Originally Posted By: Zig Zag Wanderer
What a pleasure it's been reading this discussion. I found this site completely by accident today and I've spent a good few hours reading all the points made - I'll need to think it all over before I decide if I have anything to add to the debate.

I really just wanted to say that I'd given up on finding an internet forum where people debate civilly and genuinely consider other people's point of view before submitting a reply - and that goes for any topic you care to mention. For the subject to be one as (usually) provocative as atheism makes my surprise all the greater.

Thank you all - you've made my day!

Welcome Wanderer...
...and still a wonderful discussion:

Again, I'm catching up....

I'm quite surprised to see the discussion of Karma.
I must say that I agree with all that has been said: no divine retribution, predestination, inherited sin, punished criminals or rewarded pious, etc....

But I feel this picture of Karma is too personalized and immediate, according to how I learned it back in my philosophy classes.

It would much easier translate karma into "the big picture of evolution" or simply, "god's plan...."
Karma, like evolution, exists whether you believe in it or not. madsmirk

...nor can we be aware of how Karma affects us, except within the smallest of karmic cycles.
...nor can we see how the small karmic cycles affect the criminals or the pious.

As one small example of how our "sins" do visit our descendants, look at epigenetics....
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/310/5755/1760?ck=nck
grin

...btw
It is more the revelations of physics that gives me hope for a more metaphysical side to the universe.
Cognitive and neuro-sciences are studies of the biochemistry which is already derivative to the physics behind it all, so they would not be expected to reveal anything metaphysical.
smile
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Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.