Nicholas Lukowiak


This conversation is closed.

Atheism = 1 belief system, what are the rest of yours?

Admin's please, I want to duplicate these rules of conversation. ... Discuss true atheistic philosophies here, with no off topic arguments.

- No logical fallacies

The Wall of Atheist philosophers:
"Cultural fade is inevitable, that is the process of evolution. Words are like the mists of time, it is emotions that will always rule the day....And maybe explore new ideas. It's new ideas that keep the world turning."
- Derek Payne

"how hypocritical of you to deny atheists the right to redefine the term when you full-heartedly redefine religion as encompassing all philosophies of life."
- Matthieu Miossec

"Words have no intrinsic meaning and thus they are subject to whatever the speaker says they mean."
- Andrew Buchman

"But Atheist is just a label people attach to those who find no reason to believe in God and are sceptical of all mumbo jumbo. It is quite a meaningless and misleading label"
- Richard Dawson

"At the root core of all religions, it's just humanism, so religion could be considered a waste of time."
- Tim Colgan

*Please submit recommendations


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    Jun 6 2011: Nicholas, why is it that theists are always trying to drag atheism down to the level of religion? Is labeling "atheism" a religion the most disreputable thing you can think of? Or is it just a barb to kick-off one of these pointless, endless arguments?
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      Jun 6 2011: Touche - a bit of both methinks. Utterly pointless arguments, but ones that generate the most interest and words of high praise for each other by the participants. Is it a sad reflection of the state of our society? Or a sad reflection of the state of science / education / scientific education?
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        Jun 7 2011: Interesting ... "words of high praise for each other by the participants."

        Seems only the "atheist" would be the ones praising each other here considering I am against the cultural usage.

        What is sad about, I am assuming American society, that is we do not have World Religion or World History class through the education system to better educate all people on what religion/culture is and how different people live in the world.

        Science is completely underfunded in extracurricular activities. I read an article that estimated more is spent on dog clothes in one year than there is fund raised money for a non-profit organization that helps schools get science equipment.
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          Jun 7 2011: Nicholas I have seen your other conversation "A challenge to Abrahamic religions.." It doesnt make much sense but has a whole lot of replies. You are pretty susceptible to high praise from the older ladies here and have been roped into, unconsciously maybe, a mutual backslappers club where you give each other thumbs ups.

          English and Philosophy don't qualify you for commenting on science, which you often do, and you often get even those two not quite right.

          Let me take the trouble to correct you on your notes above

          Atheist is just a label that is stuck onto people who are really just people who believe in evidence and reason rather than faith.

          “If you are atheist it only means you do not want to believe there are creator gods and what not”. How juvenile and absurd is that statement. We do not WANT to believe or not believe in anything.

          Its religious people who want to believe in something. You WANT to believe in spirituality or Buddhism, a Christian WANTS to believe in Christianity etc.

          A rational person unlike a religious one does not believe in certainties or absolutes. Thus your argument that "Atheism is just another belief system", based on "Atheism = the belief there are no deities" is patently false.

          The belief is not absolute. It is not founded on faith or want or desire. If Jehovah were to appear in the skies and say “I am Jehovah” in a thunderous voice, I might change my mind. But until then the reason I do not believe in God is because of the absence of evidence of God. I cannot be certain that God does not exist, but there are very good reasons to believe that God does not exist.

          That I do not believe in religion, spiritualism and any other mumbo jumbo is again because of the vast amount of evidence against them and the failure of any proof of them under scientific scrutiny. Buddhism for example believes in reincarnation, something that has been debunked time and again.
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        Jun 7 2011: Richard I do not like to break other peoples work often because I find it distasteful, but you have a lot of emotional opinions here so I will do such... I am going to number passages 1 - 9

        1. That thread has me and one other person arguing on it, not really much going on there, no one with faith wants to know they are delusional. Also, any of those "old ladies" you are referencing I had multi-arguments with and disagreed/bickered at one another. You can put this superficial judgment aside you now.

        2. English is my joke major, I am using it to get out of the U.S of corruptness. What qualifies me on my positions/opinions involve my arguments not my credentials and this is a logical fallacy. If they are wrong please, correct me, and I would enjoy educating you on whatever trouble you are having.

        4. Ah, you are going to use the pop-culture terminology, okay.

        5. "We do not WANT to believe or not believe in anything" That belief system is called apatheism and some forms of nihilism. Atheism simply means the belief of no deities.

        6. I am religious, so by your logic, I am irrational, interesting. The POP-CULTURED usage of atheism is what you are talking about, and only what you are talking about, but the original intended usage of the word came from religions that predate the pop-cultured terminology. Etymology of atheism, religion, and "God" got to check it out sometime.

        7. What "God" are you talking about? Or hell I understand "atheist" you mean a creator God.. Of course there is none, not even my argument.

        8. "...scientific scrutiny. Buddhism for example believes in reincarnation, something that has been debunked time and again."

        Oh yeah add "science" to your homework of etymology searching. Uh, debunking reincarnation, hmmm you need to back the up with a link or two. That is a new opinion to me from "atheist". Also believing if you do good in this life you will be reward with a new life or an eternal life, sounds like positive brain washing to me, but w.e
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          Jun 7 2011: I have said basically the same thing as in the video that Vasil provided.

          "How should I edit this conversation?" No need to . Explain why you have got your concepts and definitions wrong wrong and close it as superfluous.

          Atheism = the belief there are no deities - Wrong an understanding that there are probably no deities based on reason. Its not a position of faith.

          "What "God" are you talking about? Or hell I understand "atheist" you mean a creator God.."

          You do NOT understand. Any God creator or non-creator - a totally superfluous concept. Stop feeling mighty superior to people who believe in a "creator god", your position is just as ridiculous.

          "Uh, debunking reincarnation, hmmm you need to back the up with a link or two."

          Cant be bothered do your own research but Indian sceptic sites are a good place to start.
        • Jun 9 2011: Hi Nicholas. I didn't mean that I was finishing. What I meant was that you and Richard should stop your feud and perhaps come to some kind of compromise. And maybe explore new ideas. It's new ideas that keep the world turning.
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        Jun 7 2011: No, the video explains that people do believe more and it is up to the individual with the problem of the label "atheism" (me) to figure out what else the other person holds beliefs and faith in. Hence the revision of conversation.

        "Stop feeling mighty superior to people who believe in a "creator god", your position is just as ridiculous."

        What exactly is my position? That atheism is becoming a culture-ized misconception of a belief system? It is only apart of the individuals belief system. To label yourself "atheist" is still silly to me I don't think that will change, but tolerance is a skill also.

        Then your position should be the words "spiritual" "religion" and "God" should be obliterated from the language (fascist idealism), otherwise to say these words are needless then you better stick with people who share your beliefs and philosophies because you are not going to understand the majority of people in this world.

        Many atheist religions find spirituality, religion and ideals of God to be helpful and powerful for humans to progress in life, to achieve longevity, and to be happy.

        Although I corrected my definition, it was right, your is some what right.
        Atheism -
        The rejection of belief that any deities exist.
        the absence of belief in the existence of any deities.
        The stance that deities do not exist (gnostic atheism).

        It's an opinion. All you and I have are opinions, no one knows indefinitely there is no God (Creator) it is most likely however there isn't one, but there is no proof of such claim. Just a creator God doesn't matter, it isn't the point of this conversation...

        The point is atheism is just apart of belief systems or religions, it is not of it's own label and stand point unless you redefine the word, like you are.
        • Jun 7 2011: Hi. Nicholas and Richard,you lost me about a mile back and I am still trying to catch up. We are all on different levels of ability, whether it be physical or mental. This diversity also affects our emotional state and this leads to a kind of distortion of what we percieve. What we see is not always what is, and that is the way I percieve your debate. This makes your debate futile, because there is no chance of a compromise or a satisfactory conclusion. Let me try to give you an example of how things are and how we see them. This story is true, it happened in May 1984. I dreamt I was on a plane, there was nowhere to sit, I approached a dark haired lady and tried to sit next to her with no success. I then tried to sit next to two children with the same result, so I jumped off the plane. Still in the dream I was walking along when this plane came overhead. I looked up and the plane took a dive; the sound of it crashing woke me up. The crash was reported in the local paper that night, I knew it was my crash because there were only three survivors. A woman and two children. Explain please?
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          Jun 8 2011: Hi Derek, An interpretation of dreams? Interesting. Ok here goes:

          In your semi-conscious state you hear the sound of a plane close by and in trouble. You have a related dream – it happens often with me. I wake up to some external stimulus that is happening around me and I have had a complicated dream about it, which seems to have lasted much longer than the stimulus, which of course I remember just the tail end of, as I was "asleep" before that..

          The 3 survivors? Coincidence. Fallible human memory?

          Where was this crash? I did a search on Google “1984 plane crash 3 survivors” and came up with the Japan Airlines Flight 123, which had 4 survivors. 2 women and 2 girls. The crash was in Japan where most ladies are dark haired.

          PS If not fallible human memory – coincidence. Coincidences happen all the time in nature – they are not proof or evidence of the supernatural.

          PPS You did not know it was “my crash because there were only three survivors. A woman and two children.” You knew it was your crash because you heard it and there were no other airplane crashes that night around you. Airplane crashes in the vicinity are not common occurrences.

          Memory fallibility: You remember a dream that has happened 27 years ago. The dream can be remembered incorrectly.
          "The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony"

          "The process of interpretation occurs at the very formation of memory—thus introducing distortion from the beginning. ..The act of telling a story adds another layer of distortion, which in turn affects the underlying memory of the event."

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          Jun 11 2011: Derek

          ,Many people have vivid dreams that are remembered in the same way that waking experiences are.

          And many would suggest, perhaps, that you actually had an out of body experience as happens to many after a traumatic accident or in surgery where thousands of patients have reported floating above the table and watching the operation or wandering around the halls of the hospital and witnessing people and events that actually ocurred.. Children often have dreams that are so vivid they are remembered as real experiences. Happens to every body at some time or other...maybe even a naturally ocurring phenomenon

          .A theosophist like Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf school system and founder of theosophy, ( Buckie Fuller and many other brilliant thinkers were and are also theosophists) would describe what happened to you ( and to alll those thousands of folk who have reported recollected out of body experiences) as your "etheric body" ( that part of us that part of us that sort of governs and looks after the physical body, that seeks to understand and know) leaving your physical body in sleep and actually traveling. A theosophist might suggest that your "etheric body" actually was with that woman and those two children on that plane or somehow encountered their etheric bodies at the moment of, or right after the accident. I'm not a theosophist but find much that is useful there. The etheric body and notions about it are not part of my focus but a teaching of theosophy that is extremely useful and prcatical is to accept all experience as valid--if you heard it, saw it, expereienced it is real. The understandin part of that is separate and perhaps not accessible.Trust what actually happened to you Derek and your own sense about it. It isn't necesssary to explain it or debate or defend you sensibility about it with any one. It is your actual experience . Just let it stay with you as it is..inexplicable, unexplainable, unresolved. It is still informing you
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        Jun 8 2011: Richard, as well as Matthieu, you are fighting a battle that cannot be won. I have tried on multiple occasions and threads to defend these very same points to no avail.

        For instance....
        First let's look at the root word: Theist. A theist is "one who believes in god(s)." In English we use the affix "a" to often denote "not" or "anti." Thus "theist" becomes "atheist."

        Let's now rewrite the two terms into first order logic. "P" will represent "theist" and "~P" will represent "not theist or atheist" (the ~ means "not"). We could also represent "atheist" as "Q" but this would do us no good, for we would lose the connection between theist and atheist, meaning one is the opposite of the other. Therefore one must be true and the other must be false. The burden of proof falls on the person making the claim. Theist make the claim for the existence of the thing "god" or "P." Once we have "P" then we can make "~P."

        As well as...
        Theist, one who believes in god(s). P
        "a" is an affix in English used to denote "not" or "anti" ~
        atheist, one who does not believe in god(s) ~P
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          Jun 8 2011: But Atheist is just a label people attach to those who find no reason to believe in God and are sceptical of all mumbo jumbo. It is quite a meaningless and misleading label

          Have you watched Vasil's video? It explains things rather well

          Matthieu puts it rather well too "how hypocritical of you to deny atheists the right to redefine the term when you full-heartedly redefine religion as encompassing all philosophies of life."
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          Jun 8 2011: Richard,

          Although we had disputes I am glad you understand now what culture can do to a word. It can make it mean more than it's original intention (Andrew's comment). I mean look at those symbols of "atheism" trying to be popularized.

          I understand fully why atheist was taken into a new culturist way. Atheism is the minority belief system and tends to be the most powerful when looking at life, self, societies, and the rest of the world.

          My biggest beef is when "atheist" use words like science and logic without realizing these words are interpersonal and intrapersonal practices. Science can be seen in skill form critical thinking, logical reasoning, and natural philosophy... also a subject with many sub-subjects and sub-sub-subjects. Logic is a subject as well as a skill used in scientific/philosophical practices. Look at my other conversation "Abrahamic religions" one. That dude is making decent defenses from time to time using logic and (well more junk but) science. These words are tools with no intrinsic value, you must establish what you mean when you say science and logic. Sorry if I am sounding like I am preaching, but most of the atheist on TED are guilty of this, as I am.

          What I feel comes from the atheist movement is a lot of pigheaded-ness when it comes to these terms and words like "religion" "God" and "spirituality". To dictate the words as nonsense or useless is shutting off a lot of what the world thinks. Of course scientific understandings can establish concrete meaning behind these ideologies, but that is not where the world is at in this present time. Attaching more thoughts behind a word, is natural part of language.

          Seriously though, atheist are some of the most brilliant people out there, they are immediately labeled *"devil" worshiper*, "Satanist" (which in reality is a form of atheism/naturalism), blasphemer, evil-doer, unholy, etc.

          Too bad, most of you are humanitarians

          Words have no intrinsic meaning as Andrew made clear
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          Jun 9 2011: Hi Andrew............I admit that I am not well versed in "logic" You implied that I do not understand the principles and so cannot make a logical decision. Would you be willing to help my ignorance by explaining some of this ?
      • Jun 8 2011: Hi Richard. There was no stimulus attached to my dream, it just happened. The crash was reported that night prior to having the dream. I don't remember the exact date, but it did happen during the last two weeks in May 1984. It was published in the Staffordshire Sentinel. (I couldn't find it on Google either.) Your philosophy on dreams seems to trivialise their place in the greater scheme of things. The subconscious works 24/7, 16hrs when we are awake, absorbing all our emotions and 8hrs using them when we sleep. I might add that we have no control over the subconscious, it is as if it is an independent body. On the other hand the consciousness only works for16/7, thats when we are awake. In the greater scheme of things, which looks the most important? When we eventually get to grips with evolution all will be revealed. Remember the dream, later I will add, to what as already been said.
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          Jun 8 2011: Hi Derek, it occurred to me after I had written my post that you may have had the dream after you read about the plane crash, which would explain it.

          You wrote “the sound of it crashing woke me up” so I presumed it occurred at that time.

          You say “There was no stimulus attached to my dream”. But of course there was a stimulus, a very powerful one. The crash was reported in the local paper that night and you read it before going to sleep. The very fact that you had a dream about it is evidence that it had affected you.

          You say “Your philosophy on dreams seems to trivialise their place in the greater scheme of things”.

          What is the greater scheme of things? Who schemed this? How did you acquire this knowledge of the greater scheme of things?

          I seek a natural explanation before a supernatural one. This seems to anger some people. They prefer mysteries to remain mysteries and think it is trivialising things to provide an explanation.

          Nicholas is an example of this. He seems to think that if he encounters something strange which he cannot explain, using the word “Supernatural” gets him “swimming in a sea of knowledge”. He is also oh so very superior to the others who say God, or Jehovah, or Christ or Allah when they encounter those things, instead of his slogan “Supernatural” meaning a force driving God, or a spiritual enlightenment God, which everyone knows are the true Gods, and not the stupid “Creator Gods” of the Abrahamic religions.

          Its not my philosophy on dreams, its what I know and have read about dreams. I tend not to philosophise about things.

          According to Wikipedia “The term subconscious is used in many different contexts and has no single or precise definition. This greatly limits its significance as a definition-bearing concept, and in consequence the word tends to be avoided in academic and scientific settings”. Apparently Freud didn’t like the term either.
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          Jun 8 2011: The rest of my hypothesis remains valid as a possible explanation of your dream.

          Here are some other scenarios or possible explanations:

          You have a vivid dream about the crash on the night of the crash after reading about it. This indicates that it has affected you powerfully.

          The next day its all over the news. 3 survivors, a woman and 2 children. You are still disturbed by it. You are likely to dream again, perhaps several times over the coming days about the crash. You now have knowledge about the survivors and that is incorporated into your dreams.

          You memory (remember human memory is frail) conflates the dreams.

          This becomes your new memory over the coming days and years. Now you “remember clearly” that you dreamt everything in the first dream and displayed knowledge of the events before they became known.

          Tell me why do you firmly reject my possible explanations?
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          Jun 8 2011: Richard,

          "Nicholas is an example of this. He seems to think that if he encounters something strange which he cannot explain,"

          Ha, there is much in this world you nor a huge consensus of scientist can explain sir. Stop and think once in a while about true reality and use some imagination sometime.
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          Jun 9 2011: @ Nicholas "there is much in this world you nor a huge consensus of scientist can explain"

          The difference is that scientists when they are not able to explain things, dont say "Supernatural" like you. They make another hypothesis and test it.

          "use some imagination sometime"

          Thats what I have done in thinking of various scenarios to explain Derek's dream. You imagine saying "Supernatural" is using your imagination? Or by saying that you are "swimming in a sea of knowledge", as you have quoted? You are no different to the people who when they couldnt explain the Sun said Sun-god and the Moon - Moon-god. Then came along someone who said One god and felt very superior. And you tell them something like "force driving God", an utterly meaningless expression, and feel very superior.

          I suggest you use some imagination and dont yell "Supernatural" every time your imagination fails.
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          Jun 9 2011: Richard,

          Supernatural simply means "what is not understood yet in nature" if you want to always tie it so something spiritual and/or religious, be my guest.

          As far as Derek's comment, to be honest, I took the high road and avoided the whole question, therefore it was off topic and proved nothing interesting for a personal supernatural occurrence, so I left it at one. Your answer to him was pretty good, but that is not imaginative.

          You took the scientific terminology and explanations you learned and recapped them, possibly had information saved somewhere because this was a previous argument upon what can and cannot be explain. Imagination would require you to explain to Derek what his dream was about simply.

          A long term memory being read by the short term memory part of the brain or just another case of déjà vu - like memory clips. A lot of people contributed these images to as seeing God and Jesus, it is in Derek's good nature that a tragic accident was recorded into his subconscious and made his revision his memory. Did you know the brain is significantly more active while sleeping? During near-death experiences the brain actually functions even faster than sleeping, justifying people's images of an outer body experience or seeing the meaning of life.

          Imagination allows me to consider every supernatural event has a meaning, but critical thinking allows me to decide whether or not that said event is worth investigating. Derek's claim, was not worthwhile, it was just a dream, coincidence as you said is a part of nature. Nothing imaginative there, but reality.

          When I said you should inspire imagination, I should of said you should try some CT once in a while and not just logical reasoning. However that is more of an offensive statement, which now I stand behind seeing how you over react to every challenge I created in our arguments.

          Critical thinking = art of being right

          Logical reasoning = art of building on facts
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          Jun 9 2011: "Supernatural simply means "what is not understood yet in nature" if you want to always tie it so something spiritual and/or religious, be my guest."

          Its not what I want to tie it to its what you explicitly have stated.

          "…the plausibility of the information given to me, and the possibility/likelihood of said event... it would go into my spirituality, as in I do not have a scientific explanation but a supernatural one."

          "I am religious, so by your logic, I am irrational, interesting. "

          You are religious therefore you go for a supernatural explanation. That you are irrational you have displayed by your writing.

          "My big point here when calling yourself an atheist, how is that supposed to tell me your religious views?" What?? That is your "big point"?

          "I need to know what you mean by "God", a creator God, a force driving God, a spiritual enlightenment God and/or an all powerful being God? Who or What is God, Helen?"

          "Your God exist."

          I would have said exists, if I said anything on that subject, which I wouldnt have but really "Your God exist."?

          You seem to be of an order of magnitude above the Pope. After all he only declares Saints exist, but you Gods. Which ones exist and which ones dont. Amazing.
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          Jun 9 2011: Do you even know what my religion is?

          If you are not aware as of now I am not a "religious person" as you are interpreting then this conversation is futile.

          Let's recap here, "the plausibility" of his dream, would go into my spirituality as part of my spirituality I do not like to stop people from having curiosity of the supernatural but to guide them into greater interpretations that are beyond logic. Derek Payne is no fool, and would not make an outlandish claim if he did not have a fundamental belief behind that. Since the point of this conversation was the usage of "atheism" and not logical interpretation of dreams. I decided to take the high road to avoid arguments on this conversation as it would of been off topic.

          Your piecing together of information only proves my hypothesis of your logical reasoning. Logic isn't everything.

          Indeed let me tell you how I interpret my quote now. "Sea of knowledge" is simply the internet, to be using a tool that provides nearly infinite information and then to be arguing over details and not change anyone's mind is worthless to me.

          You are now trying to convince me how foolish I sound, I do not need you to dictate such, because my position, is my position. I didn't steal it from anyone else, I didn't need to reuse other people's philosophies to defend myself here. I used open-sourced information.

          The fact you cannot take advice and not look into the etymology of the terms as I suggested means you enjoy practicing fundamental beliefs. By all means do so.

          I practice multiculturalism when discussing religion, God, and spirituality. Again, to toss these words aside is an arrogant, delusional, and fictitious practices and to me dictate you do not understand more than what you want to, or what your heroes, idols, or any designated third party source of information.

          Now if you are done going off topic, please re-post
      • Jun 8 2011: Hello Richard. I would like to make it clear, I awoke around 7AM after having the dream. It was at about 6PM that I first read it in the newspaper. This is 11hrs after the crash. I have made arrangements to visit the library in 9days time and will look up the exact day of the event, I will then pose another debate. I have spent the last 40 yrs of my life trying to make some sense of what people call the supernatural and I am convinced that there is no such thing. I wrote about the dream hoping eventually to prove there is such a thing as an Atheist 1st class. That will be me! I should have got my facts right in the first place. (The time of the crash.)
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          Jun 8 2011: Ok we will talk again after 9 days. Its my bet that you will have got several things wrong in your memory.
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        Jun 9 2011: So Richard................Why are you ignoring my posts ?
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          Jun 9 2011: Ignoring your posts Helen? I'm sorry I just logged on back from work. I'll have a look at your posts now. :)
      • Jun 9 2011: Hello Again Richard. I would like to add that the paper that reported the crash was an evening newspaper, they were reporting a crash that had happened earlier, as I was dreaming it. I brought this subject up to get a response from some domination of one kind or another. I find it strange that no one has made any comment. Is it true what I have always suspected; religion stops us from thinking? Sorry if I mislead you.
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          Jun 9 2011: Hi Derek, Often the simplest explanation is best one. In this case I think my hypothesis that it is due to faulty memory is probably the correct one. You knew or had heard of the crash before you dreamt it.

          Consider this – the crash and the dream happened 27 years ago and there are many things that you cannot remember about them. For example you have written 4 accounts in your 4 posts:
          1. “The crash was reported in the local paper that night”
          2. “The crash was reported that night prior to having the dream”
          3. “I awoke around 7AM after having the dream. It was at about 6PM that I first read it in the newspaper. This is 11hrs after the crash.”
          4. “the paper that reported the crash was an evening newspaper, they were reporting a crash that had happened earlier, as I was dreaming it.”

          There seems to be a discrepancy in your memory about the timing of the crash. No 3 seems to say that the crash took place as you were dreaming it. But 1 and 2 are saying the crash happened before you dreamt it but you didn’t read about it till later.

          If the crash had happened prior to your dream it is quite possible that you heard about it but forgot, yet retained the memory in your subconscious and then dreamt about it. This would be the simplest explanation.
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        Jun 9 2011: Richard, exactly how has reincarnation been debunked. I, don't find it a likely reality, but there is no way that I know of that can verify reincarnation on way or the other. I would love to see these studies that show empirical evidence that we only live once.
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          Jun 9 2011: Anthony when I said reincarnation has been repeatedly debunked I meant every claim made by people who have claimed to remember previous lives has been debunked.

          Reincarnation as a philosophy has many logical and practical difficulties and absurdities.
          What exactly is the purpose of punishment or reward if you do not remember your past deeds. Population growth, more humans- is the world getting morally better? Mass extinctions, the evidence of life starting from a few cells. What happens to the souls? does this happen just because of our deeds and not the fact that climate changes or a meteorite hits?

          The idea of Karma is what you get in this life, pain and suffering, are the result of what you did in your previous life. But you can be good and have a better next life. Thats absurd without any memories. Every baby that gets murdered or abused is because of its sins in its previous life. Every genocide that was committed - the victims - they had it coming. Absurd.
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        Jun 9 2011: Well I still don't see any evidence regarding reincarnation so I have an issue with using the word debunked, just as I would with someone trying to pass reincarnation off as a fact. As for the purpose it serves, and wether it is absurd, that is irrelevant. You can say that of anything irrespective of wether its true or not.

        I think the true argument is whether we live in a world that is completely knowable to us and can fit into our minds, or whether the world is made up of things we can understand and things beyond the reach of our brains. If you believe the world can be understood completely by science that is still a belief. You have to believe no information exist outside what we can perceive from our 5 senses, or some augmentation of one of our senses. You also have to believe we live in a rational world that behaves in predictable ways. So many people believe this ( if you don't I guess all bets are off and we can't learn anything), that we most do not even see it as a belief.

        At any rate I think too many people are taking these argument too literal, using the idioms of science to confront ideas that came about through different thought process. To hit on reincarnation again, if you take it more metaphorical its basically saying all life has a common bond. A non scientific way at coming to an idea close to the nitrogen cycle.
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      Jun 6 2011: I would say atheism is a religion when considering that there are parades celebrating atheism, when there are people trying to make symbols of about atheism.

      My big point here when calling yourself an atheist, how is that supposed to tell me your religious views?

      If you are atheist it only means you do not want to believe there are creator gods and what not... which when looking at the world openly you will know that is obvious, why do you have to label yourself based on an obvious realization? Because to a lot of fundamental theist it isn't obvious?

      Atheism is not the problem nor atheist. The problem are those who label themselves and assume that label stands for more than what it originally meant.

      When I call atheism a religion, it is because the cultures that are supporting "militant atheist" are making it appear as a religion, when it isn't. Like Christophe dictates "New Age Religions" are more common than the more popular theistic religions.

      Also, I am no where near an theist, but I also see the impractical nature in which the atheist culture practices.
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        Jun 6 2011: So I guess that since there are symbols (by the way that symbol isn't mainstream at all and it sucks) and parades of atheism and that makes atheism a religion, than by the same piece of logic, homosexuality is a religion? Praise be the penis. Let's not even go into the fact that certain political views have symbols and organise demonstrations (although maybe they are encompassed in your slaughter of the word 'religion').

        Dave and Richard are spot on. This finesse you're trying to somehow sell to us is unconvincing. And how hypocritical of you to deny atheists the right to redefine the term when you full-heartedly redefine religion as encompassing all philosophies of life.
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          Jun 7 2011: I never redefined religion sir. This the definition I go by...

          a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs./// a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects /// the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices (

          Again, because people do not understand what atheism actually is, they do make it appear to be religion, especially when "atheist" reference Dawkins, now that is annoying.

          Gays, are entirely different and a ridiculous example. I mean you are born gay... but no one beats you up or kills you because you do not believe in god. And btw, gay people do form churches related to Evangelical-like associations.

          Which politics? where? America? Donkey and elephant? Symbols are no where near my only defense of how "Atheism" is becoming a sub-cultured religion. As soon as the "almighty chosen one" arises from the under bellies of the scientific world you will find you "atheist" messiah!

          I am not selling you anything, my stand is anyone who claim their religious views "atheist" is a fool and does not understand religion but the fundamental theist religion and then decided to group all religion under their word usage of "religion" which is wrong on many levels of consideration.

          I don't deny anyone the right, they will do it anyways. Just would like people to know atheism is apart of your religious views, not the entirety of them.

          My approach is just rude and unorthodox but I am not wrong. :)

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          Jun 8 2011: Richard says that "lack of evidence convinces him to be an atheist. I don't think that lack of evidence is EVIDENCE.
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          Jun 8 2011: Hi Helen, You are quite right absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But in science we deal with likelihoods and probabilities and not absolutes.

          So thus where religions might say - such and such thing [here add whatever the beliefs of the religion are] is absolutely true, science will say such and such thing is probably not true (if the evidence or logic points towards it).

          The Loch Ness monster might exist, but with every failed effort to find it, the chances that it does gets more and more remote.
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        Jun 7 2011: Man so much of what you just said is just patently false. People are born gay? That's a claim you can't back up. Not saying you're wrong, but you're certainly not undeniably right. Also, plenty of people have been killed for being non-believers and many non-religious kids get bullied at school. My friend from North Carolina told me that at his school, it'd be a bigger social suicide to come out atheist than to come out gay.

        I'm sorry you can't accept that some people call themselves atheists and have to resort to calling the whole lot fools. You are just plain and simply wrong.

        I think the truth is because you're studying philosophy at university you now fancy yourself a philosopher with deep thoughts...highly debatable...
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          Jun 7 2011:

          It is still a huge theory, but I do not see many counter theories that deny such genetic possibilities.

          "Have been..." I challenge you to find an up to date article about someone dying EVEN physical violence (going to be rare) that was related to non-believing.. "social suicide" sure because that is what kids should be worried about in high school... not grades or their futures... being popular right? I do not disagree that there are kids being picked on for being non-believers, nor do I deny there are kids who get picked on for being a ginger or a jew....

          "I'm sorry you can't accept that some people call themselves atheists and have to resort to calling the whole lot fools. You are just plain and simply wrong."

          Perhaps you are not reading what I am writing. Again, atheist would require you not to believe in god... to tie other factors into that word culture-izes that word and further separates you from other people with similar humanitarian philosophies, which is foolish.

          What am I wrong about exactly, all you been debating are details nothing fundamental against my belief that culturist atheist are wrong to claim themselves atheist, because that is redefining the word itself.
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        Jun 7 2011: "It is still a huge theory, but I do not see many counter theories that deny such genetic possibilities."

        That's because you allow yourself only a limited scope. By the way your paper does not conclusively point to a genetic origin of homosexuality. If anything, even just from the abstract you can kind of infer that some sort of essentially environmental process could be at work. What's the genetics behind being later born? What's the genetics behind having more maternal relatives? These are all environmental factors. The opening sentences point towards the difficulty of ascribing homosexuality to essentially genetic processes and yet you gladly ignore that proclaiming no counter-theories have come your way. You don't seem particularly versed in genetics and evolutionary biology so I'll let that one slip.

        In this post and others, you have sang the praises of redefining the word religion so that the word is deteriorated into an almost exact synonym of philosophy and yet you put your foot down when it comes to redefining atheism. I don't even see this word as having been redefined. If you're an atheist, you don't believe in God. That is what atheism is. That there are high profile atheists like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens (which many atheists across the board won't care about) and that some people like to define themselves around this unifying notion (like people will gather around concepts like anarchy or the love of chocolate) does not qualify atheism as a rebranded word that corresponds to a pop-culture-induced religion. We could make subset of just about any qualifier and say that it doesn't fit the definition of some word in the vaguest of sense.

        To answer your question about using a word in the broadest sense, I'm going to say no. People aren't stupid, they can often tell what a word is being used to be a placeholder for from context. Words have varying meanings and context is key. It's like you're trying to dumb down the English language.
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          Jun 7 2011: No, I enjoy learning from my mistakes, I was made to believe that there was a "gay gene" only recently have I found the discovery to be theorized and not factual. Biology is not my best science, no. Relax with your over assumptions, they are fictions, I skim read that paper I did not perform further research. I can admit when I am wrong. Homosexuality is in nature though; rats, dolphins, monkeys, apes, are just some cases in which two animals die and do not reproduce. Indeed, I need to do more research on the supposed "gay gene". This is an off topic conversation, I appreciated.

          "Sang the praises" lol.

          I already posted my definition of religion, if "atheist" want to refer all religions under the same term, by all means practice ignorance. Most religions could be interpreted as being a "fundamental philosophy" . Ex: My fundamental belief is if I do good I will die and go to heaven. The philosophy (logic) is there is a heaven, that if I do good, I get to go there. It is not a natural science nor is it logical reasoning, it is a fundamental philosophy.

          I understand my statement (that pop-cultured atheism is becoming a religion) is absurd, it was more to draw "atheist" and atheist to my conversation for opinions and disputes.

          Sorry, but then you are being a victim of language and cultures. You are separating yourself from the world by considering atheism means more than what it actually means. That if by being "atheist" you are somehow more enlightened towards the world and to what really exist in it. Maybe a step closer in that direction, but no, by not understanding what are the components that allow you to express yourself are, then you are coming off as knowing it all and that is not the case. The more you know, the more you don't know.
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    Jun 7 2011: :facepalm:

    Have you been reading a Christian dictionary or something? Atheism is the lack of belief in deities, not the belief there are no deities. There's a large difference:

    The only thing that needs fixing is the definitions in some dictionaries AND the perception of the word by theists.

    The so called "pop culture" thing is dominated by theistic perceptions, so a distortion of the truth is unavoidable, as with everything else in this area.

    I'm a "secular skeptic irreligious humanist agnostic atheist", and so are larger part of atheists I've seen (though not all, I'll admit). Must I (and the atheists who fit under those labels) spell this out always? Is there a better, less misunderstood, yet specific enough, single label I could use and help spread as a re-branding for atheists?

    As for the distinction between "atheist" and "militant atheist" I see (and I realize this may be different from the perception on the theistic side) is that "militant atheists" are those who challenge theists into reevaluating their beliefs. There's actually also "anti-theists" (I'm not sure if Christopher Hitchens coined the term or simply popularized it), which is a step further from militant atheism, where you don't simply lack a belief in the proposition, but you're glad it's not true (I personally don't fit there... while I'm glad the Abrahamic representation is not true, the general idea of a supernatural being that helps us and cares for us is something I wish was true, but don't believe it due to the lack of evidence).
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      Jun 7 2011: Ha, thanks Vasil.

      Is a video that kills this conversation, and answers my questions. Good job.

      As he says "the difference doesn't really matter between the differences of definitions"

      A baby starts with the no belief and a person develops the lack of belief.

      You have successfully put me in my place Vasil, I tip my hat to you sir!

      How should I edit this conversation?
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        Jun 7 2011: Dunno... "how to re-brand atheism" or "how to properly educate people on the meanings of the words we use, such as 'atheist', 'faith' and 'theory'" maybe?

        It's a pity that atheist have a hard time reaching people simply because of the definitions of the words they use.
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          Jun 7 2011: I think "free thinker" or "non-believer" are enough to dictate your stand point on deities and will incite conversation for further investigation of your beliefs.

          Atheism is just one belief, it can not tell me if you are an apatheist, a nihilist, an anarchist, etc...

          It's not like those who belief in a god dictate.. "yeah, I am a theist"
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        Jun 9 2011: "free thinker", as well as the other one I've heard recently, "rationalist", are two words which sound a little too intimidating, because they imply theists can't think for themselves or think rationally, and that's not the case. Many, or perhaps even most, do. It's just that the concept of God is the one thing they don't turn their rational free thinking towards, and many times that leaves them not thinking freely or rationally about other related topics.

        As for "non-believer", that's a slightly broader category than "atheist". "non-believer" may also include those with personal god or gods who don't overlap with any organized religion. In other words, those who don't believe any claims put forward to them (hence "non-believers") but still believe in some form of higher power, despite the lack of evidence for it.

        And again, atheism is not a belief, it's a lack of one belief, or as the video states, "Gods don't feature among the things I believe exist".

        And you're right, it can't tell you anything about a person... just as being a theist doesn't tell you anything about a person, other than the fact that god or gods feature among the things he or she believes exists. But nowadays, when someone says he's a "Christian", that also tells you nothing, because most people take the word "Christian" to mean "an average moral person according to western standards", which is simply false, but people only realize that once they're introduced to other religions and the definitions of words like "atheism", "faith", "belief", etc.
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        Jun 12 2011: exactly what i said
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      Jun 9 2011: Thanks for the links, Vasil. Excellent. Why not just reject being labeled? For my dad religion didn't exist. He never thought about it one way or the other. It played no role in his life whatsoever. If you asked if he was an "atheist" (with its pejorative implications) he certainly would have said "no". In what other area are we pushed to accept and defend some kind of label when it is irrelevant to us?
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        Jun 9 2011: I would love to live in a world where we won't need the label, but in a world dominated by religions, the label is necessary.

        Sam Harris once made this very point in a talk (not on TED), and he gave an example with racism and sexism... we never had aracist or asexist as labels. But I disagree on this point. The world was never dominated by racist or sexist people. It's just that being racist or sexist was not considered offensive, so people who were racist and sexist were much more vocal about it. There's still racism and sexism, but today, such people do their best to hide it. The label "racist" and "sexist" didn't appear until people who are not racist and sexist came up with the term to identify the idea they're against.

        The story is much different with religion. Religion has dominated most of human history, and I'm sure it will continue to dominate for at least another generation or two. Criticism was, and is still considered offensive by believers, which is the very opposite from racism and sexism, where there was no positive label before the negative one. Just imagine what would be if the term "racist" came before the civil rights movement and criticizing someone for being racist was considered offensive by racist people because racism gave them good reason to... let's say own slaves. You'd definitely need the label aracist then.

        But you're right... the only way to identify atheists is to explicitly ask in a yes/no fashion "do you think there is a god?". I've said before in another topic that it was only last year that I took the label atheist, even though I've been one for about 5 years or so without realizing it. A year ago, I considered the word "Christian" to be a synonym for "the accepted morality set in my culture", and honestly, only in the past few months do I realize how immoral Christianity really is after studying it beyond what I was once taught ("turn the other cheek" and all those good bits). It is this kind of awareness that people need.
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          Jun 11 2011: Dominated by culture Vasil, religion is just a correlation.

          The people who educate children that produce racist and sexist are culturally religious parts of the world, often politics connects with religion as a factoring requirement of consideration, a conundrum. [This means two sources of information are repeating information, at least in American society, I do not know for sure for anywhere else.] Perhaps, it is in more... Anyways, education of world/local information does not come from public media. The local news of reality must come from immediate second party information, family and friends + social networks. One of your cognitive educations, is recording when you have positive emotions, endorphin-like moments, happy thoughts, etc.

          Those endorphin-like drives, drive our philosophical considerations towards life. People do have the natural ability to question today. It is our evolutionary gift/result.

          At the bottom of that link is a chart. It is brilliant.

          "Serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine are involved in the control of many of our mental states, sometimes acting on their own and at other times acting together (illustrated in the diagram below). These and other neurotransmitters are likely to play a pivotal role in the pathological basis of mental illness and diseases of the brain..."

          Understand said robot, understand thy self. Human Animal = Robot, with free choice, "free will" w.e..

          Medical fields that treat our human species as a robot, are looked at academically/mechanically, they do not need psychological considerations

          Our psychologist/psychiatrist should be approached similarly to mind, in the same famous as surgeons, "robots" is an easy term to use.

          This is just not where we are yet..

          These are my opinions, I been taking notes, on some thoughts, what do you think Vasil?

          Achievement of "humanity's union" = Natural drives - (cultures +/- [cog] edu.)
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          Jun 12 2011: You are right, labels always limit and distort what we can see of reality and hinder communication. I like Nicholas' tendency to include a working definition for a word

          .We no longer live at the mythic level of cultural, spiritual and intellectual evolution. We no longer need "belief systems" ..we need practices which foster good habits of thought and action..we need alert carefully observant, insightful minds.we need to cultivate habits of caring for one another and forour fragile planet..but we no longer need "belief systems". Folk can be deeply spiritually, even have profound faith without being bound by a "belief system" ..though these folk, myself included would never use the term "atheist" to describe themselves

          .So why do so many people at Ted label themselves "atheist" is that trendy or something? A new fad? Is this consifdered attractive? What is it communicating as a self label? And why do none of these people ever think to label themselves "humanist " for example.? Or are all those folk who label themselves "atheist" also lacking a sense of stewardship for humanity and for our earth? I am seriously curious.My observation based on commentary offered by folk who self describe as "atheist" is that they seem to actually have very strong "belief systems"..assumptions and predispositions. The belief system in which they base their identity and from which they make their commentray just unsn't about god or spirtuality.but it strikes me as being from something much closer to what we customarily think of as "belief systems" .
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          Jun 12 2011: By coincidence, Vasil , I see that your "Ted Idea Worth Spreading" in your profile suggests "moralist" as a better term than "athesist" and I know from your commentary that you are not rigid or narrow in your thinking and are moralist that you are an open thinker. I don't see those qulaities, in general, in most who self label "atheist". What does that self label denote here at Ted?
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        Jun 11 2011: Do you have a link to the study that links those two? I was really hoping there's no correlation between racism/sexism and religion... and yet the more I dig, the more it seems like religion is the root of all evil, and it simply happens, thanks to the civilized nature of modern humans, that most are only carriers rather than executioners of it.

        I mean, I also acknowledge the fact that there are racist and sexist people even among atheists, but if religion seems to encourage it in the same way it encourages homophobia (another issue where atheists are part of*, but at least "God hates you" is not an argument), genocide (towards people of other religions) and anti-abortion, it's just one more nail on the coffin.

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          Jun 11 2011: Religion is simply what you consider when you look at culture, but that is not entirely it. Religion that does not traditionalize challenging reality, is useless, yes. But we all create our own religion Vasil.

          Two examples: Racism, American politicians are claimed often to be such. Sexism, Islamic "honor kills"....

          E-mail me if you want sources.

          Just need to be educated on other stimuli that exist, that's simply it.
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    Jun 13 2011: "Believe in yourself to Be who you want to Become." Thats something I made for myself, but I think it works for anyone. I am partly an Atheist, but I am only so because I question the Truth in everything.
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      Jun 15 2011: well said anuraag
    • Jun 15 2011: "I question the Truth in everything."
      never stop questioning.

  • Jun 8 2011: The problem with the term "Atheist" is the way it is often presented. Most claiming to be Atheist also proclaim that you must be college educated to be smart enough to join the club. I was an Atheist at 6 yr. When I could not get answers as to why God needed my money. This started me asking questions that upset many people in my life. My parent were very upset.

    But, back to my thoughts. Too many times, I have heard that Christians are dumb and that is why they believe so strongly. The first time I met an Atheist I disliked the theory due to the attitude of the speaker.
    Atheists are making enemies due to the "I am better then you attitude." That is the real problem. Christians don't call people stupid to get their point across. Atheists do. There is the problem. If you want to convert me BE NICE, DON'T CALL ME UNEDUCATED OR STUPID.

    I don't call myself an Atheist for these reasons. I don't believe in GOD but I won't claim a bunch of stuck up smart-asses either .
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      Jun 8 2011: Thanks for your words Gerald.

      I understand your "pain"
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    Jun 6 2011: Nice essay Nicholas,

    I have some remarks:
    "Basically all atheism means is that the word God should NOT exist... "
    Atheism is not the exclusion of a word... it is an exclusion of the belief that any god exists...

    There are a lot of religions and semi-religions that are atheistic.
    Like some forms of new age...

    I myself think (probabilistic) atheism is not enough if you want to understand this world, one must also be an a-red-dragonist, and an a-teapotist, a-homeopatist &c...
    (not excluding those words, but allowing to let go of false beliefs)

    So If you state Pop-culture atheism is a form of naturalistic thinking (I think you imply that), and want to call it a religion... go ahead.

    But: a religion is a set of practices that ties people together (religare means "to connect"). Science doesn't try to achieve that (applied science can). Science wants to find truth, no more, no less.

    A religion based on science: sounds ok. In that case one should invent rituals where people can celebrate science and humanity... (Like TED events?)

    So: focus on living (good) amongst our fellow beings, and use science as a tool to further that goal.
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      Jun 6 2011: First remark: corrected. Typo...

      Yes, New Age religions is what I am circling around.

      You do not feel you are nihilist when thinking philosophically about the world?

      What I am saying is the pop-culture "atheist" views are making it a religion, which it isn't but a belief system.

      I consider science a tool in which to view the world with and that it transcends the actual scientific fields in which we practice commonly to make facts and theories about reality. If you never knew the word science, you can easily practice science, you would just be calling it logical thinking or natural philosophy.

      With that said, there are religions based on science or "natural philosophies" in which part of the rituals are dissecting the natural world as we receive cognitively...

      Your final statement I agree on entirely.
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        Jun 6 2011: "You do not feel you are nihilist when thinking philosophically about the world?"

        hmm... depends on the definition
        I think I can be called an existential nihilist then...
        A bit like this quote:
        "There probably isn't any meaning in life. Perhaps you can find something interesting to do while you are alive. Like how you found that flower. Like how I found you." (Orochimaru in Naruto)
        It sounds so much better in Japanese:
        [きっと 生きてる 事 に 意 味なんてないの よ
        生き続ける 事 で 面白い 事 を 見つけられる かも ね
        あなた が その 花 を 見つけた ように
        あたし が あなた を 見つけたように
        kito ikiteru koto ni imi nante nai no (yo)
        ikitsuzukeru koto de omoshiroi koto mitsukerareru kamo ne
        anata ga sono hana o mitsuketa yo (ni)
        watashi ga anata o mitsuketa yo (ni)]

        And I like Nietzsche, Camus and Kundera as well of course, though they tend to be pessimistic about it... I'm an optimist.
        So: general meaning: no. personal meaning: a lot!

        I disagree with the other forms of nihilism described.
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          Jun 6 2011: I enjoy and appreciate the reference to Naruto, as well how well the context works here. lol thank you.

          Indeed, existential nihilism, exactly. It is a very powerful way to look at life.
        • Jun 7 2011: Hi. Christophe. Isn't it better to look beyond existential nihilism? We are still evolving, your view suggsts to me that you are satisfied with what you have got and like religion, you have given up thinking.
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          Jun 8 2011: *off topic*
          Have you ever listened to Darwin Deez? If anything, I find him to be a very existential artist, in terms of his choice of lyrics. What do you think?


          twinkle, twinkle little star, how i wonder what you are
          there’s a million little lights when the sky turns black tonight
          are there patterns in our skies, are patterns only in our eyes?

          or is a constellation just a constellation?
          is a constellation just a consolation?

          wrinkle, wrinkle little scar, count the freckles on my arm
          if freckles don’t mean anything, does anything mean anything?

          or is a constellation just a constellation?
          is a constellation just a consolation?

          we are twinkling stars resurrected
          just like twinkling stars we seem connected but i know that

          a constellation is just a constellation
          constellation is just a consolation
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        Jun 8 2011: @ Derek:

        I hold existential nihilism as default... I never stop thinking, and if overwhelming evidence points me to looking further, I will... (I am a probabilistic thinker)

        We are evolving, but evolution is a blind process (mind you, this does not mean evolution has tendencies to which it can evolve &c &c), so no reason to assume a telos either.

        Concerning satisfaction: that is not an emotion that is constant imo. Today I might be satisfied, tomorrow I might not be...
        I didn't mean to imply that I stopped thinking (As a matter of fact, I don't, I am quite a relentless thinker)...

        Sorry if I gave you a false impression (but we don't have complete control over the illocutionar and perlocationar). TIP: If you only read what I say, those impressions will diminish

        @ Andrew
        Nice poem.
        I can relate to that ;-)
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          Jun 8 2011: probabilism,

          is now added to my list of belief systems.

          Truly one of the better schools of philosophies.
        • Jun 9 2011: Hi Christophe; I do not understand, either evolution is by design or just random, it can't be both. When mutations occur for the survival of a species, ( environmental changes.) they evolve not only for the benefit of the species that is changing but for all species. There is the balance in nature , along with the food chain and many more necessities. I am not reffering to some divine help, but a natural source. All the evidence points to a design, you have to choose, spiritual or natural? I choose the latter.
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    Jun 14 2011: I'd rather you asked my permission before quoting me in your debate description. Also, given that you've changed the description, some of my thoughts will be out of context. Next time, please ask me first.
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      Jun 14 2011: Want to change it? Or remove it entirely?

      I think the context was just.
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    Jun 11 2011: This conversation is based on a fallacy and is redundant. You start off with a statement that is wrong, Atheism = 1 belief system, and then pose questions based on that false statement.

    That Atheism is a belief system has been clearly rebutted here, and yet you persist with that statement.

    Here is a similar argument and wonderful rebuttal I came across on another conversation:

    @ AbdelRahman Siddig “And yet when I look up religion in a dictionary the word listed under antonyms is atheism”

    @ Janusz Węgierski “I do understand that the goal justifies the means but toying with definitions of words just to create an impression that atheism is the same animal with a different name is unjustified. Lack of faith can be called a belief just as chaos can be called some kind of order, but while semantically it may sound acceptable to some it does not describe the position in a reasonable way at all. "NOT COLLECTING STAMPS IS NOT A HOBBY". [emphasis mine]
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      Jun 11 2011: Atheism
      the rejection of belief that any deities exist
      the absence of belief in the existence of any deities
      the stance that deities do not exist (gnostic atheism)

      Is it that hard to accept?

      An antonym is something that is the opposite, and no, atheism is not the opposite of religion (I like Abdel, but he is wrong here). There are religions that practice atheism, as there are religions who practice theism, gnosticism, and agnosticism.

      Part of semantics, part of speech is to dictate in where you are coming from with speech. Indeed, I did not do such prior to this conversation, however my speech may not be what you are use to but it is not wrong or a fallacy.

      The fallacy you are performing dubiously is appealing to authority. The authority of recent (or selective) scientist and philosophers as opposed to all the philosophers and scientist. The word "supernatural" itself, predates the modern usage of "spirits/ghost" by 300 years. In English, for 300 years, when philosophers said "supernatural" they simply meant what was "not yet known" and not "what cannot be explained"

      Nothing has been rebutted here, atheism is no more than just a belief system. Stop getting bent out of shape over words. "Belief"
      1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
      2.confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
      3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.

      Lacking one belief, does not mean you have no other beliefs, truly the lack of one means more.

      I am not stating this is your "faith" system, although I could, I won't because faith would really make you militant atheist angry. Buddhist believe faith is:
      a conviction that something is
      a determination to accomplish one's goals
      a sense of joy deriving from the other two

      Again Buddhist are atheist... They do not believe in deities, except the deities they create, which is true of all atheist.
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        Jun 11 2011: You dont have to indulge in a diarrhea of words to understand or express something simple.

        You seem to be fixated on deities and seem to believe you have knowledge of which gods exist or don't.

        There are people who do not have belief in any belief system. No belief in your so called "atheistic" religions, spirituality etc. No beliefs in any faiths whatsoever.

        That absence of belief is not a belief system just as not collecting stamps is not a hobby.
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          Jun 11 2011: Truly, in order for there to be an absence, there must of been the already existing concept to not be associated with...

          As Andrew has put it the "a" of "atheism" means to negative of "theism" due to the "a"

          Only babies are born with the absence of belief, therefore they need to be indoctrinated in order for it to create/affect their belief system(s).

          The lack of hobby does not fit here. A hobby would be more like the entire belief system and not one belief (the hobby is not just one action, no one makes a hobby out of running and never getting better at running, they master running; they practice breathing, timing, patterns, and discipline.). What factors into the hobby are the components and understandings of said hobby. A belief system is as follows: "is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs may be religious, philosophical, ideological or a combination of these."

          Atheism being ONE BELIEF (or lack of belief, whatever) is still part of all your other belief systems.

          the stance that deities do not exist (gnostic atheism) // gnostic atheism = gnosticism deities do not exist

          This is underlining stance of all atheist. Remember, there are multiply interpretations of God in this world. To say all Gods do not exist, is ignorant towards the broad spectrum of reality involved in belief systems, WHICH EVERYONE HAS, just different variances.

          Deities, the supernatural force in which guides us through life, or perhaps the immortal being that created life... both ideas are God to different people...

          I would not have to use a great deal of words if you did not repeat yourself.

          Just search engine "list of belief systems"... atheism will be on every list.

          The idea of "God" is not just a yes or no thing, it is not a logical dispute. It is a spiritual/personal one.

          "Spirituality" is an important word, I suggest you stop throwing it aside, that type of arrogant consideration is anti-progressive
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          Jun 12 2011: @Nick

          I'm here to defend myself, specifically with the term atheism.

          "A" is the "not" affix in the English language just like "s" is the "plural" affix for nouns. Because theism means "the belief in god(s)" atheism thus means "does not believe in god(s)." This is epistemically different from "believes there are no gods."

          Some of my future research may be to look at the distinction here, and possibly second order knowledge. This is the beauty of my 3 field program.

          Take for example the idea that there is not an elephant on the dark side of the moon. Sure it is logically possible, like many things are, but this does not mean it is true/false. So when a rational person says they "don't believe there is an elephant on the dark side of the moon" I must ask them if they actually believe that they believe this? Sounds a bit bizarre, but that's where I think an fMRI will be used to shed some light on the situation. Pun intended...
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          Jun 12 2011: Andrew,

          Your definition is substantially correct.. so,

          What are the rest of your belief systems like?
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          Jun 12 2011: Rational
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          Jun 12 2011: Rationalism, existentialism, nihilism, probablism, humanism, naturalism, positivism, intellectualism....

          A lot of rational belief system exist.

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          Jun 14 2011: love this quote richard..
          "That absence of belief is not a belief system just as not collecting stamps is not a hobby"
      • Jun 12 2011: Hi Nicholas. I was not going to write for a week, but something has come up. You living in the U.S.A. would know nothing about what I am going to tell you because it concerns the U.K. It is midsummer here and last week I dreamt it was going to snow on June the 10th. It snowed for one hour on that day in Wales. I did register the dream, so the proof exists. So stop this banter with Richard, you are both wrong.
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          Jun 12 2011: The current banter is unrelated to you Derek... lol

          I am fine with being wrong about your occurrence.
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          Jun 13 2011: leave this feckless maze Derek and come join me at my conversation on how belief systems must be put aside to get on with cultural evolution. I am checking out.

          Thanks all
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    Jun 11 2011: Vasil's presence here encourages me to speak here as well

    I think where I have come to is not worrying about "what I believe" or even trying to explain or defend that or even sort that out. My faith and spiirtual practice has nothing to do with beliefs or any belief systems and everyhthing thing to do with practice..with habits of thining, acting, observing, inquiring, seeking to understand but accepting I never will.. I am very comfortable with the unknowable..very comfortable iwth my own unknowing.

    We trip each other up and impede communication with each other with all these lables and words..responding to Derek below I used such a label because it is the word for that experience from that practice referred to but I am not comfortable with that term or the term atheist or my own description of myself as "a contemplative".

    Questions like "who is I believe in God, do I think Jesus was the son of God do I believeJjesus ascnded bodily into heaven just don';t engage me..aren't part of my search to know or understand.aren't important to me. . I don't have a need to know or to have definitive answersfor any of that.

    I focus instead on practice..habit of mind, habit of thought,habits of openeness and inquiry, habits of intellectual rigor, habits of copmassionate presence.

    Each one of us is unique; each one of us is uniquely needed in this world..right now. The unique gifts each of us possess become gifts to us, sources of joy when they find their place in some sort of unknowable puzzlle. And that happens sort of moment by every moment and not usually in one big whalapalooza revelation. Wahetver it is that happens is beyond language and words and knowing; in the moment.

    The core of my practice is to be mindfully present to everything and everyone without ego, need, attachment, judgment or fantasy. I support that mainly by trying to allow for silence so that my thinking and speaking is informed by more than just my conscious mind.
    • Jun 11 2011: Hi Lindsay. I agree with a lot of what you say, it's one world, one race. However your theory that my dream was an out -of- body experience, I can't go along with. The answer is much simpler than that; the answer will go a long way to solving the mysteries of evolution because they are part of our evolving. I don't blame you for thinking the way you do, the power of suggestion is a very powerful one and takes us down paths that lead to nowhere, except down more wrong paths. That is not to say my ideas might be wrong, but I have put 35yrs of unbiased research into it.
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        Jun 11 2011: There was no conviction in my pointing you to what theosophy has to say about your dream experience..for your own exploration of it. I am glad if you have come to terms with it as expereience in your own way. That's great. That's the work we all have to do.

        My ideas to do not come from the power of suggestion or any one source...they come from 65 years of hard work doing exactly what you seem to be doing. I shared them here only to introduce the idea of practice as an alternative to the complications and pitfalls of religion as available through ost orgnaized churches.
        • Jun 12 2011: Hi Lindsay. You don't know how thrilled I was to hear that you are doing the same kind of work as myself. It is a lonely job trying to introduce new ideas, all the world seems against you. Darwins experience must have been like experiencing the worst nightmare ever. This barrier he faced was and still is, a barrier inspired by by the power of suggestion; which was understandable considering evolution was non existent at the time. It was not a personal attack on yourself. I am sorry if it was mistaken for that. I have 35yrs, maybe 40 yrs of research behind me and have researched many aspects of religion. I find inspiration from my research which is; seeking the natural and what at times seem unnatural aspects of evolution. I then attempt to modify the two and bring some logic into the equation. I don't know exactly how far your work has extended, but if we have a common interest, maybe we can swop a few ideas? Sorry again.
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        Jun 11 2011: "I agree with a lot of what you say, it's one world, one race."
        I realize I'm just nitpicking here, but considering how certain small semantic differences can affect our thinking, I think it's worth pointing out at least for the sake of the small quantity of people that will read this... we're one species, many races. It seems the phrase "the human race" is a leftover from the more racist times, where people of other races were not considered human, but "subhuman". Similarly, phrases like "one man, one vote" are leftovers from more sexist times.

        I think we should give ourselves pause on such phrases... and I've personally started to give myself pause at religiously inspired phrases, and look for replacements, though it's harder there.

        Fortunately, I have fewer phrases to replace, thanks to the pagan heritage of my language. When someone sneezes for example, we say "in health" (literal translation; same word is used for "cheers"), so that's done. For English, I think "bless you" is good enough (just scrapping the "God" bit...). I have yet to find a good curse in place for "what by the devils", which we use in place of "what the fuck". I use "fu ... at" (literal translation from a shorthand of "fuck that") for now, though it would be nice if neither "fuck" nor "devils" were part of it, while still rolling out of the tongue nicely.

        BTW, yesterday I had a revelation (I have yet to verify it...) about my own language... we have a phrase "I pray to all gods" in place of the English "I pray to God" (if we pray to the one God, we just say "I pray"). Once I thought this meant "I pray to Yahweh, Allah or any other God that may exist", but when I heard it this time, I realized that this is a leftover from the times where we were pagans. I now wonder how many more leftovers there are... in both English and Bulgarian.
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          Jun 12 2011: Nicholas.What I refer to as "belief system" what got pasted over the the original wisdoms it's ..all the dogma, all the inerpretations, all the distortions, all the bad translations, all the extractionsi ts all the stuff that impedes critical thinking, interferrs with dynamic, transactional though and speech, that insist on group identity and fosters over identity with group..its a hold over from the tribal, mythic pre-rational and no longer has a place in our world.

          Talking about it at

          Also exploring there how everyone can get undernaeth alll that part of wherev they are..within the Muslim tradition, within the christian tradition, within the jewish tradition and return to those wisdoms..its all the same back there at the root of wisdom. ( Sufi and Buddhists arelucky..they never got pasted over with all that "belief system " did they anage that anyway??

          Those wisdms can also serve all who self label "atheist" here at Ted ( did you see my other converstaion on that)..because they are the wisdoms of humanity..they aren;t owned by Chrstianity, Judaic or muslim trdaitions. They are the wisdoms of all humanity..of how to be humanity.

          Really fascinating and fruitful possibilities for inqury and epxloration.
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          Jun 12 2011: Lindsay,

          What you are referencing are religious belief systems, and you are most correct in those primitive practices being useless. HERE on this conversation, I am trying to cover individual belief systems, to say those are obsolete is considering all humans should do ONE thing together all the time with ALL the same ideas, practices, and disciplines. Which is the end result, but not the current game.

          That is how I am interpreting you right now. General beliefs systems are intrapersonal and an interpersonal "thing".

          There is no question there are miles of considerations constantly overlooked in history from many many great philosophers in history, regardless of their own belief systems.

          Kabbalah, which is what Judaism is founded on, is brilliant, possibly one of the best ancient philosophical consideration of the world involved in religion.

          You definitely know this picture
          Now take another look...

          To Michelangelo, who studied Kabbalah, considered God to be apart of the brain!

          Wade Davis discusses what we are talking about most elegantly in his TED talks.

          My phantom thesis here Lindsay is simply... if everyone understood what we all had in common, more ideas can be generated.

          Belief systems are the root of all personal philosophy, all considerations toward the world and reality. Also belief systems are already established considerations towards the world and reality.

          It is up the individual to understand/consider ALL philosophies of the world to create a broader reality. This is time consuming... even if the individual superficially understand all the philosophies, or the majority of them, they would see how they all compare and which are useful and which are not for progress (self/communal).
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          Jun 14 2011: Love the .God in brain....I had always thought womb..but the brain map is very convincing.(Michael Angelo Sistine Chapel)

          In my practice many paths lead to Kabbala..though I cannot say I know it well..few reach that exalted level

          lI thought youmight interested in a lovely little essay wise man and vsionary Tom Atlee left at my invitation at my conversation on belief systems..take a look when you get a chance.I see you are still having fun here....
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          Jun 15 2011: I see you caught that Nicholas &edited.....:>))

          Here's more on Michael Angelo, the Kabbalah and the Sistine Chapel..really excatly about what I am exploring in my conversationon belief systems

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        Jun 12 2011: Derek, yes actyally lots of us here within TED Conversations who have a different path. I am just about to start a Ted Conversation where we can exchange these ideas. I believe cultural and spirital evolution has taken us past "belief system" that they are even a hindrance to thinking..and becoming the agents of chnage and co-creation we need to be as global citizens as stewards for the future of our planet. We need a new paradigm that is more open..looking to synthesize , inquire and explore in more creative and generative ways.

        posted link above:

        just strated..right up your laaey and I hope to see you there.
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          Jun 12 2011: Hey Lindsay,

          The way I interpret "belief systems" is a bit more broad...

          "Your belief system is the actual set of precepts from which you live your daily life, those which govern your thoughts, words, and actions."

          I feel you interpreting belief system as a religion, school of philosophy, or an ideology in which people practice and practice constantly. That is only some of the case! Often people nitpick their beliefs and faiths from these established belief systems, and do so unknowingly.

          Look at all the "atheist" who tie other belief systems into the single word of atheism...

          A lot of these "atheist" practice apatheism, nihilism, rationalism, existentialism, etc The belief systems in which challenge reality are among the most popular. Chris Cop denotes himself to be a probabilist.

          Are these their religions? Depends on who is interpreting, for me no. Are these where their goals are coming from in life? Perhaps. Are belief systems constantly changing? Yes.

          (This goes for Richard Dawson as well)

          Regardless of whether or not you want to believe in a "belief system" you still have one. What your system is like, already exist, no one is special, no one is original. What is special about the individual's belief system is that today we do not need to recognize other already pre-established belief systems to have a strong ethical position on life.

          I'm sure anyone who participated in this thread is a humanitarian, if that leads them to altruistic-like actions, depends on their belief system(s)...

          In a sense, indeed evolution has taken us past having to follow an organized belief system. PLENTY of Evangelical Christians make up their own beliefs constantly to their personal opinions in which to follow their God. There are Buddhist who are stock traders and bankers, which is an oxymoron when considering what Buddhism is...

          We will always interpret the world the way we want to, does not = original thoughts
        • Jun 12 2011: Hi Lindsay. I agree fully with what you say. I use a different way of saying it; The Reality That Explains The Whole. I am just going to write to Nicholas, you may find it interesting.
    • Jun 13 2011: Hi Lindsay. I think I should explain about my diversion of beliefs. It happened in 1966. When experiencing certain things; friends would gather round and try to convince me they were spiritual happenings. Without going into to much detail; what had happened had happened to me and I was the best judge. It showed beyond any doubt their addiction to mysticism, their determination to inject a religeous meaning. They were only trying to help, but their description of the event grew out of all proportions and they were not even there when the incident happened. I have written about my experiences and also started to register them. It has taken me so long to do this because my wife was against it. Sadly she passed away over 2yrs ago, it was then I started to write. Looking forward to your debate.
  • Jun 11 2011: I think a good term for people who are atheist and are avidly against religion should simply state they are Anti-theist, well probably not (considering people would base anything said after "I am anti-theist, and..." would inevitably be ignored) but I still self title myself as an anti-theist because it is the quickest way to make the guy who knocks on my door every Saturday morning to hand me a bible, and tell me of the horrid existence i shall be most unfortunate enough to spend my eternity in, stop talking.
    • Jun 11 2011: Hello Anatole. It doen't matter much whether we are Atheist, Anti- Atheist, Humanist, Evolutionist, Catholic, Islam, Buddist, Protestant or Jedi. What is important is the emotional input they bring to evolution. That is what it is all about. They stimulate an intelligent species; intelligence feeds on stimulation.
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    • Jun 8 2011: HI Raphael. Could you make it clear where you are coming from? Your letter leaves me confused.
  • Jun 7 2011: I think that what you referred to as 'pop cultured atheism' will probably not become a religion as you put it, although I think it is somewhat of a political stance. That's because it's less of a belief and more of an idea.
    I think there are atheist parades because atheists are a minority, especially in the United States. We have gay pride parades too, but being gay isn't a religion. (As someone else pointed out)
    I don't think all atheists are 'pop culture atheists' either; I am an atheist but I am also in favor of religion and the happiness that it brings people.
    I don't think the word God shouldn't exist, because some people believe in this entity, this 'God', and others do not. Even if it doesn't exist, the IDEA exists, and we need a name for that idea.
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      Jun 7 2011: Harold this is the best response to my opinions of this topic thus far and it is in good taste.

      Indeed, I over dramatized the idea of the pop-cultured atheism becoming a religion, it was just for argument sakes. Also indeed atheist are the minority, awesome points!

      However again, atheism is just apart of religious views or apart of belief systems. There are no theist parades (there are specific religious parades), and it shouldn't be the "atheist movement" it should be the "non-theist movement".

      I don't assume all atheist are referencing themselves in the pop cultured term, however they are the ones (militant atheist) spreading ideas of "atheism" although the idea is a few words, they tie so much more to the term.
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        Jun 10 2011: Nick.....................Perhaps you are unaware that leading theologians now hold panentheism as an acceptable belief. And I think that I will edit my profile to reflect that that I am a "progressive
        Christian" To define myself I should say that I believe that Jesus is the definitive revelation of God. I believe that in principle we should live as he did. I believe in at-one-ment not atonement..
        Have a nice day.
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          Jun 10 2011: I do find the story of Jesus to be a powerful one, and try to be sensitive to Christian about who Jesus of Nazareth could have been during debates.

          I most certainly do know panentheism and pantheism are both acceptable belief systems, my favorite form of pantheism is "naturalistic pantheism". The philosophy is that the universe is interconnected and that there is a force that goes through it all for balance.
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        Jun 10 2011: @Nick..........Just a question...What do you suppose that FORCE is ? Smile !
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          Jun 11 2011: A karma-like Chi-like energy.

          I do not know how to describe it, but it is not as intense as the Star Wars movies :-P

          Whatever the energy, I personally find it beyond understanding (supernatural), because we do not even understand ten percent of the universe yet!
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        Jun 11 2011: Hi Nick...........Gotcha and thanks
  • Jun 11 2011: All the rest are Mytheism. Means believing in a myth of some kind.
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      Jun 11 2011: I disagree.

      Because some consider myths to be a possibility and do not eliminate it as a possibility.

      Some of the rest of belief systems are mytheistic (or mythical theism) , not all.
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    Jun 9 2011: @Helen
    There is far to much information to be shared, and far from enough room here on TED. I suggest starting off with some basic intro to logic material and then proceed to read philosophy papers in epistemology (focus on beliefs, knowledge, and the burden of proof).
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    Jun 8 2011: Andrew.....Can you tell me scientifically why a creator is not necessary. ?

    How does our current knowledge do a fine job explaining "things" ? I am not a scientist so please use laymans" language. (:>)
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      Jun 9 2011: The bit about the creator is a little bit tricky to explain, but I can talk about the other point.

      In science we may not have all the answers (and may never) BUT this does not mean science is worthless and we must turn to alternative explanations, such as religion. I used the example of "Phostheism" which is a term I made up. It is the belief that god is light. The properties of light seem to run parallel to many notions of god. Light moves at an unreachable speed to us, it shows us the world, it may be the only thing that remains in our universe on time scales 10 to the power of 30 or more years from now. This is all fine and dandy except physics already does a good job at explaining the properties of light, and phostheism is just some added gobbledygook which does nothing to further our understanding and asks us to add "new things," such as the concept of god, into our ontology (what we know).
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        Jun 9 2011: Hi Andrew................I do not use the Old Testament as a guide to anything I believe but it occurs to me that in the creation story God creates light so light according to Genesis is created and The Creator is not. Put that thing to rest. Light is physical, composed of discreet quanta. It travels in space. Space/time can bend it's course. .Why not try to discuss the idea that a creator is unnecessary ? We might learn something. I am not ignorant........I just don't have the vocabulary of a scientist. But I do have access to definitions and I have a relative who is working on his masters in theoretical mathematics. Not a bad source for info. Cheers.
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          Jun 10 2011: Helen, although you admit to panentheism why do you label yourself Christian?
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    Jun 8 2011: Hi Richard......You mention logic in your evaluation of whether God exists. Could you tell me how you use it to arrive at that conclusion.? (:>)
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      Jun 8 2011: If I may answer. I need to know what you mean by "God", a creator God, a force driving God, a spiritual enlightenment God and/or an all powerful being God? Who or What is God, Helen?

      Who, would require characteristics of being (how does "God" exist). What is "God" like, and where is the evidence of such?

      What, would require description of characteristics (what does "God" pertain to?). What does "God" related, connect, or correlate with?

      I personally have seen ou debate for God existence before but never knew your interpretation.
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        Jun 8 2011: Hi Nick...............The essence of God is unknowable to me. God is not a being ...God is the ground of being (as per Paul Tilich). The essence of God is not an improbability just because I cannot wrap my mind around that. As science progresses we discover things that boggle our minds so in my mind we are getting closer to God (yet very far away) with each discovery. As for God's energie, everything God created is good.Yes even what we must try to avoid...things that would harm us. Pain is caused by something going awry because we do not know everything. Otherwise this would be paradise. When we are born we have to be taught to love even though we are born with that capacity. That capacity is what we mean by being made in the image of God. I believe that religion (especially the Abrahamic ones)
        , is a primitive attempt to explain God using ourselves as an example of what God is. My belief is that God is love. God is one, simple no moving parts. Some people have never progressed from the primitive beliefs. The atheists are doing us a favor by rejecting the Abrahamic God. I could not validate such a thing myself. I kind of ramble because this subject is so profound and I am not eloquent. Your friend, Helen
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          Jun 8 2011: But Helen, you claim to know that god "is not a being, god is the ground of being., god is love, god is one simple [thing with] no moving parts" What is the evidence for this claim? And the ad hoc answer of "I don't know but you can't prove me wrong, so it must be true" isn't acceptable, for I can come up with an opposing claim with an equal truth value. You hold the burden of proof.
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          Jun 8 2011: Helen,

          I find you being a pantheist. Which is a great system to put your beliefs into because it indeed makes you more worldly and connected with strangers.

          Your God exist.
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        Jun 8 2011: Hi Andrew......I don't have any proof. It is my belief system and it seems logical to me. You are an atheist.......what logic do you base your Belief system on ? Or do you have any evidence proving your belief ? And do remember that "the only thing you and I and everyone knows is that we do not know".
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          Jun 8 2011: I don't have the burden of proof. But I do have science, and what our current understanding of the universe tells us is that 1) A creator is not necessary and 2) there is no need to assert new things into our ontology when what we currently know does just a fine job explaining things. However, beliefs are changeable, they aren't fixed.
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          Jun 8 2011: Not to mention that evolution is an absolutely tortuous and wasteful way of creating organisms. What's the big idea behind creating dead-end lineages?
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          Jun 8 2011: That's because Intelligent Design is IDiotic.
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          Jun 8 2011: I respect your beliefs Helen, that is your right to have. But I must clarify what logical means here:

          Logical describes something as following the principles of logic. Logic is a tool used to determine whether a claim is valid or not valid (exclusive or). If determined to be logical, the next question is to ask if it is sound. That is the job of science.

          I'm assuming when you use the word logical, you are attempting to say the claim you are making makes sense to you. Surely a claim can make sense and not be logical, if the person making the claim is not familiar with the rules (principles) of logic.
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        Jun 9 2011: Nick.............I am not a pantheist ......I am a panentheist.
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      Jun 9 2011: You trying to corner me Helen? I give up :)
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        Jun 10 2011: Hi I am not in the business of cornering anybody. I am here to learn by seeing what other people believe and Why. I don't see this as some kind of battle but a search for the most probable. Your friend Helen
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    Jun 7 2011: Derek Payne (Richard respond in this thread as to keep conversation tidy, towards me and Derek, please)

    As much as I would enjoy explaining to you that dream, the plausibility of the information given to me, and the possibility/likelihood of said event... it would go into my spirituality, as in I do not have a scientific explanation but a supernatural one.

    Do you really want me to start to dictate ridiculous philosophies and theories?

    I do not because I do not fully understand them myself, but I believe you on good faith. =J

    Oh, and even futile debates can teach both sides lessons, even if the minds are not changed, the information will now exist in consciousness and when more opinions weigh in on said information minds can change in distant futures.
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      Jun 8 2011: "..I do not have a scientific explanation but a supernatural one"

      Of course you would. If you have an inclination to believing the supernatural every thunderclap you would attribute to it.

      I am replying to Derek Payne below his post because that would be in context.
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        Jun 8 2011: You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry. Most people do. ~Norman Juster
      • Jun 9 2011: Hi Richard. I am going on with this talk, but would like to change this debate between you and Nicholas, I am sorry to say you are both wrong. The dream did happen as I said, but there is nothing supernatural or unexplainable about it. I have researched the unexplainable ever since and all my findings lead back to evolution. When explained in the right way after researching the facts; there is no mystery why I dreamed of the three survivors. Like any magicians trick once you know how it was done it loses it appeal somewhat. My research as included past lives, reincarnation, dreams of the future and even ghosts. Though all these appear to be fact, what we see is not always what it is. I'll give you one clue. The dreams of the future and the dreams of the present, (like the one I had.) give us a pattern. If there is a pattern then there must be a design. Evolution=ability. Without something to govern it, ability would spiral out of control and there would be no pattern.
    • Jun 10 2011: Hello Nicholas. "Will we ever communicate with each other by telepathy?" I do believe we are all connected, but for a more important reason than that. My answer is no.
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        Jun 10 2011: What is the more important reason?
        • Jun 11 2011: HI Nicholas. I will come to the reason shortly. First I have to go to the library and check on the dates and time of the crash. That will be in about a weeks time.
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        Jun 11 2011: Being correct is the most important reason?
    • Jun 14 2011: Hi Nicholas. Take A good look at most of the letters on this subject and you will find that nearly all are either based on a certain belief or subjected to beliefs of others. Belief or faith I understand; but I also understand that they are not facts with proof to back them up. Imagine running a judicial system based on the same principle, chaos would rule. In fact anarchy would rule the day. This scenario is what's happenning in the world of beliefs and is the reason these debates will never come to a satisfactory conclusion; without some kind of solid proof; one way or the other. It's this proof that I am trying to sort and we should all be doing the same. I am not reffering to the written word as proof, not unless it is signed by those who wrote it.
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        Jun 14 2011: Anarchy is an underrated system!

        Most of the arguments here have been semantics (which do draw from faith and beliefs), which are important. Details create the world.
  • Jun 7 2011: We have four main terms discussed; science, religion, belief, and atheism.

    Atheism is an unprovable belief. Example: I define God as a being that cannot be proven or disproven through scientific observation. Therefore, whether one believes or disbelieves in God is a belief, by definition. It follows that there is no conflict between science and God.

    A belief is an idea that cannot be tested for validity or has not yet been tested for validity. We cannot test everything using the scientific method, therefore we work based on a set of beliefs until we have better information.

    Science is simply a method of inquiry into how the world works.

    Religion is the one with the complex definition, just look at the above posts.

    I think the problem arises with confusing the words ‘dogma’ and ‘religion’. Many religions are dogmatic, but being dogmatic doesn’t necessarily mean you are religious. Richard Dawkins may dogmatically hold that if there was no religion in the world, then there would be few wars. That is a belief that cannot be scientifically validated. You would need several identical Earths that all have the same initial conditions. One Earth has lots of religion, one has none, and one has a mix. You should probably have different types of religions in different mixtures as well, alas requiring more Earths. Looking at human history and extrapolating from it to come to a conclusion regarding religion and war is a very dubious way to scientifically prove a point.

    The point is this:
    What do you call someone that believes in something without proof; where that belief can in fact never be tested, but who still insists that it is the way the world works? I believe Nicholas would like to define this person as religious, because that is what many religions do. Would calling them dogmatic be a better word?