Jimmy Strobl

This conversation is closed.

Proving/disproving Atheism.

This conversation seems necessary because there are similar conversations out there that are trying to prove otherwise.

If you're accustomed to the religious debates here on TED you'll get the point...

Please, provide some proof!


EDIT: PLEASE, PLEASE start new threads instead of commenting on really long ones!

Closing Statement from Jimmy Strobl

Since I'm an (still) Atheist a summary would be unfair to many... Instead I've done this!

http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/3898023/Summery_of_TED_Conversation_about_Atheism

  • Jun 30 2011: When proving "x" exists, the onus of proof is on the claimant.
    In the case where x is a Deity, it is up to the supporters of it prove that their deity is real.
    If an astrologer claimed that stars were made of gas, it would be his responsibility to support evidence as to why. No one is obligated to offer evidence saying stars are not made of gas UNTIL the astrologer has offered his evidence.

    If a christian said that god is real because it can't be disproved, their argument is invalid because it can't be proved either. In order for a claim to be disproved, an attempt must be made first to prove it.

    There are is an infinite number of claims that can't be disproved, but a finite number of claims that can.

    By the way, did you know that I have a pet optonokter? I can't show you because it lives in the center of Mars, but I can subconsciously communicate to it telepathically. Don't believe me? Well if you can't prove that I'm lying then IT MUST BE TRUE ;)


    I'm Agnostic by the way, or better yet a de facto Atheist.
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      Jul 1 2011: Dan, I take issue with your characterization of the optonokter as your 'pet.' Telepathic communication may give you a form of limited access to its workings, but you cannot truly be its caretaker, as it exists beyond your grasp and control. Perhaps the matter should be re-explored from the opposite perspective: the psychic powers that provide for telepathy are not derivative from your DNA structures; rather, they are possessed and controlled the optonokter, making you the object of its communcative actions. Is it not worth considering that perhaps you are its pet?
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    Jul 25 2011: Atheism exists - as long as a single person asserts that there is no God.

    I know of several such people (and my findings are replicable) so I have just "proven" atheism.

    I can prove theism the same way.

    Now, if you want to prove there is, or is not, a God ... well ... that's a little harder.
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      Jul 12 2011: Hahaha, thanks for re-lighting the spark of this conversation S.R!
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      Jul 12 2011: S.R. Ahmadi,
      I think you are absolutely right..."people on ted are not interested to hear...sermons". If you ever get to the place in yourself when you can have a reasonable discussion, without sermons that promote your own limited belief, people may be interested in discussing with you. I'm not seeing that in you.

      You write..."when women enter a debate hyjack it to emotional talks instead of logical".
      What is your point in making that statement on this thread? You are criticizing half the TED population, and it has nothing to do with this topic.

      You state..."Mullah's have beard...one day a Mullah shaves his beard..."
      That has nothing to do with the topic

      The fish understands what water is....has nothing to do with the topic.

      You too S. R. Ahmadi..."have a nice life and a nice death".
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        Jul 12 2011: I hope you're not upset Colleen, I view it as really good, bizarre humor!
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          Jul 12 2011: Yes it is humorous...what goes around comes around!

          The pot is calling the kettle black...
          Women hyjack debates with emotional "stuff"??? Are you kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!
          It's pretty emotional to tell everybody who does not believe in his/her god over and over and over again that s/he is going to hell, don't you think?
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        Jul 12 2011: Colleen, you have to understand that you and me don't even need to speak of this, we're in full agreement!
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          Jul 12 2011: I know that Jimmy...I'm not upset.....................much:>)

          Consider yourself thumbed up...I'm maxed out for you this week:>)
  • Jul 8 2011: (How about we get back to the matter at hand?...)

    The primary reason I consider myself Agnostic rather than an Atheist is because I have no reasonable answer for how the Universe [and reality as we know it] started. What initiated the whole causal chain that has led to the creation of our Universe?

    Could it have always existed? No, that would exempt all matter from needing to have a primary cause (or causes).
    Did it spontaneously appear due to purely arbitrary happenstance? Purely arbitrary event = inconvenient impossibility
    Is our Universe merely the result of a fluctuation of "nothing"? (along the lines of Krauss' theory) I don't know, seems semi-plausible I guess.

    P.S. - I'm not arguing that the only other option is a deity. I'm just laying out some theories and looking for feedback. I'm on the fence.
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      • Jul 8 2011: Hi Birdia,

        "Why/How do you think it is a concept that is often difficult for people to embrace?"

        Possibly because spontaneity has no guidelines, no rules, no laws!... (which can be scary and disconcerting to many of us!)

        "And I think the idea of spontaneity is linked to what we call 'inspiration', of which, is the starting point of creativity that at times leads to the musings/concept of 'free will'. Is there a scientific explanation for this process? What do you think?"

        From what I've heard... scientifically speaking, that moment of creativity results from neurons firing in a drastically new and unique way due to exposure to new environments. (I heard this in a TED talk a couple months ago.)
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          Jul 8 2011: Birdia, Austin

          ,Your exchange is getting right at the heart of why belief systems become so rigid ( including the memes that float around TED Connversations)

          There seems to a sense of security in shared knowledge right or wrong

          I agree with both of you that being comfortable with randomness, with spontaneity, with the unknown and unknowable the seeminggly impossible and inexplicable is vital to all human activity not just to art and poetry. ( And by unknown and unknowable I refer to big questions in science e.g. what is the other 95% of te universe made of and why is it invible? what is gravity anyway and why is it so weak? What makes an individual human cell spontaneoulsy change ?)

          The TED talk on surrendering or judgment to "Experts" was really pointing to that as well, I think. The "Filter Bubble" referred to at another TED Talk feeds that. Tom Atlee has been exploring that in a series of essays at his posterous blog and also at the website for the Co-Intelligence Insitute.. Atlee calls it "The Commodification of Narcisissim" and suggest in part that it s caused by disenfranchisement and a sense of powerlessness. Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools emphasizes the importance of intuition in developing human intelligence and in discovery and interpretation.

          The question is if you are so locked into your belief system ( and here I am including our Dawkinists who repeat the same phrases over and over and over with a dogma that is as limiting and mystifying as the creationsist and the Tea Party Republicans)..how do you change that? How do you move whole cultures out of this lock step way of thinking? Out of passivity into being engaged and creative in reshaping our culture?) I was trying to explore that a bit in my conversation on updating our belief systems.What you are pointing to is key.
  • Jul 1 2011: Proving something requires truth, which in element means verifying a result. This is completely impossible with an ancient text (foundations of most religions). Even if it predicted certain things happening, this can just be put down to coincidence. No less explainable than a winning lottery ticket.

    Proof requires evidence, religion is called "faith" as it requires belief without evidence.
    • Jul 1 2011: Aren't we all condemned to "believe" until we reach the point of "knowing" The Atheist as well as the Theist...
      No one knows for sure that "for them" the sun will rise tomorrow... most likely it will for most of us... but there is always that little chance...
      One can explain the universe logically, mathematically, with laws of physics that we understand to apply both to microcosm and macrocosm ... but the mystery of it all awakens a feeling of awe that cannot be denied. Without this feeling of awe and the longing to understand the principles involved in everything we can sense. But our senses are limited in many degrees as well as our thinking. But as history has shown, mankind has developed in leaps and bounds towards a fuller understanding of the physical world.. and this is very good. On the other hand, what we today would call "faith" or the "perhaps" once known realms of the invisible world have disappeared for us... thus we establish "re-legion" or to re- link with this invisible world. Now I have taken off into a non-scientific platform by speaking of the invisible. But I ask you, what is your own thinking if not an invisible and most essential invisible part of your being..? People don't realize this that their thinking is the "spiritual" part of their being. Neither the Theist or the Atheist realize this... Can you deny your own thinking because of the fact that it is immaterial....? Can you weigh and measure and thus prove that you have a thought.... right now..... Can you then "prove" that you think....??
    • Jul 7 2011: Jack,
      It's been a long time since you have had any comment here, but should you come back, read my last comment to Jimmy... Thanks!
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    Jun 30 2011: lol...

    Just do the math:
    count all evidence for the existence of non-material creatures.
    then make a prediction of collective odds of any one of them existing and give the assumptions.

    Thus far, I never found any suggestive data for any one of them.
    The more knowledge I gather, the less probable its existence becomes.

    My estimate is going to zero asymptotically...
    So my proof is an asymptotic proof... and I predict that in infinity it is 0

    Non existence of anything follows this inductive logic.
    So saying there is no proof is incomplete.
    There is probabilistic proof...
    • Jun 30 2011: Saying there is asymptotic proof is highly dependent on what you consider evidence and probable, making it subjective. There is no [objective] probabilistic proof. What is your counterargument for the assertion that "some thing cannot come from nothing"? I'm not asking rhetorically, I'm curious.
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        Jul 1 2011: Well, according to what I think to understand about the universe, virtual particles come out of nothing... so I cannot completely agree with that assertion.

        I cannot go into detail about subjectivity, but I go by with what I know (I cannot do otherwise).
        If we had enough time and mutual understanding, we can argue what we both agree on as evidence and assign values to it, according to certain assumptions.
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      Jun 30 2011: C....Doesn't probablistic proof sound like an oxymoron ?
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        Jul 1 2011: I don't think so.

        http://www-biba.inrialpes.fr/Jaynes/prob.html

        Is a book on how plausible reasoning works. It is a very recent book, and the math becomes rather complicated after a while...
        Anyway, asymptotic approximations are accepted tools in math and statistics.
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          Jul 1 2011: Thank you Chris I have bookmarked the link and I will check it out.
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        • Jul 3 2011: Jim,
          If I understand you correctly, we can't have any real "proof" of anything other than if it is in the realm of a purely mathematical or logical domain. To add another would be geometry. This is something that Christophe should read carefully. On this I fully agree. Proof shows to be a rather illusive self delusion when it comes to mathematically trying to convince oneself and others that their own world view is at all scientifically provable. To try to draw the poker card of a mathematical calculation as "proof for a view of life (Atheist in this case) is neither logical or reasonable. I used the word foolish as to the "proposition" which is actually Jimmy Stroble's and not Chris's at all... so it should be he that might feel offended ..... Although Chris also fell into the fallacy of this way of thinking. So I'm at least reassured that someone along this line of threads agrees with me that to "prove" a certain perspective on life is not worthy of discussing.... It makes one sound very unscientific ........ not to mention naive...
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      Jul 1 2011: Any idea for which there is no evidence objectively cannot rise over any other idea of the same vein. This is quite independent of how many people believe it to be true. Thus, the existence of God is one idead out of a quasi infinity of possible ideas without evidence. One divided by infinity is almost nearly 0. That is not to say that it isn't possible, but it is so improbable that for one to act as though it were definitely true is prepousterous. People may believe what they want, but when that conducts them to view homosexuality as a sin and mysogeny as the natural way of things, then a line has been crossed. Why should people have to suffer the behaviour of people who are convinced by an improbable scenario?
      • Jul 1 2011: I'm only arguing that a supreme and everlasting entity could exist... nothing more. I don't let religious dogma override logic and proven scientific data. My faith is totally personal and without restriction... I agree lines are crossed when that sort of thing happens.
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          Jul 1 2011: That's good Austin, if only more of the faithful were like you.
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          Jul 1 2011: Hi Austin.................I will go along with you. I believe that an uncaused cause exists but I am certainly not doctrinal nor dogmatic. I love everyone (using that as a verb and not an emotion) I am human and sometimes my "evil twin" comes out,but that is only when I become irrational. I am not above anyone and no one is above me Smile
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          Jul 1 2011: Hi Helen, Matthieu, Austin and Christophe:>)
          I love everyone too Helen...it's just fun:>) I'm also amused by the arguments. You are stating your arguments based on known theories. Do you honestly believe that as humans we have ALL the information?

          P.S. Helen,
          I finally answered your question on the "what do you think about death" site, and I apologize for the delay. I was away at my son's wedding:>)
        • Jul 1 2011: Hi Colleen! Long time! I've been to busy these past few months to keep up on TED, but this conversation seemed so interesting that I just couldn't resist.
          Although I don't really think anyone can "prove" anything about being an atheist... but I think we can really get a good exchange of ideas around the subject. I see that NDE is already on the agenda .... Good Luck!!
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          Jul 1 2011: Hi Daniel!
          Nice connecting with you again:>) We will just have to see what "proof" surfaces:>)
          I'm thankful that I'm not here to prove anything:>)
        • Jul 1 2011: Austin,
          And your right Austin ! Religious dogma should absolutely never override your logical mind. It should never override anyone at all. Any action taken in the world that is done out of the conviction of a religious dogma dictating to me what I should do is a totally unfree action. But logic can be unified with an understanding of the spiritual world without any contradictions. This seems to be the biggest gap for many.. There is no bridge between the two. But I say that there is.... perhaps later we can get into what and where these bridges are.
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          Jul 1 2011: Of course we don't have all the answers Colleen, but while we're looking for the answers, let's not pretend to have the answer at the expense of other individuals. Also, let's put it out there that some forms of theism are incompatible with reality even with the current knowledge we have, such as young Earth Creationism, which contradicts observations in just about all the fields of science.
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          Jul 1 2011: Matthieu...???
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          Jul 1 2011: In case you were worried I wasn't talking about you, I'm not sure what your religious views are. I'm talking about the millions of theists who take their beliefs to be fact at the detriment of many in society. Should have made that clearer, sorry.
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          Jul 2 2011: Hi Matthieu,
          I'm not worried...just a little confused by your previous comment..."let's not pretend to have the answer at the expense of other individuals". I did not suggest that. My only "religious view", is that I accept and appreciate anyones right to practice a religion IF it does not adversly impact others' rights in any way.
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          Jul 2 2011: Yes, well I can agree to that.
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          Jul 2 2011: Colleen:
          "Do you honestly believe that as humans we have ALL the information?"
          I don't know about the others (though I can guess), but I definitely think we don't; and that we probably never will
          If we would have ALL information, we wouldn't need statistics in science, or inductive logic for that matter...

          It is exactly because we have incomplete information that we have mathematical models for it, and that we have figured out how to make reasonable claims about reality.

          I state that, given all information that I have obtained, the probability has been converging to 0 of any nonexistent thing. I do of course imply that any new information can change my opinion.
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          Jul 2 2011: I totally agree Christophe:>)
          I percieve life to be an exploration, and with new information, my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, ideas and opinions often change as well. It feels to me like those who think they have the "right" answer, have ended the exploration...which is always a choice:>)
    • Jul 1 2011: Very funny :)
      Math vs. God = Math vs "void" = Math
      Prove or tautology?

      (I'm Atheist converted 17 years ago from agnosticism)
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        Jul 1 2011: Jose................Just asking out of curiosity, was there any specific point that brought about your conversion ?
        • Jul 3 2011: Thanks for asking. Not really a point. Agnosticism was only the tag I put myself in the times when I didn't think deeply in religion. I was young. Years later I discovered philosophy and science. I learn a lot on religions too. Later I attend Physics at university and realized all big mystery were explained. Well explained. The critic thinking and a deep scientific knowledge of the universe moved me to Atheism. When I need an explanation of a fact I follow the causality chain backward to the beginning. And god isn't anywhere in that chain.
          Some day a persons ask me about god and I realized I become Atheo.

          I respect your choose to believe but I can't share it.

          I read your comments. Nice to meet you.
    • Jul 1 2011: Chris,
      Face it.... such things cannot be proven.. you can't "prove" it with math .... and it's a foolish proposition to suppose it possible.
      Can you prove to me that you think ? Isn't your own thinking non-material ....?

      What is the mathematical probability that a human being can think....??? It sounds pretty absurd... but I'm sure that you can come up with a bright answer...... or ?
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        Jul 3 2011: Daniel,
        It is not good to project ones own ignorance onto others.

        For me to prove that I think, we need to agree on a test that would be sufficient for you to accept that I think. But the fact that I can reply to you should be good enough already.

        The probability that people think is near 1. And we do this with our brains, which is clearly a physical thing, as is all the activity and computation going on in there.
        All information and computation needs a measurable difference in some kind of matter. Information needs a carrier there is nothing immaterial about it.

        [edit: I did make the error daniel points out below]
        • Jul 3 2011: Chris,
          Being aware of the apparent danger that I set myself in regards to proclaiming that you can neither "prove" a world view (Atheism) or "prove" a thought or thinking process exists, I will just the same repeat myself... It is a foolish proposition to claim to be able to prove Atheism... the proposition is foolish.... I didn't say that you Christophe are foolish. It is like saying... as our friend on the "proving koran" discussion would like to "prove Islam" or "prove Christianity" Such things are simply not subject to the falling ax of "proof" You can prove a mathematical theory, you can prove a geometrical equation, you can prove many things that can be weighed and measured. But you cannot prove a perspective on life... If you really think that this is possible with your mathematical statistics ... well then your way out on a limb of your own abstractions.
          And furthermore, a thought, even if it could possibly be a "material thing",(which is also a complete misconception) if it could be "carried" (your word) by the physical brain makes it no more "physical in its nature" Thoughts could get pretty heavy.... I guess... a scientist might be "proven" to have a heavier brain because of all the thoughts he carries around in it.....The carrier of the thought can be measured and weighted.... not the thought itself.
          Atheism is no more than a collection of ideas. A philosophical collection of "weightless"ideas. Just like a religious collection of ideas. To say that you can prove them is pretty far fetched... You may be able to convince yourself that they are 99.9999 percent true, but to prove them statistically seems to be wandering outside the realm of the scientific method.. After all... isn't this what some of the creationists do..? I mean... what good is it to discuss "proving koran" ..... really....??
        • Jul 5 2011: Karthik,
          It is simply because "Atheism" is a form for looking at the world... like capitalism is one form for looking at a monetary system. It is an "ideology" which has no logical way of proving of disproving. The consequenses of what certain elements of an ideology might bring forth in the world are one thing. Those consequenses are also in a way irrelevant. Take for example the debate around evolution. If it is in fact true... then the world has to take the consequenses of that which is truth. We cant begin to allow any ideology to bend and form the "truth" to fit what they themselves think should be for the "best" for the world. The truth is the truth and it is that and only that which should be allowed to form the oppinions of the world. To say that any certain truth should not be allowed to be public knowledge is in a way to go backwards in time. Certain religious groups like the Catholic church have done this for centuries. So the truth should be our only and highest motivation in all our human endevours.
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          Jul 7 2011: Karthik,
          I agree with you that people will only open their heart and mind to information when/if they are ready to do so. Are atheists "going wrong", as you stated? Or could it be that they want to share their beliefs to anyone who is willing to listen?
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        Jul 3 2011: Hey guys...you have an interesting discussion going here. It may be more productive if you leave out the labeling like..."foolish proposition"..."ignorance"...etc.:>)

        Thinking can be thought of as material AND non-material...can it not? I agree that the thinking process needs a "carrier".
        Carry on with your interesting propositions and intelligence:>)
        • Jul 3 2011: Good idea, Colleen. The harsh commentary usually goes both ways in these kind of arguments.

          I agree with Christophe that thought is purely material. How can it be partly non-material, Colleen?
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          Jul 3 2011: OK...so...if "everything we experience is just an emergent property of the electromechanical processing of the brain", how does that prove or disprove atheism?

          An atheist is one who denies the existence of god. I know people who call themselves atheists because they do not believe in god, but they do believe in some kind of afterlife, which I think is the point Daniel was trying to make by mentioning NDEs that have been experienced by atheists.
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          Jul 3 2011: Hi Austin,
          I agree that harsh comentary usually goes both ways, and that's when the discussion starts breaking down.

          I percieve the thought process to be both material and non-material because as Christophe insightfully points out, it needs a carrier...the brain...material. The process itself, however, in my humble opinion, is non-material, and flows through the brain....which I thinik is the point Daniel was trying to make? Is there any material proof of our thinking process? If we are hooked up to some machines, of course, there is evidence of brain activity, but without that, in a natural state, is there any proof, or material evidence of the process?
        • Jul 3 2011: Jim,
          I had a longer discussion on just this topic a few month ago. The title was " Is consciousness merely a by-product of the physical brain" It lasted for 1 month and there were about 650 comments. It was also a very interesting discussion that weaved in and out of many of the aspects of the physical brain, thinking, consciousness, NDE, OBE, and more. I guess it's still out there on TED if you are interested. As to the support of the default hypothesis, that thinking comes from the neural firing or the electromagnetic processes of the brain.... well.... one can always ask oneself the question ... is the interpretation (our thinking..?) of these electromagnetic processes... something that is also free from the e.m.p. themselves.... are they their own existing entity... or... are our thoughts also a "physical process" that we have no "consciousness" over.... as we have absolutely no feeling or thought or will activity involved in this neural or electromagnetic process.... But still we are aware that we can think, we can dream, we can be the active participant in our own thought process and yet have absolutely no awareness of the neural activity... ... we can think about thinking.... we can decide ourselves what "I" want to think about... I can think whatever thought I wish regardless of my uncontrolled neural activity. When a person is put into an EMI machine and the "mapped" in their neural activity... they always have to be asked to think of something or told to think of something or asked what are "you" thinking of now.... The determining factor of the result of the mapping is not the electromagnetic activity that appears but rather the electromagentic activity that comes to the foreground after the person in the EMI experiment is asked first to think.....
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          Jul 3 2011: Well ok Jim,
          You just made up your own definition, talked yourself around in a big ol' circle and changed the topic...so be it! I am very aware of what the topic of this discussion is, and I didn't beat my children!

          I agree...at any given time we understand some things, may construct hypothesis to fill in gaps, and only a very small percentage of people become educated enough to understand and reason:>) There are also people who make statements they are not willing to follow through with, so they make up their own definitions and come up with a new hypothesis:>)
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        Jul 3 2011: interesting conversation (and row of reactions).

        There are two topics I like to elaborate on.
        1) Proving non existing things:
        Imagine a container full of golf-balls.
        We could ask ourselves if all balls in it are white golf-balls...
        So we take one out, look at it and see if it is non-white.
        Each time you take out another white ball, the chance that there are non-white balls in the container decreases.
        The number of balls drawn from the container and our certainty of all white follows a nice distribution.
        Even if the container contains an infinite amount of balls, we might decide after some time that we are sufficiently certain to assume that all balls are white. And we know our margin of error too!

        As such, one can make assumptions whether something does or does not exist.

        2) As for a process being non-material:
        I think that all processes are material as well. Though one can make abstraction of the materials (and do similar processes with other materials), the existence of the process is due to the (material) components making it happen and having observable effects.

        How the brain works is very unlikely to bring proof for the (in)existence of some higher entity.
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          Jul 4 2011: Christophe,
          I agree to disagree:>) I think you are only considering one dimension, and that seems limiting to me. However, whether or not the thought process is material or non-material, I don't think proves or disproves atheism, so technically, it's off topic anyway:>) As you say...how the brain works is unlikely to bring proof for the existence or non existence of some higher entity.
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          Jul 4 2011: Jim,
          I agree that semantics are important in discussions. I'm not trying to correct you on anything, nor am I trying to tell you what it means to be an atheist. I have no intention to paint atheism in any light what so ever. I am participating in a discussion, which started with a particular question, the meaning I used comes from the dictionary, and is pretty well recognized. Of course you're encouraged to clarify your beliefs. No, I don't "yank chains". Your last comment seemed very evasive to me, and felt like you were yanking MY chain.

          I asked you an honest question, which followed your statement....."if everything we experience is just an emergent property of the electromechanical process of the brain"...(which I'm not disagreeing with by the way)..."how does that prove or disprove atheism"?

          I don't think your statement proves or disproves atheism, but I honestly was open to your perspective. I agree with Christophe, that how the brain works is unlikely to bring forth proof for the topic.
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          Jul 4 2011: Yes Jim, I was taking the discussion seriously. I don't know what it means to "prove atheism", but I entered this conversation respectfully, with intent to learn. You don't have to prove anything, but you did enter this discussion as well, knowing what the topic is. Apparently, you were just having a little fun:>)
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        Jul 5 2011: @ Karthik Mishra
        [quote]But even you would agree that nomatter how many white balls you draw from the container, there is still a possibility of drawing a non-white ball. You yourself said possibly with more information you might change your opinion. But since you don't have all information, you cannot be sure of anything. So I don't see a point to hurt other peoples feelings, by saying they are wrong, instead of saying, they are probably wrong.[/quote]

        1) You do have the degree of uncertainty, and I do allow for a possibility. A very very small possibility. I would not bet on it though... Like the probability of Bigfoot or unicorns or Spaghetti monsters circling in the oortcloud are near zero.
        So as a probabilistic thinker, I do sometimes round down to zero, to make things easier. In the meanwhile I'll leave it to the other ones to drain the bin of balls. If they do come up with a non-white ball, I'll be very surprised and at that point, I'll change my opinion.

        2) I don't want to hurt people. But if people get hurt by my statements, then that is their problem of getting hurt by it. I try and not attack people personally, (though I might sometimes be tempted and do so, I'm only human as well). I do attack bad ideas and unlikely probabilities. It is wrong to dismiss a hypothesis with a much higher probability by saying it is all uncertain. Uncertain is everything between 0 (false) and 1 (true). And there is a much bigger difference between 30% and 50% likelihood and 99.999% and 100% likelihood. So the error people make when saying everything is (equally) uncertain is totally absurd and an utter logical fallacy.

        If you cannot differentiate between your ideas (and beliefs), their truth value and your identification with them, you might get hurt. I cannot help that (except try and explain).
        I attack ideas, not people.
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          Jul 6 2011: I'm guessing what we call scientific proof, there's a Wikipedia site for it but I feel that I've shared it enough times...
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        Jul 6 2011: @ Karthik:

        Well, if suddenly a herd of unicorns get discovered, that would be relevant (informative) for my disbelief in unicorns.
        If there suddenly appears something non-human made that would start to do miracles and improve peoples lives, forgives sins and cleanses our burdens of errors we made,... then that would be very informative for the existence of a god (-like entity).

        Information is something that is relevant for the existing hypothesis (plural): if it has power to change the estimated truth value.

        Of course, the quality of data can be a problem: I don't believe claims of revelation or take what people say as necessary valuable. The source of information must be reliable enough.
        Most sciences have developed quite nice methods of obtaining information... so you could start to dig into those for more examples
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          Jul 6 2011: Karthik,

          Now what I'm about to say will most defiantly hurt your feelings and for that I'm sorry (but remember that you choose to read it, I did not come up to you and force in your face).

          If (a,the) God appeared in front of me I would assume that I was hallucinating, possibly having a stroke or that I've been drugged.

          This is not said to provoke but to make you understand what being an atheist means for me and (I think some others on this discussion)
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          Jul 6 2011: I think that I'm equally offended every time someone says that there is a God...
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          Jul 7 2011: Karthik,
          Thanks for the story about your mother, because it reminded me that it was my parents from whom I got my first look into religion. My mother was an unconditionally loving person, who lived her beliefs, while being kind, respectful and loving to everyone. My father was a racist, bigot, violent abusive man, who did a lot of volunteer work for the church and school, so he was "honored" by the church. My mother was told by the priest that she was doing an act of god by staying with this man, even though he beat her and some of his children regularly. They both attended the same church...sat in the front row on Sunday...recieved communion...etc. They each had very different ideas about what being a religious person means. And their "guide", the priest, apparently had very different "guidence" for each of them.

          I agree Karthik, that good morals can be learned, and I believe the learning has to come from us as individuals, no matter where the basis of our information comes from.
  • Jul 23 2011: Pete,

    For evolution there is no faith involved.

    1. We notice evolution in real life, what your quacks would call "microevolution."
    2. We notice that we can bring about extreme differences in dogs, cabbages, corn, whatever.
    3. We thus extrapolate that if this happens in "real time," its consequences could be much bigger in the longer time, which would explain why, for instance, we look so similar to other apes, and why would there be a group like apes to begin with. We could think, could it be that the same processes we witness, and the differences in dogs/whatever we can attain, explain apes as descendants of a single species?
    4. We don't stop there, we could then ask, if this is so, where should we find evidence about this? Well, the most similar apes to us are chimps and gorillas, which are African, maybe we can find fossils of other apes, more and more similar to us in Africa?
    5. We visit Africa, and, lo and behold, we find those fossils. We have also found some semi-human/semi-other-apes in Europe and Asia, but the most striking series has been found, and continues to be found, in Africa, with many more specimens showing more stages of intermediate features.

    As you can see, that justifies evolution without any faith involved.

    Of course, this is very simplified, and there's many more details confirming our common ancestry with the other apes. The example is simple, and does not go into more details about other species, and other evidences, for explanatory purposes.

    Entropy? As long as there is energy from the sun, there is no reason to think that evolution goes against entropy. Remember, Harleys are not doable without energy, just as evolution would not happen without energy. Neither works against entropy at all. That would be impossible.
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      Jul 24 2011: Hi Gabo
      It is agreed that natural selection can hone a creature to suit it's environment. The quacks would say that this is because the dna code exists already in the creature & is selected or deselected as appropriate. Is this wrong ? Say you bought an SUV. It came with a spare set of winter wheels, a soft top, & a hard top. You then have an opportunity to customise it a bit. What you couldn't do is fit a set of cat' tracks; they are not part of the SUV.

      Apes have lots of different shaped skulls as do humans. It may convince some if we lined up modern skulls in an fully ape to fully man fashion. Often all we have is bone fragments to work with, which makes it harder. You really have to accept the evolution theory in order to see it. Not to mention all the hoaxes, frauds, & mistakes that litter the history of hominid reconstruction.

      Energy from the sun by itself is a lethal force. Harleys are made by carefully harnessing this energy in a carefully designed & constructed factory. Even then the sun will ultimately destroy the factory & all the Harleys.
      Certainly the sun can produce babies, but only through the supremely complex medium of mum & dad. What have the factory & the Mum/Dad machine in common ? Complexity. Which is the more complex ? No contest; MumDad machine. If the factory didn't evolve, why should we believe MumDad did ?

      :-)
      • Jul 24 2011: Hey Pete,

        You are missing the point. Regardless of whatever quacks say, we observe actual adaptations bringing changes, sometimes quite spectacular, to populations, even speciation, even new structures. Often in nature, very prominently in domestication. This inspires the idea of evolution, and thus we reason what would that entail and search for evidence (for or against). No quack dismissals changes these facts at all.

        Scientists don't align apes to their liking, they have to go by scientific data, such as dating, geography, environment. Then by observing which anatomical features reveal what. If fossils were aligned to someone's liking, we wouldn't see so much overlap between hominid groups, with species of australopithecins, for example, living at the same time as species of Homo. Frauds have been discovered to be frauds, and thus rejected, by scientists, not by your quacks. Despite frauds, there are plenty of trustable fossils, with clear intermediary features. I insist also that your complains don't not change the very fact that if evidence confirms the prediction, then evolution does not take faith. That you manage to dismiss the evidence because your quacks say so is a different problem, and does not change what I explained. I am not asking you to believe evolution, but to understand why it does not require faith.

        -------
        The sun is not always a lethal force. None of my plants outside has any problem with the sun. The carefully designed factory required energy to be carefully designed, the babies required energy to be built. You will find no single point where energy is not needed, and thus nothing in human tasks, nor in natural tasks, that goes against entropy. All of them, including evolution, use energy. Otherwise they would not be possible. Evolution uses exactly the very same processes as life itself. Evolution is the natural consequence of life itself. Thus, if life does not break any rules, evolution does not break any rules. Simple.
      • Jul 24 2011: Why shouldn't we believe that Mum/Dad evolved? Comparing life with human technology to conclude that "human-like beings (gods) make nature," is philosophically unsound. Nature works before human technology, not after it. Does fire occur naturally? Yes. Can we make fire? Yes. Do we need intelligence to make fire? Yes. Should we therefore conclude that natural fire requires intelligence to be built? Should we therefore conclude that natural fire is produced by a god?

        The problem is that as technology has evolved we have lost sight of its connection to natural laws, and that we tend to anthropomorphize based on our limited experiences. Just like fire can be both natural and intelligently produced, "designs" can be both natural and intelligently produced. When technologies were closer to what nature did, we still anthropomorphized and believed that gods were responsible for, say, natural fires. But now we know that there is no need for such a belief. Today we have evolution and natural laws to explain natural "design," and the only reason you don't believe it is because you don't understand it (thanks to some quackery and to your faith), the same way you understand combustion. You hold to misunderstood human technologies and what makes them possible, compounded with our human inclination to disjoin ourselves from the rest of nature. It is nonsensical to assume a need for intelligence for natural "designs" without a philosophically sound reason to separate what makes our technologies possible from what makes natural "technologies" possible, where natural laws and their consequences easily explain apparent intelligence. There is no sound reason to separate life from other natural processes either. If asked, have you seen "design" being built without intelligence in nature, I would say yes: look at life. If asked "other than that?" Yes, look at planetary systems ...

        I hope I managed to present these ideas clearly. It is hard to convey these ideas in a few words.

        :)
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          Jul 25 2011: Hi Gabo

          I do understand your perspective, & realise it must be frustrating that I don't agree; irrespective of quacks. Let's assume that evolution/millions of years is all true.
          We can look around at the universe; it's beautiful & in perfect balance. We can see it because our atmosphere just happens to be transparent & breathable, & we are well placed in the galaxy to have a good view. We can look at atoms & see little solar systems, again, in perfect balance.
          Our world has hundreds of natural systems, all perfect for our survival. Our world is a battleground between good & evil, our inner being is also involved as we constantly fight temptation; not always successfully.
          When I look around I have to admit that if there is no God then there are an awful lot of co-incidences. When the Atheist looks around he concludes that out of all the multiverses we are lucky to have arrived on this particular planet, in this particular universe. Maybe we don't see the wood for the trees.
          .....
          I found this definition of Entropy "All systems will tend towards the most mathematically probable state, and eventually become totally random and disorganised" (Harold Blum. Times Arrow & Evolution. 1968 p.201)
          Both babies & plants have complex mechanisms to channel the sunlight. They provide a mathematically probable route. The formation of these systems from naturally occurring materials; I would contend; is mathematically & statistically most improbable.

          Some hominids that didn't make the headlines.
          http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Talk/talk.origins/2007-08/msg06073.html

          Some time ago I was discussing (maybe not with you) the discovery of soft tissue in dinosaurs. This shouldn't be of course as the tissue should have rotted or fossilised over this period. I took my usual drubbing because the scientist was a christian.
          Well, her boss is on TED with the same story.
          http://www.ted.com/talks/jack_horner_building_a_dinosaur_from_a_chicken.html

          :-)
      • Jul 25 2011: Hi Pete,

        It is not frustrating that you won't agree with me. It is frustrating that you miss the point, and the point is that we don't require faith to accept evolution. I showed you but a very simplified example of how we get to accept evolution, and that such thing does not require any faith. Just reason and data. The most you might say, if you were right, is that it took defective data to accept evolution, but defective data and faith are very different.

        As for your comment. well, the atmosphere is transparent and breathable, and our planet that good for us, because we evolved in this environment. High-temperature life-forms could think that high temperatures are there for them, and that this planet was made for them because it has places at such temperatures. Environment first Pete, then adaptation. Atheists don't think we are lucky to be in this universe, but that we could not be in a universe that would not produce us (tautologically true). Water is not lucky to find a puddle, puddles get naturally filled with water.

        ---
        The definition of entropy is somewhat right, but, as most simplified definitions, incomplete and misleading. That entropy is due to a tendency towards a more mathematically probable state, does not mean that things will end up random and disorganized. For example, given gravitational forces, it is more probable for a sufficiently high amount of hydrogen to collapse under its own mass, and start the fusion process, thus building more otherwise "improbable" atoms, such as helium. At the same time releasing energy at such high state that its flow into more probable states allows for complexity to arise. Like water flowing down allows us to produce electricity.

        Did you read the bottom line on those "hominids that didn't make the headlines"?

        More on dinos and soft tissue later. Preview: it is not what quacks want you to believe.

        :)
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          Jul 26 2011: Hi Gabo
          Jack Horner in his TED address talked about turning on some genes in the chicken which would give it teeth. This would be neat & change the chicken to something new; but doesn't the tooth gene have to be there in the first place ?
          I know from experience that the more we breed dogs, the more fragile they become. `You eventually reach a limit, where no further change can take place. Then if we let them breed naturally, they will revert to mongrel. We hear that dino's became birds. How did they breath when their lungs were changing ? Why would it be of benefit to have a mixed up lung ?
          I don't need quacks. It just isn't sensible to believe such things.

          I asked my perennial question on a BB site & no-one answered. By what process does hydrogen 'clump'. It seems entirely at variance with the gas laws. "Gas will always expand to fill the volume available to it". Even more so if is ejected by an explosion into a void.

          There are loads of guys pushing the infinite number of universes scenario to get round this problem. I agree with you to an extent, certainly more than the multiverse gang, but when you get all statistical about the odds on our universe, it's impossible. Just one little adjustment slightly different, & it's not going to work.

          Yes I read the bit at the end. Either it didn't happen, or no-one reported it; weird!

          :-)
      • Jul 26 2011: Amigo!

        Chickens have the genes for teeth, only "turned off." I think the omni-powerful intelligent designer had not decided yet if chickens would have teeth or not. :)

        Sure pushing dogs too far gets them sick-prone because of over-inbreeding (we select for genetic uniformity), but the observation was how much we can reshape dogs within little time, not whether we imitate evolution perfectly.

        I did not know that the lungs of dinos changed during their evolution into birds. Interesting.

        Here: http://www.evolutionpages.com/bird_lung.htm
        I found this:
        "even in modern birds, there is a mixture of unidirectional flow through the so-called palaeopulmonic bronchi and bidirectional flow through the so-called neopulmonic bronchi."
        Which seems to suggest there is no problem with "mixep up" lungs.

        I told you the process for hydrogen to "lump." Randomness in space expansion and gravitation. You are thinking about gases in this planet, in small quantities, in recipients, rather than unimaginable amounts of hydrogen with such collective mass as to have great gravitational pulls. Man, our atmosphere is nothing in comparison, yet I doubt you think that air is uniformly distributed.

        I don't believe the "odds" against our universe. Nobody has shown me anything but speculation about what could or could not have been. If I were to accept that speculation, then there is nothing stoping me from accepting the multiverses too. Why? Well, for fine-tuning, constants are assumed not to be constants, but variables (does not sound right). For multiverses, the initiation of our universe is assumed not to be a unique event (sounds reasonable). Thus, no problem.

        About those hominids, there is another answer linking to a page about those hominids that clearly debunks the creationist interpretation:
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/a_anomaly.html

        :)
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          Jul 27 2011: Hey Gabo

          I guess that if chickens needed teeth they would evolve them. They have the dna, it just needs turned on. I guess now & then a chicken is born with teeth, if it had an advantage then it may be healthier & leave more young. Job done; but only because the dna is there. What I need to see is something appearing for which there was originally no dna.

          If the dogs get sicker as they change from the original, why would naturally evolving creatures get healthier ? The fruit fly experiments would seem to confirm this trend.
          With the dogs we are using unadulterated dna, with natural macro evolution we are using mutated dna. Why should damaged code be better than original code ?

          We can conjecture about hydrogen in space, but the hard science tells us that if you try & push hydrogen atoms together it resists. The gravitational pull between atoms is constant & totally unable to pull them together. Only the gravitational pull of the earth itself keeps our atmosphere here. We have about 14psi at sea level all over the planet. The wind moves to keep the overall pressure stable.

          The multiverse thing just shows me how desperate folks are to deny the obvious design in the universe we have. These things are all very well, but why ignore the obvious ?

          :-)
      • Jul 27 2011: Dear friend,

        I told you why the dogs get sicker. We select for genetic uniformity, thus carrying a higher probability for deleterious versions of genes to get together. In natural evolution selection is survival alone, and the genetic diversity keeps the species healthy. When not, species get extinct (this has happened many more times than have species survived). It is a question of numbers, the more individuals in a population, the lowest the probability for bad combinations to occur. Mutated does not mean damaged. Means modified. I told you too that there is plenty of demonstration that the hypothesis that most mutations were harmful has been falsified (it is simply not true).

        The hard science tell us that the gravitational forces of humungous quantities of hydrogen will make them collapse into each other and eventually start fusions. Ask the sun if it is not having its hydrogen fused. Physicists have done the math. If our planet's gravitation keeps our atmosphere here, what would you expect from thousands or millions of times that pull? You can't win this one Pete. Reality beats misinformation.

        The multiverses is not about any desperation. It actually opened the door to newer analyses that seem to be making much better sense of the universe's origin. There is nothing obvious in the assumption of a designed universe. It relies of constants being variable. That alone is contradictory. If we then asked "designed for what" we would have a very hard time showing that it is designed for us. As far as we know we would not survive in most of our own universe. We can't even hope to reach it. Thus, which design? Design for what exactly? It looks obvious to me that design is not a proper description of reality even at less contentious levels. We can't even say that about our solar system. We can't live in most of it either. So, what's obvious about the universe being designed?

        :)
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          Jul 28 2011: Hi Gabo

          With you on the dogs, but not on the mutation. If a piece of code is working well & we randomly change it, surely the odds are stacked against any beneficial effect. Have you got a link that I could understand ?

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060703163148.htm

          This is cool. Apparently hydrogen 'clumps' by falling on to 'Dark Matter' to form a 'blob'. I love it, the answer to my dreams! I'm sorry, but this is hilarious.
          So now we have Dark Matter AND Hydrogen forming at the BB. There is the slight problem of not having a scoobie what DM actually is, or even IF it is. Together with Dark Energy & Dark Flow they remain a mystery.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agqjaX2_QVI&feature=related
          Biblically speaking :-
          The universe is designed to introduce us to the designer. It is awesome & maybe eternal. One thing I get from it is that we are capable of working it out to some extent. So we have the ability to see how the designer achieved at least parts of it. He is sharing the knowledge with us. There is no evolutionary reason why we would understand these things. It is designed that we can understand.
          We are children. When we are grown we may well be able to travel the universe at will. Jesus could pass through walls, levitate out of sight etc. At any rate it seems we are to have a new universe, which may or may not be similar to this one. I can hardly wait .


          :-)
  • Jul 23 2011: Hi Pete,

    Answering here to avoid having to look for our exchange among so much of a mess already.

    1. Geological columns deposit in many different ways, not just streams of water.
    2. Nobody would be able to publish a result and write methods where each column requires to change many variables to make them fit into a chronology. That's preposterous. In my own field, when I need to change a variable for some particular situation, I have to justify it very clearly before reviewers would let me publish my results.
    3. All the geological columns show obvious eroded surfaces. That's one of the things that person in the video showed. For instance, shales inclined at an extreme angle, with sandstone on top (different angle), where the surface between the shales and sandstone shows signs of erosion.
    4. Sorry, I misunderstood one part of what this quack was saying.
    5. Erosion is very common. It shows as discontinuities that on closer inspection show signs of erosion.
    The layers I saw during the only one course I took on geology did not show grain sizes big at the bottom and small at the top at all. The layers I have seen look quite uniform within. (Physics shows the opposite of your claim. Fine grain tends to find its way down thus pushing big grains up. We made the experiment in physics, we put stones at the bottom and sand at the top, and shakind brought some stones to the surface. I have also observed big stones appearing after an earth quake.)
    6. If real life would have more processes happening, why base everything on mistaken stream experiments?
    7. Transcontinental layers happen in places that were together once.
    8. The guy showed deposition happening sideways, which is consistent with streams, but still one layer was on top of an older one. Scientists would notice the patterns and conclude "stream deposited, thus also older within a layer going upstream." Nothing contradictory to geology as we know it.
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      Jul 24 2011: Hi Gabo

      Nearly missed you, I normally go from my profile.

      1. Agreed.
      2. For radio' dating we need to know such things as; amount of original radioactive material; the amount of the original daughter material; amount of materials that are lost by solubility in water etc. over the period; (A global flood would certainly distort readings); decay rates have remained constant; possibility of contamination after excavation. Impossible to be sure of any degree of accuracy with so many arbitrary variables.
      3.-5. Need to nail down your suggested mechanism of deposition. Does each layer take a long time, or short time? Is there a long time or short time associated with the gaps in the layers ? Are the majority laid down wet, or dry ?
      6. The vid guy started with real life core drillings. Lab work is a necessity don't you think ?
      7. This makes sense, but if the plates have taken millions of years to get where they are today then why are there not lots more layers on top that are associated with the separated continents ? If the layers were laid as the continents were in transit a different picture would present.
      8. I guess a tsunami is just a very wide stream. the same sideways deposition would apply. Certainly at any given point the lower deposits are older, but at the upstream end the top layer is older than the bottom layer at the downstream end. This would make it impossible to 'date' fossils chronologically.

      :-)
      • Jul 24 2011: 2. Does not matter, scientists have to be consistent, thus a chronologically sound set of layers is chronologically sound by itself. You can't force them to be so by changing variables with gusto. That's simply not allowed.
        3-5. Several rates of deposition. Most layers containing fossils come from swamps, not from rivers.
        6. Real core drilling of stream deposited materials, not of any geological layers.
        7. There are more layers on top. Actually sometimes "equivalent layers" are much closer to the surface in one part than in another (because of either local erosion, or lack of much further deposition on one place, much more deposition in other places.
        8. Maybe a tsunami is a much faster "stream," but I doubt it would deposit layers as in the video. It would also leave behind flooded places where deposition would happen slowly. What about swamps Pete? There is plenty of evidence of huge swamps in the past. Would layers be deposited as if rivers in swamps?
        Fossils could be dated chronologically as long as we followed layers vertically, and corrections would have to be made as one moves upstream or downstream. How strong the corrections? As strong as whatever evidence tells scientists to do. Again, not every layer is stream-deposited. Scientists (geologists) know these things Pete. They can determine if layers are swamp-deposited, stream-deposited, flood-deposited, volcano-deposited, quickly deposited, slowly deposited ...

        One more note: that this geologist does not know what each and every creationist accepts (such as an ice age), does not mean she does not know her stuff. I don't know what every creationist believes, I know they vary a lot in what they believe. I still know my stuff (molecular biology) very well. Creationism is neither required for me to understand my stuff, nor to understand geology. Clear?

        :)
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          Jul 26 2011: Hi Gabo

          I would have thought that any swamp fossils would be in shale layers, as mud becomes shale under pressure (I think). Moving water would normally give sandstone, although some layers will be a mixture. We live close to the beach and the rocks are clean sandstone with very clearly defined thin layers. The sea is at present converting the rock back into sand.

          "Fossils could be dated chronologically as long as we followed layers vertically, and corrections would have to be made as one moves upstream or downstream."
          That's not the way it is done though. Fossils are aged by what layer they are in. The assumption is that each layer is laid vertically on the other, & that each layer is a different age. As you say, this scenario is probable in swamps, but most fossils are in sandstone as far as I know.

          The flood hypothesis would make rivers & swamps secondary though. We would have water a mile deep sloshing back & forth over all the land carrying the silt from land & sea-bed around the globe. If we look on the top of Grand Canyon there are Butes several hundred feet tall which are testimony to previous layers which have been swept away en-mass leaving only the Butes. These will erode by wind & rain fairly quickly by your time scale. How could such masses of sand be transported by anything other than very deep & very fast water ?

          http://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/coloradoplateau/lexicon/esplanade.htm

          Great subject,

          :-)
      • Jul 26 2011: Pete,

        I don't suppose for a second that paleontologists would not know what kind of rock they are working with. I don't think that any layer would necessarily have been deposited uniformly all along, but rather that it solidified mostly as a piece if it were to be identifiable as a single layer. If stream-deposited, then the differences between upstream and downstream might range in time maybe by decades, maybe centuries at most. Thus, geologically ridiculously small differences to become a dating problem. In other words, the precision against millions of years would be pretty good. If there were huge upstream/downstream differences, scientists would know and correct accordingly. Other scientists would not allow them to publish otherwise.

        While, I have read that most fossils are found in swamp-deposited layers, that seems inconsequential because scientists have to openly say what they did, how they did it, and so on. Not all the details make it into textbooks (they are voluminous as it is), that does not mean scientists don't know their jobs. I would trust scientists because I know about the rigour for working and for publishing, and I can't believe that quacks are trusted when they say that things are done in obviously wrong ways as if quacks knew better than scientists themselves. Quacks have pretended to teach me about molecular biology, and I insult them with gusto for their pretence. Since I know how much they prostitute what I do, I don't expect them to be any more respectful about geology, paleontology, or any other science. That they would tell you that paleontologists don't know about how rocks form, or the types of rocks that would be formed under which circumstances, or that some layers might need corrections for dating, does not surprise me. What does surprise me is that you would believe such things.

        Best as always.
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          Jul 27 2011: Hi Gabo

          You talk about layers & fossils forming in a stream. Surely a stream cuts into the ground, so a build up of layers would be impossible. The chances of a fossil forming are remote indeed.
          I was trying to get an idea of what size of areas fossils are normally found in, but haven't succeeded so far. I get the impression that if you get the correct rock layer then fossils are possible throughout the layer. Don't know.

          Maybe it's because you are in the trade that you get wound-up over quacks. Personally I try & learn from everybody, but some things make sense & some things don't.
          What about the Butes that I mentioned. We see them in all the old western films sticking out of the desert like fingers. Some are deposited & I guess some may be volcanic. It seems obvious that an enormous amount of earth has been taken from the surface of the land & dumped many miles away; leaving only these stone fingers. Some are so thin that they will not last long, suggesting this may be a recent event. I have never read about this from either side, I just wonder myself. What do you think ?

          :-)
      • Jul 27 2011: Hey Pete,

        I said that most fossils form in swamps. But to your point about streams forming layers, didn't then that guy in the video that you asked me to watch show layers being formed by deposition of debris carried by streams? Have you seen the deposits at deltas?

        I would find you a link to fossils and the sizes of layers where they are found, but no time now. Try some real places rather than quacks. I don't know, maybe national geographic. That lady I pointed to before has some excellent material too if you can get past her style.

        Anyway, yes, I detest the quacks because I know they lie about my area of research, and that this is not a matter of interpretation. They show that they have no idea of what they are talking about. I detest imbeciles who have never done any scientific work (worse for the few who have done some scientific work, because they should know better) coming and displaying their ignorance with pride while pretending to know better than me how I work, how I verify my results, what results I have and have not, and, to top it up, my "motivation" to keep the "Darwinist dogma." As if I would not notice their cherry-picking, their ignorance, and their lies. That's why I get "wound up." Since I know that they lie about my scientific area, why should I think they don't lie about everything else?

        I don't know about those Butes. I kinda remember them being formed by wind erosion, but not sure. Note that I took just one course of geology long ago, and in Spanish. I will check when I have time. Which is not now.

        Best and see ya in another conversation.

        :)
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          Jul 28 2011: Hi Gabo
          The apparatus the guy used could be likened to a stream in that it was narrow. I guess it is all to do with the speed of the water how much is deposited. He is trying to simulate a flood/tsunami type condition. If this was in a stream I guess the silt would eventually back-up like a dam; the water would be held for a while & then overtop in a rush & move the silt farther downstream. The long-term action of a stream is to gouge a track for itself.

          I found this photographic site with bute like structures; hoodoos. The caption says wind eroded just like you remember. They are obviously deposited structures & therefore not particularly hard. Obviously today they are being eroded by wind. If we look at a desert we find lots of sand & sand-dunes; the wind treats the sand very like the sea,it piles up in great waves. We never find a bute. To me millions of years of wind erosion would have leveled these butes as the level of the land lowered. Also where is the sand ? Why is it not piled up in waves like the desert ?
          My money would be on a massive rush of water that washed the sand well out to sea & left these butes sticking up very precariously as we find them today.

          http://kengillespie.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/hoodoos-and-badlands-drumheller-alberta/

          Catch you later
          :-)
  • Jul 14 2011: Eduard,

    Starting new thread because now it takes forever to find your comments.

    1. Anyway, let us be clear. Whatever you think your criteria to be based on, if it is not known, and if it is not possible to prove reasonably, then you cannot claim it to be objective. Calling it "objective" is complete, unadulterated, and extra-pure nonsense.

    2. What exactly is nonsensical about having a feeling for justice if it will not be fulfilled? Do you think everything we feel is fulfilled? If so you must be a teen (and up to some painful surprises). Having a sense for justice helps us distinguish those persons who we can trust and thus associate with. We are gregarious animals. Other animals have this feeling too. Do you think all animals have their own heavens where they get their desire for justice fulfilled?

    3. Wouldn't any reasonable person doubt the existence of a god if such god is not approachable by reason?

    4. Wouldn't any reasonable person doubt the existence of their particular god by looking at how many other people believe in either a different version of the same god, or in a completely different god? Have you read those things by Ahmadi? He is as convinced by Islam as you are about your version of Christianity. As immutable. Why would he be right and you wrong? Why would you be right and he wrong?

    5. Amplification of 4. Wouldn't any reasonable person doubt of their god after looking at the many gods humans have invented throughout history?

    6. Wouldn't a reasonable person doubt of their god if people believing in other gods are going to hell because of being born in the "wrong" religion? Wouldn't a reasonable person doubt that their god is "all-good" given this?

    There's more. But that should show you that if you don't find reasons to doubt your god, it is because you are willingly blind. But reasonable people would certainly doubt.

    Will you dare to say that no reasonable person would doubt their god now? (thus redefining reasonable)
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      Jul 14 2011: Hi Gabo

      You make much of the fact that people have many & various gods. Does this make it more, or less, likely that there is a real god ?
      There are over 100 worldwide flood stories. Does this make it more, or less, likely that there was a real worldwide flood ?
      There are hundreds of dragon stories. Does this make it more, or less, likely that there were real dragon type creatures (Dinosaurs?) ?

      I suspect that you would answer in the negative, & I in the positive. However, which do you think would be the more scientific approach ?

      I would say that god is perfectly approachable by reason, sometimes you have do dig through lots of smoke to get there though.

      :-)
      • Jul 14 2011: Hey Pete,

        That people have many gods makes it implausible that a god in particular is real. That we are surrounded by Christianity is but a geographical accident. There is no reason why Christians would be right and Muslims wrong, nor vice versa. That's the start of a doubt. It does not mean that all gods are nonexistent, but it can make a reasonable person doubt their own god at the very least. It can lead later to complete disbelief once the issues are further explorer. But the point was about arguments that would make a reasonable person doubt. Not about whether that alone made all gods false.

        That there could be hundreds of thousands, or millions, of flood stories does not increase the likelihood that a global one occurred because no amount of myths trumps reality. There is no geological evidence of your global flood. That's the scientific approach.

        Dragons? Besides other things, the existence of dinosaur fossils might be inspiration for such stories. Such fossils don't need to be alive in order for people's to make stories about what those animals could have been. Again, no amount of stories trumps reality.

        Eduard said that there were no arguments that would make any reasonable person doubt the existence of "God," and he is the one who said his god could not be proven reasonably. I know that not all Christians think that. I note however, that so far every argument for the existence of "God" I have heard or read is faulty once you "dig through the smoke." :)
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          Jul 15 2011: Hi Gabo

          You really need to check out the beliefs & see if any are reasonable. ie. confirmed by empirical data... history, archeology, science etc. I believe Christianity ticks the boxes, but I know you disagree; that's cool.

          To me layers of waterborne mud, silt, & sand laid down on a worldwide scale screams flood. I have never found a workable hypothesis for the resulting column having been formed by a slow process. The fossils would not be there. The fossil layers must have been formed quickly; there is no erosion between layers, how did it happen ?

          Dragons were well established before dino's were discovered. Science had always denied their existence, so when they started to be excavated we had to come up with a new creature, so the term dinosaur (terrible lizard) was coined. Folks were drawing dinosaurs before they were discovered by science; seems strange.

          I feel that I came to believe quite reasonably by weighing up the facts. In the end though I had to make a commitment based on faith. Not blind faith, but based on the available evidence. Subsequently any lingering doubts were dealt with & now I am as certain as it is possible to be. I am still open to evidence though, as it is the Truth that matters, but the evolution scenario seems to require even greater faith.

          :-)
      • Jul 15 2011: Hi Pete,

        I don't want to be too condemning, but your comment about layers is obviously taken from creationist quacks. Of course there is erosion among layers. Many signs of erosions happening several times in geological time. Not only that, often the erosions leave columns a bit sideways, which show better that erosion has actually happened, not only that, sometimes the columns are very much slanted and erosion too obvious. This you learn the very first time you learn about sedimentary rocks.

        Fossils don't form just anywhere, and there are more fossils of animals who lived close to water such as lakes, few of animals who lived far. This alone talks against a single event burying all the fossilized animals. The bottoms of lakes are good for fossilization because of lose sediments that could bury animals quite quickly, not always, but often enough for there to be fossils. The most abundant fossils, diatoms, sedimented through millions of years into very deep chalk layers. They also show erosion and such between layers. Again, myths don't trump reality.

        Dinosaur fossils were discovered before scientists re-discovered them and named them dinosaurs. But myths about dragons don't come from dinosaur fossils alone. Myths can come from crocodiles fossils, from actual crocodiles, from big lizards, from giant salamanders, from ...

        That you would give me an argument and then not understand my answers tells me that you don't understand the facts other than via creationist quacks alone. I am not trying to be harsh, but this is the only thing I can conclude. Sorry. That you would repeat that creationist quackery about evolution requiring more faith only affirms my conclusion. You are far from open Pete. I understand that you might have no time, but all that means is that simple lies will weight more than complex truths for you because you might not even want to learn enough to understand the complex truths.

        Best as always,
        :)
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          Jul 16 2011: Hi Gabo

          Sorry Gabo, but the flood thing makes much more sense to me; regardless of quacks. Can you direct me to a site that would explain in simple terms how the layers were deposited; ideally with water tank (or whatever) experiments that would support the existing strata.

          My problem is that the deposition needs to be quick to form fossils, but slow to support a long timescale. That's just common sense; no quack required.

          :-)
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          Jul 17 2011: Hi Jim

          ""We've mentioned cherry picking several times. You have somehow concluded that (evolution) is true and your world view now hinges on the truth of (evolution) You find isolated facts that you can explain with (evolution) and you use those facts as evidence of the truth of (evolution). But for each such isolated fact, you interpret the fact through the worldview of (evolution) meaning you see a distorted view of the fact. And, when other facts disagree with(evolution) you interpret them also through the worldview of(evolution), and find ways to discredit them.""
          We're not so different.

          ""Many fossils are due to mud slides and volcanic ash. "" So they are, but not the majority.

          In children's books dragons are fire-breathing monsters, but in cave paintings etc. they are known dinosaurs.

          :-)
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          Jul 17 2011: Hi Jim

          Interesting. The meanders of the river certainly agree with the river theory, I'd need to check for rebuttals. However to accept that the uplift happened in sequence with the river eroding the canyon takes a bit of believing.

          I think we have to go with what the evidence is telling us overall; to accept an overall theory in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary is not wise. Neither can we be an expert in all fields.

          I do wish these guys would cease from the childish mockery of the 'other side'. It in no way instills confidence in the weight given to their opinion & raises doubts about insecurity in their own position. I guess you were just unfortunate in the vid chosen .

          :-)
      • Jul 17 2011: Thanks Jim, I had not seen that video.

        Pete,

        I agree, to accept an overall theory in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary is not wise. This is why I don't understand how despite we show your quacks wrong again and again, you still hold to their words. Here I explained to you that the layers of sedimentary rocks certainly show erosion, that they show movement, inclines, eroded inclines, new layers in an angle respective to the eroded layers below, long et cetera. Now you see meanders in the canyon, and I am sure we have presented you more than just that. Yet, there you are, believing a "flood theory." So, what happens then with the debunked "no erosion" part? Gone and ignored? What happens with different environments revealed by fossils at such layers? I insist with no intention of being insulting. You did not become a believer because of evidence. You just happened to listen to quacks and believed what they told you never checking what actual science and evidence had to say.

        You talk against the mockery against the quacks. Well, your quacks show a complete lack of respect, not just towards actual scientists, like myself, but towards their clientele (such as you). The mockery is very well deserved, and I think that in this video makes the points extra clear. There is another video where potholer54 shows some trees and little plants running away from the flood following the flood "theory" to explain the patterns in the fossil record. Does that not make the point that the swim-faster explanation is too ridiculous to be taken seriously? Would you remember the point without such mockery? Pete, when creationist propaganda proposes ridiculous things, they have to be shown by how ridiculous they are. Otherwise we would be giving them a status of respectability that they simply don't deserve.
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          Jul 18 2011: Hi Gabo

          OK Humour me.
          You claim there is erosion between the layers, indicating a long period of time. Let's leave that for the moment.

          1. Are the layers water deposited (for the most part) ?
          2. Can we assume that fossil bearing layers were deposited rapidly ?
          3. Is the scenario then a quick flood, followed by a long period, followed by another quick flood etc ?
          4. Assuming yes for 1-3
          4a. How do we explain fossil trees continuing through many layers ?
          4b. How do we explain a global continuity sufficient to postulate a standard column ?

          I am trying to get at what you see is the mechanism responsible for the results we observe. Is there any solid experimental data to support this ?

          Sorry to exasperate you old buddy, but I really want to understand what you guys think. This sort of information is not easy to nail down.

          :-)
      • Jul 18 2011: No, let's not leave it ever. :)
        (There are not just a few erosion marks in those layers, but many.)

        1. Sometimes water deposited, sometimes volcanic ash, sometimes wind accumulating sands in valleys, sometimes ... but even water-deposited means different things, sometimes deposited at the bottom of swamps, bottom of lakes, sometimes at the end of rivers (deltas), sometimes meanders, sometimes floods ...
        2. Probably. But that does not mean that deposition happens at a single rate.
        3. Sometimes a quick flood, sometimes things sinking to the bottom of swamps or of lakes, sometimes buried by a mudslide, sometimes buried by volcanic ash ...
        4. Well, things are a bit more complicated as you can see. But:
        a. Most fossils don't span several layers, and are most often found sandwiched. If they were deposited by a single hyper bunch of sediment we would see all kinds of fossils everywhere, in any position, trapped in a single kind of sediment, right? Not ordered strata, with different kinds of fossils, mostly sandwiched as if flattened, with fossils and materials indicating climates consistent within layers, different across layers. For different climates entrapped you need very long periods of time. I doubt 40 days and 40 nights would do.
        b. Exceptions, such as your trees, cannot be presented as if the rule. In the most consistent scenario with your preferred conclusion, they would indicate a local flood rather than a global one. In other words, you can't dismiss most fossils and geological evidence because of a relatively few vertical fossil trees. Exceptions are explained by exceptional circumstances, not the other way around.

        There's lots of solid experimental data for sedimentary rock formation, for distinguishing flora and fauna from different climates, and for distinguishing different materials. Long et cetera.

        :)
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          Jul 19 2011: Hi Gabo

          I think that if the methods of deposition were as many & varied as you suggest, that it would be difficult to make a good case for a global 'geologic column'.
          Now I am in difficulty as I have to grovel & ask you to check out a quack......

          http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6969084415434797659#

          Just hold your nose & find the deliberate mistake in his approach.

          :-)
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          Jul 20 2011: Hi Jim
          On the mockery; I just have no time for it; it's childish & an attempt to demean a person. We are all the same, even if we disagree, & should 'do unto others.......'
          There are technical works on the feasibility of Noah's Ark for those who can look beyond their prejudice. Best to bone up on the subject before debating it.
          I think the guy who first came up with tectonics was a Christian & he reasoned that as the bible says that the land was one at the beginning, it must have moved, but it was rejected for ages. We don't need an old earth, fast plates would do; maybe they are just coming to a halt today ?
          Radio Isotope dating is, as far as I can see, inaccurate. If God made the rocks originally; He would be the one to decide on the elements included.
          The flood left us moving tectonic plates, the so-called geologic column, fossils, oil, coal, & lots & lots of water.

          YECs as far as I know are quite willing to talk about anything. What can I help you with ?

          :-)
      • Jul 19 2011: .
        (I add to Jim's comment that the first time a geologist (Lyell? I don't remember!) found that the Earth was much older than previously thought, he tried hard to minimize the number (but really hard), because the number contradicted the bible. He did not want to accept such thing, but the evidence was too much to keep denying.)

        Pete,

        I had the most boring time listening. Can you please tell me what this guy is getting at?

        My questions would be:
        1. Is he claiming that his experiments represent exactly how all those geological layers were formed? (by Noah's food?)
        2. If so, how does he explain that radiometric dating dates the layers as older as we go deeper, consistently. No matter if you don't like radiometric dating, the key here is consistently older as you go deeper down.
        3. How does that explain several obviously eroded surfaces, with inclines to one side then flat layers on top?
        4. If all (most?) deposition was as he experimented, how then most layers look so nicely horizontally deposited?
        5. Why do real layers show actual erosion between them, not just differences in particle sizes? Did the flood stop for a few millions years, then restart, then again stop, and so on?
        6. Do you think that linear and thin streams, or glass walls, really represent what a global flood would do?
        7. How is it that deposits have so many different patterns, many as if deposits in a swamp, others as if deposits in deltas, meanders, et cetera?
        8. Did you notice that he contradicted himself because he showed layers being deposited in chronological order while saying this was not so?

        I don't know man. Some experiments look kinda ok, animations look tricked. But I don't see how even the ok experiments would represent the larger and varied geological reality.

        I just discovered a geologist at youtube, but you might not like her style:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NmujSlRqXA

        :)
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          Jul 20 2011: Hi Gabo; full marks for taking the time.

          1. I guess he is making a hypothesis, that this is one possible explanation for the column. In the flood context we would need to add volcanic & tectonic features as well.
          2. As the variables are set by the scientists themselves, they can come up with any date they like.
          3. Would need a 'for instance'. Remember even after layers have settled; & they do form on slopes; the rock is still soft & vulnerable to currents etc.
          4. Don't understand. Why shouldn't they look horizontally deposited ?
          5. I haven't been able to find instances of erosion, don't think its common.

          You know the sort of thing, tightly fitting layers with well defined edges; ie no jaggies that would indicate wear.
          On the particles. Most layers have grain sizes large on the bottom, grading to small at the top. How on earth could this happen by slow & gradual superposition ?
          6. No, real life would be much more random, but the basic principles should still apply.
          7. The earth is a variable place, surely we should expect anomalies. That said, many of the layers are transcontinental, so something big happened.
          8. Didn't notice, I guess they are chronological, but growing mainly sideways.

          I have seen other similar experiments, but wont bore you further. What would be cool would be a vid giving the conventional scenario, so we could compare. Let me know if you come across one.
          Your right; I'm not keen on folks who are mocking & disrespectful. She did make a comment about Ice Age Till. If she knew her stuff then she would know creationists agree there was an Ice Age.

          Thanks for taking the time Buddy.

          :-)
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          Jul 21 2011: Hi Jim

          I agree entirely with your points. I would make three points in regard to debating on this site about these worldviews.

          1. The YEC position is treated largely with derision. It is dismissed out-of-hand by the majority.
          2. Ultimately all 3 positions are faith positions. We were not around at the crucial times in question, so little can be done as far as empirical evidence is concerned.
          3. The arguments are well documented on sites such as TalkOrigins & AnswersInGenesis, so it is really not necessary to regurgitate them at each other.

          Gabo ran through all the detail on cells, dna, etc with me; he's a patient guy. That is his subject, & I defer to him entirely on that. However he is not able to prove how it came about in the first place, that has to be faith based on his understanding. At that point we diverge because my common sense wont let me accept his interpretation. At one time I would accept it as the most likely scenario, but now I have an alternative which I believe fits better. Gabo of course takes the alternate view, which is fine by me.

          I see all this as engineering. My hobby is my Harley. The cell is like a special Harley. It can run around & make a nice noise, but it can also produce the entire Harley range at will. Each of the Harleys it produces comes complete with mega Milwaukee Factory built into it so it can reproduce. That's how I see biology & why it is so difficult for me to accept evolution.

          I am intrigued as to why you guys accept it, given how impossible it seems to me. I think this subject is the only one that really matters, & love to discuss it with anyone. Unfortunately for you, I am not an intellectual & you may find my reasoning reflects that, but I am willing to go as deep as I can on most subjects.

          ctd......
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          Jul 21 2011: Jim ctd......

          On the YEC/OEC thing. I have faith in the bible, & if God says he did it in 6-days a few thousand years ago, then that's fine. Get any 6yr old to read it & they would get the same result. A theological professor may come up with something else entirely; I think that's why Christ chose fishermen.

          I firmly believe that death is only the beginning of real life. It is crucial that I draw folks attention to this possibility; that really is what it's all about. I don't care if I lose an argument, or am called ignorant, or whatever; the stakes are far higher than that.

          Not sure what we mean by 'higher level' argument, but I will do my best.

          :-)
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          Jul 22 2011: Hi Jim
          The video may be accurate or not; it is double dutch to me. I guess if it passed muster with it's peers & could be tested then that would help. To date however the creation of life from non-life has not happened under lab conditions, so we speculate.

          When we look at the world around us we see everything degenerating. The earth's rotation is slowing, the magnetic field is decaying, deserts are expanding, our cells are getting corrupted, our cars are turning to dust. Everything is bending eventually to the 2nd law. Life starts with a burst of energy, then succumbs. As our bodies mutate, we are getting more & more illnesses. I see no process on earth that would benefit from being left for millions of years. So for me to accept a long age scenario would not encourage my belief in evolution.

          You are giving me your view of how evolution took place, but none of it is verifiable by empirical science. I understand that it supposedly takes place too slowly to register, then how can we say that it is happening ? It is your faith.
          The human body is mind-blowingly complex; more complex than all the electronic/mechanical gismos we have ever produced. The simplest gismo takes careful planning & execution to have any chance of success. No gismo has ever been produced by 'natural forces'. The human body is a masterpiece of design & execution of the highest order, complete with spiritual abilities of love, joy, hate, worship, etc etc.
          We even get a workshop manual explaining what we are, where we're going, & the history of the world from beginning to end. Together with the usual manual stuff about how to keep us running sweet. It even tells me that I am very unlikely to persuade you; still a guy's gotta try.

          :-)
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      Jul 15 2011: Gabo:
      1.I didn't claim that , that was '...' ; you also can't say that my criteria isn't objective , that was my point, and that was for sharing you that you didn't talk against my perspective (as you said).
      2. I was just interested to know your opinion as atheist , and I was reffering to the sense of justice as like something objective , something abstract which exist whatever we do and in this respect the atheistic position is a weak one.
      3.Yes , that's one of my points , the god by definition can't be known reasonable=isn't approachable by reason , it's a foolish thing in my opinion to try to know god=to try to approach god by (human) reason so to doubt god because it isn't approchable by reason is in my opinion as I said foolish and nonsensical .
      Only thinking there are many ways of knowing things, the reason is just one of them.
      5. here at 5 you have to prove that the humans have invented the CGod (that's for me) , I can agree about the rest being invented.
      6.You have a wrong understanding of what said CGod , first of all the hell in my opinion isn't something what perhaps you and the most christians imagine , in my opinion (and this is simplified now) the hell is rather a process of destroying the evil , second : the people don't go in hell because they believe in other gods, that's according to the Bible , the people 'go in hell' (partially it is a metaphor) because they can't go in heaven , noone can whatever the religion that person was born in , for going in heaven you have to be considered and to try to be somehow .
      'noone can go in heaven whoever he is' it's normal, the heaven is supposed to be God's place , for a human to live there he has to have the same nature with God , the same nature with the heaven (the humans by birth don't have it) , that was Jesus Christ work about . How it is possible and how really it happen ? if you wanna know I'l talk about it in the next post.
      An all-good will destroy an all-evil , don't you think so?
      • Jul 15 2011: 1. Of course I can claim that your criteria are not objective. That your basis "isn't known" is enough for this.
        2. I don't see why atheism would be in a weak position at explaining a sense of justice. You have hidden premises there (as everywhere else). The moment you say things like "in this respect the atheistic position is a weak one" you are not "just asking for my opinion," you are saying something so utterly wrong that I had to point it out. You did say "why have it if it will not be fulfilled?" That has the hidden premise that if we have it, it has to be fulfilled, which is ridiculous. So I answer to your hidden premises. Otherwise it will be like admitting that it has to be fulfilled. The sense has a function, and the function is not "to be fulfilled." It is derived from a natural necessity given our belonging to a gregarious animal species.
        3. If you can't see how nonsensical your point is, then there is not much more I can say. I repeat, if it can't be approached by reason, there is no reason to believe it. Thus, it is not nonsensical, nor foolish, to reject it for this reason alone. So, if you have nothing to add here just stop it. You might love accepting things that are not approachable by reason, but that's you, and that is not objective.
        5. I don't have to prove that your god is invented. Since we easily accept that other gods are invented, there is no reason to think that yours is not.
        6. I know this excuse. But if you observe Ahmadi, he is as utterly clueless about the falsity of his religion as you are. Thus he goes to hell because he cannot believe as you do. Thus, it is not because he is not "like God through Christ", but because he cannot be because he was born in the wrong place. Had he be born in the same place as you, he would be as clueless but a christian clueless, rather than a muslim one. Thus, his condemnation comes from accidental birth of place. No excuse will change this. Think it carefully and you will see.
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          Jul 15 2011: 1."That it isn't known is enough for this." really , how come? , the objectiveness of something depends on what we know? it's absurd .
          2.I don't hide anything , I just fill myself when I see that it is needed . Man , you didn't understand: I wanted to know your opinion, I say you again stop imagining/guessing what you think that I think or what you think that I try to say or to do ... you never got it until now . After I found it I can critisize it.
          "That has the hidden premise that if we have it, it has to be fulfilled, which is ridiculous" it isn't at all ridiculous , the justice won't be just if it wouldn't be fulfilled , the justice have the function of being fulfilled, it is not a natural necessity of us, it is rather a intrinsec part of the justice.
          3.it's not about what I see man here (I said you the difference) ; "if it can't be approached by reason, there is no reason to believe it'' why do you think that we must have rational reasons in order to believe something and why it to God ?
          5. There are many reasons for accepting that the CGod hadn't been invented ; the fact that we agree that it's possible for us to invent a god and that many are invented doesn't mean that an other specific god is invented , so if you wanna keep your point prove it firstly.
          6. I don't have what to think carefull at this: "Thus he goes to hell because he cannot believe as you do" I said you he don't go in hell because of that , no one goes in hell because of his birth place. You just keep your position which (like the first mine about atheism ) isn't about the christianity but only what you imagine about christianity .
      • Jul 15 2011: 1. Of course if you can't show it, it is not objective. Simple. I think you don't know what "objective" means.
        2. I did not say you hide it on purpose. But "being fulfilled" is a premise that you accept intrinsically. so, instead of answering "why we have it if it will not be fulfilled" I question your premise, which is wrong. "Justice" is something we would like to see fulfilled. But that does not mean it has to be. How much clearer could this be? Why wouldn't a gregarious animal naturally need a sense of justice?
        3. Maybe we don't have to have rational reasons to believe something. But that does not mean that we should accept anything without reason. Your god is among many myths I don't see the need to believe without a reason, and this is reasonable, no matter your preferences, which are just that, preferences.
        5. And many more reasons to think your god is like any other god, just as invented. Thus, I don't need to prove anything. Your blindness notwithstanding. It is you who has to prove that it is not invented. Good luck with that since your god is not approachable by reason.
        6. You are the one not being careful. I got it, he goes to hell because "he can't be pure like God." But you keep forgetting that he "can't be pure like God through Christ," because he was born in the wrong place. That extra step does not change the contradiction. That talks about a very unfair and evil god, or an inept one at the very least. Thus, your god is a square circle, a contradiction of terms. not all-good, and/or not all-knowing, and/or not all-powerful. That you can't see the contradiction does not mean it is not there. Just open your eyes.
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      Jul 15 2011: 4."Wouldn't any reasonable person doubt the existence of their particular god by looking at how many other people believe in either a different version of the same god, or in a completely different god?" About the different versions: in christianity the God is mainly accepted somehow in the same way in every different christian religion , I said you somewhere beneath the very basically things about God and what He've done are accepted by everyone in christianity.
      The existence of more versions are easy explainable : knowing that God can't be known rationally and that the single main way (usually used) to know Him is by revelation ; we are different people , with different capacities of understanding, with different experiences........... .
      "Why would he be right and you wrong? " for many reasons , you notice for explaining my position I used the reason even though I don't recommend to someone to try to know God by reason ; I've talk with SR Ahmadi too , I wasn't too satisfied of his explanations and I found some strange things somehow contradictory in his posts (I said him that then ) :
      but why?:(only this two now) -the Bible prophecies , is the single religious book with historical prophecies that was fulfilled , the Koran don't have something like .
      - (using the 6) I found that the Bible is the single book which has presented an way to 'go in heaven'= to have a nature similary to God (to escape of sins) , the most rational one , the single one , I can guaratee it and I can prove it for everyone .
      In other words for every theist who think rationally I can prove that the Bible is the single way possible. (Idk what's the point in doing it for you as an atheist , so I limit myself only at that two)
      • Jul 15 2011: 4. But you are forgetting that no matter how many excuses you make, a reasonable person could doubt their god because of these problems. That you have managed to think that condemnation is because they are not pure like "God" (forgetting why they can't be), or because you think the bible has fulfilled prophecies (just as Ahmadi thinks that the koran has), and that you don't see your own contradictions just like Ahmadi does not see his own, tells me a lot about your level of "reasonable." To me, seeing you both as committed and as clueless, proves that neither of you have stopped to think how similar you are, and thus doubt your beliefs and your conviction. That says more about both your commitments than about the reality of any of your gods. A reasonable person should be able to ask herself, could it be that I am just as clueless as this muslim is?

        Remember, you said that you had heard no argument that would make a **reasonable** person doubt. Here you are giving me excuses rather than reasoning about wether these could make a reasonable person doubt. I don't care about your excuses. Ahmadi can give me as many as you can. The question was about reasonable. Not about blind to their own arguments and self deception. Do you think you don't sound exactly as Ahmadi? Because you are plainly wrong. Just think about it. It does not matter if you think that you are right, but if you can see that you sound identically wrong.

        Don't regurgitate. Think about it. Think about it. Think about it.
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          Jul 15 2011: Hey Gabo I have strong enough nerves .

          4.So do you say that whatever I try to say this problem exist ?
          What I said is proved, it's not only what I think :"you think the bible has fulfilled prophecies"
          But you think that all what I said are excuses , why ? share it more clear and I will explain myself or I will agree with you (I don't try to say anything now before being sure of what you are expecting) ,"The question was about reasonable" explore it a bit comparing with what I said .

          ("A reasonable person should be able to ask herself, could it be that I am just as clueless as this muslim is?" when I know something and I can prove it, it's not need to see if I'm able to ask myself if I'm wrong or not .
          I don't parallel myself with Ahmadi and I don't care what I said sounds like as long as you don't prove it wrong.
          "Not about blind to their own arguments and self deception" I could say the same thing about you.)
      • Jul 15 2011: I am not saying that whatever you say the problem still exists. I said that what you said does not eliminate the problem, it just adds a layer of cognitive dissonance on top of it. Take a good, deep, and honest, look.

        Bible prophecies are as proven as koran prophecies, and as any horoscope prophecies. Self-fulfilled prophecies when detailed enough. Post-rationalizations when not detailed enough (just like horoscopes), or when the bible is forced into referring to actual events. No surprises when referring to things reasonable humans could have predicted if you put the writings in their proper historical context, and so on and so forth. I have heard about those prophecies Eduard.

        I know you don't care if you sound exactly as Ahmadi. That's part of my point. He does not care if he sounds like you either. But you do sound like him, and you are unable to acknowledge that because of this very fact it is reasonable to at least doubt. I am not talking about you Ed. I am talking about reasonable persons. You should be able to make this distinction. Suppose, for the sake or argument, that you know something I don't know. That does not mean that "no reasonable person would doubt." That would mean that someone knowing what you know would not doubt. Thus you are wrong about what would make a reasonable person doubt, unless your definition of reasonable is "someone who knows exactly what I know." Is that how you define reasonable? because that would not be reasonable at all. Thus, your old point number 2 is also false, and atheism is not a joke at all. We would be done with that.

        Trying to unreasonably shift the burden of proof? Ahmadi can do that too.

        Yes, you can say that I might be blind to my own arguments. Still, that does not change the very fact that a reasonable person should be able to accept this possibility and thus doubt their god(s).

        Please now stop and think a lot before giving any answers
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          Jul 16 2011: Yes, sorry, I thought that you started a new thread giving a try against theism , I missed to think at my old 2 .(yes knowing this what I said are more excuses for the 2)

          I'll answer now considering my 2 (and not only):
          1."That your basis "isn't known" is enough for this." first of all it isn't known rationally but it can be known by other means , I don't see any reason to doubt God's existence only because I can't know Him rationally , I can't known Him as I said by other means.
          2.I know what you done. "Justice" is something we would like to see fulfilled. But that does not mean it has to be" wrong , justice is something which has to be fulfilled, otherwise it won't be justice ,it doesn't matter if our needs overlap with what is justice .Justice is something which exist whatever us , it is more a matter between good and evil which also exist whatever us , we are just some 'players' in the middle of it , it's absurd to reduce all this stuff like justice (good, evil) only at us when in fact we don't matter too much (we don't know what is justice in it's absolute meaning either ), so it should make us to doubt atheism rather than theism.
          5. you claim that the CGod is invented , the burden of proof stays on you (I claim that He's not and I can prove it even using this:"god is not approachable by reason").
          6."I got it, he goes to hell because "he can't be pure like God." But you keep forgetting that he "can't be pure like God through Christ," because he was born in the wrong place" you didn't get it yet, because you made a very childish and easy claim : everyone can=have the possibility to accept the CGod as long as he have heard about the CGod , it doesn't matter the place where he was born as well as I can be atheist like you now if I want to after I heard your version of atheism . Until now your supposed CGod is a square circle. So this shouldn't make anyone reasonable doubt.
          4.Here I accept your ctiticize because I missed the all idea :
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          Jul 16 2011: "Wouldn't any reasonable person doubt the existence of their particular god by looking at how many other people believe in either a different version of the same god, or in a completely different god? " Yes, it is possible and a person can doubt the existence of his particular god when looking at 'how many other people....' but it doesn't mean that we should recourse to atheism , it doesn't mean that we should reach because of that at a 'sensible conclusion'. .
          " Why would he be right and you wrong? Why would you be right and he wrong?" It doesn't matter if he would be wrong or I would about our specific gods for atheism.

          And, why do you think that I don't doubt the existence of the CGod ? but even if I do it I don't reach at a sensible conclusion like: there is no god . I doubt , the theists can doubt and do it .
          (My argument was that no contradiction would make us doubt in such way for reaching at the 'sensible conclusion' that there is no God ) .
          It's good to know and that first version of answer by the way.
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          Jul 16 2011: I'll be missing until at least Wendesday .
      • Jul 16 2011: 1. No what you originally said.
        2. Now you are playing semantics. You asked about our sense and search for justice, and presumed that for us to have such feeling it had to be fulfilled. That's what I answered. That "unfulfilled justice is not justice" has no weight on why we would have a sense of what is just and what is not. There is nothing wrong with my answer, and, as usual, a lot wrong with your question(s) and premises. It is nonsensical to criticize atheism for not supporting your religious belief in transcendental justice.
        5. I claim that your god looks just as invented as any other. If you think that your god is not invented, and thus exists, the burden of proof is on you, not me.
        6. Nope. Not everybody can accept Christ. Nothing childish about it. You are born of Muslim parents, they will indoctrinate you to believe as a Muslim. Thus god's ineptitude, thus square circle. I was born with enough intelligence to question my beliefs, to understand myths, to understand contradictions, logic and science. Thus, if your god existed it would be its fault, its ineptitude, its deception, getting me far from Christ. Thus square circle.
        7. We can add: why can't we be pure like god except through christ?
        because we have a sinful nature.
        Who made us?
        God
        Then god made us that way. Thus inept, thus square circle.
        You don't understand, sinful nature is not god's responsibility, but original sin and fall.
        Why did creation fall?
        because of sin.
        could god create so that sin would not cause a fall?
        if no: then not omnipotent
        if yes, but did not: then evil.
        Thus compounded reasons why your god would be a square circle.

        If you doubt the existence of your god, then just as you can doubt one god, a reasonable person could discover other square circles and thus decide it sensible not to believe in any. Again, I did not say it takes one step. It might take more. But doubt starts somewhere and reasonably. Thus atheism is not a joke.
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          Jul 21 2011: 1. Yes , it's a completation, and is an answer about my old 2 , is this all what you have to say about it? if yes, then it is done, so no reason to doubt God .
          5.Ok (even though is still on you the burden of proof) the CGod can't be invented because there are many things said and about Him which aren't irrational surely but neither rationally can be understood.
          6. 'Not everybody can accept Christ' well no , I did say that everybody can accept Christ in terms of having this possibility, and everyone have this possibility as long as he hear enough about this Christ, we all have reason;and even using what you said, someone being indoctrinated , it doesn't mean that that person can't use his reason and so to have the possibility of accepting Christ("they will indoctrinate you to believe as a Muslim" so what? you have reason), so no square circle .
          7. Let's see what you had:
          -you don't have an understanding of what are you talking about , just keep some ideas which vehicule the most, usually in the crowd (but you are a man with intelligence...)
          'God made us with a sinful nature and the original sin and fall was cause of it' The original sin was the Lucifer's sin : the proud . God created the the all things good being an all-good God.
          My symplified explanation : the sins are good things in their very basis , the sin is basically a good thing which has broken the equilibrium state (for example a sin is an in excess good thing or in less) , another way of saying : the sins are the perversion of the good. Knowing it is easy explainable how the original sin appeared everything being good , and why it affected the God's creation .
          "could god create so that sin would not cause a fall?" yes and no.
          "If you doubt the existence of your god, then just as you can doubt one god, a reasonable person could discover other square circles and thus decide it sensible not to believe in any."
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          Jul 21 2011: Filling myself: I doubt God's existence but only a period of time, after I'm convinced of the truth of the God existence, it's senseless to doubt His existence on . My point was that knowing that many people support the idea of a god existence or another we consider the all possibilities and gradually we eliminate them when it's possible and rational .
          So no square circle yet .
          2. a bit later.
      • Jul 23 2011: Eduard,

        Not much more to say. So I try this last once:
        1. I did not want to start over something else. You are going in nonsensical circles. No complement there. If your basis is not knowable it is not objective. If you can "know it by ways other than reason," then it seems to very precisely be a subjective basis. Unless you can prove this thing, even if "irrationally" in a way that anybody could see it. Check the definition of "objective" before going on.
        5. I will not repeat again, you are the one who thinks this god exists, thus you have the burden of proof. In the meantime, your god looks as invented as any other. Live with it or prove that your god exists. If you can't, then I see no reason to think that your god is not invented. Study philosophy and universal negatives before trying this again. Enough is enough.
        6. A Muslim will say that you have the opportunity to hear about Islam, and thus be saved. But you probably can't become a Muslim, just like most Muslim's can't become Christians. Simple accidents of birth. Then you contradicted yourself. You said before that reason can't take you to your god, thus reason can't help. Thus clear square circles in both your answers and your god.
        7. You solved nothing. Can you see how nonsensical you have to become in order to try and deny the obvious? Not only is your god a square circle, your justifications are square circles too. "yes and no" = square circle; "sin is basically a good thing" = square circle. It does not matter if you can "explain" how sin affected creation, what matters is that if it did then your god was either inept (not powerful enough to make a resistant creation), or evil (he wanted to have lots of souls suffering and lost). No way around.

        Ready to accept that atheism is not a joke?
        If you offer little else, then I will just say so, and we are done. Hopefully you can at least admit that atheism is not a joke.
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          Jul 23 2011: Right :'enough is enough ' :
          1." If your basis is not knowable it is not objective" : two definitions: "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.
          -intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with thoughts or feelings, as a person or a book." so if my basis is not knowable I don't know if it is objective or not and you don't either (I didn't claim that my basis is objective).
          5. " If you can't, then I see no reason to think that your god is not invented." I can't, but if you don't see no reason for it, it doesn't mean automatically that my God is invented (and thus I said you to prove your claim......anyway....).
          6."But you probably can't become a Muslim" I can if I want to .......so no arguments from your part.
          "You said before that reason can't take you to your god, thus reason can't help" I didn't say that I said only that we can't know God by reason (what is supposed to be said by God can be known reasonable) , in your mind there are this square circles but not in reality (how would it sound to say you now:'open your eyes'?).
          7."what matters is that if it did then your god was either inept (not powerful enough to make a resistant creation), or evil (he wanted to have lots of souls suffering and lost). No way around." Going straight: He made a resistant creation and He made it so resistant that created some beings with free-will who can broke the equilibrium state therefore He wasn't neither inept nor evil (this last your argument at least, is made from an position(yours) which don't have understood the very things about what is supposed to be CGod and what He've done , as I said before: this ideas are spread among the usual christians who don't have an understanding too ) .
          Look at many scientists with a theological training (Alistar McGrath for example), why don't they turn to atheism ?
          You will have to admit that these (up) aren't arguments against theism.
      • Jul 23 2011: OK so final:
        1. You did claim that your basis was objective. Again, I claim it is not unless it is knowable, which is part of the definition of objective.
        5. Since all I claimed was that your god looks as invented as any other there is nothing for me to prove. Again, study universal negatives.
        6. No, you can't become a Muslim. If you say you can, then you don't believe in the CGod. Simple. But go ahead, become a Muslim, and defend the faith as Ahmadi does. But then you will have proven that your god is a square circle. You can jump from any into any other, thus no salvation is possible, and people are condemned because there is no way to distinguishing one square circle from another.
        7. How can you claim that a creation is "perfect" because its equilibrium could be broken to the point of condemning all humanity to a sinful nature, suffering, hell, condemnation by accidents of birth? What would you call an engineer whose building falls if only one of its bricks is broken killing many people inside? I would not call the building "so perfect that it would break at the first attempt." I would call the engineer either inept or evil. There you have it. Square circle by your own understanding. No other Christians necessary.

        I showed that your god is a square circle requiring worse square circles in order to avoid admitting its contradictions. Atheists don't have to invent cumbersome excuses for square circles at all. Atheists just conclude what seems more reasonable. Thus atheism is not a joke.

        I would tell you what I think about Alistar McGrath, but that might get this comment deleted. I can say that he is one of the most boring speakers I have ever heard. All he does is go in circles and circles without any meaning. No wonder he would not turn to atheism.

        So, agreed that atheism is no joke? If not, so be it.

        As for theism, some form might be reasonable. But I have not heard about any.

        Adios and see ya much later. I don't see any reason to continue.
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          Jul 23 2011: Final:
          1. I claim that I don't know if it is objective or not (rationally) and you don't as well , that for sharing you that you didn't prove my basis a subjective one .
          5.I don't have to study anything now , it's very simple , how do you know that CGod is invented (you claim it you have to prove it)? perhaps He is not an invention but He isn't something real too, why He is not a hallucination at so many people ? why don't you claim it for example?.... it's so simple.
          6."No, you can't become a Muslim" really? it's senseless to say anything more.
          7." What would you call an engineer whose building falls if only one of its bricks is broken killing many people inside? "........laugh ........going on it : you didn't understand anything from what I said , none of the bricks it's broken , all are perfect , just that some are so perfect that they have free will ............. no square circle by my understanding , maybe one by yours of 'mine' .
          You didn't share anything about my old 2 with all this arguments, so summarizing : according to my first arguments excepting my old 2 atheism is not a joke , it is a rational possibility . According to my old 2 ( and this above arguments) atheism is a joke .

          We don't invent 'cumbersome excuses' , I just said you what theism (christian theism) is about , you don't know it , you know only 'the colloqiual' face of it . If on it rest your atheism (so it seems)........... it is a bigger joke .

          Adio and perhaps will meet at the others converstaions, study more a philosophical/theological understanding of theism , you won't find contradictions , not some that would lead you to a sensible conclusion as atheism ...........the reality is a complex one , we all our life have to study ...... take care and good luck.
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    Jul 11 2011: Theism and atheism are beliefs, and beliefs do not warrant a proof. It's like the old story of four blind men touching an elephant at different spots and describing the elephant as a rope, a tree, a hand and a mountain.

    The situation that we are in is like electrons in an electric field. The electron generates electric field as well as experiences it. It is soaked in it. But without electron no field, without field no electron. The electron cannot go outside of the field to look at it "from above" to decide in totality what it is.

    Daniel Hehir makes some points that are striking and considerable.
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    Jul 7 2011: Good night folks, it's 2am here and I've been hanging at this discussion since 8am... It's been something!
    See you all tomorrow!
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    Jul 7 2011: (because of the 3 responses limit, I reply like this... hope it doesn't confuse people...
    @ Karthik Mishra
    "So, for you to believe in God has to himself appear in front of you, to make you believe in God...do you know how arrogant that sounds to the ears of a theist??"
    I did not say that, you asked for an example... I gave you one... A very explicit one, for sure... Please try and refrain from concluding things like you say here.
    An example is not arrogance... I could do with less information, but I do need evidence. No evidence = no reason to assume existence

    "I too am an atheist, but I make sure I don't hurt peoples feelings.I remember, a while ago, I trying to argue with my mother, just as you are now arguing. And the pain it causes to hear what I said, I decided not to say that anymore, because my mother lives in a perfectly moral world just as I do, perhaps her ideas are not correct, but her own ideas make her do good things and for me that is more important than the ideas themselves.I hope you understand. :)"
    I do.
    I have similar experiences. I don't push my thinking towards people who don't start a debate with me, or don't make truth claims that are utter nonsensical to me. And I don't push my ideas if that causes to much damage towards people I care about.

    I do think you missed my point though.
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        Jul 16 2011: Thanks for replying Karthik.

        I come from the opposite direction... I gradually stopped the quest. As a kid I prayed and read a children's bible. I gradually became doubtful, and stayed a seeking agnostic by age 18. I delved into other religions and new age, only to find out there were no good answers there... I became a skeptic and learned more about science and philosophy during college, to finally conclude that a god belongs to the realm of myths. I do like fantasy, but I separate it from reality...

        As the odds for any given god decreased as my knowledge about reality increased, I would not seek for it anymore as my quest to find a population of golden dragons on this planet... or spaghetti-monsters...
        I must admit I don't delve too deep into quantum physics either, as I don't understand all the math...
        so I leave it up to the brighter minds to discover. If they find out, then I'll try and understand and adopt it in my worldview.
        Currently, my worldview is based upon thermodynamics, cybernetics and statistical inference. It describes a set of possible worlds that (according to my knowledge) includes ours. I know how it can be falsified, but I have not seen any proof of it thus far... making it a quite solid worldview that I uphold for at least 8 years by now.
        On that account, I keep searching. Not for a god, but for a better understanding of the cosmos, my life and what it is to be a human, and experiencing along the way...

        I feel a great sense of joy when contemplating life. I do dismiss improbable ideas, as they are a waste of time (I only live so short, so I wish to learn things that are somewhat more certain first... as well as nice pieces of fantasy)
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    Jul 6 2011: the Bible has been debunked ad nauseam and those using it as a book of science certainly should be aware of the fallacies in it. But there is a kind of wisdom in it that C.G. Jung brought into focus. Psychology is a valid discipline. Those of you who are familiar with archetypes will see this is a treasure of human courage and foibles. With this comment I end my participation in any theist/atheist proof thread, All it does for the most part is go 'round and 'round. Questions I ask or statements I make are never addressed. I certainly won't delete my thoughts on this thread and I will be reading any further conversatiuons. Thanks, guys.......It has been enlightening and fun Regards to all of you (:>)
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      Jul 6 2011: Helen, thanks for participating! I fully understand your reasons not to participate anymore and I can say that I will do as you when this conversation closes.

      See you somewhere else! ;)
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      Jul 6 2011: Helen,
      You write..."Questions I ask or statements I make are never addressed".
      Is that a true statement for this thread? I just whipped through the comments to check:>)
      You introduced me to "panentheist", and I appreciate that:>)
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        Jul 6 2011: Hi Colleen........It is true of at least two threads...I was not referring to anything of yours as a matter of fact I have really appreciated your comments. They are all good. No, I had asked if believing in a non-being "my expression for God" was in any way invalidated by logic or evidence. Nobody took me on . And there were others Love you Helen
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          Jul 6 2011: Thank you Helen. I felt sad that you thought your comments were not being addressed, and appreciate you clarifying...love you too:>)
          Colleen

          P.S. Imagine yourself thumbed up...I've used up my quota for the week for you!
          I'll send you a hug through cyberspace:>)
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      Jul 6 2011: Then I will only say this Daniel:
      If you wish to have fun, stay.
      If you don't, please leave!
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      • Jul 7 2011: Jim Lloyd,

        All I have to say is thank you so much Jim!! Finally somebody understands what I've been trying say all along !
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          Jul 7 2011: Well... I'd just like to add that I didn't say that Atheism = Science, I said that they go hand in hand...

          Edit: (according to "my version" of Atheism that is)
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    Jul 6 2011: "For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capabIe, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is, and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values. The knowledge of truth as such is wonderful, but it is so little capable of acting as a guide that it cannot prove even the justification and the value of the aspiration toward that very knowledge of truth. Here we face, therefore, the limits of the purely rational conception of our existence".

    Albert Einstein Address at Princeton Theological Seminary May 19.1939
    .http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm

    NOTE: See exchange between Chrsitophe and me below. The quote I had here initially, attributed to this same address but from a different link correctly framed Einstein's views but may not have been properly referenced. This quote, which is most definitely from the Pinceton Address maks the exact same point evn more clearly. Email me via TED if you would like to compare the two. No room eher to include both as I had intended in this update.

    The address and the NY Times Ariticle by Einstein is very good reading and a very fruitful way to understand that there is no inherent conflict between science and religion.
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      Jul 6 2011: He also married his cousin, not every thought that he had was correct...

      Not to mention "the cosmological constant"....
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        Jul 6 2011: he married his cousin? That is on par with and to the same standrd as the wisdom of Einteins insight? he married his cousin? come on!!!
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      Jul 6 2011: "If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."-Paul Dirac.

      Not that quoting scientists is worth much when they're just stating an opinion.
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        Jul 6 2011: "Not that quoting scientists is worth much when they're just stating an opinion." - This is really important to realize! Don't make Einstein your deity Lindsay!
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          Jul 6 2011: Einstein who famously rejected quantum mechanics as "spooky action from a distance". Can't get it right each time...
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          Jul 6 2011: What I honor always is clear thinking, & wisdom..what I seek always is truth

          I seek equanimity and balance.

          I don't see that in these endless TED religious debates.

          .I see extreme and rigid weddedness to positions that are not complete, not well informed, strongly ideological and meme driven on both sides . I see that in the repetition of fixed ideology on both sides..the repetion of secific phrases. that express that ideology

          .I cite Einstein here at TED because on this subject he speaks with great wisdom... and because I think this idea of religion as a moral compass is " aTED idea worth spreading."

          .It is, I think ,a wonderful wisdom way of understanding what "religion" has been through all time in all human communities at its essence. Ideas about the earth being 6,000 years old are not religion in the sense of the universal definitionof "humanity's moral compass"

          .And the other part of Einstein's remarkable insight in this May 1939 address at Princeton Theological Seminary is that we as humans have many different uniquely human inner faculties of which reason is only one. The part of us that "religion" is about is the faculty of heart..the faculty of awareness of other, of compassion, aspiration, hope and justice.

          We are not fully human, not fully actualized if we don't hone all our faculties and express our lives through all our faculties.In this sense of the relationship between reason and morality, science and religion. We should look for unity as global citizens on a plane of morality and it shouldn't matter whether beliefs in God or consciousnes are shared. All that matters is that we are all attuned as global citizens, as neighbors to stewardship for the earth and one another.

          Finally, comparisons, judgments, characterizations and rigid ideology are a very diminished place from which to speak about anything and cloud the real posisbility of learning, and understanding..
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          Jul 6 2011: Religion is an awful moral compass. Throughout history it has been a bastion of conservatism. Religious establishments have often had to catch up with the ever-changing morality of our societies. Morality is relative, not absolute and religion and its impermeability to new ideas, is not the beginning or the end of morality.
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          Jul 6 2011: Yes, I know it's not getting through ..because its a language and a view that is outside the boundaries of your own very tightly defined ideology.

          My own thinking on all this is in formation.

          . That is what I was exploring in my conversation on Updating our belief systems and also in my conversation on the limits of freedom of religion.I discovered Einstein's address after both of those conversations closed and see in it a much more useful way to think about what "religion" is in universal human terms..the idea of religion as a "moral compass" and as an extension of one of the most important inner faculties of humanity

          .If you "try that on" and look again at the issues at the heart of your concern, which I assume is the increasing encroachment of fundamentalist ideology into governance..it will reframe where the most fruitful investment of your energy lies in addressing that concern.. And it will redefine the "community" willing to work and act with you in addressing that issue.

          Haranging Fundamentalist belief systems is not a very fruitful line of action if your real concern is the influence fundamentalists are having on all our lives.

          Also if you "try it on" as we did in our discussion on the limitations of religious freedom it become very clear that "freedom of religion" in a pluralistic society has imperative boundaries..For example law supercedes religious tradition and in Canada, hooray for Canada, hate speech itself is a crime.

          These are the kinds of fruitful possibilities that exist when you switch your defiition of religion to the broad universal one Einstein suggests.
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          Jul 6 2011: My problem with religion as a moral compass is that religion doesn't (in principal) change over time. Our morality on the other hand has and we have seen some spectacular changes in what we perceive as ethical and moral. Was it a rigid religious compass guiding us all the way or might it have been a vast array of other things? Let's look at animal ethics. What has a bigger impact on our feelings about how we should treat animals, the realization that we share ancestry and what this means in terms of animal suffering? Or the Biblical idea that we are the stewards of the Earth and other animals are here to serve us?

          Sure, your immediate response might be that in another religion, so and so is said about animals. Well, which dogma, if any, are we to trust over which other dogmas? If we make that choice, aren't we applying a sort of morality that is already within us?

          I absolutely refuse to give religion a total hegemony on questions of morality and I doubt that people actually do in day to day life, even if they claim they do (it's a popular idea [dare I say cliché?] that religion is a moral institution).

          But, maybe none of what I say matters, maybe I'm just blinded by my own tightly defined ideology.
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          Jul 6 2011: And Mattieu what has Einstein's suspicion of spooky action at a distance to do with the value and insight of his comment. It isn't valuable just because Einstein said it. It is valuable because it is profound in its own right.I wouldn't think of refuting a worthy statement you made with a retort that your socks don't match. .
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          Jul 6 2011: yes belief systems do not stay as fluid and dynamic and engaged with our critical thinking..that was hte point of my discussion on updating our belief systems..we have to do that for ourselves as individuals..institutions are pitifully slow to change

          Case in point..all through TED the millitant atheists are still yammering on about teaching creationism in public schools ( which was NEVER TRUE..they were attemting to get Intelligent Deisgn into school curriculum..only a few districst tried that and ACLU (CivilLiberties Union) who are right on top of this secured what was obvious in the court opinion donkey's years go that "intelligent Deisgn"is not science and violates separation of church and state when taught in piublic schools.So time for an update. the Civil Librties Union is on top of this..no threat, no trend..no problem.
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          Jul 6 2011: It's not the statement I'm replying to, its your elevation of it. You give it too much importance, and hope other people will too, precisely because it comes from Albert Einstein. I'm just pointing out that Einstein is a man and what really matters is the science he provided that worked. Please reply to my post, three posts up.
        • Jul 6 2011: Lindsay,

          You said: "which was NEVER TRUE..they were attemting to get Inteeligent Deisgn into schoolcurriculum"

          Sorry to break these news to you, but:

          1. They did attempt to put religion into science curricula.
          2. Once that failed they attempted to disguise their religion as "creation science."
          3. Once that failed and "creation science" was shown to be the creationism it truly is, they disguised their beliefs and repackaged into "intelligent design."

          They failed at that too. ID is 100%, pure creationism. Of the worst kind because it is a lie, thus charlatanry.

          They are still very active at it. Now they jump from "teach the controversy" (the only controversy is their ideology and fantasy-land views against science. That is not something to teach as if it were scientific controversy), to "teach scientific evidence against evolution," which they want to supplement with their twisted evidence against straw-men of evolutionary theory, where they try and redefine evolution into something they can attack, or they try and redefine science trying hard to either exclude evolution or include creationism. All good reasons for militant atheism. Otherwise who will denounce them for what they are?

          I am all for respect. But I will not respect whomever does not respect me back. I am not talking about direct insults, but about the plain lies they tell to their followers, which they repeat as if they were "gospel truth." You exemplified my point exactly. You think that their goal was never to teach religion but "intelligent design." That means they misinformed you about the history, and about what ID is. Thus.
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          Jul 6 2011: Lindsay, I am confused, are you saying Creationism and intelligent design are two distinct things? Because they're not.

          America has one of the lowest percentage of people who accept the theory of evolution in the West and if you ask me, as an American, I think it's a disgrace. You can pretend it's not a real problem, but it is. You have Republican politicians who don't accept it. I'll de damned if you can find any Conservative politician in France who is a Creationist, but I could easily name a few in America.
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          Jul 6 2011: @matthieu & jim re is there an ongoing threat that creationist will inflitarte public schools?

          Although I am deeply troubled by the corruption of our consitution by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision, I basically have confidence that the creationists can demand whatever hhey want, school board by school board and say whatever they want about the ACLU and many many other who will,in America at least, uphold the separation of church and state.

          I am not worried about creationists infiltrating our public education system .I took a very quick look at the history of cases and actions on the creationsim/intelligent design actions adopted by school boards..they all seemed to be in bible belt or cultural centers of various non maintream religious groups. So in those areas more likely that member s of a school board might also be creationists.

          But even in these far reaches of America, the constitution applies. Separation of church and state applies. It is straight out unconsittional as is intelligent design

          .@ whoever asked do I think creationism and intelligent design are the same thing?

          Well I'm not interested enough in either to argue that distinction, I am just grateful that neither will be taught in any public school in America...at least not for long.. consittional lawyers and the ACLU will catch up with them and they will.

          And to make what has been my larger point from the beginning..the constituency in America at least to rigorously uphold separation of church and state ( and that really is the core issue isn't it?) is much broader thanDawkinists and gnu -atheists..its' all Americans who are guaranteed the protections of our consitution.

          When you are advocating for something..frame your strategy. your outreach, your."brand" to include the broadest ;possible. specturm of "like affected persons". In America on speration f church and state that is all of us.anyone to the contrary simply over ruled and out manoueverd by our constitution.
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          Jul 6 2011: @ matthieu I absolutely refuse to accept religion as a moral compass ( not an exact quote..sorry..these three indent threads are difficult)

          Matthieu,

          In this reply you are using "religion" to include all about religon through the ages that has been violent, divisive .about the supremacy of one group over another. My point (and the implication of Einstein's broader standrd for "religion as auinversal expression of humanity") os these things don't serve humanity..don't wokr in a pluaristic modern society, have nothing to do with "moral expression" , stewardship for others, stewardship for our fragile earth. In my own personal sense of religions fundamental connection to humanity I don't honor as "religious expression" anything that doesn't serve life..serve life that is here. serve life that will inherit the earth.What was important to Einstein,, what is important to me isn't whether any one believes in God or not. It's how they live their lives. What they say, what they do to serve life.

          In my definition of religio it is the moral compass that matters..whether you are atheist, buddhist, sufi, muslim, chistian, jew, humanist, cultural ethicist. That was the whole point of Einstein's wonderful address at Princeton Theological Seminary on May 19, 1939.

          Belief systems are personal. We each build our own..Knowngly or unkowingly. W are respomsble for the content of our belief systems. We can't explain and shoudn't have to defnd that to anyone. We shouldn't be held to account for the content of our belief suystem so long as it is apprent in our lives..in what we actually say and do that we serve life, that we have a moral compass..
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          Jul 6 2011: And you still haven't replied to my post about why religion is the most awful of moral compasses (which is, after all, the main point of contention in this thread). That's what I'm interested in.
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          Jul 6 2011: "I absolutely refuse to give religion a total hegemony on questions of morality and I doubt that people actually do in day to day life, even if they claim they do." - myself

          Not an exact quote indeed, your misquote alters the meaning of my sentence. Also you once again refuse to address the core of my argument and repeat something that you've already said three times (I can read, thanks), namely that I'm looking at all the bad in religion when devising my answer and failing to see the moral compass hidden in all that.

          Even ignoring religion's bad history (and that's asking me to ignore a lot), I still don't see it as the moral compass you claim it to be. No matter how you re-brand the word 'religion' (I'm getting tired of these silly semantic games, religion has a pretty specific definition and there some things it just isn't) it just cannot stand for all the morals of our society and the rationale behind some of them. Think again about my example about animal ethics. What about our environmental responsibilities? were they not spurred on by such things as our realisation of the finiteness of the Earth as revealed to us by such things as Apollo 8's photos of Earth? What about today's ethical issues? Can we simply wave them away with a good scriptural passage or do we need to reflect on these problems based on our current knowledge-base?0

          Our moral compasses are societies, ideas, people ahead of their time. Our moral compasses are knowledge and the free-thought power we gain from these. Our moral compasses are certainly not to be found in millennia-old texts or some sort of unfounded spirituality.
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        Jul 6 2011: I simply didn't understand the context of any of that... Sounds like a lot of mixed cliches.
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          Jul 6 2011: What makes no sense?

          Do you think, Jimmy, the part of us that loves, that feels moved when people are hungry, tha tengages us with our pets and our communities, that frames our sense of justice, morality and ethics arises from the same aspect of us that is pure mind, pure reason?

          Pretty basic stuff that as human beings these are two very different "operating systems" ..not in conflict with one another..both unique and valuable expressions of each of us as human.

          By the way, if you read my writings here or elsewhere, one thing you'll notice is I never quote cliche or speak from cliche. All of my thinking and speaking is original..the product of a life time of independent critical thinking...which is hard work..all that ongoing learning and growing...Same of Einstein I am now just learning.
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        Jul 6 2011: Lindsay,

        Yes, I think that the "moral compass" comes from pure reasoning, after all It's to everyone's advantage to follow good moral codes...

        I find it sad that many don't think that they are connected and that reason is somehow "evil"...
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          Jul 6 2011: Following a moral code is thus (to an extent, some specific moral issues are still relative to their social context) an evolutionarily advantageous strategy, with or without religion. There's a reason we observe moral behavior in non-human animals who are devoid of dogma. The golden rule is alive and well in all matter of species. Religious just has a knack for re-branding what's already out there as its own. I stand firmly against that.
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          Jul 6 2011: @ Jimmy Moral Compass comes from pure reasoning????????Kindness comes from pure reasoning?????? weeping at the beauty of black sky full of stars comes from pure reason????
          poetry, music and art come from pure reason?

          Jimmy, next time life touches you unexpectedly think on this and see if you think still that the part of us that hopes, dreams, is compassionate is in any way related to pure reason. In eveyr human being these are two different operating systems. The stranger who runs out onto the street to keep a child from being hit by a car is operating from pure reason????.It's not a sustainable proposition Jimmy.
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          Jul 6 2011: It is sustainable when one is aware of both systems in oneself and can use them simultaneously...with or without religion:>)
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          Jul 6 2011: colleen..yes great point and that is the goal for each of us..to have all of our inner faculties, mind, heart,will honed totheir highest possible state and working harmonisously and in balance with one another..but that' another conversation..what are the inner faculties which define hmanity.how do we grow them? Want to start it?
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          Jul 6 2011: @ colleen entirely separate..

          yes, important clarification..I didn't mean not working simulataneously..I meant only each as a distinct operating system. .
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        Jul 6 2011: Yes..and the realm of human imagination is an entirely separte operating system from the realm of reason.both funadamental aspects of humanity..bot are needed to have community..to govern ousrselves to prioritize our goals yo be a reference for what we say and do.

        the faculty of reason and the faculty of imagination or heart are separte and equal..neither is inferiror to the other both are needed to complete any individual person..to live in community with others. That is the whole point of Einstein's very wise and profound insight.
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          Jul 6 2011: If you prefer to keep them seperated Lindsay, it is a choice you make. If one is aware of all aspects of our "self" we can connect with many "operating systems" simultaneously. As you say Lindsay..."needed to complete ANY individual person"...with or without religion:>)
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        Jul 6 2011: Jim, most of the time I agree with you as well :)

        And it wasn't unintentional, I was thinking about it and decided that I didn't feel like putting the energy to write it down...
        Too much time on this conversation has made me unmotivated and sloppy in my responses, for that I apologize... I will try to do better.

        Edit: Morals come from evolution, I agree. Evolution is rational... or is that too far fetched?
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          Jul 6 2011: evolution can become devolution..in other words it is just a process of adpating for survival..

          also by the way, I saw a science documentary on the structure and function of cellsthat is really beginning to question how change we see as "evolutionary comes about". I have to find the cite and will bring it here if I can track it down. My recollection ( and I have the meory of an elephant) is tey observed cells copying eachother in the living organism..e,e one cell would "think up" a better stratgey for coping with some threat or stress and then one or two others would copy the change of the first cell and then the majority of cells would eventually follow. In otherwords the implication was that these chnages that are eventually inherited are constant and dyanmic within a particular individual. It was facinating and it did really change a lot about how we have tgought of evolution ocurring.

          Interesting case in point.. the son of a frieind of mine was born a hemophliac and unlike many hemopliacs never became contaminated wby HIV tainted blood supplies. At Harvard they studied his blood and found it contained a totally unique and inexplicable immunity to aids. That factor is not prewsent in nay of his children or in his parents..

          Just like science can so far only understand about 5%??) of the matter in the universe and is just at the edge of understanding the other 95%..we as complex organism are far from fully understood by science so far.

          So the unknown and unkowable is always present. The only difference is science deals with the physical content of the universe and what drives us to be heroes or adventurers or to undertake th eimpossible against all odds isn't about the material stuff of the universe. It's not less. It's just a different process using different faculties.
        • Jul 6 2011: Jim,
          Jimmy isn't being sloppy...he's just "mixing thing up" Those are the rules of the game now (we've moved the goalposts)... science and atheism mean beyond a shadow of a doubt.... approximately the same thing....

          ....... is then... Atheism "unguided" or is it..." rational in the sense that the laws of physics are rational."...if there is no "conscious reasoning" in the progress of evolution (as you claim) and ... as the ideology "atheism" must also be .... a part of the "unguided" process of evolution.... as it also is within the stream of the evolutionary process of all things ....right...?
          conclusion thus being... atheism has no conscious reasoning
          .... but I'm sure you knew that....
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          Jul 6 2011: @ They did try to bring creationism in.

          .(cite on that??? what I saw in my quick sercah is thatin one case the effort to do that was straight out rebuffed andthe settlement was a statement on the csience book that evolution is a"theory"( we could all go around on that)

          The point is, the fact is they can try all they want but they won't prevail here.The ACLU is on top of. If it's happening elsewhere I would assume separation of church and state provisions would work as well as they do here.

          There is no threat that this will be taught in U.S. schools.

          It's a red herring. Their efforts and seiries are meaningless..have no effect on us. It's only if separation of church and state fails, which it hasn't yet, that it becomes a concern.

          Our consiuition fends it off.the ACLU has this one covered.
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        Jul 6 2011: Lindsay, (I'll take the time for once)
        Maybe you think that I'm a cold calculating "¤##"E"¤ but I can assure you that by most in my vicinity I'm looked upon as a compassionate person and I do believe that it's one of the most important qualities that a person can have.
        I do however also think that reason, logic and whichever word you'd like to put on it is one of the most important qualities as well. And that they are connected, not separated.
        I'm looking at morals from a evolutionary perspective and therefore long going reasoning must be the explanation for our moral codes...

        I just want to demonstrate how I think that morals come from reason for me (when I think about it intellectually)
        Kindness: It's an altruistic behavior, I treat other the way I'd like to be treated, I have much to gain from this.
        Night-sky: It triggers my imagination about what might be out there, but I also know of the odds and I've applied reason to my imagination which makes it even better for me. It makes me think about my size and place in the universe, I could not think this without reason.
        I'd run into the street because of altruism (once again)...

        Hope that I've redeemed some of my stature as a thinking and compassionate person...
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          Jul 6 2011: You certainly didn't have to "redeem" yourself Jimmy, because I for one sense your compassion. I agree...everything is connected...not separated. To realize that, one HAS to have compassionate understanding of oneself:>)
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          Jul 6 2011: Colleen again ( these replies aren'tl ining up.)

          of course they're connected and inform and feed each other..hopefully all the parts of us that make us "us" work well together..in balance

          @Jimmy (what I think of you) part of that balance is never speaking or thinking from judgment,, I have no opinion as to your character..a few though about the intellectual rigor you have brought to this thread..but hey we are not fully resourced in every momentI think we are on the same page on this point
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          Jul 6 2011: Well Lindsay, maybe you should look at your own intellectual rigour (and your spelling which has become out of control for some reason). You've agreed with Colleen on points where she clearly states that religion is not necessarily needed for the purpose you're giving it. I also still want you to address that post I made earlier where I used the example of animal ethics and how religion brings nothing valuable to the table whereas our realization that we share ancestry does.

          You cannot ask religion to update itself (I think you suggested this somewhere), that goes against the very point of religion as a sacred dogma of immutable truths.
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          Jul 6 2011: matthieu,

          (1) It's not my spelling it's my fingers..I have neural damage to both hands from super aggressive chemo/radiation..as you may have noticed..I do go back over my comments and try to edit to correct typos..and I do apologize if a given comment stands uncorrected for too long.

          (2)There was no lapse in intellectural rigor(that was addressed to Jimmy not Colleen) in my exchanges with Colleen nor in what either of us said and we were both on the same page..perhaps you just didn't follow?.Colleen and I had no disagreement..she mistook my distinction between the basis for reason and the basis for moral compass as suggesting the two did not work together and inform one another which in several replies to her I have affirmed. I am pretty sure Colleen and I are on the same page on this..at least as far as what she has said here. Pehaps you missed the subtlety of her very good point?

          And the point of my replies?

          (3) As to your question about whether evolution informs our morality on humane treatment of animals more than religion..it's just not a meaningful question to me.

          ..nor do I think it would be to the overwhelming majority of people if you put that question to them. YOU may go around interpreting every facet of your life, every experience through Darwinism..but I think that is not so deeply ingrained in most as a primary "lens on the world"

          ..And to me. once again, once again, once again..the point is..that doesn't matter.My whole point from the beginning..and Einstein;s point is that its moral compass that matters. If you are kind and compassionate towards animals..I don't care how you got there or what keeps you there..many different paths of awareness lead there.and none require belief in God.and getting there is all that matters.That is the WHOLE POINT
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          Jul 6 2011: @ Matthieu Can we expect religion to update itself

          Can't argue with you on that one. insitutional religion is .very slow to change, often to the detriment of followers..often over burdened with doctrine and dogma that has strayed so far from the underlying orignal wisdoms and teachings as to be unrecognizable.

          I don't think any sensible thinking moral person could defend any of that.

          But we as individuals can' t blame institutions for the content of our own "belief systems".. As Colleeen says,, critical thinking has to engage..the two have to work togther.

          Whenever we accept and live from any ideology that we "swallow whole" we are in deep trouble. We as individuals don't have to wait for organizations to change to update our own belief systems. That is what we explored in my conversation on "Updating Our Belief Systems"
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          Jul 7 2011: I'm sorry to hear about the neural damage, I applaud your determination to keep participating on TEDConversation considering that handicap.

          Are we agreed then that essentially the moral compass is independent of religion since it can manifest itself within and without it? My illustration with Darwinism by the way, was specific to animal ethics, the bigger picture just being that there are many things that constitute our moral compass. But I think we're actually agreed on that. I'm not sure I see the relevance of pointing out religion as being one chip in a wider moral compass. I still think religion is a pretty poor part of our moral compass.
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        Jul 6 2011: Jim, I know... I should just but out for the moment...
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          Jul 7 2011: @matthieu "Are we agreed then that essentially the moral compass is independent of religion since it can manifest itself within and without it? "

          Jim,Jimmy,Matthieu,


          No arguement from me that so much of what has been said and done through history in the name of religions violent, divisive, spreading hatred, not serving humanity or mankind. Intolerable ,not acceptable, cannot continue. I agree.

          Freedom of religion was not intended to protect or honor that. The freedom to engage in religious practice does not include those practices which undermine “the common good”. That’s what my Conversation on the limits of religious freedom was all about

          http://www.ted.com/conversations/3357/what_are_the_limitations_on_fr.html

          I read a lot of Richard Dawkins quotes last night. Overall didn't resonate with me but I am on the same page on absolute unequivocal intolerance for what is done in the name of religion that threatens the peace, well being and safety of the world. I got there about half way through our discussion on the 1967 Palestine/Isreali borders and posted it as a TED value at our common ground survey ( www.goo.gl/mod/0073). Please go vote if you share that value. I think it is a TED Idea worth spreading..we can all stand together on that.

          And , as you will see at my discussion on limitations on religious freedom Canada and California offer us the beginnings of a political, legislative solution that we can all push for as a basis for U.S. policy as well. That is something we can all fight for all over the wolrd as we fight for protection of universal human rights. That is a TED Idea worth spreading.

          What I was offering by reference to an elaboration on Einstein’s wonderful insight is basically a universal definition of what we will honor as “religion” and protect under “freedom of religion” A totally new and universal definition of what we mean by “religion” when we speak of “freedom of religion” in our modern pluralistic global community.
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      Jul 6 2011: If quoting, try and see the whole picture please (A Skeptic artist once pointed out that there are a lot of fake Einstein quotes)

      Here are some Einstein quotes.

      "I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist."
      on http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

      more quote:
      I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.
      Letter to Guy H. Raner Jr. (28 September 1949), from article by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1997)

      your quote (also in the wiki) seems to be disputed:
      http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/spinoza.html
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        Jul 6 2011: O yeah, I forgot where this all began and your comment just showing up like this seemed really weird ;P

        What do you mean by disputed Christophe? Does it seem true or false?
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          Jul 7 2011: @Chistophe "Could you rephrase your final paragraph? I do not quite understand what you intend to say...
          (I have the feeling it claims that religion can offer something unique that cannot be attained otherwise... If that is meant, I completely disagree, if not, I misunderstood) ?

          (1) religion as viewed by Einstein ( and me) is an expression of an inherently human faculty that is about our awareness of and compassion for all of life..Einstein argued and I agree that we miss imporant expressions of this inherent moral compass if we insist it has include a notion of God. If we exclude.Buddhists, Humanists, Naturalits ala Spinoza we overlook teachings that offer much in the way of guidance and unfolding of this important himan faculty. Simply..Relgion isn't just abut God and much ofwhat passes for "religion" isn't an expression of this faculty..dosn't foster its developmnet and growth ( my spin..)

          (2) science is also an expression of a uniquely human faculty..that of thinking .

          (3) they are not incompatible with one another

          (2) both are necessary, both should be fully developed and fully expressed in each of us.
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          Jul 7 2011: @ Jimmy:

          I don't know. It seems that Einstein did an interview, but that the quote was a slight paraphrasing.

          @ Lindsay:
          I could agree from the perspective if religion is seen as "what binds us" (religare is Latin for "to connect")
          As such a scientific religion might even exist. Though I don't think that desire-able.
          I would name that a form of humanistic religion. maybe the Brights can be called that?
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        Jul 6 2011: This one, Christophe, is from his 1939 address at Princeton Theological Seminary a real event a well documented event.readily ascertainable

        I try to be meticulous about my sources ( I will double check though Christophe..they cited the 1939 princeton address and I am quite familiar with that..and I usually quote directly from that if I am quoting that paper. I will re read the entire address, which is undisputed...I did sort of hesitate because I hadn't recalled him reefrring to himself as an atheist. in that address

        .certainly the thrust of the quote is entirely consistent with the further development of the idea that "religion" is best understood without reference to God but with reference to morality, dreams, etc. etc. and the science is only about the discovery of how the material world works.)
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        Jul 6 2011: Hi Christophe..here is one of many quotes from the source I have been referring to..his May 19, 1939 Address on Science and Religion at The Prnceton Theological Seminary..a real and and well documented: event with verifiable spefic content

        :"For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capabIe, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is, and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values. The knowledge of truth as such is wonderful, but it is so little capable of acting as a guide that it cannot prove even the justification and the value of the aspiration toward that very knowledge of truth. Here we face, therefore, the limits of the purely rational conception of our existence"

        . same point. as in my original quote but this is indisputable and actually much more clearly to the point .my source (cite below) is not a complete transcript..and does not include the text in which he referred to himself as an atheist so for now I agree..attribution unclear, will keep tracking it though

        my source is .http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm
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        Jul 6 2011: read that chrisophe.

        .doesn't shed any light on the particular quote at issue.

        Einstein does refer to Spinoza in the Princeton Seminary address ( may 19, 1939)..see my cite above and again it is making the same point..that the idea of religion as expressing only a belief in God is not inclusive enough..because it excludes Spinoza and Buddhists and humanists.etc. That is undisputed

        .Also, as you know. we all put different spins and different exact words to the same idea..so it is is possible that the quotes in your link above about Spinoza ere made at different times Certainly the one's at the link you gave are completely consistent with those in the Princeton address ( and also in his style and syntax)

        .I have read a great deal of many good thinkers on religion and spirtuality and have never seen anyone speak with such simple clarity on science and religion and in particular on the the fundamental connection between humanity and religion..religion that is about serving life, caring for others, caring for our world

        And therefore also an excellent demonstration of how disciplined clear thinking can also inform what we allow into our belief systems..
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          Jul 6 2011: I have the impression our opinions are (in this case) not very far apart (though different), so I do not wish to polarize.

          I do wish to draw your attention that quoting someone or claiming literacy are arguments of authority (i.e. logical fallacies). Which does not mean that the argument cannot be valid...

          Could you rephrase your final paragraph? I do not quite understand what you intend to say...
          (I have the feeling it claims that religion can offer something unique that cannot be attained otherwise... If that is meant, I completely disagree, if not, I misunderstood)
      • Jul 7 2011: Chris,
        Can you read my last comment to Jimmy?
    • Jul 7 2011: Hi Lindsay,

      I've never heard the concept of religion be more elegantly explained than Einstein did in that address. It's making me re-think my position. Thank you for the link!!
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        Jul 7 2011: Hello Austin, nice to see you again..we have not been in the same place at TED here for awhile.

        As I said in my comment a few minutes ago to Matthieu Jinmmy and Jim I am suggesting that we need a clearer definition of what we will honor and protect in our moder global pluralistic society when we speak of "freedom of religion".

        Clearly it cannot include nor can we tolerate all the violence, divisiveness, and harm that has been done through the ages in the name of "religion".I was suggesting Einstein's wonderfully broad idea about what religion is in essence as a starting point for such a universal definition of "religion" that is not based on belief in God but based on the actualization of humanity, of each of us as moral and compassionate beings

        .I certainly think that we need a universal definition of "religion" that expresses what we will protect under "freedom of religion". The united States could cetrainly do more under the terms of our constitutionand California has deminstrated that in their law. Canada has given us a wonderful model that could serve as a global model for circumscribing "religious practice" when it is expressed as criminal acts.. Both avoid defining defining "religion". Both are focused on hate speech and inciting violence and maybe thatis the way to go.

        But just as a universal compass I think we also need some kind of consensus on what we mean by "religion" when we speak of "freedom of religion" as a universal human right. I am with Einstein that the most important element of that definition is not belief in God or gods but the inherent moral compass towards compassion and stewardship. My definition of "religion" like Einsteins honors Buddhists, Humanists, Ethical Culturists and Spinoza's naturalists above any orgnaized religion that is not equally free of violaence and harm to others, to life.I am suggesting this "redefinition" of religion to serve our modern pluralsitic global community. as a TED Idea worth Spreading.
        • Jul 7 2011: Lindsay,

          Yes! It's been a while, glad to see you again too.

          I don't have much to add. I concur that religion is no excuse for inciting violence, hate speech, and etc. I'm certainly alright with freedom of religion, but what exactly qualifies as acceptable religious activity should be scrutinized. Faith alone should not be able to allow people to justify normally unjustifiable actions.

          "Canada has given us a wonderful model that could serve as a global model..."

          I'm unfamiliar with their model, but you've sparked my curiosity. I'll look into it!
      • Comment deleted

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          Jul 7 2011: Jim,

          To put it another way I was syaing that what passes for "religion" is a lot of stuff that is most likely not what the founding fathers here had in mind when they set up "freedom of religion".
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    • Jul 3 2011: Jimmy,
      Hvordan har du det? Vi er nesten naboer vi! Det er lov å commentere på din egen TED debatt..... så hvorfor er du er du så stille.....?
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        Jul 4 2011: Hi Daniel, I'll reply in English although I do appreciate the Scandinavian... I simply haven't had time to comment yet.
  • Jul 1 2011: AN INTRODUCTION:
    Atheism is not an answer but the only way of rationaly think on the needs of gods.

    Gods are the old answer of people to the need of believe in something.
    Atheism is the acceptance that the need-to-believe is not a reason to invent a god, but the reason to start solving that need-of-sense-of-life. Finding your objectives of personal development in life avoid the need of gods because your life become full of sense.

    Holy books were writen by human hands motivated by human fears and needs. There is the proof. Humans writing and inventing stories that solve their lack of answers. Then others followed the crowd. Others (in plural) even believe to be sons of those gods and others join the movement.

    THE PROOF:
    Holy books were writed by people, churches were built by people, stories were told by people. That are the facts and the proof.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:
    Accept the evolution on thinking. Accept that societies get rational solutions of almost all old mysterys.
    Accept we live in an era of knowledge not of misticism.

    Open your minds to the fact that gods never existed. Remember that only were people telling good stories. That's the proof.
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    Jul 29 2011: Hello everybody!

    There's only 23 hours left until this conversation closes and I'd just like to make this "pre-closing statement", you're all welcome to do the same!

    I've had a lot of fun and learned a lot form reading your thoughts and discussing Atheism and many other topics on this conversation. I'm astonished by the mental endurance that many of you have shown here.
    And I would like to thank all of you for giving each other insight into thoughts that we (or at least I) didn't know existed.

    It's going to be quite a challenge for me to make a good closing statement to this conversation so I would really appreciate if you'd like to share your thoughts on what this conversation has meant to you and what you've learned.

    I'll wait a couple of weeks before writing the closing statement, you are welcome to Email me (as always) if you wish to help with it!
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    Jul 26 2011: In my opinion, these kinds of debates are futile.
    We know what an Atheist is, and we know what a Theist is.
    And we also know that they're never going to agree on certain issues.
    Lets just live in harmony, y'all..
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      Jul 26 2011: Actuallt Adam, I've learned a lot from this conversation!
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        Jul 26 2011: Oh good, I take it back!
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          Jul 27 2011: You too Adam can learn/teach a lot here if you wish to participate!
          I know that it's a big conversation and you might think that every argument has been said, but that's no reason not to share your thoughts on the topic!
          I'd love to have you here the last three days!
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        Jul 27 2011: Yeah, I wish I had been involved from the beginning. But there's wwaaayyyy too much to read now :P
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          Jul 28 2011: When I first joined conversations I also felt the need to read everything there was on a conversation but I found that there's really no need to do that!
          Just share your thoughts and there is sure to be some debate!
    • Jul 27 2011: Yup, they are futile for the most part. But I get to learn how to better articulate what I know. I have also learned a few more things. Like that many dinosaurs had a different kind of lung than birds. Then cosmology, I never got interested on that before, now I know much more than I would otherwise, and it is darn interesting. :)
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        Jul 28 2011: If anyone wants to give me a short summary...... :P
        haha
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    Jul 26 2011: Does everyone here accept that the most intelligent human ape has reached the end of the evolutionary process and there will be no further progress in intelligence ?
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      Jul 26 2011: Ehm, no.... Where are you going at?
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        Jul 26 2011: Hi Jimmy..........I am not going at anything. Just wanted to see and you to think.
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          Jul 26 2011: I do think... I think that you're trying to prove a point but that I'm completely missing it...
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          Jul 26 2011: I'm missing it too Helen. It looks like you're saying that we have reached our full potential as humans? I tend to think/feel that the next stage of our evolution is just beginning:>)
          How does your statement fit into proving/disproving atheism? Sorry...I'm confused:>)
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        Jul 26 2011: Jimmy, Colleen, Adam.............Hey you guys, you know that there is no PROOF for or against God/Atheism....How could you think that I would provide some kind of argument for/against these beliefs. I only got to thinking and realized that there may be another evolutionary change of such a degree that it would bring about another paradigm and what the implications of that would be. Is evolution forever ongoing ? I have never seen the possibility addressed. It seems that academia theorizes about everything except that and no I do not think that we could not advance in that category. Maybe I should have started another thread ?
        • Jul 27 2011: Yup, evolution is forever going. No way to stop it. My spider-sense indicates that you might have the wrong idea about evolution though. Officially, evolution is defined (I think poorly, but that's what happens with definitions, they always miss a lot) as changes in allele frequencies in populations. (Alleles are versions of genes, like for eye color, there would be green, blue and brown eye alleles.) Changes in alleles in population happen by mere accident even if the species overall changes little.

          Now, of course, under selection pressures changes in allele frequencies cause changes in the species, and so on ... anyway, the point is, that there continues to be evolution does not mean we as humans will become smarter, but that we just continue to change (in terms of allele frequencies, maybe in some physical appearance too). Then, technology is also evolution, only epigenetic evolution, that is evolution where the information changes are outside of our genetics. In that sense we have become way much "smarter." Our collective knowledge is much more. That does not mean we are smarter as individuals, but that our species has lots at its disposal ...

          Anyway, now I am just rambling, but hopefully you get the point: natural evolution is not always "progress."
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      Jul 26 2011: Look at technology as part of our evolutionary process, that's what many of us do ;D
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      E G

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      Jul 27 2011: Hi Helen and everybody:
      "Does everyone here accept that the most intelligent human ape has reached the end of the evolutionary process and there will be no further progress in intelligence ?" Do you talk only about progressing in intelligence ? Isn't it somehow related with our body/ physical progression ? because in this sense I think yes :"there will be no further progress in intelligence".
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        Jul 27 2011: Edward............Yes I was speaking of greater intellect and how that might be possible. In a way it is related to body because after all the more developed the brain, the more we can learn.
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          E G

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          Jul 27 2011: Yes .... and it's hard to believe now(at least for me) that after I don't know how much time we will be something else bodily and thus intellectually.
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    Jul 19 2011: (Re-edited comment after deletion by admin. Just so that my views are still up on here for anyone else to read)

    I have been a science and engineering student through graduate school and even now I try to keep abreast of the latest discoveries and theories. At the same time, I have studied the mythologies of Greeks, Romans, Celts, Vikings, Native Americans, Egyptians and Indians. I have consistently found recurring and identical storylines. The names are different but the specific situations, the underlying intent and concepts are utterly identical. What does that indicate? Vastly separated peoples having identical themes? This indicates that there is a well-defined and well-understood language of myth that is so fundamental to the human psyche across the world. Adolf Bastian pioneered the concept of elementary ideas "Elementargedanke" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Bastian where he shows the 'psychic unity of mankind', which influenced Jung's theory of the 'collective unconscious'.

    It is not mumbo-jumbo if you know how to read it. If Newton were to time-travel to present-day, he would immediately declare relativity theory as mumbo-jumbo unless someone explained everything.

    I can refer you to Joseph Campbell and his book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" or "The Power of Myth", but I'm sure you will consider it, because I know you are not so dogmatic about "the scientific method" and close-minded.

    :-)
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    Jul 19 2011: Dear TED Conversations admin,

    I don't think you have judged me correctly. I did not make a direct personal attack on those two gentlemen, but was only trying to point out the archetype of such individuals. Moreover, if you carefully look at the comment of Mr. Gabo Moreno:

    " Abhiram,

    I have not bothered answering to you because yours is a set of rhetorical figures somewhat based on some loose understanding of science, logic, and what-not. You will always manage to invest it of some sound of deep wisdom, and of philosophical rigour that is just not there. I can agree with many of those loose things you say, but that's exactly the trick and the issue. There is no reason for the layers of mysticism. "Science will never know," "there is an unexplainable ground." "myths are figurative representations of some fact," leaving it so open to interpretation that it could mean from "myths refer to real gods" to "myths refer to real things that people have mistook for gods." Nothing, again, but rhetoric trying to pass for wisdom. Hyperboles, probably in the hopes to sustain a mystical belief in some unfathomable god. A beautifully adorned vase with no bottom. Mumbo-jumbo indeed."

    He unreasonably attacks my views in scathing terms. His attitude is of supreme condescension that his views are somehow superior to my views. He does not try to approach my views from a path of curiosity, or discussion, but from "high above". And if you look at his further replies, he has a habit of inserting in quotation marks words that I have never said, but it appears as if I said them.

    On the other hand, Mr. Jim Lloyd is respectful even in disagreeing and as you can see my replies to him have also been respectful.

    I will want to post this email (edited) on the website to defend myself. I hope you understand and will not delete it.

    Thanks,
    Abhiram.
    • Jul 19 2011: Abhiram,

      You could have kept your answer to the TED admin a bit cleaner, but you had to "guess" both my "intentions" and "superiority attitude," just as you "guessed" my "science-ist dogmatic fundamentalist linear thinking." None of which you said, and none of which is "condescending," I am sure. I must have imagined it. Of course, that you mentioned that as an answer to me does not mean it refers to me, despite it started with "You typify the category of people I call science-ists ..." I should go back to school and re-study semantics, because there is something I am just not getting. Silly me. Now, I am sure, your reference to my attitude and "false" quotations (like those I made here), do not refer to me either. Right? Please forgive me, I shall learn this very slowly, because it is not clicking. Must be that linear science-ist analytical thinking that lacks the synthesis of mysticism.

      At least in the comment that was deleted I admitted my mistake at unnecessarily guessing your level of knowledge. I also admit that I did not look (and will not look) at your comments with any respect, and that's because they deserve none. I rather call mumbo-jumbo by its proper name (nothing unreasonable about it) than sweeten it up so much that you would miss the point (yet, you still missed a few things, ahem, "grossly and obscenely").

      As I said, you can disguise your comments as if reasonable and wise. But I can see through them. Many people might be impressionable by mumbo-jumbo. I just can't be. Such is life. I should have stayed away like my first instinct indicated. Lesson learned.
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    Jul 16 2011: I suppose all that would say is that to prove an atheist exists I merely need to start a post claiming there is a God as a fact and watching the complaints roar in. Disproving atheism is a little more difficult as an ideology for it most certainly exists.
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    Jul 14 2011: Here's a new line of thought with inspiration from Eckhart, the 13th century German "heretic".

    God is not God without the universe. The universe "created" God as much as God "created" the universe. Just as a father becomes so only when he has a son. The son is his father's father, ie, creator. God does not have a random free will. His will is the laws of physics that govern the universe. God's Godhood does not extend beyond the universe. Thus he cannot be merciful or give grace, because that is a violation of his own laws. If then the laws of physics are sufficient, why is there a God concept?

    The God concept is an unchanging absolute platform on which the laws of physics that WE discovered, operate. The one flaw of the laws that WE formulated is that it's based on the logical tracing of effect to its cause. Now it's clear fact that tracing of effect to cause is an "absurdum ad infinitum" process. Every cause has its own cause, etc. As a result, what we call understanding the universe is just more naming with names. No doubt our experiments will find "evidence" because we name that evidence for what we have formulated. Moreover, the laws of physics are local - they are different within black holes than within nuclei. Physicists are working on the Grand Unification Theory and the TOE... well, what are these but attempts to find an unchanging, absolute platform on which the local laws operate?

    Except, this logical back-stepping will not lead to a final theory, because of its very nature. This is where the ultimate use of the God concept comes in. Meanwhile, the talk about the "God of the Gaps" is so naive. The gaps only keep increasing with more and more theories.
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        Jul 15 2011: Jim, is it not a reasonable thought that logic is a never-ending process? Our scientific approach is logical. Although it is good for explaining intermediate phenomena, it cannot arrive at a "final" or "ultimate" explanation. With each generation, newer unexplained phenomena will be discovered. The same thing that happened at the beginning of the 20th century will happen again - physicists in the 1900's thought that Newtonian mechanics, Maxwellian electromagnetic theory and thermodynamics explained everything between the three of them. I'm just saying let's not underestimate the content of the universe. We don't even know the volume of the unknown, we can't be presumptuous about closing in the gaps so soon.

        "Everything else just sounded like mystical mumbo jumbo"

        Well, is it because the language is not linear-logical, but "Mobius strip-like"? I tried the best I could to express what I felt. Outside of our mental systems, there is nothing logical about the universe. So, I feel that our science should just have that as a wallpost, and then continue scientific study. All I want is an acceptance by scientists that they are working within a finitely-explainable field, and that there is an unexplainable ground that will remain forever.

        " redefine God in a way ... If so, do you acknowledge that the God of Abraham is myth?"

        I will put it this way: I do not believe in a patriarchal, linear, historical, morality-enforcing, worship-demanding God. Are you satisfied? :)

        Well, myth as in "myth", a figurative representation of some fact. Which will always involve some fictionalizing.
        • Jul 15 2011: Abhiram,

          I have not bothered answering to you because yours is a set of rhetorical figures somewhat based on some loose understanding of science, logic, and what-not. You will always manage to invest it of some sound of deep wisdom, and of philosophical rigour that is just not there. I can agree with many of those loose things you say, but that's exactly the trick and the issue. There is no reason for the layers of mysticism. "Science will never know," "there is an unexplainable ground." "myths are figurative representations of some fact," leaving it so open to interpretation that it could mean from "myths refer to real gods" to "myths refer to real things that people have mistook for gods." Nothing, again, but rhetoric trying to pass for wisdom. Hyperboles, probably in the hopes to sustain a mystical belief in some unfathomable god. A beautifully adorned vase with no bottom. Mumbo-jumbo indeed.
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        Jul 16 2011: Gabo,
        "because yours is a set of rhetorical figures somewhat based on some loose understanding of science, logic, and what-not" - You don't have enough information about me to make judgment about my understanding of science, logic and what-not only from the way I have chosen to express my views in this context. Your statements only show how grossly and obscenely you have missed my point. You typify the category of people I call "science-ists" who are just as equally dogmatic in upholding science as fundamentalist Christians and Muslims are in upholding their religions. You are not open to the possibility of parallel or circumferential explanations of the universe. It appears you are rabidly ignorant of the different ways of explaining the universe: the "essential" and the "descriptive". To give a "description" requires precisely defining terms and then using them - analysis - dissection - like science does. To give an "essence" requires taking the whole into consideration - synthesis - unification - finding commonality - like mysticism does. Although I don't claim "wisdom", I will say this much: wisdom is mystical in nature, whereas knowledge is scientific in nature. Wisdom is a synthesis of several SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES whereas science is an analytical list of several OBJECTIVE OBSERVATIONS.
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        Jul 16 2011: Jim:

        I'm disappointed that you have misunderstood me even after we've had similar discussions before.

        "whereas for some specific problem domains I think we have." -- Yes, that's because the problems have been defined to be specific, not open-ended. Chemistry does not ask beyond covalent bonds, Gibbs free energy or the quantum orbitals. So as far as chemistry is concerned it has arrived at ITS final solution. However, for areas like cosmology, quantum theory, topology, set theory, group theory, etc there are starting point assumptions, "axioms" and frontier point conclusions that are explanations unto themselves.

        Science "describes" the workings of things by going from observed effect to observed cause. I see two limitations there: 1) you are forced to stop somewhere in the chain of effect-to-cause and call the last observed cause the explanation. Is there a limit on observation? No, because you can continue to build finer and finer tools for observation. 2) How much of the universe is observable? We don't know. Example: dark matter & energy which is 70% of the universe, which we OBSERVE. As we build finer tools, we will be exposed to more universe, I suspect.

        See Planck units: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_units which are jokingly called "God's units". Quote from the article: "The strength of gravity is simply what it is and the strength of the electromagnetic force simply is what it is." So the buck stops there. Do you see that?

        That "simply is what it is" I call God.

        You know very well from other discussions with me that I don't believe in organized religion. So although I might be labeled an atheist, I refrain from calling myself that, because that will again become a dogma in itself, a religion in itself. It will make me mediocre.
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        Jul 16 2011: The Crusader:

        Thanks for your link. I will however say that I have probably read Asimov's sci-fi novels more religiously than you can ever imagine.

        I intensely admire Carl Sagan. Watch this youtube video "God and gods". Listen very carefully to Carl Sagan:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E-_DdX8Ke0
      • Jul 18 2011: I can't believe that my comment got deleted. I did nothing wrong. I called a pseudo-intelectual mumbo-jumber by his proper name. But no "ugly" words. I truly don't see why this deletion. But if my comment was considered insulting what about Abhiram's?

        Anyway my comment was beautiful and I will never understand what TED's rules might be. But I hereby protest to an unjustified comment deletion.
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        Jul 18 2011: Jim:
        Alright, I agree to not use the word "God" because my definition is very different from the definition that you are against. What I was trying to do is to give an analogy of an "ultimate unexplainable" in science, and say that "God" was conceived to be such an "ultimate unexplainable".

        I will make peace with you by saying this:
        1) I am not trying to discredit science, but only trying to look at its furthest logical conclusion.
        2) Logical method is infinite, and so scientific research is infinite. I am trying to reach a psychically satisfying endpoint for my own life.
        3) The truth discovered by science is relative, and will change with more research. It is not what I will experience from the depths of my being, but from observations of the external world.
        4) Mysticism is not objective truth, so in that sense it is "unscientific". But it is subjective experience, which is as real as I am. See TED talk:

        http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

        5) Science is a process of making discrete, while mysticism is a process of making continuous.
        6) Science needs clear definitions, but mysticism does not. Science is "left hemisphere" whereas mysticism is "right hemisphere" . See Dr. Taylor's experience in the above talk.

        7) I've been saying this again and again, but nobody seems to take it seriously: Science is ANALYSIS, mysticism is SYNTHESIS. Analysis aims to study details, synthesis aims to blur and unify details.

        8) I don't see a conflict between science and mysticism, but only as parallel paths.
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        Jul 19 2011: On synthesis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesis

        Quote from article: "In philosophy and science, a higher a priori process than analysis." Synthesis is what exists as a whole, before analysis breaks it down into convenient parts for specific detailed study. In Physics we have seen synthesis as an attempt to get back to the Whole from the Parts. We want a Grand Unified Theory. When two things, ideas or theories are combined there is a blurring of previous boundaries.

        In subjective "happy, blissful, trance" experiences, blurring of things happens. When blurring happens, you see things merging into one another, and things emerging from one another.

        Do you know what Meister Eckhart says about Mary: " Blessed art thou, Mary, daughter of thy son."

        According to the church that is blasphemy. But there is no religion there, just the realization of the ultimate unity of all things. When Jill Taylor said she couldn't tell the boundaries between her body and the wall, she is having such an experience of unity.

        "The reason I mistrust mysticism is that it decoupled from any testable reality... subject their claims to any objective tests."

        Jim, what do you think is the outward result of an experience? Bliss? "Lovely"? That's all. The mystic is not out to dupe people into giving him money or power. If someone claiming to be a mystic does such things, then he has not had such an experience, he is a liar. A mystic doesn't need anything in exchange for his experience, he's just happy he's had one. Being so, I don't see a point in objective tests to see if the mystic is being honest. Instead I would see his social behavior. A true mystic is free from the pairs of opposite mental emotions - love&hate, fear&aggression, happiness&sadness, etc.

        On the other hand, I would love to see objective tests on mystics to learn more about the brain.
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        Jul 19 2011: "Every mystic is free to make all sorts of wild claims from their personal experiences "

        Jim, if you "study" some of the mystical writings carefully, you will see no wild claims. Or, I don't know what sort of mystics you are talking about. Certainly the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu mystics do not make wild statements. They talk about their right-brain experiences in terms of left-brain language using everyday words as symbols. Symbols are very powerful and pervasive, even in daily life. Words like "maverick" and "casanova" are exact symbols - they were originally personal names.

        "I think it is true that poetic metaphors sometimes are the best way to convey right-brained experience using left-brained communication, but as I said before, the mystic makes a mistake when the metaphor is nailed down and treated as a fact." -- Again, all the books that I've read actually define the meaning of words used by the mystics so accurately that there is no mistaking.

        Please, look up JOSEPH CAMPBELL, and ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY. The first author is a lighter read than the second. Campbell makes a wonderful study of experience systems around the world. The second author AKC, makes a very academic-scholarly comparative study of Christian, Muslim Sufi, Buddhist and Hindu Vedic texts, as well as a deep study of the philosophy of art which is connected to right-brain experiences. If you have Netflix, there are some good documentaries where Joseph Campbell gives lectures at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

        Perhaps, we need to add "mysticism" to the list of words that are semantics-confused: "God", "belief", "consciousness".
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    Jul 11 2011: Could we please start new threads instead of commenting on the (really long) existing ones?

    Edit: just doing an edit so that this comment will end up on top!
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      Jul 11 2011: OOPS...sorry Jimmy.
      I commented in the middle of the long thread...
      This will put your comment on top again:>)
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        Jul 12 2011: Thanks Colleen, have you noticed how this conversation has stagnated because of the long threads? Or maybe there's simply nothing more to say on the topic....
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          Jul 12 2011: Jimmy,
          It definitely has slowed down a bit. Is it because of the long threads? Because all is said and done? Perhaps people are simply taking a break?

          I think it's very hard to prove or disprove Atheism. We can certainly prove that it's a belief/concept that is embraced by many people who have rational arguments. I agree with some of the comments that suggest that to prove Atheism, we need to disprove Theism, which is also a difficult belief/concept to prove or disprove. Does this challenge cause the discussion to go round and round with the same old arguments? I'd be interested in seeing some new information:>)
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        Jul 12 2011: Yeah, there's probably not going to bee much new info on this...
        I'm going to shorten the closing time on this conversation so that we can do something more productive. However if it does pick up again I'll lengthen it.
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          Jul 12 2011: How about letting it run it's course? Remember you closed one discussion, then opened it up again? Nothing wrong with that, but why not let this one continue? We can always go to other sites and come back:>)
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        Jul 12 2011: Alright ^^
        Which did I close by the way?
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          Jul 12 2011: "What is Love"....yes? Looks like your first "closing statement" has been deleted:>)

          p.s. Good thing I had my brain re-adjusted, otherwise I would never have remembered that:>) LOL!
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        Jul 12 2011: Haha!

        "what is love" wasn't meant to close but at the time I was new at creating conversations and simply forgot to make it open-ended, when I checked back later it was closed and I wanted it to continue so I made "what is love (part 2)", Admin closed it and reopened "part 1" instead...
        I try not to mix with closing times or to edit explanations too much or in a misleading way.
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    Jul 8 2011: So, weekend! I'll probably be Away From Keyboard (trying my best not to use "txt spch") if you're wondering why I'm not responding...

    Enjoy!
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    Jul 8 2011: @ Jim Lloyd

    Some where in this incredibly long chain, Jim Lloyd posted a link to an MSN article reporting that 1 in 8 U.S. High Schools still includes in school curriculum what they described as "positive" presentations of intelligent design and creationsim despite the 2005 Court ruling in Dover (Pennsylvania) that its unconstitutional, that it violates the separation of church and state.

    Thanks for that Jim (I can no longer find it and ask you to restore it if it's gone)It's not really surprising. I would doubt my island school board would know about the Dover 2005 Court Decision. But the constitution does still work or rather we as citizens can make it work. Invest some time in your local school system..become a mentor or school volunteer, be willing to run for school board youself.

    That's how we keep creationism and intelligent design out of our schools. On the front lines. Start and support science web sites for little ones..help write curriculum for these web sites.I caused a huge stir at my elementary school. In the context of a celestial navigation curriculum I wrote for little one's ( 2nd and 3rd graders) a girl asked where the moon came from. I gave her the current thinking..that it is actually a part of earth that broke off in a massive collision , explained that the moon was actually very important to the earth keeping us on a smooth rotation on our axis without which the earth wouldn't support life. It's true. It's current science. The kids loved it of course but it really spooked the teacher because she herself wasn't very current in science.She felt very insecure and uneasy about my giving the children factutal scientific information that she herself had no command of.

    Those of us who want our children to be properly educated have to be actively involved in that..whether or not our own children are in public schools.That's where we can make a real difference..thats how to keep the teaching of religion and bunk science out..
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    Jul 7 2011: someone should provide a summary of any progress made in this conversation
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        Jul 7 2011: ah. with stuff such as this, words sometimes dont cut it.
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        Jul 7 2011: it would prob help, it does for me with heavy handed topic debates.
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      Jul 7 2011: Hi Tim, It's a pity that you didn't check in some hours ago, then this was a place fostering harmony and understanding, working through our differences not picking on them...
      That was the summary until recently.
      Further more, evidence (as expected) has been claimed by many, in many ways... What to think about that is entirely up to you...

      Thanks for asking, maybe someone else can give a more concrete summary for you...
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        Jul 7 2011: ah, sounds like group therapy. lol fun! from reading everything here, either it be atheism or god or somewhere in the between, whatever it is, it seems to defy reason. if dealing with a group (i.e not yourelf). its really easy to reason something with yourslef.
      • Jul 7 2011: I'd be astonished if someone could adequately summarize this. So many different ideas have flown every which way. Productive conversation though, thanks for starting it Jimmy!
    • Jul 7 2011: Tim B,

      We have just come down highway 61..... 3654.32 km.. and still going strong.
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    Jul 7 2011: Everybody, let's just leave for an hour or so, let the Admin do his/her thing and then try to pick up the pieces of this conversation...
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    Jul 7 2011: Is anyone else angry/upset with the cleanup?
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        Jul 7 2011: Yeah we did... It's just sad now that we're all starting to get along really fine....
        • Jul 7 2011: Ja.. we were just starting to really understand each other... I don't get it... I guess its all my fault.... I really put my foot in the salad that time.... I don't quite know what got everybody so ticked off about though.... I thought we were having a "mature and respectful" discussion like TED demands of us... but I felt that I was always inside the circumference of TED's tableu of commandments...
          I am packing for vacation just now... and seeing the ruckus that I have created, am leaving the computer with great inner despair ... I feel like a cat in the dog kennel... What would Homer Simpson do in my situation...?
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        Jul 7 2011: Daniel, don't be to hard on yourself, learning to navigate the conversation terms takes many deletions! :D
        And also the Admin was a bit to strict with the rules, but you did break them.
        Don't be afraid to come back here later on!
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      Jul 7 2011: I'm not angry Jimmy, but I understand...
      As you say, we were starting to get along...there was, and still is, an opportunity.

      I also understand that we're participating in discussions for which there are certain rules, so I understand why the comments were removed. Like Birdia says...there is still unfinished business...and hopefully, everyone will stay at the drawing board:>)
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          Jul 7 2011: Yes. I don't agree with abuse and violation of anyone's rights.
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          Jul 7 2011: Colleen is a Very understanding person! ^^
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          Jul 7 2011: Thank You:>)
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          Jul 7 2011: Birdia,

          "How about crossing other's boundaries and giving out unasked advice towards other's choice of words? Do you agree with that?"
          You know very well that we're not allowed to have that discussion... We all agree to the terms by being here, I don't think that's the issue here, it's that they're being misinterpreted in this case...

          Edit: I'm assuming that you're talking about Admins' behavior...
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          Jul 7 2011: Birdia, I really think that you are the one over reacting with Colleen here, she tried to give you a compliment and you turned it around...
          I like you both and I see the misunderstanding that you're having with each other!
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          Jul 7 2011: Thank you Jimmy...you are right! I was giving her a compliment, and where she is taking it, I do not understand!
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        Jul 7 2011: Yeah, I know the rules Colleen, I've referenced them many times... It just feels like this is an inexperienced Admin doing the work and that many of the comments that were removed didn't really break the terms...

        Is it alright to say that an Admin seem inexperienced?
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          Jul 7 2011: I agree Jimmy, that many parts of the comments did not break the terms. It's ok to say whatever you want my friend, and did you realize yet that some people will listen, and some will not?I listen to you Jimmy, if it's any consolation:>)
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          Jul 7 2011: Birdia,
          Are you refering to my previous comment in which I said I agree with everything you said except calling people "dim-witted"?

          If that is what you are refering to, I do not feel I crossed anyone's boundaries, and I'm sorry if you feel that. I don't agree with name calling, and I think you know that by now. If you choose to use it, and you think it strengthens your argument...so be it. I gave absolutely NO advice. I simply wanted you to know that I agreed with everything you said except the name calling. I say what I mean and mean what I say:>)
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          Jul 7 2011: Birdia,
          I'm not over-reacting. I'm trying to figure out what you are talking about. I haven't looked at the Wiki page, so I have no idea what you're refering to. Please be clear?
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          Jul 7 2011: It means EXACTLY what it says...I agree with everything you said EXCEPT calling anyone dim-witted.

          If I am agreeing with certain parts of your comment, I'm going to clarify EXACTLY what part I'm agreeing with and EXACTLY what part I do NOT agree with. After this, it's probably unlikely that I'll agree with you anymore. Jimmy is absolutely right...I was giving you a compliment, and you turned it into...I don't know what!
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          Jul 7 2011: Jim,
          I am a kindred spirit and friend to Birdia, regardless of how she feels at the moment.
          Hope this clarifies:>)
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          Jul 8 2011: I speak my truth always...all ways:>)
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          Jul 8 2011: OKAY:>)
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          Jul 8 2011: Love you too Birdia...good idea:>)
    • Jul 7 2011: What cleanup? Kathy's? If so, I don't care at all.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 7 2011: Hey ... don't point the finger at me.... I'm just the referee ....
        • Jul 7 2011: Hi Birdia, .. Nice to see ya! ... I really don't think it was me. But I have had a lot of comments lately but nothing of any abusing nature. I'm talking with Jimmy and were having a great time....whats the problem with TED adm. ??
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        Jul 7 2011: No Gabo, seems we're all getting cleaned... or at least the ones of us that are dirty...
        • Jul 7 2011: It's time for a laugh Jimmy... have you heard this before?

          God said to Abriham "Kill me a son"
          Abe said "Man you must be puttin' me on"
          God said "No"
          Abe said "What"
          God said "You can do what Abe but,.... The next time you see me comin' You'd better run
          Abe said "Where do want this killin' done?
          God said" Out on highway 61"
        • Jul 7 2011: Here is the helium version ;-D

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg7xqJ1gYWU

          Classic Dylan... The condition of our time..
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        Jul 7 2011: Gabo,
        Get with the program...do some research and get the facts...LOL:>)

        Edit: I'm pretty sure Gabo knows I"m just kidding Jimmy...I hope!
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          Jul 7 2011: Hahaah! :D

          Edit: She's just kidding Gabo ;D
        • Jul 7 2011: Hey everybody.... what the hell is going on here.??... Hey ! Is this really highway 61...??

          and I that thought I was following the yellow brick road...
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          Jul 7 2011: This happens to large conversations every now and then Daniel, hopefully we'll be back on track soon enough.
          Did you get my Email?
        • Jul 7 2011: I know you are kidding Colleen. Also, I find it hard to feel offended.

          As for the clean up. Maybe someone felt offended by our exchanges, but if so, then they should grow up. It is obvious that in this kind of exchange there will be a complete lack of respect for beliefs, and that atheists will also be attacked a bit because of such lack of respect. People who can't deal with it should just refrain from coming to these kinds of discussions. In any event, I remember that TED used to issue a warning before deleting.

          Did any of my comments disappear?
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          Jul 7 2011: "Edit: I'm pretty sure Gabo knows I"m just kidding Jimmy...I hope!" It was mostly a remark so that the admin wouldn't delete it...
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          Jul 7 2011: Birdia, I'm sorry but I'm in disagreement with you on this one, I think that you're being way too hard on Colleen for no reason, everything is just one big misunderstanding since Admin came along...
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        Jul 7 2011: Hi Daniel,
        The yellow brick road is under reconstruction at the moment:>)
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        Jul 7 2011: Birdia,
        If your anger is about the fact that my comments do not get deleted, perhaps that is an issue you can address with the ted administration. I will consider your advice regarding likes, dislikes and styles.
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          Jul 7 2011: Once again I have to jump in here...
          The reason to me is perfectly clear, Colleen stays (reasonably) within the Terms of use and Daniel did not.
          Name calling, of persons or opinions, is usually not okay according to the Terms...
          So when you say "Dim-witted" It's not considered mature or constructive and is even taken as offensive by most.
          The same goes for many of the remarks that Daniel made...

          Base line - Name calling is really de-constructive = destructive for the good feeling that we all want from TED conversations...
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        Jul 7 2011: Birdia,
        If you don't see why Daniel's comments were removed while mine were not, that is an issue you can address with the ted administration. I respect your opinion. I also think Daniel's comments were/are very relevant.

        Edit in response to your last question:
        I am here to learn...and you? Birdia, I said I agreed with all of your comment, except I do not agree with calling people dim-witted. If you are not expressing anger right now, what is it?
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        Jul 7 2011: Birdia,
        The "main point", as mentioned above by you, is that my comments do not get deleted.
        Please be clear.

        I will consider your advice, and in the meantime continue to make nonjudgemental comments, which are relevant to the topic, to the best of my ability.
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      Jul 7 2011: What cleanup? What's going on?
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        Jul 7 2011: Admin went at it...
        And the conversation hasn't been able to recover from it yet...
        • Jul 8 2011: ''Admin went at it...''

          Maybe he is a Theist...
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          Jul 8 2011: ADMIN seems to have no clear define belief of what belongs, offends, or doesent offend, which points to that they probably are.
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        Jul 8 2011: I just want to say that Admins are persons like all of us, some of them we get along with and others we don't... My communication with the Admin team has been plenty, rewarding and fun, until now. I did however just now receive an Email (a good one) saying that they'll look into it closely to see if a mistake has been made.

        Have "faith" people ;P
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        Jul 8 2011: As I said, trust in the Admin Team!

        Some of the comments will be restored soon!

        Now, we all need to our very best to avoid that this kind of thing happens again, let's all think twice and thrice before making personal remarks!
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      Jul 8 2011: is it possible Kathy K is nolonger at TED? When a ember leaves all comments from all conversations goes too. ( something I wish they would chnage)
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    TED

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    Jul 7 2011: Dear Community Members,

    Several comments in this thread have been removed according to the TED.com Terms of Use (http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_terms ). TED Conversations is a platform for mature and respectful discussions. We kindly ask you to Please refrain from personal attacks & discussing your fellow community members. While we welcome differing opinions, we ask you to do so in respectful and constructive way. If you notice any issues, please let us know.

    Sincerely,
    TED Conversations Admin
    conversations@ted.com
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      Jul 7 2011: I object! And I've done so by Email also!
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      Jul 7 2011: Admin, please don't be fundamental when following the conversation terms.
    • Comment deleted

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        Jul 7 2011: I've written to the TEAM and asked them to take another look at this conversation... now the big question is: Can Admin's err?
        • Jul 7 2011: If the koran and the bible can err... than admin. can too !!

          Sock it to 'em Jimmy !!
          Were all grown up human beings and we don't really need sensors....
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        Jul 7 2011: Jim, It's a very productive forum, I know you know this!
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        Jul 7 2011: I'll send Daniel an Email so that he understands what's going on.
        • Jul 7 2011: Jimmy,
          "Sock it to me" is kind of an inside joke for americans over 50 years old. It comes from an old TV show that ran in the late 60's early 70's ... there was a little song with it that went sock it to me baby.... one could easily in the context of the song and the incredibly funny program .that the words "sock it to me" had a sort of sexual content... It was really pretty funny... but I guess you had to be there..... :-)
      • Jul 7 2011: I agree with Jim, but who got deleted ??
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          Jul 7 2011: Oh, we need censorship at TED Daniel, have you noticed the absence of trolls and the well fostered behavior, that is thanks to the censorship.
          But that's an entirely different discussion... http://www.ted.com/conversations/3273/nothing_s_off_topic.html
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          Jul 7 2011: And I'm not going to "sock it" to anyone Daniel (especially not TED Admin), we all make mistakes and I only ask that the re-evaluate their decision.
        • Jul 7 2011: Hum, a few days ago I went to my profile to change my e-mail preferences. I don't like being bothered by useless messages. So I guess if I got any comments deleted I won't know.
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          Jul 7 2011: You'll always get the Email about conversation removals, it's not an option you have. I don't think any of your comment have been deleted though (yet)
      • Jul 7 2011: Jim, yes! They removed 4 of my comments and I don't quite understand why. I'll try to take a look at them a little later. I'm a little busy packing for vacation at the moment.
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      Jul 7 2011: Admin... Could you please just restore the conversation to the way it was an hour ago!? Don't you see what's happening here!?
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      Jul 7 2011: Admin, do you still wish to be one of my favorite members!? ;P
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    Jul 7 2011: Jimmy......I did not make myself clear....I am speaking of the TV evangelists who promise and promote all sorts of things for money. I cannot believe that they think they are right. I think they are charlatans taking advantage of gullible people.
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      Jul 7 2011: I guessed that you were speaking of such things... I think what you say has a good point, many of them are charlatans but I also believe that a surprisingly large part of those who we perceive as such actually believe that they are indeed good people, working for the good of mankind by what they are doing...
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        Jul 7 2011: Jimmy.....Oh I agree. After all.......my Way tells me not to judge ever because I cannot see into peoples hearts. I am going to hide behind,,DISCERNMENT.
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    Jul 7 2011: Might I suggest that each of us make a new comment asking people to respond to things that they still haven't.
    • Jul 7 2011: Please do ! .... and check out if the group that you think you adhere to .... is really that what you think that you meant....

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
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        Jul 7 2011: Nicely done Daniel!
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          Jul 8 2011: Dear Daniel,
          I am not pleased with your venting towards me.
          Ad hominem arguments are to be avoided.

          [the post in question has been deleted, so this post might be a bit odd]

          If my thinking seems to be wrong, you should point out where (in your opinion) the errors lie.
          Can I help it that my thinking is strongly formed by my education, and that certain terms for me are very clear and distinct, while they are maybe not so well understood by others? (I had to look up the word fangeled)

          Being social is a good thing, exchanging thoughts as well.
          Going into arguments and explaining your thinking inevitably leads to what we can agree upon (and for me that is factual knowledge).

          I do have a rather explicit idea about reality and how it can be known. I know it is a construct, and a rather firm and stable one. I even indicate how it can be refuted.
          By dismissing me as a person, you don't make a valid point.

          This does not mean that I'm infallible and that I don't make ad-hominem arguments from time to time... (I'm prone to errors and logical fallacies too)

          I could return your train argument and say you are the one standing on the platform of a modernistic interpretation of science, while the train has already crossed the border of post-modernistic thought 10 years ago. (tit for tat: very common in social discussions, though not a very constructive approach, is it?)
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        Jul 7 2011: Daniel, yes Atheism is a very broad concept, like any belief seems to be... It's always good to know...stuff... But what are your intentions with informing people of the (many) different aspects that atheism has?
        Would you like us to put ourselves in a sub category so that you know the beliefs of the people participating here?
        • Jul 7 2011: I don't think its slander... Chris can have a pretty sharp tongue when he wants to.. but let him first read my comment and here what he says. .. and as Chris also says in his comments here.. he is not attacking the person its only the ideas that he attacks .. That is a good starting point. I am as open as anyone to be criticized ... and I have ... as you, been subject to many different forms of intellectual attack.. I have been in contact with Chris before and know he can take what he himself dishes out.
          I am not of the intention to inform anyone specifically about any of the many different forms of atheism.. my only intention is to keep the discussion on the track. No need for sub categories... no... that is not my intention at all. But after experiencing the total arrogance of Richard Dawkin on the lecture "militant atheism" it's been sort of like a little stone in my shoe that just wont go away..
          When I hear certain people that defend athe "ism" and who come across so strongly in their convictions in the name of an attempted scientific argument... well, that balloon just cant fly, simply for the reasons I (read Wikipidea) have just presented you you.
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        Jul 7 2011: Daniel, I think that TED is a mixture of social and scientific community, or perhaps trying to categorize TED is meaningless...TED is TED, only experience will make you understand.

        Now about your remarks about Christophe... Saying things like "his own little sacred platform", " I really don't think the lights have be turned on" and so on is not at all a good way to go here at TED, you'll just get people disliking you. Furthermore he is a well respected member of the community and a friend of mine and I do not take your slander of him lightly.

        Enjoy your vacation, we'll be here when you get back.
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        Jul 11 2011: I'll just try to make this thread larger by posting this....
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    Jul 7 2011: Matt...I hope you don't mind me shortening your name.I never know whether I should put the e or the i first haha
    You are right. There is nothing to be debated if everybody agrees. I will keep reading at least for awhile. It is hard to get around ya'lls evidence because you have to use logic to arrive at what I believe and also psychology. Those two disciplines don't seem to amount to much and really I need a rest. As I said in a previous post I am just tired. Keep on trucking................
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    Jul 6 2011: Jim....................That was the answer I was looking for. You have been more than kind and I appreciate that. Several years ago. I attended 9 semesters of "Theology" at Rice University, Houston, Texas. These courses were on various aspects of Life and Death. They were taught by a professor who studied under Karl Rahner at University of Innsbruck, Austria. Rahner was a leading theologian of the 20th Century. Not your home grown theologian. We studied Paradigms from the Original to Post Modernity. Much reinterpretation was advanced and interesting questions were raised. Attending these classes were people with all kinds of beliefs, including a nun,various Christian religions, whose believers sought information not confirmation, and humanists and atheists. It was a blast. We even got to the fact that we (humans) are made of stardust. Actually "Ground-of-being" definition was a position taken long ago by a Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich. Maybe you are a bit behind on this as all this occurred in the 1990s. I read books like those by Meister Eckardt, Hans Kung, Teilhard de Chardin, some of Thomas Merton, all of which ,except Merton.( He died a mysterious death while on a trip to the Orient) were stripped of teaching credentials by u-no-who. Really I did not just fall off the turnip truck. (:>)
    • Jul 6 2011: Helen,

      So nice to see you still with us! I have been tempted to abandon this conversation as well but am trying now to give it a second as well as a third chance. ... although the atheists like to criticize the "believers" with the word "ignorance is bliss"... It seems in some cases that it could be turned around and stated "arrogance is bliss" It seems that many love to take on the cape of Richard Dawkins and become very aggressive in their way of meeting phenomena they don't understand. If its a blockage they have or just plain lack of an open mind... it's hard to say.
      I think if you really want to share some of your experiences with us that the correct thing to do would be to start your own conversation. I am at least one that will follow along with you. I have been interested in spiritual phenomenon for around 30 years and have a strong interest in the things you talk about. Especially the experience with the light. I have read a good deal about these type of experiences and perhaps can help you to feel more comfortable talking about them. I have never had such an experience myself.
      If you would like to talk some more, I would like to hear from you on my e-mail.... otherwise we will find each other here for a short time to come... thanks again!
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        Jul 6 2011: Daniel and Helen.

        .There is common ground here amongst all of us and if we all stay and exchange respectfully we will see that.

        We always learn more and grow more when we engage people who don't share our views..at least I do. The worst thing that could happen to TED Conversations is that we all end up in "cozy corners" with folk of like mind..all the growing and leraning would stop..

        Hope you;; both stay. Jimmy Mattieu and Jim Floyd are all good guys..all bright guys.. I enjoy them all
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          Jul 7 2011: Hi Lindsay.......Nothing against anybody on the thread . It is just that I have been on so many and it actually goes nowhere. I will keep reading and I have to say that I enjoy most of what goes on. I feel that I am just pooped out on this subject. I guess I jusr overindulged. This stuff is like chocolate to me, addictive and so I am going to break my addfiction for now. I took a more defensive attitude than I would like to see in myself and now I feel I have nothing I need to prove. Sanity, finally (:D
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          Jul 7 2011: And I enjoy you sometimes, even if it's not always obvious.
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        Jul 7 2011: Daniel..............E-mail me whenever the notion strikes you and hope to see you on other threads. I have been on so many of these proof threads and they really get nowhere because there is no proof one way or the other. But what appears reasonable to me I welcome. Smile
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          Jul 7 2011: All good debates here on TED lead to nowhere. If it leads to a simple, quick answer really fast than what was the point? If everyone agrees, is it an idea worth throwing around? What matters is the impact the debate has on individuals. It's fantasy to think a good debate will lead to some consensus.
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        Jul 7 2011: Good question, Jim. I see so much chicanery going on in these places,ruled either by fear or by hope that is utterly questionable. How do these people, leaders especially, live with themselves ?
        Actually I have learned much from these discussions. Not so much about science as about myself.
        I watch my reactions and sometimes I am astonished. I am not so much about being defensive now.
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          Jul 7 2011: "How do these people, leaders especially, live with themselves ? "
          Helen, that's a good question and I think the the answer is that they do it quite well, they feel that they are on the "right path" and that they've considered all aspects of life and found the true conclusion...
          You know, a couple of years ago I would have thought the same thing about many people on this conversation, that they were just plain evil trying to spread destruction through ignorance...
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        Jul 7 2011: Jim.......What a really nice post.......I hope that Colleen and Lindsay are aware of your sentiments.
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    • Comment deleted

    • Jul 7 2011: Jimmy,
      I have absolutely no quarrel with you as a person. Let me get that straight.
      But the clan of Atheists here are all falling into the very same fallacy in debating this "proving Atheism"
      When I point you to the definition of what Atheism is in Wikipedia where it states the following.
      "There is no one set of ideology or set of behaviors to which atheist adhere. Conceptions of Atheism vary... some atheists assume to be irreligious although other Atheists are spiritual...
      I then wonder... ... will your answer be... I disagree...? or.. I was just joking.... We are all trying to make a point here....?? ... or will it be.... If your not having fun... then you are free to go some where else...??
      Well .. you can understand why I appear to be frustrated...
      I wish for you and Chris and Matthieu and Jim and Gabo and any other Atheist out there reading this to kindly give me one simple answer as to how anyone can have a logical discussion around such undefined and unclear premises....? You are all trying in your own way to be so very scientific. But not a single one of you dare to address this simple question. You can disagree yes ... you can disagree with Wikipedia too.... But why do the followers of "Athe "ism" all appear to be so united in their sacred scientific platform when in fact ... they are not .
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        Jul 7 2011: Daniel, It's good to hear that there isn't any personal issue here.
        I apologize for making you feel neglected.
        Could we take one question at the time please, otherwise i wouldn't know how to begin responding to you...
        I might also have missed many things that have been said here... Just so that you're aware of that.
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        Jul 7 2011: Dear Daniel,
        You know I agree with you on many things, and have presented some of the information we agree on here on this site. I don't quite understand your frustration, and I don't understand why you need to call people the "clan of atheists". I'm hearing different arguments coming from different people. I also brought up the idea that some atheists believe in spirituality, and I got "put in my place", but so what!!! I KNOW that some atheists believe in spirituality because many of them are my friends:>) If that is not the belief other atheists share...so be it! People believe in varying degrees of spirituality too...right? Nothing in this world, in my humble opinion, is so defined that we cannot have a respectful discussion about it...what do you think? I find that if I really listen to each individual, rather than glumping them together, I see/hear the differences:>)
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        • Jul 7 2011: Jim,
          Thanks! 100% with one there Jim.

          I would like to make it a "point" ... if so allowed... to say that I never! never! said that christians had any kind of clear concept at all about God..
          Jimmy's title was "proving Atheism"... not "proving the concept of the Christian God"
          But thanks for the info.
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          Jul 7 2011: Yeah... the reason for the title is in the explanation, but It's not a joke!
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          Jul 7 2011: Hey Birdia, you finally found your way here! ^^
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          Jul 7 2011: LOL:>)

          Hi Birdia,
          That's tellin' it like it is!!! I believe in everything and nothing, and I don't need to label myself. I agree with what you say, except I don't like calling anyone dim-witted because s/he doesn't agree with me:>)

          Jim, my dear friend, I appreciate your sense of humor:>)
          I'm not dodging anything...I simply have my own belief and feel that labeling myself is limiting:>)
  • Jul 6 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

    ..... here is the link that every Atheist should take the time to read.....

    Afterwards... perhaps we can discuss what is then "proof".....
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      Jul 6 2011: Alright Daniel.
      I'll phrase it simply (and I've read the article).
      Atheism is the only reasonable outcome of science, therefore we like to "mix-it-up".
      • Jul 6 2011: Jimmy,
        Fine..... do we agree then that the rules of the game are to "mix things up"....????

        The pathway to truth then looks like it might be a million miles away.... and it looks like we are going to have to walk them all by candle light.......
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          Jul 6 2011: Well... the pathway to truth is quite simple, just do as I say ;P
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          Jul 6 2011: Not likely:>)
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          Jul 6 2011: ^^ You do get that I'm joking right?
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          Jul 6 2011: Yes Jimmy.
          I've seen enough of your comments to recognize your sense of humor, and I love it:>)
          I also know...that you know...that all you need to find the pathway to truth is DO WHAT I SAY...LOL:>)
  • Jul 6 2011: Yes.. proof you like so much to refer to Wikipedia.... take a quick look at Atheism on Wikipedia ...

    do you get my message now.....?
  • Jul 6 2011: Jimmy,
    You seem the mixing up the concept ... "science" ... with the conceept ... "atheism" Which by the way seems to be the general mistake made by several here who take the claim of the atheist.
    The difference between science and atheism is that there is no one set of ideology or set of behaviors to which atheist adhere.... conceptions of atheism vary...
    Some atheist assume to be irreligious ..... although other atheists are spiritual.
    This is ... once again... my point....
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      Jul 6 2011: Yes and some Christians believe in hell and some don't... I'm not mixing anything up, science and atheism go hand in hand, according to me...

      And I said "Please, provide some proof"
      • Jul 6 2011: ...and after you have read about "Atheism" on Wikipedia, you can look up " ism "

        ..and ism is an ideology ... marxism...capitalism ... socialism.... catholicism ....

        ...athe "ism"...

        I'm still trying to get everyone in this discussion to see just this point....
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          Jul 6 2011: Yes Daniel we're all trying to prove points here...
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          Jul 6 2011: I stated early in the discussion that I'm not trying to prove anything and I do not like labels...simply participating in an interesting discussion:>) So...I have the freedom to hang out in the middle of the bridge:>)
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          Jul 6 2011: Yes, I saw that comment Colleen. And I'm glad that we have you as a neutral force here to guide us :)
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    Jul 5 2011: For some reason I feel that others can do the talking for me on this conversation... So here's Tim Minchin once again!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB_htqDCP-s&feature=bf_next&list=AVTGnpyrBl25wADrkTEsy0BekdcQBtsDmC&index=6

    It's "M rated" poetry by the way!
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    Jul 4 2011: Hi everybody!

    I haven't had the time to properly read through this conversation this weekend since I've been busy...
    I see that it's grown more then I thought it would and I'm really looking forward to dive deeper into it tomorrow but right now I need to go to sleep!

    All the best!
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    Jul 4 2011: .
    There is a God, and it is proved by the existence of atheists.

    -If God exists, (S)He must be infinitely intelligent and all-seeing.
    -If (S)He is infinitely intelligent and all-seeing, (S)He can only amuse Him/Herself by creating people who challenge His/Her existence; that is: atheists.
    -God is also a Hegelian dialectician: (S)He can only distinguish intelligence by creating less intelligent people who never challenge His/Her existence; that is: religious people.
    -In short: the existence of atheists is definite proof of the fact that God exists and that (S)He is intelligent. If there were no atheists, God's creation would be that of a dumbass. Which is difficult to accept from a God.

    Thus, God, being intelligent and all-seeing, created atheists to prove His/Her existence and intelligence. If God's existence would not be challenged, (S)He would be very annoyed, because (S)He too wants our attention. Why else did (S)He go at great lengths to dictate words into the heads of prophets? If God was not interested in humans, (S)He wouldn't bother with Bibles and Quran's.

    In short, God being an intelligent attention-seeker, created us, atheists, to prove His/Her existence, by negating* it.

    *With thanks to G.W.F. Hegel for this little piece of drivel.
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        Jul 6 2011: Hi Karthik,
        Did you know that there is an "edit" button that you can push to edit a comment that you've made! ;)
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    Jul 4 2011: I would say that our need for certainty, our need for proof is self limiting. In science and in our own lives we need less rigid, more open processes of inquiry , observation to open new path sof learning...something like Stephen Hawking does ( of necessaity) and to some extent Alberty Eisntein's process.

    Even within mathematics are there not two schools, two streams, one inutive? And don't these two schools produce very different outputs?

    By the way, Jummy,

    "freedom From Religion" means the same thing as not having a moral compass..religion in its broadest sense has nothing to do with belief in God and everything to do with with "awareness of other", stewardship for the planet and fro all its living things (see my talk on Updating our belief systems and also Jim Lloyds on the Semantics of Belief Systems)

    "by "freedom of religion" I assume you mean freedom to pursue and practice whatever religion you choose..what is protected under our consitution here in the U.S. and that includes as well the widest posisble definition of "reigion" but does not include any acts that are forbidden by law. ( see my talk on Limits of Freedom of Religion)
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        Jul 4 2011: well yes.in away. I am suggesting that the standard for what is religion should be a moral compass..the elements of it which serve life, which serve humanity..I am suggesting that not everything currently lumped under the umbrella of "religion" does that and that some of that is even destructive to the common good or to common decency.

        if you accept the broad definition ( which Albert Eisnstein offered in his 1939 address at the Princeton Theological Seminary.). then you accept the premise that to be without religion is the same thing as being without a moral compass

        .All religious expressions, even those of atheists, humanist, buddhists have a common core, a common root in this inner faculty that is part of humanity, a inner faculty of morality, of awareness of others, of stewardship for others and for the earth

        .I, of course, understand that outside of me, Albert Einstein and Tom Atlee..there have not been many to think about religion in this way. I bring it up here at TED where I see many pointless and non productive divides in these endless endless sameness sameness conversations rehashing the same stufff over and over with no advance on understanding no grasp on possible TED ideas worth sharing

        .I am suggesting that thinking of religion in terms of a universal indwelling faculty that we all have is a TED idea worth spreading.

        And also suggesting it gives a very different lens on the many aspects now captured under the umbrella "religion" which do not serve humanity, which do not serve life. That was the point of my discussion on the limitaions on religious freedom and also of my exploration about updating our belief systems.
  • Jul 3 2011: Jimmy,

    No one out here on TED has ever said that these discussions must be logical....

    But let me just ask you ... Is this some kind of a joke..? I know everyone here was pissed off at the "proving koran" discussion.... but really.... is there any reason to try to prove a certain viewpoint about life ?
    You could have asked for the mathematical probability .... or the proof of the existence of God. But to try to prove a viewpoint about something is like nailing your own foot to the floor.... It's like....OK .... Lets all be scientific now and give our own private opinion...
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      Jul 5 2011: Daniel,

      It's not a joke, it's meant to raise debate about religion and also to steal the spotlight from conversations trying to prove religions...

      However, I do LOL at many of the comments here...
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      Jul 5 2011: Further more, according to me, Atheism is the only world view/belief that can not be "disproved" so to say... So I just want a open debate that rests on science and not any holy scriptures or empiric knowledge...

      Aren't most discussions here at TED designed to prove that a viewpoint on life is better/more correct then another?
      • Jul 5 2011: jimmy,

        Don't you get the point...??? You want to be "scientific" right ?? Well explain to me how one can be scientific when it is only you own personal viewpoint on something. For anyone to " prove" something you need more than just the "hey man... what do you think about God" way of dealing with the question. Math,physics,chemistry, biology, etc. etc.etc. ... all the elements of the scientific process are .... by the way... if you have not noticed.... absent ! There are a few who try to argue with probabilities and statistics .... but they aren't really so .... excuse the word.... foolish.. to really believe that is can be called science... statistics never prove anything.
        I can follow your motivation to change the focus from the .. religious... over to the scientific ... but you must admit to yourself that it is a very little thought through basis for any real scientific discussion. As you see from all the other comments.... yes ... some very funny... but mostly everyone is just saying what they feel or mean or experience... and there is nothing wrong with that. But my point is the title to the discussion should have been more something like... for example " How can Atheism contribute to a better world" or "Does anyone see any good arguments for Atheism" or something of this nature.... Your title contributes to the type of conversation that we found on the "proving koran" discussion... and we all know how enriching that was to the searching parts of our being. I myself was so little inspired by it that I couldn't bring myself to comment on it and it surprised me how long it took for others such as Matthieu to realize that the discussion was leading absolutely nowhere..... It amazed me how Mat and the others charged into the crimson flames tied through their ears and fell again and again into the high and might trap...... Its late here for us in Scandinavia ... .... its off to bed for me.... catch you tomorrow
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          Jul 6 2011: Daniel, I don't mean to be rude but I really feel that you're not getting the point...
          But that's alright because this discussion is actually meant for people who put "science" in brackets and say that you can't learn anything from statistics...

          Science is not a personal viewpoint, it's a collected one! (Here I go sharing this link again)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_proof

          If you wish to have a conversation about Atheism in a different way you are free to start one!
  • Jul 1 2011: Thanks for starting a new discussion around the theme of "proving Atheism" I think we can get much further here than "proving Koran" ... if you know what I mean... I didn't manage to find the motivation to contribute on that discussion at all... and I can't understand how all you guys did for so long..... it was like arguing with the wall ... if you know what I mean....like.... when the only tool you have is a hammer... everything starts looking like a nail....
    I do think that we can get much further here. I haven't been discussing much on TED these days because of the time it involves. Somehow though, I was drawn into this one. I can start by saying that I am coming from another corner of the ball park. .... if you can figure that out... maybe after a few comments you can get an idea of where I'm coming from... although I may or may not choose to show all my cards.....
    ... and not to be confused with Dan H. "I am another"
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    Jul 1 2011: I disprove atheism because exactly what the all people agree at about it : that it is a rational way to explain the world , more rational than theism , it fail . As a theist I can agree (as long as I have the all datas) with all is rational and I can also deal with what is supernatural .............this is what is important in my opinion: theism gives me a rational way of 'explaining' the supernatural , the atheism gives me nothing regarding this .Do we need to 'explain' somehow the supernatural ?........... this conversation is the most convincing proof.
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      Jul 1 2011: It is not often that you see the words 'rational' and 'supernatural' in the same sentence. And there I was thinking that the supernatural was all that couldn't be explained rationally...
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        Jul 2 2011: The supernatural has to be natural first (if we think at it according to the evolutive process.......) and the natural can be explained rationally.
        Do you agree with the existence of the supernatural ?
        • Jul 2 2011: Eduard,
          The supernatural has merely not come forward to our consciousness. Come out in the light... to say... We are surrounded by the so called "supernatural" but we are not aware of it.... yet. The world of the "supernatural"... ( I don't really like to use that word ) will come into focus more and more as our modern mind opens up to the reality of the again ... so called "invisible" Because we cannot see or sense things of the immaterial does not necessarily mean that they are not there. The word "overnatural" to me seems to be more consistent with the way we can perceive the world. Super is a word that connotates something beyond our logical capabilities where I mean that the overnatural is beside us all the time.. the only thing is....we are not aware of it
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        Jul 2 2011: Yes, through our humanistic way of percieving we can't be aware of the supernatural world , what do you want to say with it ?
        • Jul 2 2011: Eduard,
          The spiritual or "supersensible" world is hidden for most of us. There are still many phenomena that we observe that point to this invisible reality. There are some people who can perceive directly into this world of the spirit. They are called clairvoyant. Many will call this humbug or something that can be debunked... this is of course their option. But through out human evolution, the physical as well as the spiritual evolution we have had connection to this world in different terms according to our state of consciousness during this or that period of our development. Our "re-connection with" and our "perception of" it depends upon our our own inner search. Not everyone is either ready or destined for this re-connection. But as time goes by, our spiritual development will reach a level that allow us to see (once again)directly into this dimension.
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    Jul 1 2011: Once in the depths of despair, I asked myself "Why does love exist ?" And then I thought what a non-sensical question. The answer did not come for many years, but finally out of the blue (Ican't explain it) came this thought. Love is its own excuse for being. It did not have to come from anywhere.
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    • Jul 1 2011: Atheo is a person who don't need the idea of god and don't accept it as a concept founded in reality. For us gods are only ideas, wrong ideas.
      You must understand that an Atheo don't accept the existence of any god.
      Atheism is a lack of religious sentiment. It doesn't work in the way as religions.

      THE POINT IS NOT IN DENYING THE BELIEVE BUT THE EXISTENCE ITSELF.

      Hope I clarify that point.
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      Jul 1 2011: I'll add this to my list of truly bizarre ontological arguments.

      By this same logic Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, unicorns, ghosts, the Loch Ness monster, big-foot, and demons all exist, because I don't believe in them either. I mean how could my disbelief in these things come into being if these things don't exist.

      If this logic is valid it would mean that there is no category of things that don't exist, which we also believe don't exist. A truly strange conclusion.
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      Jul 1 2011: Same argument as usual, still not a good one for all the reasons that Mark Meyer just pointed out and more. I think the proper argument is that if there was no concept of God, then atheism wouldn't exist. The concept exists though as we are reminded daily.
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        • Jul 2 2011: Kathy,
          Of course the concept of God exists in the minds of men(read also women)... where else could it otherwise exist...? All concepts exist only in the ideas of man.... as well as all percepts. There is no other platform of existence where they could otherwise exist.. Do you not agree? The perception of a chestnut tree is each our own individual perception. While the "concept" chestnut tree is shared by everyone. I don't want to answer for Matthieu, but in my own way of seeing things.. everything must be conceptualized in order for mankind to understand the whole of the picture of reality... be it material or immaterial... To conceptualize our percepts is the one half of the whole. It is the nature of mans being. This is where we differ from the animal kingdom. The animals are very limited in their ability to conceptualize. And yes, I think that even the Godhead can and must be conceptualized. We all have our incomplete concepts... some call it a force... some call it life itself... some even have the idea that God is a man that sits in a chair up in heaven with a long beard...
          To completely fill out a concept is not easy. Just think about that tiger that you saw at the zoo.... do you have a concept of a tiger..? Did you smell the tiger..? Feel its fur..? Feel its sharp teeth..? See the size of its claws ..? How many years would you have to work together with a tiger to really have a complete concept "tiger"....
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          Jul 2 2011: Hey Jim , if you agree with the second you must agree with the first if you wanna be consistent with yourself.
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          Jul 2 2011: Yes, I remember now. I think God has distinctively human features. Humans brought forth a God after their own kind. With added power of course. Kind of like Superman.
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          Jul 4 2011: Jim , read my 4 from my discussion with Gabo , and begin with my argument for theism ,is the same situation here
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          Jul 4 2011: You read well between the lines. Both red ferrari's and garages exist and combining this ideas in our mind we can get something imaginary, yes this is what I said .
          "Are you arguing that Leprechauns actually exist because "little men" exist and "green" exists?" no I'm arguing that because we have the idea of 'green' and of 'little man' (and the idea of what is needed for something to be a leperchauns and we know from the real world) we can combine them to get the idea of a leprechaun ,but even we can get this imaginary idea this doesn't mean that the leprechauns are real .
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          Jul 4 2011: You think all these Jim but you have to prove them , ok? so prove that what the people what people believed about god : "the underlying concepts of "creator", "creation", "powerful", etc. already existed, and some parent answered the question by inventing a god and describing what that god did"
          "the idea of a being powerful enough to create the world." is the real god, prove that invention made by people is the real god , ok? Perhaps they invented something but how do we know that what they invented , what they had in mind when they heard the word god(it's their mind invention') is the real God ? I'll take an example :the christian God , if we invented Him we should know how we've done it ,right? so answer at my above questions by considering the christian God, the christian God is supposed to be outside of this universe and of course outside of our mind , how do we know that what we invented is the christian God ? how do we know that what we have in mind now when we hear the word god is something right about the real God? , if you prove it my argument will fall.
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          Jul 5 2011: Is very frustrating for me when I hear this kind of claims about me:"I strongly expect there is nothing I can do to persuade you from your faith." only because the guys who I'm talking with don't understand what I said.
          "My main goal was to see if we could agree that it is not necessary for there to be any real gods in order for man to have invented the concept of gods. Think well and consider the myths of all cultures. Do you agree?" I agree Jim ,but not this was my point : my point was that must be a real God in order for man to have the concept/idea of this real God , that's was why I've asked you to prove all that things (that what we imagined is the real God) , I'm not interested in the imaginary gods more than you perhaps as atheist are .
          " it seems that you are asking me to take the burden of proof to prove your case. " yes Jim, that is the irony of my point : in order to prove my point wrong you have to take the burden of proof upon you.
          And look also at my last 4 to Gabo.
        • Jul 5 2011: Oh Eduard, come on!

          No atheist would think that an imaginary god is a real god. You cannot ask an atheist to "prove that the imaginary god is the real god." You are assuming both that there is a real god, and that atheists also think there is a real god. Come on. What a ridiculous proposition. Is this what you have been all about all this time? If so the joke is all on you, because it does not make any sense whatsoever. If an atheist tells you that your god is in your mind, it means that such god is imaginary, not that the god in your mind is a "real" god. Not that the god you imagine is the "real" one.

          Worse, we don't need to prove anything. I already told you how we can imagine gods without there been any real ones whatsoever, and that's enough for it to be reasonable for an atheist to think that any gods, yours or otherwise, are imaginary. What is it that you don't understand about it? Do you really not see that gods can be imagined from things that are not real gods, just as we imagine leprechauns, hobbits, fairies, orcs, dwarfs, et cetera? I mean, really? So, to imagine all these there has to be real ones to begin with? If I tell you that leprechauns are in your mind you would ask me to prove that those you imagine are the real ones? Really Eduard?

          Man, if you insist on this nonsense there is nothing else to tell you, no reason to continue our exchange. I don't think you will renounce to your claim that "atheism is a joke," but all along it truly seems like the joke is on you. Your whole argument is built on false perception on your part about what atheism is, and on nonsensical stuff such as "there has to be a real god for us to be able to imagine one." Painfully ridiculous Eduard.
        • Jul 5 2011: Jim,

          This is a fallacious argument on Eduard's side. He arranged the sentence to make you accept that there is a real god before you can even answer:

          "how do we know that what we have in mind now when we hear the word god is something right about the [[real]] God? , if you prove it my argument will fall."

          Had he written it that way before, all it would have taken for me to dismantle it is to say so. This is the same fallacy as in "have you stopped beating your wife?" A fallacy of the loaded question.

          Anyway, back to work. :)
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          Jul 6 2011: Gabo:
          I know and I agree , only that happened to write to Jim before writing to you in my 4.
          For my perspective it is still and argument (for theists it is still and argument ) but for you as atheist it isn't. That's all.
          It wasn't need at all of this all elaboration .

          I didn't arange anything man , was only my confusion and I'm retreating it.
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          Jul 6 2011: Yes that's right , excuse my naive confusion
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          Jul 6 2011: It's possible what Plato says .
          I don't know for sure if he was right , for example I could say that it's not needed to exist the perfect form in order to exist the manufacturer but it's need instead to exist the manufacturer in order to exist the perfect form , the perfect form is only a idealization , is something what we strive to . It could be another possible explanation (I don't remember well but I think Aristotel says something like ) .
          What do you think about Plato was he right?
          We can't prove it , I accept it as a possiblity.
          You know it's hard to say anything which start from my reason about the perfect , I can just speculate (and I think that Plato also speculated) , I do it sometimes and of course it's not a suprise that I fail (as above) , the reaction of the others is interesting :).
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          Jul 7 2011: It's interesting why do we consider something to be true in a specific moment and the same thing in another moment it's considered by us false : that thing was never true .

          Yes in a factual sense Plato seems more wrong, anyway we can't prove what he said.
          Do you think that the poetry is a mean to find the truth ? I don't , I think the poetry is just a bunch of feelings.
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          Jul 7 2011: Eduard,
          You say..."it's interesting why do we consider something to be true in a specific moment and the same thing in another moment it's considered by us false".
          Do you think it may have something to do with how much information we are willing to explore and evaluate? That is why my beliefs change at times...because I'm willing to explore all information and consider it from different perspectives:>)

          Could poetry be BOTH a means to explore truth AND a bunch of feelings? I believe this to be so:>) It depends on how it it written, and how it is read, don't you think? Have you ever read something and percieved certain things about it, then gone back and read it at a different time, and noticed something about it that you did not notice before? I think information touches us differently at different times, and we may only notice something when we are ready?

          "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes..."
          (Marcel Proust)
        • Jul 7 2011: Jim,
          Can you read my last comment to Jimmy?
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          Jul 7 2011: Yes I think so (your first question) but I also think that we will never explore and evaluate the all needed information in order to claim that something (what we have explored about) is true therefore we can't find the truth by exploring or evaluating. does it mean that we can find the truth by scientific method ?what do you think?

          :) just that I think the poetry is just a bunch of feelings , how is the poetry a mean to explore truth ? I mean the poet only admire , feel , love , worship something like ......and that's all .

          And yes , Marcel Proust and your explanations happen and happened to me ;).
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          Jul 8 2011: Hello Eduard,
          "Does it mean that we can find the truth by scientific method"?
          I think we discover our truth by exploring all available information.

          "How is the poetry a mean to explore truth?:
          I think poetry stimulates our heart and mind to ask questions which sometimes leads us to our truth:>)
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          Jul 8 2011: Colleen:
          Our truth ? :)
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          Jul 8 2011: Eduard,Yes, Our truth. I percieve what an individual believes in at any given moment is his/her truth, and there are many levels of truth:>) That is why I like exploring ALL information:>)
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          Jul 8 2011: Colleen :
          Don't exist something like : "our truth" , there is only truth .
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          Jul 8 2011: Ok Eduard,
          I respect your perception:>) Do you remember when the "truth" was that the earth was flat? Do you remember when "truth" was that many diseases did not have a cure? Do you remember when "truth" was that it was silly to think that humans could fly out into space?
          There are many "truths", that get proven wrong when new information is discovered. "Truth" changes, with new information...in my humble opinion:>) Of course, it is always a choice to look at new information...or not:>)
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          Jul 9 2011: I respect yours too .
          Just that I don't consider all that to have been the 'truth'. We don't know the truth , just some parts of it , and because they are parts our big picture is surely false.
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          Jul 7 2011: So you say that we change over time (usually unwilling) the true way of using a thing/sentence and in the new context made by us that thing becomes false .................. yes it's possible , but this happen also in science , any theory is subject of falsification over time , what do you think about it? is it possible that over 200 years to find out that what we believe now is totally false ? where can we find the truth then?

          (for when you have time of course).
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          Jul 8 2011: ""A metaphor is a statement of belief that can reveal truth about ..." I agree , it's possible , this was what I was saying by :"So you say that we change over time (usually unwilling) the true way of using a thing/sentence and in the new context made by us that thing becomes false"
          I think I understand what do you mean by upsight (I'll check it more along the conversation).
          Only that having the all time upsights(and we seek it I guess) , in the end is very probable to have a very different conclusion of that which we start with therefore how can we know the truth ? the truth is unchangeable by definition . How the scientific method work regarding the existence of upsights?
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          Jul 9 2011: "Suppose that at some point along the path you become convinced that you have found the desired absolute truth. Perhaps you have some insight that seems so amazing, so emotionally powerful, that you become convinced that you have found THE TRUTH." I know too much for not being so naive :) :).
          We can't know the absolute truth therefore we can't know the truth , all what we know is only some parts which give us a very false big picture, of course it's not wrong to be open to advance to a better understanding of the truth and I agree with you and Colleen regarding this.
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          Jul 9 2011: You are correct Jim. I am very "lightly attached to truth" in the moment because my experience tells me that what is truth in one moment often changes with new information:>)

          I agree with the idea that being "open to learning from new information, even when it contradicts your current notions of truth" is beneficial, and I don't percieve that we are much different in our approach. It appears to me, that the way we communicate our approach is different:>)
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          Jul 9 2011: I know that, only that my questions was more about how can we be sure that by scientific method we find the truth regarding the upsights ?only by the fact that something is reproduced ?
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          Jul 10 2011: "We confirm that a truth is universal when others can reproduce the steps for arriving at the truth. That is the essence of the scientific method." or "So the scientific method also includes the important process of figuring out common patterns, and creating mathematical models that describe the patterns. Once we have a new mathematical model a pattern...." ok and after some years suppose we find another 'truth'/pattern which inactivate the first , which share that the first was false : how can we know the truth by scientific method regarding this? what happen ? are we all convicted to believe something which seems for a period to be the truth (usually because it is according to our reason) and after another period of time to find out another 'truth' and so on ?....................if the situation is so : what is the point in agreeing with the scientific method ? only to have a sense of truth for a moment and after it to start fleeing after another? only to improve our life ? shouldn't we seek something more ? I'm curious to know what do you think .
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          Jul 11 2011: I agree with you Jim , I was aware of what you said when I've put that questions .
          Look 1000 years back and look now in the present , what guarantees do we have that over 1000 years we won't look back at this now present and we won't have mainly the same picture like we have now for the time of 1000 years ago? and think also that any major theory (the evolution theory , the bing bang theory , the string theory ....) is falsifiable .
          When it comes about the empirical facts is normal to think that is very probable to be the same after 1000 years , but what about theories ?
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          Jul 11 2011: I know all these , you know Jim , I'm here to find out some new perspectives and to critisize them sometimes but not to hear what is supposed to know (the basic things sometimes).
          "If you compare now to 1000 years ago, you are comparing scientific beliefs to pre-scientific beliefs." right, what guarantees do we have that what we have now as science aren't like some pre-scientific beliefs to what we will have over 1000 years ?
          Thinking now at upsights :how could we know that what we believe know as science is true 100% if something like:"A Theory is falsifiable in the sense that one new observation can potentially falsify the theory" is possible ?, do we know that no theories is 100 % true or not? what's your opinion?
    • Jul 2 2011: Kathy,

      One reason I can never keep it cool with you is that you will never admit to a mistake, nor notice when pointed out that you are just being rhetorical. Yet, I shall try as calmly as possible:

      1. Atheism means someone who does not believe in any gods. That's it. There is no need for a god to exist for atheism to exist. All that is needed is for people to believe that such thing(s) exist for there to be atheism. Your statement "If God doesn't exist, then atheism doesn't exist" is nothing but fallacious rhetoric. I think you know this. Yet let's see if you rather get it than start attacking my "ignorance" and "lack of intellect."

      2. I have witnessed many, really many, very small children being presented with the idea of "God" who have reacted with disbelief. That is empirical evidence that the "awareness of God" that you talk about does not exist.

      3. I understand what you are saying. But that is not but very strong reading of "holy" scriptures as people read horoscopes. Finding meanings that are not there is easy. I know, from your point of view this reveals my deep ignorance. I bet you are not willing to consider that I might have been where you are, only I did not fall so off of reality as yourself. I know I can't convince you, so my only point for you to take, if you ever can take any, is that from here your points look exactly like horoscope reading, and that I clearly see that you won't pay attention or even understand the deep contradictions you build. I tried once to show you how nonsensical one of your interpretations was (stoning of homosexuals). You just could not get it. That alone makes your points nothing but, with all due respect, mumbo jumbo. Sorry, but there is no other words for it.

      Best K, and I hope you don't take this [too] badly.

      (Anyway, as for the point of this conversation. The onus is not on atheists to prove that there is no gods. The onus is on believers to prove that there is.)
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        Jul 2 2011: To Kathy & Gabo:
        That's right, the awareness of God is inexistent without a kind of empirical experience (like is the education........) , I'm saying it as a theist without being inconsistent with my belief , but still the atheism is a joke.
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        Jul 3 2011: (Laugh)..........perhaps..... but yet I rather think that :I'm that one guy in the pack who still is laughing while others says 'we don't get it ''.
      • Jul 7 2011: Gabo,
        Can you read my last comment to Jimmy?
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        Jul 2 2011: No Jim , you didn't fix it, because if the concept of God did not exist we all would be atheists (without knowing it of course).
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        Jul 3 2011: It doesn't matter for the 'fix' if we have the word or not.
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        Jul 4 2011: The concept of atheism would not exist, right ,we won't be aware of it in fact, but we all would be atheists.
      • Jul 7 2011: Jim,
        Can you read my last comment to Jimmy?
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    • Jul 1 2011: Hi Kathy K. ..fancy meeting you here!
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          Jul 3 2011: Well, her loss really, the more she does it, the less people will engage her. One needs to stand by what they have said. If she was consistent, she wouldn't have to conceal her tracks. I know I won't bother next time.
        • Jul 3 2011: That was too bad about Kathy.... what happened....?
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          Jul 3 2011: You haven't noticed the pattern Daniel? Did you check out your "consciousness" discussion?
    • Jul 1 2011: I love that eye !!

      The shortcomings in our thinking is everywhere... absolutely everywhere... The imagination it takes to see the holy scriptures as the symbolic pictorial language and stories that you talk about has faded away from our consciousness. Especially in that of the Atheists. It's the cold hard facts that can be measured and weighed that matter. Where then is the connecting link or the path to follow to bridge the two worlds?
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        Jul 2 2011: Hi Daniel,
        I think the path to bridge the two worlds is in acceptance and respect for each other and our beliefs. Somewhere, on that bridge, we all meet, with all of our beliefs and us together:>)
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        • Jul 3 2011: Hi Jim,
          Anyone or anything that keeps knowledge away from mankind is in itself a corruption of the true nature of our being. We all naturally seek knowledge. It is perhaps the key to our survival. And be it a religious person or institution or be it in political clothing, be it scientific or whatever. If the motivation is to corrupt the truth then it must fall or be pressed to fall by those who see the truth. I agree that suppression of civil rights for certain minorities is a wrongdoing. To keep scientific research out of the public schools is also a wrongdoing. So here we have no quarrel.
          Were all going over that bridge ....whether we like it or not. The Atheist as well as the Theist.. ... the crossing over has to be.... because we are all seeking the truth in one way or another. Some, as yourself prefer to use the "cold hard facts" while others may have other experiences that fall outside of the box... the box where science can pull it apart ... piece by piece and analyze it. An experience cannot be weighed or measured.
          But don't get me wrong. I'm all for the scientific method. It's the only way to true knowledge. But we need to go beyond the merely physical and raise our our consciousness to a new level. A level were the scientific world view takes into account the immaterial.... the invisible... the spiritual. To hold fast with the idea that there is no spiritual element of mankind may be a premature conclusion that needs to be looked at again. The denial of something that you cannot see or feel is in a way a form of dogma itself. In the Atheists mind.. this is of course only my humble opinion.... the closing of this door to the immaterial is no different than the closing of the religious minded person to the world of scientific knowledge. The bridge has to be on the platform of an open minded, curious, honest, truth seeking person. But most of all a free thinking person.. not like what we both found on the "proving koran" debate. .... how much you pay truth
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          Jul 3 2011: Hi Jim,
          You can stand on my bridge any time:>) I agree that no information should be supressed. It would be great if we could teach kids to be open minded, and open hearted enough to look carefully at ALL information and make good choices in their lives:>)
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          Jul 3 2011: Beautiful Jim...thank you...it touches my heart:>)

          "Only from the heart can you touch the sky..."
          (Rumi)
  • Jul 1 2011: The only way for aliens not to exist is if their was a God.(The probability of no other life forms living in the universe other than the ones on the earth is extremely small.The only way that these odds could be beaten is if God had something to do with it. ) So far we have not found any aliens thus meaning their is a God.Even if their were aliens it does not disprove the existence of God.
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      Jul 1 2011: So you're trying to justify the absence of evidence for God's existence with the absence of evidence for aliens' existence. The irony of it all.
      • Jul 2 2011: No i am trying to justify the existence of God with the absence of evidence for alien's existence.
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          Jul 2 2011: Yes, that's in essence what I meant to say. Do you not see how twisted that is? There's no evidence for God, but you're arguing that there is no evidence for aliens therefore there is evidence for God.

          Austin, I'd give that story a couple more months, I'd be the first to be excited if it were true, but these claims have been made in the past before!
        • Jul 3 2011: Does anybody know of any follow up about that meteorite from mars, also containing something akin to fossilized life (though too small compared to any known bacteria), chemical analyses showing patterns that seemed explainable by life activity, long et cetera? It was a paper in nature so long ago ...

          Of course, this is irrelevant for the theme under conversation here. I was just reminded by Austin's comment.
  • Jun 30 2011: If it could be proved or disproved, this debate would not be necessary. I'm kind of on the fence... Here are my arguments for both sides.

    My argument for Atheism:
    - Empirically, there have never been any well-documented discoveries that legitimately suggest a supreme entity exists.
    - There are numerous controversial passages in many holy books that either conflict or go against many of the current theories and beliefs within the scientific community.
    - There is no indisputable proof for either side, so we should resort to what empiricism has showed us and assume there is nothing else.

    My argument against Atheism:
    - Random phenomena cannot possibly occur. They defy logic. Therefore, some thing could not have come from nothing. Yes, Lawrence Krauss makes a decent argument but it is extremely theoretical, controversial, and still frequently debated.
    - There must be an initial cause for which a prior cause is not necessary, a supreme, all-encompassing entity fits this profile.
    - Near-death experiences give us reason to at least consider the possibility that some sort of god and alternative form of consciousness exists.
    - Because of the possible ramifications that would come into play if a supreme being does exist, we should at least have faith that one may exist for that very reason.
    • Jun 30 2011: What is it about near-death experiences that should make us consider the possibility of a deity? There are reports of people adopting or losing faith in a particular religion because of what they saw during their NDE because while some people have visions of heaven or hell, others see nothing.

      Your last point sounds a lot like Pascal's Wager. Since we have no evidence supporting anything about what happens after death, all we can do at the moment is speculate what happens. There are infinitely many unproven conclusions we can draw; some of them being that: Allah is real, Yahweh is real, reincarnation, God tested our ability to be intellectually and emotionally honest by creating a cruel world and many religions, and many more possibilities that may or may not have been proposed before. Due to the lack of evidence, we can safely assume nothing happens.
      • Jun 30 2011: I added an elementary version of Pascal's Wager to the argument because, in my opinion, that's a reason that many people become Theists. "Due to the lack of evidence"... In my opinion, there cannot be an infinite regression of causes, so there must be a first cause and the most logical candidate would be a supreme entity. And that counts for something, despite it being un-circumstantial and theoretical.
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        • Jul 3 2011: Jiim,
          The fact that both children of very young age have NDE sort of blows a hole in your "cultural dependent" theory ... Atheists also have NDE.. so explain that....
          What would you say Jim (now try to keep an open mind) if the scientific medical studies really did show that there is in fact a "spiritual" element of our being that actually "does" exist after our physical death. Are your thoughts free enough to abandon you accumulated knowledge that is sitting on the shelf in the back of your mind.... all that you have previously "proven" of the non-existence of the immaterial world.... I wonder how free an Atheists thoughts really are. Although you wont have to abandon all of your thoughts. Some of your convictions about evolution you can retain. But you will need some new concepts to build upon your old ones. The concepts that you today call "supernatural" will be the concepts that you will hold as "natural" tomorrow. This is part of our search for truth. We are on our way over that bridge. Old concepts are the foundation for the new ones. Some have to be discarded .... while others can remain.
          NDE are just one of many phenomena that are now shaking at the foundation of the materialistic world view. If you don't soon start controlling your building blocks.. your bridge may totally collapse. The resemblance of the Atheist clinging to what he considers the "facts" is astonishingly similar to the creationist claiming that the earth is only 6000 years old. The mind has to remain open (not at both ends however.....!)
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          Jul 3 2011: Daniel, 'concepts that you today call "supernatural" ' are not really the issue. It is supernatural explanations of phenomena that are the issue. Looking back at the history of explanation we see a pretty consistent pattern of unexplained phenomena first being attributed to supernatural causes and then later to causes that fit into a rational framework.

          It seems to follow this pattern:
          1. Lightning is strange and unexplained
          2. Zeus must hurl thunderbolts from the sky
          3. Lightning, like many other things, is caused by static electricity—an explanation that is testable and falsifiable.

          I can't think of any example where the pattern is turned around such that we first accept a rational explanation and later discard it for a supernatural explanation. Can you?

          Also old concepts and explanations often don't seem to be the foundations of new ones. Historically, new ideas seem to overthrow old ones. Thomas Kuhn's idea of paradigm shifts seems to be closer to what really happens.
        • Jul 3 2011: Mark,
          My point is this. What we call the "supernatural" is perhaps also within the framework of the "natural". In the early ages of the vikings, the explanation of lightning was in fact Thor that was throwing around his hammer ... or something like that.. .. to them, Thor was the "natural" explanation.. not the "supernatural" Thor was the name that they put on the force. Forces had names back then. Forces and the "beings" that operated in the elements were within the reach of human experience back then. They "experienced" the "beingness" of the lightning. Now you and I with out modern intellectual mind call it "static charges... positive and negatively charged.... etc. etc. We are more in touch with the actual processes of chemistry and physics of the phenomena.
          Think of it this way....It's like eating a sweet strawberry. You can tell me the sugar content of the berry in all its chemical formula. You can break it down to its lowest physical aspect. You can even explain how it came to be so sweet genetically... but the experience of the taste of the strawberry itself is yours and yours alone. ... Can you prove to me the taste of the strawberry ... well... of course not. Again you can give me a neurological explanation of the processes involved in your tongues nerve cells and their transportation to the brain that sends and receives the signals etc. etc. etc. But where is the actual "taste" of the strawberry...?? Your juxtaposition does not make the strawberry in itself any different ... more or less real.... more or less correct.... supernatural or logical.... testable ... falsifiable... can you weigh or measure the "taste" of the strawberry... no ..... it is an experience.
          When you take "old concepts" and put them in new clothing, call them new names and then say ... see there... there is nothing "supernatural" here ... its all chemistry and physics.. what are you really doing but getting further and further away from the "beingness of the strawberry".
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          Jul 4 2011: Thanks Daniel,

          I have a lot of sympathy for this argument and I'm suspicious of positivist world views that ignore the poetic nature of experience. Like you say, to experience the taste of a strawberry and to explain it's chemistry are two different things and given the choice between them, I'll go for the taste every time.

          But it needs to work both ways. Once we know the "actual processes of chemistry and physics" how do we deal with the left over explanations that no longer carry the ontological force they once did? It seems with Thor and lightning that we will think of Thor metaphorically and poetically, but when we need to understand the "actual processes" we will use physics. It's a fine solution. But it's not so obvious with modern religious thought, where there are many instance of people who continue to use supernatural explanations despite contradictory evidence and actively seek to suppress and cast doubt on this evidence. It doesn't seem any different to me than suddenly insisting that physics is wrong because we still have faith in Thor.
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        • Jul 4 2011: Jim,
          Just wanted to point out that that which you call "cultural conditioning" is not a factor.
          Whatever the physical cause might be.. either it be lack of oxygen, or an external mechanical force(as mention earlier with the Russian cosmonauts) or be it drugs, or be it in an induced coma on an operating table. The cause is not the point in question. We see the OBE phenomena is induced by many different external causes. The physical cause is beside the point.
          But the crux of the matter is, ... how can people gain a "verifiable" perspective of conversations, objects, things that have happened while being "out of the body"....?? This is the whole fulcrum point of the argument.... If one can prove that consciousness is present and "is" actually over the body or over the hospital looking down.... then whatever previous ideas that modern medicine might have had a out the consciousness of man being bound to the physical brain simply fall apart.This "consciousness" that seems to be able toobserve what is going on on the physical plane makes us think twice about the real nature of the brain and its relationship to consciousness. You mean to say that the physical brain is the origin of our consciousness. While I am saying that the physical brain is merely an antenna for consciousness.
          This has to do with the discussion on Atheism in a round about way. Should it be "proven" one day that our consciousness is its own entity and free from the physical brain... then it opens up a whole new box of worms for the Atheist. Because the Atheist will then have to encompass in his "world picture or world view" his "baggage of ideas" that something of an immaterial nature (read spiritual nature) exists.
          ...and I predict...that what the medical world of science is soon going to discover through both artificially induced NDE / OBE as well as naturally accuring NDE / OBE that this will open up a whole new field of science. A paradigm shift that will shake our bridge like never before.
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        • Jul 4 2011: Jim,
          This response to your previous comment leads us a bit off the track of "proving Atheism" but if I can follow you here a bit in regards to your dreams. We have discussed concepts. Certain concepts, especially new ones that are not common in our daily thinking are not always the easiest to get hold of and accept as "real" or worthy of any further investment of our thoughts. But because you mentioned this dream, I felt that a little response was in place here. There is a similar process in sleeping that we experience in an OBE. The common poetic insight to this phenomena is expressed in the words "sleep is the little brother of death" But the wisdom in these simple words is rather astonishing if you can establish a few simple concepts in ones thinking that can perhaps give a clearer picture of what might actually be going on here. Now I don't really expect you to agree with my way of seeing things... knowing that you call yourself an "Atheist" ... and that to accept a concept of a spiritual nature that doesn't fit in so well with your expressed world view.. but still... I will give it a try, aware of it being considered "mumbo jumbo" or that it has been "debunked" etc. etc. But try to follow my line of thought with an open mind..OK? What happens during sleep is that the spiritual body and the soul body lift out of the physical body and the life body.. now, I have already used 4 (at least 3) concepts that you have never added to your own " world of concepts" In fact, if they have ever crossed your path before then you have surely denied them as "not scientifically proven" but if you can put that aside for a few moments. I just might be able to present a way of looking at things that you may find of interest.. note!! I'm not trying to convert anyone! So.. the sleep process is actually a little "ex-carnation" and what you "thought you saw" might have been a real OBE. It is rather common to experience this. Children often have them. We can go into detail if you wish
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          Jul 4 2011: I love the Feynman snippet. But it's subtly different from what I liked in the comment I was replying to. I am not suggesting that science subtracts from our experience. I simply think it's insufficient. It's like having to choose between neuroscience and Hamlet as we try to understand ourselves. Luckily, despite the the attempts by people who want to polarize the issue (that's not pointed at you Jim), we don't have to choose.
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      Jul 1 2011: Near death experiences have been experimentally induced in patients finding themselves in non-life threatening situations. It belongs in the long list of debunked evidence.
      • Jul 1 2011: Matthieu,

        Your statement here is incorrect.
        For you to say that because a person is experimentally induced into a NDE and because they are in a non-life threatening situation proves that they are debunked. This is not a correct statement. Think a little bit about it and I think you will have to agree. When a person has a NDE it is what is also generally called an "out of body experience" or OBE. An OBE can be experienced without the necessity of being in a near death situation. People can have an OBE without any form of being in danger at all. This is an important differentiation.
        Furthermore, the fact that the NDE or more correctly, an OBE can be artificially induced is also no proof at all that the experiences aren't real. In fact, I think modern medicine will soon come to just the opposite conclusion. These people who are subjected to such experiments will, in time, convince the medical society that these experiences are in fact quite real. It may still take a few years, but that time is coming... and when it does.... there will be a paradigm change that the scientific world has seldom seen the dimension of....
        Also, the fact that not "all" people who have an OBE while "dying" or being subjected to such OBE inducing experiments can neither disprove the phenomenon in itself. I think you can agree with this... we are all quite differently puzzled together. The one person may... can we say.... "get further out" than the other.. all depending upon his or her physical / spiritual constitution. Just like the difference between a deep dreamless sleep that we can't remember as opposed to a shallow dream with many pictures in it. You cannot deny that you dream..... and if two or three or more had the same exact dream.... Would it tell us anything at all ? If people had the exact same dream...?
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          Jul 1 2011: Daniel and Matthieu,
          We are already experiencing the "paradigm change" with scientists. A gentleman commented on the Jill Bolte Taylor site that he had recently read books, written by two hard core scientists who were trying to debunk NDE, and they were surprised at the findings.

          Mathhieu brings up a good point though...I may have trouble believing in an NDE or OBE that has been experimentally induced.
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          Jul 1 2011: Dear Daniel, it was by no mistake that I called these NDEs rather than OBEs. In those experiments, patients experience the same kind of steps as those who have survived an actual NDE. This is to say that they not only perceive to leave their body, but also see the dark tunnel, their relatives present and past and hear the voice of their God. That is another important point, the experiences are often very much in line with that person's belief. Now, personally I think that this is reason enough for the NDE argument not to fall squarely into the category of arguments against atheism.
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          Jul 1 2011: Matthieu,
          I want to clarify something. Many of us who have experienced a NDE have not heard the voice of, or met a God. That is an important point too:>) I think you are right in saying that "the experiences are often very much in line with that person's belief"...prior to the NDE.

          My experience tells me that it doesn't matter what belief one adopts on this earth school, as long as one is living a life that has value for oneself and for the whole:>) So, I agree with you Matthieu, that the NDE argument does NOT support an argument against atheism:>)
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          Jul 1 2011: I just read on your page that you have experienced an NDE yourself. If it's not too personal to ask, could you tell us about it?
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          Jul 2 2011: Matthieu,
          It's not too personal at all, and thank you for your consideration. I've mentioned it for two years on ted sites, and guest lectured at the univ. of vt. on the topic for 6 years. I'm pretty transparent at this point...LOL:>)

          I am glad to tell you about it (seems like old news to me now).
          21 years ago, I sustained a near fatal head/brain injury in a horseback riding accident. I had a craniotomy, and for two days after the accident and surgery, the body hovered between life and death.( I obtained my medical records to varify what was happening clinically). In that time, my spirit/energy left the body and I could see the body from another place. I percieved myself and other beings as masses of energy. I was not expected to live, then I was not expected to ever function "normally" again. My energy came back into the body, and I regained consciousness 10 days later. So, here I am, and I am glad to answer any questions you have, but I don't want to bore you with information you really may not want, or are not seeking:>) If you have questions, ask away, and I will answer to the best of my ability:>)
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          Jul 3 2011: Could you see the room you were in really well or would you say that your vision became a little abstract?
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          Jul 3 2011: Hi Matthieu,
          My "vision", on many levels, was much more clear. I could see the room, and my body on the bed in ICU hooked up to life support systems very clearly. In fact, later, when I was able, I visited ICU and the people who took care of me. The director of ICU showed me the room I was in, and he was quite surprised when I described what the room looked like and where things were placed when I was there. I was describing the scene right after the accident/surgery, when the body was hovering between life and death. At that time, there were more life support systems in the room. After the first two days, when the body stabllized, some of the equipment was disconnected from the body, and moved out of the room. I was unconscious, according to the medical model for 10 days, so supposedly would not have known how the room looked, in that time. When the body regained consciousness, I was moved to another level of care. I was also very aware of the activities in the room, and what people were thinking and feeling. ESP or intuition is the only way I can describe what I was experiencing...a sense of "knowing".

          Another interesting thing for me, is that when I was looking at the body (not a very pretty sight at the time, with black and blue swollen head, drainage tubes coming out of the head and neck, wires connected to the chest, and pipes and tubes coming out of every orifice)
          I recognized it as a vehicle that carries me through this earth experience. I didn't feel at all bad about the condition it was in...it felt like taking my ford ranger to the garage for repairs after an accident. I was totally seperate from the body. In my perception, the body is not the most important part of "me". It is important to keep it healthy and well maintained to support my life journey.
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          Jul 3 2011: Cute clip...evidence is always good:>)

          BTW...SF is one of my favorite cities, and I was there last week for my son's wedding:>)
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          Jul 16 2011: Funny!
          I don't feel "cornered" Crusader.
          I noticed that Jim is from San Francisco, I was there recently, and I like connecting with people:>)
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          Jul 16 2011: Re: Randy clip that tries to debunk OBE:
          As I said Crusader..."cute clip...evidence is always good".

          Re: Energy.
          If you think energy is "white stuff" Crusader...so be it!

          Re: Visiting ICU
          You can presume whatever you like Crusader. Yes, you are right that directors of ICUs have busy lives. You are also right in that he and I seem to have pretty good memories.
          The fact that I was "Mrs. Vermont" and a professional actor appearing in theater, films, TV mini series and commercials at the time stimulated quite a bit of interest and concern. The accident was publicized and I had LOTS of visitors:>) In fact, although visitors are usually limited in ICU, everyone who came was allowed in my room...cool huh?

          Your communication looks/sounds a lot like Richard Dawson...do you remember him?
          And I'm sure you know you're taking this off topic right? The topic is "Proving/Disproving Atheism... NOT proving/disproving Colleen's NDE/OBE.
      • Jul 2 2011: 1. There are also children who have experienced NDE. Children without any conceptions of a life after death or any belief system. This is a count against the theory that a NDE has to do with previous beliefs in life. 2. There are also examples of atheists that have very strong experiences that correspond to the tunnel, the light, and a light being... and the questions that this being presents to that person. 3. This is also to Colleen. There are experiments in Russia where they put the astronaut on a huge G.force simulator where they are spun around in a circle until they "faint" Some may say that this is of course due to the lack of oxygen to the brain... My point is here that they are pushed to the point of unconsciousness... and the interesting thing is that they have several times been told by the astronaut in the machine that they have had a NDE or as I prefer to call it an OBE. Also where they have a "life review" or an "overview" Also mechanically induced. This could of course also be done with drugs or other things that would provoke the loosening of the consciousness from the physical body. Hypnotism could also be explained in these terms. The loosening of the consciousness from the physical body. This is not considered "supernatural" and does not demand any further explanation as to its "reality"..... Hypnotism is real... on this we can agree. But to see inside the phenomenon one needs to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of our true inner self. As for the position of the Atheist, by limiting himself to the concepts of the purely material world, he at the same time denies himself the possibility of expanding his ideas into the realm of the invisible. To deny the invisible in the world of man and of nature, you must consequently deny your own power of thought.... and later to deny your own feelings.... and what do you have left...? ... the material... You want to deny the greater part of the phenomenon... ..mankind....
      • Jul 3 2011: To Matthieu and Jim,
        How did you explain the fact that children have also NDE's? If a NDE is only culturally conditioned then a young child has no possibility of "learning" such "beliefs" through their culture.
        How do you explain the Atheist who has had a NDE?

        I simply want to show here that to say the NDE is conditioned by what a person believes before the NDE is a false proposition. People who have absolutely no religious affiliation seem to have these experiences as well.
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          Jul 3 2011: I agree Daniel,
          I was born into a Catholic family, and from the time I was a child, questioned the teachings of the church. Many of the teachings simply did not make sense to me, but as a child, I had to participate in the practice because of my parents direction. At 19, when I moved out of my parents home, I abandoned the religion, and was not practicing any religion at the time of the NDE/OBE 23 years later. I never actually labeled myself, but I knew I didn't want to be a part of a group that appeared to be contradictory, hypocritical and controlling.

          Some time after the NDE, I explored several different religions and philosophical beliefs quite extensively, and even participated in the practices for short periods of time. I think I was trying to discover if the NDE was at all connected with any existing beliefs. I still do not have a label for myself, nor do I practice any religion.
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          Jul 3 2011: If a child is old enough to accurately describe an NDE, he/she's old enough to be aware of the concept of a God. I never said that NDEs had to be specific to ones religion, what I did say was that they tended to be.
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          Jul 3 2011: I think you made yourself clear on that issue Matthieu, and I agree that often, one's beliefs prior to the NDE influence the experience. I did quite a bit of research and read hundreds of accounts of NDE/OBEs, and often people describe the experience based on their previous beliefs.I find it difficult to describe the experience, because it feels to me, like coming back from a foreign country, where we may have witnessed practices or rituals that we do not understand, and do not have the vocabulary/language to describe the experience. Do you understand? So, we describe it using the language, beliefs and information we have. In reading the accounts of NDEs, I realized that those who were practicing christians prior to the experience, often described seeing god with a while robe and white beard...monks...angels...etc. I didn't see any of that, to the best of my recollection. I, and all the beings present were masses of energy....in my perception:>)
      • Jul 3 2011: Matthieu,
        I never mentioned the concept of God. Did I..? I simply reported the fact that a child can have a NDE. The child, after a NDE reports of similar experiences that a grown up does. Even children that have not developed language at all and have had a NDE can begin to draw the most unbelievable drawings that coencide most precisely with the stories told by adults that have had NDE. The child has no cultural or religious indoctrination of any kind and especially not the kind that would prepare it for such an experience. But I simply want to point to the phenomena as it stands. I do not here argue for or against the existence of God on the grounds of the fact that a child (or atheist for that matter) reports of having an OBE.
        But if somewhere down the line science can verify these experiences as being real, then we can come back to this TED forum and discuss if we do in fact have a spiritual body that survives physical death. Then we will have to ask the bigger questions of the existence of other invisible being, entities, gods etc.
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          Jul 3 2011: Well then I'm not sure what your argument is, because there's no reason why you couldn't have a neutral NDE or OBE (are we agreed on the distinction yet or not?) as a child. All I ever claimed is that NDE are often influenced by one's religious views.
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          Jul 4 2011: I agree Matthieu, that there can be a neutral NDE/OBE...that was my experience. I also agree, based on my own experience and considerable research on the topic, that NDE/OBEs are usually influenced by one's beliefs prior to the incident. As I said before, I don't think an NDE/OBE is evidence which supports the topic of this discussion.
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        Jul 11 2011: i dont know how relevant this is, but an extensive study (i forgot where it was done) with the drug N,N,DMT (used for a long, long time in human history) showed that 70% (which was really high to the people doing the study) of the patients who did the drug stated while on it they had contacted some other kind of being. thats a pretty high percentage.
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        Jul 12 2011: after? im not sure. the natural ones all seem to have been used for "spirtual" reasons and often were not suposed to be used out of ritualistic purposes in most cultures. they always seem tied to other stange events like out of body experiences and such. could be a simple brain explenation, or more. the powers that be though would rather not see these further studied though. wonder why? lol .
    • Jul 2 2011: Hi Austin,

      About your arguments against atheism,

      1. I don't see why random phenomena would defy logic, nor why the existence or lack of random phenomena has anything to do with atheism. I can't see either why without random phenomena something could not come from nothing. I don't see why would atheism necessarily entail that something must come from nothing. Atheism is about gods, not about somethings coming from nothings. Fewer words, there is nothing about atheism in this argument (which seems more like a series of non-sequiturs).

      2. Cause and effect have been observed in the physical universe, and are about transformations of material things. A regress through causes and effects might lead to a primary cause/effect, or to many primary causes/effects. But I don't see why would we have to jump from the physical into something other than it. Let alone why a supreme entity would be entailed, rather than some fundamental(s) property(ies) of the physical universe.

      3. The most NDE could mean, supposing they were really about out-of-body experiences, is that there is more to us than our bodies. Nothing else. I don't see how they would entail any gods.

      4. Whatever ramifications, it would be impossible to do anything by having faith that there might be something out there like a god. Remember that most religions demand exclusivity or else.

      But you are free to believe and have as much faith as you wish.

      Best,
      --G
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        Jul 2 2011: Hi Gabo ,
        Perhaps you remember me and maybe not with a good 'feeling' :) , you did well in my opinion here and I agree with you even though I'm a theist. The existence of God doesn't rely in some proofs (and also God inexistence) , it is just a matter of believing. There are some kind of proofs (as much as they can be called proofs) but I understand why they aren't so convincing for an atheist , all I think is that is a wrong to seek proofs when it comes about god, this is in my opinion the irrationality of the atheism (as long as it seeks proofs for the claims made by itself).
        • Jul 2 2011: Hey Eduard!

          I am not one to keep records of wrong arguments. I might sound harsh quite often, but that's mostly because I am very direct. I am truly and authentically harsh only when I perceive dishonesty, or unwillingness to truly understand a point. Rest assure you would notice the difference. :)

          Not to worry about me man. I am not seeking proofs, nor gods.

          There is no irrationality in atheism. It comes from many sources. I doubt that many atheists are so because they were seeking for proof. It starts many times (though I can't say "always") by finding internal contradictions, contradictions with reality, long et cetera. For the most intellectually illuminated it is evident, for others it is a process of discovery and learning both to think more properly and to avoid traps for the unwary.

          (You can't say that atheism is a joke without saying why. Wanna give it a try? If I find holes in your arguments about why, are you willing to acknowledge so? I would acknowledge if you had a good point to make. I lose nothing by being shown wrong and admitting it. Au contraire, I win big time.) :)
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          Jul 3 2011: Hi Edhuard,
          I've heard many times that it is wrong to seek proof when it comes to God. Indeed the belief of God relies on faith. But this is a self-feeding mechanism. To have faith in God, you must believe in him. If you have no faith in God to start with, how do you get to that faith state?

          Knowing very much what your opinions are like Edhuard, I'd add that in your case, there is no need to even try to attempt to prove the existence of your God, for your belief is one that is inconsistent with the laws of nature. You have admitted in another thread that you're one who believes in Young Earth Creationism. This view is not compatible with nature as we know it.
      • Jul 2 2011: Hello Gabo! ... long time!
        • Jul 2 2011: Hey Daniel! Hello! Is consciousness a most fantastic product of the physical universe?
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          Jul 2 2011: Hey Gabo,
          Nice to see you again:>)
          Consciousness is a most fantastic product of all the universes:>)
        • Jul 2 2011: Colleen my friend! Nice to see you too!

          As for your point: agreed!
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          Jul 11 2011: Gabo,
          Do you honestly agree that there are more universes...more consciousness?
          Or are you joking with me?
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        Jul 3 2011: Hi Gabo, (I'm willing):
        -so you say Gabo that the atheism starts at many because of the contradictions found in theistic claims but (using your own logic from above) why atheism ? I mean, why to go right to the opposite extreme when I find contradictions (perhaps there are) in theism (usually this contradictions are in a specific religion) why not to embrace another possiblity (to think that it's something wrong with my set of ideas believed for example, to try to eliminate that contradictions, Idk........) , why right atheism ?
        I wanna give a try and I'm expecting to give yourself a try after it. Why the atheism is a joke?(this are my opinions , I don't know and I don't care if other theists used them before):
        1.the atheism excludes/neglect totally the metaphysics but at the same time it all is build on a metaphysical claim 'God doesn't exist', this is a great joke .
        2. until now I didn't find any arguments which would lead me right to the idea of God's inexistence (this argument says more that the atheistic arguments are insufficient , it's not necessarily about me).If you know one I would like to know it.
        3. the atheism claims have no essence , look only one (which I like) : 'God is inexistent' I'll make now only the analyze of this sentence (the criticism have to be also about it) , the sentence attribute to the subject 'God' by a positive relation 'is'(only thinking that this relation suppose an existence...) the complement 'inexistent' which excludes the meaning of the sentence itself , this kind of sentences doesn't make too much sense (e.g. the chair is inexistent and so on).
        However I still have for theism an argument , found by me the most valid until now , it's the following:
        - we, the humankind, have the idea of God (this is an argument as long as you agree that the all our ideas have a representation in this universe (or outside of it, this kind of ideas are usually known by the process of percieving)..
        • Jul 3 2011: Hey Eduard,

          I think yo should think carefully about what you are saying. Anyway, here short version of answers, then we can visit each more slowly if you wish.

          A. You are a Christian, right? Well, there are contradictions within the Bible itself, contradictions of the Bible with reality, and contradictions in logic. There are contradictions in the doctrine, in the many versions of Christianity, and so on. Why atheism directly? Well, I did not say that, I said it often [starts] there. You should pay much more attention to what we are saying. In my case it started with the contradiction of a good god and being condemned for being born in the wrong religion (I know there's excuses about this, I'm saying "it started there," not "that's it"). Back then I just thought that maybe we misunderstood "God" about this issue. As I told you, I think it is mostly the intellectually gifted who notice the nonsense quickly.

          1. What do you mean by metaphysics? Because I don't "exclude/neglect" metaphysics at all, so I suspect you have the wrong idea about metaphysics, and/or atheism.
          2. Which "God" are we talking about? How do you define such god? Their existence or lack thereof depends strongly on what you mean. If you mean the god of the Bible, that thing does not exist for the same reason there is no letter anywhere in the world that contains a drawing of a square circle (I stole this line from "theoreticalbullshit").
          3. More often than not, the atheist claim is that they don't believe in "God." Whenever I write something like "there is no gods" atheists are the very first to complain about what I said. Most claim to be "agnostic atheists."

          Your argument for "God" (which god again?) fails from the very beginning. It is very easy to demonstrate that our ideas can be about nonexistent things. Unless you think that having an idea makes whatever real. If so, then we are the gods, not those things we imagine.

          So tell me, which one of the above should we start explaining further?
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        Jul 3 2011: or they are the results of the process of thinking,hmm generally the results of mind (including dreams here )................... It's a huge irony to say that the idea of God is a result of the processes of mind , I've met many atheist who made this ironical claim for them , so what remains ?
        • Jul 3 2011: You have to help me out here. how exactly is it ironic? How exactly is it ironic to think that gods are mere fantasies coming from our minds? Your statement is awfully, horrendously, irremediably, nonsensical. Is it that you think that ideas and minds are magic and thus it is ironic to say that our magic produced the ideas of gods who are the ones who give us such magic? If so, maybe you can easily understand now that you are talking nonsense. Please clarify as carefully as possible.
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        Jul 3 2011: Matthieu,
        Good question , my answer is a religious one , a christian answer (and the single rational answer found by me) :the faith is a gift from God , an the mechanism from now on can go on (be carefull we talk only about faith in God).
        No, my belief aren't so much as you imagine inconsistent with the laws of nature (aren't almost at all , the evolution theory is a theory not a law), and even though they would be , so what ?what's the point? because the God existence it's a philosophical concern , have nothing to do with the laws of nature.
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          Jul 3 2011: You know perfectly well from our conversations that the contradictions run deeper than evolution. They violate the laws of physics. Must I really remind you how?
        • Jul 3 2011: Even if believing in "God" were a "philosophical concern," it still affects what you think and accept about natural laws. You deny evolution, which is a natural phenomenon due to natural laws. How would that have nothing to do with "God's existence"? Do you see the problem at all? There is no clear separation between philosophy and science. You always need a philosophical foundation. Maybe we understand philosophy very differently. Seems like to you "philosophy" means "magical mumbo-jumbo." Is that so?
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          Jul 3 2011: Yes that's a good point Gabo, science is indeed natural philosophy. Furthermore, philosophy has a lot to say about the fundamental mathematics that underlie the whole of science. I think you're hiding behind the popular fuzziness of the term 'philosophy' Edhuard.
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          Jul 5 2011: " the evolution theory is a theory not a law" what's the difference according to you?
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        Jul 3 2011: Ok , let's see if I understand correct : you said that "atheism starts here", when I say atheism I say 'god doesn't exist'(isn't that atheism?) so when you say atheism starts here from me , you say from this moment I believe that God is inexistent , and this was my question :why to believe that God is inexistent and not something else when I find contradictions in my religious belief? it stays the same , this is what I understood from what you said , did you wanna to understand that when you say 'atheism starts here' it means that in that moment you start doubting about theism ?
        Yes, I shouldn't have use the word metaphysics (it's not so clear what I wanted to say, sorry) but my argument doesn't change too much :as I know the atheism claim that it's about what can be seen , demonstrated , known rationally but at the same time it is build on a claim which can't be proved 'God is inexistent' (I could go with metaphysics a bit but I stop here...........just if someone want......Idk ).
        2. I don't talk about a specific god , but in my argument I used the idea of any god except those from pantheism .Why did you say what you said about the christian God?(I'm interested to know).
        3.explain it a bit more if you want to because there I was talking about the meaning of a sentence not about what someone believe.
        I disagree with you about "It is very easy to demonstrate that our ideas can be about nonexistent things." according to my philosophical knowledge this is impossible but if it is so easy , demonstrate it , I would like to know .
        That is ironic because demonstrating that God is only the product of mind you do my 'job' proving God, in order to prove that God is a human creation you would have to start from some hypotesis which have nothing to do with this idea of God, and from that things to demonstrate that God is our mind creation , this is what usually I'm asked to do by atheists (and this was tried by some
        • Jul 3 2011: Hey Eduard,

          0. Well, let me clarify, "atheism often start with ..." meant "the way towards atheism often starts with ..." That's when doubt starts. But it can take years and lots of questioning before you arrive at atheism. Clear enough?

          1. I told you, atheism is not based on "God is inexistent," but on there being no proof that there is any gods, thus no reason to believe there is one. I told you, I am in a minority who can comfortably say that at the very least your god does not exist, and that I can say so about most gods you care to define, unless you transform it into something far beyond any questioning, when I would have to remain agnostic, but you would lose any reason to believe in such a god anyway.

          2. Well, that's exactly my point. You should talk about a specific god. Otherwise we cannot tell if "there is no God" makes sense or not. More importantly, we can say if your statement about atheism being a joke is actually ironic. So? Which god Eduard? (After you answer I can explain about how your god is a square circle.)

          3. You attributed the sentence to "atheism." But most atheists don't say such thing (see 1 above).

          4. Demonstrate that our ideas can be about non-existent things? Easy. I imagine that I have a red ferrari next to my garage door, I go there, and there's no car. Your philosophical problem then starts with your decision not to distinguish imaginary from real. Thus your god can be dismissed because you have no philosophical backgrounds to make such a distinction, and thus no way of telling whether your god exists or not.

          5. Hum, I think I am starting to get it, but you still have to help me out. Do you mean that by saying that gods are imaginary we are proving that they exist? Is that it? If I say that Odin is imaginary I have proven that Odin exists? Is this what you are saying? If so, why believe the Christian god specifically? All gods would be just as "existent," right?
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        Jul 3 2011: by some like Descartes , Spinoza , Leibniz....), I'm asked to do this in order to prove the God existence but is the same thing with proving that God is our mind creation because as I said our mind in both case have to prove something which would lead us to God .
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        Jul 3 2011: Ok , I see now what you mean to say about 0 (you know English isn't my native language ).
        1.Ok , I'll put the argument a bit different : the atheism is based on the idea that there are no proofs for a claim and thus no reason to believe in that claim but at the same time it agrees that this kind of claims can't be proved rationally, does it sounds more rational? It doesn't .
        2.No and yes ...........I should be more clear , I talk about any gods except patheism in terms of talking about what this gods have in common I mean about the idea of God ( I don't talk specifically of one or another tree for example but about the idea of tree , it's an abstractisation ).
        3. You've just done what I was expecting from guys who don't think too much to do (seems to me that you aren't one of them ........) " I imagine that I have a red ferrari next to my garage door, I go there, and there's no car", you have the idea of a ferrari and of garage and you used them creating something imaginary , the idea of ferrari and of garage have a representation in the real world and so we can have this ideas , combining them in our mind (the processes of mind , do you remember?) you get a imaginary result.......... I said you that only by perceiving the representations and by processing what we've got we can have ideas, this are the single two ways , in fact there is only one. How sounds now my argument ?
        4. the 3 help you out in understanding what I wanted to say .
        • Jul 3 2011: OK, then 0 is done.

          1. Wrong again. Most atheists are very far from the absolutism of most creationists. It is not that atheists think that gods can't be proven rationally, but that so far there is no such rational proof. So you have been talking about atheists that mostly don't exist, and thus atheism is not a joke. Your misunderstood version of atheism might be.

          2. I know, but you have to specify, otherwise we are going nowhere. Which god Eduard? Define the god, we get somewhere. Or else, remain agnostic about which god, thus admitting that we don't have to believe the Christian nonsense.

          3. Got it. Then you are saying that we can't imagine a god unless there is a real god to begin with (?). Well, no. Gods are superhumans. We imagine gods by putting together humans with things we don't understand (this is oversimplified, but you should be able to get it). Example, we don't know how thunder and lightning form naturally, we imagine an angry superhuman who does this stuff. We know of anger, we know of human anger, we know about fire and destruction done by humans, we see the scale as too much for us, thus, it has to be a huge powerful-way-beyond-normal human: a god. With such a start we can add attributes to these superhumans. We can add the power to create everything, we can add huge knowledge, we can add huge benevolence, we can add whatever. Not too hard to start figuring out where the "concept" of a god could come from other than from a real god. Not too hard to see how we could have invented them. Gods are created to our image Eduard. You of all people should know. It's in the Bible, only spelled backwards. (The only reason I went for the ferrari is because your arguments lead there. You asked if we can prove that there's imaginary stuff.)

          You can start here:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIBKfJTw1do
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        Jul 3 2011: I'll come back to that tommorrow (and to another your post ), it's late in night at me now.
        • Jul 4 2011: Sure. But I think we have reached a point where you might be able to admit that atheism is no joke (that's what we were discussing, right?). That you just misunderstood its meaning. Or not yet? Please read and think carefully before attempting one more go. Maybe you will understand and need no more. I am getting tired of so much repetition, but will keep at this when possible if you want to insist on the "joke" thing (lots of hard but very enjoyable work awaits me this week).

          Ciao!
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        Jul 4 2011: I don't admit anything yet , it's no need in my opinion to do that , you'll see why now.(and thank you for your willingness to keep a talk until now , not anyone have it but I'm 'afraid' we just begin :).
        0.Yes, it is done , here I admit my misunderstading of your words not of atheism(and maybe my conept of atheism...) , it is done in terms of agreeing that to the contradictions found in theism we must take action , where this actions would lead we don't know yet (see the 2 ).
        1.Hey Gabo , please be a bit more carefull, I said that the atheism makes to claims:
        -there is no such rational proof for God existence (I took it from you)
        -to the matter of the God existence can't be brought rational proofs (this is a fact in theism as well as in atheism , it's nothing absolutist here , it's just a fact agreed by everyone (with my exception , you know I have still the argument beneath ) until the contrary probe).I'll put my argument now in a different way but the idea remains the same : make you a consistent and with a rational meaning pharse having as components only this two claims (it's important to be 'only' ), my argument is that no atheist can do that.
        2.Why not ?........the christian God; look my this second argument now for the christian God: the atheism don't bring to the table no argument which will lead me right to the idea of God inexistence, in other words: all atheistic arguments are insufficient (I'll say now the same argument but under another form and being more specific and think now also at what I said at 0: the all contradictions found in theism don't lead anyone right to the idea of God inexistence which is to say they are insufficient ).It's enough to share at least one such contradiction/argument and my argument will fall.
        3.the first 3 , the atheists don't claim such thing:"God is inexistent'' , but what they do , do they suppose it(cause of the lack of proofs)?
        4.You got it , that's right but you judge it wrong , in fact
        • Jul 4 2011: Hey Ed,

          I did not say you admitted anything yet. I said you might be able to admit it.

          0. Is done.
          1. Please be just as careful, I said that you were wrong. Atheism only claims the first, not the second. Atheism does not presume (again, some might, but most don't) that no rational proof can be made. Only that it has not been made. Thus, it is not a joke because of this misunderstanding on your part. Can we leave this one already?
          2. Of course atheists have given reasons to doubt the existence of "God." You might refuse to see it, but whether this were true or not, that seems more of a personal incredulity on your part, than about atheism being a joke. Again, if you refuse to define your god, then how can I show you that there are quite reasonable arguments against it?
          3. Of course atheists think there is no gods. But they don't claim to **know** it. Only that this is the most sensible conclusion. Again, this does not make atheism a joke. Nothing ridiculous, nor unreasonable about any of this.

          -----
          Big question: You have had to go through so much elaboration, and you try and corner me into absolutism (prove this prove that). Yet, atheism is not that. Can you at least see that this alone makes your claim about atheism being a joke wrong? Otherwise it would be much more obvious, wouldn't it?
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        Jul 4 2011: in fact you didn't say anything about that (what you said it's somehow rethorical and repeat somehow my affirmation) , look why: first thing you've done :you suppose that God is a superhuman , can you prove it ?And now the process described by you through we it's supposed to invent the idea of God it's right that described by me : "putting together humans with things we don't understand" the humans and that things are that ideas known by percieving , by the processes of mind(the mind work only with ideas) we can reach at what you said a superhuman with such qualities, and this usually appears first date in our mind when we say the word god in other words it is only an association what appear when we say the word 'God' in our mind , but my argument goes far deeper than that : how can we know if the God is what is in our mind ? how can we know that that caricature is really God? (now talking only about the Gods which are supposed to not be pantheistic ), prove that the real God as is supposed to be (outside of us ) is really what we have in mind about God , prove that the real God have that qualities ? I remember you , I ask you to do all these because you claim that the christian God for example is created/imagined by us?........................I warned you , you try to do a impossible job:proving God ; for proving my argument wrong you have to prove the theism right , right in this stays the all irony of my argument to any atheist who claim what you claim .
        And this argument goes even more deeper that all said until now : "it has to be a huge powerful-way-beyond-normal human: a god." why? why we the all people (even you as atheist) think that the God must be "a huge powerful...." ? why not if we invented it at least some of the people would think that God is a very weak being , with the bad qualities which ever existed ? in other words why this idea of God lead us to the idea of a powerfull being and only to this idea ? (And this is about only about 'power').
        • Jul 4 2011: I did not say anything rhetorical. In any event, you have to do much better than this. It looks plainly ridiculous to say that I have to prove "theism" or to "prove God" to prove that we imagine gods. Also, I said it is easy to see how we can imagine gods without there being one (remember, atheism is not about knowing or proving, but about sensible conclusions). I don't need to prove that your god just as any other gods are superhumans (or at least have a superhuman mind). This is painfully obvious. You call this a caricature. Well, is the bible a book of cartoons of "God" then? Did you watch those videos? The idealization of your god to try and put it beyond and above humans, is clearly contradicted in the bible itself.

          Gods are superhumans because they are used to explain big things. The more-powerful-than-us is part of the definition of the word "god." Why do all people imagine superhumans? Come on! Do you think only a few people witness volcanic eruptions, thunder, tsunamis, floods, rain, draught, snow, storms, or whatever they could attribute to some superhuman for lack of better understanding? Do you think they would say something like "thunder is done by something like us, only less powerful than us"? Does that make sense at all? Bad qualities? Well, doesn't the god of the bible destroy almost the whole human race out of rage? Don't other gods fall in love, cheat, fight, et cetera? What about Satan?

          We imagine subhumans too. Only we don't call them gods. We imagine many things: dwarfs, hobbits, orcs, leprechauns, unicorns, you name them. To be consistent, you would have to say that from your point of view, to "prove" that all these are imaginary I have to prove that they exist. "An impossible task." Have you really thought about this? (What's your original language?

          Please wait until tomorrow to make sure you thought carefully before answering.
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        Jul 4 2011: To Matthieu & Gabo:
        Both of you missed my point : I said that the existence of God is a philosophical concern , yes the science and the philosophy have a common foundation somehow(in my opinion there is a clear difference between science and philosophy as is at least between physics and biology for example) but again I wasn't talking about the relations between science and philosophy , I said only that the existence of God is only a philosophical concern .
        "it still affects what you think and accept about natural laws" you just suppose it because it doesn't , the simple fact of God being existent doesn't affect what I think and accept about the natural laws more than the chair on which I'm staying now affect the sun which can be seen through my window. .
        You think very wrong Matthieu .
        • Jul 4 2011: Eduard,

          By definition gods affect natural law and/or phenomena. Thus, if a god like the one you believe existed, that necessarily would have a say on what natural laws and phenomena are "acceptable" if any (since for such kind of gods, there is no such thing as natural law, but what they decree). Thus, if you believe that some particular god exists, then that necessarily affects what you think of natural laws and phenomena. Otherwise you would not be able to claim that you really believe such a god to exist.

          Also, if you say "the existence of God is a philosophical concern" it means that deciding about such existence is a philosophical concern. Thus, you seem to have conflated real existence with deciding about it.

          Matt thinks quite well.

          I am off for the rest of the week. This gives you time to think very carefully before giving any further answers.
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          Jul 4 2011: By holding a very specific belief that makes claims such as "the Earth is 6 000 years old" and "all creatures appeared in their current form 6 000 years ago", you are essentially holding a belief that makes testable claims. Would you accept me telling you that my God could not be disputed scientifically while at the same time claiming that my God turns the Sun green every Saturday? Of course not.

          "the simple fact of God being existent doesn't affect what I think and accept about the natural laws"

          Given that you're a young Earth Creationist, I can't really take that seriously. It might be a pain talking to Creationists here sometimes, but at least most of them stand by their convictions. You're the one that's got a messed up way of thinking.
        • Jul 4 2011: Agree Matthieu,

          It's a "foolish proposition" to claim that world is 6000 years old.. there... I did it again. You are not foolish Eduard but anyone making such a proposition has to see that the proposition is in itself... a bit foolish....
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        Jul 4 2011: Gabo , if it will be something to admit, I will be the first who will do it (I'm willing to do it) if I think it's correct according to me what you say , I don't try to corner anyone I just say some ideas and i don't try to share you that you said something rethorical , this is only about ideas ; this week or the next .... no problem .I admit that my view upon atheism was different of yours , I don't wanna try to contradict you regarding this, all what I'm trying to do is to share you that the atheism as you claim it is , it's a joke .I'll post until the end of the week ,
        Good luck this week.
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        Jul 4 2011: I agree with you Gabo , gods affect natural laws/phenomena, just that what I said is that the existence of God don't affect the natural laws/phenomena , I mean if I think that this god only exist , I don't see how it will affect the natural laws or phenomena more than it affect for an atheist (suppose a god who don't wanna affect natural laws ).
        ""the existence of God is a philosophical concern" it means that deciding about such existence is a philosophical concern" right , that's what I'm saying , "Thus, you seem to have conflated real existence with deciding about it." why do you say it ? Idk, because I was talking as you said only about a philosophical concern .(the real existences of God couldn't be real for an atheist but the philosophical concern about it is be real).
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        Jul 4 2011: Matthieu:
        'God is existent' forget everything about what it involves , forget the concequences of it , keep only this claim .Only this claim is a philosophical concern , even for myself .
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          Jul 4 2011: The statement I was replying to is "No, my belief aren't so much as you imagine inconsistent with the laws of nature (aren't almost at all , the evolution theory is a theory not a law), and even though they would be , so what ?what's the point? because the God existence it's a philosophical concern , have nothing to do with the laws of nature."

          And I have. Moving the goalposts is not a proper rebuttal. You cannot use the "God is intangible" or "God is a matter of philosophy" argument as long as your beliefs makes falsifiable claims. The religious people who accept modern science use this argument and they can (good argument or not). You just can't.
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        Jul 5 2011: I know (you'll say now perhaps that I have a very missed up way of thinking :) ) I didn't move any goalposts because even that statement was about the God existence as a philosophical concern , all I said is for the sake of my point to forget the consequences of my beliefs (they don't matter now in my opinion ).
        I can do whatever I want , in my mind is a clear separation now between science and my religious belief , I accept science , I accept my religious belief even though they are in contradiction sometimes only keeping them in separation , I don't try any more to mix them.
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          Jul 5 2011: You accept your version of science which is at best incomplete (ignorance is bliss) and at worse distorted. There's not much more I can say without repeating myself.
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          Jul 5 2011: So I've read until here and this is the only thing I will say right now: I cannot say anything without repeating what Matthieu already said.
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        Jul 5 2011: It's not need to say anything more.

        I understand your position.
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        Jul 5 2011: Gabo :

        (for when you'll be on ......)
        I'll start with the fourth:
        4. In my theistic perspective God exist whatever I think about Him ; I agree we can imagine something about gods , only that according to my perspective: how could I know that what I'm imagining is the real God?(that was all my questions about).
        In your perspective as atheist , we can imagine god (I mean we can imagine all what a theist can think rationally about God) and everything stops here .
        My mistake was to think that you suppose the same things like me .
        It's not an excuse but all my life I was thinking in theistic terms about God , my conception of God is part of my identity , it's good to know it for the rest of our talk.
        1 'the atheism claims the first not the second '.
        Knowing that have been made lots of attempts to prove God existence/inexistence (even mine from above) and some by some of the greatest minds of the humankind , and no one have had success , it's logical to say that we don't have proofs for God existence/inexistence because we can't bring such proofs therefore even your first claim involve with necessity that we can't bring proofs for God existence . My argument stays the same and the main atheistic claim is still a joke .
        2.I did not say that the atheists haven't given proofs for doubting the God existence , I've said only that all this proofs are insufficient=noone leads me right to the idea of God inexistence , neither to can have at least a sensible conclusion about it.
        Let's talk about the christian God , it's kinda difficult to define Him but I'll do it to the specific claims you perhaps will make about Him if it's needed.
        3.Hey , my argument was a bout a sentence , how it is build , you just said that this kind of sentence it's think by atheists , it's not need for atheist to know it for my argument to be conclusive.
        • Jul 5 2011: 4. So I guess we can leave this out too. No "atheism is a joke" here.
          1. Why if we have found no proof for a god's existence would the conclusion that there's probably no god be nonsensical? Why exactly? Because we find no proof *against* such existence? Do you really understand what you are saying? Then any conclusion about things we don't think to exist would be "a joke." I don't think there's leprechauns (aleprechaunism is a joke, ha, ha, ha, there is no proof that leprechauns don't exist!). I don't think there is a teapot orbiting Mars (ateapotism is a joke, ha, ha! there is no proof that there is no teapot orbiting Mars!). Really Eduard?
          2. Doesn't matter if proofs are insufficient from your perspective. That again, does not make atheism a joke. It is not obvious what you will accept to doubt your god. And I just mean doubt, not stop believing it. You, as a Christian, most probably have not put some contradictions together, or have bought into the many and convoluted excuses for them. That reflects your commitment to the idea that a god exists, more than anything wrong with atheism.
          3. To think that a god does not exist does not make atheism a joke. This is just a repetition of argument "1." Nothing conclusive about your argument. Atheism cannot be a joke because you don't like their conclusion. They don't say "I know there is no god," but "I don't believe there is a god." There is a huge difference, and not believing in gods, or thinking there is no god, is not a ridiculous proposition. It is the most reasonable one. No proof, thus why believe it? Do you believe there is a teapot orbiting the planet that was just discovered some light-years away? If not, then by your standards your ateapotism is a joke.

          Seems like there is no joke, thus you might withdraw your claim. Atheism is not a joke, but you still believe there's a god. Right?
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        Jul 6 2011: I don't have too much time now but I hope to can reply to all of you shortly.
        4.Yes it can be left out.
        1.You don't understand my argument , why exatcly? if you will have been more carefull.............that conclusion is nonsensical not because we don't have found such arguments for God's existence but because we know that we can't find such arguments and therefore is normal to not exist this kind of arguments........ there's no such proof for God's existence thus probably atheism but we know they can't exist(or at least they couldn't) , very logical of course. It doesn't matter if the atheist claim the second(they should if they wanna be consistent with themselves) it is true , I can prove.
        2. They aren't insufficient not only from my perspective , they are insufficient when I and others think rationally at them, I've already asked you to share me at least one of this sufficient proofs, how they are perhaps for you .From my perspective
        3.Hey , I just said you to be more carefull : ""I don't believe there is a god." and this sentence 'there is no God' have no meaning , i repeat me again my argument is about the analyze of a sentence , what is that?:"To think that a god does not exist does not make atheism a joke ", it only as sentence is argument and have no meaning................ use the analitical philosophy for judging it.Share me with the analitical philosophy=analizing the proposition that it is not ridiculous and I'll believe you.

        And by the way , the tea pot atheism is a childish argument too : it compares what is supposed to be God with a tea pot, perhaps a tea pot don't exist but what about a God ? probabilistic a teapot don't exist but what about God?................. another joke.

        It's not your buisness here to say me that my opinion from my perspective don't matter to atheism , all what I'm interested in is only to share me that my argumetns are irrational.
        And please talk only about my ideas.
        • Jul 6 2011: Eduard,

          1. There is no need to claim that no reasonable proof is possible to be consistent. I don't know if there is a possibility for a reasonable proof. Most atheists will be even softer than me about "knowing" versus "not believing." Agnostic atheism is the norm (we don't know, but we don't believe). Gnostic atheism (we know there is no god) is very very very rare. Thus, your claim about a joke in this respect is wrong. Don't go to such lengths, if this is a ridiculous proposition (agnostic atheism) show me exactly why. All you do is rephrase and demand from atheists something they don't hold. That's a joke.
          2. Nope, they are insufficient to make you, and others as committed as you, doubt. But tell me which god you believe and we can test. Or just show me that not believing in things not proven is unreasonable. (Seems like all your arguments lead here, what about we summarize them into one?)
          3. A sentence that atheists don't say nor hold? How does your mischaracterization make atheism a joke? And no sir, it is you who claims that atheism is a joke, it is you who should prove it. As for me, if it is not obvious, or if it is based on a mischaracterization, then it is not a joke. Simple.

          The teapot helps you see how not having proof against something does not mean that not believing it is illogical. For atheists, your god is like the teapot (actually, worse, at least we know that teapots exist). What's ridiculous about it? That from your perspective your god is far from a teapot? Here some news: your respect and reverence for the god you believe does not make the teapot illustration ridiculous. Atheists have no reason to share such respect and reverence.

          Your misinformed and mistaken position about what atheism is does not make atheism a joke. Your arguments are irrational because they are based on false assumptions and fallacious philosophy. So, ready to admit your mistake yet?
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        Jul 6 2011: Jimmy:
        a theory in science is something what try to give a rational explanation considering the all laws and facts known .
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        Jul 6 2011: Yes that's a hypothesis , sometimes they are synonyms , anyway a theory being much more than that as Matthieu said you can understand very easy that a theory is much much more than a law , don't you?
        A law is a statement which usually express something what is considered to be according to a scientific principle. Why do you wanna know ? (you can just type on wikipedia..........)
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        Jul 6 2011: 1. 'we don't know but we don't believe'
        You don't know that there is a possiblity for a reasonable proof but you have a problem and that's me : I know it and I can prove it .
        You just can't keep you position 'we don't know but we don't believe' on as long as there is someone who knows. That's all my argument.
        2.Why do you think that by others I meant :others who are as committed as I am ? By others I meant to say everyone who thinks rationally. Let's test it.
        Why do you try to make me to say what God I'm believing in?:) let's talk about the christians God , I accept His existence.
        3.'A sentence that atheists don't say nor hold?' you just said that they believe it and how this sentence according to my rational :) opinion is meaningless (I said why) , they believe something meaningless , that's so simple .

        " The teapot helps you see how not having proof against something does not mean that not believing it is illogical." no the teapot example don't do it when it comes about God.
        We all understand something (the same things basically) by this word 'god' and we also understand something by the word 'teapot' .
        It is not about my God.
        What we understand by god can't be compared with what we understand by teapot , even though the atheist suppose or not the God's existence , he have to understand something by this word .

        I would ask you two things (I would like to find out an answer if you want to):
        -define in some concise statement what means atheism for you , it's semiclear for me and I would like to know at least for knowing clear what I'm dealing with.
        -how is my English?
        • Jul 6 2011: Eduard,

          1. That you "know" a reasonable proof for a god's existence does not make atheism a joke, and that was not your argument. But go ahead with that proof.
          2. I find many arguments that would make any rational person doubt. You have shown quite the shoddy thinking here. Thus, I can't be easily convinced that you know what you are saying. English barrier or not. Which Christian god? One who created in 7 real 24hour days, 6,000 years ago? All-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good? I need more specifics.
          3. That they believe what? Most atheists say "I don't believe in gods," or "I don't think there is a god." What;s irrational about it? It means that so far atheists have found no convincing argument, nor fact that any gods exist, thus they not believe there is any gods. What's meaningless about this? (You did not say why.)

          Of course what *we* understand as god is not comparable to what we understand as teapot, but the evidence for a teapot orbiting Mars is better than any for a god. Yet you clearly see the teapot orbiting Mars as false. Thus, the illustration works all right.

          I told you what atheism is. I told you there's two kinds:
          a. Agnostic atheism (the vast majority): We don't know, but we don't believe.
          b. Gnostic atheism: We know there is no god(s)
          Of course, this is very simplified, but should suffice.
          That you ask me to define atheism shows your arguments to be meaningless. You were arguing that atheism is a joke based on your misunderstood version of atheism (plus lots of fallacious thinking). You insist not to withdraw your "assessment" despite it is now clear you did not know what you were talking about?

          Tell you what. You stop those shoddy arguments 1 and 3, which are one and the same. 2 is also shoddy, but we can concentrate on the contradictions of the Christian god to solve it.
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          Jul 7 2011: Jim,
          I think you said in other comments that you were christian, then you went through several stages to get to your beliefs as they are now? Did you think, with each stage, that you were "wrong"? Or did you believe in your truth as you had discovered it? How does it feel to you when someone says you are wrong? Does that open the door for more exploration? Or does it shut the door?
        • Jul 7 2011: Colleen,

          I don't know about Jim, but for me a "you are wrong" gets me very interested. I listen and then judge if I was actually wrong or not. If wrong, I change my position. But I suspect this is not what would be expected from other people, and that you expected the opposite answer.

          Best,
          -Gabo

          P.S. I just learned how to program a few things in javascript. It took more time than I thought, but I discovered quite a few nice things about the meaning and advantages of thinking of "objects" in programming. It sounded cumbersome and cryptic when I heard it for the first time. Now I see. My eyes are open! Now I can learn Java and be happy about it (in my list of things to learn because I need this for a few developments in my research). I know, this has nothing to do with our discussion, but I feel so good, I had to share.
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          Jul 7 2011: Ok Gabo,
          We are different in that respect. When someone tells me I'm wrong, I stop discussing. I know people have different perceptions, so was not "expecting" anything...just wondering.

          Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and learning with Java...that's cool:>)
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          Jul 10 2011: No Jim, I was honestly not chastising, but rather, sincerely asking the question. I think you are very open minded:>) As I said above in reply to Gabo, when someone tells me I'm wrong, I stop discussing because it feels to me like that person has already made up his/her mind, labeled the issue, and so, for me, it closes the discussion. I also understand that for some people it is like Gabo states above...""a you are wrong"" gets me very interested". Apparently, there are a lot of people who share this perspective, because I see the statement "you are wrong" quite a bit on TED.
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          Jul 10 2011: Just thought that I'd share the link, I think everyone should watch it!
          http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html
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          Jul 10 2011: Good one Jimmy...thanks:>)
          I don't know what is "wrong" with me, but I LOVE to "step outside the tiny terrified space of rightness", as Kathryn says, and explore information without labeling it. I LOVE seeing the world as it is...and isn't. I find that when I can get out of my own "right" or "wrong" way, "something else happens"...as Kathryn insightfully says. Maybe I'm not so "wrong" if at least one other person (Kathryn) is on the same page:>)

          I have been accused of having no clear perspectives or ideas, and my truth, is that I have ALL perspectives/ideas/beliefs in my heart and mind:>) I don't mind thinking/feeling/saying...I don't know for sure:>)
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        Jul 6 2011: Jimmy:
        If by that some people you includes me you are right somehow:
        I think a theory is easier falsifiable than a law.
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        Jul 7 2011: Gabo:
        I'll repeat the last time my arguments 1and 3 (if you don't wanna continue talk about them) considering the all your objections to them I hope (I'm not sure if you understand yet my arguments)
        1. Your position (the atheistic one): you don't know if there is a proof for God existence or not but you don't believe in this existence.
        My argument now is very simple : I know there is no proof for God existence because no one can bring such proofs (and I can prove this affirmation) and as long as I make this affirmation your claim that you don't know doesn't matter for me . Knowing that pharse (mine) true the atheism is very simple.
        Answer you me : why don't you know that?
        3. You said that the atheists believe this sentence : 'God is inexistent' (they don't know it , they don'r hold it but they believe it). My argument is that this sentence believed is meaningless (I said why), it's not important for me if everything suggeste me to believe this sensible conclusion :'God is inexistent' as long as this sentence at a analitical look it's proved meaningless .

        Ok , almost all-knowing (when it comes about us is not all-knowing in the absolute meaning of the term) , almost all-powerful (the most powerful but He can't do something :action against it's nature) , all-good, is it enough?

        I don't talk about evidencies but about probabilities: it's far more probably for what we understand by god to exist near Mars than for a teapot to orbit around it.

        That's right I've started with a wrong view upon atheism according to you , I've tried to update my arguments to your view , it's not a surprise for me to hear that you find my arguments shoddy. I'll invent anothers .
        (my question about English was separated of the rest of the talk , it was just so to know how do you find my English as native speaker ......... it's no problem , that's it)
        • Jul 7 2011: Eduardito,

          It is not that I don't want to talk about 1 and 3. But that you started them as atheists saying something like: "there is no possibility for a rational proof for the existence of a god," and "gods are inexistent." (I changed them a bit, because if I used "God" you might think it is just your god, rather than any god that atheists don't believe). Because atheists don't hold any of those positions, atheism is not a joke from those perspectives. Can you understand this point?

          Then I don't understand, are you saying that you know there is a rational proof, or that you know that there is no possibility for a rational proof?

          As of me, I don't know if there is a possibility for a rational proof for the existence of a god because I am not all-knowing. All I do know is that any "rational proof" offered so far to me is bogus and fallacious thinking. Sometimes masterfully crafted, but still bogus and fallacious. But your god? For sure there is not a single rational proof that can be offered because your god is a square circle (more on this later when we can agree that 1 and 3 are off).

          Probabilities? How can a probability for the existence of your god be better than the teapot orbiting Mars? We know teapots exist. That alone makes the teapot orbiting Mars more probable than something that looks so imaginary as a god, and as much as a square circle as your god in particular.

          I am no native speaker either. Still, your English is good enough. I think your problem is how you think, not your English. When I said "English barrier or not" I was not answering your question about how's your English (I forgot to answer that). I was saying that English was not the problem.

          I am back to work now. See you tomorrow, or the day after, or Saturday, or Sunday ... I don't know, but I will be back. :)
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        Jul 7 2011: Jimmy : a theory being made up from more laws (and not only) we have to set relations between that laws , that relations are very easy falsifiable. (That relations in the case of the evolution theory make me to doubt about it's validity , David Berlinsky has an interesting view about it).
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        Jul 7 2011: Gabo:

        So the atheists don't hold any of this position : ""there is no possibility for a rational proof for the existence of a god," and "gods are inexistent."" but what they hold? that they don't know if God exist or not (my last form of the argument was about that)? and why they hold what they hold?
        I was saying that I know there is no possibility for a rational proof (do you wanna prove it?) .(you missed there the third possibility ).
        We know teapots exist, that's right , but we also know that in our mind (even if it's imaginary) exist something when we hear the word 'god' , that something is more probable to exist near Mars than for the teapot to orbit around it (I'm not reffering at the physical things in both case but at what we associate to them in our mind).
        What happened with the 2 ?
        I think in my native language (I know what you meant to say :) ) and sometimes I put it wrong in English............... it's good to know about my English, thanks.
        • Jul 7 2011: A. Atheists hold that given the lack of proofs and lack of evidence the most sensible conclusion is that there is no gods. This position cannot be a joke. You should already know this. Most of them hold this position because they recognize that they are not omniscient, and thus a proof or evidence might exist, just they don't know of any. This is very logical. The only way to know that there is no possible proof is if you describe a god, and we can see that it does not make sense. Then we can know about that particular god, but not about any gods. Clear?

          B. If from your point of view there is no possibility for a rational proof that there is a god, or for your god in particular, why believe it? (I am curious, what's your argument that there's no possible reasonable proof? This is very surprising from a creationist.)

          C. I don't see why something that looks imaginary would have a higher probability to exist than a teapot orbiting Mars. That's simply ridiculous. Are leprechauns more probably around Mars than a teapot?

          D. I left 2 out until we finish the rest. But I will show you later a few arguments that should make any reasonable person doubt at least a bit, and at least their originally believed god. I can also show you that your god is a square circle, though I see you have some unusual beliefs about yours. Is your god all-knowing enough to have known that Adam and Eve were going to disobey? Do you believe Adam and Eve? If not, why should we believe in Jesus and what does his sacrifice mean? Is Jesus a saviour? If so a saviour from what? Why would we need saving? What do you mean by "when it comes about us is not all-knowing" that he does not know all about us and what we might do?
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        Jul 7 2011: Jim:
        I agree with your first three paragraphs , I wanna say myself: the evolution theory is so powerful that it is strongly influencing anthropology, psychology and sociology.
        But still I don't believe in it , it will take me some time .
        I don't think that Davind Berlinsky is an opportunist even though it's true that there is market demand by Christians who fear evolution discredits the Bible. Why do you say it about him?
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        Jul 7 2011: Yo Jim (I hope you'll see my answer here):
        "Eduard, it happens over and over that there are people who think they know but they turn out to be wrong. Do you agree?" I agree Jim only that I don't apply it now to my statements , I don't see yet no reason to do it, do you see one?
        About the subjective emotions I also agree.
        And I would ask you to read my last comment to you and to Colleen (except this from here of course, that about 'something being true at a moment.....') in answering to your last paragraph about knowing by scientific method.
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        Jul 8 2011: Gabo:
        If you want to, let's talk about only the christians God .
        A.I already know this , only that I don't see yet how this answer to my argument as long as you will agree with the B.
        B. why there is no reasonable proof?it's very simple :
        -the existence of God has nothing in common with what we think about it, ot with what we think about God himself (e.g. the existence of sun has nothing in common with what we think about it or with what we think about sun itself , we know that sun exist because we percieve it , the porbability of knowing that sun exist without percieving it only by abstract reasoning is 0/nil so for God)
        -and I'm relying also on Kant (The critique of pure reason ) who says taht the methaphysics is made up only from speculations , the God's existence is a methaphisical problem.
        Why am I believing it? The faith goes beyond the reason : when I can understand something rationally I do it rationally, when I can't I recourse to faith (in this respect the existence of God is only a matter of believing (above)).
        C. it's not ridiculous ,it doesn't matter if the teapot or the leprechauns exist in the real world what matter is that they surely exist in our mind , on what is in our mind I apply the teapot atheism and it doesn't stay .
        D. " Is your god all-knowing enough to have known that Adam and Eve were going to disobey?" No , He's not , I mean He had known that there is a possibility for Adam and Eve to disobey but He hadn't known that they will have disobeyed .
        Jesus a saviour ? Yes but not in the usual usage of the term , Jesus have solved firstly a problem of God not one of us but by doing that He somehow saved us , in my opinion what Jesus done it's not about saving (this is a metaphor in the christian world) He just offered us an other possibility (I'll give more details if you are interested later).
        • Jul 8 2011: A. Has to do with your argument, because you claimed some absolute position from atheists then it was not true. Thus atheism is not a joke.
          B. Let me get this straight Ed. First you said that atheism is a joke because atheists don';t think there is a possibility for a reasonable proof for a god's existence. Then you claim that it is not possible to have a reasonable proof for god's existence? How on Earth does that make atheism a joke? Also, you are mistaking "pure reason" with "reasonable." I doubt that anybody can reason in vacuo. Also, if your god is not perceivable, why, again, believe at all? Your faith explanation is meaningless. I also think you have a very twisted idea of metaphysics.
          C. Yes it is ridiculous. The probability for something that does exist to be orbiting Mars is much higher than the probability for something that does not appear to exist at all to be around Mars. I don't care what's in your mind, but what is real and what either is not, or does not seem to be. Your mind is your problem. reality does not care (you said so yourself in B).
          D. How on Earth is this then the Christian god? Christ's sacrifice is a metaphor (was he killed or not? Was this part of the plan or not?), God had no idea of Adam and Eve's disobedience, Did Adam and Eve still cause "the Fall" Anyway, then are we sinners who will go to hell unless we believe in your particular god? What's the point in your "Christian god"?
          (By definition determinism excludes possibilities. Thus you don't believe in determinism, but in "inclinationism"--I made that last word up)
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        Jul 8 2011: "What do you mean by "when it comes about us is not all-knowing" that he does not know all about us and what we might do?" He does know all what we might do but He does not know what we will exatcly do .
        I explain myself a bit : I believe in determinism and I don't think that determinism exclude the existence of more possibilties( we are complex beings with contrary desires sometimes) . God knows the all possibilities which exist but He doesn't know which of them we will choose . He also know probabilistic what possibility we are inclined to choose but only probabilistic.
        For being more simple : when it comes about us God knows probabilistic what we will choose. (it's more porbable for A to be chose by the subject than for B ........something like)
        I try to understand the bible rationally , when I can't I recourse to faith.All what I said is somehow my understanding.
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        Jul 8 2011: Don't be so easy decided .
        "First you said that atheism is a joke because atheists don';t think there is a possibility for a reasonable proof for a god's existence. Then you claim that it is not possible to have a reasonable proof for god's existence? How on Earth does that make atheism a joke?" even if you take it so , it's very simple and I've repeated myself a lot :supposing that the atheists think there is no possibility for a reasonable proof for a god's existence why on Earth the atheist make the claim : because lack of proofs is logically to not believe in God?
        Being no possibility it's normal to don't be proofs for God's existence.

        A.Right , at the beginning I was claiming an absolute position for atheists now I don't and I'm making my argument against your position now.
        B. Knowing A my claim know is : there is no possibility for a reasonable proof about God existence then why your position ? . I'm not mistaking pure reason with reasonable , in that book Kant talk about what is reasonable or not too , but if by perceiving we can't know God what remains if not to seek by pure reason to know God? The 'reasonable' proofs are anyway excluded when we exclude the idea that we can't know God by perceiving .
        C. I also don't care of what exist or not in reality more than I care of what I have in mind about the existing things.
        D.If you don't understand from the first time what I meant to say it's sensless to recourse to a position like " how on Earth?"
        I said 'Jesus saving us' is a metaphor not 'God sacrifice' , ok?
        I've also said that God knows probabilistic when it comes about us so He have an idea about everything (everything might be probable to happen).
        Forget about hell , I didn't say anything about hell yet.
        Sorry, but you just stick what you have in mind about the christian God in my face without trying to understand what I say........ this for being also myself straight.
        • Jul 8 2011: It is perfectly reasonable that if there is no reasonable proof of god(s) not to believe in god(s). Whether you think there is another way to "find" such god(s). Thus atheism is not a joke.
          A. But you should then stop saying that atheism is a joke. You had a misconception, now you want to attack a position that has no problems at all. Atheism is not a joke.
          B. Why seek for s thing that looks so imaginary and is not possible to find in reasonable ways? Thus atheism not a joke.
          C. Then that's your problem, not the teapot's. Your mind won't win over reality. If you want to convince anybody that atheism is a joke, you can't make anybody accept whatever is in your mind as if it were reality. Thus, the teapot remains a useful illustration.
          D. I understood perfectly, but you describe a god that does not seem to be based on any Christian god's I have heard so far. So the question is pertinent. If your god is not that described otherwise as the Christian god: 1. how do you know you believe in a Christian god; 2. What can you show somebody else to let them know how you decided on what your Christian god can and cannot do?
          I keep asking because your version is incomplete. The contradictions are many, but I have to know which ones I can show you. Otherwise you can just move the definition however you want and we get nowhere. I do understand what you say. That's not the problem. The problem is that if you start with a definition never heard before, I have to ask further before starting showing why your god is a square circle.

          But I think we can finish the part about "jokes." Atheism is not a joke. Your beliefs might be, and we can talk that once you accept that atheism is not a joke.
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        Jul 8 2011: A.B. "It is perfectly reasonable that if there is no reasonable proof of god(s) not to believe in god(s)" that's right : there is no reasonable proof of god(s) but it happen because there is no possibility to exist such proofs , why then to be an atheist because there is no reasonable proof for god(s) when I know that this kind of proofs are impossible to be brought? They are impossible to be brought why to believe then that there is no god(s) because of that ? that's what I don't understand(this is my all 'new' argument) . After your answer I'll retreat my arguments. I admit that the atheism is a possibility rationally .
        C. (laugh) the single reality that I know is that from my mind , and also the single reality you know is that from your mind and so on for everyone else . The objective reality remains usually unknown , on it rest my argument , that's all .
        D. Because you didn't hear so far what I say you doesn't mean that what I say is wrong regarding the CGod , ok?
        1. after the Bible , I try to interpret it as rationally as I it's possible .
        2. I can show them interpreting the Bible rationally I hope .
        There aren't contradictions in my opinion , I'll try to explain them as much as I can (even though my argument wasn't about explaining).And about determinism :it doesn't excludes the existence of more possibilites (only thinking at the daily life.....).
        My beliefs aren't a joke , if you'll make this claim will be your turn to give a try .
        Ok ask questions .
        • Jul 8 2011: A.B. If atheists "knew" that there is no possibility for a reasonable proof for god(s) then they would be even better justified not to believe that there's one. Are you sure you know what you are saying? The most reasonable position for anything that looks imaginary is not to believe it. Man, this is pure repetition. What else do you want? How that you disagree about what's more reasonable in such circumstances makes atheism a joke?
          C. It does not matter if the reality you know is in your mind, reality keeps informing your mind, and not everything in your mind is reality. Thus, since we know that teapots exist, teapots orbiting Mars are more probable. Now if you are not going to offer anything new here, stop it already. We have gone through this too many times.
          D. I heard what you said. What makes you think I didn't? Agreed, it does not mean that your god is not the christian one, I might not know something. My questions are here to be able to know what to tell you after the first most logical problems with your god. It goes on.
          1. After the bible entirely, or interpreting some parts as metaphor some parts not? How do you know which ones are metaphor? When they contradict other parts? Do you cherry pick, or you read everything before reaching your conclusions?
          2. Agreed. If you use the bible you can show other christians, but they might as well use the bible to show you wrong. Agreed?
          I didn't say that your beliefs are a joke, but that they might be. There is a huge difference there. Why would I doubt? I still don't know what you actually believe. Only part of it, and you don't want to say much more. If your reasons to believe your god are like your reasons to think that atheism is a joke (your arguments were kind of a joke), then I can only predict a lot of pain before I can get you to understand.
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        Jul 9 2011: I'm very sure that I know what I'm saying , all I've tried to do is to put myself in your shoes and I admit that from your perspective is rational to believe so as you do but all my reps wasn't about that they was about to make you to put yourself in my shoes , I've understood easy what you meant to say (don't be naive), as I said I wanted to make you to see the things how I see them , in this respect my arguments aren't neither shoddy nor rdiculuos , that's it . No problem , let's go further .
        1. After the Bible entirely but in the Bible is used sometimes the metaphoric way of talking , sometimes not , it's almost impossible to say now what is metaphoric in the Bible and what isn't. How do you know which ones are metaphor? : depend on context , on how I get them fit with other pasages ........ depend on many things.
        2. About the very basically things I don't agree , in rest yes.
        I didn't say you made that claim that just if you will make it.
        Why do you think that I don't wanna say much more ? I said you put questions.
        C. and why then if the teapots exist and God not to weight/parallel them ? to share that an existing thing in the real world has more porbability to exist than a imaginary thing ? isn't it normal to be so(according to you)? You have to suppose more about God for making the teapot atheism a rational position and this send you back to my argument.
        If you will consider also my perspective too we'll be better for both of us.
        • Jul 9 2011: Eduardito,

          Remember it was you who said that atheism is a joke. Trying to make me see things the way you see them won't change the very fact that atheism is not irrational, and it is not a joke. There is nothing that would be deemed as "a joke" in atheism by any reasonable person. I know that from your perspective proof or not, it makes more "sense" to believe. But you have to understand that from an unbiased position it makes more sense not to believe. That's it. So, no joke here. Right?
          The teapot is a useful illustration because it shows why the existence of a god does not have to be disproven in order not to believe that god(s) exist. This is necessary exactly because from your point of view it can be hard to understand why would somebody rather not believe in a god despite no proof of its non-existence. Atheists have to show you something that can't be disproven so that you understand why not being disproven does not mean you have to believe them.

          So, can we agree that now you only have "2" (no arguments that would make you doubt) If so, we can go for 2 now. Arguments that would make any reasonable person doubt their god(s). Right? Can we?

          P.S. Today I am making pizza. The dough smells great while fermenting. ¡Viva la levadura!
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        Jul 9 2011: Yes I was saying that atheism is a joke and from my perspective you have to agree with me that it is a joke, do you agree? , as long as you are concerned/your perspective I agree my arguments(excepting 2) are out and atheism isn't a joke.
        "The teapot is a useful illustration because..." I agree now.

        Right.We can .

        "There is nothing that would be deemed as "a joke" in atheism by any reasonable person" really? to understand that you have just said that any reasonable person will find your perspective more rational than mine ? (because my arguments was from my perspective against atheism but by proving them wrong from your perspective, you didn't prove my perspective wrong) I still wait you giving a try .

        P.S : Good appetite :) , Idk anything in latin just that 'viva' means 'live' , I only guess what that means but: Viva la levadura :) .
        • Jul 11 2011: Any reasonable person would understand that whether atheism is correct or not, it is not a joke. I did prove your perspective wrong, because it is not based on objective criteria, but on your very personal understanding and metaphysical preferences. To you it makes more sense that if there is no possibility for a rational proof for the existence of a god, then you should believe it. That is beyond nonsensical from a much more objective point of view. Actually, that alone should make any rational person doubt the existence of a god (which relates to "2").

          Not much time these days, so, once I have a bit more time I will start a new thread with arguments that would make reasonable people doubt.

          Have a great week everybody!
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        Jul 10 2011: Gabo:
        I have a supplementary question , I would be curious to find out your answer:
        As atheist you think that there is no deity. We all have a sense of justice in us , and in this life we know or we don't but surely exist lots of bad people who do the evil (and especially to others) every day and take huge advantages from it and exist also others who try to do and who do sometimes the good, we all die in the end of course : what happen with our sense of justice from your perspective , will be it ever fulfilled ? or they(the bad) die, we die, and everything is over ?
        (I don't suggest a system of rewards by the way but ...... )
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          Jul 10 2011: Nicely put Jim (I'm out of thumbs)!
        • Jul 11 2011: Jim did great. But my answer is:

          We die and everything is over.

          (I could elaborate on how people doing terrible atrocities actually makes the existence of an all-good god implausible, unless such god is inept. But not much time, as I said. Yet another argument that should make a reasonable person doubt.)
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        Jul 11 2011: "I did prove your perspective wrong, because it is not based on objective criteria, but on your very personal understanding and metaphysical preferences." a bit of correction: my perspective is based on a 'objective' criteria only that it isn't known , my understandings are something which help me not what I'm relying on , what I'm relying on can't be known rationally , that's all , you didn't prove my perspective wrong, you should known this my position after all our talk until now ( why don't you limit to talk only about my wrote words ? I said you don't be so easy decided).

        We die and everything is over : interesting and not so interesting.
        Could you elaborate ? I'm doubting of it , not according with my understandings perhaps .

        Have a good week too and everybody the same.
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        Jul 11 2011: Jim :
        I don't fear God's punishments too , the religon in my opinion isn't about that .
        Don't mind Jim but according to my religious understanding what you said at least in your first and second paragraph doesn't make too much sense ........................ so our sense of justice will never be fulfilled in the end according to you and Gabo , why do we have it then , just for now? (for now ? we don't have it in fact for now)

        Why do you feel good to do the good ? Why the bad people do bad deeds not also for feeling good (if they aren't sick or insane of course)?
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        Jul 11 2011: I'll come back to this a bit later Jim , I'm a bit busy know (see beneath).
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        Jul 3 2011: Yes, I'm with Jim on this. Random (and chaos) is just a word we use to describe some phenomenon for which our lack of information on a system prevents us from accurately predicting the outcome of an event.

        On a loosely related note, I think this is why we talk about free will when we talk about human actions. The lack of predictability due to the amount of unknows gives the illusion of free will.
        • Jul 3 2011: Hi Jim,

          I've always preferred to use the term "pseudorandom" when referring to events that occur due to unknown variables. I agree with what you are saying though. I'm not saying that those types of phenomena aren't possible, I was implying it is only impossible if no such ulterior variables exist. I never knew that quantum mechanics don't let us predict with infinite precision, that is interesting. Learn something new everyday! :D
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      • Jul 2 2011: Hey Jim,

        I don't think "metaphysics" is the word you meant here. The word has been misappropriated and confused by new-age fans, and others, but it has a concrete meaning in philosophy, and it is not about mumbo-jumbo. The only reason it was called metaphysics is because the book about this stuff was on top of a book on physics (or so the legend goes).

        Perhaps we need a name for what you meant (though I doubt mumbo-jumbers will stop the misuse). Something like "supraphysics"?

        However, I know little about metaphysics, thus I might have lost your actual point and you used the right word ...
        • Jul 3 2011: Hey Gabo..... Can you kindly point me in the direction of my last thread...?... :-)

          By the way... do you think that is possible to "prove Atheism"...??

          ......Gabo just pointed with his gun.. and said "That way... down on highway 61"
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          Jul 3 2011: NO...it's not down highway 61!
          Follow the yellow brick road:>)
        • Jul 4 2011: Colleen....
          Hey ho a merry oh.. sing it high.. sing it low..... are we in munchkin land.....??

          btw.... a wonderful movie with a very special spiritual content.. I'll bet that you have never thought about the three figures in the movie... the scarecrow, the tinman, and the lion. The "hidden" qualities that the three are travelling to Oz for... to get from the wizard are actually three inner qualities of the human being. The tinman needed a brain....thinking. The lion needed courage... will. and the scarecrow needed a heart .... feeling. The movie is actually an esoteric "ferry tale" which presents several layers of spiritual insight that don't really rise to the surface in the movie... until one dwells upon it afterwards.. I love the film! The yellow brick road..... is indeed another analogy for what I called the "bridge" that we spoke of earlier... ;-)
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          Jul 4 2011: LOL!!!

          Dear Daniel...you bet that I have never thought about the characters and the qualities that the three are traveling to Oz for??? Why to you think I suggested the yellow brick road to find the direction/bridge??? LOL! I percieve many different levels in EVERYTHING, which is why I sometimes feel like a stranger in this earth school. Information only "rises to the surface" in one's mind and heart, when the individual is ready for the information, and courageous enough to let go of old information:>)

          Part of the "old information" in my humble opinion, is the arguments between atheists and theists. Science and religion can and does co-exist, and it doesn't really matter which belief we choose while living here on the earth school. The important thing is how we live our lives...in my humble perception. I am nothing and everything, do not need a labal to identify myself, and am open to ALL information, which is puzzling to a lot of people, and very natural to me:>) What is natural and acceptable to us often depends on how open minded we are:>)
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          Jul 4 2011: Jim,
          I am open to evaluating and exploring ALL information. I did not say I accept all information as my truth. Yes, I have filters, as we all do, and I choose what I want to believe, which influences how I live my life. As I said in another comment, I'm aware of many different levels of filtering and information.

          I have always felt like an observer of life, while at the same time fully engaged in the process. The brain injury I sustained, and subsequent events, seems to have expanded and
          opened up new channels in the brain. I like to say lovingly, that my brain was "fixed" ...improved...adjusted....more accepting and connected to various beliefs.

          You're right..."it's not just science and religion that must get along, but science, religion and politics". May I add people and varying beliefs? Some of the arguments I witness on TED simply go round and round with the same old information and it seems like people think the more persistant they are with their own beliefs, the more it is supposed to become truth.
          To me, it is all truth. Whatever belief we embrace at any given time in our lives is OUR truth.

          The idea that religion and evolution cannot co-exist, which is often an argument between theists and atheists, is ridiculous to me, because in my mind and heart, these two concepts can certainly co-exist. As humans, we allow too many thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs and opinions to seperate us, when in my mind and heart, we could use the same information to come together. Can you imagine what our world could be like if we "pooled" all the information, with acceptance for each other? It makes me joyful just thinking about it. Why is it so necessary for some people to "prove" anything to anyone? What is the point of so many rhetorical discussions that often evolve to name calling and personal attacks?
          I'm not accusing you of name calling and personal attacks BTW...simply putting out the question/information for the audience to ponder:>)
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          Jul 4 2011: Dear Karthik,
          Some of us have been involved in other discussions, so we may seem a bit familier to each other. I know you from another site too, so please do not feel akward in joining us:>) I remember from our other short discussion that you seem very open minded:>)

          I agree with you that we could take from both science and religion, those qualities that could benifit the whole of humankind, while leaving behind those aspects of the concepts/beliefs that do not serve us well. Some believers in science and religion have been doing that throughout history, while others cling to many old beliefs that do not serve the whole.

          Dear Jim the Dreamer:>)
          Are you suggesting waiting until ALL people are ready to accept everyone else? Or do you think that some of us can start the process now? And perhaps some of us have started the process long ago:>) I agree with you that sometimes organized religions work against unity. I also believe that there are many participants within organized religions who are striving toward unity. How's that for the glass is half emply AND half full??? LOL:>)

          You ask..."what is one to do about this"? My way of "doing" is to not turn my back on all those who practice an organized religion. I open the heart and mind to those who are trying to change things from within their own beliefs. You see...I'm not an atheist or theist, so I can be part of the bridge between the two beliefs...in my humble opinion:>) That is what I share:>)
      • Jul 4 2011: Hey daniel! Click on your name to get to your profile, then click on the first of your comments you see there, and voila, you are there in your last thread (no other thread will be visible though).

        I can elaborate and ask what precisely you mean by "proving atheism," but I have no more time today.

        Best,
        --Gabo
        • Jul 4 2011: Gabo,

          I must admit that I have struggled to find meaning it the statement "proving atheism" It like saying..."OK everybody... lets all be very scientific now and give our own personal opinion of what we mean by the world view that we like to call Atheism.".... It's like proving a political view or a religious viewpoint of the world. Proof involves evidence that can be measured.... weighed ... etc. Everything else becomes "mere" (wooops.. theres that word again..sorry) speculation on one own interpretation of half proven assumptions .... I'm still wondering if Jimmy was really just making some kind of a joke here in response to the debate called "proving koran" on TED. But it seems many have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.....
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          Jul 4 2011: I agree:>)
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          Jul 4 2011: My Dear Jim,
          Yes, I agree with Daniel's post above because I feel some of the same things he has expressed. I don't feel like I challenged you in any way...sorry you feel that. Let's go back to standing on the same bridge or meeting in the field?
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          Jul 4 2011: OH:>)
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        Jul 4 2011: Jim..............Pardon me for butting in but I just have to ask..........why is it not possible that something that had no beginning (a ground of being) cannot exist ? Using logic, I would say that laws of physics, while they may have always existed, rather imply intelligence along with them..
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        Jul 4 2011: Hi Jim..............What do you understand when I propose that "God" is the ground of being ? the essentential, ultimate "ground of being" is not a being and is within and without nature. I am a panentheist and what do you see as inconcievable about this belief ? How do you understand the essence of being or is that a nonsensical question ?
        I hope that I don't sound churlish....just curious. I have given this a lot of thought (:>)
        • Jul 4 2011: Interesting Helen..... I have to get back to you later.
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        Jul 4 2011: Jim...........In a way I see intelligence as being emergent behavior. Alongside with the physical evolution, there has also been a spiritual evolution (note I did not say religious,) but when man began to question WHY...religious beliefs were used to try to explain the cause of events that were not understood in any scientific sense. Given that intelligence had no way to account for things and the difference between animal and human was that humans were at some point aware of themselves. (Regard the myth of being driven out of Eden, disregard talking snakes, etc. and angry, punitive actions of god) It is my belief that chaos existed and "God" created order not matter.
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        Jul 5 2011: Jim..................Those were some beautiful experiences (sans the vulgarity) and I really don't see how they differ from mystical experiences except that m experiences are perhaps more personal in a way. It reminds me of an oceanic experience I once had............It was but a fleeting moment but I felt a union with our universe I simply cannot describe. About 50 years ago I had another experience I tell noone about for fear of being thought of as a lunatic. And especially after all the debunking conversations here I am really afraid of ridicule. I still don't handle that very well.
        Your friend Helen
        • Jul 5 2011: Hello Helen,
          Your comments could lead us down a very interesting path if you choose to go further with them. They may not fit in with the "prove atheism" topic but you could spin of on your own discussion and at least I would follow you down "your yellow brick road" I don't think that you will be ridiculed. ...and certainly not a lunatic. But this is your decision. I think many many people have very special experiences in life that they are afraid to tell others about for just this reason. But it leads to understand in the long run ... it helps others to understand.. oh... its not just me having these experiences
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          Jul 5 2011: Dear Helen,
          I was not familier with panentheism, so I went on a search. It's not too far from what I believe, but I'm still not ready to label myself:>) I believe we are energy beings, sharing the same energy, which flows through all of us. A statement I discovered sounds very plausible to me: "Writings from Aztec priests reveal them to be strong panentheists who considered the common mythology to be a symbolic oversimplification meant to be easier...to understand". Personally, I don't care what the energy, which is our life force is called, and perhaps people need the symbols and mythology to understand and try to identify the energy? I agree Daniel...it is an interesting path, which seems on topic to me.

          Helen, believe in yourself and your experiences, and please don't be afraid to share them. I understand your hesitancy. When first invited to talk about the NDE/OBE at the university, I declined for quite awhile, because I thought students would probably start throwing rotten fruit at me for having such an absurd idea!!! LOL! My experience didn't fit in with my beliefs at the time, so I did a lot of research and exploration before I felt comfortable talking about it. Now, it is part of my life story...people will either accept it as MY experience...or not, and it doesn't make any difference to me:>) If anyone wants to "ridicule" me, it simply tells me that s/he is not ready to hear my story:>)
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          Jul 6 2011: Jim,
          I'm curious as to why you need to label my perceptions as "spiritual seeking/belief"?
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          Jul 6 2011: Jim, thank you...accepted.
          I've also said in different ways, in several comments, that I'm seeking ALL information, and do not like to label myself or others. All of of my life I've been seeking ALL information, because I percieve life to be an exploration/adventure. Interestingly, before the head/brain injury, I was thought of by others and myself as a right brain dominant person. After the "adjustment" to the brain, I now tend to be just as much left brain dominent at times...looking for proof and factual explanations:>)
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        Jul 5 2011: Jim........I don't think that anyone should ridicule someone for whatever belief they have. Having said that I will also say that my beliefs are my truth and no one else's. Some atheists seem to think that they have the only handle for truth and are very aggressive and militant in their assertions. I would like to remind us that as human beings all we have are beliefs. The only thing that we know is that we do not know directly. With that I admit my insufficiency. My experience....................
        About 50 years ago I was doing one of the mundane tasks of a housewife....washing dishes. My two youngest children, ages two and three were playing in the living room. All at once I was surrounded by a golden light, the most beautiful I had ever seen. Don't ask me how I knew, But I thought I was in the presence of "God". I did not see anything other than the light and I did not hear any voices but I had a feeling of being loved more than I had ever been.I can't say how long this lasted but the feeling was becoming so extreme that I begged "It" to desist as I felt I would die, it was so painful, I felt as if my heart were being pulled out of me. Then it was over, but I suddenly understood things I had never understood. One thing I can recall is the song "You are my only possession" as sung by Elvis Presley was certainly promoting a wrong idea. No one of us is anyone else's possession or everything. And things kept falling into place for about six weeks but then I went back to my old views and therein lies a tale.
        • Jul 5 2011: Thank you Helen for sharing your story. Excellent !!