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Athiesm’s catch 22?
Posted: 24 August 2011 09:51 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all - just wondered how athiest deal with the following:
1) If there is no God and life occurs as a natural phenomina of the universe - as abiogenesis/evolution would dictate - then life would have evolved on trillions of planets in the universe - many evolving billions of years prior to ours - not that they would all be billions of years advanced of us on the evolutionary chain - but undoubtedly millions of life forms would be - such beings would be gods - capable of manipulating every aspect of our realities (no space-ships or lasers necessary).  Hence - if you are an athiest but believe evolution/abiogenesis (which I’m sure most do) then you should believe in many Gods - maybe the Hindus got it right?

2) There’s one place God exists for certain - the human mind - the same place where reality exists - how can you say one exists and another doesn’t when both are manifestations of our consiousness?

3) not so much a catch 22 - just questions -
What would turn an athiest into a believer? 
Do they want to see God? 
What would they expect or want to see? 
Do they expect an all power being? 
Do they think an all powerful being (or just a more intellegent being) would be interested in gaining their support by revealing itself in a way that would satisfy them? 
Do they want a paranormal experience? 
Have any of you athiest had a paranormal experience?
Is there anything that challenges an athiest belief more than turbulance?
When you think about it - bad moments in life are like one in a million (less actually).  For every bad second we live there’s like a hundred million good.  Is there really any accounting for such overwelmingly positive odds?
Do you look around you -  at the beauty of Paris, the hustle and bustle of New York city and think “this all occurs by chance with no reason - give things enough time and Ipads and I phones will result - no blueprints needed for blue-prints? 
Thanks for your responses

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Posted: 25 August 2011 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Why not post this on the general Forum? At any rate here are some answers:

sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

1) If there is no God and life occurs as a natural phenomina of the universe - as abiogenesis/evolution would dictate - then life would have evolved on trillions of planets in the universe - many evolving billions of years prior to ours - not that they would all be billions of years advanced of us on the evolutionary chain - but undoubtedly millions of life forms would be - such beings would be gods - capable of manipulating every aspect of our realities (no space-ships or lasers necessary).  Hence - if you are an athiest but believe evolution/abiogenesis (which I’m sure most do) then you should believe in many Gods - maybe the Hindus got it right?

The capital-G God of theology is all powerful, all knowing and perfectly good. There is no evolutionary route to these characteristics. And evolution doesn’t give us insight into how easy or hard it would be to get life started, nor to several other key variables in the Drake equation. That said, I’d wager many believers in evolution do think that there is life elsewhere in the universe, and some of it might theoretically be very powerful. But clearly as of yet we have no evidence about this, only speculation.

sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

2) There’s one place God exists for certain - the human mind - the same place where reality exists - how can you say one exists and another doesn’t when both are manifestations of our consciousness?

Um, no and no. God doesn’t exist in our mind. God is a figment of our mind, in the same way as Santa Claus or Mickey Mouse. And reality doesn’t exist in your mind anymore than it does in mine. If it did, why not will yourself to fly? What’s stopping you?

Further, if the universe is in your mind, how do you know anyone else exists? How do you know they have thoughts different from yours, or any thoughts at all? I suppose they’re in your mind too!

The view that the world exists in your mind is childish hubris. The universe is a grand place, and you’re not the little-g god of it.

sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

3) not so much a catch 22 - just questions -
What would turn an athiest into a believer? 
Do they want to see God? 
What would they expect or want to see? 
Do they expect an all power being? 
Do they think an all powerful being (or just a more intellegent being) would be interested in gaining their support by revealing itself in a way that would satisfy them? 
Do they want a paranormal experience? 
Have any of you athiest had a paranormal experience?
Is there anything that challenges an athiest belief more than turbulance?
When you think about it - bad moments in life are like one in a million (less actually).  For every bad second we live there’s like a hundred million good.  Is there really any accounting for such overwelmingly positive odds?
Do you look around you -  at the beauty of Paris, the hustle and bustle of New York city and think “this all occurs by chance with no reason - give things enough time and Ipads and I phones will result - no blueprints needed for blue-prints? 
Thanks for your responses

We have no evidence that the universe was designed by such a being as I referenced, above. Along with the good, the universe is filled with bad. The vast majority of it is hard vacuum or stellar infernos that would kill any life we know. The history of life is a history of fierce competition, dominance hierarchies and killing as much as it is about human glories. For every Paris and New York there are a hundred vast shanty towns. For every peace, a war. One simply cannot point to the known world as anything like the product of a perfectly moral being. Recall that by living in the developed West, with access to things like computers and the internet not to mention fresh water, ample food and good healthcare, you’re an immensely privileged person.

And then you look at the supposed ‘evidence’ standardly provided as supporting a belief in God: books such as the Bible, at times entertaining but filled with morally objectionable reasoning, childish fantasy and self-contradiction. It’d take much more than that to even begin to support a belief in God.

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Posted: 25 August 2011 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Howdy - that was my intention - I’m not that familiar with the format -  in the meantime I recommend watching the BBC series Horizons on Youtube - it’s excellent and deals with many “out there"concepts. One of my favourites would be the episode on reality - here’s the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr5nWRE-LAE&feature=related
By the way, if changing the universe wont change our brain, but changing our brain will change the universe - how can reality not be in our heads?

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Posted: 26 August 2011 04:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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sobpatrick - 25 August 2011 09:13 PM

Howdy - that was my intention - I’m not that familiar with the format -

OK, I’ve moved the thread to the Religion folder. In general we prefer that the local folders be reserved for local content.

sobpatrick - 25 August 2011 09:13 PM

By the way, if changing the universe wont change our brain, but changing our brain will change the universe - how can reality not be in our heads?

I don’t follow your line of reasoning. Changing our brain won’t change the universe, except in the trivial sense that our brain is part of that universe.

Changing our brain might change the way we think about the universe (or it may not), but that’s a separate issue. It might, for example, make you believe that you could fly to the Moon. But even if you believed that, you would not, in fact, be able to fly to the Moon.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

Do you look around you -  at the beauty of Paris, the hustle and bustle of New York city and think “this all occurs by chance with no reason - give things enough time and Ipads and I phones will result - no blueprints needed for blue-prints?

Who says that blueprints are not needed? It takes obviously a lot more than just time to build Paris. Mars is as old as Earth and it doesn’t have Paris. Antarctica is as old as Europe and it doesn’t have Paris. There are reasons why Paris exists but the Infinite monkey theorem is not one of them. To understand why Paris exists you need to read some history and you’ll need to understand that human mind (the creator of the Paris’s blueprint) is designed by evolution which has nothing to do with chance.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Okay, maybe one more:

sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

Have any of you athiest had a paranormal experience?

No, nobody has ever had a paranormal experience. They don’t exist. If I feel that you are looking at the back of my head and I turn around and I see that indeed you are looking at me, it’s not called paranormal experience but coincidence. Of course, we don’t take note of the hundreds of time when we feel that somebody is looking at us, turn around, and find nobody.

And I could go on like this. God healing cancer is not a paranormal experience since spontaneous remission in cancer does happen. Healing an amputee would count as a paranormal experience, but we are still waiting for such an occurrence to happen.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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OK, George inspired me to take one…

Sob writes: When you think about it - bad moments in life are like one in a million (less actually).  For every bad second we live there’s like a hundred million good.  Is there really any accounting for such overwelmingly positive odds?

That is one of the most arrogant statements I have ever read.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

Hi all - just wondered how athiest deal with the following:
1) If there is no God and life occurs as a natural phenomina of the universe - as abiogenesis/evolution would dictate - then life would have evolved on trillions of planets in the universe - many evolving billions of years prior to ours - not that they would all be billions of years advanced of us on the evolutionary chain - but undoubtedly millions of life forms would be - such beings would be gods - capable of manipulating every aspect of our realities (no space-ships or lasers necessary).  Hence - if you are an athiest but believe evolution/abiogenesis (which I’m sure most do) then you should believe in many Gods - maybe the Hindus got it right?

I think you’ve been watching too many science fiction movies.  Life could certainly have evolved on other planets, but how does that automatically make them “superbeings” like this?  Capable of manipulating every aspect of our realities?  How do we even know sucha thing is possible?

I’m not sure what it would take to convince me that God exists.  Probably personal contact.  But it hasn’t happened yet.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM

Hi all - just wondered how athiest deal with the following:
1) If there is no God and life occurs as a natural phenomina of the universe - as abiogenesis/evolution would dictate - then life would have evolved on trillions of planets in the universe - many evolving billions of years prior to ours - not that they would all be billions of years advanced of us on the evolutionary chain - but undoubtedly millions of life forms would be - such beings would be gods - capable of manipulating every aspect of our realities (no space-ships or lasers necessary). 

That’s a logical failure.  Just because they’re advanced beings, doesn’t make them gods.  It is just as likely that there are many other lifeforms on other planets that are millions of years LESS evolved… does that mean WE would be gods to them?

Hence - if you are an athiest but believe evolution/abiogenesis (which I’m sure most do) then you should believe in many Gods - maybe the Hindus got it right?

 

No.  see above.

2) There’s one place God exists for certain - the human mind - the same place where reality exists - how can you say one exists and another doesn’t when both are manifestations of our consiousness?

If you believe that EVERYTHING is just a “manifestation of our consciousness” wouldn’t that make you a solipsist?

3) not so much a catch 22 - just questions -
What would turn an athiest into a believer? 
Do they want to see God? 
What would they expect or want to see? 
Do they expect an all power being? 
Do they think an all powerful being (or just a more intellegent being) would be interested in gaining their support by revealing itself in a way that would satisfy them? 
Do they want a paranormal experience? 
Have any of you athiest had a paranormal experience?
Is there anything that challenges an athiest belief more than turbulance?
When you think about it - bad moments in life are like one in a million (less actually).  For every bad second we live there’s like a hundred million good.  Is there really any accounting for such overwelmingly positive odds?
Do you look around you -  at the beauty of Paris, the hustle and bustle of New York city and think “this all occurs by chance with no reason - give things enough time and Ipads and I phones will result - no blueprints needed for blue-prints? Thanks for your responses

Words like “bad”, “good” or “beauty” are merely your own subjective appraisals of outside events.  Things are only bad, good or beautiful because YOU see them that way.  You are confusing subjectivity with objectivity.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Ultimately, arguments for or against God will inevitably be tautological. God requires an act of faith so it would make no sense for him to reveal himself physically as it would negate the very necessity of faith. Obviously, for those who require material explanations, this will not work… and hence they lack faith. Arguing about the vastness of the universe also does not lead us to any conclusion about a deity. In the end, I do not think that this is worth such endless radicalism. Faith is faith, it is not explicable in the pure rational sense. It is personal and based upon the power of belief. The Gods have been with man since the very beginning of man’s time. The very origins of literature in almost all civilization comes for the purpose of these issues. Almost all civilizations have based themselves upon a certain belief and this has continued till today. We have made great strides forward irregardless. The most fanatically religious Egyptians were doing brain surgery, the Chinese with their oriental philosophy and pondering of the divine have contributed to virtually everything.

That is one of the most arrogant statements I have ever read.

Well, on a certain level, that boy looks the way he looks largely because of man. There are a vast number of reason why that boy is as he is, most of them are based upon human actions: colonialism, capitalism, exploitation, war… almost all of these are attacked to an extent in religious teachings.

Either way, Im not arguing in favor of faith; I am a skeptic… but still, I think this endless back and forth will go nowhere.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM


What would turn an athiest into a believer? 

What would turn a theist into a nonbeliever?

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Posted: 26 August 2011 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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TheodorePliske - 26 August 2011 12:15 PM

Ultimately, arguments for or against God will inevitably be tautological.

Agreed, but he started it.  tongue rolleye

God requires an act of faith so it would make no sense for him to reveal himself physically as it would negate the very necessity of faith.

You cannot say what God requires. Which god? (Not that it matters.)

Obviously, for those who require material explanations, this will not work… and hence they lack faith.

I have an enormous amount of faith!

Arguing about the vastness of the universe also does not lead us to any conclusion about a deity. In the end, I do not think that this is worth such endless radicalism. Faith is faith, it is not explicable in the pure rational sense. It is personal and based upon the power of belief. The Gods have been with man since the very beginning of man’s time. The very origins of literature in almost all civilization comes for the purpose of these issues. Almost all civilizations have based themselves upon a certain belief and this has continued till today. We have made great strides forward irregardless. The most fanatically religious Egyptians were doing brain surgery, the Chinese with their oriental philosophy and pondering of the divine have contributed to virtually everything.

True, but it’s time we purge the foolishness surrounding such belief. BTW, you aren’t one of those who argue that ‘irregardless’ is a real word are you?

That is one of the most arrogant statements I have ever read.

Well, on a certain level, that boy looks the way he looks largely because of man. There are a vast number of reason why that boy is as he is, most of them are based upon human actions: colonialism, capitalism, exploitation, war… almost all of these are attacked to an extent in religious teachings.

Of course. The OP was implying that life was just mostly wonderful for everyone. It’s not.

Either way, Im not arguing in favor of faith; I am a skeptic… but still, I think this endless back and forth will go nowhere.

As it has been since our species first evolved. Still, I have faith that we can evolve to accept reality so the fight goes on.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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skuld - 26 August 2011 12:18 PM
sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM


What would turn an athiest into a believer? 

What would turn a theist into a nonbeliever?

If not time, then nothing I suppose. Many people live charmed lives and never face a different reality.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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You cannot say what God requires. Which god? (Not that it matters.)

Any and every. I spent a lot of time enjoying Hindu mythology. For those reading it with only physicalism or materialism will not be able to make sense of it. It feels like you are reading a LSD trip (and for those who have not read them, I recommend it; there is nothing like it). These stories delve into subconscious mythology that is quite amazing. A person who does not understand such thing will not be able to savor any of this.

BTW, you aren’t one of those who argue that ‘irregardless’ is a real word are you?

If it is used commonly enough, it is real. :D

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Posted: 26 August 2011 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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traveler - 26 August 2011 12:53 PM
skuld - 26 August 2011 12:18 PM
sobpatrick - 24 August 2011 09:51 PM


What would turn an athiest into a believer? 

What would turn a theist into a nonbeliever?

If not time, then nothing I suppose. Many people live charmed lives and never face a different reality.

The people I know who have the most faith are often the most miserable.

I have always thought about it this way: we have, if we are born in the right land, about 70 sum years available to us on this earth, more perhaps by the end of my lifetime. Most people over the course of this life will have to worry about working, eating, having a home and taking care of a family. Most have maybe a few hours a week to ponder the nature of their life. For most science, that is about enough to read an introductory book, if we are to presume that our free time is spent on inquiry into our consciousness and life and the universe. Now, most people will be too exhausted to bother. They will want to watch something easy to watch. Religion is coherent and easy to access. It provides relief that no science could ever provide. For science, you need to accustom yourself to theory after theory and counter-theory and school and school-within-a-school… all of which lead to: “We do not know!” Does that sound appealing to a person who is tired and exhausted? Forcing Atheism down these peoples throats is like invading a country to spread democracy. It simply will not work out the way people want it. Ultimately, the response by the religious right in the last several years goes to prove my point.

[ Edited: 26 August 2011 01:10 PM by TheodorePliske ]
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Posted: 26 August 2011 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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traveler - 26 August 2011 12:50 PM
TheodorePliske - 26 August 2011 12:15 PM

Ultimately, arguments for or against God will inevitably be tautological.

Agreed, but he started it.  tongue rolleye

LOL

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