligence that can match or surpass our own? I don't know!

          Keep in mind that every neuron in any animal (nematode or human) behaves in exactly the same way: an "analog summing circuit" that an electronic engineer can implement in just a few minutes.
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: John,
        I can agree with everything that you said. I would take this one step further; that intelligence doesn't have to be physical. Are there other realms or dimensions in which intelligence exists? We are coming to realize that we know far less about the universe than we thought we did.

        If biological life happened by chance, it still goes back to what supports it. Are you familiar with reductionism? Life unfolding is reductionism in reverse. Everything that is possible must be supported with what it is made of. And what everything is made of determines the processes through which chance operates. Is it entirely limited to chance? Evolutionists will admit that life goes through quantum leaps. And evolutionists haven't proven that chance alone is responsible for evolutionary changes.
        • Sep 23 2012: Intelligence that is not physical? Well... I can only think of a abstract algorithm for intelligence. Since it is just an abstract algorithm, without any implementation, I suppose it would still have the attribute of "intelligence". That is covered by the Chinese Room Argument (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-room/ or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TryOC83PH1g). If this Chinese Room algorithm were not running on any computer, but just exists as instructions in a book, I suppose some would call it "intelligence" that is not in the physical realm. However, I cannot imagine any such "intelligence" having any effect on anything in the physical realm.

          This is quite like Monty Python's "Funniest Joke in the World". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhmnOpoGAPw If no one knows it, no one dies laughing from it. Likewise, a non-physical intelligence would have no effect on anything physical.

          "And evolutionists haven't proven that chance alone is responsible for evolutionary changes."
          This is not true. People in the drugs and genetics industry already have extremely accurate models of some lower-order life-forms. They can already predict in which ways, and in which sites along the DNA the life-form will mutate. This, again, is how genetic algorithms work too... by random mutations giving rise to slightly different offsprings, and then evolutionary pressure killing off offsprings that are unsuitable to the environment, and nurturing the ones that are.
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: John,
        I have added your link to the Chinese room experiment to my bookmarks. Thank you.

        If you think that intelligence is limited to the space between our ears, then you haven't had the experiences that I have had. I had an experience at the age of nine, that after fifty years, I haven't found fault with it yet. The ideas that it presented was confirmed by nuclear physics, but that wasn't until eleven years later. What I saw was clearly beyond anything that I was learning at the time. The only other explanation that I can think of is that the knowledge was already preprogrammed in my brain when I was born, and I just needed to access it. I suppose that is possible, but it has certain implications.

        My wife's doctor said "pick your pill, pick your poison". When I look at the side effects of prescription drugs, I see a fallacy in your argument. I can accept that random chance can explain the differences in appearances and niches that life takes on. But I can't accept that pure random chance alone can explain the integration and networking of all our internal systems. There seems to be a directing force that is not limited to chance. I may be wrong, but show me the proof.
        • Sep 24 2012: The SEOP site (http://plato.stanford.edu/contents.html) is in my bookmarks list too :-). Some of their articles are a bit too light on a general overview, and a bit too heavy on the technical details.

          I am curious about the experience you had as a 9-year old. That age (9-10) is approximately when I realized that all the supernatural stuff that the elders were talking about was hokum.

          "But I can't accept that pure random chance alone can explain the integration and networking of all our internal systems."
          That's where you are right and wrong at the same time :-). You are right in that if mutations are random, there are chances that some offspring will be produced where the internal systems are NOT all well integrated. But consider the fact that not all mutations are conducive to a long, healthy life. Most mutations do not have much of an effect, as we can see in each healthy person around us. We then reproduce and pass on our mostly useless mutations to our children. Some mutations render the fetus even unable to develop long enough to develop into a baby. Others will leave them with diseases that would kill them before they are old enough to have kids and pass on their mutations. Yet others will develop diseases later on in life: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genetic_disorders. Most commonly, many (all? I'm not sure) of our cancers are results of genetic mutations. This is exactly why we die from radiation poisoning. Look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer to see how frequently and how prominently mutation features in the article.
      • thumb
        Sep 24 2012: John,
        You may be surprised to know that many cancers are part of all of us, and that our mental health and eating habits have a lot to do with who gets them and who don't. Dr. Oz on TV speaks of cancer combating foods while Dr. Arthur Janov, author of "The New Primal Scream" says that many cancers are preventable by good mental health. He explains the process in his book.

        Radiation poisoning is the cause of genetic mutations that are external. I don't believe that all genetic mutations are external, but external ones produce totally random mutations.
      • thumb
        Sep 24 2012: My experience was the result of religious upbringing that left me feeling very hopeless and uncertain of my fate. My questions in Sunday school left the teachers at a loss. A nun finally called me aside and told me that I needed to get alone with God and ask him the questions and let him answer.
        At that point, I was in a quandary. I didn't know how to get alone with God because I didn't know who or what God was. One Sunday afternoon, I started meditating on God. I wanted God to reveal himself to me so that I could find the answers to my questions. As I meditated, a voice spoke saying "look around you". We often analyze things in our minds and we know the voice is our own thoughts. This voice wasn't mine. I realized that it might have been part of myself talking, but it was clearly foreign to me.
        I expected some apparition to appear. I looked all around, but saw nothing. In disappointment, I continued meditating, and the same voice said the same thing. This time I decided to wait for what might appear as the first time brought no result. As i waited in anticipation for what might appear, the voice again spoke saying "why are you looking for what is not there and you can't see what is?"
        I realized that I was looking for God as a male deity apart from reality because that is what I was taught. As I thought about what I just heard, I began to look deeply at what was there. In that moment, I found myself in an altered reality. I inherently knew that God was not a male deity, nor was apart from reality. God was the underlying forces of nature which were inherent in all that exists. What those forces were, I didn't know, but I knew that they were all reducible to a common denominator. The experience lasted about five minutes. I couldn't take all that I saw back with me when I came out of this experience, but my nuclear training began to bring it all back. Since then, much of the experience has been recounted through science.
        • Sep 24 2012: Thank you for sharing! I'm afraid I can't think of any of my own experiences that would help me relate to this.
    • Sep 23 2012: Roy Burque

      "The values of subatomic particles are just right so that life could evolve purely by chance."

      No, life evolved according to the constraints that the nature of the universe provided, we are adapted to the physical constants, not the other way! Also, it's very much possible the universe went through a gazillion iterations before and/or that there exists multiple universes concurrently, each with different physical constants.

      Now explain to me why god could have appeared by chance out of nothingness, but not the universe as we know it?
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: To answer your question, I don't see God and the universe as separate. The right brain sees the creative forces of nature as a creator (nature personified), the left brain sees them as mathematical models. They are two different expressions of the same thing.

        The right brain deals with integrity, honesty, moral character development, justice, etc. The left brain deals with structure, repetitive patterns, and processes. Neither one is wrong if you view them correctly. Both are wrong if you view them incorrectly. That is why deception is such an issue with religion. If only we could get them to see their own deceptions.
  • Sep 22 2012: I don't see it mentioned, but the big topic of conversation in the youtube atheist community at the current time is something called Atheism+. It's the brainchild of the bloggers over at PZ Meyers Groupthink, I mean Freethought blogs. It's purported to be atheism+ support for social issues like feminism, gay rights, against racism etc. which they argue is the natural evolution of atheism. Atheism - New Atheism - Atheism+.
    They are very much like a religion with dogma, and shunning of those who don't support them. It is in actual fact more feminism+, and would be laughable were it not for the fact that the fairly heavy hitters at "Free Thought Blogs" PZ Meyers, Richard Carrier, Greta Christina, Matt Dilahunty, among others support it. Outside of that bubble the idea is generally derided.
    • thumb
      Sep 22 2012: Thank you much Mike. I will investigate these offerings.
      I'll send you a PM later so answer it if you will and remember to check your spam folder.

      Good to meet you.
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: I might have a look too.

      My atheism is secondary to my general scepticism about supernatural claims whether astrology or religion or individual spiritual claims, crystal healing, faeries etc.

      Not denying absolutely but asking questions, not accepting as true without reasonable proof.

      I guess people of like mind that are atheist humanists might connect. Or atheists with similar views about other issues. An atheist chess club whatever.

      Is humanism a religion?

      I'm not sure I would class all groups of moral or social views or philosophical views a religion. But the lines can get blurry.

      I would not be surprised if some atheists share common values in regards to equal rights. Not being tied to judeo christian religion and their sexist, racist, and homophobic positions might lead many to have more progressive views in these regards more informed by values of equality, that homosexuality is not a sin and seems to be as natural as being left handed.

      But I know some pro life and some pro reproductive rights and people like me in the middle.

      However, atheists are free to identify with humanism or A+ or liberal human rights or to be conservative, or Buddhist, or whatever etc. The extra stuff is not necessary. It is not compulsory dogma.

      The sharing of ideas over the internet, the conferences etc probably lead to shared memes. Still not religion or a cult in my view. But again the lines can blur. Some might see Richard Dawkins as a hero. When does hero worship become cultish. While I pick and choose ideas from Dawkins and others, I don't automatically agree or follow. Not quite a pope or authority.
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: Extremely interesting Mike. Atheism creates their own political party, coming soon to a voting booth near you.

      I like it.
  • thumb
    Sep 22 2012: Interesting... Out of all of them, only one comment that is suggestive of Atheism not becoming a religious movement of it's own...

    About time, if you ask me.

    I would rather atheist organize - they are in fact a minority in America with large numbers.

    Yes, to your main question, John.
    • thumb
      Sep 22 2012: http://ffrf.org/ Take a look Nicholas. Interesting stuff.
      Is that your baby? :)
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: Oh I would rather them organize, but in no way am I atheist lol - too easy to be dogmatic.

        Religious Naturalism - one of the oldest thought systems - phrase, not so ancient lol.

        Great website though!
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: You visited my website?

          Cool..... I have a forum but only two members. Me and my son, who never comes around or posts anything. www.moonstroller.com

          Yes, FFRF - Freedom From Religion Foundation is a place where old dying Atheists can donate the inheritance that should go to their family, but don't, because they don't like their family members; kinda like how church funds get larger.

          It's a real organization and they have a political agenda, are very active there are many many members.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: LMFAO - hahahah

        Priceless...
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: Agnostic = be smart enough to understand that you don't know it all... Looking at ideas as facts is just what common among the ignorant. At least that's what history had proven.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: two questions.
      1. are you agnostic?
      2. what is your position on the existence of zeus.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Too lazy to look up a profile Pinter :)
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: 1) I don't like to label myself, but if I had too, I guess Agnostic will be the right label.
        2) My position on the existence of Zeus is that it's a matter of faith, a thing which some have more than others... I'm more skeptical about Zeus, thou I can't say in 100% that he is fictional...
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: how would the existence of something depend on faith? and if one guy believes in it and the other not, it exists and does not exist at the same time?
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Because Ontologiclly speaking, the basics of something to "exist" is based on each one and his own life experiences. You can't exclude existence of something because you don't have any possible way to proof that in fact it do exist or doesn't exist.

        Each person has his own logical unproven belief... For some it take more major rule than to others. Thats how our mind works, it cant be rational all the time, so it builds small sideways, small unbiased beliefs... God for some is one of them.. For some those beliefs looks absurd and stupid - and for them it does not exist. For some it looks actually the only truth - and for them it does exist.

        God is philosophical subject, an open edged which cannot close so easily... The unseen line between good and bad... It's the ultimate argumentative subject, because it cannot be solved. To be Agnostic, as I see it, is to take the middle line. To understand the complexity in the question about existence... including existence of Zeus, including existence of plants or rocks, including existence of wind etc...
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: okay, let us just stop playing games. i was asking about your position on the existence of zeus. so let's just skip the ontology part, and tell about your own opinion on that.

          1. zeus exists, does not exist, exists only in people's mind, don't know
          2. god exists, does not exist, exists only in people's mind, don't know
          3. the moon exists, does not exist, exists only in people's mind, don't know

          which is it?
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: 1.Don't know
        2.Don't know
        3.Don't know
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: how do you go on with your life? nothing is sure. nothing is more likely than anything else. is the light really green? you can't even cross the road. provided that there is a road.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.
        Euripides
      • thumb
        Sep 28 2012: It's just an Internet debate Krisztián Pintér, try not to take it personal
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: "what common" history had proven this you say?
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: All science is theory, it can always be proven or found invalid, therefor God is theory and can always be proven or also found invalid. However keeping an open mind about all things is always the best way to see another prospective.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Aryan supremacy is a theory.
      Millions of people were open-minded enough to buy it, a few decades ago.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Stereo typing is a theory also. Gerald.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: I don't understand what you're trying to say. Can you rephrase with different words?
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Also, how is God a theory??? What's the theory about?
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Because you cannot prove God is real or not real? With out him/her/it standing infront of you.

        Greek Gods, Zeus and the like were once thought to be real, now they are not. Greek thougths on the old gods was a theory.

        Aryan supremacy actually happened but it doesnt make it right or wrong. I personally think its wrong but obviously many did not.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: What's all this?
          I'll ask again : A theory is an attempt to explain something. You speak of the "God theory". So I asked : What phenomenum is the God theory supposed to explain?
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Hey maybe zeus is real but he is now invisible and intangible in another realm. Zues is just as real as all the others people still believe in. Probably.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: The theory that there is a God a creator, basic Creation vs evolution argument.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Gerald. I'm going to wait until my wife gets home and I'll have her look at your posts and mine to see if I'm really doing your questions justice. She is much smarter than I. ;)

        Be patient and You'll receive an email when I reply.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: It's one of many theories about how the Universe and reality came into being Gerald. Surely you're not that isolated from common ideas. Perhaps I should ask, how old are you Gerald O'brian?
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: So, you're saying the God theory explains how the universe was created by God?
          I'm very much intrigued by this. I didn't know anyone had bothered to explain. I thought they just said He did it, period.
          Can you tell me where I can read about how God created reality?

          How old I am is irrelevant. Focus on trying to provide me with clever replies instead. Assistance from spouses is allowed.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Gerald,

          That is the theory that he built the the universe in 6 days, and that he breathed life in to man. Basically I am say that the bible is theoretical . Does that make more sense? I have never read it. I tried the first four books with a kind of bible that translated it into normal english and I still thought it was gibberish. However I believe that the mind makes it real and if you believe these thoughts I am 100% supportive of that decision. As long as you are supportive of my decisions, and that neither of our decisions bring harm to others.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: Okay Gerald. Beat me up and hang me from the nearest tree if it makes you feel better. I'll take your advice and not talk about it with you any more.
        :)
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Oh but, usually, theories are easy to sum up. I can explain evolution without pushing someone into buying a book about it. Well in fact, I can only sum up theories that I understand myself.

          An omnipotent being is behind reality. Thanks for nothing. Really. This is not a theory. This explains nothing.
          Does reality need an omnipotent being behind it? Why?
          What does "behind" mean? What is God doing to reality?

          You should get technical, because this is where the fun begins. You may not be qualified to answer any of these questions, and you may not care, but you should know better than to speak of a "God theory" before checking whether it was a theory in the first place.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: the zona land education link that you posted before is the one I was referring to

          http://zonalandeducation.com/mmts/functionInstitute/rationalFunctions/oneOverX/o

          I had no true mathematical proof. The idea of zero was always something I had a problem with.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Casey I was looking at your profile. I assume you understand the significance of the graph of 1/x as x moves towards a higher number?
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Hello John,

        I actually do not know that, and have never heard of it. If you can give it to me in simple concepts that would be great because my brain gets crossed eyed with a lot of numbers. However I was really good at logic in college which I always concidered as math without numbers. If you would like we can move this discussion to that conversation thread.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: as x grows larger the function f(y)= 1/x tends towards zero (gets smaller and smaller) it approaches zero but because of the mathematical rules, it can never reach zero because there is no end to the high value that x can take, f(x) can only get smaller and smaller but it can never take the position on the number line of zero. The function f(x) can never touch the y axis. If you move in the other direction, it cant touch the x axis.

          F(y) = 1/x is called a rational function and the name could be considered some what of a misnomer due to the fact it never terminates in the positive or negative direction. What's rational about that? :) Yet, it serves our purpose when we need it.

          Pi has similar characteristics of non-termination yet, lines moving in opposite directions around the circumference of a circle from a single starting point do meet, but, mathematically speaking they never ever meet, just get closer and closer together.

          Actually the idea of something never termination has leanings towards the topic here. We readily accept the notions of science and math, even though there are gaps in the understanding, rules, and descriptions. Some people have blind faith in these ideals, an , amorous association, somewhat cultist. My point is we should be cautious in which belief system we use to describe natural phenomena because there are rough edges on the tools we use and the work we develop may have some scratches on it that we have to smooth out with other tools,perhaps tools that haven't been developed yet. :)
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Post the link. Casey....
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: It kinda sound like you are talking both about half life and one of Zeno's Paradox. I do like math but that does not mean I am good at it. I am certainly not a mathematician. My profile might of said it, I am not sure though I didn't remove it if it did. Actually I don't see why both system, spiritual and mathematical could not work together a sort of a balancing act. I have found though my years that life is a giant balancing act.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Yes. we often assume that others understand this. But you know what the the word "Assume" really means, right? Don't make an "ASS" out of U and ME.

      I hope this can stay :)
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: John, thanks for your link it will be very helpful
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: That there is mathematical proof that zero is abstract and can not be reached. That is something I did not have before.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: I'm afraid I don't understand your question Casey. You wanted me to go to another question where we could talk about this math thing? could you post the link?

          I don't think we can discuss that problem on that web site. I do have a chat room on my website if you would like to but not tonight. I have some work to do on my forum and will be winding this discussion down in a bit.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: This is the conversation I started about my problem with zeros

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/13925/is_our_math_wrong_is_it_our_a.html

        sorry I think I was confused about what link you were referring to, I thought you already saw this conversation.
  • thumb

    E G

    • +1
    Sep 21 2012: It depends on atheists ; for some atheists atheism is a cult , for some is not . Nowadays you can find any kind of atheism .
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: I've been on the pendulum since i was 18 though i still believe God started it all and i've been satisfied with that and haven't felt the need to explore other religions or philosophies but when it came to committing to that path i stepped back and thought not yet,most people are or were raised to have it hammered into them from a system that failed to recognize thought was progressing as well as the human traditions that has sprung up along the way was being left behind,today's generations have completely flipped the coin from that of my parents time,very different.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: You have a keen sense of observation Ken Brown, and you present it well. I agree with you.
  • thumb
    Oct 5 2012: hello John. If you call upon the ancient witnesses to prove the God-No-God question, it becomes an admission and it opens the gates to their so called witnessed events. I don't see them in this light. They are simply creative story tellers with the intent to mystify and control a moral community.
    The lamp becomes brighter when you add fuel to it. Without fuel, it becomes only a creative artifact.
    All of this reminds me of the differences between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist. ..... a Psychologist is interested in hearing what the voices in your head are saying, where a Psychiatrist is only interested in muting those voices withe medication. He sees those voices as abnormal placements in an otherwise normal brain. In the Academic evolution, Psychiatry is Biology at a higher level of learning, at this point Human logic does not exist.
    Cheers and good luck.
    • thumb
      Oct 5 2012: Cheers to you Vince. Hey Vinni, picture this: Your driving late one night and you see a hitch hiker alongside the road. You're feeling charitable so you stop, pick him up and in a little he calls you by name and says he heard you don't believe in him. You get a bit worried and try to pass it off but he comes back by calling you again by the name you didn't tell him and says, Vinni. I love you man and I really want you to know me better. So your thinking of a way to get him out of your car without causing a fuss and he reaches over and touches he bottle of beer you're drinking and it turns into the best wine you've ever put to your lips. As you stop at the light, he gives you a high five and gets out of the car. You look at the bottle and back towards him but he's gone.

      Now, you are convinced you just got high five by God, but who you going to tell?

      Well while it may sound like a funny story, the bible is filled with stuff like this, even the water into wine trip.

      We laugh, we tell jokes but we really don't have a way to disprove it. People today make claims about God visiting, talking and making things better but it is impossible for someone who has never experienced that believe ti could possibly be true.

      Just because it never happened to you does not mean it doesn't happen. Here's what I saw. An old woman lying on her death bed due to sclerosis of the liver. Her daughter, my GF, is sitting in the room at the hospital waiting for her to die. Around 3 in the morning, her mom gets up and wants to go home because everything is alright. We managed to get her back in the bed and the hospital doctor comes in, checks her out and is surprised. He gets her to stay in the bed so he can order some tests. When the tests come in She has a completely healed liver with no sign of Sclerosis. We take her home, she tells us she died and that God said he wanted her to hang around for a while longer. She finally died 6 years later of the flue but the smile never left her face.
  • thumb
    Oct 4 2012: Good night all. It is 4:16 am here in Canton Georgia.
  • Oct 4 2012: @Moonstroller: I find it awfully difficult to listen to Lennox. Despite the fact that he is a professor, which is a big deal in Europe, I find his talks to be not cogent at all. I have not watched the link you sent me, but I have seen him in a debate with Dawkins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0UIbd0eLxw

    I must add that I don't like the debate between D and L. I did not like that D assumed L to have a fair understanding of natural selection, which he does not.
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2012: I'll check out this video John F. I was going to look at it but passed at the time for reasons not remembered.

      How would you say the debate went? Did you learn anything, not who won or lost.

      I find myself drawn to Prof. Lennox because his arguments entail some points of logic I also entertain, especially where the cosmos is concerned, black holes, singularities, expansion of the the Universe, etc.

      But, to be truthful I have never read any of Dawkin's work. I should, to be fair and impartial. I will try to find a kindle version (perhaps someone already has such a thing?).
      • Oct 4 2012: The debate made me go "aaarrrgggghhhh!!!" :-)

        To L's credit, he seems more humble... i.e., making a better effort of trying to figure out if he has understood D. To L's discredit, he seems to be jumping from topic to topic. Which I find particularly bizarre considering that he is a mathematician. Arguments are not settled that way!

        I would go about an argument the way anyone goes about a proof in mathematics or science. I'd start from axioms: things we both (or all) agree on. And I'd proceed from there, making sure there is agreement at every step of the way. If there is irreconcilable different at some point, at least we'd know exactly where we part ways. This debate was bad.

        At least it was better than any debate of William Lane Craig that I have watched: WLC blathers on and on, and when his opponents refute him, he ignores it and says, "Opponent has failed to refute me".

        As for whether I'd recommend any book or talk of Dawkins on the topic of gods, I wouldn't. You see despite being an atheist, agnostic, ignostic (each, depending on which definition you go by), I am also an apatheist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheism). Dawkins is not an apatheist. On Dawkins' own forum, in one of my replies to him, I have expressed my preference that he stop writing about gods... because there is a lot about biology that I could learn from him, and he is a brilliant teacher.
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2012: I can see your point on the apathy associated with such debates. I guess to some degree I would fit that description. I do like to explore the possible activity associated with the elements arranging themselves into a complex arrangement from random disorder. If I were a church attender, I would probably miss church preferring to study some biochemistry instead. I have trouble finding reason to leave my house at my wife's displeasure. :)

          I'm trying to mount my webcam to my microscope to watch Mycilium grow. I enjoy playing with mushrooms and bacteria. I like to eat them also.
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2012: A most excellent debate John F. I was riveted during the whole the whole debate. I found understanding on both sides of the argument and guidelines for study into specific issues pertaining to the debate. I saw strength in both side of the debate. Nothing was solved and there was some sophisticated name calling but I believe they both left with respect for one another. I bet the engagement afterwards was a nice party. I'm also sure they could drop their hair down a bit, especially after a glass or two of sherry. :)
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2012: Prof Lennox is a bit more confident when he is on his own turf and derives a sense of encouragement and passion from their love to hear him speak.

      You can feel this in the video. He is working from a prepared report so his points are tuned to dispel Dawkins suppositions and conclusions in a prepared fashion.

      What I haven't seen is a debriefing by Dawkins about the debate he had with Prof. Lennox.
  • thumb
    Oct 4 2012: Hi again John,

    Actually i just read a definition in about.com that might clarify your question a bit.

    You seem to imply that there are three type of people: believers, agnostics and atheists. And that division frames the question, because it seems that all responses are trying to support whether agnostic is better than atheist, or agnostic is better than believer.

    The term agnostic has to do with claim of knowledge, not with belief. There can be agnostic believers (people who believe in god without claiming to know for sure of his existence), there are agnostic atheists (those who do not believe in god but do not claim to know for sure) and yes, others that either believe or don't believe and claim to know for sure (and to both of those i would like to ask how can they know for sure, but that's a different story)

    But there is no such a thing as a non-believer, non-atheist simply agnostic, in other words, there is not a third group of "in-betweeners" in regards to their belief or lack of it

    cheers
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2012: We read the same writings. We understand the same definitions.

      I'm still working on that example. Studying at Stanford and taking care of my blogs is becoming time consuming. It appears that when I have time I just waste it on TED.
      :)


      Later.

      There are only two types of knowledge: That which is on this side of the black hole and that on the other side.
      I don't think either is mutually exclusive but I have no proof of that... just a feeling.
  • thumb
    Oct 4 2012: if you don't believe in god why must you take a stance and call yourself an atheist to prove that god does not exist? by taking such a stance you have now put yourself in the same pulpit as the believer, you are merely arguing with each other, with neither side having proof to back up your beliefs. it does not matter if you believe in god. what matters is, is there a god? it does not matter if you don't believe in god. what matters is, why do so many believe in god? you cannot disprove something that does not exist, just as you cannot disprove something that simply does. All that we have left is simply, "the argument" the argument has many possible conclusions and is only won by the present best presenter.
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2012: Vincenzo, the topic is whether of not Atheism is a cult due to its close ties with religion and it's apparent exclusivity. In the original Greek, it was a pejorative term of derision use to poke fun at those who did not believe in the host societies God(s).

      The focus of the atheist (in the modern sense) is to oppose the idea that God exists. The more militant of the klan, take an active position to eradicate the idea of God and it's associated religious practices, and philosophical arguments.

      They have propose the preposterous idea that babies are born atheists. Babies are born without knowledge, which should implicate to the simplest of minds that babies are not born with any label other than infant or baby; such is the testimony offered by this diverse group that call themselves atheists.

      Their dogma is an anti-dogma opposed to the religious dogma. Because of this I propose they are a cultist lot.
      The idea that God does not exist has not been proven and remains as a valid philosophical argument.

      An atheist serves no other purpose in life but towards the end of disproving the existence of God yet, they have sought relevance in the Revelations of science, just as Religion seeks to justify it's relevance with ideas of Creationism.

      Those in the middle, are merely observers of this time wasting argument which serves no purpose other than to inflame emotions and set people at odds with one another.

      I think it is a wasted pursuit.







      .
      • thumb
        Oct 5 2012: Hello John. I understand the points that you make and cannot argue them. With this in mind I hope that you have understood the reason for which I strayed to committing myself to the question of, Atheism being a cult. I think answering this question point blank is releasing yourself into the notion that it does exist. Meaningless thoughts need not fuel, only enlightenment, and in your words, a wasted pursuit.
        cheers.
        • thumb
          Oct 5 2012: If the words are from humans. I can't deny they exist. I can only contest them. If they stand alone as truth, I can't contest them.

          I can debate the rationality behind their truthfulness. But there it ends.

          The God-No-God question will continue. I have found nothing to disprove or prove based on logic, but there are witnesses, which we can't recall for questioning they are those ancients that lived long ago and wrote down their revelations and historical accounts.

          What are we to do?

          If I don't show myself to the public, do I not-exist?

          If I camouflage myself so I don't stand out from the background, do I not-exist?

          I will have to write the closing arguments tonight and tomorrow. Do you have anything to offer in closing?
          Thank you for your participation. Vincenzo Sergi
  • thumb
    Oct 4 2012: Helen Hupe said: "John...I guess so.....but I was thinkg of special rituals."

    Helen.... my birthday is special :)

    If I worship the ground my wife walks on is this kinda like what your talking about?
    :)

    I think the word special is undefined as you use it in this debate Helen. I know you are talking about worship ceremonies practiced in Religious organizations but what is special about that?
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2012: how do you explain this that we dont not believe in god ..we believe in maxism.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2012: "You know we figured things out best by using the scientific method. The Greeks thought moving objects came to rest eventually because they got tired. They thought objects fell because they yearned for the earth. These views or similar were held until Newton. "

    The catholic church use to believe it was accepted behavior to burn witches at the stake, but do they do it today?

    Obey, we can all read the law and act properly, never commuting a crime. We would eventually find we don't need judges or prosecutors. But that day has not arrived and we would be foolish to do away with both.

    It matters little what one believes. What matters is how one conducts themselves in society.

    If I believe in little green men and I also tell everyone I think I have a dragon in my garage, but, I'm the most wholesome citizen on the earth, never break the law and come up with wonderful scientific discoveries that enhances the comfort of people on this earth of what concern is my belief in green men or dragons?

    It would be foolish to belittle this person in such a way that they stop being a benefit to humanity. That would be foolishness Obey. Don't fool yourself.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea that ignorance is bliss. Sure, one can believe in little green men but do you want them teaching that to your children? If there is a omnipotent creator of the universe do you think he would give us the gifts of curiosity, intelligence and common sense without an expectation that we should put them to use? You know heaven could be a place for non-believers who passed the test and made use of those precious resources (which would be a nice bonus for me).
      I have also read some interesting theories that have Satan as the author of the Bible which makes some sense. Look how many people have been murdered by god in the Bible and all those evil acts. Also, Satan was kicked out of heaven because he wanted to be worshiped, what better way to have people worship you than to recreate yourself as a god? If Satan is the great deceiver, scratch that, the greatest deceiver it would be a logical course of action for him.
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: "Sure, one can believe in little green men but do you want them teaching that to your children? " ~ Steve Zagata

        What do you suggest we do with them who believe in little green men and dragons Steve?

        "If there is a omnipotent creator of the universe do you think he would give us the gifts of curiosity, intelligence and common sense without an expectation that we should put them to use?"

        If there was an omnipotent creator I would think we could ask he/she/it that question, don't you?

        "You know heaven could be a place for non-believers who passed the test and made use of those precious resources (which would be a nice bonus for me)."

        I'm glad you passed the test Steve. Congratulations.
        What bonus would you receive Steve?

        "Would an almighty being bother with such pettiness and show such desperation? No, but this is right up Satan's alley."

        Is this essay on Satan a statement of your personal belief?
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: Didn't understand the question "What do you suggest we do with them" Not sure what you are referring to.
          Also not sure about your second question. Do you ask them while you are alive? It might be too late later if we pissed him off for not using his gifts to us.
          Third comment with Congratulations. - Thank you.
          As far as Satan and that belief. It is a more compelling argument, I mean look at the first three commandments, basically, worship me, worship me, worship me. Would an almighty being bother with such pettiness and show such desperation? No, but this is right up Satan's alley.
      • thumb
        Oct 2 2012: It depends on how you define Ignorance? Are ignorance and bliss mutually associative? Do you mean it in a pejorative way?
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2012: John do you agree that thinking a specific theist view is correct without any compelling evidence and that all others are false is a less reasonable position than being skeptical of the lot?
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: Here is a specific Theist view that seem to reverberate through out all religions: "Tho shalt not Kill".

      The remorse, broken hearts, damage done through the act of killing one another makes a compelling argument to follow this Theistic command. Does the implication that a God gave us this command as a point of morality to guide us towards becoming more Like God, make the revelation pertinent? No. But if you are trying to make a people understand that their way of life is immoral by not recognizing that killing one another can lead to a dysfunctional society it may work and has worked, as recorded by history. It's impact on society has it's peaks and valleys but the theme resounds through out our history and drives us always back onto the path of a morally minded society.

      If a child dies with the knowledge that Santa Clause is real, has that child suffered in some way?
      If their lot is oblivion, nothing has changed. If their lot is Heaven, nothing has changed.

      If you have a society based on Antithesis, were are the limits that would cause someone to recognize that murder is a socially dysfunctional action when, through murder, they achieve success in life?

      From the NO God foundation, using logic, it can be stated that if murder achieves ones goals in life, it is alright to commit murder. The only harm done is to the victim, occurred in life, and now they are dead and feel nothing, but the gains given by the murder to the survivor are testament to the fact the murder can help in achieving ones goals in life.


      In a religious framework, with the God given command that "tho shalt not commit murder", it can be argued that all murder is incorrect. Does this stop murder? No, but it raises the possibility that there may be consequences to committing murder that wouldn't ordinarily exist.

      By the same token we could simply pass laws, but couldn't reasonably argue their pertinence.







      We are still stuck with the question why, where and what for.
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: You did not answer the question.

        Then you revert to gods are useful if the associated dogma is useful, such as don't kill.

        Anyway I'll respond to your diversion.

        Firstly being useful teaching morals does not go to the question of truth in regards to the theist claims.

        Secondly we can figure out ethics without religion. In fact if all but one at most religion are man made then most if not all religious morality is man made anyway. It sure looks that way.

        Thou shalt not kill from the old testament 10 commandments. Pretty common sense. Follows commandments ordering us to only follow Yahweh and not to carve graven images. Followed by lumping women in as chattel such as donkeys not to be coverted.

        Read on in the old testament then Yahweh kills hundreds of thousands (just the enumerated), Orders million killed, including genocide of competing tribes. Floods the whole world near committing global genocide. As well as other contradictory commandments to kill witches, homosexuals, adultery, unruly children, people who work on Saturday, non virgin brides.

        Throw in regulations for slavery, rather than condemning ownership of other humans.

        And some believe this is divine morality from the creator of the universe.

        Better to use our brains than get stuck in iron age morality.

        We can teach people about human rights without religion.

        Its a pretty twisted view you have of no god equalling dispicable morality, similar to much biblical morality.

        Most atheists I know support human rights and don't go around killing people. They are not killing people in the name of their gods. They are not killing people because they believe their god gave them some land. They are not cutting off bits of their children's genitals as part of a covenant with their supposed god. They are not sexist as per the scriptures. Not polygamous as per Islamic and Mormon teachings. Not homophobic.

        They focus on reducing suffering and improving the human condition.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2012: Obey, I never insinuated that the Non-God crowd was incapable of designing morals and socially acceptable behavior. Such a population, never exposed to the Idea of God or religious philosphy, can develope and live by an ethical,moralistic social code. The problem is in developing the laws.

          Most modern religious based societies base their laws concerning murder on the assumption that it is against the commandments of God. This has overreaching affects in everything else we do, when we interrogate prisoners of war, the Geneva conventions. Now, without such barriers to human behavior. How could we argue it is not proper to torture prisoners to death in order to get information out of them to protect the society?

          What social sense of morality, devoid of a God limited command, states that this is not proper behavior?
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2012: "You have the total freedom to decide to be spiritually blind. That is what freewill is all about, nothing else."~ Adriaan Braam

    What is spirit and how can it be blind as opposed to seeing?
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: I would suggest this: if you are both a scientist and a christian, then your augment will be with both atheists and Christians. Would it be less stressful on your life to pull out of the argument and just listen to both sides?
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: It depends on who "...they all" are Obey. I don't have enough information to answer your statement, if it is a question.
    A number by itself needs some validation.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: Sorry John, I'm not sure what comment you are referring to.
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: Okay John. We agree to claim to absolutely know there are no gods is silly.

    But what about one step in from that. Is it unreasonable to think that we have as many religious and spiritual beliefs as there are believers. That they can not all be correct. That is not much evidence for the key supernatural claims of many. That they often come down to personal experiences that could be just natural mind brain experiences interpreted through cultural religious filters.

    You can remain open to future evidence while taking the position of not believing in gods. Not claiming to know for certain but thinking the are no good reasons to believe.

    Isn't this at least as reasonable position as believing in particular theist belief?

    Can you see the irrationality to believing in god A and dogma B which just happens in most cases to be one of the belief systems in your culture at that time. To believe when there are thousands of other conflicting belief systems that have the same lack of evidence as yours.

    I'm not talking about the usefulness of the beliefs even if false. But why is it reasonable to believe your religious beliefs are more correct than any others.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: The incorrectness of one religion does not apply to the others unless it is of similar context, or specifics.

      The orbit of the earth was supported by ample mathematics to prove the sun orbited around the earth and the math worked. Does that imply the idea of an earth centered universe is still viable? No.

      Can math be used to prove the sun orbits the earth? Yes.
      Does this make it true? No.
      Does science today support this? No.
      Is string theory correct? Who knows.

      If my belief was that the earth orbited the sun and not the other way around, wouldn't it be reasonable to believe my sun centered belief as oppose to others, earth centered? And if my argument was different than other arguments that supported their claims would not my argument be valid and supportable, even it there was mathematical proof of the contrary?

      Without proof, all you have is argument.
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: My argument is they all don't have enough proof to substantiate their claims.

        the falseness of one religion does not make any of the others false. I agree. It does not make any of the others true either

        Again at best one belief system is exactly correct. That makes all the thousands if not millions of beliefs systems at least false in part. 1/9999999 etc.

        My argument is they do not have proof enough to substantiate their claims.

        I'm not disproving them all. Although simple logic points out at best one of millions is correct.

        So what are we left with. Not proof that they are all false. I agree.

        We are left with a whole lot of baseless conflicting god claims that at best can npt be verified one way or the other and must be false except for one at best.

        Its a pretty sound argument.

        I'm just pointing out they have no proof so why believe in any of them?

        I don't need to prove they are all false. Actually you can see all but one at best has to be false.

        I'm not claiming they are all false.

        Logically one could be correct. It might even be gods not correctly imagined.

        But there is enough information to reason out that specific religious belief is pretty suspect
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: John the earth could be stationary relative to the entire universe including the sun that rotated around the earth. The sun and universe would need to be spinning around the earth every day. Also the sun and universe would need to have an overlay of the elliptical path that simulates the orbit of the earth.

        Meanwhile as the universe whips around the earth, instead of the earth rotating on its axis, the other planets would be orbiting the sun.

        The sun could not be traveling around the earth independent of the rest of the universe.

        Also my understanding is there is evidence of the earth spinning on its access in regards to the atmospheric dynamics.

        All this does not change the law of non contradiction.

        If the jews were right that the Christians, Muslims and most other religions are essentially false. Do you concede this?

        Or have you completely given up on reason as this indicates that conflicting belief systems can not all be correct.

        You know we figured things out best by using the scientific method. The Greeks thought moving objects came to rest eventually because they got tired. They thought objects fell because they yearned for the earth. These views or similar were held until Newton.

        Science improves. It corrects itself. This is a strength not a flaw.

        Prayer to Zeus all you like but he won't provide you with electricity.

        We don't need absolute knowledge to know enough that claims that can not be verified, that Are completely subjective are not strong claims. They may be right, but only one can be right of there are millions of conflicting contradictory beliefs.

        I can't prove Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, Odin, isis, Marduk, baal, el, rangi, faries, demons, angels etc do not exist in some form.

        That does not make belief in one of these a strong position.

        You can dance around this point, but no one has been able to prove any of these exist in a compelling manner.

        Let people believe if they like but don't fool yourself that these are sound beliefs.
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: "Hi John I suggest the burden of proof is on the people claiming their versions of gods and goddesses exist and that their interpretations of what their gods want us to know are true. The burden isI not on the skeptical to disprove every claim." ~Obey No1kinobe

    Not according to the rules of logic Obey.....

    The denier has the burden of proof.

    All god beliefs are a subset of religion.

    Are you saying that we com prewired to experience religion? because of childhood experiences; we have a predisposition to religion?

    "beliefs are not verifiable." This does not disqualify them from being beliefs.

    Your conjecture that religion is nothing but delusions and hallucinations is not verified by physiological tests which show that religious folk are not only sane but more normal than others of dissimilar beliefs systems, Atheists included.

    I've seen these responses before..... :)
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: Hi John... i see that this discussion keeps going. I think you hit a great topic and have been able to maintain the interest of a good number of players.

      I see the conversation like a pendulum. I don't think there is any sensible way to merge these two opposite frames of reference.

      Yes i have been told before that this debate is not about science. However, i have grown as a scientist, and that permeates everything, from my rules of logic to my approach to asking and answering a question.

      I am not sure from a philosophical point of view (but Nicholas is pretty well versed and can throw some light on the matter) who has the burden of proof.

      From a legal stand point, it is possible that the denier of a claim made by a large group of people might have the burden of proof.

      In science, one is allowed to propose any theory... as far fetched as you want. I can propose that green martians cause gravity by sending their invisible pets to pull our feet down to the ground. But science will only consider my proposal when i provide a way to test it. The theory can have 10 predictions, but as long as one is verified, and the other 9 remain unverified, it will be considered a valid scientific theory. Needless to say if i confirm 9 and fail one of them, then the theory will need to be revised.

      I suspect that Obey is not arguing from a philosophical or legal point of view, and I don't think you are answering from a scientific point of view

      Until this dissonance is resolved, our answers will keep going back and forth as a pendulum, since I agree that your arguments and those posed by Nicholas are perfectly valid from a philosophical point of view, but at the same time i find my comments and those of Obey perfectly valid from a scientific point of view

      My assertion, within a scientific framework, is that a person can have the equivalent of spirituality (a great moral foundation, those altered mental processes, associated feelings, etc) without either god or a religion

      cheers
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: Well Andes. My science is up to snuff. I haven't used any science in this debate.

        There in no reason to.

        No one has talked about Einsteins General theory of Relativity so we have no need to talk about clocks.

        science follows the rules of formal logic.

        Particle wave duality is still being debate in the Science realm.

        Real science has only existed, at the rate of discovery we are experiencing, for less than 100 years.
        It' in it's infancy.

        And, when those old preconceptions have been ruled out we will let them go.

        "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
        Then he is not omnipotent.
        Is he able, but not willing?
        Then he is malevolent.
        Is he both able and willing?
        Then whence cometh evil?
        Is he neither able nor willing?
        Then why call him God?"

        NO it's not a logical argument, it is a challenge to God.

        Let God answer it because it was directed at God, not me.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: You have done a good job at keeping the debate friendly, and i appreciate that.

          I think that your understanding of science is not quite accurate, but at the same time i will admit that my logic is indeed quite rusty. Mathematical proofs, yes i can follow those, but the rules of formal logic... well, i think i am not as good

          But i will confess that i have not needed those. For a scientific theory to be valid, it does not have to make logical sense. Does it make any sense that time flows slower in the surface of the earth than it does up in the satellites? and i am not talking about some funny conjecture but a real rate change that needs to be adjusted in clocks that are sent out into space if you want to keep them in sync with the ones here on the surface

          Does that follow any formal logic?

          How about the fact that electrons behave as particles and waves at the same time?

          But science is not, as you say, an all or nothing. Not black and white. When astrophysicists reach the edge of the observable universe and they don't find god along the way, they do not say "there is no god". All they say is that in the observable universe, whether as small as we can detect or as large as telescopes can see, no evidence of god has been found.

          Science is indeed about the discovery. And science is about letting go of old preconceptions when they no longer describe the universe around us
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: By the way, one thing that resembles a logical argument as you mention is the epicurean paradox:

          "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
          Then he is not omnipotent.
          Is he able, but not willing?
          Then he is malevolent.
          Is he both able and willing?
          Then whence cometh evil?
          Is he neither able nor willing?
          Then why call him God?"

          Is that a logical argument?

          I have heard this refuted with the argument that it is because of free will and because god works in mysterious ways that the whole argument is false, but i have not felt convinced with that refutation
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: Maybe John is saying if you cannot disprove all god claims then they are valid.

        Also he seems to come back to the assumption that all atheists absolutely deny the existence of gods. Whereas in my experience most atheists I know may not think it likely there are gods, but don't claim to know for sure.

        I agree that those who state to know there are no gods need to justify the position.

        But one step in from that are people like me who don't claim to know absolutely but see no reason to believe the claims of theists or the existence of gods. So I don't believe in gods. I'm not a theist. I'm a non theist. An atheist.

        I agree no human knows for sure. Zeus or Odin or el could exist. But see no reason to believe in any of the thousands of gods in human history as being anything more than human constructs.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: I agree here Obey, most atheist just claim such due to the preexisting cultural trend - it's the popular alternative thing to be; atheist. Which would be good, if they looked at themselves as such, rather than rational-robots...

          Also, there is reason to believe, the thousands of gods which could of existed - could have been misinterpreted aliens :-D.

          Hallucinogenic plant eating is a recently theory in evolution; in cognitive development would of made our brain more active in order to expand faster. There is not enough (almost none) historic record about prehistory cultures doing hallucinogens. Temples and religious centers didn't keep records of much activity, but yeah, pretty sure some Inca priest were getting trashed. Lol, but yeah, God could be a misinterpreted alien and/or through history the facts were changed on what the visitors said/did in order to control people, well, through the same extraterrestrial knowledge. Just dumb down versions.

          Reinterpreting Jesus (definitely an alien - lol) is actually an interesting practice of secular theology.

          God - Humanism [faith]
          Kingdom of heaven - State of mind involved in harmony on earth
          Holy Spirit - Human spirit
          I am/me (reference to self) - This [is] 'way'

          The only way to God is through me - The only way to humanistic faith is through this way.
          The kingdom (above meaning) would not be found in the form of a physical kingdom - Jn 18:36
          It would manifest itself in spiritual ways - Ro 14:17

          Jesus was a humanistic philosopher - compare him to Buddha.

          While the West made Jesus an atomistic son of an omni-being, the East made Buddha a holistic leader in monism.

          My 2 major point:

          The religious based debate here is not being argued in contrast to how religion exist today. There are a lot of religions that are atheistic; especially Eastern religions.

          A creator God can exist from a rogue scientist alien to an energy pocket of spacetime we are ignorant of how to see.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: John I'm not denying.

      I'm saying I don't know. Im saying theists make some pretty signifcant claims, that conflict. That oftenconflict with reality as i understand it and have no proof indicatingbthe truth oft these claims. So have no reason to be a theist of any colour.

      Im saying most the evidence points to religions being man made and contradictory

      That our understanding of the brain indicate religious experience is most likely a natural brain phenomena.

      It might be that people can function reasonably well in society and still hold crazy religious beliefs. Just because the majority of society says religious delusions are acceptable up to a point doesn't mean they are not delusions. If The christians are right then the hindus, muslums, mormons, etc are delusional. It is just accepted. Whereas saying you are god generally isn't.

      Again I'm not saying that one of the theist belief systems might not be exactly correct and all the others wrong. I'm not saying there may not be gods that are nothing like the humans have imagined.

      We just obviously have not been able to work out who's view of gods is correct if any. And there is a lot that points to gods being man made. Religious experience most likely a natural psychological phenomena.

      I'm not stating absolutes. Just that there is not enough for me to believe in gods or goddesses. In fact the as as knowledge of the universe and ourselves increases there are fewer gaps for gods.

      You can believe anything you want. But not all beliefs are equal if you are looking for truth. Not being verifiable is actually evidence of a weak position, not a strong one.

      Again me saying there is a spiritual dragon in my garage, who created the universe and who I can connect to in extreme conscious states is not much different to the core of many religious beliefs.
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: The idea of the Either was/is a scientific debate. There is no religion in it. The notion that a neutrino could go faster than the speed of light is a scientific debate with nothing to do with Religion.

        As far a crazy religious notions or idea, well, crazy is as crazy does. I think I've already addressed the physiological stance on the mental stability of Religion folk.

        Maybe there never will be a correct view about God in our lifetime.

        Depends on your test of validity. With some all that is necessary is a simple prayer.
        Others want more.

        As far as the dragon goes, call a pest control company, not your pastor; you'll get better results.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: Someone denying absolutely, claiming to be absolutely certain probably has a burden of proof.

      The rest of us can look at the evidence for and against and make a judgement call, or just blindly follow their cultural religion, or take bits and pieces that make sense for them.

      Just that some positions will have more substantiated support than others.

      If you are going to argue any proposition that can not be disproven or proven is as good as a position that can be proven we will just go around in circles. I think you do get the point that not all belief are equally Robust.

      I think you get the point that it is not a binary choice. Believe in gods or absolutely deny them.

      I think you understand that many if not most people who call themselves atheists leave the door open for reasonable proof of some god claims in the future. They don't claim to know absolutely.

      The parody of atheism you propose supports your argument.

      You seem to be deliberately misunderstanding points. Or maybe your world view is so different from mine you do jump to completely different conclusions.

      I'm not sure if anywhere you have conceded that if the Mormons are correct then everyone else is wrong.

      You can dance around and point out that there may be overlaps about specific details, but if orthodox Mormonism is correct, then the core dogmas of other religious beliefs a false.

      The law of contradiction is the foundation of reason. If we can not agree on that then no wonder this conversation is going around in circles.
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: Obey..... in the broad sense, spiritualism is a feeling, that drives us to look for the answers to the question why, where and what for. There are different approaches to answering these questions.

        What does it matter if an individual does not steal because they believe is is a sin, socially criminal, or it goes against their ethics or morality?

        The result is the same.

        The result of human behavior is the central focus.

        We can't suppose that because someone is religious, that their method or belief is an inferior path towards achieving the same result.

        Everything else is just supposition. We are what we do.

        What does Atheism drive us to do?
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: John I agree that acting so as to minimise suffering of others and improving the human condition is generally positive.

          I have no issue with religious people who have peaceful beliefs and don't harm others. I support freedom of religion. But there is still the issue of what is true and correct.

          I suggest the best foundations for building a life are not conflicting subjective religious belief systems. These may have some utilitarian benefits, but also lock in harmful dogmas.

          I suggest the utilitarian argument for religion, does not address whether the claims of a religion are true or false.

          Atheism is not a complete world view with dogma and rules. It is just a position on whether you belief in gods or not. It is not an ethical framework or philosophy for life. Atheism doesn't drive anything. It is not a cult or religion.

          But we have so much information out their to work things out as best we can. The enlightenment, philosophy, human rights etc. I note less religious countries do just fine compared to more religious countries.

          But none of this has anything to do with whether any particular religion is correct in their theist claims.
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2012: Hi John I suggest the burden of proof is on the people claiming their versions of gods and goddesses exist and that their interpretations of what their gods want us to know are true. The burden isI not on the skeptical to disprove every claim.

    The religious seem to ignore all the other god beliefs that conflict theirs.

    Personal religious type experiences seem to be part of our wiring. I note about half of children have imaginary friends. I guess religious experience of adults is not that different. What we do know is the conflicting interpretations of all these experiences or revelations can not be correct.

    At core some religious or god related beliefs are not verifiable. Just like the spiritual dragon that
    Ives in my garage.

    We know enough about our minds to know humans are subject to delusions and hallucinations.

    Also not comprehending or knowing how nature works or things could end up looking like they are do not make supposing supernatural causes reasonable. Not knowing is not evidence for gods.

    Few responses to some of your recent comments above.
  • thumb
    Sep 29 2012: "I cannot fully agree with you. I have known many atheist and I'm an atheist myself."~ Shakire Ouinones.

    I know many surgeons but I'm not a surgeon. I've known many Architectural Engineers but I'm no Architectural Engineer.

    Shakier, To be an Atheist is to pursue the proof that God does not exist. It has more to do with being a prosecution attorney than being a scientist. Science is jut one tool in the Atheist tool box.

    I think, as this debate evolves we are coming to realize that my statement in support of my question has many loopholes and misnomers. There has been the suggestion of altering the Supporting statement, but I think it would be unfair to those who replied in the beginning and brought this failing to light.

    I no longer believe that we can properly debate the statement I offered properly. We are just rehashing the same notions over and over again.

    What do you think? Do you think I should cut the time and let it die?
    • Sep 30 2012: Hi John. I have not followed the debate, as I've been away for a while. BUT, what is new about this debate??

      As, I think you said, the debate about wether God is or not, has and will be going on forever. The literal text ot the Bible, or even the spiritual sense of the Bible does not proof anything spiritual. Whether we are spirits or God exists.

      For me, I do not have any problem believing God exist. I have confirmation many times a day, but that is because I'm possitive to the idea.
      Anyone that is negative to the idea sees 'proof' everywhere he or she looks, also many times a day.

      There is a basic reason why this situation exists. If there was proof one way or the other, that would take our freedom away to make a choice about what to believe. Because we do have a choice. In fact it is having that cholice, is what makes us human. No animal can choose a belief sytem.

      The only 'connection' between spirit and matter is the "science of correspondence." (please Google) There is no measurable, observable connection between spirit and matter. However, there still is a very real relationship. It is impossible to measure or proof, when e.g. 100 people do the very same thing, why they do it.

      All this exists for the soul reason that we as humans can excersise, or do what we love doing. That is what freewill is all about and what it is for.

      Please forget whatever you heard or read about any religious explanation or interpretation related to the Bible and life. Again, please have an open mind for truth and take the time to see if you think it is, or if you think it is not. Be human. This one link is to two books that I hope will make sense to you.
      http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/DLW_DP.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: Adriaan Braam, I’ve read hypothetical reasoning offered by Emanuel Swedensborg, and others before and found I am in disagreement with most of the expostulations. The evidence offered is mostly inferential, from abducted arguments.

        I read the "science of correspondence" on the site you posted and this just solidified my stance.
        • Sep 30 2012: You have the total freedom to decide to be spiritually blind. That is what freewill is all about, nothing else.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: Hi John, yes there were some loopholes, but the conversation has been quite enlightening... now, there are two things that bug me a little.

      1 The idea that an atheist is a person who seeks proof that god does not exist. The majority of the atheists i know are not even looking for such proof (granted, they are mostly scientists, so they are waiting for the testable predictions and then i am sure they would love to jump into the testing wagon)

      2 There are people who trust science blindly (like a religion) but most of those are not scientist. Any respectable scientist will tell you that a theory that is perfectly suitable today might be found flawed tomorrow, and that is perfectly fine. Nothing is treated as "absolute truth"
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: So your saying I should be careful when using "a" vs. "anti"?
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: i think we are getting somewhere...

          1) i would call that anti-theists, just like antipathy is the opposite of sympathy, but apathy is the absence of sympathy, But i see your point, for example, in the most accepted meaning of anarchist, even though the term means without a government, people interpret it to be a position against government
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: Hi John you seem caught up on those who claim to know there are no gods.

      Most people I know who call themselves atheists don't claim to know absolutely. We just claim to know enough that indicates most religions are bunk. In fact we know that at best only one specific religion view could be correct. And they all look like human constructs. No compelling evidence for there claims so we don't believe in gods or goddesses.

      What is your view on this atheist position. Not the absolutist one.
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: Nothing new here Obey....

        I think they spend a lot of time on something they can't prove. That's my position. That's why I'm agnostic.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: I call myself an atheist because I don't have a belief in gods.

          But I don't claim to absolutely claim to know whether any particular religion actually is correct, or they are all wrong but some gods exist that humans have not imagined.

          Not believing is different to denying. by your definition I might be agnostic. But I think all the religions are probably false. We know all but one at most be false. So I disbelieve just one more than any theist.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2012: Science has nothing to say directly about some god claims.

      If you claim there is an intangible intelligence, and we can not verify or test it, then it is outside the bounds of science.

      If you say prayer works, we can test that. Let's all pray that the amputee on crown street has his arm grow back.

      Actually more systematic tests have been done too.

      If your beliefs claim the earth is less than ten thousand years old, that is also disproved unlessngodmcreated the earth to look older.

      So some religious claims clash with our scientific understanding, as well as conflicting religious claims.

      But some things are unverifiable. We can see the parts of the brain active when praying or meditating. So we know at least part of the experience is in the physical but we can not tell in the person is supernaturally connecting with Jesus or Mary or Allah or Vishnu or Buddha or maduk.
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: Nothing new here Obey.....
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2012: Obey, my answer is your first sentence.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2012: Yes, but science does indicate religious belief is a psychological and cognitive phenomena.

          Science also contradicts most creation dogmas etc.

          The fact there is no decent evidence for the existence of gods does not help the case of the theist. It just means people can come up with any subjective religious or supernatural belief system that contradicts all the others. Which seems to be in part why we have such a mess of conflicting supernatural claims.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2012: Have you found any who call themselves atheist in this discussion who claim to absolute know or deny the existence of gods or goddesses?

      You can stick with the parody of atheism if you choose.

      If there was evidence for a particular interpretation of gods or goddesses I would take a look.

      Often these days god beliefs come back to not having an answer to big questions, rather than any evidence for the existence of the being itself, or proof of the particular theist claims.
  • Sep 29 2012: The only difference in beliefs between atheism and religion is the unknown since if something is known, nobody can dispute it, regardless of faith or lack thereof. When you start looking at the unknown, anything can happen. There are literally infinity options for things that can happen.

    My criticism of religion is that sometimes they take a blind dive into the unknown abyss, trying to guess what is there. With this method, they come up with one explanation out of the possible infinity with no proof and no plans to revise their idea. That is as close to a zero chance of being right as you can get. Science on the other hand, narrows things down by revising theories until they explain all phenomena associated with the unknown.

    Atheism isn't science though. They say they believe in it, but when atheists get in arguments, they tend to gravitate to the currently untestable unknown which leads to them having one belief and no chance of revision, something science never does. In light of that, I am with the atheism is a cult crowd.
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: Yes John Smith. That is one of the problems with religon, as an organization. But, we most remember that their basis is on actual events that they said happened. That is the entire basis for their existance. With the Jews, they were chosen by God to be the special intermediaries between mankind and God.

      With the Christians, God himself came and put aside the Jews and made God the intermediary in the Form of Jesus.

      These are events, not logic and therefore cannot be disputed with philosophy or Science. We either accept or deny.

      Therefor the basis of the Atheist is to deny the events and the basis of the Agnostic is to wonder.

      I see no way that Atheism can debate the idea of God. They either accept or deny but the burden of proof is upon them. Those who deny a claim have to prove the claim is a lie.

      We can use science to prove that the soul does not exist but that has failed so far.
      We can use science to prove that the earth did not stand still, but that would declare the supposition that third class civilizations do not exist (without proof) and we find ourselves, as Atheists denying another claim.

      Either we accept the claim or we deny it. I see no other means of resolution about God.
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2012: These are claims. You ask for evidence that the claims are correct. Or you can just accept it may be made up non sense and choose to believe it, or the claims of any other religion on the same subjective basis.

        Atheists indicate that there is no evidence for any particular god. It is simply healthy scepticism at heart. If there is no proof for these extraordinary claims the claims should be treated accordingly.

        Not sure why you think subjective religious claims should be off limits for rational consideration.

        If you accept they are all subjective, but you want to pick and choose, fine. But please don't pretend that the claims in religion that have not compelling evidence are truth.

        You can understand more and more about our body/brain/mind and how it works without the need for a sou without any evidence of soul. But you can not prove that there is or is not some magic spiritual stuff connected in some way to our physical body.

        Spirit stuff is redundant in science. There does not seem to be any need for it, not just no evidence.

        Gods use to send plagues. Now we have germ theory.

        And science does not need to prove there are no souls or spirits for these to be subjective human ideas little objective basis. But lots of mythology and magic and superstition down through the ages from our more ignorance past.
  • thumb
    Sep 29 2012: Ah sorry I must have been mistaken by the question. I thought we were talking about evidence for or against atheism and theism, not evidence for human being having existed, or a book with having been written than has no evidence to back up any of its claims.

    Remember Scientology has as much provenance as any other religion - a person or people existed, and a book was written..

    You are correct no one knows, however I refer you back to that teapot not knowing doesn't mean there is something magic and unexplainable, it is just not yet knowing.

    It is a belief system based on books written long ago that have no proof to back up any of their claims, it is not based on any provable facts. Based on your last response I'll caveat that with provable facts about the existence of any supreme being or miracles etc. Things like a country exists or xx human being exists may be true, but as stated these facts are very different from the fact that a supreme being or being exists.

    People want to believe in something, people don't want to thing death is the end (if may not be even without the existence of any gods..), people want to belong and fit in, people want to identify with others - there are many reasons on top of the whole indoctrination issue why religions are so successful. As I said I also thing we need to keep religion and the actual existence of a god or gods as separate issues.

    The other point as you are talking about different religions is that they all claim to be right, and the amusing thing is if any single one does turn out to be correct most are wrong.. And depending upon which one that is all the other religions may be in a bit of trouble for worshipping the wrong god(s) or the right god but in the wrong way.

    These arguments always become very circular because those on the 'gods' side offer not proof for god, and expect those on the other side to offer proof against something you can't see / feel etc. which is pretty much impossible.
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: Hi Kevin.
      You're a bit off-topic. Do you think Atheism qualifies as a cult or not ?

      :-)
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: The truth is ... there is no teapot kevin. It is a mental construct to try and alleviate confusion. ~remember the matrix?

      Religion, as I stated somewhere else, is a history of actual events, a belief system built on the relavance of these events. Atheism cannot dispute Theism if Theism is based on historical events. They can dig in the dirt but that has only proved the events probably occurred.

      The atheist can only deny the events and seek proof to deny that the "relevance" associated by the Theists to the event is incorrect.

      My question is has Atheism become cult like as a result of their dispute with Religion. When investigating a psychopathic killer, the detective must sometimes put themselves in the mind of the Perp. Have atheists been looking for proof too long? Have they become similar in organization and scope by their association with Religion. Remember. Atheism is not a subset of the Scientific Mindset. It is a task, A journey to disprove something.
  • thumb
    Sep 29 2012: Hi John.

    My concern with the whole debate is that one side has no evidence and the other side is expected to disprove something that cannot be seen or heard, and cannot in anyway be proven to exist, let alone not exist!

    Logic will always fail when faced with blind faith.

    Thus to even the field - I eagerly await a single piece of evidence from the theist camp..

    Disproving something, even something concrete is known to be extremely difficult which is why theists fall to this rather than admitting there is actually no evidence what-so-ever.

    For me I really don't mind what people want to believe and whether they want just belief or something where evidence and experiment are required. I do however have many issues with organised religion from indoctrination (teach kids it's just a belief and expose them to science!) to the petty rules (this being created the entire universe and everything in it, but care about the direction you face when you pray, or whether you eat pork, or whatever... really?). That is however a separate issue to whether you belief in some supreme being or beings or not. This does often muddy the waters, many theists vehemently defend their religion rather than theism and many atheists are much more concerned with issues around organised religion than pure atheism vs. theism.
    Maybe that could be your next question..
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: That's not entirely true Kevin. The story of Jesus, and Buddha, and other religious figures in the literature, did, or there is the strong possibility, that they existed.

      So if someone, a human being who was actually spoken to by this God, then were is the proof to dispute them?

      If I told you I was personal friends with Michio Kaku and gave him the idea about string theory, would you believe me? You wouldn't have evidence one way or the other. So that's the big kicker in this whole debate.

      We all have this notion that there is more to us than just a body and a brain. We feel there is something else that set us off from the rock or the insect and not just mass and energy.

      What if the soul is actually a connection to another dimension? We don't know, science doesn't know and Atheists truly don't know anything. No one knows if the soul exists.

      No, this whole argument boils down to do we believe those who made these claims or not.

      All of religion on the general scale is a belief system. The atheists have no way to get around this. In some religion they are convinced that God is talking to them today and if God is not talking to you, what does that tell you about "your" relationship with God? How do you argue with this?

      It's hard to find anyone who has not been indoctrinated by some form of region to give a really good control sample. The only guy I knew was in India, in a very remote village and when his dad started teaching him about the village gods, he went on a search into the mountains and apparently, God not only spoke to him but gave him a mission. He is an evangelist today and that is his story. He is also one very smart cookie and you wouldn't think he would given over to fairy tales.

      It's a belief system based on some facts given long ago. On the flip side, what is the fact that Athirst is based on? Nothing... it's just the anti-thesis of Theism
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2012: Reply to ObeyNo1Kinobe:“Hi john, I didn't make a judgement about alien abductions in the comment above

    Just pointing out that Christianity or Islam come packed with dogma on a wide range of issues. Origins of life and the universe, afterlife, that the creator of the universe took particular interest in one middle east tribe. Moral instructions. Who to kill and why. Instructions for slave ownership. What to eat. Outlined in dozens of books compiled into a bible.”~ ObeyNo1Kinobe.

    Alien abductions is not a belief. It is record of activity, you can personally choose if you believe the story.

    Your statement of none intervention Creator is invalid without a definition.

    “The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society. With the spread of free-thought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. The first individuals to identify themselves using the word "atheist" lived in the 18th century.[11]” ~wikipedia.

    Many atheists hold that atheism is a more parsimonious world view than theism, and therefore the burden of proof lies not on the “atheist”to disprove the existence of God, but on the theist to provide a “rationale for theism” ~wikipedai.

    I agree with all these stipulations Obey.
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2012: Perhaps this will help:
    Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior” ~wkipedia

    “Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.” ~wikipedai

    “Vice is a practice or a behavior or habit considered immoral, depraved, or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a negative character trait, a defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit. Synonyms for vice include fault, depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness, and corruption.”~wikipedia

    “Logic (from the Greek λογική logikē)[1] refers to both the study of modes of reasoning (which are valid and which are fallacious)[2] and the use of valid reasoning. In the latter sense, logic is used in most intellectual activities, including philosophy and science, but in the first sense is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science. It examines general forms that arguments may take. In mathematics, it is the study of valid inferences within some formal language.[3] Logic is also studied in argumentation theory.[4]”~Wikipedia

    Example:
    People’s behavior, may infer positive traits (morality) and/or depraved traits (immoral, Vice) but still have a logical framework, (goals), depending on what methods they employ to accomplice their goal.

    Use these word to create a foundation of reference in your debate admissions.
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2012: I've been experimenting and most of these questions/answers follow a logical flow. This imparts the idea that a program can be written that both creates and answers question of these types.

    So, where does the human factor come into question in this argument and is it possible the whole argument is invalid?

    The poised argument is:


    Belief system does not necessity need proof to exists.

    Religion = belief system and Atheism = (Religion) X (-1) = belief system;
    If Religion = cult then Atheism = cult.

    Agnostic = (Religion < Agnostic > Atheism)
    Agnostic not equal Religion and Agnostic not equal Atheism.
    Agnosticism not equal belief system.
    • thumb
      Sep 29 2012: John,

      I feel that Ignosticism, proves stronger than Agnosticism any day!

      But Agnosticism would be a belief system - or quality of belief which entails a foundation for others. Existentialism, skepticism, nihilism, etc. can attribute and be taken out of agnostic practices.
      • Sep 29 2012: People like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett (or even I) can be said to be atheists, agnostics or ignostics. So much for one proving stronger than another.

        My point is that there are usually no clear distinctions between these categories.
        • thumb
          Sep 29 2012: I believe what matters is what they claim themselves as, and the 'four horseman' of new age atheism... Pretty sure they're proud of that title.

          Hardly ignostic.
        • thumb
          Sep 29 2012: I guess they are like the ocean tides sweeping in and out. I agree John.

          One day after thinking about it your agnostic. The next after reviewing the latest research data, your atheist. Then that little incident happens that convinces you that a miracle happened. Your back to being agnostic.
        • thumb
          Sep 29 2012: I guess I must be using another dictionary than you are.
      • Sep 29 2012: Despite being one of the four horsemen, Dawkins fills quite a few pages talking about the various concepts of god, and which one he is addressing in his book, The God Delusion.

        Wikipedia has: Although a self-proclaimed atheist, Sam Harris has expressed frustration with being labeled an atheist and often employs ignostic arguments criticizing the ambiguous and inconsistent definitions of "God". Harris finds the label and concept of atheism as extraneous as needing to label oneself a non-racist or a non-believer in Zeus. and then links to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KG5s_-Khvg as citation. (around 07:05).

        Which ignostic principle do you think these guys would disagree with?
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: I am familiar with the God Delusion and sure, he says a few words on the various types of 'God' imagery. But his philosophy is looking at these deities as units of thought, in which he is wrong to claim. The main 'God' he is breaking down can be solely paralleled to the Judea God, which is the most popular, but not the only image of 'God' - even as the creator. Overall he brush stroked his claims on any idea of 'God' so much, that nothing practical can be built off of his book. Rather it is a piece of militant atheist propaganda. The degree of ignosticism Dawkin's performs is so mild, it just satisfies the neoatheistic resolution i.e. the title of the book.

          Now Harris is a good example, however, while he researches in light of understanding there are a multiplicity of 'God' ideologies (ignosticism). He still is an activist against fundamentalism with 'God' and religion in general.

          Sure, one can perform ignostic thoughts and strategies, but the results is what matters. Both of these men are actively being militant against religious thoughts, while rejecting they themselves behave religiously...

          Ignosticism calls into question prior to performing analysis of fundamentals in thought... The ideal is to find common ground, not create more ground between people.

          Again, hardly ignostic.
      • thumb
        Sep 29 2012: Your drifting Nicolas, be more specific, please.
      • Sep 30 2012: I quote Dawkins: "As I continue to clarify the distinction between supernatural religion on the one hand and Einsteinian religion on the other, bear in mind that I am calling only *supernatural* gods delusional."

        So, what was his "wrong" claim?

        "nothing practical can be built off of his book"?
        Great! Atheism is not an ideology. I don't want things built off just the rejection of the various concepts of god. I hate it when people think that I adhere their presumed ideologies of me.

        "He still is an activist against fundamentalism with 'God' and religion in general. "
        Dawkins: "And I shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confucianism."

        Harris makes very explicit which religions he is targeting. He contrasts Islam with Jainism. Though I don't agree with either Dawkins or Harris spending so much energy on this, in a way I sympathize with them both. Dawkins faces his entire field being called into question by bible-thumpers who don't want evolution to be taught to children. Many atheists hate it when they are called amoral because they reject the believers' concepts of gods. So, what was Dawkins' militant atheist "propaganda"?

        "Ignosticism... The ideal is to find common ground, not create more ground between people."
        I don't have a problem with that being *your* ideal. But on what grounds do you say that this applies to all ignostics?
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: So, there are only two distinctions of the 'religious' thought; mainly concerned with 'God'?... 'supernatural' or his definition of 'Einsteinian'?

          Yeah, already wrong from the opening chapters...

          Atheism has been -and- is becoming a cultural/social ideology - comparable easily to a religion.

          Did you not just quote how Harris does not enjoy being called an atheist? So isn't your statement denoting the fact people do recognize others as atheist? A small example from your own words..

          What does your Dakwins' quote dictate in negation to mine? Because Christianity and Judaism have over 30 subsets and sub-subsets recognizable in size. All of them are not the same, ever heard of Jewish Atheism? Christian Pantheism?

          What "other religions?" Every word out of him about the very topics to make him famous aren't "Abraham faith/religion" but "faith/religion." He is a militant; he was harshly accused of being biased in theory of memetics, and he got a lot of heat for his bad science. As well as his constant overstatements of the word 'religion'.

          Lol - trust me, theologians in contempt times can burn Dawkins without having to hug a Bible. They can do so by epistemic history and empirical science lol. Had Dawkins not been a neoatheist, he would of noticed the evolving studies of cognitive science. Recent theory: Religious thinking, is not merely a 'delusion' or irrational process of cognition. An essential part of how we evolved as thinking beings. So, we all have this pattern of thought that when activated, achieves the God-feeling; reached by G-thought.

          So in a more interesting light, when a douche bag (bad scientist) like Dawkins feels 'No God' and does so thinking about how there is absolutely 'No God'. Is cognitively the same experience; euphoric understanding and acceptance. That cognitive mechanism being activated, is the God-feeling which is created by G-thought. It does not require even an idea of 'God' but the negation or replacement of said thought/feelin
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: Ignosticism foundation came out of religious researchers (whom normally practiced) trying to find similarities with other religions.

          But, biggest reason is that ignosticism is majorly concerned with how 'words' (God, faith, religion, dogma, etc.) are being used, much prior to any formation of argument.

          Harris formations are usually atheistic, as he generalizes his usage of these words in a very narrow epistemic scope. Note: his lecture about how 'science' can create 'moral's - lol, if that doesn't scream neoatheism, I do not know what does...
      • Sep 30 2012: His Einsteinian God was not supernatural. (Read the book.) So, is there something that is neither natural nor supernatural? And this makes Dawkins wrong? LOL yourself !

        "Atheism has been -and- is becoming a cultural/social ideology - comparable easily to a weak religion."
        Did you even listen to the talk of Harris?

        Many people will "recognize" even you, presumably an ignostic, as an atheist. So, what was the example from my own words?
        Jewish atheism? Dawkins addresses that. Have you even read the book? I don't know why you keep making these arguments about Dawkins without even bothering to read it, or having read it, willfully misrepresent it.

        "he was harshly accused of being biased in theory of memetics"
        Spoken like someone who hasn't read his books. He briefly mentions it now and then, but there is no "theory of memetics". I can accuse you of destroying the moon. Does not mean that you did. Get it?

        "theologians in contempt times can burn Dawkins without having to hug a Bible."
        I pray to god you're not trying to bring up William Lane Craig. Anyone who understands logic (modal logic, not layman logic) knows him to be a bullshitter.

        "Is cognitively the same experience; euphoric understanding and acceptance."
        Right... now YOU'RE the world renowned expert on comparing cognitive experience, and have taken the field of cognitive science far beyond where I previously thought it was. You seem to have an ability to pull out "facts" from out of where the sun don't shine. I give up arguing with you.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2012: 'two distinctions' - supernatural or Einsteinian - as in options (which is wrong)... And yes, actually, there a significant number of theories in philosophy, science and metaphysics in which are beyond our immediate understanding of nature, but exist in theoretical math, belief, concerns and paradigms. 'Collective and Cosmic Consciousness' 'String Theory' 'Spacetime' - all share the in between existence of both natural and supernatural.

          * I use supernatural in the original sense: (of a manifestation or event) Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.

          Let me make a point - I know you do not have much experience in religious thinking and are not familiar with history in secularism (rather neoatheism). I would tread carefully here.

          Yeah it was a great lecture actually, lol. Except if he just said 'Buddhistic perspectives' (something similar perhaps) rather than 'scientific' or 'science influenced' - it would of not been a giant religious statement of neoatheism. Because rationality is a long time discipline that Buddhism is severely concerned with. In which even monist monks accept scientific intervention on knowledge and fact. Science depends on either public and private enterprises, which encompasses a multitude of different cultures in subset-ed communities (which continue to build subset specialization)... Lol, science is not teaching anyone morals. Religion does that, or culture, community, and society.. So call like it is... Neoatheism..

          Listen I read the book - My point of stating the Jewish Atheism, is the fact these issues are not left or right (which is what he ignores with his book). They are more than just irrational or rational, they involve factors and details you are not considering - clearly.

          Memetics is a premise for a new theory of evolution. Sorry if I gave him more credit than he deserves.

          I believe I made two cases for his bias research claims. And no, don't need Craig for them either.

          No expert her
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2012: John F. here is a Video offered by Don that shows someone who has not only read Dawkins writings but critically analyzed them as well. I saw the video and It is very well argued, on a pro God theme. It would be worth looking at, if not only for seeing the other side of the coin put in a justifiable sense.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kz4OgXsN1w&feature=player_detailpage
    • Sep 29 2012: Sorry, John. Your equations make no sense!
      • thumb
        Sep 29 2012: Do you think I need to delete and start over or just can the whole post?
        • Sep 29 2012: If anything, I'd be very happy with formal logic ;-).
  • thumb
    Sep 28 2012: I seem to have come to the party a bit late, but thought I may as well throw my thoughts into the ring..

    Atheism is not the same as theism. Theism is believing in something there is no evidence for. Atheism is saying that something does not exist.
    Arguing or proving something does not exist is often very difficult, which is a fact religions often play or - 'you cannot prove God does not exist'. This is also the point of the teapot theory (from Russell I think) that states there is a little tea set hidden in the rings of Saturn that is just small enough to not be detectable by our telescopes. As our telescopes get better it just gets slightly smaller or better hidden. Thus while we are all perfectly comfortable saying there is not a tea set in the rings of Saturn, we have no was to prove it.
    Regarding gaps in science - just because we don't (yet) understand something does not mean it is magic or that there is a god, just that we have yet to completely understand it. This is another completely incorrect argument for the existence of anything.

    When any religion offer any actual evidence for the existence of a god they might have some credence. Note - just because is not evidence at all, and also pointing to gaps in any theory is not evidence for god. For example if evolutionary theory was somehow proven to be incorrect, this in no way proves another theory or hypotheses, just that the existing one needs revising. So we are looking for evidence that proves there is a god, not arguments against other theories.

    I think mistakenly due to the entrenched, indoctrinated positions they argue against some atheists have become too dogmatic in the way they present their arguments. This may not be ideal, but is understandable I think- it must be hard when you have years of peer reviewed , evidence backed research argued against with zero evidence.

    For reference I would probably put myself in the sceptical agnostic camp - open to evidence, but yet to see any at all.
    • thumb
      Sep 28 2012: "I think mistakenly, due to the entrenched, indoctrinated positions they argue against, some atheists have become too dogmatic in the way they present their arguments."~ Kevin Fielder

      I believe they try to argue outside the dogma, preferring to argue from the point of logic, but logic itself is insufficient. They then try to argue from the point of science but science is neutral on the issue of Religion. Those issues of the Flat Earth, found in Religious writings and ---former scientific writings---, have been proven wrong, not by science but by adventures who put the theories to the test, before science became the modern method of experiment it is today.

      Atheism is primarily focused on discounting Theism. So it has continued, using logic and the dogma of each religion to try and convinced others that the Theist "Belief" in Religion is incorrect. Their long time endeavors have intrenched and forever attached them to the domain of Logic as the singular source of argument at their disposal to counter the Religious ideas. The burden on disproving Theism is on the Atheists, as stipulation in the long time rules of debate. Their task has carried on for so long, they have become almost dogmatic, as you state in their attempts to disprove Theism. So far they have failed.

      But the day ain't over yet. :)
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: By your definition of cult....

    I'm a member of the virtual cult that doesn't think acupuncture does much except placebo

    I'm a member of the virtual cult that does not believe in an afterlife

    I'm a member of the virtual cult that believes chess is a better game than checkers

    That the holocaust happened

    That Julie's caesar lived
    • thumb
      Sep 28 2012: Okay this could be true if:

      You've never experienced the remedy of acupuncture;
      You believe you will non-exist when you die;
      You prefer chess over checkers;
      You are up to date on your history;

      And all of this has what to do with the topic?
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: Hi John

    I think I may have an understanding of some atheism is a religion arguments.

    Some might be looking at in the way that not having pets and having pets are two forms of pet ownership.

    However not owning pets does not make you a pet owner.

    The null position does not involve owning pets.

    Not being a theist is a position in regards to gods

    But is not a type of theism.

    Just as it is false to say not owning pets versus owning pets is similar to
    Owning a dog versus owning a cat

    Atheism here

    Theism here - with all the different forms of theism competing

    Atheism is not a form of theism
    It is non theism, being without theism

    Just like not playing tennis is not a sport

    Hope that helps.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: I believe we just got through with your other list of disassociated items that disagree with the topic Obey.
  • Sep 27 2012: I have to say I really enjoyed this debate, granted I didn't partake in it a whole lot. But I still liked reading everyones opinion on the matter.
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: You did well Stephen Torres. Don't forget to send me
      your one sentence that best describes your issue in the debate so I can site you in the closing remarks.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: I'll be writing the closing statement to this debate in a few days. If you will send me one sentence of something you wrote in this debate you believe most powerfully speaks to what you believe, or stated, I will include it in my debate summery. I don't think it is fair that I have the only last word. And I'm a bit tired with babysitting a two year old granddaughter with a cold.

    Thank you. John Moonstroller.
    Send it PM or rexrino@moonstroller.com
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: looking forward to your closing statemnet ..i hope you won;t let us down.and take care of your granddaughter..DO not too much tired yourself ..
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Thank you Chen xin. Remember if you want to include your best reply in the closing remarks, send it to me and I will include and site your name.

        Thank you again.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: Maybe some points are not clear.

    You have a simple statement - say I believe there are probably no interventionist gods

    One line

    Then you have the entire bible.

    Slightly different scope in terms of what is prescribed - would you agree?
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: Obey, give me a lever long enough and using the moon as a fulcrum, I will move the earth out of orbit.

      It would be easier.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: Thumbs up for the effort john
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: I know everyone is getting bored but could some of you try to stay on topic. I say some things way off the beaten path but I do come back and delete those posts from time to time. If everyone will do that I'll bring this question to a close.

    I think we are done here.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: Chen.... can you give answer to this:

    "Although many temples and monastories have been rebuilt after the cultural revolution, Tibetan Buddhists have largely been confined by the Government of the People's Republic of China.[56] Buddhist monks and nuns have been reported tortured and killed by the Chinese military, according to all human rights groups.[57] There were over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet, and nearly all were ransacked and destroyed by the Chinese communists, mainly during the Cultural Revolution.[58]~Wikipedia

    Has China Changed?
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: No apology is necessary. I think we understand you well.

      Thank you for your words.

      They make people think. That is what words should do.
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: Also No problem with those values.

      Just a problem with some of the other values and dogmas in religion. Like anti gay or sexist or tribalist or violent. Also happy to peacefully point out all the religions can not be true. But support of religion within limits even though they all seem to be false in many regards.
      • Comment deleted

        • Sep 27 2012: One only has to enter "homosexuality in animals" into google to get a wikipedia article that states (and I quote)
          A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them
          So it seems that being gay is hard wired into our brains regardless of our position in the tree of life. I think therefore, that it is wrong to punish someone for this behaviour without extraordinary evidence that it is wrong for some other reason than "I dont like it"
          Being sexist in my definition means taking consideration of the persons sex in any treatment of the person. I.e. laws for men are the same as laws for women and vice versa. Women are not disallowed from taking some role based on the fact that they are women (where it is logical).
          Violent speaks for itself. Religions should not approve/demand/direct violence agains anyone.
          Tribalism refers to a strong connection to culture or ethnic group that excludes others. Its like being sexist or racist but usually worse.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Is it natural to be left handed.
          Seems to be natural for some to be gay
          I don't think being attracted to the same sex is a lifestyle choice for most.
          Even if it is, so what. It does no harm.

          Sexist, like religious beliefs that treat women as chattel, or not equal and free the same as men etc. having to hide their bodies or faces, locked up at home. Having to obey men. The bible says if your new wife is not a virgin you should kill them in front of their father. That support polygamy one way - men with many wives, not the other way too.

          Violent, any religious beliefs that order or inspire violence e.g. Signs that say behead those who insult prophets. Like the dozens of things in the old testament you are supposed to kill people for - adultery, homosexuality, working on the sabbath, adultery. Thinking your god gave your tribe some land etc. Forcing your taboos onto other people.

          I think if you think you have the absolute truth from the creator of the universe, if you think god is telling you to live a certain way, if god supports your cause, that gods says what you are doing is right and others are wrong, it may make tribalism worse, depending on those beliefs.

          Hope that is clearer.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: there is a totally dis agreement on why god is exsted

          you know in chian we think god is shijiamoni.we belive in budu..while in the west you think yesu is your god .so who is really the god .so obviously what we say about god is meanless .

          but i do agree that god .religion has its meaning of exts.they can make people live a better life . with god they can think that hurt is necessary .so they may not do things overstated or overfighting .

          so at this point i think religion still has its meaning .

          what is your opinion ..
        • thumb
          Sep 29 2012: I'm just busting in here.

          Obey, I flagged one of your posts by mistake..... Perhaps the moderator could undo that for me.

          John.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: Life is a Journey to death.
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: Yes.

      My favourite. Death needs life for what it kills to grow in.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Obey, try shaping that statement into a logic equations, just for fun.
        You do know it's hard to be rude to a smiley face, don't you? :)
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: I know. It's a self portrait from another conversation.

          Also hard to be offended by a curious chimp.
  • thumb
    Sep 27 2012: When I was younger, I was a Baptist Christian. After that, a United Pentecostal Christian, after that, a Reform Jew, after that, an Agnostic.

    When you have experienced religion, it just doesn’t go away in your mind. It’s like taking a human life in combat as a soldier; the look on the face of your enemy when they fall, haunts you forever. It never goes away. You can’t just cast off religion and say to yourself, I am done with that.

    It remains to haunt you for the rest of your life. Sometimes you still find yourself, talking to God and you realize this will never go away.

    Some newly arrived Atheists feel they have to slap God in the face to prove they no longer follow that belief system. They go out, like a new gang member who has to prove their allegiance to the gang and hurt someone. Just like joining a fraternity, they have to do something stupid or unusual to be a member –not all, but some.

    When you are young and bullet-proof, it’s easy to deny the world around you. When you lose that youthful strength, and you are haunted by past experiences, it’s not so easy to just lay down and reconcile yourself to the notion that there is nothing else to do but walk into the darkness of oblivion. Dying is a scary business that brings every moment you spent in life to the forefront in your mind.

    If you’ve managed to dodge the bullets, the swinging fists and the words of hurt you still have to die. In the end, we are what we do, not what we believe. Oblivion is a scary place. We enter it like scared children, clinging to someones hand --if possible.

    I’ve never seen parents who’ve watched their child die from cancer tell their child that there is no afterlife, Santa Clause doesn’t exist, and when they die, they are going to oblivion --even if they are Atheist parents. Instead, they tell them they are going to Heaven, Grandma will meet them there and take them home. Then, afterward, after the grieving is over, they sometimes become religious.
    • thumb
      Sep 27 2012: I don't know if your views are universal.

      I can only speak for myself but we never pretended gods existed with our child. I don't think we would have mentioned god and afterlife if she got terminally ill. When people died we never suggested they will see them again in heaven or hell or Valhalla etc. When friends and family get sick I don't lie about my position. I also don't push on other.

      When asked we say what our beliefs are and why but mention other people have other beliefs and she can make her own mind up.

      Death anxiety is a big factor in many religious belief systems. I was a born again Christian for years but no longer miss the consolations.

      I guess many atheists or agnostics don't lie to soften the blow that people and pets die.this just makes life more precious.

      I guess religious indoctrination effects us all differently. I have heard some ex Catholics say rationally they don't fear he'll but sometimes still wake with nightmare. Sad.
      • thumb
        Sep 27 2012: Obey my friend.... I love you like a brother. We are not talking "IF" here.

        I have seen this, but not lived through it. I'm in the same position as you. But I have seen it many times and followed those people from the beginning, through to the end and beyond.

        It's a belief killer situation on all accounts.

        Precious it is. Some people have a reverence for life.

        There always appears to be an opposite for every relationship. But we can't imagine Life without death.... yet.
      • thumb
        Sep 28 2012: "I can only speak for myself but we never pretended gods existed with our child. I don't think we would have mentioned god and afterlife if she got terminally ill. "

        Let's hope you never have to prove this implication Obey.
  • thumb
    Sep 26 2012: Had another idea. Don't like using words primitive cultures so going to use term original cultures instead. You see the sun come up one day then go down, you notice sometimes sun not so intense. You notice sometimes it rains and then plants grow and sometimes it doesn't rain at all. Every so often in some parts of the world major natural disaster. Original people who lived near volcanoes and on river flood plains able to grow more food, soil more fertile. More food, chance to diversify roles and time to think about other things. Some people, by accident or design, good at dreaming, planning, creating, predicting. Become shamans or priests or whatever term is used by that culture. You know better than most existential angst. Angst too tame a word. Best friend like you. Enlisted in army underage not expecting to see live combat then country went to war for real. Only seventeen. Has spent whole life since 'testing' his luck if you like. Loads of children, only 47 now and physically very ill. Live fast die young not new concept. Young fit men sent out to fight, those who survive celebrated as heros (except in Vietnam case, sure you know popular song about if). Lots of ancient myths about this, see any ideas you can find about the green man in your cultural knowledge. Only just found out about 'Green Angel' who walked with Moses. (from Moslem scriptures). Anyway, not wanting to jump all over the place too much. Belief systems for benefit of individual and also for community but not necessarily compatible. Belief systems about trying to control environment to ensure survival as well as information filters. Do you like reading ideas of Carl Jung, referencing Man and his symbols here.
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2012: I remember Joe Fish "What are we fighting for....", "Don't ask me I don't give a dam, next stop is Vietnam...."


      Carl Jung, absolutely. I think I've forgotten more than I know from lack of use. :)

      I do like Joseph Campbell and his ideas about myth and stories.
  • thumb
    Sep 24 2012: Yes, I thought that was a cool idea. To me it is looking more and more like some grand design. It's also well within our reach and understanding. In this sense, nature is looking more understandable in my opinion.

    God or no God, I still see the design in nature, which implicates something.

    The interesting point that comes to my mind is, that these design are within our mental grasp. Which implies to me that the designer is somehow related to us along a common line.

    Nice to share with you on these things.

    Come on by as I suggested in your PM.

    We talk about things like this in my forum, We don't debate them.
    • thumb
      Sep 25 2012: Hi John,

      Do you see design from a design or do you see apparent design in nature? Do you see adaptation?

      I suggest we have a robust scientific explanation for the adaptation and evolution species. Do we have a detailed explanation of every single evolutionary outcome - no. Also we don't have a sound theory on the origins of life, but plenty of naturalistic ideas.

      You mentioned the bacterial flagellum. That has been completely debunked. It is not irreducibly complex. A subset of the flagellum is used by other bacteria to inject toxins. The proteins that make up the flagellum are analogous to other proteins in bacteria.

      Things like eyes and immune systems are complex. Complexity does not equal a need for a designer. This is a claim from ignorance. The designer is even more nebulous than understanding the physical universe.

      Snowflakes are complex. Not individually designed. Just the outcome of solidifying a polar molecule.

      I suggest you may have it backward. If you recognise something in nature as designed, this will reflect your knowledge of designed things. Even the things that are too complex for you to associate with human designs could be designed. Seeing parallels of human design, of natural functionality in nature does not indicate design. A vertebra eye is similar to a camera. A shoulder is a hinged joint. Not sure how you automatically assume they must be designed.

      Also, what crappy design. Knees that give out. Birth defects. Dementia. Eyesight that fails. Breathing through the same hole we eat with. Waste removal combined with reproductive and fun bits.

      And look at nature, every animal surviving by killing and eating other living things. Bacteria, viruses, cancer, diseases. What a lovely creation? What a nasty designer if there was one. And the sun will burn out in a few billion years anyway, if we don't get hit by more mass extinction meteorites.

      If life evolved naturally wouldn't it look pretty much like it does.
      • thumb
        Sep 25 2012: It's way cool. I know.

        Obey we can talk about this in my forum, I'm limited about what I can say in here.
        It absolutely needs to be on topic. :)

        We are talking about Atheism, vs agnostism, appearantly.

        I'l copy this and create a topic at the forum.
        See you there or later. Doing some math with Michio right now.
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: I've seen pictures of the bacterial flagellum. Pretty cool.

          To assume this was created, to assume it could not evolve is a pretty significant leap of faith.

          If an eye can evolve so can the bf. Actually several types of eyes have evolved. Vertibra share the camera eye from a common ancestor. Squids have a different type of eye to us that is actually more efficient or so I've heard.. Insects have compound eyes etc.

          Not sure about the 70's reference. Much of what was true in the seventies is still true now. You might not agree with the comment or have heard it before but that does not discount it's veracity.

          I'm not saying life is not amazing even considering the eat or be eaten aspect. We exist because our ancestors were the survivors. I'm just saying we are not perfectly designed. There is a nerve that runs from the brain down the neck and around the heart and back up again. Not a big deal in a fish with no neck, but very inefficient in a giraffe that like all vertibra are thought to have evolved from marine animals.

          With DNA and our own eyes we can see the ancestral links of all life.

          Don't know therefore god.
          Functionality that helps survival therefore creator
          Complexity in life therefore creator
          Big assumptions.

          I don't know how life got started on this planet. Could have been kick started by some deity or alien. Or could have just developed naturally. The further back we go the murkier things get.

          But if you start with what we have now, its not hard to see primates are related, all mammals are related, all vertibra are related etc.

          Technically the bacterial flagellum position is an argument from ignorance. Also the intelligent design aspects of irreducible complexity have been debunked.

          In fact ID has been found to be complete bunk.

          That doesn't mean there are no gods or goddesses. Heck the Mormons might be right and Mormon Jesus lives on a hidden planet somewhere.

          Happy to agree to disagree.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Obey, ID is not something I'm interested in. The fact we are approximately very close to actually designing a living cell in the laboratory from scratch does not in any way imply that Intelligence and design are somehow related.

        Note: Where is Gabo when you need him. ;)

        Getting back to the topic of at the top of the page, I don't see how they are related. :)
        Agnostics do, in fact, agree with Prof Susskinds predictions about the acceleration of gravity in a confined space like Leaning tower of Pizza.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Well Obey you definably are disagreeing to agree at the end.

        Ovey, the word debunked, stated over and over again does not debunk anything. Proteins alining themselves without need or design is hard to grasp for the unscientific mind.

        Evolutionary creation for the unscientific mind (Will be the next question).

        Let's state it this way: which came first, the chicken or the DNA?
        At least we can argue that DNA is a molecule and that the chicken is the product of:
        1. An environment capable of sustaining life --Earth.
        2. DNA, a chemical code which causes elements on the atomic level to align themselves in a certian pattern.

        Looking at it this way, we don't have to define (at this time) where the DNA came from.
        We toss some DNA molecules in some soup like conditions and they react within the environment and start replicating according to their code, creating a single celled form of life.

        By tossing in the DNA in the suitable conditions, we are in fact creating life.

        Question, is it possible to create the DNA sequence from atomic elements?

        I'm going to stop here and proceed to the question of How was DNA created?

        Might as well be legal.
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: All the examples of irreducible complexity i have heard of have been shown to be reducible.

          You can still believe they are irreducible or the sun rotates the earth, but this runs counter to science.

          The Dover trial addresses intelligent design on many levels.

          There could be some gods or aliens guiding evolution, but they are not necessary.

          My understanding is hypothesis on The origin of life are speculative. Most involve amino acids, water etc found naturally. RNA then DNA etc. we don't know. But I don't think this means it is reasonable to jump to some in tangible cosmic intelligence. I note everything we do understand now doesn't need gods. Lightening. Disease. Evolution.

          DNA may not have been created. It might have happened naturally.

          Also, it is natural that life would evolve to survive in a particular environment.

          I also note 99.99999999999% of the universe would kill most life forms we know instantly.

          I agree gods may exist, I guess we just disagree on how likely or reasonable they are as explanations.

          In the end you say gods did it, yet have no idea for how the gods did it. No idea of the nature of these gods etc. you've answered a question with an even more inexplicable speculative question. It's not much different to me saying invisible space cats created life on earth.
  • thumb
    Sep 24 2012: Good advice. You sound open minded on the issue.
  • thumb
    Sep 24 2012: I kind of like being an agnostic atheist I believe in something I'm just not sure what

    And atheism is only a cult if you use it like an organised religion by banding with others and wondering and discussing why you are all atheists.

    To be honest as previously said it is down to personal choice you can believe what you wish to believe just do us a favour and don't take to it the extreme thats when it causes problems.
    • thumb
      Sep 24 2012: In the United states they have banded together and are tying ot form a religious order and get the religious tax shelter given to official religious organizations. I was hoping, with this question to get some input from these people here. They tend to not answer emails.
      • thumb
        Sep 24 2012: Problem with that theory is you get every religous loony and shyster rorting the system to fund lunatic ideas and defraud the govt of funding better used elswhere or to feather their own nests under the guise of "religious freedom"

        Heck hasn't the US learnt anything from all those bogus tele evangalists ovr the years??? if they haven't then more fool them
        • thumb
          Sep 24 2012: The US is the strongest Nation on the planet. Nothing else can compare to it's might and greatness and, it' not a theory, it's an application for tax shelters. You should take your complaint to those organizations which deal with such things. This is a TED question/debate area I think you are in the wrong department. The white house is two blocks up the road.
      • thumb
        Sep 24 2012: Sorry John maybe I misunderstood but I don't understand why an application for tax shelters would be broached when there are already a large number of tax exemptions already exist??? and have been exploited in certain areas.

        How would you manage to vet something like that to make sure that it only went to legitimate organisations and not those that wish to use for personal and even subversise and criminal gain????

        and I wasn't complaining I was trying to make a point on how easy it is to rort the system when you are allowed too

        Respectfully

        Morgan
        • thumb
          Sep 24 2012: Morgan. The atheist organizations are forming a religion based on atheism in order to get the same tax shelters that normal churches get. Regular churches don't pay taxes.

          I hope I have explained myself better. I can be muddy at times.

          Later.
      • thumb
        Sep 26 2012: Hi John, there is a certain fairness to not for profit atheist organisations getting tax exempt similar to religious not for profit organisations.

        Tax status does not make atheism a religion or a cult.
        • thumb
          Sep 26 2012: Ok, I'll bite how does a belief system, like Atheism, become a religion?
  • Sep 23 2012: The World with God " is the World

    that all Beings,


    whatever are created, controlled and acted by “God”,

    “Could be together with
    and also Should be together with
    and so Are together with”,
    a nd God endows the Faith in that Relation.

    Please refer to http:///www.worldwithgod.org and to one2gather.org & one2gether.net.
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: You sincerity is demonstrated in your kindly comment. I will take a look at the link you posted for personal retrospection.

      Thank you Hyung Ho Lee.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: You only have to speak for yourself Brian Klink. You don't need to echo anything for anybody. That way, if the crowd goes down you don't go down with them. It is a question open for debate, that strives to understand and seek an answer to the question as phrased.

      In all things, you are what you do. What we hope to be or pretend to be has no bearing on how the cake come out of the oven, so to speak.

      How many misinformed people have you polled on this issue? There are incorporated and unified Atheist organizations, who are seeking tax relief for their organizations based on the argument they are a religion and they have a "dogma". These organization have an "agenda" and sometimes organize activities to spread their "dogma" outward into the public. These organizations have gone so far as to sue other websites and social media contributors for copyright infringement. Perhaps you are uninformed about all of this.

      I was hoping the TED community would be better informed and that someone, other than me would offer this information and site the organizations that seek to take their little tit-a-tat and turn it into an actual organized religion. Most religious organizations are well informed about these entities. They are called religious organizations because they are organized. They have money they have political power an agenda and the real critical element that gives them the tax break..... a dogma.

      I'm saving the real stuff for the closing statement. Why don't you go out into Google land and find this stuff and present it which would be the proper way to analysis the question instead of just offering your opinion. I think you are fully qualified to do this and it would set you off from the other parrots on the tree.

      Success is 60 percent sweat, 30 percent intelligence and 10 percent hunch. You got the right stuff Brian, so go do the work.
  • thumb
    Sep 22 2012: Interesting Gallup poll on religious preference over the years.

    Includes those who don't believe in God.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1690/religion.aspx
    • thumb
      Sep 23 2012: Similar trend in Australia, albeit with double the non religious.
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: Looking at the graphs, Religion is losing the battle. the trend is definitely towards secularism.
  • Sep 22 2012: "Is Atheism just another cult, with their own dogma, like religious cults?"

    No, people who claim this don't know what the word "probability" means. An atheist believes in ideas that have a 99.9999999% probability of being true, religious people believe in ideas that have a 0.0000001% probability of being true (this is called faith). A religious person telling an atheist "well, that's just like your opinion man" is just being ignorant, not profound.

    When one person is convinced he's going to win the lottery, and another is convinced he'll lose the lottery, you're not going to say "well, they're just two sides of the same coin, they could both be right, so I'm not going to take a side."
    • thumb
      Sep 22 2012: I think your percentages are skewed. They don't jive with the experts. Did you just make them up?
      • Sep 22 2012: Can we please stay on topic and not fight over word use or the level of offense a person might take from them? What you're asking me is to stop saying 1+1=2 because it might upset some followers of the 1+1=7 religion.
  • thumb
    Sep 22 2012: We seem to have different definitions of atheism.

    Even with your definition, perhaps being certain there is no god, does not mean you are absolutely certain everything in science is true.

    I'm an agnostic atheist
    • thumb
      Sep 22 2012: And I'm an Atheist Agnostic. It's good to see you again Obey. ;)

      I said: "...atheists have a blind faith in science, believing what they show, and measure is the last word about reality; believing that this Science supports their side of the debate while excluding the Religious view."..

      So if we remove science do we still have Atheists? Were those who came before us and seen something that caused them to create this religious idea wrong?

      They had little science to go by. So in the past were there no Atheists? Can Atheists exist without science?

      Appearently there is some confusion about what blind faith is. I've used this description over and over again: it's like an astronaut, getting on board a space ship and launching themselves into outer space. It takes faith, perhaps not "blind" faith, or at least a leap of faith that the craft will work as the Sciences and Engineers intended it to. We know God didn't make the craft.

      And no I'm no more certain that science has the full story than 1/x can equal zero. You could say I'm a bit undefined on the issue, lacking proof from anyone else. But descriptively I think I'm a true agnostic. I'm open to the idea with proof. Proof, would probable be in the form of a real visitation. I find it hard to accept others claims to have met God. But Obey, if God did visit me and only me, would I be the only one with proof?
      If I emailed you and said that God appeared to me. We sat down and had a discussion about things and then he left, saying he would be back in a few (whatever amount of time that is), because of science, you would be compelled to think I was a lunatic right?
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: Sorry I got interupted before I finished my comment above.

        I'm an agnostic atheist.

        I don't know (gnostic) if there are are gods but based on lack of evidence I'm a non theist, Deist, Patheist - I don't have a belief in gods.

        To me being an Atheist is just a position on believing or not believing in gods. Hard to see how that would be a cult in itself. That is not to say that their could be cults that don't include a belief in gods.

        By your definition I guess I'm an agnostic.

        But if Being agnostic is 0 and Atheist is 10, I'm about 8 on the scale.

        I'm happy to call myself an atheist, because I live as if there are no interventionist gods. And because to me atheism is just a lack of belief, not absolute certainty.

        I know plenty of atheists. Plenty of people who don't have a belief in gods. And none of them claim to be absolutely certain there are no gods.

        To me, you seem to have a parody of atheism in mind, or a particular narrow type of atheist.

        I also know many atheists, who believe in human spirits. Others who believe in an afterlife or reincarnation, but no gods.

        I don't know any atheists personally that have blind faith in Science. Most I know are well educated enough to know science is just our current best guess on a lot of things, and does not have much to say on unverifiable gods or spirits or ghosts. But science does indicate the world is older than many creationists would like to believe. It does indicate prayer does not work. It does indicate at least in part religious experience is related to the brain. MRI's show parts of the brain active when praying or speaking in tongues. It just can not say if this is direct communication with something supernatural.

        I suggest hoping a physical machine like a rocket is going to work is not quite the same as believing in imaginary friends with complex dogmas, and that all the other gods and goddesses are false.

        Hopefully that clarifies my view.

        Let me answer your question below.
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: It's just a circus side show Obey. I think you know pretty completely. :)

          I really just call my self John........ without the labels. The labels are for those who need guide posts when they socialize because they weren't properly taught manners as children.

          I'm a free person exercising my right to live and sometimes having to get into scrapes about it. But it all adds up and it's only when you check out of the hotel that you get to see what lies outside the door.

          I think we summed it up with our last conversation when ever that was.... :)

          Yes. People do indeed like labels and definitions. It helps them keep the path clear and lighted. If it works It's alright with me just as long as it doesn't blind me when I travel the same path or create stumbling blocks for me to trip over.

          And don't forget to pick up your litter. :)
        • thumb
          Sep 27 2012: Space shuttles and rocket ships and the people who crawl into them are not fairy tales Obey.
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: There is a man in Siberia called Vissarion, who many believe is god incarnate like Jesus. He has written what many call the last testament. He has several thousand followers living with him.

        There are other gurus in India that many living today believe perform miracles similar to those of say Jesus.

        I guess many religions start as cults, founded by charismatic individuals - Buddha, Jesus/Paul, Joseph Smith, L Ron Hubbard etc.

        So if you claimed to have met Jesus (2000 years ago) or Vissarion, I would think that reasonable. But I would still need more to be convinced this person was a god. Actually even if they did perform supernatural feats, this might indicate some power, or abilities, or technology, but not prove all their claims. But you would have to take more notice depending on the miracle.

        If they turned the sky green and they created buildings in an instance carved a mountain into the shape of lion which words, impressive. If they grew to 100m tall - Wow. Renewing amputated limbs and down syndrome also pretty cool. Never heard of a these healing from standard religions. Other so called miracles that could just be rare natural events, not so impressive.

        If you said you saw Elvis I would feel a similar to if you said you spoke with god.

        Living witnesses would help. Video evidence etc etc to prove you came into contact with something amazing.

        With extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence is required.

        Its a bit different to claiming you have a pet dog called Rover.

        So if it was just your word, and I knew you well enough to trust you, I might be inclined to believe you experienced something, but it would take more than your word to convince me it was a god or goddess.

        I'm not sure why everyone says God, as if there must be only one. There is just as much evidence that there are 20 billion sitting on my coach, and if people believed in them they would have the same sorts of religious experience.

        A god could figure out something to prove it exist
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: Obey, our clearness of sight and imagination could work against us.

          If you are walking down the street and see a large crowd of people with fear in their eyes running in the opposite direction, you and I are the ones that will wait to see what their running from..... :)

          It could be heart stopper.
      • Sep 23 2012: Hardly

        Our knowledge of science is not a belief system. It is knowledge that is challanged and rewritten daily. The highest honours in the sciecntific community goes to those who prove a hypothesis, theory or law to be false.

        If you want a definition I suppose it would be the lack of need for belief. Truth must be redefined and belief discarded when false as opposed to adhering to tradition in spite of evidence and cowtowing to ancient authority. There exists a complete absence of faith in the mind that understands it has no purpose and no place made for it.

        Atheists existed long before modern science, atheists existed long before the past century, and atheism is in no way a creation of any one group. Least of all scientists.
        Everyone is in fact born an atheist because everyone is born lacking beliefs in the existence of any gods. And in fact, everyone is experienced in being an atheist for all those religions you don't believe in.
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: Gordon, I examined your submission and didn't have a red pen so I noted it this way.

          I hope this helps.


          "Our knowledge of science is not a belief system. It is knowledge that is challenged and rewritten daily."

          Sounds Like the evening news.

          "The highest honors in the scientific community goes to those who prove a hypothesis, theory or law to be false."

          Sounds Institutional.

          "If you want a definition I suppose it would be the lack of need for belief."

          ##Run program >> Define Atheist:
          Atheists = Infinity;
          Atheists > 100 years;
          group < > Atheist;
          group < > Scientists
          Babies Minds = Null set;

          {main}
          everyone = atheist
          if
          religion = 0.

          ##I don't see any bugs in your logic but there are some variables you didn't use
          ## and you left
          ## Hardly undefined.

          ##You will get some errors messages.
        • Sep 23 2012: I am inclined to to find your argument sound, Gordon.
          Until your sentence "Everyone is in fact born an atheist because everyone is born lacking beliefs in the existence of any gods.' This assumption, needs consideration; the place for soul and the evidence for your two assumptions.
          All the best |
          Eberhard Schmitz.
  • Comment deleted

  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: I'm an agnostic... but, honestly, over the years, I've had a bit of a slant atheist, simply because, as I learn more about the world, and the human mind. I realize that if god is real. I don't like him/her/it.... It's kind of an asshole.

    I'm still a bit open minded to a more Buddhist creator, that teaches us to suffer in order to build compassion. The idea however, that there is one entity, which is all powerful, and involved in our daily lives... seems nonsensical to me, especially given how miserable most peoples daily lives are. So, I'm still open minded to the idea of a creator, I would just prefer there isn't one, because I don't really want to spend an eternity arguing with it after this. : p
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: David, you said, "I would just prefer there isn't one, because I don't really want to spend an eternity arguing with it after this. : p"

      This is an honest opinion. You like yourself. You are happy with David.

      I agree, I am happy with myself also and don't want to be told I'm deviating from the truth or I'm ignorant and confused. I think I have a pretty good picture of the world around me --enough to make "me" comfortable. That is why I avoid becoming a member of a cult. There are enough people like you to prevent me from having to join one just to have intelligent people to talk to --not discounting the fact I have been a member of a cult but would no longer be a member of one.

      David have you noticed no one wants to jump on the NDE thing?
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: To be fair, many would argue, I'm on the path to being happy with the world, and all of creation... I simply haven't made it there yet. I can sympathize with that idea, from people of genuine faith, and kindness. I'm just not sold.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: It is a grey area. I agree. But very real to those who have experienced it.

          "Miracles", is something else I see no one bringing up these days.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Oh, one little thing, I could point out, that might add to this conversation, is that I think there are very few Atheists, in the way you describe it. I think most people who "think there is probably not a god", identify atheist, when they're really agnostic.

        Bill Maher often calls himself an atheist, but often sayst things like "The reason atheism is not a religion, is because if tomorrow I die, and I see a white light with Jesus speaking to me... You know what I'll say? "Oh wow, how you like that? I was wrong"
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: By the same algorithm, you could say

          else poof; #Poof points to end of program.

          I guess if there is nothing, "poof" is the best we can offer because there is nothing else.

          I used to belong to an Atheist organization (FFRF). They are a very large number and they are seriously organized with an active agenda.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: It does have a lot of flies on it. I agree. Pesky little things aren't they? ;)
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: Don I think you will confuse people with the "Allegorical" relationship thing Many people have read the "Lord of the Flies" and know it's normal world setting.

          "Lord of the Flies is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves, with disastrous results." ~ wikipedia.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: It is the duty of a father to alleviate all confusion in his son's life, if possible. You have miles to go before you sleep Don.

          Don, using my criteria, if it exists; it has been called into question, would you say that atheism is a cult?
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: I think that the world was more spiritual before the late 1800's. Along came Freud and Darwin and Pavlov and things changed, man was no longer an aggregate containing a spiritual element, he was a body only. I think this was the seminal thinking of atheism.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Actually, as far as the "Scholars" who took it upon themselves to read and attack the Christian bible scripture by scripture in the late 1800's and early 1900's you are absolutely correct. I remember reading about their work in the late 70's when I first got involved in all this religious stuff.

      Until then, I just assumed everything was hunky dory because the whole town went to church on Sunday, observed Christmas, sang chorals and hide eggs on Easter. Everything seemed cool to me. :) I had no complaints and it didn't affect my study of Science at all.

      I don't remember burning any witches at the stake or beating people and making them come to church. Did you see any of that stuff Pat?
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: Cultures change because they are influenced by different people like the aforementioned.

        Paradoxically if people used the scientific method aka logic they could see when the culture changes and what the causes were. They would not adopt a meme without the most cursory inspection.

        The culture on TED is one that appears to have sublimated psychology for religion or spirituality? I think the parts of the country have done this as well?
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: Good observation Pat.

          I think, to a degree, this is what, we call, Liberalism is all about. Perhaps those God fearing folk are justified in their fears about the liberal mindset. But this is what cultism is all about: Separation from others, exclusion of certain ideas, packaged responses to certain questions, etc.

          Being in the middle gives me the freedom to roam. It prevents me from taking the narrow view associated with the outliers, if you now what I mean?

          I would add that being in the middle, in religious terms make you a fence sitter, while the other cult calls you a creationist, ignorant, stupid, illiterate --even when they lack the intellectual reason to dispel your arguments. They just go find some site that supports their position, do a little bit of cut and paste, and "whola!" Your question is answered in a way they want to be perceived.

          Now I don't want to give the idea that cutting and pasting is dubious or doesn't help to clarify the issues, because as I stated earlier, who wants to reinvent the wheel? But it can become a crutch that prevents learning.
          Sometimes, maybe we should leave it up to the experts, to prevent confusion among the majority who are busy making the world a comfortable place to live in, instead of devoting all their time to searching for answers questions that they urgently desire to know. Perhaps Science and Preachers should take their positions more seriously and address these people and their desires to know.

          Shucks, I want to know.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: If a philosophy/religion works towards exclusion, this entity is going the wrong way. This also applies to communication, the very essence of life, as the more you are able and willing to communicate the more successful your life will be.

        Religion and spirituality do not conform with the laws of the physical universe so they can appear to be hokum but at the very least you are saying that you are not willing to communicate with the individual who believes religion to be true.

        By using the scientific method and looking at the changes that have occurred since the advent of psychology, evolution, eugenics, psychiatry and this ilk.

        Eugenics was the brain child of a cousin of Darwin whose ideas where used by Hitler in racial cleansing which was implemented by 10's of thousands of psychologists.

        Edward Bernays was the cousin of Freud his legacy was the seminal tools of Madison ave of whom the communist countries said they learned everything they know about propaganda and manipulation from Bernays and his boss Woodrow Wilson (the president that gave us the Federal Reserve Bank, income tax, and took away the states right to appoint senators that was a blow to our Republic by the 17th amendment)

        Almost all of the heinous acts of violence in today's schools are associated with some psychiatric drug.

        I think the culture has changed for the worst since the influence of psychology and its ilk.

        Anecdotaly we can say by empirical evidence that Humans do better when they address what is organic to them which is spiritual/religious matters. They are happier. By the scientific method anything that brings the individual up is the correct activity if it brings them down it is not. This is a lesson that appears to be lost on psychology.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Very interesting. You are aware that the implementation of the tools of Eugenics were honed and used in the United States before Hitler came to power right?

          Here's an interesting study on poverty I just read you might be interested in:

          extract: "Moving low-income families out of poor neighborhoods doesn't help the families escape poverty, according to a new study, but it does make them healthier and happier.

          In a paper published this week in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Chicago, Harvard and other institutions, studied the effects of Moving to Opportunity, an experimental federal housing program in the 1990s that offered housing vouchers to more than 2,000 low-income families so they could move from impoverished areas into mixed-income neighborhoods. A separate control group had similar demographics but didn't move to mixed-income neighborhoods with the help of vouchers. "

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444165804578008311635287522.html
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: I don't see the connection?

        Studies like that have to be scrutinized as they usually have an agenda, in this case it appears to be the equality meme.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Every organization has an agenda Pat. I'm beginning the think it is a study that wold have relevance to controlling a segment of the population. Their results indicate no real improvement on the overall poverty attitude, but they are happier, healthier and the cost to control them could be low.

          I mean, that is the ultimate goal of those who want to rule and not be bothered or interrupted by all the crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth. :)

          Could it be a solution? ( I know, way off topic ) I'll delete it later.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: An organization doing scientific research should not have an agenda.

        A quick aside the definition of happiness is in order. Happiness is having an interest and the overcoming of barriers in pursuit of a goal.

        One of the reasons the people in the study were happier was because they were removed from an environment where the agreement was that illegal and unethical and oppressive conduct was ok. Of course they were happier as it is hard to pursue goals in this sort of environment. This is why the rule of law is so important.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Happiness can be sitting on a dock fishing Pat.

          Well, I don't know Pat. No one with the data contacted me and asked for my opinion. Perhaps you know more. I didn't realize you were so connected. Tell me more about the study and use my email please or the PM on TED.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: Nope afraid not. Unless of course the individuals whole agenda is to sit on the dock in which case Imo the individual is f'ed up.

        By definition a scientific study does not have an agenda. I'm not opining it is either science or it ain't in this case the latter.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: Fishing has a goal which is different than sitting on the dock.
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: Hi there John,

    First, disclaimers: I am a scientist at heart. And I do not hold any religious beliefs

    One problem of this question is that the very definition of "belief" varies depending on the context and who is using it. So agreeing to a single understanding, in particular that of a belief in a scientific context, we can level the conversation a little

    An example might help. Almost a century ago, Einstein came up with some quite revolutionary insight. This was his general theory of relativity. His work pointed to a consistent mathematical model for describing gravity. However, he needed to test the model predictions against actual data.

    Campbell was one of the astronomers that took to the task of measuring stars during solar eclipses to see if he could confirm or refute those predictions. His first measurements seemed to indicate Einstein's predictions were wrong. Campbell trusted his data and the analysis work done on it, so he even presented his conclusion that Einstein's prediction was incorrect. But the work was not finished yet. Eddington had found data that seemed to corroborate Einstein's prediction.

    Here is where the scientific "belief" comes into play. For a while, Campbell "believed" einstein's theory was incorrect, Eddington "believed" it correct.

    Later observations by Campbell himself confirmed Einstein's predictions, and he was the first one to acknowledge that.

    Scientists might have beliefs (hunches), but none of those is sacred, all of them are up for grabs

    As an atheist i have the hunch that god does not exist, but i am not married to that hunch (am i agnostic then?)

    Religion does not make precise predictions (not as precise as mathematics or physics), so it is much more difficult to compare religious predictions to data.

    I do not see the concept of god much different of the concept of santa. It serves a good purpose for some people for some time.

    I find the laws of physics much more relevant in my daily life

    cheers
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Andres...... my Friend. this difference lies in how hot you would make the flames under the stake. If there was some guilt associated with your belief, you might be tempted to throw some more straw on the fire. If you were absolutely positive, you might be tempted to reduce it to coals.

      So, in this context above, you description of "belief" holds, I believe.

      When an astronaut crawls into a capsule and gets launched into space, he has some apprehension and relies on "hope" in fact his "belief" is that science has done a good job. But most of them have taken some kind of trinket for good luck on board with them. We did this in Vietnam before going into battle. Even the Atheists had their good luck charms. We are what we do.


      Talking about these human beliefs and trying to properly categorize them can be daunting becuse of the idea of "belief" and how it is to be described. As you say, "So agreeing to a single understanding, in particular that of a belief in a scientific context, we can level the conversation a little..." is indeed the problem because as you can see in the comments others have given, the nature or definition of Belief does indeed vary.

      So I can agree with you in part.

      Sir Oliver Lodge instructed Eddington to research Einstein's work in order to defend the Newtonian status quo, Most intellectuals at that time associated with Science didn't like Einstein. They considered him an upstart of sorts, a pretentious fool. They thought he was trying to hide his misunderstanding with words and analogical BS.

      The climate today among scientists has not changed very much. The truth is sometimes hidden to protect the work done by others. It is the duty of each individual to do their own research to proof any new scientific idea, but most of the non-scientist, take their wold for anything that comes from the scientific community as "gospel". This makes them cultist.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: I don't follow your logic completely. But it might be because i still need more caffeine to fully wake up this lazy friday. It seems like you are making the argument that since Einstein was considered a maverick in his time and later proved to be correct all mavericks should be considered potential Einsteins

        And a parentheses here:

        (by the way, Einstein being correct does not mean Newton was incorrect, it is not an all or nothing, rather Einstein's equations apply to more scenarios than Newton's, but you can still fly a rocket to the moon by following just the classical theory of gravity as stated by Newton)

        now, on to where i left.

        You seem to imply that every maverick could turn out to be an Einstein, so we should not dismiss any of them.

        I think that the kind of maverick that Einstein was is quite unique. He did not draw his theories from astrology or numerology or from reading ancient texts. He pretty much had access to the same theories of electromagnetism and gravity that we have today. Maxwell was as relevant for him as Newton.

        I think I am missing my point. I am trying to say that nobody in the scientific community takes the knowledge accumulated by others as gospel, but they just don't simply discard it when they start working on something; rather they use what has been thoroughly tested as stepping stones to climb into new heights

        I agree with you that the public in general must be more critical (and not only of scientific knowledge, by the way). But let's not make the jump to the extreme of relativism

        cheers
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: Andres, you said, "It seems like you are making the argument that since Einstein was considered a maverick in his time and later proved to be correct all mavericks should be considered potential Einsteins."

          I tend to be more literal than that. I'm not making that point. You read in too much.

          I never said Newton was incorrect.

          In this content you stated: "One problem of this question is that the very definition of "belief" varies depending on the context and who is using it. So agreeing to a single understanding, in particular that of a belief in a scientific context, we can level the conversation a little"

          This is to what I was replying. The idea that context and belief have tremendous impact on peoples views, as you imply. To wit: Einsteins peers felt well above him until Neils Bohr came into the picture and gave him relevance. The other common scientific crowd, "believed" him to be pretentious. Let's not forget he was a Jew in bad times also. Their "belief" about the validity of his work was clouded by their political affiliations. In this you can see how context can both affect and vary, as you supposed in your post. You do stand behind your words?

          You make a lot of sense to me I'm sorry if I have failed you. I do take criticism (and meds) and will entertain it from you at any time.
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: " what is presented by science is the absolute truth"

    That's a contradiction is terms.
    The idea of "truth" is found in religious scripture. Never in scientific litterature.

    " Agnostics see the gaps in Scientific knowledge and try to keep an open mind of all things spiritual and their connection to the real world. "

    The assumption that there IS a God does not qualify as open-mindedness. To keep an open-mind is to recognize when we don't know. We don't know every detail about the creation of the universe, but the conclusion that it was designed by something with intelligence is a narrow-minded, anthropocentric attempt to explain things without explaining anything.

    " To people of an Agnostic persuasion, atheists have a blind faith in science"

    Another contradiction in terms.
    Could we rephrase, then? (not all agnostics ignore what science is about)
    "To ignorants, atheists have a blind faith in science."
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: You leave no need for me to comment Gerald. You did a much better job of disproving yourself than I ever could. Word of advice, if you quote someone, put the name of the person your talking to and the name associated with the quote. It helps give your comment more meaning, association and clarity. When I have to decipher your message, it takes time because I'm really a slow thinker.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: John Moonstroller sais Atheists have a blind faith in science.
        Gerald thinks this is a contradiction is terms.
        John ignores this, since he believes Gerald is disproving himself brilliantly.
        Gerald is not aware of this. Gerald asks John if John can explain how Gerald is disproving himself.

        But before that, Gerald would like to know if John is aware that science is not something that qualifies as something one can have faith in. Because this is how science is defined.
        Gerald suspects John knows little about philosophy, but is keeping this suspicion to himself until John can defend himself and, with help from his wife, explain what he thinks science is.

        Gerald is open-minded, but hates it when people puss out of conversations when it gets tricky and interesting. John said there was no need for him to comment, but Gerald is hoping that this was merely rethorical,an introduction to get Gerald's attention to what John was going to publish next.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Astronauts have blind faith in Science everything they crawl into a space ship. But, not all astronauts are atheists. At least I don't think so.

          I see your indicating who your talking to. :)

          It helps a lot. Keep it up.
          I don't pus out of conversations. It's 12.22am here It's way past your bedtime. :)
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: Astronauts don't have faith in science.
        Faith ; Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

        I think a rocket scientist can say that what he's building rests on logical proof or material evidence. And I think astronauts feel safer if they know they're crawling into a machine that is backed up by theories that all have been tested, and that all are thorough explanations of the phenomena responsible for outterspace travel.
        If there were no logical proofs (explanations) to back up science, then it could probably be seen as an institution that requires people to just take its word for it, to just have blind faith in it.

        To the atheist, faith is a dangerous thing. One should always ask for explanations, and honnest people have no trouble with providing explanations. Take no one's word for it.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Strange Gerald O'brian.... I've told this statement to a lot of people and your the only one who doesn't get it. Do you ever bother to read the other peoples comments?

          Get some sleep.
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: I'll get some sleep after I have lunch and diner, John. I've read your comment avout faith and science.
        And I've explained the contradiction between faith (Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence) and science (discipline that does rest on logical proof or material evidence).

        I was kind of hoping I was making sense, this time.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Lunch and dinner... :)

          What ever you say is alright with me Gerald. If that's the way you see it then so it is. ;)

          You are making good sense. I guess I missed the explanation you gave that explains the contradiction between faith and science. Or is this it?
          So your saying that is the only two choices I have?
      • thumb
        Sep 22 2012: I'm saying you can't have both.
        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Finally we understand one another. I can be so stupid at times.

          You can't have faith in Science. I get the message. :)
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2012: There ARE people who believe science is about the TRUTH. And people who'll believe any new thing as long as it's written by a PhD, who'll just believe it before they can understand it.
        Friends of mine have faith in science.
        I understand them, we live in a world where science provides god-like powers. It makes sense to worship it and most of the time, it's not a terrible aproximation to speak of scientific "proof", or FACT.

        But this is not what science is about, in essence. Science is about explanations, about seeing things in a counter-intuitive way that allows one to understand reality a little better. Science is a philosophy, not some institution that should be worshiped, nor is it about providing magical technology to dumb consummers.

        I'm very happy that we understand each other!
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2012: I understand you perfectly. It feels good. :)
          I actually agree with most of what you said.
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: DO NOT talk about god .it is meanless!
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: I take it Chen you mean to say "meaningless?" if so then yes a very large chunk of humanity believe this also.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: To the cyber character named Chen xin........ you don't have to participate. The fact you do says something about who you really are.

      I'm not talking about God. You are.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Ok Chin.

      Here's one for you..... what if God is a super scientist and wants us to follow the rules and revelations of science so we will evolve to the point we can have a conversations with him/her/it?

      I have spoken with people who could not properly compose their scientific answer into the common language and it was very frustrating for them to talk to someone who did not understand the data or idea as framed in their Mathematical language. Just try to understand string theory without the math and you'll see what I'm talking about.

      They spent so much time with themselves and their peers that they forgot how to talk to the average person.
      In fact, they couldn't talk to them, always reverting to their specialized speak language. It is like trying to speak with someone who only spoke a language that you didn't understand.

      Teenager like to form their own language. Atheists have their own set of ideas, responses to certain questions, just like religious folk have theirs. The cult adopts this language of ideas and responses. That is why you see the same response to the same question over and over.

      "Show me the proof!" everyone exclaims. In a way it makes sense because who want's to reinvent the wheel?

      Personally I doubt we will ever be able to conclude the question of God No God or (GNG). In an environment like this blog.

      All we hear is the same old hype over and over again.

      It's a cult of language, or perhaps a culture of language that separates us.
  • thumb
    Sep 21 2012: I've been accused of being a creationist, hidden christian, Satan, a demon, and all other manner of labels because I won't sling myself to one side or the other on the great God/No God debate. In my lifetime I've seen some strange things happen which appear to defy Science and Religion as well. The NDE Controversy, is attacked by both the Religious and Atheistic Cults. Those of us who have had an NDE experience are told, God doesn't do that stuff, it is the stuff of demons, Satan whispering in your ear. The Atheists say our brains are simply winding down, like falling into a dream, neurons misfiring, etc.

    Both sides back up their arguments with scripture and scientific research. We are the puzzle that has caused Surgical departments to place cameras in the Surgery room to record everything that happens or placed special pictures on top of the cabinets where a spirit might float to see if there is an proof of the spirit leaving the body.

    Why? Because patients have told their doctors details about their conversations and activities that doctors thought would be impossible for them to observe or hear. I have spoken with my doctor and he assures me that their are many more agnostic doctors than atheist doctors and yes, they do these activities in the Surgery rooms.

    I gave up on God after returning from Vietnam, wounded and torn. But I did have an NDE experience when I was hit. I'm an amateur Scientist and do many experiments at home using a variety of scientific equipment I've accumulated over the years. I'm profoundly curious about reality and studied in all areas of Math, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Electronics as well as computer programming. I've read all the religious writings and philosophies or most of the major ones.

    I am an Agnostic because I keep an open mind on the issue of God/no God. The Universe is a big place and we have only been sending our electromagnetic waves into space for just over 80 light years.
    • thumb
      Sep 21 2012: Really John? you've been accused of all of those things? that made me laugh,one can only give a Mr Spock arched eye brow moment.What has it taught you about us humans as an observer?
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2012: People are much different in the briefing room Ken. In the virtual reality where the law can't reach very far, they tend to be very pretentious to outright lairs. It's a new technology and people haven't adapted to it yet. But they will, eventually.

        Your cool though. I like your attitude.
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2012: Wait til you've been called a plant,that was a show stopper,all i could do was tip my hat in appreciation of it's brilliance,like TL's response to me above,a good show stopper.Damn good debate John.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Sep 22 2012: Damn,another show stopper,two in one debate,good on you Don.get stuck in,kick him while he's down.

          Did i ever apologize to you for that uncalled for written out burst i visited upon you earlier this year?

          If i could, i wish i could retract it as it was truly unhuman,I'm sorry.

          Does my postings reflect a sense of arrogance?i hope not as it was taken from the point of the observer.if this posting is taken as fuel for a fire then all i can say is.

          Good morning.