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What will quantum physics research do to Atheism?

I think you misunderstood me, crow. My point was simpler than you made it - you can't excise the brain from anything we do. Attempts to circumvent the brain are also conceived of and executed by the brain. Let's not derail, here. My point was that Wolfgang was reducing religious experience to something "merely of the brain", but failed to understand that his own perspective is also "merely of the brain". There's nothing "mere" about the brain.

Meaninglessness is just another stupid meaning that people make up. It's as arbitrary as every other meaning, but much more boring and impotent.

Regarding my brain - my brain is part of reality. It is mechanical. Everything operates mechanically according to rational principles. One's brain is part of the greater continuum of reality itself. Take, for instance, mathematics. Math 'works' because of our brain's ability to grasp and symbolically codify the consistency of temporal interactions. Your brain "makes you do math". Everything happens through your brain.

I think your atheism is emotional and identity related. It certainly seems self-referential. Pardon this small ad-hominem, but that is my observation and suspicion.

I hide from god because I am a rebel without a cause. You busted me dude. It is why I listen to the scary music no? The reason I got my leather jacket too eh?

You cannot separate your existence from a belief in God. There is no possible scenario for you where God doesn't exist. Nothing I say will ever change you from this position. Nothing science ever does will. It is fixed. You're not reasonable or rational. Only faithful. There will never be an agreement here. You'll "just know" just like normal Christians just know Jesus was real. You might as well just be one, and to be truthful, you probably will go back into the herd at some point.
Lettin' nillas know.

I hope our aryan overlords will emerge form their l secret base below antartica and wipe all of those under 500 of IQ And don't have the ability to mindtravel into the Xerces Galaxy.

You're going off on a limb there with a lot of assumptions, dude. I could easily masquerade as an 'atheist', just as easily as I could adopt the language of 'theism'. I'm trying to convey to you that you have a simple, incomplete understanding of religious thought. Most atheists do - they're on a crusade against peasant-theism (belief in a big sky man who identifies with their subjective experience).

Edit: I had a secular upbringing. Unless the herd you're referring to is the herd of strict atheist-materialists, I don't really have one to go back to.

You're going off on a limb there with a lot of assumptions, dude. I could easily masquerade as an 'atheist', just as easily as I could adopt the language of 'theism'. I'm trying to convey to you that you have a simple, incomplete understanding of religious thought. Most atheists do - they're on a crusade against peasant-theism (belief in a big sky man who identifies with their subjective experience).



Blah blah blah. All you people with goofy flavors of deist gods you invent to fit your own needs say is this noise. Instead of saying nothing, provide me with your spiritual insight.

You'll be saved and in a church within 25 years.
Lettin' nillas know.

I hope our aryan overlords will emerge form their l secret base below antartica and wipe all of those under 500 of IQ And don't have the ability to mindtravel into the Xerces Galaxy.

I don't like the word atheist because it creates a yes-no duality. Either you go to church and love Jesus, or you believe in nothing. Then belief itself takes on overtones I don't like which is a sort of blind faith in the shepherd. There is a middle ground for nihilists who are not blind to the supernatural but doubt it takes the form of the nomad shepherd god in the sky.

What form does it take? All of these threads are vague pussyfooting around what everyone really believes.

I'll start by describing what I believe to be the general consensus of the regular users here.  From what I understand, most of us believe that the general order of the universe - the laws which it obeys - is immaterial, and that matter simply gives form to the interaction of patterns which do not depend on matter for their existence, that is to say they are inherent in reality itself.  From this point of view matter does not possess an absolute reality, which is what the majority of modern people (including theists) believe for all practical purposes, a belief which has always seemed somewhat illogical to me ever since I started to seriously think about things.  You will notice that this is a philosophical position and not some kind of spacey mysticism, although many members here also believe that the metaphorical content of traditional mythologies has found ways of expressing the mechanisms of reality which are still out of the reach of conventional science, this belief is probably problematic for you but it hardly seems like a massive leap of faith, especially not to someone who studies these mythologies.  Once again most of us are concerned with such mythologies regarding their philosophical content and not either a literal or mystical interpretation.

The next part of what I will say is my own position and not the consensus here but it relates to the topic.  I believe that the term God, in the highest sense of the word, refers to a metaphysical absolute which is real and not merely an abstraction and is essentially equivalent to the term 'reality'.  It is from this that all things draw their existence and not vice versa, the whole remains undivided.  This reality is equally well described as pure being and pure consciousness, though conscious it is not personal, it is simply the foundation of all objective and all subjective existence.  The whole universe is simply a mode of expression of the laws inherent in this principle, which is why, as quantum physics advances, matter appears less tangible.  This position is essentially that of the Vedanta and most Platonists, it is as much philosophical as it is religious.  This is a position I have arrived at through serious inquiry and questioning my own assumptions about existence (which were formally similar to yours), not a sentimental consolation because I cannot face my own mortality.  I do not really hold any concrete views on eschatology as I believe it is a subject on which very little information can be obtained, I acknowledge that there are a number of possibilities including the total annihilation of the individual as one of the most likely.

Regarding theism pure and simple, its purpose is to maintain the idea of a metaphysical hierarchy in a way which is accessible to everyone.  This provides stability to human thought whilst still allowing for the possibility of transcending the limitations of theism through religious esoterism.  It is largely due to the loss of an esoteric tradition (a subject on which I will soon post a thread as promised) that Christianity has declined, particularly in the West.  In theism, the metaphysical absolute is limited to some particular aspects, for example its function as a creator, which refers to the fact that it is the foundation of existence.  This assures a basic level of stability in all areas of human activity, art, science, philosophy etc.  When this is abandoned without being replaced by anything substantial human activity can progress in any direction and this is witnessed quite clearly over the past 500 years or so.  It is largely the steady abandonment of Christian principles, in favour of either atheism or an 'updated' Christianity, that has allowed for the worst aberrations in human history.  Progress has been made in one area only, that is the manipulation of matter, but since we cannot control what we do with this technology and turn it to good use it is hard to see how this can be considered progress at all.

You are right about one thing, religion is natural to man, but this is because it contains the seed of truth, not for some more sinister reason.

It's not noise. You are probably unfamiliar with the bulk of religious thought and practice as it has been understood throughout human history. Your experience of religion has almost certainly been confined primarily to American Protestantism. You should be more curious than you are.

Am I wrong about that? Is this something you've looked into seriously?

It's not noise. You are probably unfamiliar with the bulk of religious thought and practice as it has been understood throughout human history. Your experience of religion has almost certainly been confined primarily to American Protestantism. You should be more curious than you are.

Am I wrong about that? Is this something you've looked into seriously?

Completely wrong. I spend gobs of time studying religion. I'm going to be nice when I probably don't need to be.
Lettin' nillas know.

I hope our aryan overlords will emerge form their l secret base below antartica and wipe all of those under 500 of IQ And don't have the ability to mindtravel into the Xerces Galaxy.

It's not noise. You are probably unfamiliar with the bulk of religious thought and practice as it has been understood throughout human history. Your experience of religion has almost certainly been confined primarily to American Protestantism. You should be more curious than you are.

Am I wrong about that? Is this something you've looked into seriously?
I am going to return the favor. I imagine you have no idea there is significant scholarly study into topics like this :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_origin_of_religions

I am fascinated by how religion originally evolved, and how the different traditions evolved into today.

Ironically, I had already done significant study into eastern religions, Indian religion, Islam, classical paganism, the origin of Christianity and early pre-Nicene Christianity, Judaism and Canaanite/Mesopotamian pantheons it was derived from before I delved into protestantism, which I still understood less clearly than Mormonism, Catholicism or the religion I spent part of my childhood in, the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Lettin' nillas know.

I hope our aryan overlords will emerge form their l secret base below antartica and wipe all of those under 500 of IQ And don't have the ability to mindtravel into the Xerces Galaxy.

Yes, I'm familiar with the ideas dealt with in that article. I'm more or less obligated to be familiar with them (I study religion in an academic setting). I also don't find them wholly objectionable, either. The trouble is less with the data dealt with, where it is concrete, than it is with the narrative that some people have constructed around the data.

For instance, the notion of the God gene. There are so many flaws in this idea (or more specifically, the conclusions typically drawn from it), it's hard to address them all. Of COURSE religiosity is governed by genetic factors, and of COURSE it has a neurological component - like everything else we do and think. Reasoning that religion is 'wrong/bad/dumb/fake' because it is biological is like reasoning that the world of mechanical interactions described by mathematics is without substantial reality because our ability to measure it is conditioned by our genetics (which it is). Additionally, isolating religious experience to one set of genes, or isolating it to a specific neurological phenomenon ignores something important: religious experience is not uniform. The perspective and experience of Thomas Aquinas is completely different from the perspective and experience of a modern-day 7th Day Adventist who goes into a fit of religious ecstasy and starts speaking in tongues. And both of these are completely different from a Buddhist or Hindu Tantrika who spends decades of his life finely tuning his 'subtle physiology' for various purposes.

While I agree, in part, with the traditionalist/perennialist perspective that all religions refer to the same truths, I have a fairly broad view of what that means, and I also believe that it takes radically different forms, which certainly cannot be reduced to a singular genetic (and by extension, neurological) factor.

Wolfgang - I feel skeptical about the seriousness with which you have approached these subjects. You tend to say things that are so devoid of reference to the varied geography of this field that it's hard for me to believe you've perceived it clearly. It's also worth pointing out that atheism (in the most basic sense, if we take it as a rejection of the idea of a literal reigning deity) is not incompatible with a more sophisticated psychological and philosophical appreciation of religion. I work with atheists in my field (religious studies) who do not share your Dawkins-esque reductionism.

Edit: Re-reading that last paragraph, I see that it probably comes off as snarky. I apologize for that. I suppose what it boils down to is that I see you (and people like Dawkins) addressing the issue of 'theism' over and over without addressing the broader array of religious semiotics or metaphysics. This suggests unfamiliarity with the latter, right?

I just can't say it better than Eleison and Iron: I would condense what they both said into an informative text, even.

I would add that I agree with a lot of what Wolfgang said, but I think he is too caught up in a notion that to have religious experience one must be deluded and not up to date with the knowledge that a lot of life is determined by the brain and other natural factors, but if you think about it even 2000 years in the past it was not hard to know this, ex: sickness, mental ilness, blow to the head or other kind of damage to brain, etc...

The truth is you can have mystical ideas and experiences without the belief in fairy tales and pink unicorns, and I think, while religion as an opiate of delusion certainly happens, a lot of religious people were bad ass iron-willed people very familiar with the harsh realities of life, and in spite of that upheld their religious ideas, because an apple is an apple if the world is harsh and determined by natural laws or not, in the same way, the ideas they saw as true may not be invalidated by pointing out natural limitations.
You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Hi All.

These 'evolutionary explanations' posted above are vague and outdated. These newer naturalistic explanations are much more sound and are more theoretical in that they are clearly testable and falsibiable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_science_of_religion. They have been emerging only in the last 15 years by a group of psychologists and cognitive scientists, but dawkins and dennett include their theories in their works on the origin of religion, not in detail. The debunking implications from these theories will probably be felt in the future, as the theories are still young. Already there are theistic scientisits and theolgians responding in the academic literature, trying to argue against the debunking implcations (http://www.amazon.com/The-Believing-Primate-Philosophical-Theological/dp/0199557020)

For instance, the notion of the God gene. There are so many flaws in this idea (or more specifically, the conclusions typically drawn from it), it's hard to address them all. Of COURSE religiosity is governed by genetic factors, and of COURSE it has a neurological component - like everything else we do and think. Reasoning that religion is 'wrong/bad/dumb/fake' because it is biological is like reasoning that the world of mechanical interactions described by mathematics is without substantial reality because our ability to measure it is conditioned by our genetics (which it is).

There is a fundamental asymmetry between the case of mathematics and the case of religion. You can't come up with a geneology for your evolutionary belief in 1+1=2 in which the practical success granted by the belief (the reason it evolved) was not bound up in its accuracy. You can for the case of religion. Religious belief needs no property of correspondence with the reality for it's evolution to have made sense. The evolution of mathematical belief, on the other hand, just makes no sense without presupposing it's accuracy. Belief in God is being debunked

Additionally, isolating religious experience to one set of genes, or isolating it to a specific neurological phenomenon ignores something important: religious experience is not uniform. The perspective and experience of Thomas Aquinas is completely different from the perspective and experience of a modern-day 7th Day Adventist who goes into a fit of religious ecstasy and starts speaking in tongues. And both of these are completely different from a Buddhist or Hindu Tantrika who spends decades of his life finely tuning his 'subtle physiology' for various purposes.

While I agree, in part, with the traditionalist/perennialist perspective that all religions refer to the same truths, I have a fairly broad view of what that means, and I also believe that it takes radically different forms, which certainly cannot be reduced to a singular genetic (and by extension, neurological) factor.

This sounds like postmodern anti essentialism to me. "downplay the similarities and focus on how different we all are". Religion has an essential structure, which is being reveled by the research above. This is belief in supernatural agents (persons/intentionality). All other properties of religion are superstructural on belief in supernatual agents. And, low and behold, we have dedicated parts of the brain which evolved to posit agency in the evironment based on insufficient perceptual cues and to make inferences about the internal mental states of agents which we never really directly experience (i.e. I adduce your pissed off when you frown and clench your fist).

I'm a nihilist when it comes to religion. Religion is simply innaccurate on the level of representational correspondence with reality (its beliefs do not pick out anything that actually exists). But I don't expect that just because reason can't vindicate a religious ontology, society shouldn't. Nor to I believe mere ontological truth or falsity is the be all and end all. Who was it that said If God didn't exist we would have to invent him?  I'm not queezy about recognising the pragmatism of religion but at the same time being faithful to evidence and reason and saying clearly theism, as a set of ontological beliefs, is wrong. I don't think a society will ultimately survive if it can't give death a meaninig, but I don't expect to be included among the people who need religion. Esoteric atheism, exoteric theism.

Respect is the only religion I subscribe to.
Respect for The Great Mother.
Reality.
Squawk!

The most I can take from anything you guys are saying is this : "religion has benefits in terms of personal philosophy" and "religion helps humans organize themselves and their thoughts"

I've always known that.

I find my own world view to be wholly unnatural. My aversion to religion is probably just like a gay person who is offended by heterosexual expression. Human existence requires belief. I imagine every sentient species that will ever exist in this or any other universe will probably be no different. Our brain is calibrated to see "divinity" much in the same mode it is calibrated to love offspring, feel horny and everything else. So faulting humans for being human is a bit ridiculous.

Nothing exists besides nature. There is no higher plane of being for us. When we die, we are dead. Genetic prime directives are enough for me. Clearly they're not enough for the species though.

I really can't speak on the moving goalposts of "I bet you just know protestantism" to "ok so I bet you haven't really tried on these ancient religions for size" part of this discussion. What do you want me to say? I also tend to make the mistake of categorizing everything together. Since the catholic church, and mystical esoterism and all that are ultimately basically rooted in the same types of biological cognitive processes I group it all in one basket, and when talking about it with believers of the off-brand mystic stuff there is usually a disconnect.





Lettin' nillas know.

I hope our aryan overlords will emerge form their l secret base below antartica and wipe all of those under 500 of IQ And don't have the ability to mindtravel into the Xerces Galaxy.

I wonder how it feels to be a purposeless, pointless, hopeless, useless destroyer of self?


Surely, you are not addressing atheists.

Atheism represents a lack of imagination.


All right, let me just make up a god real quick to display my adept imagination

I prefer to devote my imagination to solving problems, because I can actually see the fruits of doing so. Not to mention, it gets me farther in life.

Impale the Under-120's!

I've always enjoyed a little male bondage every now and then.
I like missionary because it allows me to watch her face as I strangle her.



All right, let me just make up a god real quick to display my adept imagination

I prefer to devote my imagination to solving problems, because I can actually see the fruits of doing so. Not to mention, it gets me farther in life.



The imagination argument is about as cheap and ridiculous as it gets. In place of evidence, reason, or logic, it is always easier to simply declare yourself more enlightened, sprinkle in some soundbites about how we're still learning about the nature of reality from some physics headline and walk away.
Lettin' nillas know.

I hope our aryan overlords will emerge form their l secret base below antartica and wipe all of those under 500 of IQ And don't have the ability to mindtravel into the Xerces Galaxy.