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#35843 - 08/25/10 04:15 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Revlgking Offline
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GOOD NEWS--In the thread below, while there are still some flamers, there are more writers than usual who are willing to have a civil dialogue:

http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx...m&tid=44961
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#36548 - 10/27/10 05:00 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Revlgking Offline
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In his new book, The Moral Landscape (Oct., 2010), Harris writes about How Science Can Determine Human Values. He seems to be saying that ALL WE NEED IS SCIENCE. Really?

By the way, Sam, it would have really been impressive had you subtitled your book: How Science Can Help Determine Human Values, agreed?

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape/

BTW, as a life-long student of psychology (my major at university), pneumatology, astronomy, economics and the like, I am very much a fan of science. Omniscience--one of the attributes that theologians assign to the god-hypothesis--literally means all-science, or knowledge. Progressive theology and pneumatology are no fans of any kind of fundamentalism, and they are definitely NOT anti-science.

ABOUT GOD, or G0D--note the acronyms
====================================
Those who know my posts know that the O--in the acronym GOD--which I use rather than the noun, God--stands for totality, or infinite Being in which creation, the macrocosm or existence, has its being. At the level of quantum physics I write G0D--god in through and within all that IS, at the microcosmic level.

Which immediately prompts the questions: Science of what? Some sciences--biology, biochemistry and the like--have to do with the nature of things, the body--the things we have and what we do with them. Some, for example, psychology and pneumatology have to do with the the mind and spirit--how we relate to others and to GOD.

Looking back, when scientists, past and present, speak of human values, what values did scientists who supported Hitler and other kind of fascist-like dictatorships, including the Stalin-kind of atheistic communism, espouse?

With the above in mind, here is a summary of what I know about Sam Harris:

Along with other prominent members of the New Atheism movement—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christoper Hitchens—he is considered one of the most ardent critics of religion in the 21st century. Born in 1967; an American; a neuroscientist; a non-fiction writer, who is also interested in neurotheology, and religion. He is a graduate in philosophy (Stanford); has studied Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of contemplative disciplines, for twenty years.

A proponent of scientific skepticism, Harris wrote the best selling book, The End of Faith (2004), and Letter to a Christian Nation (2006). The latter, written as a rejoinder to the critics of his first book, describes Christians as being,

"murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.”

Harris makes an outspoken attack on religion of all styles and persuasions and freely admits that he is advocating a form of intolerance. But not, as he says, the kind of intolerance that gave us the Gulag. Rather he is arguing for a conversational intolerance, one in which our everyday discourse and our convictions really scale with the available evidence.

He says that we ought to be able to demand intellectual honesty across the board, and ignore the prevailing taboos and political correctness which seem to prevent us from openly criticizing religion.
In his new book, The Moral Landscape (2010), Harris writes about How Science Can Determine Human Values.

He makes the assumption that science is a source of moral values. But does he mean, "the material sciences only?" Is there no room for pneumatology--study of the spirit?

As a scientist, he calls for a rational, open-ended and honest inquiry. Good! Who get to define was is meant by 'god' when we explore the GOD-hypothesis?

If Sam Harris—an obviously respected critic of religion—is willing to agree that, within the numerous religious communities—also sources of human values—it is highly probable that there are any number of lovingly-tolerant and humane protagonists who appreciate constructive criticisms, I say, let the “conversational intolerance, the rational, open-ended and honest inquiry” begin.

It could be a win/win experience for all involved.
www.lindsayking.ca


Edited by Revlgking (10/27/10 09:45 PM)
Edit Reason: Always a good idea!
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#36551 - 10/28/10 11:01 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Bill S. Offline
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Quote:
Is there no room for pneumatology--study of the spirit?


Part of the trouble is that pneumatology has been plagued by so much hot air that the definition "the study of flatulence" may not be entirely undeserved.

Atheists tend to level much of their criticism against religions, rather than against the concept of God. Religions do tend to make themselves easy targets.

Your posts suggest that you like to have a scientific basis for your beliefs. Perhaps people with theological inclinations should give more thought to establishing what they know, rather than just what they believe.

Here are some thoughts on a possible starting point for a sort of "liberated" catechism.

What do we know about God?
Nothing.

Is there anything we can deduce that would be relevant to the question of God?
Yes; there can never have been a time when there was nothing, or there would still be nothing now.
It follows that something must always have existed; i.e. something is eternal.
Eternity is usually defined as “infinite time”, but, as with all examples in the infinite series, this is no more than a “mathematical” convenience, which bears no relation to physical infinity/eternity.
Science has not provided a viable explanation for the origin of the cosmos, as distinct from the Universe. The most logical conclusion is that the cosmos is infinite/eternal. I stress that it is only a tentative start.
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#36552 - 10/29/10 03:23 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Bill S.]
KirbyGillis Offline
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Bill S. You sure do "harp" away about that infinity thing... and rightfully so. This is an issue that can't be swept under a rug.
You have a proponent when it comes to this subject.
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#36554 - 10/29/10 05:04 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: KirbyGillis]
Ellis Offline
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Bill S.--- Is not the whole point of 'God' that he/she/it is "immortal, invisible" as well as all-seeing and all-knowing? Thus to a believer god just 'is' and for such a believer the existence of god proves the existence of infinity. And before Rev comes roaring along to point out that god transcends personification I shall point to the 'it' in my original definition.

Maybe infinity is proveable in mathematics, I wouldn't know, but god's existence (the state, personification or any other manifestation) cannot be proven. The reason for this is that the existence of god is a matter of personal choice, and is sustained by personal belief. Religion codifies that belief, but is unable to prove the truth of it.

As indeed I am unable to prove that god does not in fact exist.

You are partly right though Bill--- What do we know about god? Only that which other humans have adopted, without actual proof, as their belief, which sometimes is actually quite a lot!

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#36558 - 10/29/10 02:17 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Ellis]
Bill S. Offline
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Originally Posted By: K G
Bill S. You sure do "harp" away about that infinity thing... and rightfully so.


I have a feeling I can stop a thread in its tracks, just by mentioning infinity :P

Originally Posted By: Ellis
As indeed I am unable to prove that god does not in fact exist.


Precisely. Atheism is as much a belief system as theism, in spite of protests by Dawkins et al.
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#36559 - 10/29/10 02:19 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Ellis]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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I have not read Harris' book, but I'm skeptical. I doubt there's any reasonable disagreement that science can inform our values by, for example, helping us understand potential consequences of our actions or by helping us understand our own brains and how we arrive at our basic values.

Likewise our values can help to inform science by developing common rules for the ethics of animal experiments and the requirements for informed consent, for example.

In neither of these cases is science defining our values or our morality.

Harris' book is not on my "to read" list, but I do plan to watch his TED talks video some time to get a first hand gist of his argument. It could be that he's not saying what it sounds like he's saying. Or it could be that he offers some new argument or evidence for his opinion.

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#36561 - 10/29/10 02:38 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Bill S.]
ImagingGeek Offline
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Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Precisely. Atheism is as much a belief system as theism, in spite of protests by Dawkins et al.


I think you need to read a little Dawkins, as he has never made the claim that his atheism is not a belief. More to the point:
On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 is certitude that God exists and 7 is certitude that God does not exist, Dawkins rates himself a 6: "I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
In neither of these cases is science defining our values or our morality.

I think you have mis-understood harris's argument. Its a long read, but he summarizes it in the following link (yes, its in the huffington post, please don't hold that against him):
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/a-science-of-morality_b_567185.html

Harris is essentially proposing that we replace conventional morality with one defined by "science" - by which he means empirical measurement followed by logical application. Basically, harris is claiming that moral behaviours/activities/etc can be empirically defined as those which provide the maximum measurable benefit for the largest number of people.

I've not read the book yet, but it is on my list.

Bryan
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#36564 - 10/29/10 05:36 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: ImagingGeek]
Bill S. Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bryan
I think you need to read a little Dawkins, as he has never made the claim that his atheism is not a belief.


Have read some Dawkins. Fascinating how interpretations can differ. When (if)I have more time available than I have it present, I'll look for some quotes.

The most logical, science based, line of reasoning I have come up with so far suggests that we are all "God", but that idea involves infinity, and as K G points out I "sure do "harp" away about that infinity thing", so I will try to avoid it, in the hope of not killing this thread, smile
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#36565 - 10/29/10 09:27 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Bill S.]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Quote:
Is there no room for pneumatology--study of the spirit?
Part of the trouble is that pneumatology has been plagued by so much hot air that the definition "the study of flatulence" may not be entirely undeserved ...
MOSTLY, but not all, GOOD STUFF
========================================
There are so many interesting comments since my last past that I feel like a mosquito at a nudist colony: I have no idea where to begin!

Bill S., I begin with your not very gracious "comment" or "knock" to me about pneumatology--a word dating from the Middle Ages and before. It has been in the major dictionaries for centuries. Check out World Book Dictionary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Book_Dictionary

which defines it as a branch of metaphysics and an archaic term for psychology. Does this qualify it as just so much "hot air". Pneumatology is a serious study

Having a background in psychology I have had a life-long interest in holism--that is, an integrated approach to understand who were are physically, mentally and spiritjually. Beginning on Sunday, Nov., 28--at a church I attend--I will be doing a series of free lectures on Holistic Health and Religion. Those from the North Toronto area, and are interested in details, send me an e-mail. I will also be posting summaries of my lectures at www.lindsayking.ca part of the Family Life Page.

Quote:
Atheists tend to level much of their criticism against religions, rather than against the concept of God. Religions do tend to make themselves easy targets.
Then you add:
Quote:
Your posts suggest that you like to have a scientific basis for your beliefs.
Every since I was in high school. Early in life I learned that, even in churches, there are--like one finds in any community (atheists included) good people and bad people, some are even criminals.

Also, there are sick religions and there are many people with a blind-kind of faith. I decided to try and eschew both.
Quote:
Perhaps people with theological inclinations should give more thought to establishing what they know, rather than just what they believe.
Why not both? I am not a devout religionist, of any kind. I am a cultural Christian who has fellowship with all kinds of free-thinking Christians (and there are many)--and members of other sighted-faith kind of people. I am not a "creedalist", one who follows one set of doctrines, blindly and without question. I am more of a "deedalist"--one who has the rational faith that deeds are more important than creeds. Don't ask me if I am good person, one who can be trusted to be a fair and honest human and humane person; ask my family, my neighbours and those with whom I associate day by day.

About the god-hypothesis: As a unitheist (unitheist.org), I reserve the right to my own definition of 'god'. I do not believe in 'a' supernatural being called god, even when "he" is called 'God'. I gave up that idea when I discovered who Santa really was. Later, I will respond to the following:

Quote:
Here are some thoughts on a possible starting point for a sort of "liberated" catechism.

What do we know about God? Nothing....

Is there anything we can deduce that would be relevant to the question of God?

Yes; there can never have been a time when there was nothing, or there would still be nothing now.

It follows that something must always have existed; i.e. something is eternal.

Eternity is usually defined as “infinite time”, but, as with all examples in the infinite series, this is no more than a “mathematical” convenience, which bears no relation to physical infinity/eternity.

Science has not provided a viable explanation for the origin of the cosmos, as distinct from the Universe. The most logical conclusion is that the cosmos is infinite/eternal. I stress that it is only a tentative start.


Edited by Revlgking (10/29/10 09:29 PM)
Edit Reason: Always a good idea!
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#36566 - 10/30/10 12:39 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Quote:"The most logical conclusion is that the cosmos is infinite/eternal"

I'm not sure who said this! I think Bill did. However this is very true--- but the next logical step is not that infinity = divinity. (Neat huh! I must remember that!!!)

And, Bill, Please please, please BELIEVE me when I say Atheism is not a belief. We are all born atheists and left to our own devices would probably come to terms with the main question ( ie what is the origin of everything?) on our own terms.

Atheism is actually an absence of belief in the divine in all its manifestations. Incidentally if Dawkins has been correctly quoted he is in fact an agnostic not an atheist, and why the preoccupation with Dawkins. He's interesting I agree, but there are many more really interesting writers on this whole area, and they have not got his hectoring style or a desire to be the Bishop of the Church of Atheism.

Rev--Can maths prove infinity or eternity? But does it matter?-- it will still be there (or not ) whether we believe in it (or not). Like God.

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#36567 - 10/30/10 02:34 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ellis
... but the next logical step is not infinity = divinity. (Neat huh! I must remember that!!!)

And, Bill, Please please, please BELIEVE me ... Atheism is not a belief. We are all born atheists ... on our own terms.

Atheism is actually an absence of belief in the divine in all its manifestations. ...
Does this mean: Atheists do not believe in having a belief, about anything?
Quote:
Rev--Can maths prove infinity or eternity?
No, it just assumes it is so. Like me, I assume GOD (the infinite macrocosm), or G0D (the infinite microcosm) is what IS--not as a supernatural being separate and apart from what is. Using my ability to will, or to chose, that which is good I simply will and choose to connect with, or tune into, and to do that which is best for all concerned, including me.

Ellis, you are right: GOD, as being, like existence itself, is there as self-evident being, whether, or not, we believe it or not.

NO NEED TO BE RELIGIOUS IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE
=================================================
when I simply make the choice to get personally involved in doing that which is good, orderly, desirable--that is GOD-like--and socially useful, good things tends to happen. As more and more people choose to get involved good things tend to happen throughout the whole of society.

All I can say is: This works for me. Try it, you'll like it.




Edited by Revlgking (10/30/10 03:52 AM)
Edit Reason: Always a good idea!
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#36572 - 10/30/10 02:12 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Bill S. Offline
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Does this qualify it as just so much "hot air". Pneumatology is a serious study


Of course pneumatology is a serious study, so is the consideration of an infinite/eternal "something", whatever we choose to call that "something". Any criticism, explicit or implicit, in my comment should be taken as directed, not at the study, but at those who jump on the bandwagon and festoon it with their own personal banners, some of which serious enquirers find off putting because of their narrow, dogmatic tone.

Originally Posted By: Ellis
We are all born atheists


I have to disagree with this. I think we are born agnostics, and everyone hates an agnostic, even Dawkins, in spite of the fact that he seems to have given some of his readers the impression that he is one. I have a nasty feeling I am going to have to read "The God Delusion" again to find the quotes I need.
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#36574 - 10/30/10 06:09 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Bill S.]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Does this qualify it as just so much "hot air". Pneumatology is a serious study.
Of course pneumatology is a serious study, so is the consideration of an infinite/eternal "something"..."
Thanks for the clarification
Originally Posted By: Ellis
We are all born atheists


Disagreeing with Ellis's comment that we are born atheists, you respond:
Quote:
... I think we are born agnostics, and everyone hates an agnostic, even Dawkins, in spite of the fact that he seems to have given some of his readers the impression that he is one.
In his book, "The God Delusion" here is what, in the form of a question, Richard Dawkins says on page two and line eight of the Preface: Perhaps you (readers) feel that agnosticism is a reasonable position, but that atheism is just as dogmatic as religious belief?"

SCIENCE IS NOT THE ENEMY OF THE MIND AND SPIRIT
===============================================
He goes on to point out that, in chapter two, he hopes to persuade people otherwise; that the God Hypothesis is a scientific one about the universe, and, ergo, it should be analysed like any theory. This includes theories we have about matter, including the material body (the soma) we have, the animal-like mind (the psyche) and nervous system we (the psyche) and the human-like spirit (the pneuma), which I feel we are.
I heartily approve of this approach.

SOMATOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY, PNEUMATOLOGY
====================================

On pages 46 to 54, in chapter two, there is a whole section in which he writes about THE POVERTY OF AGNOSTICISM. I assume he is referring to cynical and lazy agnostics (mugwumps)--namby-pamby, pallid fence sitters who make no attempt to explore anything requiring serious thought.

CURIOUS AGNOSTICS LOVE TO EXPLORE THE UNKNOWN
BTW, I agree with him when he points out that agnosticism is a reasonable position,"in cases where we lack evidence one way or the other."

A DYED-IN-THE-WOOL MONIST
=========================
Like the plague, Dawkins, in reference to himself, avoids using the word 'spirit'. On page 181, he describes himself as above--a monist. Unlike dualism, which acknowledges a fundamental distinction between matter and mind, a monist is who believes--Yes, Dawkins admits that he does believe in things--that mind is a manifestation of matter and that mind cannot exist apart from matter. Interestingly, he agrees with the evolutionary psychologist, Paul Bloom, that though we are human animals we are evolved as instinctive dualists--a tendency to dualism is built into the brain. We naturally want to believe that there is a 'me'(a spirit, a pneuma) perched somewhere behind the eyes. This is what provides us with a natural disposition to embrace religious ideas.

NATIVE TELEOLOGY--the result of dualism
=======================================
Human beings are intuitive theists and, therefore, creationists. We want to believe that we were created by a creator-god and that everything has a meaning and a purpose. "Children are native teleologists, and many never grow out of it... Native dualism and native teleology predispose us, given the right conditions, to religion."... just like moths are attracted to the light which ends their life. This is what easily predisposes us to believe in a 'soul' or 'spirit'. We easily imagine the existence of a deity as pure spirit. If teleologically speaking everything has a purpose, it is easy to take the next step and ask: Whose purpose it? And, of course, the answer is: God's purpose, of course. (p.181)


Richard Dawkins tells us that, like all of us he began the thinking part of his life, as he had evolved--as a dualist. Later, he had to consciously learn, "to be an intellectual monist". Ask him now, as monist: If there is no god who created the universe, our bodies, minds, souls, spirits, whatever--Where did this idea of gods or God how come from. How come we think and imagine the way that we do? That we are spiritual beings who will survive death and eventually meet God?

His answer: All that we think we are is the result of, "an emergent property of complex matter." line 13, p.181 In other words, if you think there is a god who is a supernatural being independent of matter, you are deluded. Dawkins main challenge to theists is: If there is a god separate from complex matter, just give us the evidence. Just asking us to have faith (the blind kind) is not enough."

By the way, as a unitheist, I have no problem with monism. Therefore, I find it easy to accept that GOD/G0D and complex matter are ONE and the same.


Edited by Revlgking (10/30/10 08:13 PM)
Edit Reason: Always a good idea!
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#36577 - 10/30/10 10:41 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Bill S. Offline
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
I assume he is referring to cynical and lazy agnostics (mugwumps)--namby-pamby, pallid fence sitters who make no attempt to explore anything requiring serious thought.


That is one interpretation, but it's a shame he didn't say that.

Originally Posted By: Bill
Atheists tend to level much of their criticism against religions, rather than against the concept of God. Religions do tend to make themselves easy targets.


In no way was this intended as a suggestion that there are not good people within religious groups. You have read "The God Delusion", so you must be well aware of justification for much of the criticism Dawkins is able to level against churches.
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#36579 - 10/31/10 04:09 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Bill S.]
Revlgking Offline
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JUST AN IN-OTHER-WORDS EDIT
===========================
As I understand it, Richard Dawkins tells us that, like all of us, in the early part of his life he was, as he had evolved, a dualist. It was later that he had to consciously learn, "to be an intellectual monist". Ask him questions like: Where did this idea of gods, or God, come from? Or, how is it that we think and imagine the way that we do? How come we really believe that we are spiritual beings who will survive death and will eventually meet God? His answer is likely to be: "All that we think we are is the result of, "an emergent property of complex matter." line 13, p.181 In other words, if you think there is a god who is a supernatural being independent of matter, you are deluded. Dawkins's main challenge to theists is: If there is a god separate from complex matter, just give us the evidence. Just telling people that all we need is to have faith is just not good enough."


My reading of Richard Dawkins is as follows: Philosophically speaking, he is a matter-of-fact kind of monist. That is, for him there is no such thing as body, mind and spirit, there is only body. What we call mind and/or spirit is dependent on matter. Nothing exists beyond the death of the body. I am tempted to ask: What is the evidence that this is so? So we are left with the old philosophical question: Which comes first, body? Or mind? Meanwhile, spirit is not even an issue. Sad, isn't it?"

Meanwhile, as a unitheist, I have no problem accepting that there is a unitheistic-kind of monism, which in effect says that what I call GOD/G0D--that which is good, orderly and desirable, in, through and around all things --and "complex matter" (Dawkins's term)--are ONE and the same. In the beginning, raw matter came from the infinity of time and space--the no-thing of which you speak, Bill--and became complex matter with an animal-like, but not fully conscious, mind. This mind, is now processing, rapidly, into consciousness and awareness, or spirituality.

PNEUMATOLOGY--Study of the SPIRIT
The place of pneumatology is to study and analyze the nature and function of awareness and our place within the infinity of space/time. Using process thinking I believe it is possible for us to synthesize body/mind/spirit, monistically, thus solving the problem of how we, including all races, classes and creeds, can relate to the ecology, including the multitude of planets beyond mother earth, and how we can be truly rational, human and humane beings in moral, ethical, spiritual and loving service to one another.





Edited by Revlgking (10/31/10 04:55 AM)
Edit Reason: Always a good idea!
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#36581 - 11/02/10 05:51 AM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Rev: Having no belief in the divine or the supernatural does not equate to having no belief in anything. That would be a Super-Nihilist! Atheism is a lack of belief in the supernatural-- and I will repeat that I think that this is the state of a newly born child. We fill the child's life with stories of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Teaching about god is an easy task after such imaginative preparation, especially when the imagined icons offer gifts in return for belief!


Rev asks:
Nothing exists beyond the death of the body. I am tempted to ask: What is the evidence that this is so?

Where is the evidence that there is life after death for an individual who has died? I personally believe that after death we become part of the cycle of life again as in 'dust to dust' and also we live in the memory of others--- but that is a very long way from 'life after death' and I am unaware of any proof that life continues in any meaningful way. There have certainly been many attempts to prove it... and like so much in this area, faith that life continues after death can be cornerstone of belief for many people, and (for example) it was the gift that was offered by the sacrifice of the son of God in the Christian faith. But it is still an unproven idea.

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#36586 - 11/02/10 01:06 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Revlgking]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Yes; there can never have been a time when there was nothing, or there would still be nothing now.

It follows that something must always have existed; i.e. something is eternal.

Sorry, this doesn't pass the basic science test. We both know that time had a beginning (at the big bang), and we know that quantum fluctuations can result in the production of matter from, literally, nothing (i.e. vacuum -> matter).

There is no need for an infinity old universe (in fact, we know our universe is finite in age), and we know that something can, literally, arise from nothing.

A good video, by a physicist who studies this kind of stuff (and who is much more articulate than I):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo


Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Science has not provided a viable explanation for the origin of the cosmos, as distinct from the Universe. The most logical conclusion is that the cosmos is infinite/eternal. I stress that it is only a tentative start.

Sure it has - in that science makes no claims as to the existence of an external "super universe". Its a useful construct to make some math work; but there is no evidence to suggest that there is an outside universe.

Bryan


Edited by ImagingGeek (11/02/10 01:08 PM)
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#36588 - 11/02/10 07:55 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: ImagingGeek]
Bill S. Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/20/10
Posts: 3570
Loc: Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek
Sorry, this doesn't pass the basic science test. We both know that time had a beginning (at the big bang), and we know that quantum fluctuations can result in the production of matter from, literally, nothing (i.e. vacuum -> matter).


No need to be sorry, you don't have to apologise for your beliefs.
Time, in our Universe, began at the Big Bang, although even the BB is not a scientifically proven fact. As far as I am aware we don't know if time existed before the BB.
We are told that quantum fluctuations can result in the production of matter, but then we have to ask: fluctuations of what? Surely you are not asking me to believe in fluctuations of nothing!
Of course; fluctuations of the vacuum, silly me! There was a time when we thought the vacuum was nothing, but we are not supposed to think that in the 21st century, are we?
Is there a difference between "literally nothing" and "actually nothing"?
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There never was nothing.

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#36594 - 11/03/10 12:51 PM Re: Philosophy of Religions--all religions, includ [Re: Bill S.]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek
Sorry, this doesn't pass the basic science test. We both know that time had a beginning (at the big bang), and we know that quantum fluctuations can result in the production of matter from, literally, nothing (i.e. vacuum -> matter).


No need to be sorry, you don't have to apologise for your beliefs.
Time, in our Universe, began at the Big Bang, although even the BB is not a scientifically proven fact.

However, the preponderance of the evidence today supports the factual existence of the big bang. More to the point, the data directly disproves the idea you are proposing - a static universe.

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
As far as I am aware we don't know if time existed before the BB.

It didn't. Time, like space, was a product of the BB. Hence, why it is mathmatically impossible to talk about "before" the BB.

Originally Posted By: Bill S.

We are told that quantum fluctuations can result in the production of matter, but then we have to ask: fluctuations of what? Surely you are not asking me to believe in fluctuations of nothing!

But it is, literally, fluctuations of nothing. In our universe, there is no "ground state"; only continual fluctuations of quantum state - even with empty space.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_fluctuation

Like I said, watch the video. That is, if you're willing to put your beliefs upto real science.

Bryan


Edited by ImagingGeek (11/03/10 12:51 PM)
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