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Old 09-06-2012, 07:52 AM   #511 (permalink)
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isn't it a hypothesise first?

then you start running tests?

if it holds steady empirically, it becomes theory

then when your theory can be put into practice, it becomes a paradigm?

taking into account The Uncertainty Principle
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what? i don't understand you. farming is for vegetables, not for meat. if ou disagree with a farming practice, you disagree on a vegetable. unless you have a different definition of farming.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:04 AM   #512 (permalink)
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isn't it a hypothesise first?

then you start running tests?

if it holds steady empirically, it becomes theory

then when your theory can be put into practice, it becomes a paradigm?

taking into account The Uncertainty Principle
That's a tested way to do it. It works very well and have advanced mankind technologically and the way we understand the world we live in in a way religion was never able to. Contrary to the understanding held by, say an Indian guru, this sort of understanding could actually be used to do something practically useful, like creating computers. Testing and practical appliance proves the validity of the understanding.

It's the only good method of advancing understanding that I know of.

What is it that proves the validity of the beliefs of a zen monk who has trained his whole life to ignore life - be it hunger, friendship, love - for the sake of some inner understanding? Nothing.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:05 AM   #513 (permalink)
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That's a tested way to do it. It works very well and have advanced mankind technologically and the way we understand the world we live in in a way religion was never able to. Contrary to the understanding held by, say an Indian guru, this sort of understanding could actually be used to do something practically useful, like creating computers. Testing and practical appliance proves the validity of the understanding.

It's the only good method of advancing understanding that I know of.

What is it that proves the validity of the beliefs of a zen monk who has trained his whole life to ignore life - be it hunger, friendship, love - for the sake of some inner understanding? Nothing.
it stimulates some part of the human brain, releasing chemicals

which was the whole basis of this thread I started in the 1st place
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what? i don't understand you. farming is for vegetables, not for meat. if ou disagree with a farming practice, you disagree on a vegetable. unless you have a different definition of farming.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:17 AM   #514 (permalink)
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it stimulates some part of the human brain, releasing chemicals

which was the whole basis of this thread I started in the 1st place
That's not proof what he believes is correct, though. At least it's not proof to you or me who don't experience those chemicals.

And I think (or at least wish) that any enlightened man should be wise enough to understand that a whole bunch of people got chemicals released in their brains giving them some feeling of epiphany when they thought they understood how the world works - whatever they believed in, be it Gandhi, Hitler or some voodoo priest. Real truth about the universe is useful for more than just feeling smart about it.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:10 PM   #515 (permalink)
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How can we understand something? How can you know something to be true? Answering the basic questions may help you take that first step on the path to understanding in the right direction.
With things that are as hard to wrap your head around as the origins as the universe and possibility of an afterlife, all we can do is postulate as to which idea seems the most coherent and cohesive, and provide our reasoning for believing as such. Asking questions is the only way to learn and grow. We may not get the answers we seek, but we will be better off for having at least asked. I would rather be the man who asked a million question and got no answers than the man who failed to question at all.

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Real truth about the universe is useful for more than just feeling smart about it.
So is your school of thought that no one can know and/or everyone who believes in anything of a higher power (be it religion or spirituality) is wrong? I believe in a grand unification theory of everything. Everything and everyone in the universe is connected and everything has a purpose (even if it is only a purpose that we self-impose upon it).
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:07 PM   #516 (permalink)
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With things that are as hard to wrap your head around as the origins as the universe and possibility of an afterlife, all we can do is postulate as to which idea seems the most coherent and cohesive, and provide our reasoning for believing as such. Asking questions is the only way to learn and grow. We may not get the answers we seek, but we will be better off for having at least asked. I would rather be the man who asked a million question and got no answers than the man who failed to question at all.
This isn't about asking questions as much as it is about answering them. We all ask questions. What happens after we die? Even though we don't know, you have an answer to that question. So do I. But I try to apply parsimony as a way to filter out my possible answers. What that does it helps reduce the likelyhood of me being wrong by basing itself as much as it can on the world as we know it.

If you have to come up with lots of new assumptions to accommodate your idea of the world, any one of those assumptions could be wrong. You say the soul travels to a planet. That means you f.ex make assumptions that there is a soul, that this soul can travel through space and that there is a home for souls on a distant planet. These souls are obviously made of something that we can't measure at the moment and whatever that is, perhaps you believe it can hold information like shape, thoughts and memories. These are just a few of the assumptions one would probably have to make to accommodate your idea of what happens in the afterlife. I'm sure there'd be plenty more when you get into the details of it. None of these assumptions are supported by current evidence and as far as you know, any or all of them could be wrong. Basically, it's just you fantasizing. To me, that's just moving away from understanding.

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So is your school of thought that no one can know and/or everyone who believes in anything of a higher power (be it religion or spirituality) is wrong? I believe in a grand unification theory of everything. Everything and everyone in the universe is connected and everything has a purpose (even if it is only a purpose that we self-impose upon it).
What is a higher power?

I do believe people who believe in religion to be wrong. If people want to have an objectively right idea of the universe and how it all hangs together in their head, then they should leave behind notions of deities, hells, heavens, ghosts, laying on hands, etc. All of this is based on assumptions that are not supported by evidence and have resisted all attempts at proving.

Humans are not robots. We're prone to all sorts of mind tricks that we play on ourselves, be they placebos, suggestions or cognitive dissonance. These things affect us deeply and so when trying to find the truth, we need methods to get around our human weaknesses.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #517 (permalink)
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This isn't about asking questions as much as it is about answering them. We all ask questions. What happens after we die? Even though we don't know, you have an answer to that question. So do I.
Well, we both have theories. I would stop short of calling our best guesses "answers" in this situation.

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But I try to apply parsimony as a way to filter out my possible answers. What that does it helps reduce the likelyhood of me being wrong by basing itself as much as it can on the world as we know it.
As do I, and pretty much anyone who is not religious (no offense to anyone or their religious preferences). It just seems that once something like religion becomes sacred, it seemingly becomes immune to criticism and any thought outside of the canons.

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If you have to come up with lots of new assumptions to accommodate your idea of the world, any one of those assumptions could be wrong.
True, I can't argue with you there. But if any one assumptions in your chain of thought is wrong, so could be every assumption made thereafter. That's why we try not to make assumptions as much as we make educated guesses and hypotheses.

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You say the soul travels to a planet. That means you f.ex make assumptions that there is a soul, that this soul can travel through space and that there is a home for souls on a distant planet. These souls are obviously made of something that we can't measure at the moment and whatever that is, perhaps you believe it can hold information like shape, thoughts and memories. These are just a few of the assumptions one would probably have to make to accommodate your idea of what happens in the afterlife. I'm sure there'd be plenty more when you get into the details of it. None of these assumptions are supported by current evidence and as far as you know, any or all of them could be wrong. Basically, it's just you fantasizing. To me, that's just moving away from understanding.
Most religions and belief systems share the idea of an afterlife. It is not a new concept that I just made up on the spot, it has existed for as long as humans have been conscious enough to form thoughts. I believe that these thoughts are somewhat intrinsic to human beings by nature. My beliefs were not conceived on a whim. I have gone through many religious and spiritual belief conversions in my 25 years. As I study more religions and schools of thoughts, I try to refine my beliefs based upon the more information that I have. Most religious or spiritual beliefs are based upon some sort of.. (I don't want to use the word faith here).. but a mental and spiritual connection that one feels. I just refuse to believe that with the vast majority of religions and spiritual belief systems that have existed throughout history, that they ALL could be wrong about an afterlife.

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What is a higher power?
Religious subscribers would probably call them gods or deities. I believe they are any beings that have attained a higher consciousness than me.

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Originally Posted by tore
I do believe people who believe in religion to be wrong. If people want to have an objectively right idea of the universe and how it all hangs together in their head, then they should leave behind notions of deities, hells, heavens, ghosts, laying on hands, etc. All of this is based on assumptions that are not supported by evidence and have resisted all attempts at proving.
I try to refrain from calling another's beliefs "wrong." Maybe misled or ignorant. I think that most religious stories and canons have been GREATLY misconstrued, misunderstood, taken out of context or exaggerated. Basing one's beliefs solely upon writings that no one can prove who wrote, when they were written, and the circumstances surrounding them just seems ignorant to me.

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Humans are not robots. We're prone to all sorts of mind tricks that we play on ourselves, be they placebos, suggestions or cognitive dissonance. These things affect us deeply and so when trying to find the truth, we need methods to get around our human weaknesses.
Human error will always be a factor when humans are involved, there's really no way around it unfortunately.
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:26 AM   #518 (permalink)
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Most religions and belief systems share the idea of an afterlife. It is not a new concept that I just made up on the spot, it has existed for as long as humans have been conscious enough to form thoughts. I believe that these thoughts are somewhat intrinsic to human beings by nature. My beliefs were not conceived on a whim. I have gone through many religious and spiritual belief conversions in my 25 years. As I study more religions and schools of thoughts, I try to refine my beliefs based upon the more information that I have. Most religious or spiritual beliefs are based upon some sort of.. (I don't want to use the word faith here).. but a mental and spiritual connection that one feels. I just refuse to believe that with the vast majority of religions and spiritual belief systems that have existed throughout history, that they ALL could be wrong about an afterlife.
So the religions that have a spiritual afterlife is the ones who are onto something then? What about religions like buddhism or hinduism who believe in reincarnation? Because that's quite different from spending the rest of eternity in some heaven. So, it's not like all religions agree on what happens after we die.

I think religions are littered with faulty thinking, whether wishful or driven by fear, culture or a genuine desire to be able to explain the world we live in without having had the means to actually figure stuff out like we can now.

That "feeling" you mention is just a feeling. As I wrote, Hitler probably also had that feeling when he had his spiritual epiphany. It doesn't mean you're onto something. It's just part of that human weakness. Some things appeal strongly to us while others don't. Isn't it obvious that people would like to be able to say what happens after we die? And isn't it also obvious that they would like there to be an existence after death? It makes for a more appealing story than the alternative and that's a large part of why it's so popular in religion.


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I try to refrain from calling another's beliefs "wrong." Maybe misled or ignorant. I think that most religious stories and canons have been GREATLY misconstrued, misunderstood, taken out of context or exaggerated. Basing one's beliefs solely upon writings that no one can prove who wrote, when they were written, and the circumstances surrounding them just seems ignorant to me.
Yet you don't seem very critical towards your own fantasies.


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Human error will always be a factor when humans are involved, there's really no way around it unfortunately.
There are ways around it. Yesterday, I read about how people, when asked to give a random number between 1 and 10, don't really give random numbers. There are some numbers we "believe" to be more random than others. For example we prefer to answer high, uneven numbers rather than even numbers. And we like prime numbers too. Most prefer to answer 7 to this question rather than 2.

Now, how do you get around this human weakness? Simple : Instead of choosing a number, you could use a 10-sided die.



Scientific methodology is designed to get around human weaknesses. That's why we f.ex use statistical evidence to support a hypothesis and not just anecdotal evidence or a "feeling" that this must be true.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:04 AM   #519 (permalink)
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So the religions that have a spiritual afterlife is the ones who are onto something then? What about religions like buddhism or hinduism who believe in reincarnation? Because that's quite different from spending the rest of eternity in some heaven. So, it's not like all religions agree on what happens after we die.
The reincarnation process only serves to help us reach our goal. Whether or not religious beliefs are congruent is irrelevant, because the same thing is going to happen to all of us, no matter what our beliefs are.

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I think religions are littered with faulty thinking, whether wishful or driven by fear, culture or a genuine desire to be able to explain the world we live in without having had the means to actually figure stuff out like we can now.
I agree. I am not a religious person either. Religion is the greatest tool ever invented with which to enslave the masses via fear. It was only after I deeply studied as many religions as I could that I found myself where I am today. I believe in no specific religion. But spirituality, religion and science all tend to coalesce when we get down to the specifics which define what we are apparently all looking for here.

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Originally Posted by tore
That "feeling" you mention is just a feeling. As I wrote, Hitler probably also had that feeling when he had his spiritual epiphany. It doesn't mean you're onto something. It's just part of that human weakness. Some things appeal strongly to us while others don't. Isn't it obvious that people would like to be able to say what happens after we die? And isn't it also obvious that they would like there to be an existence after death? It makes for a more appealing story than the alternative and that's a large part of why it's so popular in religion.
Well nobody knows what happens after we die. But if a person finds a kernal of truth that they believe in, who are we to tell them that they are wrong? Live and let live. Let each person have their own beliefs. I just hope that they come about them in the most beneficial ways.

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Yet you don't seem very critical towards your own fantasies.
My beliefs are not set in stone. I am sure they will change and evolve even more before I die. I cannot claim them to be correct for all, but everyone has their own path to follow. My beliefs guide my path.

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Scientific methodology is designed to get around human weaknesses. That's why we f.ex use statistical evidence to support a hypothesis and not just anecdotal evidence or a "feeling" that this must be true.
No one is arguing with you on that. No belief system can be proven. We can stop at that and have a beer if you'd like I just don't see why you feel the need to take an active role in attempting to dismantle peoples' systems of belief.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:29 AM   #520 (permalink)
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No one is arguing with you on that. No belief system can be proven. We can stop at that and have a beer if you'd like I just don't see why you feel the need to take an active role in attempting to dismantle peoples' systems of belief.
You're right that no belief system can be ultimately proven beyond all doubt (nothing can), but that doesn't mean all belief systems are equal. Different belief systems can have different credibility.

I think what we believe in and the way we think about the world deeply affects us, for example wars, what we teach in schools, how we decide on laws, how we are towards immigrants or even just how we talk to eachother on a regular basis. Thus, I do think belief systems and the like are important topics.

My wish is that they would teach critical thinking in school, not in order to decide for people what they should believe in, but to teach the value of having an idea of the universe in ones head which closely resembles the real thing and to teach how to mentally separate the likely from the less likely, the credible from the incredible. I would like to live in an environment where truth thrives and lies starve and die from a lack of belief. I think so doing would benefit mankind and pull down some of those tall barriers between us.

I argue because I like arguing and feel involved and engaged by the subject, but a part of me also wants to convince others and show there are useful ways and methods of thinking about the universe - if not whoever it is I debate against, then other readers of my posts.
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