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lyner

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« Reply #25 on: 28/08/2009 11:52:12 »
glovesforfoxes

I agree about the negativity of Dawkins, even though he talks an awful lot of sense. What he fails to do is to empathise with Joe public who may not have the intellect that he has and certainly doesn't have the time  for such a cerebral approach.

But 'religions' have a particular problem these days. Because this is the Age of Science they, too, feel the need for evidence - which doesn't exist - so they have to fabricate it or mis-interpret it. That just discredits them.

What is the alternative tho', if we want a 'better world'?
 

Offline that mad man

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« Reply #26 on: 28/08/2009 16:57:50 »
I think the clue here is that they are NDE's, NEAR death experiences and as such the people involved were not dead so its not a very valid argument anyway.

 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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« Reply #27 on: 28/08/2009 17:04:03 »
Quote from: sophiecentaur
I agree about the negativity of Dawkins, even though he talks an awful lot of sense. What he fails to do is to empathise with Joe public who may not have the intellect that he has and certainly doesn't have the time  for such a cerebral approach.

But 'religions' have a particular problem these days. Because this is the Age of Science they, too, feel the need for evidence - which doesn't exist - so they have to fabricate it or mis-interpret it. That just discredits them.

What is the alternative tho', if we want a 'better world'?

i wouldn't know what to do to solve it. it reaches far across the western world, and i simply do not know a better way of handling it.

i'll give it a go though. i think the attitudes towards science and religion and their relationship needs to change. again, this is a problem much, much greater than one man to handle. i'm not sure if there can be a pleasant relationship between the two, culturally.. even my little education in the history of the last 2.5 thousand years has told me that they are scarcely best friends.

scientists could set a great example by recognising that attacking religion or being a.. well let's call them passionate atheists with science is just as futile, as seen from the eyes of religious people, as attacking science with religion is just as ridiculously futile from the point of view of scientists. it's a tricky grey area though, that's for sure. passions won't be contained once built up. so i think one of the best, most constructive things an individual person can do to have a happy life is to reduce confirmation bias and extremism by exposing themselves to many people of many backgrounds - this get rid of helps racism, sexism, and everything else that's a negative -ism, because you eventually recognise that every human being is just like yourself - and this way, you'll also protect yourself from fear of others, from grief, from anxiety.

it's so strange to me that scientists consider applying the scientific method to many difficult tasks but don't apply the same thinking to their own hearts. examining your own feelings, and what gives rise to them, followed by step by step elimination of the conditions that give rise to the unpleasant ones seems like a sensible, extremely beneficial idea to me.
« Last Edit: 28/08/2009 17:22:28 by glovesforfoxes »
 

Offline demografx

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« Reply #28 on: 28/08/2009 18:16:45 »

Not sure I understand the physiological explanation of "the tunnel" in NDE's. I don't see tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision) as being the same as "the tunnel", which to me is like an extended underground cavern. One that we are allegedly whisked through.

Nor do I see the tunnel as an 'imprinted' folklore characteristic of the afterlife. The religious afterlife I think of as depicted in children's books, films, etc., is more built around angels, halos, harps, clouds, pitchforks, fire, and a grandfatherly figure sitting on a throne.

But no tunnels.

 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #29 on: 28/08/2009 19:42:26 »
Well the original testimony is a nice story and, if it happened to me, even as a sceptic and devout atheist, I may be convinced. But this is a lot, as an outsider, to be convinced about. One has to be sceptical about the veracity of the story for lots of reasons. If we accepted such individual testimonies, no matter how convincingly told, then we are in the realms of belief in ghosts, fire-breathing dragons and numerous types of flying saucer visitations. Some of these may throw doubt on the honesty of the observers, but many do not; we have to accept that personal subjective observation is fallible. It would seem to me that, if there were a God, then allowing the odd individual a chance to have such a conversation (and remember it) about whether he should live or die seems a somewhat bizarre and random act, but then He is said to move in mysterious ways so I guess anything goes. It seems a shame that you probably would not get such a chance if your means of destruction happened to be a large bomb or a bullet in the head.

Glovesforfoxes, you made some interesting comments about Dawkins' approach towards religions. I have some sympathy with your position because I think Dawkins deliberately underplays the complexity of the arguments and, as a result, implies that religious people to be fools. I think he does this partly because that is his style of arguing and partly because he is trying to establish a stronger argument for a negative position. I think he feels that people who say that X is true because they (and millions of other people say so) can be rather persuasive, whereas the scientific position of X may or may not be true but we have no evidence (and probably can never have any evidence) that can say one way or the other, is not. I think that from a scientific point of view, the existence of God, as previously defined throughout history, has been repeatedly, and effectively, disproved, only to be replaced with a new and more diffuse version that is conveniently placed outside the realms of scientific investigation. I think Dawkins is really just trying to point this out.
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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« Reply #30 on: 29/08/2009 00:08:56 »
Quote from: graham.d
Glovesforfoxes, you made some interesting comments about Dawkins' approach towards religions. I have some sympathy with your position because I think Dawkins deliberately underplays the complexity of the arguments and, as a result, implies that religious people to be fools. I think he does this partly because that is his style of arguing and partly because he is trying to establish a stronger argument for a negative position. I think he feels that people who say that X is true because they (and millions of other people say so) can be rather persuasive, whereas the scientific position of X may or may not be true but we have no evidence (and probably can never have any evidence) that can say one way or the other, is not. I think that from a scientific point of view, the existence of God, as previously defined throughout history, has been repeatedly, and effectively, disproved, only to be replaced with a new and more diffuse version that is conveniently placed outside the realms of scientific investigation. I think Dawkins is really just trying to point this out.

i already have said i don't think that god exists and scientifically it's nonsense to believe in. dawkin's complex arguments are really unnecessary to anyone who can understand the only sensible conclusion to this question: why believe in something that you can never know truly exists while alive?

my main problem with believing in the power of that question that without any other knowledge about the value of christianity is that it doesn't take into account the advantages of religious belief. god doesn't exist objectively, sure, but he definitely does subjectively. i used to think that attempting to try to persuade someone out of their beliefs was acceptable because i didn't really get why they did - like i've said before, it's not about truth, reason, or science. it's about emotional comfort. so dawkins can use all the logic in the world, but it won't matter to religious people. i doubt he has even persuaded a single person, and even if he has, did it actually do them any good? are they happier now? do they have more hope?

so it's not really that religion is "conveniently placed outside the realms of scientific investigation". it's that it is to the followers of that religion. the religious feeling isn't anything rational, and you can't change the minds of religious people with a rational argument. all that happens when you try this (at least nowadays) is the further alienation of science and religion. is that helping anyone? do scientists know any more or feel better? do religious people? i don't think so..

arguing for peaceful coexistence is not really about who's right or who's wrong. it's about the benefits and the costs. how many fruitless hours have the atheists and religious people spent arguing over belief, and then to come away not having change a single thing, besides their good mood into a bad one? how much tension is there between the groups? what could they do together that neither can do alone? surely they could learn from each other. a widespread adoption of this kind of thinking in scientists - the compassionate, understanding kind - would definitely help the world become a little better. i truly hope one day that the wall between the two groups comes crashing down, but i don't expect it. all i can do is present my reasoning to people in the hope they too will understand and spread the message. in social matters, it's not truth that matters!

oh and as for the NDE: once again, something outside the realm of scientific testing is used to support religious belief in an attempt to make scientists understand. they won't. it's a feeling they don't have. teach them about it, making sure they understand it as a feeling rather than a scientific, rational, truthy thing and they will be more open to it. or perhaps they won't, because of lack of that feeling, be unable to see it from an emotional point of view. i hope they can.

« Last Edit: 29/08/2009 00:15:43 by glovesforfoxes »
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #31 on: 29/08/2009 10:02:55 »
Don't you think that Dawkins is really not trying to change the minds of believers so much as balancing their apparent certainty with rationality for the benefit of the undecided? Why are whole nations largely swayed by such irrational beliefs except for the fact that every generation only ever gets a one sided view presented to them from a very young age?

I also have no problem with the ethical teachings of religions or even of humanistic laws. It may well be that there are good scientific reasons for these too, but there is enough flexibility in the theories here that this would not be a sound method on which to base are ethical beliefs. I think the third reich had a go at this. My only problem is the mumbo-jumbo aspects.
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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« Reply #32 on: 29/08/2009 12:38:11 »
Quote from: graham.d
Don't you think that Dawkins is really not trying to change the minds of believers so much as balancing their apparent certainty with rationality for the benefit of the undecided? Why are whole nations largely swayed by such irrational beliefs except for the fact that every generation only ever gets a one sided view presented to them from a very young age?

Quote from: glovesforfoxes
RELIGIOSITY IS A FEELING

QFE

you can teach rationality. you can't teach someone to not believe in god.
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #33 on: 29/08/2009 12:49:02 »
This discussion is all very unscientific as it dismisses states of being without an investigation into them and relies on opinion rather than investigation and observation.

Ever since I was a child, and a very young child at that, before inculcation could have begun, I have had experiences somewhat similar to these which indicate the existence of a larger dimension to our lives than is normally thought of in human culture. As I age these experiences  become less and less frequent. 

I was both troubled and fascinated by them. Thus, I have read literally hundreds of volumes about these experiences which have been treated as just brain farts by those who do not take time to investigate them.

It is my opinion these experiences have root in reality. I am not alone. Psychologists have, since the inception of the investigation into the human brain, studied these for well over one hundred years. One of the early works of which I am aware is "The Variety of Religious Experiences" by William James. It has been well developed by Abraham Maslow in his book "Religions, Values and Peak-experiences" (1964) and the investigative work continues today.

These experiences are due to a difference in brain chemistry. For instance, here in the states, The Science Channel has a series on right now entitled "Super Humans." It examines people who are consciously capable of changing their body and brain chemistry. One person profiled and tested scientifically this week was able to withstand being up to his neck in ice for 20 minutes and was able to maintain his core body temperature above 97 degrees F. This has never been documented before. In all humans it was considered invariably fatal. - HOW? Training the individual's mind. This person was a yogi. Other feats are documented, such as inserting sharp objects through the body without any damage. These are most often the tongue or the cheek but cases where the abdomen has been penetrate without harm, as documented in x-rays, are known.

I believe that this training taps into the deepest part of the human psyche - that part which existed before we were conscious beings. This is what enabled we humans to evolve. We as a species have lost the acute senses and talents we needed to survive - at least lost the awareness of these senses because they are untrained. It is these senses which allow us to "feel" connected to the rest of reality in which we participate.

How did we escape predation before intelligence evolved? With super-human hearing, eye-sight, senses and strength. These are documented realities obtainable by extreme training. Why can we not include that which is beyond our ken into our world, instead of just dismissing it as fake or just the brain dieing? It isn't scientific - in fact it is counter to the measurable science of today. In these experiences the mind is reverting to an earlier state of evolution. As the conscious mind shuts down we experience these states of being. These states are survival states but are interpreted in a religious code as there are no words to describe them. We have lost the ability to shut off our mind at will and just be.

Are these states real? Definitively. Heightened awareness and insight into life? Yes. Animalistic - most assuredly.

It is extremely easy to dismiss the experiences of others we ourselves have not had. It is impossible to dismiss them if we have had them.

 

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« Reply #33 on: 29/08/2009 12:49:02 »

 

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