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Inquiry is fatal to certainty.

Post by secretnude » Mon May 26, 2014 1:27 pm

strawman wrote:And in every culture they produce " religion. "
Atheism & Skepticism in Africa

As Durant explains, certain Pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no gods, no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to travelers' reports.

Tribes in Cameroon only believed in malicious gods and so made no efforts to placate or please them. According to them, it was useless to even bother trying and more important to deal with whatever problems were placed in their path. Another group, the Vedahs of Ceylon, only admitted the possibility that gods might exist, but went no further. Neither prayers nor sacrifices were suggested in any way.

When specifically asked a god, Durant reports that they answered in a very puzzled manner:

"Is he on a rock? On a white-ant hill? On a tree? I never saw a god!"

Durant also reports that a Zulu, when asked who made and governs things like the setting sun and the growing trees, answered:

"No, we see them, but cannot tell how they came; we suppose that they came by themselves."
Skepticism in North America

Moving away from outright skepticism of the existence of gods, some North American Indian tribes believed in a god, but did not actively worship it. Like Epicurus in ancient Greece, they considered this god to be too remote from human affairs to be concerned with them. According to Durant, an Abipone Indian stated their philosophy thus:

"Our grandfathers and our great-grandfathers were wont to contemplate the earth alone, solicitous only to see whether the plain afforded grass and water for their horses. They never troubled themselves about what went on in the heavens, and who was the creator and governor of the stars."

In all of the above we find, even among supposedly "primitive" cultures, many of the themes which persist today in people's overt skepticism about the validity and value of religion: the inability to actually see any of the claimed beings, reluctance to imagine that something unknown caused what is known, and the idea that even if a god exists, it is so far beyond us as to be irrelevant to our affairs.
http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismhist ... ticism.htm
“Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vitality of nature but a supreme being intelligent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative.”

—Will & Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (1968)
Inquiry is fatal to certainty.
--Will Durant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Durant
When Daniel Everett first went to live with the Amazonian Pirahã tribe in the late 70s, his intention was to convert them to Christianity. Instead, he learned to speak their unique language - and ended up rejecting his faith, losing his family and picking a fight with Noam Chomsky.
...

Just 350 Pirahã (pronounced Pee-da-HAN) hunt and gather from their simple homes in the Brazilian rainforest. Linguists believe their language is unrelated to any other; racist Brazilian traders say the Pirahã talk like chickens. This obscure Amazonian people speak using only three vowels and eight consonants (including the glottal stop) but their language is far from simple. Like Chinese, for example, Pirahã is tonal and speaking in a different pitch transforms the meaning of a word. Unlike other tonal languages, Pirahã can also be hummed and sung.

...
The Pirahã have no socially lubricating "hello" and "thank you" and "sorry". They have no words for colours, no words for numbers and no way of expressing any history beyond that experienced in their lifetimes. And, in the late 70s, Everett was dispatched to the Amazon to learn their language, translate the Bible and convert them to Christianity.

The idea that we can be enlightened or destroyed by living with exotic people has transfixed western societies since before Joseph Conrad's rogue trader Kurtz was corrupted in the Congo. Yet Everett's life could be a more dramatic example of enlightenment and destruction than any fictional encounter with a drastically different culture. Thirty years living with the Pirahã destroyed his evangelical faith in God, wrecked his marriage and estranged him from two of his three children. It also dismantled his intellectual framework and set him on a collision course with one of the most influential intellectuals in the world. Today, he is continuing his fight with Noam Chomsky in a debate that could transform our understanding of human language.

Everett is taking a working break from his professorial duties at Illinois State University when we meet in London. He grew up in a "redneck" home on the Mexican border. His father was a cowboy but Everett developed an interest in language after mixing with Spanish speakers at school. He was "pretty heavily into drugs" in 60s California, he says, until he met Keren Graham at high school. She had spent her childhood with her missionary parents in the Amazon; Everett was converted. "I credit religion with getting me out of drug culture," he says.

He and Graham were married at 18 and had three children. After joining a missionary organisation and studying linguistics, Everett and his young family were dispatched to the Pirahã, where two other missionaries had spent two decades struggling to pick up the language and failing to convert any Pirahã. Everett's first visit ended when his wife and daughter nearly died from malaria, but he persevered, spending all of 1980 with the Pirahã and returning to live with them for four months or so every year for the next two decades. Despite close encounters with snakes and Brazilian traders who incited the Pirahã to kill Everett, the missionary/linguist befriended the Pirahã and painstakingly picked up their extraordinary language.

Everett's discovery of the elegant linguistic theories of Chomsky was his second conversion experience. At the time, Chomsky was not merely known for his trenchant, left-leaning political activism but was revered as the father of modern linguistics for his theory of "universal grammar". Following Chomsky's idea that humans are innately programmed to produce language according to a fixed and finite set of rules, Everett studied for a doctorate in the 80s and took advice from Chomsky. Gradually, however, as he spent more time with the Pirahã, he came to doubt Chomsky's claims of universality.

These doubts exploded three years ago, like "a bomb thrown into the party" in the words of psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker, who initially welcomed Everett's findings against Chomsky before becoming more critical. In 2005, Everett published a paper about the Pirahã that rocked the foundations of universal grammar. Chomsky had recently refined his theory to argue that recursion - the linguistic practice of inserting phrases inside others - was the cornerstone of all languages. (An example of recursion is extending the sentence "Daniel Everett talked about the story of his life" to read, "Daniel Everett flew to London and talked about the story of his life".) Everett argued that he could find no evidence of recursion in Pirahã. This was deeply troubling for Chomsky's theory. If the Pirahã didn't use recursion, then how could it be a fundamental part of a universal grammar embedded in our genes? And if the Pirahã didn't use recursion, then is their language - and, by implication, other languages - determined not by biology but by culture?

Thirty years of living with the Pirahã has taught Everett that they exist almost completely in the present. Absorbed by the daily struggle to survive, they do not plan ahead, store food, build houses or canoes to last, maintain tools or talk of things beyond those that they, or people they know, have experienced. They are the "ultimate empiricists", he argues, and this culture of living in the present has shaped their language.

Everett's claims created a furore. Chomskyites rushed to defend universal grammar and academics cast doubt on Everett's view of the Pirahã. Nineteenth-century anthropologists had judged exotic peoples similarly, saying they had no creation myths and apparently crude languages that could not count or convey abstract thought, before it was proved it was our erroneous understanding of these "primitive" societies that was primitive. "By framing his observations as an anti-Chomsky discovery rather than as un-PC Eurocentric condescension, Everett was able to get away with claims that would have aroused the fury of anthropologists in any other context," wrote the increasingly sceptical Pinker, who argued that even if there was "a grain of truth" in the Pirahã's preoccupation with the here-and-now, it was by no means unique to their society. In other words, Everett was an almost racist throwback to the days of, well, missionaries.

Yet Everett's life with the Pirahã didn't just cause a gradual disenchantment with the Chomskyan intellectual framework he had once cherished: it also triggered another, even more dramatic, de-conversion.

Soon after he first arrived in the Amazon, Everett was nearly killed when the Pirahã discovered he was ordering passing river traders not to give them whisky. The Pirahã were rarely violent, but intensely rejected any kind of coercion. Crucially, Everett came to see his religion as fundamentally coercive. His academic studies were ultimately designed to help him translate the Bible into Pirahã. When they heard the word of God, his evangelic mission believed, they would be converted. Everett translated the Book of Luke, read it to the Pirahã and they were utterly unmoved. By 1985, he had privately lost his faith.
Daniel Everett reading from the bible in Pirahã Link to this audio

"It's wrong to try and convert tribal societies," he says. "What should the empirical evidence for religion be? It should produce peaceful, strong, secure people who are right with God and right with the world. I don't see that evidence very often. So then I find myself with the Pirahã. They have all these qualities that I am trying to tell them they could have. They are the ones who are living life the way I'm saying it ought to be lived, they just don't fear heaven and hell."

His wife, Keren, and three children were all "committed" Christians. Extraordinarily, Everett couldn't tell them of his loss of faith until the late 90s. "I kept hoping that I might get my faith back," he says. He likens telling his wife to coming out as gay. "I said, 'I just can't do this any more, I can't pretend, I don't believe this stuff.' So she immediately called the kids to tell them. It was just such utter shock and revulsion." Did they feel betrayed? "Yes, they felt betrayed. My youngest daughter said, 'Were you a hypocrite the whole time you were raising us? Did you teach us to believe one way, which you never believed?' I did believe. I had a genuine, sincere conversion experience. I was quite a successful evangelist. I've had people write to me and say, 'Gee, I'm a Christian because of you and I hear you're not a Christian, that's shocking to me.' I don't take these things lightly but that's who I am. I can't change it."

Murder is rare among the Pirahã. The only punishment they regularly practice is ostracising members of their society. It seems a bitter irony that Everett's loss of faith caused his ostracism not from the Pirahã, but from his own family. His marriage broke up. "After a couple of months I tried to get us back together and she said, 'Only when you come back to religion will I even consider it', and I said, 'Well, then it's over.'" Two of his grown-up children, Shannon, a missionary like her mother, and Caleb, an anthropologist like his father, cut off all contact. Three weeks ago, after the death of a close friend, they got back in touch for the first time in years. "Now they are coming around." An almost imperceptible tremor registers in Everett's voice. "Maybe I'm coming around. We're approaching one another and realising the most important thing is love."

Everett, who has remarried, has not visited the Pirahã since January 2007. It has been his longest period apart from them. Occasionally, his ex-wife, who is still pursuing her missionary work on the banks of the Maici, will put them on the satellite phone. "I know they are not understanding why I haven't been there," he says. But it is difficult to return with his ex-wife there. "There will always be tension," he says. "She believes that if the Pirahãs reject the gospel it's because it hasn't been communicated clearly. I believe it has been communicated clearly and they reject it because it's utterly irrelevant." It's almost tragic: Keren's beliefs impugn Everett's competence; Everett's findings attack her entire belief system.

For academics rushing to the defence of the Chomskyan model there is another problem: Everett is the only linguist in the world who is fluent in Pirahã and virtually the only academic to have gathered data on the language. It must be hard not to feel possessive over the Pirahã, but Everett claims he wants academics to go there and test his theories. He just doesn't want to be dragged along to do translation work for them.

Despite challenging the linguistic theories he once followed, Everett insists he still has "tremendous respect" for Chomsky. "I'm not denigrating his intelligence or his honesty but I do think he is wrong about this and he is unprepared to accept that he is wrong."

Everett hopes his story of his life with the Pirahã will demolish charges that his account of their society is crude and politically incorrect. "If you can find evidence that I am making 19th-century claims, I will be shocked and disappointed in myself," he says. "If anything, they are superior in many ways to us. Thinking too much about the future or worrying too much about the past is really unhealthy. The Pirahã taught me that very lesson. Living in the moment is a sophisticated way to live. I don't see depression. I don't see some of the things that afflict our society - and that's not because they don't face pressures. People who claim that I'm Eurocentric and putting these people down need to read the book and decide for themselves."

The Pirahã population has climbed back to 350 after a measles epidemic is believed to have reduced it to around 100 in the 50s. They have had contact with traders and missionaries for 200 years and have proved remarkably resistant to change. They live on a 300,000 hectare reservation, which is reasonably secure, says Everett. So far, at least, no precious minerals have been found in the area as has happened elsewhere in the Amazon, bringing miners, deforestation, pollution and disease.

Everett, however, is pessimistic about their future. Missionaries and government officials see Pirahã society as poor and seek to help by giving them money and modern technology. "The Pirahã aren't poor. They don't see themselves as poor," he says. He believes capitalism and religion are manufacturing desires. "One of the saddest things I've seen in Amazonian cultures is people who were self-sufficient and happy that now think of themselves as poor and become dissatisfied with their lives. What worries me is outsiders trying to impose their values and materialism on the Pirahã."

I wonder whether Everett feels grateful for his life with the Pirahã or scarred by it. "It has been a traumatic experience," he says. "There is a lot of good and there has been a lot of pain. There are times when I think of the Pirahã with great nostalgia and want to be with them and there are other times I think I am really tired."

He hopes to return next summer to help a BBC/HBO documentary and continue his research, but only on the condition that the visitors do not disrupt the Pirahã. What does he miss the most? "I miss the evenings. After I've gone down to the river to have a bath, I would make coffee for everyone in the village. We'd sit around on logs out in the open and wait until the night fell, and talk. They are just an incredibly peaceful, sweet people to be with. The time spent talking to them, these will always be the best memories I have".
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/n ... ett-amazon
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Dialog is part of being a Thinking Human Being

Post by secretnude » Mon May 26, 2014 2:30 pm

strawman wrote:those who disagree are guilty of hate
Disagreement and dialog is part of being
a Thinking
Human Being
in a multicultural and secular setting.

Some Religious
types tend
want all the other cultures
in the end
to be a monoculture
with their "Religion"
as the Common
Denomination.

I take inspiration
from our interactions
and my reactions
you might not like
and I might not like
your reactions
too
but that's dialog for you.

We should all talk more to each other
not less
unless
we treat one another
not as equal brothers
but as a superior
versus inferior
when the World is now simply Flat
by fiat.
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century is an international bestselling book by Thomas L. Friedman that analyzes globalization, primarily in the early 21st century. The title is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity. As the first edition cover illustration indicates, the title also alludes to the perceptual shift required for countries, companies, and individuals to remain competitive in a global market where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Friedman himself is a strong advocate of these changes, calling himself a "free-trader" and a "compassionate flatist", and he criticizes societies that resist these changes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Is_Flat
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Such pride is quite hard to ride and easy to deride.

Post by secretnude » Mon May 26, 2014 3:01 pm

strawman wrote: guilty of hate.
Your Religion
fosters guilt and yes I hate
Religion
but that that hate
doesn't extend to the Religious
unless the Religious
does something too zealous
or appear too self righteous.

Even if I see your good Religious
works
any conversion attempt won't work.

I have studied the matter in depth
and I have deep
knowledge of the shortcomings of Christianity
that you might attribute to Humanity
but I think it owes to Dogmatic Inflexibility
and the reflexive
tendencies of most Christian Sects
to elevate their Sect
over other Sects.

My conscience
is clear and I cast my lot with Science.
“Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.”
― Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Pride in Prejudice

Post by secretnude » Mon May 26, 2014 3:38 pm

strawman wrote:I think an individual's responsibility is search for truth free from personal prejudices.
Science is generally more free from prejudice
than Religion.

I hear the term 'Religious Prejudice'
more than 'Scientific Prejudice'
since Scientific Prejudice
is Prejudice
with open eyes versus the blind prejudice
of Religion
that sometimes abhor reason.

The Scientific Method tends
to eliminate personal bias
in the end.

Religion
that can be tailored to suit ones' personal biases
since in the end
you can change Religion
unlike the Scientific Method seems quite stable
and extremely capable.

I started my life unbiased
against Religion
and grew into Reason.

I have my reasons
for not liking
Religion
that you might not like.
Scientific prejudice?
Posted on November 26, 2008 | 4 Comments

This was the last presentation at the recent Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark conference.

Peter Atkins does upset some people. Although he is intentionally provocative (his presentation is entitled “Pride in Prejudice”), I think his science is sound.

Atkins was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford from 1965 until his retirement in 2007. He is the author of over 60 books including Four Laws That Drive the Universe; Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science; and the world-renowned textbook Physical Chemistry. He is involved in a variety of international activities including chairing the Committee on Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and organizing the Malta series of conferences.

Atkins contrasts the blind prejudices of religion, which deny the power of human understanding, to “scientific prejudices” which are based on, and change with, evidence. However, he suggest that there may be ideas in science which can be considered as eternally true and lists three possible contenders:

Energy is conserved – this underlies causality and hence the comprehensibility of the universe;
The quality of energy easily degrades – the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This enables energy to be used constructively for life, evolution, humanity and intelligence. This is his favourite law – he believes it illuminates everything and can’t see how it could ever be replaced;
Mathematics works. It is the supreme language for the description and elucidation of the world. He suggests it is closely allied to, and hence powerful in illuminating, truth.

Some other interesting points he discusses are:

He questions the validity of any “why question” – if it can’t be reconstructed into “how questions.” This seperates the “wheat from the chaff.”
The scientific process sculpts simplicity out of complexity. It is essetnially reductionist but is accompanied by what he calls “assemblism” (science involves both analysis and synthesis – it is holistic);
http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2008 ... prejudice/
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Giving each Sentence a Life or Death Sentence

Post by secretnude » Mon May 26, 2014 4:01 pm

Research before posting
on this thread
since I dread
that anything posted
here
I do fear
would be subject to my cross examination.

I love doing
cross examinations
and I should mention
that I once wanted to go into the Legal Profession.

I can't resist breaking
down paragraphs into sentences
and giving each sentence
a judgement like a life or death sentence.

Much fun
and I hope to continue this fun
poetic interaction
with ROU, Strawman
or any man
or woman
who can
join in this really strange poetic conversation
on this strange forum
for strange people
like strangely you.
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Re: Secretnude's Drabble Poetry Corner

Post by strawman » Mon May 26, 2014 11:17 pm

“Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vitality of nature but a supreme being intelligent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative.”

—Will & Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (1968)
No room for disagreement when people get to answer their own questions.
But if history is the story of time, then it starts with the Big Bang. Science tells us that all was helium until gradual cooling created the heavier elements, which are the stardust, we are reminded, which woke up and became us.

Eh?

No, the answer MUST be a reluctant negative. There can be no purpose. No room for meaning.

I would be depressed too.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Creativity as an act of Rebellion

Post by secretnude » Tue May 27, 2014 4:29 am

I recognize that having
no 'purpose'
or 'meaning'
can be deeply demeaning
but I suppose
that it's up to each one of us to give life
meaning.

Writing
and being
creative gives some meaning
to my life
and makes my life
better.

Our Better
Natures can prevail
even if we don't avail
of the 'Supernatural' that gives life 'meaning'
since Rational
Beings
tend to (in most part) act Rationally.

I love being
naked without the 'Holy God Collar'
restricts
and constricts.

A 'God Collar'
might provide 'Purpose' but is there
a 'Master'
at the end of the 'Holy God Leash'?
strawman wrote:
“Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vitality of nature but a supreme being intelligent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative.”

—Will & Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (1968)
No room for disagreement when people get to answer their own questions.
But if history is the story of time, then it starts with the Big Bang. Science tells us that all was helium until gradual cooling created the heavier elements, which are the stardust, we are reminded, which woke up and became us.

Eh?

No, the answer MUST be a reluctant negative. There can be no purpose. No room for meaning.

I would be depressed too.
In this world, Camus’ individual is forced to confront the limitations of his knowledge:

I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms… I do not want to found anything on the incomprehensible. I want to know whether I can live with what I know and with that alone.’[4]

No invocation of an Absolute Reality; no Categorical Imperatives or Creators. Camus is determined to use only what he can know to answer his question. There can be no appeal to religious faith, based as it is on centuries of tradition and dogma. It is at this point that he finally parts company with the religious existentialism of Kierkegaard. Where Kierkegaard finds comfort in the notion of a benevolent Creator, Camus sees nothing but nostalgia, a fond memory of the illusion of order.

Awareness of the Absurd is a one-way street. There can be no ‘leap of faith’, no return to belief: to do so would be self-delusory. Indeed, Camus describes religious belief in the face of the Absurd as ‘philosophical suicide’. Consistency, authenticity, self-awareness – these form the basis of the Absurd life. Another quote from Primo Levi (himself a lifelong atheist) provides an eloquent example of what Camus is driving at. In October 1944 Levi was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. As the camp doctor examined him, deciding whether he would be gassed or sent to work, Levi found himself tempted to pray for assistance:

A prayer under these conditions would not only have been absurd (what rights could I claim? And from whom?) but blasphemous, obscene, laden with the greatest impiety of which a non-believer is capable. I resisted the temptation: I knew that otherwise were I to survive, I would have to be ashamed of it. [5]

Man is therefore presented with two choices. He can reject life and kill himself; but in doing so he allows both Absurd life and meaningless death to triumph over him. Or he can become a rebel in all senses of the word, constantly rejecting death in the complete knowledge that he will one day die. At this point Camus moves from the metaphorical language of rebellion to a more practical discussion of self-awareness in everyday life. The mechanical, repetitive nature of life in industrial society contains for Camus both tragedy and comedy. Seen from within such an existence is tragic, with no room for individual expression and no higher meaning than day-to-day survival. From the outside - from the perspective of one living the Absurd life - a repetitive existence is comic: a meaningless mechanical dumb-show. By recognising life as comic, by incorporating it into the Absurd, one can escape the endless tragic repetitiveness.

A few brief paragraphs can give only a flavour of Camus’ arguments in The Myth of Sisyphus. In addition to the tragicomic nature of everyday existence he examines the Absurd elements of various lives: the actor, the conqueror, the writer, the seducer and so on. Creativity is for Camus a very particular and intense form of rebellion; the fruits of the creative life provide the only possibility of even limited immortality.
https://web.archive.org/web/20071012140 ... syphus.htm
Evolution has genetically structured human beings to render them incapable of readily committing suicide. Our extremely powerful and all-pervasive survival instinct prevents suicide and makes self-destruction almost impossible, unless a person is mentally severely ill.

This deeply imbedded, genetic survival mechanism makes it possible for the human race, or any other living organisms, to exist. Without our all-powerful survival instinct, which also forces us to perpetuate our genes, the human race would never have evolved and human beings would not now exist on earth.

During the evolutionary period of man, his lack of factual knowledge of Objective Reality severely restricted his understanding of his environment. In order to deal effectively with events in our life we need to possess accurate knowledge of Objective Reality: We need to know how things really are, as opposed to what they appear to be.

In his quest to find a purpose in life that might help him cope with the adversities of life, man has invented supernatural beings. Since he could not cope with the mysterious forces of his environment, he invented gods or other mystical forces that might enhance his survival and security by responding to prayer, sacrifices or similar devotions.

Man thus invented the fiction that gods had created man and that man was under the control and in the service of such superior beings. Consequently, man believed that it was his purpose in life to placate and please these gods by subjugating himself to their will in order to ensure their goodwill and protection.

There is no objective evidence whatsoever that such omnipotent beings actually exist or, if they existed, that they have any effect on individual human lives, or that they can vest human lives with a preordained purpose. If someone claims that there is a preordained purpose to human life, such claim is merely a completely undocumented opinion, at best, or a hallucination, at worst. Not only is such extraordinary claim without any shred of evidence, but it also stands in contradiction to all factual evidence available to man. Rational human beings require extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims
http://www.rationality.net/meaning.htm
Although it might be true that the question of meaning and purpose in life has no bearing on the reasonableness of either theism or atheism, the fact remains that it is an important concern of many theists. If someone brings it up, it is because their belief in a god is, at least in part, predicated upon the idea that their god provides meaning and purpose to their lives. This is not a bad thing — the problem lies in the fact that they cannot imagine that anyone's life can have meaning and purpose unless it happens on the same terms as their life. In their case, at least, the only way they would ever abandon theism will be if they realize that meaning and purpose can come from themselves instead.
http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismmyth ... ngLife.htm
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Re: Secretnude's Drabble Poetry Corner

Post by strawman » Tue May 27, 2014 7:40 am

— the problem lies in the fact that they cannot imagine that anyone's life can have meaning and purpose unless it happens on the same terms as their life. In their case, at least, the only way they would ever abandon theism will be if they realize that meaning and purpose can come from themselves instead.
My problem is that I can't imagine?
Meaning and purpose comes from themselves?

Oh dear, I have been fully exposed. I am trapped in a solipsism!
My imagination is limited to a world in which only it exists.
Therefore, logically, God cannot exist.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Location: Tau Ceti

Great meaning in suffering even without God

Post by secretnude » Tue May 27, 2014 10:51 am

strawman wrote: My problem is that I can't imagine?
Meaning and purpose comes from themselves?
Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.
Viktor E. Frankl
To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
Friedrich Nietzsche
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche
I find great meaning
in suffering
even without God, the familiar
familial
support and so few friends
since in the end
what doesn't kill me
will make me
stronger
as I creatively rebel longer
against the empty void
that we want to avoid.

I will undergo a couple
of medical tests
in a couple
of weeks
(MRI, Blood Tests)
and yes, I haven't been able to speak
much at all with my unsupportive family
but I'm creatively
fulfilled
as I fill
my spare time with my poetic and visual arts
that I hope will survive long after I do depart.
I recalled a book I read several years ago: Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. It’s an interesting book that’s part Holocaust survivor memoir and part exposition of Frankl’s therapeutic technique. In reading the second part again, it occurred to me how philosophically informed Frankl’s ‘logotherapy’ really is. As such, I though it might be helpful to highlight some of it here.

Frankl’s approach is very much informed by existentialism. It’s a philosophical movement that’s notoriously difficult to define because it’s very diverse. If I had to parse it out succinctly, I would say that the motto of existentialism is ‘existence precedes essence.’ In other words, there is no fixed or defined essence of humanity found in nature; rather, each individual must determine his or her own essence. Meaning is not inherent; we must make our own meaning. Thus, existentialism is concerned with the quest for meaning, and the role of the will — as opposed to reason as in much of Western philosophy — in determining that meaning. This existentialist framework is very much a part of logotherapy.

For Frankl, it is the ‘will to meaning’ rather than the ‘will to pleasure’ (Freud) or the ‘will to power’ (Adler) that is driving force behind human psychology. We can endure great suffering — as Frankl did in Auschwitz — as long as we can find meaning in it. Without meaning, there is despair. In the modern world, however, we are faced with what Frankl calls an ‘existential vacuum.’ We could also call this an absence of meaning. We can no longer take for granted sources of meaning arising from tradition. When traditional sources of meaning are abandoned, however, we often flounder to find new meaning to replace them. This leads to existential frustration.

According to Frankl, existential frustration is not pathological. It’s certainly not a mental disease to be buried ‘under a heap of tranquilizing drugs.’ Rather, the point of logotherapy is to guide the client through the existential crisis and to help him find meaning. This reminded me of my interview with Dr. Raabe in which we talked briefly about the ontology of mental illness. Is mental illness, like depression, a brain disorder, a material entity that needs to be combated with other material entities, namely drugs? Or is it something like existential frustration that needs to be replaced by a sense of meaning and purpose? How one answers this question will largely determine one’s approach to treatment.

Of course, finding meaning is easier said than done. There is no general answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’ As Frankl says, that’s like asking ‘what’s the best chess move?’ It depends on the context. However, a necessary first step is to take responsibility for your life’s meaning. Frankl suggests the following categorical imperative: ‘Live as if you were already living for the second time and as if you had acted as wrongly the first time as you plan to act now!’ This is obviously an existential twist on Kant’s famous categorical imperative and is reminiscent of Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence. It’s a way of becoming more conscious of the responsibility that we bear for our lives and whatever meaning they have.

It’s important, however, to stress that, for Frankl, the true meaning of life is not to be found within our own psyche — as if it were a closed system — but in the world. He calls this the ‘self-transcendence of human existence.” The human psyche is directed outward, at something or someone, other than itself. This reminds me of the notion of ‘intentionality’ in the work of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. For these thinkers, consciousness is always already directed toward something. These similarities are not surprising. After all, phenomenology and existentialism share a common philosophical lineage, but I digress. Meaning, for Frankl, can be found in at least three ways: 1) by creating a work or doing a deed; 2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; 3) by the attitude we take to unavoidable suffering.

Frankl, due to his own life story, is very interested in the third option and his account of how to deal with suffering is worth reading. The emphasis on suffering, however, reminded me of Dr. Raabe’s point that the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’ doesn’t usually arise until we are suffering. When we are content, the question doesn’t arise, unless we’re taking a philosophy class. That’s why Dr. Raabe said that he’s wary of the question when it’s asked of him by clients. They don’t necessarily want to know what philosophers have said about the meaning of life; they want their suffering to end so they can again experience life as meaningful. If the counselor can address the suffering and help the client deal with it — perhaps by placing the suffering in a meaningful context — the question dissolves.
http://theunemployedphilosophersblog.wo ... gotherapy/
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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Re: Secretnude's Drabble Poetry Corner

Post by strawman » Tue May 27, 2014 2:40 pm

Have you ever seen Michael Douglas and Sean Penn in The Game?

I once saw a tee shirt that said:
"To do is to be." - Nietzsche
"To be is to do." - Kant
"DoBeDoBeDo." - Sinatra
In his quest to find a purpose in life that might help him cope with the adversities of life, man has invented supernatural beings. Since he could not cope with the mysterious forces of his environment, he invented gods or other mystical forces that might enhance his survival and security by responding to prayer, sacrifices or similar devotions.
That's certainly a common guess. My own take is that the discovery of meaning through suffering is similar to finding a clue to understanding something unseen that resonates in my soul with purpose and meaning. And then I discover Christ on the cross.
That discovery is as if I had been created with a tune in my heart, and one day heard a voice singing the lyrics to the tune.
There might be no way to scientifically capture and analyze such an epiphany experience. But the experience is powerful.

Suffering and death are unavoidable. But to discover meaning in the midst of it is to be born out of one's solipsistic self into new life.

So thanks for your post. It may be that "it is impossible for you just now to know it". That perfectly describes how I once felt, and certainly explains the human impulse to skepticism, trusting only what can be scientifically proven. Hence my favorite aphorism which is irrefutable: "We don't know what we don't know".

I am prepared by experience and every Darwinistic survival impulse to seek security. My goal is to be Michael Douglas. Then I am shaken by the discovery of sudden powerlessness: the discovery that all such security is an illusion I have trusted. Illness, war, a random misfortune, the loss of a loved one...

To suffer and to survive is a paradigm shift. A spiritual awakening, if you will. And each of the characters who experience this powerlessness is fundamentally changed.
I do not want to found anything on the incomprehensible. I want to know whether I can live with what I know and with that alone.
Understandable. But then, we don't know what we don't know.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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secretnude
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Location: Tau Ceti

Genetic Predisposition to God in the electromagnetic

Post by secretnude » Tue May 27, 2014 7:34 pm

Unfortunately
or fortunately
some of us are unable
to 'Feel the Hand'
of God that Scientists now claim
to be able
to understand
as a pattern of neuronal firings in the brain.

Our brains
maybe
wired too differently.

If 'God' wanted everyone
to be one
with him why deprive someone
like Richard Dawkins
who I feel like my kin
of the neuronal capacity
to feel one
with God.

God
must love some people
then
more than
others
but that flies in the face of a fair God.

Other
people
might dismiss these 'findings'
but I'm finding
the findings
slightly convincing.

strawman wrote: There might be no way to scientifically capture and analyze such an epiphany experience. But the experience is powerful.
Persinger has gained attention for his work with the "God Helmet," headgear so named because it may induce a person to feel the presence of God. The God Helmet includes electrodes that Persinger uses to alter the electromagnetic field at the temporal lobes. Persinger claims he can create a religious experience for anyone by disrupting the brain with regular electric pulses. This will cause the left temporal lobe to explain the activity in the right side of the brain as a sensed presence. The sensed presence could be anything from God to demons, and when not told what the experiment involved, about 80 percent of God Helmet wearers reported sensing something nearby [source: BBC].

Will it work for everyone? Richard Dawkins, famous for his criticism of religion, reported only slight dizziness and twitching in the legs after some time in the God Helmet [source: Horgan]. Persinger says that some people may just be more genetically predisposed to sensing God or another higher power, and they may not need a God Helmet to do so [source: Hitt]. According to Persinger, naturally occurring electromagnetic fields can also cause religious experiences, particularly in those with this predisposition to sensing God. For example, powerful meteor showers were occurring when Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, was visited by the angel Moroni, and when Charles Taze Russell formed the Jehovah's Witnesses [source: Hitt].
http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/i ... igion2.htm
Brain scans of nuns have revealed intricate neural circuits that flicker into life when they feel the presence of God.

The images suggest that feelings of profound joy and union with a higher being that accompany religious experiences are the culmination of ramped-up electrical activity in parts of the brain.
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2006 ... uroscience
Religious Experience Linked to Brain’s Social Regions

Brain scans of people who believe in God have found further evidence that religion involves neurological regions vital for social intelligence.

In other words, whether or not God or Gods exist, religious belief may have been quite useful in shaping the human mind’s evolution.

“The main point is that all these brain regions are important for other forms of social cognition and behavior,” said Jordan Grafman, a National Institutes of Health cognitive scientist.

In a study published Monday in Public Library of Science ONE, Grafman’s team used an MRI to measure the brains areas in 40 people of varying degrees of religious belief.

People who reported an intimate experience of God, engaged in religious behavior or feared God, tended to have larger-than-average brain regions devoted to empathy, symbolic communication and emotional regulation. The research wasn’t trying to measure some kind of small “God-spot,” but looked instead at broader patterns within the brains of self-reported religious people.

The results are full of caveats, from a small sample size to the focus on a western God. But they fit with Grafman’s earlier work on how religious sentiment triggers other neural networks involved in social cognition.
http://www.wired.com/2009/10/god-brai/
greater hippocampal atrophy in individuals reporting a life-changing religious experience. In addition, they found significantly greater hippocampal atrophy among born-again Protestants, Catholics, and those with no religious affiliation, compared with Protestants not identifying as born-again.

The authors offer the hypothesis that the greater hippocampal atrophy in selected religious groups might be related to stress. They argue that some individuals in the religious minority, or those who struggle with their beliefs, experience higher levels of stress. This causes a release of stress hormones that are known to depress the volume of the hippocampus over time. This might also explain the fact that both non-religious as well as some religious individuals have smaller hippocampal volumes.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -of-brain/
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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secretnude
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Location: Tau Ceti

The God that hides in the Knowledge Gaps

Post by secretnude » Tue May 27, 2014 8:02 pm

I get
close to powerful electromagnets
when I do get
scanned for my
Head MRI
and well, no God.

God
keep hiding
in the gaps
but our knowledge gaps
keep shrinking
and God
keeps disappearing.

God
may exist
but what I see existing
that's consisting
of matter can now be adequately
relatively
explained by Scientific Means
even if some people feel that does demean
their Religious Beliefs.

I believe
that people should be free
to believe
whatever they want to believe
but I want my beliefs
to be free
of things that are 'unreal'
as I deal
with the real.
In his 1955 book Science and Christian Belief Charles Alfred Coulson (1910−1974) wrote:

There is no 'God of the gaps' to take over at those strategic places where science fails; and the reason is that gaps of this sort have the unpreventable habit of shrinking.[5]

and

Either God is in the whole of Nature, with no gaps, or He's not there at all.[6]

Coulson was a mathematics professor at Oxford University as well as a Methodist church leader, often appearing in the religious programs of British Broadcasting Corporation. His book got national attention,[7] was reissued as a paperback, and was reprinted several times, most recently in 1971. It is claimed that the actual phrase 'God of the gaps' was invented by Coulson.[8][9]

The term was then used in a 1971 book and a 1978 article, by Richard Bube. He articulated the concept in greater detail in Man come of Age: Bonhoeffer’s Response to the God-of-the-Gaps (1978). Bube attributed modern crises in religious faith in part to the inexorable shrinking of the God-of-the-gaps as scientific knowledge progressed. As humans progressively increased their understanding of nature, the previous "realm" of God seemed to many persons and religions to be getting smaller and smaller by comparison. Bube maintained that Darwin's Origin of Species was the "death knell" of the God-of-the-gaps. Bube also maintained that the God-of-the-gaps was not the same as the God of the Bible (that is, he was not making an argument against God per se, but rather asserting there was a fundamental problem with the perception of God as existing in the gaps of present-day knowledge).[10]
According to John Habgood in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, the phrase is generally derogatory, and is inherently a direct criticism of a tendency to postulate acts of God to explain phenomena for which science has yet to give a satisfactory account.[22] Habgood also states:

"It is theologically more satisfactory to look for evidence of God's actions within natural processes rather than apart from them, in much the same way that the meaning of a book transcends, but is not independent of, the paper and ink of which it is comprised."[22]

From a scientific viewpoint, God-of-the-gaps is viewed as the fallacy of claiming any gap in our scientific knowledge as evidence of God's action, as opposed to admitting that we do not currently have an answer or anticipating that, should an answer come, it will be a scientific one that leaves no role for God.[23] In this vein, Richard Dawkins dedicates a chapter of his book, The God Delusion to criticism of the God-of-the-gaps fallacy.

God-of-the-gaps arguments have also been criticized for doubting that, in a world created by God, the mechanics of how things happen can always be described by science.[23]

Some theistic scientists point out the danger of using a God-of-the-gaps argument and prefer (for example) the "fine-tuning" argument.[24]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps
Physicist Victor Stenger objects to the fine-tuning, and especially to theist use of fine-tuning arguments. His numerous criticisms include what he calls "the wholly unwarranted assumption that only carbon-based life is possible."[13] In turn, the astrophysicist Luke Barnes has criticised much of Stenger's work.[14]

Fred Adams has investigated the structure of stars in universes with different values of the gravitational constant G, the fine-structure constant α, and a nuclear reaction rate parameter C. His study suggests that roughly 25% of this parameter space allows stars to exist.[15]

The validity of fine tuning examples is sometimes questioned on the grounds that such reasoning is subjective anthropomorphism applied to natural physical constants. Critics also suggest that the fine-tuned Universe assertion and the anthropic principle are essentially tautologies.[16]

The fine-tuned Universe argument has also been criticized as an argument by lack of imagination, as it assumes no other forms of life, sometimes referred to as carbon chauvinism. Conceptually, alternative biochemistry or other forms of life are possible.[17] Regarding this, Stenger argues: "We have no reason to believe that our kind of carbon-based life is all that is possible. Furthermore, modern cosmology theorises that multiple universes may exist with different constants and laws of physics. So, it is not surprising that we live in the one suited for us. The Universe is not fine-tuned to life; life is fine-tuned to the Universe."[18]

In addition, critics argue that humans are adapted to the Universe through the process of evolution, rather than the Universe being adapted to humans (see puddle thinking, below). They also see it as an example of the logical flaw of hubris or anthropocentrism in its assertion that humans are the purpose of the Universe.[19]

Possible naturalistic explanations

There are fine tuning arguments that are naturalistic.[20] As modern cosmology developed, various hypotheses have been proposed. One is an oscillatory universe or a multiverse, where fundamental physical constants are postulated to resolve themselves to random values in different iterations of reality.[21] Under this hypothesis, separate parts of reality would have wildly different characteristics. In such scenarios, the issue of fine-tuning does not arise at all, as only those "universes" with constants hospitable to life (such as what we observe) would develop life capable of contemplating the question of the origin of fine-tuning.

Based upon the Anthropic principle, physicist Robert H. Dicke proposed the "Dicke coincidence" argument that the structure (age, physical constants, etc.) of the Universe as seen by living observers is not random, but is constrained by biological factors that require it to be roughly a "golden age".[5]
Inflationary cosmology

Main article: Inflation (cosmology)

Inflation theory posits that an inflaton field in the first 10−30 seconds of the universe produces strong repulsive gravity, and the universe and space-time expand by a factor of 1030. After 10−30 seconds, gravity starts to become attractive. In this framework, with such rapid expansion, the overall shape of the universe at 14 billion years is much less sensitive to initial parameters than the standard big bang model, and thus the fine-tuning issue disappears.[22][citation needed]

Multiverse
Main article: Multiverse

The Multiverse hypothesis assumes the existence of many universes with different physical constants, some of which are hospitable to intelligent life (see multiverse: anthropic principle). Because we are intelligent beings, we are by definition in a hospitable one. Mathematician Michael Ikeda and astronomer William H. Jefferys have argued that the anthropic principle and selection effect resolves the entire issue of fine-tuning,[23][24] as does philosopher of science Elliott Sober.[25] Philosopher and theologian Richard Swinburne reaches the opposite conclusion using Bayesian probability.[26]

This approach has led to considerable research into the anthropic principle and has been of particular interest to particle physicists, because theories of everything do apparently generate large numbers of universes in which the physical constants vary widely. As yet, there is no evidence for the existence of a multiverse, but some versions of the theory do make predictions that some researchers studying M-theory and gravity leaks hope to see some evidence of soon.[27] Some multiverse theories are not falsifiable, thus scientists may be reluctant to call any multiverse theory "scientific". UNC-Chapel Hill professor Laura Mersini-Houghton claims that the WMAP cold spot may provide testable empirical evidence for a parallel universe,[28] although this claim was recently refuted as the WMAP cold spot was found to be nothing more than a statistical artifact.[29] Variants on this approach include Lee Smolin's notion of cosmological natural selection, the Ekpyrotic universe, and the Bubble universe theory.

Critics of the multiverse-related explanations argue that there is no evidence that other universes exist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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secretnude
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Posts: 1999
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:33 pm
Location: Tau Ceti

Why some people believe and others don't

Post by secretnude » Tue May 27, 2014 10:10 pm

God
must really 'hate' people
with Asperger's
and many people
Asperger's
see no need for God.

At any rate,
a fair and benevolent God
should accommodate
those that cannot feel God.

However, the Ancient Holy Texts
are quite hexed
and mentions
no such straight accommodation
unless we bend via interpretation.

Is God
condemning
so many not to feel God's
benevolent hand?

I understand
things
via logic
and logic
dictates
that a Fair and Benevolent God
shouldn't hate.

However, fate
has it that Religious Faith
is mostly refuted by logic
and Teleological
thinking
does really stink
for us that do think.
BOSTON—Why do we often attribute events in our lives to a higher power or supernatural force? Some psychologists believe this kind of thinking, called teleological thinking, is a by-product of social cognition. As our ancestors evolved, we developed the ability to understand one anothers’ ideas and intentions. As a result of this “theory of mind,” some experts figure, we also tend to see intention or purpose—a conscious mind—behind random or naturally occurring events. A new study presented here in a poster at the 22nd annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science supports this idea, showing that people who may have an impaired theory of mind are less likely to think in a teleological way.

Bethany T. Heywood, a graduate student at Queens University Belfast, asked 27 people with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild type of autism that involves impaired social cognition, about significant events in their lives. Working with experimental psychologist Jesse M. Bering (author of the "Bering in Mind" blog and a frequent contributor to Scientific American MIND), she asked them to speculate about why these important events happened—for instance, why they had gone through an illness or why they met a significant other. As compared with 34 neurotypical people, those with Asperger’s syndrome were significantly less likely to invoke a teleological response—for example, saying the event was meant to unfold in a particular way or explaining that God had a hand in it. They were more likely to invoke a natural cause (such as blaming an illness on a virus they thought they were exposed to) or to give a descriptive response, explaining the event again in a different way.

In a second experiment, Heywood and Bering compared 27 people with Asperger’s with 34 neurotypical people who are atheists. The atheists, as expected, often invoked anti-teleological responses such as “there is no reason why; things just happen.” The people with Asperger’s were significantly less likely to offer such anti-teleological explanations than the atheists, indicating they were not engaged in teleological thinking at all. (The atheists, in contrast, revealed themselves to be reasoning teleologically, but then they rejected those thoughts.)

These results support the idea that seeing purpose behind life events is a result of our mind’s focus on social thinking. People whose social cognition is impaired—those with Asperger’s, in this case—are less likely to see the events in their lives as having happened for a reason. Heywood would like to test the hypothesis further by working with people who have schizophrenia or schizoid personalities. Some experts theorize that certain schizophrenia symptoms (for instance, paranoia) arise in part from a hyperactive sense of social reasoning. “I’d guess that they’d give lots of teleological answers; more than neurotypical people, and certainly far more than people with Asperger’s,” Heywood says.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/obs ... eir-lives/
Atheism and Autism
Posted on November 23, 2011 by iain carstairs

People with mild forms of autism are more likely to be atheists, according to a new study, and more likely to shun organised religion in general.

The University of Boston study looked at posts on autism forums and focused on people with high-functioning autism such as Asperger’s, and speculates that autistic spectrum behaviours such as ‘a preference for logical beliefs’ and a distrust of metaphor could be responsible.

Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Patrick MacNamara studied discussions by 192 different posters on an autism website. They also looked at a survey of 61 people with high-functioning autism, and graphed against results from the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test.

The results appeared to show that those with high AQ scores were ‘more likely’ to be atheists: in the group of high-functioning autistic individuals, 26 per cent were atheists, compared to 16 per cent of ‘neurotypical’ individuals. [..Daily Mail UK]
http://iaincarstairs.wordpress.com/2011 ... nd-autism/
Imagine Mr. Spock at an evangelical Christian tent revival, and you’ll get the idea.

...

And my father is a pastor, so I was in church a lot.

Multiple times, each week, every week, I found myself wishing I'd be moved by the worship music, or that I could shut off my skeptical mind during the sermons.

I'd see people in church services, Christian concerts and Bible camps overcome by emotion and enraptured with charismatic speakers, and I wondered why I didn't feel that way.

Why did I always feel like a cold observer?

After going to college, I was convinced my lack of feeling meant I was missing something, spiritually, so I joined charismatic Christian groups in which emotional manifestations of the Holy Spirit are common.

I desperately wanted to have what they had - an emotional experience of God's presence - and asked them to pray over me.

It didn't work.

When I didn’t move with the Holy Spirit or speak in tongues, they told me it was because I had rejected God.

I worried that it was the other way around: God had rejected me.

Maybe I felt like an alien because I deserved it. I deserved to be alienated, irretrievably and forever far from God.

I tried to pray, read the Bible, and do all the "right stuff." But I still felt out-of-touch.

I wondered if I was so broken, such a misfit that God simply took a look at me and decided to move on.
http://www.orangepower.com/threads/mr-s ... ch.175970/
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Why some people believe and others don't

Post by strawman » Tue May 27, 2014 11:06 pm

secretnude wrote:God
must really 'hate' people
with Asperger's
and many people
Asperger's
see no need for God.

At any rate,
a fair and benevolent God
should accommodate
those that cannot feel God.

However, the Ancient Holy Texts
are quite hexed
and mentions
no such straight accommodation
unless we bend via interpretation.

Is God
condemning
so many not to feel God's
benevolent hand?

I understand
things
via logic
and logic
dictates
that a Fair and Benevolent God
shouldn't hate.

However, fate
has it that Religious Faith
is mostly refuted by logic
and Teleological
thinking
does really stink
for us that do think.
BOSTON—Why do we often attribute events in our lives to a higher power or supernatural force? Some psychologists believe this kind of thinking, called teleological thinking, is a by-product of social cognition. As our ancestors evolved, we developed the ability to understand one anothers’ ideas and intentions. As a result of this “theory of mind,” some experts figure, we also tend to see intention or purpose—a conscious mind—behind random or naturally occurring events. A new study presented here in a poster at the 22nd annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science supports this idea, showing that people who may have an impaired theory of mind are less likely to think in a teleological way.

Bethany T. Heywood, a graduate student at Queens University Belfast, asked 27 people with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild type of autism that involves impaired social cognition, about significant events in their lives. Working with experimental psychologist Jesse M. Bering (author of the "Bering in Mind" blog and a frequent contributor to Scientific American MIND), she asked them to speculate about why these important events happened—for instance, why they had gone through an illness or why they met a significant other. As compared with 34 neurotypical people, those with Asperger’s syndrome were significantly less likely to invoke a teleological response—for example, saying the event was meant to unfold in a particular way or explaining that God had a hand in it. They were more likely to invoke a natural cause (such as blaming an illness on a virus they thought they were exposed to) or to give a descriptive response, explaining the event again in a different way.

In a second experiment, Heywood and Bering compared 27 people with Asperger’s with 34 neurotypical people who are atheists. The atheists, as expected, often invoked anti-teleological responses such as “there is no reason why; things just happen.” The people with Asperger’s were significantly less likely to offer such anti-teleological explanations than the atheists, indicating they were not engaged in teleological thinking at all. (The atheists, in contrast, revealed themselves to be reasoning teleologically, but then they rejected those thoughts.)

These results support the idea that seeing purpose behind life events is a result of our mind’s focus on social thinking. People whose social cognition is impaired—those with Asperger’s, in this case—are less likely to see the events in their lives as having happened for a reason. Heywood would like to test the hypothesis further by working with people who have schizophrenia or schizoid personalities. Some experts theorize that certain schizophrenia symptoms (for instance, paranoia) arise in part from a hyperactive sense of social reasoning. “I’d guess that they’d give lots of teleological answers; more than neurotypical people, and certainly far more than people with Asperger’s,” Heywood says.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/obs ... eir-lives/
Atheism and Autism
Posted on November 23, 2011 by iain carstairs

People with mild forms of autism are more likely to be atheists, according to a new study, and more likely to shun organised religion in general.

The University of Boston study looked at posts on autism forums and focused on people with high-functioning autism such as Asperger’s, and speculates that autistic spectrum behaviours such as ‘a preference for logical beliefs’ and a distrust of metaphor could be responsible.

Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Patrick MacNamara studied discussions by 192 different posters on an autism website. They also looked at a survey of 61 people with high-functioning autism, and graphed against results from the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test.

The results appeared to show that those with high AQ scores were ‘more likely’ to be atheists: in the group of high-functioning autistic individuals, 26 per cent were atheists, compared to 16 per cent of ‘neurotypical’ individuals. [..Daily Mail UK]
http://iaincarstairs.wordpress.com/2011 ... nd-autism/
Imagine Mr. Spock at an evangelical Christian tent revival, and you’ll get the idea.

...

And my father is a pastor, so I was in church a lot.

Multiple times, each week, every week, I found myself wishing I'd be moved by the worship music, or that I could shut off my skeptical mind during the sermons.

I'd see people in church services, Christian concerts and Bible camps overcome by emotion and enraptured with charismatic speakers, and I wondered why I didn't feel that way.

Why did I always feel like a cold observer?

After going to college, I was convinced my lack of feeling meant I was missing something, spiritually, so I joined charismatic Christian groups in which emotional manifestations of the Holy Spirit are common.

I desperately wanted to have what they had - an emotional experience of God's presence - and asked them to pray over me.

It didn't work.

When I didn’t move with the Holy Spirit or speak in tongues, they told me it was because I had rejected God.

I worried that it was the other way around: God had rejected me.

Maybe I felt like an alien because I deserved it. I deserved to be alienated, irretrievably and forever far from God.

I tried to pray, read the Bible, and do all the "right stuff." But I still felt out-of-touch.

I wondered if I was so broken, such a misfit that God simply took a look at me and decided to move on.
http://www.orangepower.com/threads/mr-s ... ch.175970/
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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strawman
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Re: Secretnude's Drabble Poetry Corner

Post by strawman » Tue May 27, 2014 11:44 pm

If I understood God as you do, I would not believe in Him either. And if I were somehow to believe in Him, I would feel ashamed of myself. It is entirely made up of someone's ancestral traditions about judgement and punishment.

But whether we believe in God or not, a higher power "believes" in me, requires nothing of me in exchange, and is not conditional on performance. There is fruit that comes from awakening to one's meaning, purpose, and belovedness. Fruit that can be tasted to the extent that one ACTS self-sacrificially out of love, and so escapes from the dark prison of self-absorption.

Personalizing the gospels produces this fruit in me. Understanding doesn't come from hearing or speaking, only from doing.

Maybe you know a different way to experience life with meaning. Between a universe of sacrificial love for others and a universe of quid pro quo, I think it reasonable to prefer the former, even though I am always evolving :)
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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ROU Killing Time
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Re: Secretnude's Drabble Poetry Corner

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed May 28, 2014 3:17 am

I spent the first 15 years of my life raised in the Catholic tradition, (to the point that I seriously considered the priesthood.)

Personal events and constant challenging from my brother, a university trained expert in philosophy left me in the philosophical position of classical atheism as you describe.

Arguing amongst each other over the existence or non-existence of God I have always found to be a fruitless endeavor.

At 30, a PKDian tranformational readjustment of my local reality field left me in an argument with God, where I essentially challenged Him to prove His own existence.

I lost the argument.

But I cannot, (nor would I if I could) force anyone to engage in that final argument.

If you are anything like me, or like I was, that is a decision to engage that one must embark on by their own free-will.

But still, the hound of heaven bays...
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

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secretnude
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A Philosophy and Science Geek in High School

Post by secretnude » Wed May 28, 2014 4:12 am

ROU Killing Time wrote:I spent the first 15 years of my life raised in the Catholic tradition, (to the point that I seriously considered the priesthood.)

Personal events and constant challenging from my brother, a university trained expert in philosophy left me in the philosophical position of classical atheism as you describe.

Arguing amongst each other over the existence or non-existence of God I have always found to be a fruitless endeavor.
While in High School, I self-studied Philosophy
and left the Catholic Church in my teens.

Biology
plus Philosophy
did mean
the end of my Faith
and there was quite some hate
between me
and my Family
even before
I decided to settle the Religion
Score
since Religion
forms the core
identity
of most in my Catholic Country.

I am effectively a Nonreligious 1%
in a Country
that has Religion
at its center.

I influenced my Brother
to leave the Church as well
and our Mom told us we will go to hell.
but he persisted to become Atheist as well.
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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secretnude
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The 'Existential Crisis' could have already passed

Post by secretnude » Wed May 28, 2014 4:37 am

ROU Killing Time wrote: At 30, a PKDian tranformational readjustment of my local reality field left me in an argument with God, where I essentially challenged Him to prove His own existence.

I lost the argument.

But I cannot, (nor would I if I could) force anyone to engage in that final argument.

If you are anything like me, or like I was, that is a decision to engage that one must embark on by their own free-will.

But still, the hound of heaven bays...
Many Philosophers doubt
free will.

I doubt
if I will
take an Existentialist Kierkegaardian 'Leap of Faith'
since a Leap of Faith
would be Philosophical Suicide
since I have firmly decided
to side
on the Camus' Rational Side
of the Existentialist Divide.

I will not hide
my biases since I did lack Faith
even before I got really sick
and I did stick
to my lack of Faith
that other people might hate.

I think that as fate
has it the 'Existential Crisis' could have already
passed
as is somewhat already
in the past
but my Atheism still did last.
existential situation produces anxiety and dread in people — we would prefer easy answers and certainty, but there is simply no way to obtain them. According to Kierkegaard, our insecurity causes us to become alienated from our own lives and so we try to find some means of overcoming this — we are willing to do something, anything, to find release. In the end, though, we usually just end up making things worse. You can’t lose yourself in a crowd, in a mob, or in a group pursuing collective action — in the end, you are still on your own and have to face your own choices, for good or for ill.

Kierkegaard argued that, in the still places of our isolation, we needed to face our relationship with God. Instead of allowing ourselves to be driven away from God by the distractions we use to try and alleviate our anxieties over our finiteness, we should instead seek greater communion with the infinite and absolute nature of divinity. This in turn requires a “leap of faith...
http://atheism.about.com/od/existential ... aard_2.htm
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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secretnude
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Location: Tau Ceti

I haven't argued yet with any Divine Being

Post by secretnude » Wed May 28, 2014 4:58 am

ROU Killing Time wrote: At 30, a PKDian tranformational readjustment of my local reality field left me in an argument with God, where I essentially challenged Him to prove His own existence.

I lost the argument.
I'm quite content with
no prospect of Heaven since it means
no Hell
as well
and despite that, I do behave well
as a Rational Being.

I haven't argued yet with
any Divine Being
since I haven't drifted far from Rationality
enough to have a Realignment of Reality
even if my Pituitary Tumor Drug
can alter reality
in high dosages.

My dosage
of the Pituitary Tumor Drug
used to be high but is now quite low
and so far haven't gotten to know
a Divine Being
that calls Himself "I am"
being
the Rational
and Skeptical
Being
that I am.
Bromocriptine use has been anecdotally associated with causing or worsening psychotic symptoms (its mechanism is in opposition of most antipsychotics, whose mechanisms generally block dopamine).[10]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromocriptine
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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secretnude
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Location: Tau Ceti

I always did suspect I had Asperger's

Post by secretnude » Wed May 28, 2014 7:44 am

Why would I self study
Philosophy
in High School?

I wasn't a cool
kid and my home life wasn't cool
so I 'suffered' and the Bible didn't provide
answers that my Logical Mind can ride.

It's hard for a Person
to take 'Jesus' into their Heart
if their Heart
is 'Vulcan'.

I identified as a Person
with the Vulcan Race
which is a Logical Race.

I have trouble
with people
and was isolated
and maybe hated
for being too book smart
but not people smart.

I started doubting
God after understanding
the implications
of my readings
of Philosophy
and Biology.
Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger's syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation.
Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
Communication difficulties: People with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context and are very literal in their use of language.
Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger's syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger's syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.
http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/menta ... s-syndrome
"Be Authentically Weird and be Weird
enough to be in a Category of One."

"It's time to shake up staid traditions
in favor of strange experimentation."

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