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Dawkins certainly isn't deluded by God
Posted 15 October 2006 - 12:27 PM
Posted 15 October 2006 - 12:29 PM
Story of my life!
SETI! THERE'S 3/4 OF AN AFFY TRYING TO GET INTO YOUR POST!
Posted 15 October 2006 - 12:30 PM
human language can't even adequately say what coffee smells like.
Jinny. It smells just like [glow=red,2,300]HEAVEN![/glow]
Posted 16 October 2006 - 09:23 AM
The mind isn't transcendental. When the body, the brain, ceases to exist, the mind too ceases to exist. OK, maybe it doesn't, but there is no evidence of its continuing existance, and frankly no point to its continuing existance. It cannot interact in any way with those whose brains are still alive and hence whose minds are still active - well, unless you're David Acorah of course, but let's not go there!
I think of the mind being to the brain as the music is to the orchestra (or the CD!) You cannot find the music by taking apart the instruments, or xraying them or putting them under a microscope - although if you experimentally twang a couple of strings you'll get a sound which might give you a clue about what's going on. Only please don't stretch the analogy too far by starting to talk about "someone" being needed to play the instruments!!!
I agree, which is one of the reasons why I said it was a terrible analogy. But what you've said actually helps me with my analogy, too: the "transcendent" part of God is like the mind, in that you won't find eveidence of it in the meat. The universe is like the meat. I believe in God for essentially the same reason I believe I have a mind, even though I cannot take myself apart and point to my mind. I know it's there because I experience it and I can see its effects.
Posted 16 October 2006 - 10:34 AM
Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:30 AM
There are many things you cannot see, but can find evidence of - and they are all part of the natural world, and obey it's "rules." The mind is dependant on the existance of a living brain, music is dependant on instruments sending out sound waves and ears receiving and interpreting them. Without those things, neither the mind nor the music would exist. You can conduct all sorts of experiments to find out how the mind works - this is still in its very early stages, but is fascinating. Similarly, you can play around with music and sound, test out what sorts of sounds can be made by different things etc. With due diligence, different experimenters are likely to get broadly similar results.
the "transcendent" part of God is like the mind, in that you won't find eveidence of it in the meat. The universe is like the meat. I believe in God for essentially the same reason I believe I have a mind, even though I cannot take myself apart and point to my mind. I know it's there because I experience it and I can see its effects.
The problem with anything to do with a transcendent "god" or the supernatural is that you only ever have people's subjective experiences to go on, and over and over these have been proved to be mistaken or downright lies. Take prayer - people will say it "worked" if they got what they prayed for, and if they don't get what they prayed for they say "God didn't want that for me" or "God works in mysterious ways." And recent experiments on heart patients, for example, have shown that it doesn't have any effect (or in some circumstances, a negative effect.) Take religions; everything they have claimed for thousands of years is now rapidly coming unravelled - "God" is certainly working in very mysterious ways if so many millions of well-meaning people have been deceived for so long.
Take the beleif many people have in ghosts or that some people can communicate with the dead - test after test have proved this to be a load of bollocks. Houdini spent many many years desperately trying to find a spiritualist who could speak to his mother. Knowing a good deal about illusions, he proved time after time that they were fakes. He promised his wife that if there was any way he could come back and speak to her, he would - she waited many years to hear from him, but he never showed up.
With ghosts... well, of course there's Derek Acorah
Furthermore, recent research on the brain and the mind is beginning to find evidence of why some people beleive they are experiencing "God," ghosts or whatever. Two mechanisms have been identified so far. One is in the amygdala, which when stimulated produces a kind of "aura" similar to that experienced by some people with epilepsy. The other is associated with the connections between the two halves of the brain, which may get slightly out-of-synch. Transient episodes of this can produce the feeling of deja vu, but it can also produce a sense of "otherness" which may be interpreted as another presence. Add to this the many cultural and emotional reasons for beleiving in "something" - even if you reject to some extent the dogmas of organised religion - and it is little wonder that so many people cling on to the "god" myths, and ignore the promptings of their rational mind trying to say, "Hang on a minute..."
Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:07 PM
When the angular gyrus, a region of the brain, is stimulated with electrodes, it can produce an out of body experience in patients. Many beliefs of course have interpreted this phenomenon as a supernatural event (i.e. "astral projection") however there is nothing supernatural about it. Your brain is simply playing tricks on you.
Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:37 PM
Next time you're on an astral projection, keep an eye open for Dubya's mind - it must be out there somewhere...
There should be at least a few mindless bodies wandering or lying around, abandoned by their souls as unnecessary baggage.
Posted 17 October 2006 - 03:20 AM
and it is little wonder that so many people cling on to the "god" myths, and ignore the promptings of their rational mind trying to say, "Hang on a minute..."
Sometimes the rational mind concludes there is a God, though.
It all boils down to what the universe looks like from where you're standing, innit?
Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:43 AM
I hope he puts the final stake in the kalam argument.
Hasn't that been done already?
Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:45 AM
This is where I always get misunderstood as well. I don't believe inna big bearded guy who controls everything from hurricanes to flattulence yet I have never been able to put a good handle on the power that would be our natural world. Because it isn't a thing, an entity or being it shouldn't be referred to as God, yet what would you call the energy or power that is the creation? Not the creator. That is why I have always said that God is a verb, not a being.
I like to simply refer to that energy as the Tao. Not a religious term, really, the way it's used by Taoists.
Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:49 AM
Is "Untheistical" already taken?
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untheistically.net, untheistically.com, untheistically.info, untheistically.org, untheistically.biz, untheistically.us, untheistically.tv, untheistically.name
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Posted 17 October 2006 - 11:43 AM
...Sometimes the rational mind concludes there is a God, though...
I would say sometimes the rational mind ACCEPTS that there is a God. Devoid of any sort of proof positive, I don't believe you can really call it a conclusion. Many people accept a God regardless of all other possibilities, but that is based on beliefs, hopes, and literature rather than on any sort of tangible evidence, which is needed for close-the-book, that-settles-it conclusion. I think there is a wide chasm of difference between what a mind accepts and what it concludes.
Posted 17 October 2006 - 12:37 PM
Posted 17 October 2006 - 12:56 PM
Heck, some people beleive James Blunt can sing.
It's infinitely more likely that God exists. Can I get an AMEN! on that?
Posted 17 October 2006 - 01:20 PM
Posted 18 October 2006 - 09:32 AM
Frankly, I can't bear to examine the evidence on Blunt. That bluddddy song coming on the telly every five minutes last summer was enough to drive me demented (I know, I know, "how could you tell?") However, I'm sure there's some fancy Latin term I can't be bothered to check which describes a logical flaw along similar lines to "the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend."
Then you may find it amusing to know that "James Blunt" has entered cockney rhyming slang as "cunt".
Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:14 AM
Posted 18 October 2006 - 01:55 PM
Being (almost) a cockney, I would say that was inevitable. Though by next year (with luck) people will be saying, "James Who?" It often amuses me when TV programmes - or Guy Richie films - use so-called rhyming slang that no-one has ever heard of, or use it in ways it would never be used. It's supposed to slip easily off the tongue - so you might say, "He's a right James Blunt" but never "Don't be a James Blunt." The difference subtle, but significant! (Just thought I'd educate our Colonial Cousins on the correct usage!)
They're already saying James Who?, even as that horrible song plays for the tenth time today. It's one of the phenomena of the instant success generation...he is immensely popular even as he slides towards irrelevance at the very same instant. You could name 20 other "artists" (remember when that word meant something?) doing exactly the same thing...selling 5 million records on the way to Whodatville.
And I don't think the James Blunt rhyme ever really caught on in the US. It never shook the sexual connotation. American women view that word as pariah...Saying it is worth a slap every time.
Posted 18 October 2006 - 05:44 PM
She said to me,
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