Open thread for episode 23.17: Tracie & Clare Wuellner


I wanted to add the links to the areas where I pulled the Christian quotes I used in the introduction discussion about how “Have a Blessed Day” is used as a Christian Dog Whistle.

I am linking to this article  to give folks a clear picture of what a dog whistle is, how it’s used, and when and why it’s chosen over other modes of communicating a message. The passage below focuses on using them for political and racist messaging; however, the three parts of the philosophy apply to whistle blowing by anyone and in the cause of any ideology:

First, politicians force race into the conversation through “thinly veiled” racist remarks against people of color. Second, they make sure to not directly reference any one racial or ethnic group, so they can’t be accused of direct racism. And third, they shame any critics who try to call them out on the racist comments.

Here are Christians speaking for themselves:

…I’m thinking that “Have a blessed day” has potential. I’m getting excited about its manifold benefits as I write: It signals that you are a Christian to another stranger out there who may be a Christian-like a secret handshake. It is not overbearingly evangelical to those who are not Christians, and yet opens the door for further discussion if they so choose.

When I hear someone say have a blessed day, I make three basic assumptions. One, the person is religious. I don’t see any reason why non-religious people can’t be blessed, but the basic assumption is they are religious. Two, they are Christian. And again, I see nothing wrong with non-Christians receiving blessings. And that leads to three, which is that the blessings we want to bestow are the blessings of God, and not necessarily the blessings of Jesus Christ.

What does have a blessed day mean to you?
I don’t think I use “have a blessed day”. When I hear it now, I think of it as meaning have a good day and remember to thank God for it.

To me, this is reminiscent of the cross vs. crucifix debate. Although the crucifix might be a more “Catholic” symbol, there’s nothing wrong with a Catholic using a plain old cross at all. I say “Have a blessed day” all the time. I always considered this a very Catholic response, though it’s appropriate for any Christian, or anyone from an Abrahamic religion, for that matter.

When someone wishes you a blessed day, remember these two truths.  First, you will have a blessed day, not because of what happens to you during the day, but because of the attitude in your heart, and the awareness of God’s purpose for your life.  Second, you will enjoy the blessings that come your way only as you learn to share those blessings with others.

The phrase is especially part of the American black experience.
“They call it church language,” says Patrice Sheppard, assistant pastor of the Living Word Church in the southwestern corner of the District. “African-Americans say ‘Have a blessed day’ and Anglos say ‘God bless you.’
“If you’re having a blessed day, then God is with you. It’s a colloquialism in the African-American church.”
Others say it’s part of black church tradition to continually praise God whether in or out of work.
“When people ask us how we are doing, we say we are blessed and highly favored of God,” says Bishop Juanita Turner, pastor of New Covenant Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Colmar Manor. She says the majority of her members use the expression.
The Rev. Bernard Richardson, chaplain at Howard University, calls it an ” ‘evangelical tradition.’ ”
“I’ve heard it in white churches and black churches,” he says. “What’s happening in terms of our culture is people are feeling freer to use the language of their church and their faith than ever before.”
Not everyone was thrilled with the increase of God-talk at work.
” ‘Have a blessed day’ is a religious statement and it’s not appropriate for a secular organization to be making it,” says Matt Cherry, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism in Amherst, N.Y.
“For an employee to say she has a right to make religious statements is not a matter of religious freedom. The company has a right to determine what employees say. If a customer is offended enough to complain, that speaks for itself.
“What she said implies you’re blessed by God. Why not say ‘Have a good day’?”
…But it’s common for black Christians to say “Have a blessed day” no matter where they are, says the Rev. Oliver Dwayne Walker, pastor of Phillips CME Church.
“We are aware that different groups are having negative feelings about that and may not subscribe to faith in God and feel that’s an infringement on them,” he says.

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Comments

  1. t90bb says

    As an act of prophecy…..I will predict that on todays show some will call to make very bad arguments for a sky wizard….and will use magical thinking and flawed logic to establish its existence.

    Happy Easter to those that celebrate

  2. billkw says

    Love it, another god-dog thing. God whistling.
    re: nothing
    The closest I’ve gotten is nothing is the label we use for the imaginary state of non-being. If your first premise is imaginary, I’m perfectly willing to stipulate an imaginary god.

  3. cameron says

    For the caller asking about evolutionary reason for humans having less hair than our primate cousins.

    1) we have the same amount of hairs, just ours are thinner and shorter.

    2) We evolved in Africa one of the hunting techniques we still use in Africa is to essentially chase large animals down. This means often jogging and tracking an individual animal that can run faster than us but doesn’t have as good temperature regulation that is afforded to use through sweating and evaporation. Essentially we chase these animals over many hours and they eventually collapse from heat exhaustion. Our hairlessness may well have evolved as a result of a selection process in hunters who could keep cool while chasing down prey. Another option could be sexual selection and there would be other possible advantages as well.

    I’d also be interested in knowing why the other host had such an issue with Desmond Morris. I’ve read a couple of his books and he has always been clear that his thoughts are a personal view not hard science. I see this as no different to physicists who speculate about string theory. We don’t know if string theory is true but it provides pathways and opportunities to explore which may yield (even if proven wrong) valuable knowledge. Provided the person speculating is clear that they consider this an interesting possibility why is this an issue?

  4. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @cameron #3:

    why the other host had such an issue with Desmond Morris

     
    Clare:

    You’re looking at it backwards, and a lot of this is what we call evolutionary psychology […] Desmond Morris and all of his hogwash… It is all just-so stories. It’s not how evolution is studied. The questions that you’re asking are not really evolutionary questions the way they’re posed.

     
     
    Video: BAHFest – Weinersmith’s Infantapaulting Hypothesis (10:09)

    Early humans catapaulted their infants over a nearby mountain to reach the next village over. So it was adaptive for the babies to become as aerodynamic as possible to reach the most genetically distinct population.

     
     
    Video: BAHFest – Michael Anderson, The Abdominal Torus (11:15)

    All of this changes about 10,000 years ago when humans start to settle on the alluvial floodplains […] Here, the selection pressure changes. It’s no longer about the ability to hunt food. It’s about the ability to survive the catastrophic annual river floods that make that food possible. […] And it’s here that the abdominal bulge becomes prominent. Which dictates my hypothesis…

     
    * Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, a celebration of well-researched, logically explained, and clearly wrong evolutionary theory.

  5. colinb says

    Male pattern baldness is sending out a message to females: “I’m not a good catch – my best years are behind me !”

  6. indianajones says

    Yeah, I’d like to take a swing at this too. Physics/string theory/supporting maths make testable (at least in principle) predictions too that often turn out to be true. Or not. Keep in mind I know almost nothing about orbital mechanics or geology and less than that about psychology. However…

    It was predicted that to explain the imbalance between land masses in the southern vs northern hemispheres, Lemuria had to exist somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Folks went to go have a look, no Lemuria. Then plate tectonics comes along and explains land distribution otherwise. Similarly, irregularities in Mercury’s orbit lead to folks looking through telescopes for Vulcan to explain them. No Vulcan, but relativity explains the wobbles. But it has it’s successes, too. The mathematics implies that time slows down if you go fast. Space program syncs 2 atomic clocks and sends one into orbit. Surprise surprise, they are un-synced on return. Neptune and Pluto were predicted before they were found.

    Desmond Morris does not make predictions in this same way.

  7. says

    just thought i’d repost my november comment for jonah’s benefit:

    one fundamental hurdle holding back fundies is a misconception about how new traits develop. creationists and other doubters think that under evolution animals somehow know or figure out which traits to adapt. trees are tall, horses need their necks to grow and — badaboom — giraffes! laughable of course, and doubters are right to be incredulous of this straw man.

    but evolution is an process of elimination. the environment takes a turn, and any individuals in a population lucky enough to already possess the crucial trait(s) survive and multiply while the rest wither or die out completely. a bug-killer may kill 99% of its victims, but the surviving 1% will spawn a hardy new generation (provided of course that the trait is inheritable) because of some formerly inconsequential difference from their less fortunate kin.

    two men are enjoying a pleasant stroll through a forest. suddenly they see a bear in the distance, running towards them. the first turns to run away, but the other takes a pair of running shoes from his bag, and puts them on.

    “wtf are you doing?” says the first man. “you think those will make you faster than a bear?”

    “i don’t have to be faster than the bear,” says the other. “i just have to be faster than you.”

    (also too, jonah should read jerry coyne’s “why evolution is true”)

  8. says

    I want to be clear I’m not informed enough to comment on Morris specifically. But with a better-than-average background in Anthropology at the academic level (I wasn’t ever employed in that capacity, so I’m not expert; and it was an area of specializing for my degree, not the degree itself), when I first began reading Evolutionary Psychology papers and theories, my eyes rolled nearly out of my head with the sheer level of pure speculation, and even ignorance of contradicting facts that much of what I saw contained.

    Probably the most egregious example that always comes to mind for me were the concepts around “evolutionary advantages of monogamy.” Considering the vastly diverse models of human pair bonding and familial legitimate potential connections, the idea that this is biologically rooted rather than a primarily social convention is simply odd.

    Eating has an evolutionary advantage–and we see it demonstrated as a human/species universal. But asking what the evolutionary advantage is to eating toasted marshmallows is a bit “out there.”

    Certainly pair bonding and mating have evolutionary advantages, and we see it demonstrated as a human/species universal. But the form it takes seems a social convention rather than an human biologically driven directive. We just don’t see enough cultures that subscribe to monogamy (the Western model–one man/one woman, lifetime exclusive sexuality) to assert it’s not socially determined. Today it’s far more prevalent, but we can’t dismiss the reason for that was colonialism, which stamped out most of the globe’s diversity. When we subtract for areas of the globe that didn’t practice Western monogamy that were conquered and had it forcefully imposed, we find monogamy isn’t that common.

    Again, it’s the difference between asking why humans eat, versus why they eat specific foods items–which would be extremely diverse and dependent more on location and social conventions than biology.

    The greater issue I had with the monogamy models included claims it benefited women. Historic records would indicate it treated women like property and imposed very harsh and often deadly sentences on women for infidelity. These restrictions were often not as harshly imposed on men, even when men were also subjected to them under law. Women also traditionally had very little influence in society to change laws or conventions around how any of this worked–so it was a purely male-imposed model. I don’t think that is unfair to state. Explaining how this was an advantage for women is about like suggesting that slavery has evolutionary advantages, and then delving into how great it was for slaves and all the benefits slaves derived from it.

    It’s a bit tone deaf. And additionally, there is nothing but speculation to support it. Even if I can find some way that people “benefited” from being treated as property that in no way is evidence of a biologically driven “evolutionary” cause for slaves.

  9. John David Balla says

    @heicart
    Even where certain cultures “attest” to monogamy doesn’t mean they adhere to it. We know this to be the case, that what people say they value often does not necessarily correlate with how they behave.

    This is very active in my mind as I am working on my Capstone research project for which I want to collect data for what people say they would do and what they actually do. Specifically, I want to see if by replacing a negative motivation, i.e., you will pay serious consequences if you don’t do X, with a positive one based on well-being, i.e., good things (for you and others) will likely result if you do X, whether stronger correlations result. Of course, we know from Prospect Theory (and elsewhere) that a loss of is typically valued disproportionately to a gain of the same magnitude. In other words, failure, loss, disappointment, etc. hit us harder than success, accomplishment and ego satisfaction make us feel good. And that’s true despite our hedonistic inclinations. Humans are indeed, complex.

  10. Monocle Smile says

    Evopsych is how tools like Jordan Peterson justify their prejudices and ’50s ideals to other mouthbreathers. “Women are bad at STEM because science” is a typical “conclusion” of this “field.”

  11. John David Balla says

    @Monocle Smile
    In many ways, especially with respect to its historicity, psychology has been the most speculative and immature of all the social sciences. Still I thought the field had largely grown up from the days of Freud and Jung and their wild speculations for which only small amount comported with reality. But here we go again with Jordan Peterson, who, in my view, is obsessed and impressed with his own ability to speculate. This is what mental masturbation looks like. I have never seen anyone more in love with his own thought process than Peterson. For Peterson, process is everything, and it shows. It’s his favorite sex toy.

  12. t90bb says

    Jonah must have read his apologetic website and found some “gotcha”s. LOL….

    How often do these theists that seem to need to bring up evolution….actually have an elementary understanding of evolution specifically or science generally….

    If the theist can get the person to admit there is some aspect of evolutionary theory that THEY cannot fully explain at the time of the call (for knowledge or time constraints)…then the THEISTs belief in the sky wizard is equally justified!!! lol

    Thats the game folks. The theist wants to make evolution appear to be based on the same level of faith and wishful thinking as Jeezass of the HOLEY BABBLE!

  13. Lamont Cranston says

    This is with regard to the, “Have blessed day,” statements.

    I agree that is can be irritating, it can be either an intentional irritation (someone knowing that they intend to try to manipulate you into a discussion of their religion) or an unintentional irritation (someone just trying to be nice without ulterior motives).

    So what does one do when on the receiving end with regard to a response when you can’t be sure of the motive behind the statement and are not really interested in taking the time for an extensive discussion? You want to make a point but also do not want to be particularly offensive in response to someone who actually intended no irritation or offense.

    How about this?

    “You have a magical day too,” said pleasantly and walking away.

    You have not said anything overtly offensive, but you have let them know you see things differently.

    Strangely this a common practice in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” 🙂 That’s right, Disneyland/Disneyworld. Here is how one person summed it up,

    The phrase cast members are trained to use at WDW parks, at least in the last decade is, “have a magical day”. Both sides of this exist. Some people say it and genuinely mean it. Some people only say it when they just want the guest to leave, or in some cases wish they could curse. Or some people don’t really use it at all. Just like any interaction with other humans, not everyone thinks alike.

    There is a lot of dispute about whether this is true or just an urban legend, but many people claim to have heard the phase (or the alternative – Have a Disney day) in use at the parks.

    So just as we can’t tell the motive behind the “have a blessed day,” they cannot tell the motive behind the, “have a magical day,” response.

    Have a magical day. 🙂

    To slightly twist my own signature line, “Who knows what motives lurk in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

    Lamont Cranston

  14. buddyward says

    With regards to Jonah, and calls where theists ask why we believe in evolution. It might be a good idea to ask why they are calling an atheist show with regards to a question in biology and how does evolution relate to the existence of a god. I think it would be an interesting conversation as to why. My guess is that they are calling to attempt to demonstrate that atheists use faith in evolution just as theists use faith in a god, or to try and make an atheist to admit that evolution is false and therefore proves god. There may be other reasons but those are what I can think of right now.

    I am of the opinion that in many of these calls, the theist is not really interested in educating themselves with regards to evolution. They are there to fallaciously prove the existence of their god.

    Granted that both Clare and Tracie did a good job in explaining some of the aspects of evolution, I think that the segment did not really have anything to do with atheism. It felt more like an intro to biology.

  15. Rahul Mehta says

    A pleasure to watch this episode. Kudos to Tracie and Clare for handling the callers and the topics so well. Tracie nailed it with the “dog whistle” talk and Clare nailed it with the evolution talk (with Jonah). And then onwards it was all smooth sailing.

    Personally I don’t feel offended if someone tells me to have a blessed day. However they don’t get it back or even a “you too”. They will get a “have a nice day” with a smile. They do it per their belief and I do it per mine.

    Also it is a really good approach to guide people to a better educational channel. We can’t handle all aspects of knowledge ourselves, unlike the catch all – “magic man in the sky” did it.

  16. buddyward says

    When people tell me that I am blessed or that god will bless me, I usually think nothing of it. To this day, I cannot help but say “Bless you.” when people sneeze. Although my kids and I have a kick of saying “May whatever god you believe in have mercy on your non-existent soul.” to each other as a joke when one of us sneezes.

    Is saying “Have a blessed day.” some sort of weird secret hand shake that identifies one christian from another? I really could care less. The fact that they cannot identify who is a true christian and who is not might be the reason why they need to do this.

    I do not think that I have experienced a point where I would consider this as some sort of harassment or anything more than an annoyance. Perhaps when that point in time comes I would come back with “May the force be with you.”

  17. says

    I thought Tracie’s dog whistle explanation of the phrase “have a blessed day” was interesting. It sort of reminds me of what Neil DeGrasse Tyson has brought up relative to a facebook post he made when he used the phrase “God speed.” He also reminds us that phrases like Goodbye is a contraction of “God be with you” or the use of B.C.E. (before common era) in lieu of B.C. (before Christ). Although, I’m sure “have a blessed day” might be flagged by an atheist as more of a god whistle phrase more so than simply telling someone goodbye, because I’m sure most people, theists and atheists alike, don’t even realize that Goodbye is a contraction for “God be with you.”

  18. paxoll says

    A pretty smart fella on youtube Dick Coughlan came up with a response to this a decade ago, and I’ve heard others like Ricky Gervais use it. Respond to the dog whistle with “May God Be Less”. You get to acknowledge the dog whistle, mock them, and they will likely be completely unaware, and the added bonus of dog whistling any other atheists that might be around to hear. Or just be the more mature person and ignore them.

  19. ironchops says

    When someone says “Have a blessed day” I automatically presume they are of one of the Abrahamic religions (particularly Christian). It does not bother me at all. I hope I do have a blessed day. I just equivocate to the accepted definition number 3, as defined by Merriam-Webster:

    I hope you all have a blessed day!

  20. Lamont Cranston says

    buddyward says in #15

    I do not think that I have experienced a point where I would consider this as some sort of harassment or anything more than an annoyance. Perhaps when that point in time comes I would come back with “May the force be with you.”

    I like that one too 🙂

    On another note, I am sorry to see that Nikki from the UK has not shown up (traumatized by her childhood indoctrination).

    I spent almost two decades helping people who were traumatized by religion as well as the families and friends of these people. No it wasn’t my day job. However, it was something I did in spite of the fact that it could mean spending an hour on the phone with an unknown person from clear across the country at 2 am when I had to get up at 5 am and go to work.

    Lamont Cranston

  21. devanr98 says

    Hello! I’m supposed to be doing a debate with a few Christians. We are going to discuss a few different subjects, but I was wondering if anyone had any good links for Atheist side of debates. Thanks!

  22. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @devanr98 #21
    Depends on the topic. Do you have a specific question that’ll serve as the topic for the debate? If not, you probably should. Narrows the discussion a bit so the Christains can’t dance form topic to topic after getting debunked. If you’re debating the resurrection in particular, check out Paulogia’s recent YouTube videos on the subject. He does a great, well reached rebuttal to the Habermas/Licona minimal facts approach that virtually all apologists copy from.

  23. paxoll says

    @Ironchops
    No one will disprove the existence of leprechauns, fairies, and invisible teacups in space either. It is a meaningless statement since there is no reason to believe in something until there is sufficient evidence to believe it.

  24. t90bb says

    19….iron!!! Oh I totally agree…..no one is going to disprove G-D or leprechauns or fairies or scooby doo…….

    Do you have anything resembling good evidence for G-D?

  25. Lamont Cranston says

    devanr98 says in #21

    Hello! I’m supposed to be doing a debate with a few Christians. We are going to discuss a few different subjects, but I was wondering if anyone had any good links for Atheist side of debates. Thanks!

    I suppose you could go to Youtube, type in atheist debate, and there will be a bunch of them. Matt does a good job making a logical case for his position while refusing to be dragged into making any unsupported claims himself. I’m sure most of the others are pretty good too.

    I’m just not a big fan of formal debates. They get very long. They also tend to get a bit tedious. Both sides always think they have won. The audience generally leaves thinking just the same thing as they did when they entered. I suppose there are exceptions but I have not managed to slog through any that I was really impressed by. That’s not to say that they are bad, for debates, just that debates must not be my thing. I’d much prefer to hear a one-on-one free form discussion with questions from an audience (I guess that is why I like the call-in format of the show) .

    Just one suggestion, understand the difference between not believing in a god or gods, versus making the claim that there is no god or gods. The first one is not a claim and requires no supporting evidence on your part (the other must prove their claim for god existing). The second one IS a claim and requires you to “prove a negative” which is something that for reasons of practicality may be impossible (someone will always find an exception that you have not adequately explored and dis-proven).

    The other suggestion is to become at least somewhat familiar with some of the more often encountered issues (special pleading, circular reasoning – especially using the Bible that is supposed to be from God to try to prove the existence of God, appeals to authority, Kalam Cosmological argument which actually never proves existence of a God, etc.)

    You might provide more detail as to the format (i.e, is this a classical debate, times, interactive discussion, any audience inputs, whatever).

    Lamont Cranston

  26. ironchops says

    Hi paxoll – True, however the statement is meaningful to believers. It’s all about the type of evidence allowed into the court. If eyewitness testimony and ancient myths are allowed then all bets are off. Such is the case with most of the “religious” types.

    I do reject the notion we have inalienable or unalienable rights. No reason to believe. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, at least in this physical 3D universe (4D if you count time that only moves in one direction only).

    Hi t90bb – All of those examples do exist. They are fictional characters, just like G_d/G_ds!

  27. t90bb says

    fictional characters do not exist or manifest in reality…..only in the mind…….they are concepts of the mind that do not exist in reality as best we know, Good to know your not deluded.

  28. buddyward says

    @IronChops 27

    Not really sure what your position is. Are you a theist saying that since atheists cannot prove that god does not exists therefore god exists? Are you under the impression that court room testimonies are acceptable evidence to prove that god exists?

  29. ironchops says

    t90bb – not deluded. Where a fictitious or mythical characters may not exist in reality they can be a personification that points to a demonstrable physical fact or an idea (such as law) that does manifest in reality. The latter helps people interact better, sometimes, or at least that’s the intent.

    Hi buddyward – My position is simple. I am not a theist but I do attend church. I am not a believer, necessarily, in the book of metaphors (bible) as anything other than allegories or in the existence of a G_d/G_ds. I do not rule it out either. I do believe in some of the good bits (concepts) in the afore referenced book of metaphors but those can be found elsewhere as well, in other fiction or in non-fiction, such as the laws and ordinances to which I must adhere.

  30. buddyward says

    @IronChops #30

    Ok thank you for taking the time to explain.

    I think that you will find that many here do not rule out the existence of god either. In other words we are of the mind set that we cannot believe in the existence of a god because we are not presented with convincing evidence. Once convincing evidence is presented then we would believe. However, keep in mind where the burden of proof lies in this situation.

    I asked you for you position because you made the following statement:

    #27

    It’s all about the type of evidence allowed into the court. If eyewitness testimony and ancient myths are allowed then all bets are off. Such is the case with most of the “religious” types.

    I was not sure if you are talking on behalf of the theist or if this is indeed your position.

    There is also this:

    #30

    I do believe in some of the good bits (concepts) in the afore referenced book of metaphors but those can be found elsewhere as well, in other fiction or in non-fiction, such as the laws and ordinances to which I must adhere.

    Where you compared the bible to the laws and ordinances (of man I presume) to which you must adhere. Many of us here do not believe that the bible is true and therefore we are not compelled to adhere to it. The laws and ordinances of man (for the most part) contains more reasonable societal limits and consequences. No one AFAIK is sent to jail and tortured forever simply because they though their neighbor looks good naked. But perhaps I have not fully understood your position.

  31. Phillip Sussman says

    Normally a big fan of Tracie and Claire, I was, as an economist, utterly appalled by their gross ignorance when they were asked basic questions by a caller regarding their positions on economics.
    As was readily apparent from their replies, neither host had the slightest clue. I was so taken aback by their brain numbingly stupid positions, my opinion of the normally searching, rational and knowledgeable AXP hosts that I had come to admire was so shaken that I couldn’t even watch the remainder of the show.

    Tracie, whom I love, said she does not like capitalism and Claire agreed. Yet I will bet them both one of Matt’s famous rhetorical steak dinners that neither of them has the slightest idea what capitalism really consists of. There is only one other economic model viable in the real world today and that is communism. Again I will bet them both one of Matt’s famous rhetorical steak dinners that neither of them has the slightest idea what communism consists of. BTW socialism is NOT an economic system. It is a term of art for a type of modification to an economic system.

    Tracie then chimed in that she does not like competition. Again I love Tracy; she is normally extremely insightful and very careful in her pronouncements. However that is one of the dumbest comments
    I have ever heard. It doesn’t take a degreed economist, such as myself, to realize that robust open competition is the only mechanism that guarantees overall economic prosperity for a nation and the best selection of goods and services at the lowest possible prices for consumers.

    I will be calling into the show ASAP to go over these points in detail as well as to strongly argue that capitalism is by Matt’s wellbeing standard the most moral economic system.

    Republicans will exploit ignorance and confusion to paint Dems. as communists which they are not. A popular and general understanding of these issues is critical to the defeat of Trump in the 2020 elections.

  32. twstdelf says

    Re: Jonah (New York) on questions / misconceptions on evolution. Last year’s (2018) Christmas Lecture series at the Royal Institute had an excellent presentation from Alice Roberts (on anthropology) and Aoife McLysaght (on genetics). Each part is about an hour, and it’s a great overall introduction for anyone of any age – both highly entertaining and informative.

    Part 1: Where Do I Come From?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBgnqVLQm5s

    Part 2: What Makes Me Human?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3xNlReJPvE

    Part 3: What Makes Me, Me?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U51GKNMAwrA

    Cheers.

  33. speedofsound says

    I like Desmond Morris. He lit up my imagination when i was a young man. I doubt he claimed that The Naked Ape was a scientific paper.

    Now. What is Evolutionary Psychology? Anyone?

  34. RationalismRules says

    @mods
    The vid link on the previous episode (ie. 23.15) is currently showing this week’s vid instead of the correct one.

  35. speedofsound says

    EvPsych is what got me started in neuroscience. In particular I seized on this ‘brain module’ to make men desire 0.70 waist to hip ratio. I wanted to know what kind of brain wiring, generated by genes, could possibly do that. So 14 years later, and a shelf of books that is 30 feet long, I still don’t have a fucking clue how genes could do that.

    The whole module idea is bad for one thing.

    However, recently some papers have appeared indicating that our visual system is wired to respond to some shapes. Snakes and bugs. It’s deep wiring at the amygdala level and a mysterious few visual field maps at the bottom of the thalamus. Very deep.

    Now to make EvPsych sober again we have to first identify a potential pattern, next find out how it mechanically works to elicit a behavior, then find the genes that generate, then compare to other mammals, then and only then, MAYBE, start thinking about adaptation.

    Now scientists are people. Don’t know if everyone is aware of that. They live by notoriety and sometimes book royalties. They sometimes even have political leanings or even culturally ingrained prejudice. These frailties of scientists can be thought of as the bathwater and we do not ever want the baby to go with the water.

  36. says

    @ Philip:

    >Normally a big fan of Tracie and Claire, I was, as an economist, utterly appalled by their gross ignorance when they were asked basic questions by a caller regarding their positions on economics. As was readily apparent from their replies, neither host had the slightest clue. I was so taken aback by their brain numbingly stupid positions, my opinion of the normally searching, rational and knowledgeable AXP hosts that I had come to admire was so shaken that I couldn’t even watch the remainder of the show.

    You were “shaken” by what I said? I said that there are a lot of ways society can handle economies, and I personally don’t like competition, but I support whatever system our society puts forward as long as we don’t leave people behind. If this was enough to leave you “shaken”–it seems you can’t tolerate even the slightest statement that simply leaves a door open for potential other systems. I’m glad I didn’t actually issue any condemnation of capitalism–you might have died from an aneurysm? The fact is I fully admit I’m not that informed about economies. I do know a thing or two about anthropology though–and how people handle property, and it’s more diverse than Western nations pretend. Many cultures today and historically have various ways of dealing with it. I didn’t even suggest a system that “should” be used. I simply said no matter what is used, we need to be sure everyone is handled fairly and humanely.

    >Tracie, whom I love, said she does not like capitalism and Claire agreed. Yet I will bet them both one of Matt’s famous rhetorical steak dinners that neither of them has the slightest idea what capitalism really consists of.

    It consists of competition, and I explained I have never liked the idea that we can only win if someone else loses. I explained THAT is something I dislike about capitalism–while still admitting that it can be the model and can still be done fairly and humanely if a society is willing to enforce that. Kind of mind blowing this left you “shaken.” If you disagree, that’s fine–but there’s no need to lose your shit over anything I said. Get over it.

    > There is only one other economic model viable in the real world today and that is communism. Again I will bet them both one of Matt’s famous rhetorical steak dinners that neither of them has the slightest idea what communism consists of. BTW socialism is NOT an economic system. It is a term of art for a type of modification to an economic system.

    I didn’t say I promoted communism. I didn’t say I promoted socialism. I said I thought it was a social decision to make regarding what sort of economic models we choose. Do you disagree that there are also hybrid economies available–where some aspects are from one model and some from another? Why is it so traumatic for you to hear someone say that society should determine the model and it should be fair, whatever they choose?

    >Tracie then chimed in that she does not like competition. Again I love Tracy; she is normally extremely insightful and very careful in her pronouncements. However that is one of the dumbest comments I have ever heard. It doesn’t take a degreed economist, such as myself, to realize that robust open competition is the only mechanism that guarantees overall economic prosperity for a nation and the best selection of goods and services at the lowest possible prices for consumers.

    And yet there are societies on the globe that don’t have economic competition, and they have managed to survive quite well for literally thousands of years and with pretty high metrics of overall happiness with their quality of life. They work very little, enjoy more leisure time than industrialized societies, and are pretty egalitarian. They don’t have or use “money.” They don’t know what that even is. My point is that if a society wants to use a monetary system or a competitive system, they CAN, but they need to be fair about it. I happen to work at a company where team work is our method of progressing. We don’t make our teams compete. However, I have my job there after a merger where we DID make teams compete, and I “won”. That means I participated in fucking another team (of HUMAN BEINGS) out of their pay checks and threw those people into unemployment. Are you saying you think that’s actually a good thing to do the human beings? I took away their access to money and capacity to pay for food, shelter, healthcare and basic life necessities–and you don’t see this as problematic? Again, I’m OK with capitalism as long as it isn’t doing damage to citizens and other humans in other cultures–which our system very much does.

    >I will be calling into the show ASAP to go over these points in detail as well as to strongly argue that capitalism is by Matt’s wellbeing standard the most moral economic system.

    Feel free. If you can produce a capitalist system that also doesn’t create desperate situations for human beings–I said I’m fine with it. If you are going to argue that it’s in line with “well being” to lose your income and cause people stress due to job loss or fear of job loss–then you don’t really know what “well being” is. If you think that promoting oppression of indigenous populations in other areas is OK because they just don’t “compete” well–I have no argument. I can only say I disagree based on an entirely different set of values.

    >Republicans will exploit ignorance and confusion to paint Dems. as communists which they are not. A popular and general understanding of these issues is critical to the defeat of Trump in the 2020 elections.

    Seriously–you’re being way too dramatic here. If you can’t handle the very mild comments I made–you might want to go have your blood pressure checked before something breaks.

  37. indianajones says

    Yeah, that’s a weird on Philip. Being ‘appalled’ that an atheist show knows squat about economics? I mean, I’m an electronics tech and see people do crazy batshit stuff before calling me all the time! I once fixed a $4000 TV that was about to be thrown out by un-muting it. I fixed a battery charger, yesterday, by re-connecting a clearly visible broken wire, that was $350 saved. A rueful head shake at non experts is about all I can muster nowadays,

    Chill out!

  38. Monocle Smile says

    Philip, your call will not be taken because it’s off topic and it will likely be nothing but posturing, if your embarrassing post is anything to go by.

  39. BLC2 says

    @indianajones. I too was ‘shocked’ at Tracie’s reply, although just that I found it surprising. I would liked to have heard what she would propose in capitalism’s place (while recognizing that I can’t imagine how an economic discussion relates to atheism… except that I would suggest communism is supported by the bible). I like competition although I suck at it. I think it is as natural to human beings as it is to a race horse (if you have ever worked with them you know they WANT to win. A two day old colt will race its mom across the paddock. (Moms tend to let them win at that age))

    As a Canadian I think we have it almost right. Capitalism with a wide safety net, support for good (not great) public education, universal health care, government intervention in business only to the point of safety, environmental and strict banking regulations. It could be better – more support for education and the homeless, less support for big business (strongly opposed to my tax dollars in any way supporting a new car plant or pizza factory.)

    Where is the economic theory that says humans have “enough”? Every town, city, state, country wants to “grow.” When are we going to stop growing? I think we need less people, less pavement, less $4000 TVs and more trees and birds (and icky things like centipedes and slugs and raccoons) and free time.

    Thank you for the mute button story. I am a total Luddite when it comes to electronics, but have yet to embarrass myself quite that badly

  40. ironchops says

    @ buddyward – I get where the burden of proof lies. I don’t speak on behalf of theist. I speak in observation of theist. They allow evidence we throw out. As far as adhering to G_d’s law vs man’s law, they are the same, you can’t separate in reality. They are both made by man (actually) and by adhering to one you adhere to the other by default.

    @ t90bb – No bet to hedge. LOL I have yet to see or hear any good argument for the existence of G_d/G_ds or an afterlife to date. I can see where an abstract idea can be conveyed through a cryptic and highly symbolic piece of literature or art that is being taught as literal truth, and that is erroneously interpreted and acted on by an individual (or group) which manifests that idea into reality. One example is throwing homosexuals off roof tops on behalf of a law dictated by an abstract non-extent being (G_d). Another is what happened at Jonestown or Branch Davidians. So, in a way, it becomes real.

  41. buddyward says

    @ironchops #42

    I get where the burden of proof lies. I don’t speak on behalf of theist. I speak in observation of theist. They allow evidence we throw out.

    Ok understood, thank you.

    As far as adhering to G_d’s law vs man’s law, they are the same, you can’t separate in reality. They are both made by man (actually) and by adhering to one you adhere to the other by default.

    So when in current times do we take an unruly child to the edge of town and stone them to death? When do we allow a rapist to simply pay the father of a victim 50 shekels and force the rapist to marry the victim?

  42. John David Balla says

    Phil,
    First of all, no one needs to understand the finer points of economics in order to make value assessments. There is absolutely nothing invalid, unsound, or incorrect in saying “I don’t like competition.” But for some reason, you think Tracie is stupid or ignorant because she doesn’t value it like you do. Wherever that’s coming from is definitely not from academic study.

    Do you realize you are (almost) “literally” saying that Tracie is not entitled to her opinion? Tracie, like anyone, can look at the way the economy works, apply a cost/benefit analysis to it, and based on that, conclude that whatever benefits we get out of competition isn’t worth the costs. In fact, anyone who is paying attention does this fairly frequently. To the contrary, it’s not a deep understanding of economics that’s needed but rather, a sound moral system, in order to make such assessments.

    BTW. Capitalism has but one objective. To generate wealth…FULL STOP. Moral considerations must be bootstrapped since the system has no intrinsic concern beyond wealth creation. Even Adam Smith was fully aware of this and it troubled him greatly. See his “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” which lays out his many moral concerns about the amoral economic system we call capitalism. If you bother to read it, a case could be made that if Smith were alive today he would be a Bernie Standers supporter!

    Unlike you, I found Tracie’s comment refreshing and honest and not made lightly, as she rarely makes “half-cocked” comments. I’ll even go one step further and suggest that the whole “competition thing” is a conversation worth having, and perhaps many Millenials are doing so (tacitly) already. In my view, competition does not deserve “sacred cow” status.

    Or to use a microeconomic instrument, we may be able to demonstrate a downward trajectory vis-a-vis the law of diminishing returns whereby one additional util of competition is producing less than one util of benefit.

    It can be argued, cogently, that choice oversaturation is a real thing whereby excessive choice does harm to well-being. It is these kinds of calculations that can lead many toward democratic socialism, a rational response to an economic system which, by definition, is morally bankrupt. In many ways, democratic socialism can constitute the injection of moral sentiments (that concerned Adam Smith) into the capitalist system. In this context, medicare and social security, are applications of democratic socialism.

    I must say, based on your comments, I’m having difficulty believing you are a formally trained economist, as every sentence you utter seems to demonstrate otherwise. In any case, please turn down the histrionics.

  43. t90bb says

    43…when one generally says they believe in the bible…they are usually stating that they believe it as historical at least divinely inspired story telling,,,,,

    im not sure what anyone means when thye say they believe to good bits,,,,lol. Many fairy tales have some lesson or something inspiring about their message. Shall we say we believe in Humpty Dumpty??or the good bits in the story of Humpty Dumpty?

    Can you sort through the qran or the babble and find some teachings you deem worthwhile?? for sure. But you are believing in the principal it illuminates….not the “good bits”….

    And also?? wtf??

    “As far as adhering to G_d’s law vs man’s law, they are the same, you can’t separate in reality. They are both made by man (actually) and by adhering to one you adhere to the other by default.”

    LOL…there is so much wrong there I do not know where to start..lol

  44. t90bb says

    Iron you say….

    @ t90bb – No bet to hedge. LOL I have yet to see or hear any good argument for the existence of G_d/G_ds or an afterlife to date. I can see where an abstract idea can be conveyed through a cryptic and highly symbolic piece of literature or art that is being taught as literal truth, and that is erroneously interpreted and acted on by an individual (or group) which manifests that idea into reality. One example is throwing homosexuals off roof tops on behalf of a law dictated by an abstract non-extent being (G_d). Another is what happened at Jonestown or Branch Davidians. So, in a way, it becomes real.

    Im lost…WHAT becomes real???

    “in a way” something becomes real?? sure ideas are real, who said they are not?? Are you saying that when people act on ideas they attribute to something that does not exist…..that non existent thing becomes existent??

    also by directly stating that that god is an abstract, non existent being……you have crossed into hard atheism and have a burden of proof. I thought you were open minded on the position of gawd. Wasn’t that your position? (unless you are speaking of a specific God that you feel you can disprove that is)….

  45. ironchops says

    Well buddyward, I addressed the law but not the punishment. My bad.
    I see we might agree that it is/or should be unlawful to be an unruly child or a rapist. I would hope we, (you and I and the type of society we want to live in), would never do such an evil thing as that which you have described but alas, there are some that would, if they could. https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/03/asia/brunei-stoning-law-intl/index.html
    Our society does incarcerate delinquent/troubled children/teens and some affluent sex offenders buy their way out of serious consequences. https://allthatsinteresting.com/famous-acquittals Not exactly the same but there it is. https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/29/health/ending-child-marriage-in-america/index.html
    Since I currently believe there most likely is no afterlife then “forever” can only mean “the rest of your life”. So if one receives life in prison with no possibility for parole then they will be imprisoned forever, all be it not on fire, but that could be considered a form of hell.
    In all actuality, since we live in a state of “sin” (this physical form of life our consciousness resides in dies and ceases to exist) then we too live under a death penalty, even if you live a perfect life.

    t90bb, you got me, I miss spoke. I meant to say “I currently believe that god is an abstract, non existent being”.
    What I was trying to communicate above is that if an idea or voices in ones head, or some prophetic vision convinces someone to act on something it is real to them. What they do becomes real to the rest of us. We know they are mad but they don’t.

    Believe in the good or bad bits of any story that uses symbolism or metaphors describing real things such as thoughts, mental states, emotions and such. Both are real as long as the owning agent is alive. Both are, under our current understanding, a product of our brain until it stops functioning.

    WTF?…Man created G_d then worships it, what else can it be until better proof comes out. Or do you know something different?

  46. buddyward says

    @ironchops #47

    Well buddyward, I addressed the law but not the punishment. My bad.
    I see we might agree that it is/or should be unlawful to be an unruly child or a rapist. I would hope we, (you and I and the type of society we want to live in), would never do such an evil thing as that which you have described but alas, there are some that would, if they could. https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/03/asia/brunei-stoning-law-intl/index.html
    Our society does incarcerate delinquent/troubled children/teens and some affluent sex offenders buy their way out of serious consequences. https://allthatsinteresting.com/famous-acquittals Not exactly the same but there it is. https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/29/health/ending-child-marriage-in-america/index.html

    Though I would agree that there are societies out there that may still follow those laws that does not mean that everyone that follows the laws of man is following the laws of god. Incidentally, I find it interesting that you are citing a stoning law from an Islamic state as opposed to a Christian one. Do Christians or those who believe in the bible not adhere to the stoning laws?

    The unjust acquittals for crimes are the exceptions and not an indications that our laws are following those that are written in scriptures. For every acquittals of rape that you cite as an example, I bet that I can present hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who are incarcerated for that crime. Where the individuals are not set free with a simple fine and a forced marriage.

    Citing isolated incidences does not equate to us adhering to the laws of god but rather an example in the flaws of our system of justice.

    But I think the more important question here is whether or not you actually adhere to the laws of god. Do you advocate for the stoning of homosexuals? Do you agree that the consequence for raping a woman is to pay 50 shekels to the father of that woman and marrying her? Do you agree that an unruly child should be stoned to death at the edge of town? Do you agree that you are allowed to own other people as property? Do you adhere to these laws?

    Since I currently believe there most likely is no afterlife then “forever” can only mean “the rest of your life”. So if one receives life in prison with no possibility for parole then they will be imprisoned forever, all be it not on fire, but that could be considered a form of hell.

    Then you are in contradiction to the bible that you believe in.

    In all actuality, since we live in a state of “sin” (this physical form of life our consciousness resides in dies and ceases to exist) then we too live under a death penalty, even if you live a perfect life.

    Well you will first have to demonstrate that we are actually live in a state of “sin”. That you have demonstrate that “sin” is a part of reality. Equivocating the natural cycle of life and death to a death penalty is a bit of a stretch. For one, the word penalty is a punishment for breaking the law or rule. Having to die without a conviction for breaking the laws is not a penalty.

  47. t90bb says

    Iron….u say…

    WTF?…Man created G_d then worships it, what else can it be until better proof comes out. Or do you know something different?

    Again I don’t follow,,,,what else can what be?

    I think we mostly agree on everything honestly, we just state it differently. Love ya bud

  48. t90bb says

    wait wait wait…….I just read your last post more carefully as well as buddys response. Did you actually just say that since their is a life cycle that we all live under a death penalty?? LOL….thereby somehow justifying the death or killing due to religious law?? or at least drawing a parallel?

    Next your gonna say that we are all slaves in some way or another…therefore minimizing the effects of slavery as outlined in holy text…..

    Im not really sure what you are trying to say to be honest…..

  49. t90bb says

    if we are all living under a death penalty……who or what is penalizing us and for what exactly…..

    surely there is a life cycle…..but how do you come to see death as a penalty???

  50. David Enos says

    Hi Tracie,

    Here’s a meaningless serendipity you might want to use as an example sometime. On the show you & Clare mentioned a word I didn’t quite catch (dipiddy? depeditty?), which I think was meant to refer to a logical formulation, or form of speech. So of course, I googled and immediately got side tracked on the etymology of ‘Serendip’, which ends up at the country of Sri Lanka.

    And just as I was typing “Sri Lanka” into google maps, you said “Sri Lanka” and made your speech about the seriousness of the current situation there.

    This coincidence was striking – though the feeling faded immediately since it does not resonate with any of my superstitions. But I could see how it would seem like a significant moment if I had already had a belief that was triggered by this specific event. Also, bonus points because the serendipity involved the word ‘serendipity’. (as if the universe was underlining the message :).

    So what word did you and Clare actually mean? Thanks for a great show!

  51. buddyward says

    @David Enos

    Dipiddy is a term used to describe statements that sounds profound and meaningful but aren’t. Depak Chopra does this a lot.

  52. denos says

    Hi Tracie,

    Here’s a trivial coincidence from this show, that’s a good example of the meaninglessness of arguments from synchronicity:

    You and Clare used a word I didn’t quite catch (depiddity? dipedenty?), I believe in reference to a logical formulation or a form of speech. Of course I googled and quickly got diverted by the etymology of ‘serendipity’ – which eventually gets you to the Persian/Sanskrit names for Sri Lanka.

    And I was entering ‘Sri Lanka’ into google maps, exactly as you said “Sri Lanka” and made your statements about the seriousness of the current religious conflicts there.

    The coincidence was striking – thought the feeling immediately faded as I realized there was no real connection to the events. But it was clear that if I had superstitious beliefs they would have been triggered by the synchronicity. With bonus points because the serendipity was for the word ‘serendipity’ itself. (Apparently the universe underlines the important bits – but doesn’t explain them so you can attach whatever meaning you already prefer).

    So what was the word you originally meant? Thanks for another great show!

  53. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @denos #53 and #55
    Looks like your post got caught up in moderation so you tried to re-post under another name. No big deal, just choose one form now on so it’s easier for everyone here to follow your conversations. I don’t remember exactly what part you’re talking about but I suspect the word was “deepity”. Check out its page on RationalWiki for a good breakdown of where it comes from (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Deepity).

  54. ironchops says

    @49, 50,51 & 52 – I am not a believer. I am feebly try to see these metaphors through a believers eyes, so to speak. buddyward asked if we do the terrible punishments and I said no, but some people do act out on those prescribed punishments, just not here in the US. I showed Islamic examples because I didn’t readily find any Christian ones although if the third temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt the Jewish will reinstate the laws in Deuteronomy and Leviticus and then they might carry out those punishments along with animal sacrifice.
    For the record, I do not like violence and I believe that if some G_d want’s someone dead then it needs to bring it’s ass down here and carry out their own killing.
    T90bb – That’s just my take on what believers think. You will have to ask them for their specific beliefs. I think you already know that though. Really not trying to be like “k” or “o” and post 300 times of nonsense. Love you too!! It’s been fun posting. I haven’t posted for a while but have been wading through the water of BS posts by the trolls here lately.
    Hi EL and MS! I’m paying attention to what you post. I agree 90% of the time.

  55. buddyward says

    I am not a believer. I am feebly try to see these metaphors through a believers eyes, so to speak. buddyward asked if we do the terrible punishments and I said no, but some people do act out on those prescribed punishments, just not here in the US. I showed Islamic examples because I didn’t readily find any Christian ones although if the third temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt the Jewish will reinstate the laws in Deuteronomy and Leviticus and then they might carry out those punishments along with animal sacrifice.
    For the record, I do not like violence and I believe that if some G_d want’s someone dead then it needs to bring it’s ass down here and carry out their own killing.

    I am glad to hear that you are non-violent and would prefer that god does his own dirty work. I too am not violent but would rather god(if it exists and is accurately described in the bible) stay away.

    Adhering to a law means to follow in its practice. And your statement:

    @#43

    They are both made by man (actually) and by adhering to one you adhere to the other by default.

    Does not seem to be consistent with your most recent statement.

  56. Lamont Cranston says

    heicart says in #39

    And yet there are societies on the globe that don’t have economic competition, and they have managed to survive quite well for literally thousands of years and with pretty high metrics of overall happiness with their quality of life. They work very little, enjoy more leisure time than industrialized societies, and are pretty egalitarian. They don’t have or use “money.” They don’t know what that even is. My point is that if a society wants to use a monetary system or a competitive system, they CAN, but they need to be fair about it.

    I wonder if you could point me in the direction of some kind of list of the countries you are talking about. I am not having any luck finding them.

    The closest I came was a documentary about “happiness” which dealt with the relative happiness of people in different societies. Interestingly enough the people that were happiest had virtually nothing. Lived in very poor housing even by American poverty standards. The kids had sticks they used to play in the dirt because that’s about all there was. The death at child birth or in the first couple of years thereafter was quite high so they tended to have a lot of kids (that tends to go along with high death rates for children). Yet they were happy. Their standard for what made them happy was quite low. But still they were happy.

    Of course arguably these happy people had done virtually nothing to increase the well being of mankind in general. They had not harmed mankind in general either. From a modern perspective they were approximately living by the standards of maybe the 12th century (I think I’m being generous here), which is just fine if that is the century you are living in. I don’t think it is something I care to do however.

    My point is, that every economic system comes with a price. There really is no free lunch. I do agree that we should do everything we can to make economic systems fair, The difficulty is in arriving at what people think is fair.
    Now I am not a fan of the Bible, but in biblical times it was said that if a man does not work he should not eat. Is that fair? There is a case to be made for that although it is a pretty brutal system. At least the person who is not producing is only hurting himself and not others. I am not saying I agree with that, but I understand that way of living in ancient times.

    Almost everything has its place. Even competition. Yet competition can be horribly misused as well as in the case you cited at your work. But in reality competition drives efficiency, creativity and innovation. Just about everything we use in our daily life has come about through competition and without that life around here would be very different and not necessarily better. Competition is why you have a cell phone, and why it can do all the things it can do as fast and as relatively inexpensively as it does. Without competition that capability would still take a machine the size of a warehouse and there would only be a handful of them in the whole country if we even managed to progress that far.

    Quite literally I am alive today because of competition. Without it I would have died over 5 years ago. That was good for my well being, but I suppose it could be argued whether that was good for the well being of mankind.

    Extremes of anything generally don’t work well. Extreme capitalism is not an answer, but neither is extreme socialism. It takes a mixture. The United States was arguably more capitalistic in the past and now has a lot of socialized programs to help correct for the holes that capitalism can create. Sweden is often touted as a very successful socialistic system but that’s not the whole story there either. Sweden used to be quite capitalistic and by choice went deep into socialism territory. Yet in recent years that too has been dialed back. They had to do this because they could see the writing on the wall telling them if they didn’t change some things they were going to go broke. They still have a number of socialized safety nets, but they are not the country that many claim them to be.

    I think the bottom line here is that any system will have shortcomings. Capitalism has shortcomings, Socialism has shortcomings, Communism has shortcomings, and even mixtures of all of the above will have shortcomings. This is because there is never any perfect system where no one ever gets overlooked. Of course that is a nice goal and one we should try for, but one which is presently beyond our ability to achieve. In the mean time I think it is best to try to avoid the simplistic ideas of any of these (including competition) being “bad” but all having their their place in trying to achieve that goal.

    Tagging ideas or concepts as “good” or “bad” is the kind of black and white thinking (binary if you will) that only serves to divide people rather than helping us make real progress.

    In the short time I have had I may not have made my point clearly, but I have to go so let the chips fall where they may.

    Lamont Cranston

  57. StonedRanger says

    It is neither dipiddy or depeditty The word you are looking for is Deepity. A deepity is a proposition that seems to be profound because it is actually logically ill-formed. It has (at least) two readings and balances precariously between them. On one reading it is true but trivial. And on another reading it is false, but would be earth-shattering if true.

  58. Honey Tone says

    Lamont Cranston @ #60:

    I can’t speak for Tracie & Clare but they referred to “societies”, not countries. I assume they mean aboriginal groups around the world, such as various tribes in the Amazon region, Aborigines in Australia, Native American tribes, and the peoples of the Pacific Islands.

    Whatever they meant, can we keep this thread from devolving into an Econ 101 slap fest? There probably has never been a purely socialist or purely communist or purely capitalist system anywhere, and there likely will never be without a radical change in human beings. We’ll just be arguing over shades of grey, and none of it will have anything to do with atheism.

  59. Honey Tone says

    Ok, ironchops, I’ll bite: since you say you’re not a believer, what’s the point of using “G_d” when writing references to the guy in the sky that most theists think they’re talking about? Reminds me of some of my Jewish friends who claim to be secular but can’t shake that particular bit of childhood religious training.

  60. says

    Honey Tone you beat me to it. I was just about to ask ironchops what was going on with G_d?
    The capital G means it is a proper noun in ironchops mind. Does ironchops think G_d is real but won’t notice his/her posts because of the underscore?

  61. Lamont Cranston says

    Honey Tone says in #63

    Whatever they meant, can we keep this thread from devolving into an Econ 101 slap fest?

    I completely agree. I only responded because it WAS part of the show and and I had a reaction to both that and the additional comments posted here by Tracie.

    To my way of thinking, if a subject is not really pertinent to atheism it really might be best to not have it be part of the show in the first place, then it should not be here either (i.e., being off-topic). Otherwise you get the impression that an opinion expressed on the show is something that atheist agree about for some unknown reason. Otherwise if it is something we all don’t see the same way, it’s probably going to get discussed here as well.

    To my way of thinking economics is not pertinent to a lack of belief in a god and it would be best not to confuse the situation.

    Once a host or co-host says something on the show it would seem to make it on-topic for further discussion here. It has always seemed to me that it’s best too close the barn door before the horse has escaped.

    I see how things like abortion, evolution, gender and sex issues relate to atheism because views on those can be informed by religious beliefs. I don’t get the connection between economics and religion either. Maybe I am missing something.
    .
    Perhaps if a host feels the need to express something they realize is not connected with disbelief in a God just making the point that this has nothing to do with atheism before doing so might be a good idea. Does that make sense?

    If it were me, as soon as the topic of economics came up I would have been asking what this has to do with atheism. Otherwise you get off in the weeds rather quickly. Tracie and some of the other hosts kind already do this with regard to some of the physics stuff.

    Lamont Cranston

  62. ironchops says

    @ buddyward – As long as people make up shit and then believe it you’ll have that. If I were to say god (Honey Tone & Jeanette) commands me not to kill, steal, etc. and President tRrump were to tell me it is unlawful to kill, steal, etc. and I figured out for myself it’s not cool to kill, steal, etc. and I follow what tRump said then by default I follow the others. Over time laws and punishments have changed but the old book needs to be revised/updated however tradition won’t allow it. It will surly fade away in time. I see where the tiny country Brunei has enacted the 3rd stage of sharia law making it the norm in that country to stone to death certain people.

    @ Honey Tone & Jeanette – Honey Tone made a fair assessment. I still attend church (have most all my life) and some of my SS class mates read this blog. I’m trying to be respectful to my friends. I have told some of them I am no longer a believer and still find myself a bit attached to traditions. They are my friends. Indoctrination is hard to let go of completely as if it were a habit. I do not believe it like I use too (real).

  63. John David Balla says

    Since it is true that atheism only concerns itself with one question, and as such, is not a worldview, that makes the topic very narrow. But many want to know what atheists believe about other subjects, and often the hosts understand this and are careful to draw distinctions. In fact, that’s when Tracie made her “I don’t like competition” comment, it expressed a moral sentiment to a basic tenet of capitalism but as a human being who happens to be an atheist.

    Perhaps Sister Simone Campbell put it most famously when she said, “budgets are moral documents.” And the last time I checked, that’s what makes the topic relevant, especially when theists are sincerely interested in knowing how moral sentiments affect the lives and decisions of all people. Recall that many theists believe that morals are impossible without the oversight of a theocratic supervisor. So Tracie’s little comment on competition is but a demonstration on how the moral faculty of a nonbeliever function. It’s sort of a big deal to discuss it.

    Based on the many theist callers I’ve watched over years, it’s impossible to decouple the moral question from the god question. Yet I admit that many don’t look at economics in a moral context despite the fact that values can’t be separated from economics either. That’s where Tracie’s comment actually set the table nicely for both ambiguities to pivot to or from. And for what it’s worth, I’ve taken Econ 101 and it had very little to do with any moral discussion outside the “guns versus butter” dilemma which was barely a footnote to the class itself.

  64. buddyward says

    @ironchops #66

    As long as people make up shit and then believe it you’ll have that. If I were to say god (Honey Tone & Jeanette) commands me not to kill, steal, etc. and President tRrump were to tell me it is unlawful to kill, steal, etc. and I figured out for myself it’s not cool to kill, steal, etc. and I follow what tRump said then by default I follow the others. Over time laws and punishments have changed but the old book needs to be revised/updated however tradition won’t allow it. It will surly fade away in time. I see where the tiny country Brunei has enacted the 3rd stage of sharia law making it the norm in that country to stone to death certain people.

    Are you saying that since we have laws that are similar to that written in the bible, we are therefore following god’s laws? How do you know that the laws in the bible are indeed god’s law and not simply written by man and claimed to be god’s? What about the laws that are in the bible but are not in the current laws of man? Do you or do you not adhere to those laws?

  65. ironchops says

    @ my buddy buddyward –

    Yes, how can you follow on one without following the other?

    I said in post 43 “As far as adhering to G_d’s law vs man’s law, they are the same, you can’t separate in reality. They are both made by man (actually) and by adhering to one you adhere to the other by default.”

    I don’t count those, they make little since to me. If it is about food preparation it might be considered good practice but I really just don’t care too much about those.

    Not usually unless they seem legit these days. It’s not that I am really following those laws but if I do the same thing in practice they become one in the same, sorta kinda.

  66. Honey Tone says

    ironchops @ 66:

    …I still attend church (have most all my life) and some of my SS class mates read this blog. I’m trying to be respectful to my friends. I have told some of them I am no longer a believer and still find myself a bit attached to traditions. They are my friends. Indoctrination is hard to let go of completely as if it were a habit. I do not believe it like I use too (real).

    You know, coming after my comment about Jews, it was eyebrow raising to see you refer to your “SS class mates” in your post. After a little time on Abbreviation.com I’m going to assume you meant “Sunday School.” I never had such an experience: being a Catholic kid in a Catholic school, we had religious indoctrination *every* damn day.

    I get that you might not want to come out as atheist to everybody at a particular time. But, it might be a good idea to have an alias username until you’re ready.

    BTW: I’ve never understood this weirdness about writing the name of a gawd. Whatever symbol(s) you use become its “name” because it serves the purpose of identifying the thing. How can it possibly make a difference whether you spell out it out, abbreviate it or use some upper case descriptor (e.g., the Almighty, the Everlasting)? The writer and the reader both know what’s being discussed. Isn’t the gawd-thing smart enough to figure it out? If it is, is it so juvenile it can be dissuaded from being pissed about *possible* disrespect just because the writer used only 2 letter symbols for its name instead of 3?

    Yeah, that’s a thing in which I want to believe.

  67. ironchops says

    @ Honey Tone – Jews….SS, I didn’t see that when I was writing it. OOPS! LOL
    I use ironchops instead of my name up here. That’s an alias ain’t it? Only a very few know I am a non-believer and only one or two read this blog. We discuss it in Sunday school but not in a bad way, we discuss the evidence and the lack there of. Matt makes good points and at least we are listening. What others take away from it is there business. One of my friend will at least admit it’s not real but both of us still like our church and Sunday school. It’s more social than spiritual for us.
    From now on and just for you we will call god “SHIT” although shit will say it was here first and get all offended. Of course since we don’t believe SHIT exists it can’t possibly be offended now can it. Unless it folds in from whatever dimension it comes from (if there is such a thing) and present convincing evidence that it is a SHIT and not just some other being.

  68. buddyward says

    @ironchops

    Yes, how can you follow on one without following the other?

    I said in post 43 “As far as adhering to G_d’s law vs man’s law, they are the same, you can’t separate in reality. They are both made by man (actually) and by adhering to one you adhere to the other by default.”

    You keep referring to the law as god’s law and I am wondering why. What makes you believe that those are god’s laws?

    I don’t count those, they make little since to me. If it is about food preparation it might be considered good practice but I really just don’t care too much about those.

    I am assuming that you are referring to the other laws in the bible that is not currently part of man’s laws. If this is the case, then you are cherry picking which laws to adhere to. Is that the case?

    Not usually unless they seem legit these days. It’s not that I am really following those laws but if I do the same thing in practice they become one in the same, sorta kinda.

    So if I understand correctly, you are NOT adhering to all of god’s laws, you are choosing that ones that makes sense to you and only follow those, is that correct?

  69. t90bb says

    iron….

    so I assume at church and sunday school you act as if……? you actually believe????

  70. cameron says

    @ SkyCaptain,

    I had a watch of the video linked with baby tumbling et al. Clearly a tounge in cheek go at ridiculous arguments Now I happen to be a pilot and so I know a little about aerodynamics and the thing I noticed particularly was my brain was easily able to refute the numerous aerodynamic assertions made. My point would be any peer review process should pick up any such errors with ease. Desmond Morris if he is being criticized should be criticized if he ASSERTS his hypothesis as FACT, my point is he doesn’t he suggests possible explanations, in the same manner that physicists suggest competing models, they can’t all be right clearly. So my position is I don’t understand the derision if someone researches an idea, and proposes a solution and then subjects themselves to review or criticism. I am not asserting he is right, I read his books and realized there were other potential reasons that might explain this evolution and to be fair so does he, he does not assert this as fact he suggests there are some interesting hypothesis. Providing this speculation is not presented as settled science I see no issue with him or anyone else doing so. If people think the ideas are ridiculous publish a paper refuting it, present an alternative hypothesis the truth will out. But if we don’t think even wild speculation is part of science we are kidding ourselves, we are curious creatures let the process happen, engage with willingness and good humor .

    Consider Issac Newton, Here was a man who made the statement “I make no hypotheses!”. What did he mean? This man was by all accounts arrogant, argumentative and over bearing and on the face his statement sounds like assertion, it sounds like “I make no pronouncement that is incorrect”. Here was a man experimenting with Alchemy, numerology, fanatical religious notions verging on conspiracy theory levels of prescribing meaning where none was intended, but he seems to suggest “I only assert what is true!”. However the way I read it is this “I only make a public assertion when I can back up what I say”. So here we have two sides to the scientific personality clearly there was in that man a great deal of contradiction. I think the same can be said of science as a whole also. There is a great deal of speculation going on, I personally would rather see it out and openly discussed. Newton discovered calculus and kept it secret only to complain that Leibniz had somehow stolen his discovery. Now of the two Leibniz straight away published his work and helped maths along in the process. So I don’t find the idea that speculation is published wrong or embarrassing, only if it asserts to be more than that.

    Desmond Morris to my knowledge has never suggested this is anything other than speculation as such I do not understand criticism and derision anymore than I would accept that criticizing string theorists who have not yet established their hypothesis is fact. Anyone who suggested their speculation is more than that fair enough, this doesn’t strike me as a good example of Desmond Morris at all. I know most of what he suggests is speculation because he presents it as such.

  71. cameron says

    @indianajones

    “Desmond Morris does not make predictions in this same way.”

    Yes he does. Take his suggestion (or reporting of the suggestion – can’t remember if this was his idea or reporting on someone elses) that female orgasm may have been needed to help improve fertility. His suggestion was that as females orgamsiing had been filmed internally using a glass dildo with a camera inserted and the cervix was observed to be spasming into the sperm and dabbing into it, it was speculated that a female orgasming may increase chances of conception.

    This is a testable hypothesis is it not, it may in fact be wrong but we could certainly run a trail on women who orgasm regularly and those who don’t ever and study their comparative fertility rates can we not? There may in fact be no significant difference but I don’t see how the speculation is wrong. What I am hearing is a criticism without substance. Why is it wrong for someone to speculate, what sin has he committed? Curiosity or publishing his curiousity.

  72. cameron says

    @ Helicart

    “Eating has an evolutionary advantage–and we see it demonstrated as a human/species universal. But asking what the evolutionary advantage is to eating toasted marshmallows is a bit “out there.””

    Yes that would, he has suggested that cooking of meat may have been (note I said he has suggested it MAY HAVE BEEN) important in allowing us to obtain more nutrients to our food. Is this an unreasonable speculation. Most of his are of this order. Would people who cook their meat and vegetables have an evolutionary advantage over those that don’t. Again I’d suggest this is a perfectly reasonable speculation and can be tested, cook some food and see how many nutrients are available for digestion, you can run the experiment. This is a reasonable speculation – not proof, but a reasonable speculation. As long as it isn’t presented as proof what’s the issue?

  73. cameron says

    @Helicart
    “>The greater issue I had with the monogamy models included claims it benefited women. Historic records would indicate it treated women like property and imposed very harsh and often deadly sentences on women for infidelity. These restrictions were often not as harshly imposed on men, even when men were also subjected to them under law. Women also traditionally had very little influence in society to change laws or conventions around how any of this worked–so it was a purely male-imposed model. I don’t think that is unfair to state. Explaining how this was an advantage for women is about like suggesting that slavery has evolutionary advantages, and then delving into how great it was for slaves and all the benefits slaves derived from it.”

    This is true but evolution doesn’t have to care if it is good for individuals it only cares if the next generation is bred. Take rape (please), rape is clearly nasty anti-social bad for the victims etc. But clearly it can lead to you getting your genes into the next generation. There is a marsupial species in Australia called Anticinus (not sure on the spelling). When the males become fertile they go on a massive frenetic sex spree they jump on a rape every female they can find for about 2 weeks they don’t eat they burn up every ounce of fat in their little bodies and at the end of this they simply die. Not nice for the female anticinus or the male but it does push along the next generation so you can argue for it as a process of natural selection.

    regards

  74. Honey Tone says

    ironchops @ #72:

    From now on and just for you we will call god “SHIT” …

    Hey, don’t put this on me. I don’t care what you call the god(s) you and your friends used to/might still believe in. I just want to know why.

    So… you really don’t believe that Shit?

  75. Lamont Cranston says

    John David Balla says in #67

    Perhaps Sister Simone Campbell put it most famously when she said, “budgets are moral documents.” And the last time I checked, that’s what makes the topic relevant, especially when theists are sincerely interested in knowing how moral sentiments affect the lives and decisions of all people. …

    Based on the many theist callers I’ve watched over years, it’s impossible to decouple the moral question from the god question. Yet I admit that many don’t look at economics in a moral context despite the fact that values can’t be separated from economics either.

    All good points and well put, though I don’t completely agree that “budgets are moral documents.” Instead, I think budgets are inevitably compromises that can potentially have moral implications. People’s judgements about the morality of a budget will tend to be based upon the focus of their particular points of interest and their perspective on timing.

    Let’s deal with an example from a completely business perspective to avoid any political biases. Lets assume a company is setting up a budget and part of that budget involves investment in research. Let’s also assume the company has some form of profit sharing with its employees so as profits go up the employees get some benefit in their paychecks.

    If the company keeps the investment in research low they have higher profits and the employees get more as well. Is this the most moral thing to do? It seems so since it potentially is increasing the well being of the company and the employee through increased profit. However, this can actually be the wrong decision if not all factors (variables) are taken into account. I have seen companies do essentially what I have described and end up bankrupt and the employees out of jobs completely in less then 5 years. Ultimately the most moral thing to do would have been to increase the research budget, reduce the level of profits (thereby reducing the short term well being) to increase the longevity of the company, the jobs and the long term well being. This would have been a compromise.

    The same can be said of extremes of capitalism or socialism. Both can appear to be great ideas in the short term while resulting in long term catastrophe if one fails to take into account all of the variables. I find that taking all the variables into account tends to be beyond the capability of many people. It’s almost like trying to forecast the weather.

    Considering capitalism to be just bad or good, or considering socialism to be just bad or good is a matter of falling into the trap of binary absolutism that we are finally beginning to understand doesn’t really work in a lot of areas. It may be best to view capitalism like a spectrum as also with socialism. I have yet to see extremism anywhere result in anything other than inevitable failure. If you have an example of extremism resulting in unmitigated long term success I honestly would be interested in hearing about it. I spent some time thinking about this and couldn’t come up with one. Maybe I’m just to dumb to see it. Sometimes my wife gets on me for not being able to see something that is right in front of me, but I think that’s just a guy thing 🙂

    Also, I really do want to let you know that I appreciate your comments and the thought you have put into them. I see how people can find it interesting how an atheist might view economics from a moral perspective. Unfortunately there may be so much political bias to views on economics that the religious aspects may be overwhelmed by the politics.

    Lamont Cranston

  76. paxoll says

    Cameron scientists that spend their time speculating and not making concrete hypothesis are not really scientists, and criticizing them making a bunch of speculation that is not being tested, or is not testable is completely reasonable. The vast majority of people are scientifically illiterate and anyone who has any public authority (deserved or not) who makes wild speculation into the public sphere does nothing but contribute to false beliefs in those that are scientifically illiterate.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21210957

    People educated in the topics (female orgasm along with evolution), should recognize that sex with the woman on her back allowing sperm to pool is not how humans have had sex for an evolutionary significant time period. That the evolution of the orgasm and nerve bundles as well as their positions are going to vastly predate some muscular contractions requiring specific body orientation. The research, poorly done, and pointing to this being wrong is a waste of time and energy, just like what we have had to do with vaccinations for the past 15 years, proving that an poorly constructed scientific speculation is wrong.

  77. indianajones says

    @77 etc You have it precisely backwards. Female orgasms, in your example, were observed and only after that did DM attempt to explain why. A Post Hoc rationalization. As opposed to predicted then observed, or not, in my examples. He observes then, I think cack-handedly, attempts to explain with speculation Post Hoc.. Also, Antechinus.

  78. indianajones says

    @67 and 81 Between the ages of 2 and 3 years old or so, most people learn that gravity is not their friend. This does not imply that paediatricians need, professionally, an intimate knowledge of Newtons Laws of Motion. Economics has sweet FA to do with atheism in this exact same way.

  79. John David Balla says

    @Lamont Cranston #81
    First of all, I’d like to know more about the irrelevant-to-this-thread Lamont Cranston Band.

    Second, your hypothetical is almost impossible to respond to properly. And your attempt to remove bias left you assuming that the workers would behave irrationally by foregoing long-term benefits for short-term ones. Econs assume the exact opposite, that everyone is rational (a big problem because it’s demonstrably wrong) and will opt for long-term benefits at the expense of short-term sacrifices. Both examples demonstrate how bias can’t even be removed from hypotheticals. Reality would look a lot more like a mix of the two. But it is a good exercise to go through after all because it shows we also can’t decouple reason from moral decision-making. At the end of the day, we do presuppose reason as a goal as much as we do wellbeing.

    True enough. Budgets are compromises which have moral consequences. Notice how the same is true when confronting moral dilemmas, including thought experiments. The dilemmas are just that because we are forced to choose between the lesser harm. In other words, a compromise. Indeed moral assessments are much messier than Matt portrays on AXP. Sam Harris less so but I’ve yet to see someone really go into the weeds with well-being, probably because there is much-unfinished work there.

    John

  80. ironchops says

    @ buddyward
    “You keep referring to the law as god’s law and I am wondering why. What makes you believe that those are god’s laws?”

    As I have said (not clearly enough) is that I currently believe all laws, rules, codes and ethics are manmade. Natural laws, like in math, sciences, gravity and physics are there weather humans are alive or not. God’s (SHIT’s) laws are made by man and falsely/ dishonestly taught as laws from a most likely non-existent all powerful being we(man) named god.

    “I am assuming that you are referring to the other laws in the bible that is not currently part of man’s laws. If this is the case, then you are cherry picking which laws to adhere to. Is that the case?”
    “So if I understand correctly, you are NOT adhering to all of god’s laws, you are choosing that ones that makes sense to you and only follow those, is that correct?”

    I will attempt to roll these into one answer:

    Yes, but you are getting that a little backwards.
    In my view I am live the best I can in accordance with the laws of the people, society and country I reside in (man’s laws)(our laws). I am holding myself responsible to the people, society and country I live in. I respect nature as best I can. I dislike abuse. It just so happens that most of those laws, rules, codes and ethics are presented in all sorts of other cultures and falsely/dishonestly presented as laws, rules, codes and ethics handed down by some god or teapot or spaghetti monster or deity or whatever. If I am following man’s laws I will be following the others anyway. Beyond that I am not obligated to follow any rules that are not current man’s rules because I don’t see them as pertinent to anything real. Not cherry picking any more than you are and by living by man’s laws you too are living by the others by default.

    @ T90bb – “so I assume at church and Sunday school you act as if……? you actually believe????”

    I admire your candor. Yes. When in Rome…
    Go ahead and call me a hypocrite. Go ahead and call me dishonest. It’s true. For now, that’s the way it will stay. I did sit down with my pastor and explain my changed position several years ago. He suggested an atheist group in my area and I meet up with this group every couple of months or so. They are a fun group. We go do all sorts of fun stuff. I tried a couple others but one was too combative, almost militant, and the other was more like an LGBT hookup group/meat market. I just didn’t fit in so well with that group.

    @ Honey Tone
    “Hey, don’t put this on me. I don’t care what you call the god(s) you and your friends used to/might still believe in. I just want to know why.
    So… you really don’t believe that Shit?”

    It’s on me, not you.
    I currently do not believe the shit is real. I am waiting, maybe even looking for the evidence. As to the why? I usually write G_d out of habit and in an effort to be respectful to those believers (my friends) that might read it. Not that the most likely non-existent SHIT/god or whatever would be offended. I feel better saying to a theist “your god is not real” as opposed to saying “your F&^king piece of S$%T hole GAWD is not real”. If some atheists want to beat theists down into a fetal position go ahead, that’s on them. I just think the conversation shuts down too quickly once polarized. I’ll try this for now. Richard Dawkins was nice at first but he has gotten nasty as of late. Whatever. It is his prerogative. I am sure he gets better results now.

  81. buddyward says

    @ironchops

    As I have said (not clearly enough) is that I currently believe all laws, rules, codes and ethics are manmade. Natural laws, like in math, sciences, gravity and physics are there weather humans are alive or not. God’s (SHIT’s) laws are made by man and falsely/ dishonestly taught as laws from a most likely non-existent all powerful being we(man) named god.

    The reason you have not made it clear is because you are not answering the question. Why refer to them as god’s laws?

    I will attempt to roll these into one answer:

    Yes, but you are getting that a little backwards.
    In my view I am live the best I can in accordance with the laws of the people, society and country I reside in (man’s laws)(our laws). I am holding myself responsible to the people, society and country I live in. I respect nature as best I can. I dislike abuse. It just so happens that most of those laws, rules, codes and ethics are presented in all sorts of other cultures and falsely/dishonestly presented as laws, rules, codes and ethics handed down by some god or teapot or spaghetti monster or deity or whatever. If I am following man’s laws I will be following the others anyway. Beyond that I am not obligated to follow any rules that are not current man’s rules because I don’t see them as pertinent to anything real.

    If you believe that these laws are not god’s laws, then why not just refer to them as man’s laws?

    Not cherry picking any more than you are and by living by man’s laws you too are living by the others by default.

    Please tell me which law from the set of laws where I live am I cherry picking or perhaps more importantly which ones am I ignoring and considering as not laws.

  82. ironchops says

    @t90bb – I have a couple of questions:
    You said “fictional characters do not exist or manifest in reality…..only in the mind…….they are concepts of the mind that do not exist in reality as best we know”.

    Question: When an actor (lets say Ed O’Neill) plays/animates Al Bundy then is Al Bundy temporarily real?
    Question: If, when Ed is in character as AL and goes and hurts someone with his sexist language (a real person watching who has no sense of hummer) then is the pain/insult/offence any less real?

  83. says

    Greetings,

    This message is for
    Jonathon from Casa Grande.
    Please reach out to us,
    your friendly neighborhood Atheist Community,
    and we will be more than happy to discuss any questions you may have.

    The Casa Grande Atheist Community of Arizona is a group for atheists in Casa Grande, AZ and
    the close surrounding communities to not feel alone in the sea of religious nonsense that engulfs us.

    We are here for you.

  84. ironchops says

    buddyward, I answered the best I can. I just don’t communicate well enough I guess. Here is my last try. ALL LAWS ARE MAN MADE. Some people say the laws in the book of metaphors (aka the bable) are gods laws. I however currently do not agree.

    I’m done here. If the question is not answered to your satisfaction then I apologize. I stop here.

    Thanks for responding.

  85. buddyward says

    @ironchops

    buddyward, I answered the best I can. I just don’t communicate well enough I guess. Here is my last try. ALL LAWS ARE MAN MADE. Some people say the laws in the book of metaphors (aka the bable) are gods laws. I however currently do not agree.

    I’m done here. If the question is not answered to your satisfaction then I apologize. I stop here.

    Thanks for responding.

    Are you therefore retracting that we are following god’s laws?

  86. Honey Tone says

    ironchops #86

    I’m not following you, so try this: why is it that writing “God” would be upsetting to your friends but “G_d” would not be? What rationale backs up that one-letter distinction?

  87. ironchops says

    Honey Tone – I answered that in post 86 when I said “I usually write G_d out of habit”. I just saw it that way in the bible along time ago and liked it. I liked it for stupid reasons. Now it’s just a vestigial habit I do without thinking. It was written in the bible like that because that name was considered unspeakable and would be said in vain. That’s the way I understood it until I came to reason. No rational, just stupid. I won’t do that up here anymore.

  88. Lamont Cranston says

    John David Balla says in #85

    First of all, I’d like to know more about the irrelevant-to-this-thread Lamont Cranston Band.

    Sorry, I actually don’t know anything about the Lamont Cranston Band, other than that they exist. I’m just “The Shadow” 😉 It’s a long story and off-topic.

    Second, your hypothetical is almost impossible to respond to properly. And your attempt to remove bias left you assuming that the workers would behave irrationally by foregoing long-term benefits for short-term ones. Econs assume the exact opposite, that everyone is rational (a big problem because it’s demonstrably wrong) and will opt for long-term benefits at the expense of short-term sacrifices.

    I don’t see it so much as irrational behavior as it is shortsightedness. It’s not irrational to seek immediate benefit, but it is short sighted to not realize there can be a negative long term consequence to a short term benefit that can be inescapable. People do this all the time. You just have to watch all the people following 50 feet behind the car in front of them at 75 mph everyday on the freeway to realize how high the percentage of short sighted people are. It’s the same with people who live beyond their means without considering what happens when the money runs out (yes, this is also irrational).

    To bring this back more into on-topic territory; It’s kind of like the people who don’t consider the full implications of their belief in a god that can’t be proven to actually exist. They buy into something (if I drive closer to the car ahead I will get there faster, see the trees – there must be a God) where they don’t fully understand the full scope of what they are doing nor the potential for harm that it can cause (driving too close to the car in front of me can be seriously detrimental to myself and others, the God I believe in tells me to treat certain people badly, so I should do that). I know this is simplistic, but my point is that many and perhaps most people have trouble thinking beyond the end of their nose. We can see that as irrational, while they “rationalize” it as, “This has always worked for me before.”

    Yes, these people are being irrational, but not knowingly irrational. Rather they are being unknowingly irrational because they think they have evidence for their beliefs but don’t understand that their evidence is really not evidence as a result of their shortsightedness.

    The dilemmas are just that because we are forced to choose between the lesser harm. In other words, a compromise. Indeed moral assessments are much messier than Matt portrays on AXP. Sam Harris less so but I’ve yet to see someone really go into the weeds with well-being, probably because there is much-unfinished work there.

    I think the messier assessments would happen a lot when trying to consider long term versus short term implications of a decision. For example, if you see someone is in some kind of non-life threatening trouble, should you bail them out (assuming you can do so), or should you just provide enough assistance so that they can bail themselves out. I know, details are everything, but bear with me. What is the most moral thing to do? The immediate bail out certainly increases well-being. However, inadvertently it can engender a tendency to form a dependence on being bailed out. If, however, you just provide enough of a safety net to let them get themselves out of trouble they may learn how to cope with a problem and are then better able to help themselves in the future. Of course you can’t be sure this will play out ever again in the future and in the mean time the person has to endure some serious difficulties.

    I think a lot of people look at situations like this from the short term perspective and go for the bail out. Then they are surprised to learn that the problem reoccurs almost immediately and necessitates another bail out.

    Choosing the more moral course can indeed be more messy than it is usually portrayed. Ask any person who is struggling with a form of addictive behavior. They have been conditioned to depend on some form of short term bail out (from people, drugs, alcohol, money, whatever).

    For religious people, one of the short term bail-outs they depend upon is prayer (Something terrible has happened, well I’ll pray about it, there I’ve done what I can now I can go on my merry way and let God take care of it). The thought of rolling up their sleeves, getting in the dirt and actually helping never occurs to them. What they have done is arguably no better than the junkie who shoots up to feel better rather than doing the work to actually get better.

    But I have drifted off-topic again. Sorry. What was the topic anyway? Oh yeah, the morality of economics from an atheist perspective. Yeah, it’s messy. On the upside this will probably be my last post for the week, so I won’t clutter up this thread any further (and the crowd goes wild).

    Once again you have made very good points and I have enjoyed the discussion. Thank you.

    We will now return you to your regular program that is already in progress.

    Lamont Cranston

  89. says

    What I think ironchops meant is that since humans wrote what they claimed were “God’s laws”, that in following those laws, someone would unavoidably just be following laws written by other humans. Thus “God’s laws” being inseparable from human laws, since they were simply laws made by humans, regardless of their claimed origin. Based on that meaning, the way ironchops phrased it contains a fallacy of the undistributed middle, as if that went both ways, and that by following human laws, you’d be following the laws ascribed to a god character. I don’t think it was their intent to imply both that all laws ascribed to a god originate from humans, and also that all laws made by humans originated from a god(or were ascribed to have done so). I think they just didn’t fully consider the implications of their chosen phrasing.

  90. RationalismRules says

    @heicart
    I’m late to the thread, so I’m not sure if you’re still reading, but just in case you are I want to have one last try at the ‘nothing’ issue. (If this one doesn’t work, I promise I’ll give it up as a lost cause from now on)

    Do you find the sentence “there are no unicorns” linguistically contradictory?

    I’m going to assume you’re okay with it, that you don’t find it contradictory. If you’re not, I wouldn’t waste time reading on, because my entire argument is going to be based on that assumption.

    As you referenced on the show, the word ‘are’ is a form of the verb ‘to be’, denoting existence. The reason you don’t find ‘no unicorns’ contradictory to the verb ‘are’ is that you understand that in this context the negative ‘no’ is functioning as a negation of the verb, as opposed to the noun. If the negation was working on the noun, and not the verb, we would have a sentence about the existence of a thing called a ‘no unicorns’. We know that to be nonsensical, from our understanding of the language.

    To better illustrate that point we can rephrase the sentence, without changing the meaning, as “There aren’t any unicorns”. In that wording it’s clear that the negation applies to the verb.
    We can also rephrase it as “No unicorns exist”, still without changing the meaning.

    Now substitute things for unicorns.

    There are no unicorns -> There are no things
    There aren’t any unicorns -> There aren’t any things
    No unicorns exist -> No things exist

    If there’s no contradiction in the ‘unicorns’ statements, there should equally be no problem with the ‘things’ statements, as they are linguistically identical.

    I think a lot of the confusion stems from the contraction of ‘no things’ to ‘nothing’, which makes it seem that the ‘no’ is operating on the ‘things’. However, in order to see that the negation is still working with the verb, you just need to separate the contraction back into its components: ‘no things’.
     
    It’s undoubtedly more difficult to conceptualize “no things exist” than “no unicorns exist”, because we can take away all the unicorns and still have a context remaining (the physical universe), whereas taking away all the things means that context goes too. Harder to conceptualize, but no different linguistically.
     
    The reason I’ve made this a purely linguistic argument is because that seems to be at the heart of how you think about this.
    If you used a different phrasing, such as “there wasn’t anything existing”, I’d be interested to know whether that made any difference to your take on the issue.
     
    One further point:
    You said: “if everything wasn’t, that raises the question “what would be?””. It doesn’t raise that question, it answers it!

    If someone told you “there are no red things” you wouldn’t ask “which things are colored red?” There are no red things. To ask the question is to reject the initial statement as false.

    If your response to the hypothetical “if everything wasn’t..” is “what would be?”, then you’re displaying a presupposition that existence is necessary.
     
    As I said, this is my last best effort. (Unless you give me a counter-argument to respond to, of course)

  91. speedofsound says

    @paxoll

    Cameron scientists that spend their time speculating and not making concrete hypothesis are not really scientists,

    Really? The ‘really’ scientist just gets on his lab coat and buckles down over petri dish. Never thinks about anything but the ‘facts’. Just the Facts Ma’am! How fucking boring is that?

    Look. The brewha over EvPsych is about politics. Nothing else. At least admit it to yourselves. Look at Jordan Peterson. He attaches the worst of humanity like rotten meat attaches maggots. So let’s go on and on about how horrible psychology is.

    Is the problem the field of psychology or is it maybe Jordan Peterson and the nutcakes he attracts? Which should get pissed off at? You like facts? Can field of study, in fact, be evil or stupid all on it’s own?

    EvPsych is a focus on behavior as phenotype generated by genotype. Wild speculation is how we get started figuring out what to figure out. Why do caterpillars head for straight vertical lines? What’s wrong with having a conversation to get us started?

  92. John David Balla says

    @Lamont Cranston #95
    >>I don’t see it so much as irrational behavior as it is shortsightedness. It’s not irrational to seek immediate benefit, but it is short sighted to not realize there can be a negative long term consequence to a short term benefit that can be inescapable.

    If the goal is well-being or even survival, the shortsightedness you describe is demonstrably irrational. And it’s so pervasive that we have given a term for this particular type of irrational behavior: rationalizing. And rationalization, by definition, is an attempt to make an irrational thought or behavior “seem” rational.

    >> I know this is simplistic, but my point is that many and perhaps most people have trouble thinking beyond the end of their nose. We can see that as irrational, while they “rationalize” it as, “This has always worked for me before.”

    This is what behavioral economists (and scientists) call intertemporal choice, a phenomenon whereby the latency of the bad result is far enough into the future or unpredictable enough to justify the current behavior as “It won’t happen this time.” I would further contend that, as a species, we tend to overvalue the immediate consequences of the now over the latency ones of the future. We also tend to overvalue losses over gains (loss aversion). Does this mean that we are genetically predisposed to be somewhat irrational at times? Yes. That’s what appears to be going on although due to our very large brain we can overwrite many of our impulses and seek an education that will actually produce greater utility of well-being in the future. Same for all values worth working for as they all require a degree of sacrifice, or if you prefer, investment.

    >>I think the messier assessments would happen a lot when trying to consider long term versus short term implications of a decision. For example, if you see someone is in some kind of non-life threatening trouble, should you bail them out (assuming you can do so), or should you just provide enough assistance so that they can bail themselves out. I know, details are everything, but bear with me. What is the most moral thing to do?

    Well-being, as the foundation from which moral judgments can be made, consists of a complex array of mental accounting to reach an answer, and many of the variables being considered will not be objective, which is the cause of the messiness. In fact, Kahneman and Tversky (1971) put forth their cognition theory (widely used today) to better understand the kind of cognition being used for short-term decision-making and long-term or more complex decision-making. The former is what is called System 1 heuristics whereby our calculations are made without a complete picture of the problem, and without much serious analysis. In other words, we give up accuracy for speed and expediency. System 2 is the opposite. More time is dedicated to getting the problem right (and sometimes we’re still wrong anyway). So, for someone in some sort of non-life threatening trouble, we would likely use System 1 for that.

    >>For religious people, one of the short term bail-outs they depend upon is prayer (Something terrible has happened, well I’ll pray about it, there I’ve done what I can now I can go on my merry way and let God take care of it). The thought of rolling up their sleeves, getting in the dirt and actually helping never occurs to them. What they have done is arguably no better than the junkie who shoots up to feel better rather than doing the work to actually get better.

    Arguably, this is System 1 cognition applied to situations that require more careful analysis and time investment to get it right. But recall the benefits of System 1: speed, simplicity, low load on mental activity, and probably most important, conflict resolution becomes more important than getting the answer right. In other words, the prayer relieves the anxiety, and at the same time, removes the individual from personal responsibility as you noted. Add in argument from ignorance, argument from authority, and argument ad populum, and there you have it. Why faith is so appealing to so many. When it comes to a pain reliever, it’s right up there with Tylenol.

    Best,
    John

  93. Monocle Smile says

    @speedofsound
    The evopsych field of academia seems unwilling to eject and disavow Jordan Peterson and his ilk, and he’s not even a very good academic.

    Wild speculation is how we get started figuring out what to figure out. Why do caterpillars head for straight vertical lines? What’s wrong with having a conversation to get us started?

    Same reason I don’t discuss Argentinian history with the janitor. Neither of us knows a thing about it (because I know the janitor, not because janitors are uneducated). So why should AXP oblige an evopsych bro when they call? I have yet to meet someone into evopsych who isn’t overly attached to their own wild speculations.

  94. RationalismRules says

    @cameron #76

    Desmond Morris if he is being criticized should be criticized if he ASSERTS his hypothesis as FACT, my point is he doesn’t he suggests possible explanations, in the same manner that physicists suggest competing models, they can’t all be right clearly.

    Nonsense. There is no reason a hypothesis should be exempt from criticism until it is ASSERTED as FACT. (your capitalization) Critiquing hypotheses is how we triage those that deserve closer attention, and discard the ones that don’t.

    It’s interesting that instead of simply arguing “I’ve read his books. He has some interesting ideas.” you’ve gone into this strange argument of “you shouldn’t be criticizing him”. Why on earth not? Why should anyone’s speculations be immune from criticism?

    When Clare referred to his writings as “just-so stories” she was pretty clearly saying that his approach to his subject is that of speculative fiction as opposed to scientific rigor. Nothing that you’ve said runs contrary to that assessment, yet you don’t seem to think she should be expressing that opinion.

    If you want to defend his ideas, then defend them. Arguing that he shouldn’t be criticized has more to do with ideology than ideas.

  95. paxoll says

    @speedofsound
    Science is how our brains work. Essentially we all have a theory of existence that our brains are consistently applying the scientific method to. Does this mean we are all scientists? No. Because that renders the word meaningless. Science is a process that over time we have applied philosophy of logic and epistemology to in order to produce the most consistently accurate results. We make observations, but there is a difference between scientific observation and a lay person observation. We speculate, but there is a big difference between a scientific speculation where a large body of scientific facts are relied upon to make reasonable speculation. We all hypothesize but like the speculation there is a big difference. Finally we all do experiments, but a scientific experiment is significantly different than when you put bread in the toaster in the morning. A scientist is someone that does all of those things scientifically. A psychologist that is speculating on evolution is not speculating scientifically because they lack the body of scientific knowledge to make their speculation reasonable. They might get lucky, and be correct. Just like a fallacious argument can have a correct conclusion.

    The “brewha” over evopsych is based on the multiplication of errors. Psychology is ridiculously complex, and has been and is constantly plagued with poor science. The rigorous nature of science that lets us have so much faith in its results, are not often or cannot be done in psychological experiments. So in evopsych we are starting with a horribly difficult subject chock full of flaws, and we are multiplying that by a field that has limited tools and a those tools have nothing to do with the base topic. Its like trying to do brain surgery using a mechanics tool box from the garage. Peterson is just an good example of what can go wrong with psychology. It doesn’t mean there is nothing good about psychology or that good science can’t be done in psychology. Evopsych is scientifically fundamentally flawed as it is largely untestable and unfalsifiable, and its conclusions are largely unscientific, which leads to your “Wild speculation is how we get started figuring out what to figure out” causing a lot of racism and sexism and all sorts of other harm to society. So you can take evopsych and inception it up Petersons, Pinkers, and Morris’s ass.

  96. speedofsound says

    @paxoll

    Evopsych is scientifically fundamentally flawed as it is largely untestable and unfalsifiable, and its conclusions are largely unscientific, which leads to your “Wild speculation is how we get started figuring out what to figure out” causing a lot of racism and sexism and all sorts of other harm to society. So you can take evopsych and inception it up Petersons, Pinkers, and Morris’s ass.

    I don’t understand. How is it different from speculating about extinction events and their effect on populations?

    “causing a lot of racism and sexism and all sorts of other harm to society.”

    notice that this is politics. What does that have to do with EvPsych? I sincerely don’t get it. How can the field be bad due to a few bad publicists?

    And. I really like Morris and Pinker. And Robert Wright. Compare Dawkins and his critics.

    Help me understand.

  97. speedofsound says

    I’m bothered because I hold out hope. EvPsych is the single most important step we will take as a civilization. It should actually be called Molecular Developmental Psychology because molecular development and evolution are pretty much synonymous.

  98. speedofsound says

    It’s confusing to be a h. sapiens. We have a meat brain and we spend 99% of the time thinking we are driven by reason and only 2% of the time actually reasoning. The most confusing aspect is that we have a brain part that can override the unreasonable part so it is possible to learn something about our brains and do an on the spot repair to our chosen behavior. When some sciency guy points out the meat-brain part of why we can be irrational we get offended. See the 99% above.

  99. cameron says

    >Cameron scientists that spend their time speculating and not making concrete hypothesis are not really scientists, and criticizing them making a bunch of speculation that is not being tested, or is not testable is completely reasonable.

    If Desmond Morris was presenting these views in a scientific paper rather than as person view (which he clearly states numerous times in his books and documentaries) then I would agree. But he hasn’t has he? If he has then the peer review process will take care of that. There are any number of science communicators who like to discuss ideas. For example Richard Dawkins has discussed the idea that alien life would have evolved even if it didn’t use DNA. Is Richard Dawkins an astrobiologist? Has he published a paper on this? No because in context it is clear he is speculating because he is interested in the subject. Unless he is making an assertion that this is how it happened then I don’t see the problem with this.

    Don’t get me wrong I don’t have any issue with people disproving any of his speculations or all of them. That’s absolutely fine what I take issue with is the snarky attitude. Had the guest simply pointed out that areas like evolutionary psychology tend to deal in speculation and need to be treated as such I would heartily agree as should all areas of science in which speculation is made. In the case of Desmond Morris you have essentially a Zoologist (from memory) speculating about and reporting on finding largely of others. If I read his books or watch a documentary so long as he is clear this is his personal view then why in the hell should this be an issue? To me it all comes down to the confidence in which he asserts this as evidence. From memory he as always been very careful to say where there is disagreement, if this is early thought or if this his is personal view. That being the case WHAT IS THE ISSUE? If people are illiterate enough to not read “a personal view” or to read him saying “scientist (a) thinks this might be a possible explanation” and they read this as a definitive statement then that is not my problem or his.

  100. cameron says

    RationalismRules saysNonsense. There is no reason a hypothesis should be exempt from criticism until it is ASSERTED as FACT. (your capitalization) Critiquing hypotheses is how we triage those that deserve closer attention, and discard the ones that don’t.

    I have not suggested at all his ideas are right or not open to criticism. What I’m suggesting is personally attacking someone for speculating as long as they are clear that this is what they are doing is counter productive. If someone for example suggests they are interested in how say the effects of eating dirt might impact positively on the immune system and its early days then I have no problem with them articulating this so long as they don’t claim this is definitely the case. I think group selection is likely nonsense but I don’t blame scientists personally for pursuing the idea. The truth will out because people will critique their ideas. However criticizing anyone who comes up with an idea or reports on ideas outside of the norm even if they are careful to assert it is speculation is running the risk of coming off as snarky. That’s all.

  101. cameron says

    >indianajones says

    “@77 etc You have it precisely backwards. Female orgasms, in your example, were observed and only after that did DM attempt to explain why. A Post Hoc rationalization. As opposed to predicted then observed, or not, in my examples. He observes then, I think cack-handedly, attempts to explain with speculation Post Hoc.. Also, Antechinus.”

    If you are doing research on sexuality in humans and as part of learning about this you decide to put a camera into a vagina and film what happens during orgasm and you notice something no-one has seem before (because not has put a camera inside a vagina before) ie. the cervix spasms. Now this could be just because muscles in the area are spasming or the muscles could be spasming for a particular reason. It is perfectly reasonable to speculate if this could in fact increase fertility. It would be very useful to know particularly if you are treating people with fertility issues where even an additional 1 or 2% improved chance of conception is possible. Now obviously this is step on, it could have no benefit or even a negative benefit. It might be coincidence. But someone reporting on this speculation (so long as they are clear that this is speculation at this stage) is absolutely fine. Did Desmond Morris claim this was definitely the case? Or did he say something like this is an interesting finding which could possibly have an influence on fertility? If the latter then policing this seems petty.

    My comments about Antichinus were simply pointing out that evolution doen’t have to be nice. Many animals survive doing things that harm other animals. Clearly evolution works through the fundamental act of getting your genes into the next generation and surviving long enough to do so. Social niceties do not have to play a part. If you are going to suggest that rape cannot be strategy in passing on genes then I clearly disagree.

  102. cameron says

    >When Clare referred to his writings as “just-so stories” she was pretty clearly saying that his approach to his subject is that of speculative fiction as opposed to scientific rigor. Nothing that you’ve said runs contrary to that assessment, yet you don’t seem to think she should be expressing that opinion.

    Perfectly happy for her to disagree with them it was more they tone, in the case of Desmond Morris he is very clear he is speculating so getting snarky about someone doing so comes across poorly IMO.

    >If you want to defend his ideas, then defend them. Arguing that he shouldn’t be criticized has more to do with ideology than ideas.

    I’m not defending his ideas as I have no idea if any of them are true or not. I never did because even as reading them it was clear he was speculating – he makes that very clear. So what I object to is the suggestion that he is somehow being dishonest or misrepresenting the science. He is speculating and is clear he is doing so. Jumping of people for wondering about things seems just a little narrow minded. I’ll be right there with you attacking him the moment you show me that he is indicating that his speculation is fact. Until then I think criticizing anyone who dares to publish a book in which he expresses a personal view or ideas he is interested in makes you look narrow minded and snarky. If other scientists don’t agree with him or don’t like what he has to say its very simple – ignore him! If he publishes a paper proposing these ideas and does so poorly then tear that down that’s all fine and proper.

  103. buddyward says

    @Cameron

    What was the personal attack on Desmond Morris? I cannot seem to find it in the video, can you please point out the time stamp? I would like to review it. Thank you.

  104. Honey Tone says

    RR @#97:

    It’s undoubtedly more difficult to conceptualize “no things exist” than “no unicorns exist”, because we can take away all the unicorns and still have a context remaining (the physical universe), whereas taking away all the things means that context goes too. Harder to conceptualize, but no different linguistically.

    The reason I’ve made this a purely linguistic argument is because that seems to be at the heart of how you think about this.
    If you used a different phrasing, such as “there wasn’t anything existing”, I’d be interested to know whether that made any difference to your take on the issue.

    One further point:
    You said: “if everything wasn’t, that raises the question “what would be?””. It doesn’t raise that question, it answers it!

    I’m not answering for Tracie, but what I’ve heard her say and read from her I do not think she has a problem that is language based. She goes to great lengths to assure that when the word “nothing” is used, it means “no thing”, and she usually does so by enumerating many of the contextual items most people take for granted.

    Like her, when there “is” an absence of any thing at all – which I describe as when the state of the cosmos constitutes *blank* (not “a blank”) – it does in me raise the question of what that means, or could be conceptualized, or can be understood; it does not supply an answer.

    Because, as far as we know, there are “things” now. If a condition constitutes *blank*, how can it ever constitute *not blank*?

    Theists, of course, never have *blank* because some thing they reference as god must have existence even during *blank.*

    I can conceptualize a cosmos without unicorns (although, really, that’s just a tentative conclusion based on the fact that unicorns have never been found in this tiny corner of the universe; maybe they’ll be discovered living on a planet in another galaxy, far, far away.) I can imagine “empty” spaces and vacuums (I think).

    I’m not sure how to understand *blank*, an “absence” of absolutely every thing, including light, dark, heat, cold, gravity, electromagnetic forces, atomic and subatomic particles, space, and time, even the absence of whatever might be meant by the term “empty.”

    Do you?

  105. indianajones says

    @109 Was that supposed to be a rebuttal???

    Because if someone studying the ins and outs (sorry!) of the female orgasm finds something interesting hitherto unobserved implies that therefore EvoPsych makes predictions in the same way that other sciences do, then you have lost me.

    Also, correcting your spelling does not imply a view on anything. And it’s antEchinus, btw.

  106. RationalismRules says

    @Honey Tone #112

    I’m not answering for Tracie, but what I’ve heard her say and read from her I do not think she has a problem that is language based

    Tracie specifically referred to the problem of language during the call. She talked about the problem of using the verb “to be” in relation to nothing, because “to be” refers to existence. I’ve heard her talk about it on multiple occasions. So I think I’m on pretty firm ground here 😉

    The reason I went for the linguistic approach is because I’ve previously tried the conceptual approach without success. Also, it wasn’t until watching this show that I realized where the linguistic problem was arising, so I had a new argument to present.
     

    If a condition constitutes *blank*, how can it ever constitute *not blank*?

    This is a completely separate question. To use your terminology, the issue that we are considering is whether “the state of the cosmos constitutes ‘blank’ “ is conceptually coherent, or if it is self-contradictory. Asking how we could have got from the blank state to a not-blank state does not tell us anything about whether or not the blank state is conceptually valid. Unless, of course, you were able to demonstrate that the one could not possibly arise from the other. Then you would have a strong argument for rejecting the ‘blank’ concept. But in order to demonstrate that, I think you would need to be able to demonstrate a blank state, and around and around we go…
     

    I’m not sure how to understand *blank*, an “absence” of absolutely every thing…
    Do you?

    No, I can’t/don’t, any more than I can understand any other form of infinity.

    But here’s the key point: although the notion of infinite nothingness is beyond my conception, the alternative (that something has always existed) is equally beyond my conception, because it’s also a concept of infinity. So I’m not any more bothered by one than the other.

  107. Paul Stevens says

    I was hoping to find a post from Nikki about her fear of hell but alas I could not see anything. Here in Australia a famous rugby player with staunch Christian beliefs posted (for the second time) quotes from his favourite book. Essentially claiming most people in society, including atheist and homosexuals, need to repent or go to hell. In consequence, he has been disciplined for breaches of contract about social media policy and the ARU’s diversity and inclusion policies. The backlash has been from the “freedom of speech” perspective (another dog whistle perhaps) and a relative on my wife’s side of the family engaged with me on the topic. He told me people like Nikki don’t exist and if he (direct quote) did, he would already have left the church and would be devoid of love or hope for the future. Wow – so Nikki first of all don’t despair because as a woman and as someone grappling with the issue apparently you don’t exist, you cannot love and you cannot have hope. Of course, the idea that was being proposed and the idea that good people who don’t agree with the idea of a god could righteously be tortured for an eternity after they die is nonsense. The idea that this approach is moral is nonsense, and the idea that anyone should fear it is nonsense. Nikki, i’m Not an expert in neuroscience but I do know we can reprogram how we think and feel about something. We do it the same way religion gets us to program our brain and this is by repeatedly reinforcing what we believe. If you can get into the habit of responding to these terrible ideas by saying aloud and often – i don’t believe that nonsense, you will eventually reset your thinking and the default will be exactly what you hear yourself say. Be steadfast. If you truly want to rid yourself of this bad idea, replace it with a better idea – say it and don’t allow anyone, even your dead grandmother, to move you from that which you reason and your spoken language reinforce. Be good to yourself and take care.
    Best regards
    Paul S

  108. says

    As promised, I did say I’d post the survey study done with the atheists at Johns Hopkins whom after a powerful so-called “God-encounter” or encounter with “ultimate reality, ” the majority of these atheists no longer identified with atheism. Study is linked in the article. It was actually published on the 23rd of this month, but I wanted to thoroughly study it before I posted it here. Perhaps some of you have caught wind of it already.

  109. buddyward says

    @Kafei

    As promised, I did say I’d post the survey study done with the atheists at Johns Hopkins whom after a powerful so-called “God-encounter” or encounter with “ultimate reality, ” the majority of these atheists no longer identified with atheism. Study is linked in the article. It was actually published on the 23rd of this month, but I wanted to thoroughly study it before I posted it here. Perhaps some of you have caught wind of it already.

    Where is the actual study? This is an article about the study. A study in which mainly composed of a survey. No control groups no way to verify the validity and all are self reports.

  110. buddyward says

    Bwahahahahah here is a quote from the article.

    To avoid any confusion, Jesse is careful to point out that this paper does not claim to prove the existence of God, angels, or any other kind of supernatural beings, saying, “What the paper gives is a statistical picture of how respondents describe their encounters and of the reported consequences of those encounters.”

    So, even if I were to accept that the atheist became theists, the paper does not prove the existence of god. It does not explain why these “atheists” became theists or whether or not those people were actually atheists. These are reported consequences.

  111. says

    @buddyward

    Where is the actual study?

    It was linked in the article I mentioned, but if you didn’t find it, here’s the direct link.

    This is an article about the study.

    Yes, I pointed that out. I said the article links to the study. Perhaps you overlooked the link in the article.

    A study in which mainly composed of a survey. No control groups no way to verify the validity and all are self reports.

    I think you’re confusing the survey study with the control groups (double-blind studies) at Hopkins. The survey study was done separately from the control groups at Johns Hopkins. Now, I’m going to wait for people to cherry-pick the discussion section of the study. Here’s another article on said study.

  112. says

    @buddyward

    So, even if I were to accept that the atheist became theists, the paper does not prove the existence of god. It does not explain why these “atheists” became theists or whether or not those people were actually atheists. These are reported consequences.

    I’m going to have to agree with Robert Jesse, it doesn’t prove angels, Gods (especially in the supernatural sense, like a deity), or any other kind of “supernatural beings” or what Einstein rightly called the “childish analogy of religion” or what t90bb calls the “magical sky wizard.” This research has absolutely nothing to do with any of that. They say something quite else, and relate this experience to the Prisca Theologia (The Perennial philosophy), which leads to a more panentheistic description of the divine.

  113. says

    @buddyward

    Where in the study did it say the experience relates to Perennial philosophy?

    It’s right in the introduction, references 1-5.

  114. buddyward says

    The purpose of both was stated as: “In this survey, we want to characterize various experiences of encounters with something that someone might call: God (e.g., the God of your understanding), Higher Power, Ultimate Reality, or an Aspect or Emissary of God (e.g., an angel).”

    Participants in the psychedelic version of the questionnaire were required to fulfill the following inclusion criteria: (1) Were at least 18 years old; (2) Read, write, and speak English fluently; (3) Had not completed the questionnaire previously; (4) Had a God encounter experiences (as described above) after taking a dose of a classic hallucinogen that had moderate to strong psychoactive effects.

    So the study is already looking for people who already have an experience that they may call God. The inclusion criteria requires that you have had a God encounter experience after taking drugs.

    So why are people who took drugs that did not have a God encounter not included? It seems to me that they are skewing the data towards a particular outcome. This is already after the fact that these are questionaires to which the researchers did not or have not verified to be accurate.

  115. paxoll says

    @Speedofsound

    Molecular Developmental Psychology because molecular development and evolution are pretty much synonymous.

    No, no it is not. You are talking about neuroscience, you are talking about gene expression, you are talking about neuropsychology. Evopsych, is taking these generally well done sciences, and making unscientific claims about them such as human males evolved to mate with many different women, therefore it is expected that men should cheat more then women in marriage. Yes, this bullshit speculation is very much politicized and pushed as science. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4yz-P94n0Q And we can blame the assholes that do the speculating as causing this.

     
    Another example; Dawkins famous book “the selfish gene”. Very inspirational to many scientists. I read it after finishing my undergraduate, and was not impressed. Granted the book was written in the 70s and the genetic revolution was just getting underway. As I read, I was struck by the unscientific speculation of the book, the things that were wrong, or the ideas that when read by a non scientist would lead to wrong conclusions. Fast forward a few years, and the internet exploded and suddenly Dawkins “memes” were everywhere. Memes were an analogy, a metaphor to help non scientists to understand genes. But suddenly they were everywhere and they could be studied by psychology (and I’m sure there are tomes of studies on the topic). Now you have demagogues like Peterson, and Weinstein, who are claiming that religions are memes, and that evolution acts on them exactly the same way. They are making claims that the most successful societies must have evolved the best religions, which means the religions are good and beneficial to society, and religions in bad countries must therefore be inferior and worse. When Dawkins was exposed to this belief about memes that is being spread, he was like, no, evolution does not act on memes, it was an analogy, these are unscientific conclusions. Yes, Dawkins inspired many people to pursue science with his speculation, and we also have harmful ideas spreading quickly that vast numbers of people believe are scientific. Dawkins is responsible for both, and he is likely to live to regret his carelessness.

  116. says

    @budddyward

    So the study is already looking for people who already have an experience that they may call God. The inclusion criteria requires that you have had a God encounter experience after taking drugs.

    Well, yes, they were looking for people who had these type of powerful mystical experience in which they might call an encounter with God or “ultimate reality,” and it wasn’t simply in participants that used psychedelics, but also in those who reported naturally occurring experiences which were also described in this fashion.

    So why are people who took drugs that did not have a God encounter not included? It seems to me that they are skewing the data towards a particular outcome. This is already after the fact that these are questionaires to which the researchers did not or have not verified to be accurate.

    Well, I’d say these are the people that take recreational doses. I meet many atheists who say that their atheism wasn’t shaken by psychedelics whom were only speaking about recreational doses. You have to recall that despite the fact they were looking for these people who had more powerful experiences with and without psychedelics, nevertheless both groups (non-drug and psychedelic) did not intend to encounter God in this experience, it was largely unbidden in both groups.

  117. buddyward says

    It’s right in the introduction, references 1-5.

    Describing something in the introduction does not make it the conclusion. That description is not proven in the study. It is an assertion with no evidence to support it.

  118. says

    @buddyward

    Future exploration of biological and psychological predisposing factors and the phenomenological and neural correlates of both the acute and persisting effects of such experiences may provide a deeper understanding of religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human cultures since time immemorial.

    It’s in the conclusion as well. To take an excerpt:

    Future exploration of biological and psychological predisposing factors and the phenomenological and neural correlates of both the acute and persisting effects of such experiences may provide a deeper understanding of religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human cultures since time immemorial.

    This “shaping cultures since time immemorial” is precisely is what is consistent with the Perennial philosophy. It’s simply science is finally getting around to studying this phenomenon in consciousness known as the mystical experience.

  119. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    As expected from the oral summary (Axp 23.11 – #339).

    Surprise! A self-selected batch of internet randos, who went in already saying they’d had a god encounter, were no longer claiming there’s no possibility at all!
     
    Bonus: Despite the study’s contrivances that skew the result, these experiences were sooo convincing that 43% weren’t even swayed that far.

  120. says

    @Sky Captain

    Surprise! A self-selected batch of internet randos, who went in already saying they’d had a god encounter, were no longer claiming there’s no possibility at all!

    Bonus: Despite the study’s contrivances that skew the result, these experiences were sooo convincing that 43% weren’t even swayed that far.

    Yeah, you’re just repeating what you said last time to which I said:

    You can underestimate the study, by hashing up this automatic criticism, but what you may not realize if you volunteered at Johns Hopkins for their laboratory study (not the internet survey study), you would not come back identifying as an atheist. In fact, you wouldn’t identify as an atheist. When Dr. Roland Griffiths says that his research suggests that these type of experiences are conversion experiences for atheists, that wasn’t a joke.

    So, I think instead of finding the study interesting, you seem more offended by it such that you have to post a quick retort which doesn’t undermine the findings of the study, by the way.

  121. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Kafei #129:

    a quick retort which doesn’t undermine the findings of the study, by the way.

    There was literally a section dedicated to saying the findings were undermined by biases.

  122. Schubert Henk says

    As an occasional visitor to this forum, I just have to say that Kafei is an enormous and unproductive waste of pixels.

  123. says

    @Sky Captain

    There was literally a section dedicated to saying the findings were undermined by biases.

    What section are you talking about? There was no such section I could find that says what you claim here. There was a section talking about the limitations of the study which I’ll excerpt below.

    Study strengths and limitations
    The methodological strengths of this study include the detailed information assessed about a single experience in a large sample, exclusion from the Non-Drug Group of anyone who reported ever in their lifetime having had a God encounter experience after taking any psychoactive drug, exclusion from the Psychedelic Group of those whose experience occurred after taking multiple substances, and statistical adjustment for demographic differences between groups. However, there are a number of limitations of this study. One limitation is that the data are based entirely on self-reports collected retrospectively, often years after the experience occurred. Self-report is limited by social desirability or other implicit biases. For example, participants may have been more willing to provide affirmative responses to our survey questions because of their belief, whether accurate or not, that we may have wanted such responses. Although the majority of participants indicated that they had vivid memories, the very long delay between the experience and completing the questionnaire (on average over a decade) raises further concerns about whether these memories may have changed over time. Further study limitations include that the survey was time-consuming (averaging 50 minutes), uncompensated, and anonymous, which could have contributed to sample selection bias. On the other hand, these features also suggest that participants were highly motivated to provide detailed information about these experiences which they considered to be among the most meaningful of their lives. A related study limitation is that we do not know how representative the study samples are of the larger populations of individuals who may have had such experiences. Although the demographic characteristics of the Psychedelic Group were quite similar to those of past internet surveys of mystical-type and adverse experiences after psilocybin use [29,49], it is notable that only 1% of both the Non-Drug and Psychedelic Groups were Black/African-American, which would appear to significantly underrepresent this racial group. Future research should address this limitation by specifically recruiting individuals from a variety of diverse backgrounds to better understand these phenomena among non-White participants.

    Well, I knew the folks here would cherry-pick the discussion area of the paper, but there’s nothing here that indicates that these studies were completely undermined by biases. Sure, there’s limitations to the study, as there are in lots of studies, but I don’t believe it’s accurate to say that just because you have some limitations, it undermines the entirety of the study.

  124. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Kafei #131:

    there’s nothing here that indicates that these studies were completely undermined by biases

    Teaching you reading comprehension is beyond the scope of this forum.

  125. says

    @Sky Captain

    Teaching you reading comprehension is beyond the scope of this forum.

    There’s nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. You’re the one that typed, “There was literally a section dedicated to saying the findings were undermined by biases.” There was no such section. Care to point to it?

  126. buddyward says

    Future exploration of biological and psychological predisposing factors and the phenomenological and neural correlates of both the acute and persisting effects of such experiences may provide a deeper understanding of religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human cultures since time immemorial.

    This “shaping cultures since time immemorial” is precisely is what is consistent with the Perennial philosophy. It’s simply science is finally getting around to studying this phenomenon in consciousness known as the mystical experience.

    That is not a conclusion. That is a statement of possibility.

    The study does not prove that god exist, nor did it prove that PP is true nor did it prove that having a mystical experiences converts atheists into theists. You cannot point anywhere in this study that proves any of your claim. You are once again a liar.

  127. says

    @buddyward

    The study does not prove that god exist,

    Well, to be clear, since this word “God” is so bandied about here, we’re not talking about a deity God, the so-called “supernatural being” of a God.

    nor did it prove that PP is true

    What it has shown is that investigating these mystical experiences may provide insight into religious and spiritual beliefs that have been shaping our culture since time immemorial. So, they acknowledge that these mystical states of consciousness are a very valid area of scientific research, and that this phenomenon has, indeed, been occurring throughout millennia à la the Perennial philosophy.

    nor did it prove that having a mystical experiences converts atheists into theists. You cannot point anywhere in this study that proves any of your claim. You are once again a liar.

    That’s what the study has shown, that the majority of their volunteers who had this experience no longer identify with atheism. Yes, this suggests that these type of experiences are essentially conversion experiences for atheists.

  128. buddyward says

    Well, to be clear, since this word “God” is so bandied about here, we’re not talking about a deity God, the so-called “supernatural being” of a God.

    The study did not say which god or what god. You are adding that on because you want to continue the lie you have been telling. You are trying to muddy the water by inserting your own definition of god.

    What it has shown is that investigating these mystical experiences may provide insight into religious and spiritual beliefs that have been shaping our culture since time immemorial. So, they acknowledge that these mystical states of consciousness are a very valid area of scientific research, and that this phenomenon has, indeed, been occurring throughout millennia à la the Perennial philosophy.

    Unless you can point where in the study that proves PP is true you got nothing. All you are doing is making excuses. “May provide…” is not a conclusion. If you believe that it is then you are an idiot.

    That’s what the study has shown, that the majority of their volunteers who had this experience no longer identify with atheism. Yes, this suggests that these type of experiences are essentially conversion experiences for atheists.

    No, the study has shown that people who claimed to be atheist and reported that they had a God experience are now claiming to be theists. The study did not show how all of these people were vetted. The study excluded those atheists who did not consider as having a God experience and remained atheists. The study did not verify what it is these people have actually experienced. These are all unverified reports.

    I am done with your non-sense. Go away you liar.

  129. t90bb says

    where oreo and kafei both booted??? I only killfiled kafei…..the blog is much more enjoyable now thank you John…..a COMPLETE MYSTICAL BLOCKING EXPERIENCE should be enjoyed by all. love ya

  130. says

    @buddyward

    The study did not say which god or what god. You are adding that on because you want to continue the lie you have been telling. You are trying to muddy the water by inserting your own definition of god.

    I don’t have my “own” definition of God. I’ve explained throughout these threads that the Perennial philosophy doesn’t point to any God in particular, it’s saying that these visions riddled throughout scriptures are consistent with the mystical states of consciousness as defined within the Perennial philosophy such that the archetypal/visionary experiences that occur often just prior to or right after a “complete” mystical experience, so that the visionary account is quite akin to what you find in the account of Paul to the Demascus road or the emissary encountered by Muhammad shivering in a cave, fasting, a very classic shamanic setting that would elicit these mystical states or the account of a “complete” mystical experience in Plotinus which he expressed as “the One.” If you don’t understand how these distinctions are made, and that not everyone has a “complete” mystical experience, you could say some people have a partial or incomplete mystical experience which simply means they did not experience all six of the primary factors that are definitive for the CME. If you don’t understand that, then you may ask a, no offense to you, but a naïve question such as, “Which God or what God?”

    Unless you can point where in the study that proves PP is true you got nothing. All you are doing is making excuses. “May provide…” is not a conclusion. If you believe that it is then you are an idiot.

    By acknowledging the fact that these type of experiences have been shaping cultures throughout history, throughout millennia, since time immemorial; that is what the Perennial philosophy entails. I don’t know how else to rephrase that for you. Unless you study comparative religion for yourself, unless you actually read about the Perennial philosophy, unless you had a CME for yourself, etc.; you’re not going to find much content out there, not even on YouTube, scarcely on Wikipedia, etc. I mean, there’s a couple on YouTube, but not very much. I’d say read up on it, then maybe you’ll ask more pertinent questions.

    No, the study has shown that people who claimed to be atheist and reported that they had a God experience are now claiming to be theists.

    Yes, and that’s called a conversion experience. You’re basically saying the same thing here.

    The study did not show how all of these people were vetted.

    If I’m interpreting you correctly, I think you mean it doesn’t really express how they no longer identified with their atheism. Whether they adopted some form of western or eastern religion, whether they just backed away from atheism for some re-assessment and took a more agnostic stance after a so-called “God encountering” experience. Dr. Roland Griffiths did say that they left an area for the participants to speak on their own experiences, and they found that a vast majority of participants were highly motivated to share great details on this experience, so you’d have hundreds of these volunteers offering 2-3 sometimes longer pages on describing this experience in that text area. So, if they published all that (and it would be interesting for sure), I wouldn’t mind reading a bunch of trip reports, I do that anyway at Erowid.com. There was a very interesting account on the 10thdim website by a user who went by the screen name “Psychedelic Vision” who left a post titled DMT as key to higher dimensional self, but no one responded, and by the time I responded, the thread shut down. That was probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever read. I really wish I could find where that guy posts elsewhere, but anyway… My point is that if that were a public part of the study as well, you’d have thousands of these reports to sift through, and I’m sure someone address how they were “vetted.” However, what they’ve published is the science they’ve managed to squeeze out of all of that. It was an anonymous study, so I’m sure their accounts were read by the professionals, but it doesn’t seem like they’re making that portion of the research public to retain the anonymity of these individuals. But I hear you, that is definitely a juicy part of the research that isn’t really isn’t public. They’ve also done this with their own volunteers. They’ve never revealed what each of these volunteers have said or written in these 14-month follow-up interviews or these sessions where they’ve called their volunteers back to ask them to describe it in their own words, but they don’t really reveal much of that except excerpts from the volunteers’ descriptions asked with permission to use for the lectures.

    The study excluded those atheists who did not consider as having a God experience and remained atheists. The study did not verify what it is these people have actually experienced. These are all unverified reports.

    They weren’t excluded. They were part of the minority who managed to maintain their atheism. However, Dr. Roland Griffiths did say that to the degree that this experience was most challenging, that was found in the majority of volunteers who considered this experience the most meaningful, the most spiritual, etc. and it was in these majority of volunteers that they no longer identified with atheism.

    I am done with your non-sense. Go away you liar.

    That’s fine. I’m done with your simplistic, reductionist interpretations of the research. I said I would post the research. If anyone here is willing to discuss it, I’m game. If the admins believe it’s off-topic, then we won’t address it. However, none of this has made me a “liar” as you so commonly and falsely accuse. It almost seems as though you’re hell bent on criticizing it rather than to fairly address and examining the research.

  131. says

    Okay, so I had a ton of typos on that last post. All apologies for that, but here’s a couple of resources I wanted to post. There’s this video on the Sophia Perennis that you can find on YouTube, also The Perennial studies channel addresses these topics. I also recommend the publications hosted at the Matheson Trust website and the vast resource contained at academia.edu.

  132. buddyward says

    I don’t have my “own” definition of God. I’ve explained throughout these threads that the Perennial philosophy doesn’t point to any God in particular, it’s saying that these visions riddled throughout scriptures are consistent with the mystical states of consciousness as defined within the Perennial philosophy such that the archetypal/visionary experiences that occur often just prior to or right after a “complete” mystical experience, so that the visionary account is quite akin to what you find in the account of Paul to the Demascus road or the emissary encountered by Muhammad shivering in a cave, fasting, a very classic shamanic setting that would elicit these mystical states or the account of a “complete” mystical experience in Plotinus which he expressed as “the One.” If you don’t understand how these distinctions are made, and that not everyone has a “complete” mystical experience, you could say some people have a partial or incomplete mystical experience which simply means they did not experience all six of the primary factors that are definitive for the CME. If you don’t understand that, then you may ask a, no offense to you, but a naïve question such as, “Which God or what God?”

    Show me where they proved that the God definition that you are using was proven to exist in this study.

    By acknowledging the fact that these type of experiences have been shaping cultures throughout history, throughout millennia, since time immemorial; that is what the Perennial philosophy entails. I don’t know how else to rephrase that for you. Unless you study comparative religion for yourself, unless you actually read about the Perennial philosophy, unless you had a CME for yourself, etc.; you’re not going to find much content out there, not even on YouTube, scarcely on Wikipedia, etc. I mean, there’s a couple on YouTube, but not very much. I’d say read up on it, then maybe you’ll ask more pertinent questions.

    They acknowledged that people claimed to have a God typed experience, they did not prove it to be true.

    Yes, and that’s called a conversion experience. You’re basically saying the same thing here.

    Which is unverified self report which to you is acceptable data as long as it confirms your bias.

    If I’m interpreting you correctly, I think you mean it doesn’t really express how they no longer identified with their atheism. Whether they adopted some form of western or eastern religion, whether they just backed away from atheism for some re-assessment and took a more agnostic stance after a so-called “God encountering” experience. Dr. Roland Griffiths did say that they left an area for the participants to speak on their own experiences, and they found that a vast majority of participants were highly motivated to share great details on this experience, so you’d have hundreds of these volunteers offering 2-3 sometimes longer pages on describing this experience in that text area. So, if they published all that (and it would be interesting for sure), I wouldn’t mind reading a bunch of trip reports, I do that anyway at Erowid.com. There was a very interesting account on the 10thdim website by a user who went by the screen name “Psychedelic Vision” who left a post titled DMT as key to higher dimensional self, but no one responded, and by the time I responded, the thread shut down. That was probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever read. I really wish I could find where that guy posts elsewhere, but anyway… My point is that if that were a public part of the study as well, you’d have thousands of these reports to sift through, and I’m sure someone address how they were “vetted.” However, what they’ve published is the science they’ve managed to squeeze out of all of that. It was an anonymous study, so I’m sure their accounts were read by the professionals, but it doesn’t seem like they’re making that portion of the research public to retain the anonymity of these individuals. But I hear you, that is definitely a juicy part of the research that isn’t really isn’t public. They’ve also done this with their own volunteers. They’ve never revealed what each of these volunteers have said or written in these 14-month follow-up interviews or these sessions where they’ve called their volunteers back to ask them to describe it in their own words, but they don’t really reveal much of that except excerpts from the volunteers’ descriptions asked with permission to use for the lectures.

    Show me in the study how these people were vetted.

    They weren’t excluded. They were part of the minority who managed to maintain their atheism. However, Dr. Roland Griffiths did say that to the degree that this experience was most challenging, that was found in the majority of volunteers who considered this experience the most meaningful, the most spiritual, etc. and it was in these majority of volunteers that they no longer identified with atheism.

    Bullshit. Show me where in the study it says that. As a matter of fact here is the quote where they specified which participants where included:

    (4) Had a God encounter experiences (as described above) after taking a dose of a classic hallucinogen that had moderate to strong psychoactive effects.

    Participants who met the inclusion criteria were directed to the remaining items in the questionnaire.

    This means that participants who did not have a God experience are prevented from filling out the remaining items and thereby EXCLUDED.

    That’s fine. I’m done with your simplistic, reductionist interpretations of the research. I said I would post the research. If anyone here is willing to discuss it, I’m game. If the admins believe it’s off-topic, then we won’t address it. However, none of this has made me a “liar” as you so commonly and falsely accuse. It almost seems as though you’re hell bent on criticizing it rather than to fairly address and examining the research.

    I standby my accusation because even now you are making claims that are demonstrably untrue. You are making references in the study that you are presenting that does not exists. You are trying to make excuses about the study that is not even remotely in the study.

    This is not at all relevant to this thread. Your claims have already been addressed GTFO.

  133. says

    @buddyward

    Show me where they proved that the God definition that you are using was proven to exist in this study.

    Show me where I was supposedly using my “own” definition of God. You’re either attempting to straw man me or you’re asking some type of loaded question or you genuinely haven’t grasped what’s being discussed. I understand the study just came out, but read it. I was surprised to find out that they assessed people who used more than just psilocybin, but LSD, DMT, and other psychedelics. I was under the impression until the study was published that they were just assessing people using psilocybin, but I find it very fascinating that they’ve chosen to refer to moderate to high doses of use with any of the classical psychedelics it seems.

    They acknowledged that people claimed to have a God typed experience, they did not prove it to be true.

    Well, let me point something out to you. Here’s an excerpt taken directly from the study, and here’s where you’ll find acknowledged criticism.

    Can psychedelic drugs occasion genuine God encounter experiences?

    Although some scholars of religion have argued on conceptual grounds that drug-occasioned experiences are not genuine religious experiences [32–34], Stace [4] and Smith [35,51] counter with the Principal of Causal Indifference, which asserts that if two experiences are phenomenologically indistinguishable, it cannot be concluded that one is genuine but the other is not. Although there are both similarities and differences in the God encounter experiences described by the Non-Drug and Psychedelic groups, the most robust generality across a wide range of questions is that the descriptive details, interpretation, and consequences of these experiences are markedly similar. The findings that the preferred descriptor of that which was encountered was “God” in the Non-Drug Group, but “Ultimate Reality” in the Psychedelic Group suggest that such labels may reflect differences in semantics and conceptual interpretation rather than phenomenological or functional differences in the experience.

    It should be noted that neither descriptive studies of such experiences, no matter how detailed, nor the emerging science of neurotheology, no matter how strong the associations demonstrated between brain processes and religious experience, can definitively address ontological claims about the existence of God [5,52,53, 54]. We acknowledge that contentious issues arise from attempting to draw ontological conclusions about participants’ phenomenological experiences of “God” or “Ultimate Reality,” which some believe to be beyond ordinary material reality/consciousness [55–56]. Such conceptual issues have been discussed at length by scholars of the psychology of religion who routinely use empirical methods in the study of religious, spiritual, and mystical experiences [6].

    I’ve pointed out that these experiences occur on a spectrum, and if you’re a devout Hindu, you might see Shiva, if you’re a fervent Christian, you may see Christ on the Cross with blood falling from the crown of thorns and all, if you’re a sheik, you may see Muhammad, if you’re an atheist and a sci-fi nerd, you may travel through the stargate and meet Klingons. Does that mean Jesus is a real person or Muhammad or Star Trek exists? Are those hallucinations true? Isn’t that the question? Does the mental imagery that’s unfolding have meaning? Is it teaching you something, is it leading you somewhere worthwhile? I don’t think these researchers are saying that Klingons are real, or angels or demons, etc. However, these visions of angels, encounters with Gods, saints, mystics like Christ, Gautama, Muhammad, etc. are commonplace in these mystical states of consciousness. If the mental imagery is presenting itself as an emissary of God, like seeing Christ or Shiva or something like that, then that’s typical of the visionary/archetypal experiences, even seeing Klingons or “Super Strawberry” are typical of the archetypal experience, that is definitely not the “complete” mystical experience which is a unitive experience, there’s no longer a division in the subject-object duality, there isn’t any kind of ego to even recognize another entity be it Jesus, the Buddha or a supernatural being as in a God which you greet and perceive, even if that perception takes place in the mind’s eye. No such thing occurs, the CME is a unitive state where such subject-object dichotomy dissolves completely. This is why it’s referred to as an “ego death” in psychology. It is a temporary yet complete dissolution of the ego, which the ego temporarily disappears then is reborn and so the individual finds his/her life dramatically transformed ever afterwards. You see, even Matt Dillahunty attempted to say claim he had this experience, but when he reeled off the criteria and admitted no such familiarity. You see, if he had this experience, he would have resonated and identified with all six of the characteristics which define the “complete” mystical experience. All six a priori criteria must be met to have what these professionals call a “complete” mystical experience.

  134. says

    @buddyward

    Yes, and that’s called a conversion experience. You’re basically saying the same thing here.

    Which is unverified self report which to you is acceptable data as long as it confirms your bias.

    It’s verified to the extent that it meets the criteria equivalent to the “complete” mystical experience. Those are the volunteers who no longer identify with atheism ever afterwards. This is what they’re essentially considering a conversion experience for atheists.

    Show me in the study how these people were vetted.

    Obviously, that’s not published. It would be interesting to hear their specific accounts, but I’m supposing that’s due to the anonymity of the study. You might want to re-listen to the lecture on the study to address these dynamics involved in the research.

    Bullshit. Show me where in the study it says that. As a matter of fact here is the quote where they specified which participants where included:

    (4) Had a God encounter experiences (as described above) after taking a dose of a classic hallucinogen that had moderate to strong psychoactive effects.

    Participants who met the inclusion criteria were directed to the remaining items in the questionnaire.

    This means that participants who did not have a God experience are prevented from filling out the remaining items and thereby EXCLUDED.

    Read the study. I also recommend the lectures I’ve been posting which describe what’s entailed in this research.Once again, an excerpt from the research:

    Survey completion
    During recruitment (12/03/2014–08/01/2016), 12,725 individuals began the survey. Of these, 1,702 were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria, and 5,165 were excluded because they did not complete the questionnaire, with 82% and 93% of these failing to complete 25% and 50%, respectively, of the questionnaire items. Additionally, 401 were excluded because they indicated taking multiple substances, 602 because they reported taking a substance other than psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT, 271 because they answered the survey based on multiple rather than a single encounter experience, 104 because their responses raised concerns about the validity of their data overall, 34 because they indicated at the end of the survey that they did not want their responses included in the analyses, and 161 because of nonsystematic coding errors. Thus 4,285 individuals provided useable data. The median time to complete the questionnaire was 50 minutes. A written response in the open-ended comment section at the end of the questionnaire was provided by 67% of participants.

    So, despite the fact that they collected data from over 5,000 individuals, 4,285 individuals of which they considered offered “usable data,” and that’s where they’re getting the sample size. So, it’s N=1184 for psilocybin, 1251 for LSD for volunteers with experience with LSD, 606 for DMT, 435 for ayahuasca, and 809 for the non-drug group.

    I standby my accusation because even now you are making claims that are demonstrably untrue. You are making references in the study that you are presenting that does not exists. You are trying to make excuses about the study that is not even remotely in the study.

    Like what? Be specific? I stand by my accusation that you simply make these false charges, and it’s pure empty criticism, that’s all it is. Please, use specificity. What precisely do you disagree with?

    This is not at all relevant to this thread.

    Perhaps, however it is very recent scientific research that was published mere days ago. It hasn’t even been a week since this has been published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

    Your claims have already been addressed GTFO.

    No, they have not. That’s why I continue to participate in these discussions.

  135. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Kafei #144:

    “This is not at all relevant to this thread.”
     
    Perhaps, however […] I continue to participate in these discussions.

     
     
    Comment: Axp 23.15 – John Iacoletti #291:

    Kafei […], please keep your remarks at least somewhat related to the content of the episodes on which you are commenting.

     
    Comment: Axp 23.15 – John Iacoletti #461:

    Kafei wrote:
    “Why don’t you block me? Because I’m here to stay, my friend.”
     
    We’ll be the judge of that.

  136. buddyward says

    @kafei

    Show me where I was supposedly using my “own” definition of God. You’re either attempting to straw man me or you’re asking some type of loaded question or you genuinely haven’t grasped what’s being discussed. I understand the study just came out, but read it. I was surprised to find out that they assessed people who used more than just psilocybin, but LSD, DMT, and other psychedelics. I was under the impression until the study was published that they were just assessing people using psilocybin, but I find it very fascinating that they’ve chosen to refer to moderate to high doses of use with any of the classical psychedelics it seems.

    Let me just short circuit this. My original statememt was “The study does not prove that god exist.” You then went on your usual diatribe about the word god. Either the study proved a god or gods exists or it did not. I am not interested in any other bullshit you have to say, this is a simple yes or no question.

    Well, let me point something out to you. Here’s an excerpt taken directly from the study, and here’s where you’ll find acknowledged criticism.

    Nothing in that section confirmed that the people who took the survey actually had a God encounter experience?

    I’ve pointed out that these experiences occur on a spectrum, and if you’re a devout Hindu, you might see Shiva, if you’re a fervent Christian, you may see Christ on the Cross with blood falling from the crown of thorns and all, if you’re a sheik, you may see Muhammad, if you’re an atheist and a sci-fi nerd, you may travel through the stargate and meet Klingons. Does that mean Jesus is a real person or Muhammad or Star Trek exists? Are those hallucinations true? Isn’t that the question? Does the mental imagery that’s unfolding have meaning? Is it teaching you something, is it leading you somewhere worthwhile? I don’t think these researchers are saying that Klingons are real, or angels or demons, etc. However, these visions of angels, encounters with Gods, saints, mystics like Christ, Gautama, Muhammad, etc. are commonplace in these mystical states of consciousness. If the mental imagery is presenting itself as an emissary of God, like seeing Christ or Shiva or something like that, then that’s typical of the visionary/archetypal experiences, even seeing Klingons or “Super Strawberry” are typical of the archetypal experience, that is definitely not the “complete” mystical experience which is a unitive experience, there’s no longer a division in the subject-object duality, there isn’t any kind of ego to even recognize another entity be it Jesus, the Buddha or a supernatural being as in a God which you greet and perceive, even if that perception takes place in the mind’s eye. No such thing occurs, the CME is a unitive state where such subject-object dichotomy dissolves completely. This is why it’s referred to as an “ego death” in psychology. It is a temporary yet complete dissolution of the ego, which the ego temporarily disappears then is reborn and so the individual finds his/her life dramatically transformed ever afterwards. You see, even Matt Dillahunty attempted to say claim he had this experience, but when he reeled off the criteria and admitted no such familiarity. You see, if he had this experience, he would have resonated and identified with all six of the characteristics which define the “complete” mystical experience. All six a priori criteria must be met to have what these professionals call a “complete” mystical experience.

    No one gives a shit about spectrums or whatever extapolations you may have. We are talking about what the study can prove. The study did not prove any of the bullshit you are trying to push.

  137. buddyward says

    It’s verified to the extent that it meets the criteria equivalent to the “complete” mystical experience. Those are the volunteers who no longer identify with atheism ever afterwards. This is what they’re essentially considering a conversion experience for atheists.

    The study did not say anything about anyone verifying that the people who filled out the surveys had the experience. The study relied entirely on self report which means no one made any verification. You are a liar.

    Obviously, that’s not published. It would be interesting to hear their specific accounts, but I’m supposing that’s due to the anonymity of the study. You might want to re-listen to the lecture on the study to address these dynamics involved in the research.

    So you are lying when you said:

    I’m sure someone address how they were “vetted.”

    If it was not published then you have no way of knowing.

    Read the study. I also recommend the lectures I’ve been posting which describe what’s entailed in this research.Once again, an excerpt from the research:

    I read the study and even gave you the inclusion criteria that was used in the study. I do not give a shit about a stupid lecture as the lectures are not the submitted papers and are often times used to make claims that are not in the study.

    The “Survey Completion” section did not even address any of the people who are atheist and did not have a God experience. That specific section does not say what you thought it said. As a matter of fact the “Survey Completion” section explicitly said said that 1,702 were EXCLUDED because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. That included people that did not have a God encounter.

    Like what? Be specific? I stand by my accusation that you simply make these false charges, and it’s pure empty criticism, that’s all it is. Please, use specificity. What precisely do you disagree with?

    You said that the people who were filled out the questionaires were vetted. This is obviously not true because you later on said that it was not publish.

    You said that the self reports were verified because it meets the criteria equivalent to CME and yet the study does not say how they are able to verify this nor if they actually verified it.

    You said that atheists who did not consider as having a God experience were not excluded and that they are the minority that maintained their atheism. However, it clearly said that anyone who did not meet the inclusion criteria is excluded and the inclusion criteria specified that a person must have a God experience.

    Perhaps, however it is very recent scientific research that was published mere days ago. It hasn’t even been a week since this has been published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

    It is not a scientific research if they relied entirely on self report. The people who claimed to be atheist that converted to theism was not verified to be true. For all I know these could have been theists pretending to be atheist. I have no evidence to support that but you also have none to support that what they claim is true. The study did not state anything to support that the claims are true.

  138. says

    @buddyward

    The study did not say anything about anyone verifying that the people who filled out the surveys had the experience. The study relied entirely on self report which means no one made any verification. You are a liar.

    What do you think these surveys were about? This is how they assess their volunteers. Once again, from the actual research itself, you can find this in the abstract:

    The encounter experience fulfilled a priori criteria for being a complete mystical experience in approximately half of the participants. More than two-thirds of those who identified as atheist before the experience no longer identified as atheist afterwards.

    I’m sure someone address how they were “vetted.”

    If it was not published then you have no way of knowing.

    I’ve explained that the multiple questionnaires used in the study is how these experiences were assessed. Once again, from the conclusion:

    Participants reported vivid memories of these encounter experiences which frequently involved communication with something most often described as God or Ultimate Reality and having the attributes of being conscious, benevolent, intelligent, sacred, eternal, and all-knowing. The encounter experience fulfilled a priori criteria for being a complete mystical experience in about half of the participants. Similar to mystical-type experiences, which are often defined without reference encountering a sentient other, these experiences were rated as among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant lifetime experiences, with persisting moderate to strong positive changes in attitudes about self, life satisfaction, life purpose, and life meaning that participants attributed to these experiences.

    I read the study and even gave you the inclusion criteria that was used in the study. I do not give a shit about a stupid lecture as the lectures are not the submitted papers and are often times used to make claims that are not in the study.

    Roland Griffiths isn’t making any claim that isn’t in the study. The lectures will help you understand the peer-reviewed material, because you seem to be having issues. The purpose of the “inclusion” criteria was to separate those who claimed to have a “God encounter” experience from taking a moderate to high dose of a psychedelic in comparison to those who reported this experience in a spontaneous manner be it through meditation or other spiritual practice. They really wanted to purify those sample sets.

    The “Survey Completion” section did not even address any of the people who are atheist and did not have a God experience. That specific section does not say what you thought it said. As a matter of fact the “Survey Completion” section explicitly said said that 1,702 were EXCLUDED because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. That included people that did not have a God encounter.

    Yes, as they were irrelevant to the study, they were either filtered out by the inclusion criteria, because they didn’t complete the survey or some other reason, but out of the 12,000+ volunteers that participated, there was still the usable data of 4,285 volunteers.

    You said that the people who were filled out the questionaires were vetted. This is obviously not true because you later on said that it was not publish.

    What I said was during the survey, which in itself takes about 50 minutes to complete, the volunteers were also asked to give a brief description of their experience. That’s the part I don’t see published, the volunteers’ description of the experience. Roland Griffiths said that some volunteers used this opportunity to write 2-3 pages worth of their experience, some of them even more than that when they were asked to give a “brief” description. What I’m saying that because this is an anonymous study, I don’t believe they would publish the volunteers’ individual descriptions of the experience, it seems they’ve only published the details of the questionnaires.

    You said that the self reports were verified because it meets the criteria equivalent to CME and yet the study does not say how they are able to verify this nor if they actually verified it.

    Yes, they were able to use the questionnaire data to gauge mystical experience. I believe the psychedelic group got higher scores for mystical experience than the non-drug group.

    You said that atheists who did not consider as having a God experience were not excluded and that they are the minority that maintained their atheism. However, it clearly said that anyone who did not meet the inclusion criteria is excluded and the inclusion criteria specified that a person must have a God experience.

    Yes, that’s correct. Which was a small amount that didn’t meet the inclusion criteria, it was 1,702 volunteers out of a 12,725 total volunteers during recruitment (12/03/2014–08/01/2016) many of which had to be discarded for various reasons, but as I mentioned, they ended up with 4,285 volunteers that provided usable data.

    It is not a scientific research if they relied entirely on self report. The people who claimed to be atheist that converted to theism was not verified to be true. For all I know these could have been theists pretending to be atheist. I have no evidence to support that but you also have none to support that what they claim is true. The study did not state anything to support that the claims are true.

    Bullshit. That’s precisely what they showed. So, what are you saying now? You think theists signed-up to fool the researchers, pretending to be atheist? Oh, c’mon, now. What is this? No true Scotsman fallacy? They weren’t really atheists now, were they? Gtfo. This is further proof that you’re not attempting to grasp this research, you’re simply hell bent on criticizing it.

  139. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #148
    I just read the entire 26 page paper and I have to say I was thoroughly unimpressed. The use of self reported survey data is fundamentally flawed because the researchers can’t verify what was actually going on (the subjects weren’t getting brain scanned throughout, for instance). You also have no idea how well these people are remembering the events that happened to them (from Table 1, page 6 the average age of non drug and drug subjects at the time of the survey was 56.2 and 34.1, respectively, and the average age at the time of the event was 35.7 and 25.3, respectively). With decades separating the survey and the event it’s very likely that the subjects weren’t accurately recalling the events. I don’t think anyone was lying, (not sure if buddyward was implying that or not) but I do think many, if not most of them, were misremembering the event. This also applies to their claims of religious beliefs before the event. They may now be saying that they believed X 20 years ago but just because that’s what they think they remember doesn’t mean its true. In the end, what this whole thing boils down to is “people that say they’ve had an experience with “God” or “Ultimate Reality” believe in some sort of god or gods”. I didn’t see anythign there that requires the existence of some god to explain.

  140. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    I just read the entire 26 page paper and I have to say I was thoroughly unimpressed. The use of self reported survey data is fundamentally flawed because the researchers can’t verify what was actually going on (the subjects weren’t getting brain scanned throughout, for instance).

    Well, of course, they weren’t being scanned. This was a survey study involving volunteers who had their own personal experiences, their own experiences which qualified on these measures for what Hopkins is referring to as a “God encountering” experience which relate to the “complete” mystical experiences and mystical-type experiences. These were experiences that were recollected by the volunteers, so of course, they weren’t having their brains scanned. However, I will point out that’s not the case with the laboratory volunteers. They just started involving fMRI measures in the more recent laboratory studies.

    You also have no idea how well these people are remembering the events that happened to them (from Table 1, page 6 the average age of non drug and drug subjects at the time of the survey was 56.2 and 34.1, respectively, and the average age at the time of the event was 35.7 and 25.3, respectively). With decades separating the survey and the event it’s very likely that the subjects weren’t accurately recalling the events. I don’t think anyone was lying, (not sure if buddyward was implying that or not) but I do think many, if not most of them, were misremembering the event.

    Sure, they considered this one of the limitations of the study. However, I’d say, I had my own most powerful CME approximately 10 years ago, and the experience is quite vivid in my memory. I can’t speak for the volunteers, but Dr. Roland Griffiths has spoken about how vividly real this experience is for the volunteers, and how out of 35 years of psychopharmacology research with a whole variety of drugs, he’s never seen anything so enduring and unique in terms of memory of drug experience.

    This also applies to their claims of religious beliefs before the event. They may now be saying that they believed X 20 years ago but just because that’s what they think they remember doesn’t mean its true. In the end, what this whole thing boils down to is “people that say they’ve had an experience with “God” or “Ultimate Reality” believe in some sort of god or gods”. I didn’t see anythign there that requires the existence of some god to explain.

    Well, I believe this was buddyward’s argument. That it didn’t necessarily say that they believed God after the experience, but rather that they no longer identified with atheism. They could have adopted some form of theism, they could have adopted agnosticism and backed away from atheism, etc. One thing I will point out, because I see it often is your phrasing here. “I didn’t see anything that requires the existence of some God to explain.” Well, what do you mean by that? I’d say a God would have to first exist if you’re going to have an encounter with God, but it’s not as though there’s an entity out there, as in t90bb’s favorite version of God, some “invisible sky wizard” that places his invisible finger on your forehead the moment you undergo a CME. Rather, I believe what the research suggests is that these so-called “God encounters” or the “complete” mystical experience is a phenomenon in consciousness which has been happening for millennia and that has prompted the major religions by those founders who engaged mystical states of consciousness. That is more accurately as to what Perennialism entails.

  141. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #150

    Sure, they considered this one of the limitations of the study. However, I’d say, I had my own most powerful CME approximately 10 years ago, and the experience is quite vivid in my memory.

    I don’t think you’re giving this criticism enough consideration. Just because you may think you remember your experience well doesn’t mean that everyone does or that everyone who does is actually recalling details accurately. The self reports would be much more compelling if we had detailed interviews with the subjects immediately before and after the experience and therefore could eliminate the faulty memory issue, but instead we have one 50 minute survey done roughly one to two decades after the fact with no way of assessing how accurate the data is.

    One thing I will point out, because I see it often is your phrasing here. “I didn’t see anything that requires the existence of some God to explain.” Well, what do you mean by that?

    What I meant is that you don’t have to have a god or “Ultimate Reality” for people to claim to have experiences interacting with them. Some of the subjects claimed to have had an interaction with :Ultimate Reality” but that phrase is pure gibberish. It isn’t defined and hasn’t been verified to exist.

    I’d say a God would have to first exist if you’re going to have an encounter with God

    This is wrong. People can claim to have experiences with god without that god existing. You’re dishonestly trying to smuggle in the fact that these people did actually experience god, which nobody here accepts. These people did’t have an encounter with god, they thought that they had an encounter with god. That’s a huge difference.

  142. buddyward says

    What do you think these surveys were about? This is how they assess their volunteers. Once again, from the actual research itself, you can find this in the abstract:

    You cannot verify the validity of any claim simply because someone says so. All of the claims in the surveys were not verified and simply accepted as is. This whole study is all about whether or not people who claimed they had a god experience will report the same thing. This is no different from getting reports from people who claimed they had a UFO encounters. Just because their stories are similar does not mean that they actually had a UFO encounter.

    I’ve explained that the multiple questionnaires used in the study is how these experiences were assessed. Once again, from the conclusion:

    Show us where in the questionaires are the researchers able to vette the people who filled out the surveys. Show us where in the questionaires are the claims validated to be true.

    Roland Griffiths isn’t making any claim that isn’t in the study. The lectures will help you understand the peer-reviewed material, because you seem to be having issues. The purpose of the “inclusion” criteria was to separate those who claimed to have a “God encounter” experience from taking a moderate to high dose of a psychedelic in comparison to those who reported this experience in a spontaneous manner be it through meditation or other spiritual practice. They really wanted to purify those sample sets.

    I do not need a lecture to understand this specific study. This is the study that we are talking about. Anything that is not mentioned in this study is irrelevant.

    Show us where in the study did the researchers verify that the people who did the survey used a high enough dose?

    Yes, as they were irrelevant to the study, they were either filtered out by the inclusion criteria, because they didn’t complete the survey or some other reason, but out of the 12,000+ volunteers that participated, there was still the usable data of 4,285 volunteers.

    You are now agreeing that the people who did not have a god experience were excluded because they were irrelevant but a few post ago you claimed that they were included and that those were the ones that maintained their atheism. One of those is a lie.

    What I said was during the survey, which in itself takes about 50 minutes to complete, the volunteers were also asked to give a brief description of their experience. That’s the part I don’t see published, the volunteers’ description of the experience. Roland Griffiths said that some volunteers used this opportunity to write 2-3 pages worth of their experience, some of them even more than that when they were asked to give a “brief” description. What I’m saying that because this is an anonymous study, I don’t believe they would publish the volunteers’ individual descriptions of the experience, it seems they’ve only published the details of the questionnaires.

    How would you know this if it was not published? Vetting a volunteer does not mean accepting whatever they wrote to be true. You are an idiot if you think that you can vette someone by simply accepting their statements.

    Yes, they were able to use the questionnaire data to gauge mystical experience. I believe the psychedelic group got higher scores for mystical experience than the non-drug group.

    Again, self report does not mean it is true.

    Yes, that’s correct. Which was a small amount that didn’t meet the inclusion criteria, it was 1,702 volunteers out of a 12,725 total volunteers during recruitment (12/03/2014–08/01/2016) many of which had to be discarded for various reasons, but as I mentioned, they ended up with 4,285 volunteers that provided usable data.

    So which one is it were they excluded or not? You said:

    They weren’t excluded. They were part of the minority who managed to maintain their atheism.

    Bullshit. That’s precisely what they showed.

    What they showed is that people who claimed to be atheists are now claiming to be theist. The study did not show any attempts to verify this claim.

    So, what are you saying now? You think theists signed-up to fool the researchers, pretending to be atheist? Oh, c’mon, now. What is this? No true Scotsman fallacy? They weren’t really atheists now, were they? Gtfo. This is further proof that you’re not attempting to grasp this research, you’re simply hell bent on criticizing it.

    As I have said, I have no evidence to support that claim but you also have no evidence to support that what they are saying is true. No one here has any way to determine whether or not those people are indeed atheists because the study did not vette them. You also have no way of determining if those people are atheists for the same reason. You are accepting what they say to be true because their statement is confirming your bias. This is not a “No true scotsman fallacy” this is a lack of evidence to figure out whether or not they are actually atheists. So until you have a firm grasp of evaluating what a convincing evidence is you can GTFO.

  143. buddyward says

    @Kafei

    Well, I believe this was buddyward’s argument. That it didn’t necessarily say that they believed God after the experience, but rather that they no longer identified with atheism.

    No, that is not my argument. Learn to comprehend. I am arguing that there are no evidence to the validity of the claims in the survey and therefore we cannot make any conclusions as to whether or not the results are true. In other words, we cannot validate whether or not those are indeed atheists or whether or not they indeed had the experience and therefore to conclude that atheists converted to theism is baseless.

  144. buddyward says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    I don’t think anyone was lying, (not sure if buddyward was implying that or not) but I do think many, if not most of them, were misremembering the event.

    I am not implying that people are lying. I am explicitly saying that there were no efforts made to verify the validity of the claims and thus to make a conclusion under the assumptions that the claims are true is irrational.

  145. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    I don’t think you’re giving this criticism enough consideration. Just because you may think you remember your experience well doesn’t mean that everyone does or that everyone who does is actually recalling details accurately. The self reports would be much more compelling if we had detailed interviews with the subjects immediately before and after the experience and therefore could eliminate the faulty memory issue, but instead we have one 50 minute survey done roughly one to two decades after the fact with no way of assessing how accurate the data is.

    Well, it just so happened to be that way, I suppose. They mentioned it was a decade and over on average, so I’m sure there were those people who had recently had that experience. I don’t think it’s that I’m giving this criticism enough consideration, it’s more that I’ve had this experience for myself and so don’t underestimate it. See, at that same token, I could say you’re underestimating the experience itself. People describe these experiences at not a mere top five, but the most meaning and spiritual experience of their lives. This is a complete break with one’s ordinary perception, a complete transformation of one’s ordinary conscious experience, the dissolution of the subject-object dichotomy, the so-called “ego death.” Jaime on Talk Heathen also mentioned it as such when I called into the show today. I think because I mentioned the work at Hopkins and the most recent survey study, they were conflated a bit by the host, particularly Kyle, but they still had some interesting things to say regarding it.

    One thing I will point out, because I see it often is your phrasing here. “I didn’t see anything that requires the existence of some God to explain.” Well, what do you mean by that?

    What I meant is that you don’t have to have a god or “Ultimate Reality” for people to claim to have experiences interacting with them. Some of the subjects claimed to have had an interaction with :Ultimate Reality” but that phrase is pure gibberish. It isn’t defined and hasn’t been verified to exist.

    I’d like to examine what you’ve said here. You’ve said that we don’t have to have a “God or ‘Ultimate Reality’ for people to claim to have experiences interacting with them.” What I’d like to know is what is it that you’re separating from what is considered to be “Ultimate Reality,” for instance, from the vantage point of this experience and what you might consider that is actually an “Ultimate Reality”? Here’s an excerpt from the discussion area of the research:

    Can psychedelic drugs occasion genuine God encounter experiences?
    Although some scholars of religion have argued on conceptual grounds that drug-occasioned experiences are not genuine religious experiences [32–34], Stace [4] and Smith [35,51] counter with the Principal of Causal Indifference, which asserts that if two experiences are phenomenologically indistinguishable, it cannot be concluded that one is genuine but the other is not. Although there are both similarities and differences in the God encounter experiences described by the Non-Drug and Psychedelic groups, the most robust generality across a wide range of questions is that the descriptive details, interpretation, and consequences of these experiences are markedly similar. The findings that the preferred descriptor of that which was encountered was “God” in the Non-Drug Group, but “Ultimate Reality” in the Psychedelic Group suggest that such labels may reflect differences in semantics and conceptual interpretation rather than phenomenological or functional differences in the experience.

    I found this portion above interesting because they point out that while the survey data overall was strikingly similar, the non-drug group was more inclined to use “God” as a descriptor for what they experienced, and the psychedelic group was more apt to use “Ultimate Reality” to describe this experience. This is also consistent with their long-term meditation study, they’ve shown that these long-term meditators found their experiences with psilocybin were more powerful than their experiences with meditation, but it wasn’t something they were going to repeat, they stuck with their meditative practices, but they also opted for “Ultimate Reality” to describe what they experienced. So, they address the semantics involved, and how individuals chose to describe these things which is important to note, and I’ll elaborate on that in a moment.

    It should be noted that neither descriptive studies of such experiences, no matter how detailed, nor the emerging science of neurotheology, no matter how strong the associations demonstrated between brain processes and religious experience, can definitively address ontological claims about the existence of God [5,52,53, 54]. We acknowledge that contentious issues arise from attempting to draw ontological conclusions about participants’ phenomenological experiences of “God” or “Ultimate Reality,” which some believe to be beyond ordinary material reality/consciousness [55–56]. Such conceptual issues have been discussed at length by scholars of the psychology of religion who routinely use empirical methods in the study of religious, spiritual, and mystical experiences [6].

    So, considering the portion above, one point I like to make in discussions like these is that if you believe in evolution, then the word “God” for you hasn’t always existed, especially if you consider that language has only developed in the latter portion of evolution. I’ve brought this point up on Steve McRae’s channel. So, that if you consider that this phenomenon in consciousness has been happening for millennia, since time immemorial, then that means the words uttered to refer to this experience, of the “Ultimate Reality” or what-have-you hasn’t been static or the same. As the Taoist philosopher says, “The name that can be named is not the eternal name.” This experience has always been referred to as the divine or ultimately reality or Brahman or God. This is the essence of the Piscia Theologia, that this phenomenon of the “complete” mystical experience throughout history has always been described as divine, ultimate reality, nirvana, Beatific vision, the philosophical Absolute, etc. So, when you say that people have an experience of “Ultimate Reality” or “God,” but that doesn’t mean “Ultimate Reality” doesn’t exist, I perceive that as almost saying that this person didn’t have this type of experience which they are describing as such. In other words, I’m in complete agreement with Joe Rogan that this is what skeptics often overlook this point. That “Oh, it’s just hallucination, it’s just an illusion that you’re attaching all this shit to.” What they don’t realize is whether they call it an illusion or “Ultimate Reality,” it’s the exact same experience, and it’s exist in the sense that people have been reporting this phenomenon for millennia, it is essentially what the great faith traditions are describing at the very core of the scriptures.

  146. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    I’d say a God would have to first exist if you’re going to have an encounter with God

    This is wrong. People can claim to have experiences with god without that god existing. You’re dishonestly trying to smuggle in the fact that these people did actually experience god, which nobody here accepts. These people did’t have an encounter with god, they thought that they had an encounter with god. That’s a huge difference.

    Well, then you and I differ on these terms, obviously. I believe atheists bandy about this term “God,” but they don’t even realize what they mean by it. I’m not attempting to smuggle anything in. What I’d like to know what is the God that you’re separating from what is being described at the height of this experience? The semantics are definitely important, and I feel like that’s what McRae’s channel is about which we actually discuss this point. Matt said something to me once like, “I don’t care if you feel as though you’re one with everything, what I want to know is if you’re actually one with everything.” Is that more what you’re talking about? If so, perhaps a whole other discussion, and relevant. I believe that physics is showing that the material world is a unity of some sort, that it is interconnected in ways that we perhaps don’t even understand yet in modern physics. Consider Bell’s non-locality, for instance. Alan Watts also speaks of how the mystics see this unity as well, when he talks about the Big Bang as being an event that you’re not necessarily the result of, but you are still the Big Bang occurring through you. Many mystics describe reality this way, that you a function of the totality of the entirety of the universe/multiverse, whatever you’d like to call it. You may not feel that way in your average, everyday consciousness, but this is what it is glimpsed in a mystical experience, a profound unity among all that exist, beyond time, so that there’s no distinction between the moment of the Big Bang or this moment now. Now, of course, that’s one thing to type, it’s quite another thing to experience.

  147. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #156

    I don’t think it’s that I’m giving this criticism enough consideration, it’s more that I’ve had this experience for myself and so don’t underestimate it. See, at that same token, I could say you’re underestimating the experience itself. People describe these experiences at not a mere top five, but the most meaning and spiritual experience of their lives. This is a complete break with one’s ordinary perception, a complete transformation of one’s ordinary conscious experience, the dissolution of the subject-object dichotomy, the so-called “ego death.”

    I don’t see how any of this could lead you to conclude that these people’s memories couldn’t be faulty or that they couldn’t be mistaken about what they thought happened. People forget stuff about even the most important events in their lives. They also can develop false memories and their brain can attempt to fill in the blanks as stuff gets forgotten over time. I don’t see how you get around this problem without a totally different study.

    Jaime on Talk Heathen also mentioned it as such when I called into the show today. I think because I mentioned the work at Hopkins and the most recent survey study, they were conflated a bit by the host, particularly Kyle, but they still had some interesting things to say regarding it.

    I won’t be watching TH until tomorrow at work so I can’t comment on your call.
    The rest of #156 doesn’t really address my point. You still haven’t defined either of the terms or shown that they exist. Like you said earlier, for people to be actually interacting with a “God” or “Ultimate Reality” those things have to exist first. You have to define them and show they exist before you can use them as a explanation for what these people claimed they experienced. If you have any links to videos or conversations you were in on Steve’s channel link (besides the one in #157) them here and I’ll check them out when I get the chance. I’m interested to see what Steve makes of all of this. I’m just going to ignore your usual canned response at the end because we’ve all heard it dozens of times and it isn’t worth getting into that rabbit hole.
    #157

    Well, then you and I differ on these terms, obviously. I believe atheists bandy about this term “God,” but they don’t even realize what they mean by it…What I’d like to know what is the God that you’re separating from what is being described at the height of this experience?

    I don’t know what you mean in the last sentence. How are you using the term “God” in this case?

  148. says

    Alex is happy to stay ignorant about the horrific problem of caste in Indian society because he is not affected by it. Caste was already a problematic way to stratify society according to literature from 2500 BCE. No Britishers can be blamed for that. British left India in 1947, yet caste remains a horrific problem today.

    India’s upper caste households earned nearly 47% more than the national average annual household income, the top 10% within these castes owned 60% of the wealth of the country, as per a recent paper by the World Inequality Database looking at long term data from 1961-2012.

    Despite being the 5% of the population, the Brahmin caste earned 48% above the national average and constituted more than 90% of state legislatures.

    According to National Crime Records Bureau of India data from 2006-2016, crime rate against Dalits (untouchables) rose by 25%, while the cases pending police investigation have risen by 99%. A crime is committed against Dalit every 15 minutes in India, and, six Dalit women are raped every day, according to National Crime Records Bureau data of 2015.

    Indian diaspora is divided along religion and caste lines even outside India. As Hindu nationalism has taken over India, effects can also be seen in the world. Indian channels in US propagate anti-Muslim sentiments all the time, especially before the past 2016 election. This lead to a bigger Indian-American vote for GOP than ever before. Hindu right wingers are always there at school board meetings trying to re write Indian history- erasing achievements that are not Hindu in origin, or usurping them as Hindu, trying to take out unsavory things such as caste system from the American grade school curriculum, writing amicus briefs supporting creationism taught at US public schools etc.

    Alex likes to present Hinduism as a gentle life philosophy yet the fact remains that secular bloggers and writers keeps getting murdered on Indian streets, Muslims keep getting lynched to death for suspicion of eating beef, christian churches and homes keep getting burned by Hindu extremists. Personal choices such as changing one’s religion and marrying are regulated by law and one can get killed for by a mob if done outside the caste or religion. All of this is happening today.To sweet coat such daily atrocities is really shameful.

  149. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    I don’t see how any of this could lead you to conclude that these people’s memories couldn’t be faulty or that they couldn’t be mistaken about what they thought happened. People forget stuff about even the most important events in their lives. They also can develop false memories and their brain can attempt to fill in the blanks as stuff gets forgotten over time. I don’t see how you get around this problem without a totally different study.

    I agree, memory can be faulty. And sure, perhaps people forget things during the most important events of their life, but that’s very different from not being able to recall the species of flowers decorating the tables at your wedding or the very date that you got married, etc. Those are very mundane experience, and I’d like to hear one of your examples of “people forget stuff about even the most important events in their lives.” And sure, people do rate these experiences among the most meaningful, if not the most meaningful of their lives. We’re talking about a complete break between the subject-object dichotomy or the “ego death” phenomenon that occurs at the height of these experiences, and this occurs at the hour and a half to two hour mark approximately with psilocybin, and you’re there for what in the experience may seem like an eternity, this sense of transcending time, but in reality the height of this experience is perhaps the peak forty minutes to an hour at the center of this experience, perhaps a bit longer than that, then there’s the comedown which feels like quite like the come up, but in reverse, and the ego after having completely dissolved in this experience returns, and feels reborn, as though it had undergone a literal death. I believe that’s that’s why the Sufis refer to this experience as Fana in Islam, that is “to die before you die.” For me, and I’m sure the volunteers can attest to this, this is an experience that I will forever ponder, that I will mull over to death, that’s how profound these experiences are. I understand you think this a perilous limitation of the study, but it’s irrelevant when we’re talking about a universal phenomenon in consciousness. To the degree people can recall the experiences at all, it really doesn’t matter when you consider that what people are attempting to describe is a universal phenomenon in consciousness despite how acute their memory may be, and I’m not attempting to shrug aside memory here. Memory is, of course, very important. After all, you can only report what you can recall, and I do believe these people are being as honest as possible in describing these experiences, and they do often can quite vividly recall these type of experiences. Even in my own life, if you spoke to me three or four years after having this experience, my account would be very hard to follow. Some of the participants are able to someone come up with a description for their experience 14 months after the event, and in fact, the longer you have to mull it over, the more articulately you can describe this experience. As an aside, I’ve once heard someone describe the ego as an illusion perpetuated by memory. I realize this response is a bit lengthy, but the limitation on how well they can recollect these experiences is not as big a deal when you consider they’re describing a universal phenomenon in consciousness. One more analogy I’d like to throw out to speak on this point, Terence McKenna once used this analogy where he asked how much would we understand of electricity if our method of studying it was to wait atop of high hills to be struck by lightning? Well, that’s sort of the issue vis-à-vis the psychedelic experience. Yes, to what degree you can recall that experience, how well your memory is in recollecting the experience plays an important role in the research. However, if you say that one might have a faulty memory of that event, how does the memory detract from the fact that this event of the CME or being struck by lightning is a tried-and-true universal phenomenon in consciousness?

    Jaime on Talk Heathen also mentioned it as such when I called into the show today. I think because I mentioned the work at Hopkins and the most recent survey study, they were conflated a bit by the host, particularly Kyle, but they still had some interesting things to say regarding it.

    I won’t be watching TH until tomorrow at work so I can’t comment on your call.
    The rest of #156 doesn’t really address my point. You still haven’t defined either of the terms or shown that they exist. Like you said earlier, for people to be actually interacting with a “God” or “Ultimate Reality” those things have to exist first. You have to define them and show they exist before you can use them as a explanation for what these people claimed they experienced.

    I’m not defining these terms beyond being descriptors for this experience, what does “Ultimate Reality” mean other than what it’s being used to describe? What I’m saying is that that which these volunteers are calling “Ultimate Reality” is precisely what Hindus have called “The Brahman,” what Christian mystics have called The Father or Theoria, what Buddhists call nirvana or buddha-nature, etc. So, when you ask does “Ultimate Reality” really exist? Well, sure, in the sense that it has been the described content of a phenomenon in consciousness which has been happening since time immemorial and which can be found at the very nascency of all the world’s major religions.

    If you have any links to videos or conversations you were in on Steve’s channel link (besides the one in #157) them here and I’ll check them out when I get the chance. I’m interested to see what Steve makes of all of this. I’m just going to ignore your usual canned response at the end because we’ve all heard it dozens of times and it isn’t worth getting into that rabbit hole.

    There’s a few others. I’d have to look for them though. Steve McRae’s not too familiar with the Perennial philosophy. He’s a friend of mine on these social circles like MeWe/facebook, and he’s admitted to me that he doesn’t know much about it.

    Well, then you and I differ on these terms, obviously. I believe atheists bandy about this term “God,” but they don’t even realize what they mean by it…What I’d like to know what is the God that you’re separating from what is being described at the height of this experience?

    I don’t know what you mean in the last sentence. How are you using the term “God” in this case?

    Well, how are you using this term? Do you assume its definition, do you say, “Oh, well, I just go by what theists tell me”? How do you know you’re interpreting the theist correctly? Here’s what I’d say to this question as per the point I brought up in that Talk Heathen episode and on McRae’s channel, this term “God” if you believe in evolution is a word that hasn’t always existed. Just as a creationist might believe the word “God” is eternal. What I’m trying to say is that there is no original word for this phenomenon in consciousness. The Taoist sage said, “The name that can be named is not the eternal name.” So, long before anyone uttered the word “God,” people referred to the so-called divine as Brahman in Hinduism, for instance, a religion that goes back over 10,000 B.C., it’s considered the “Grandfather religion” and back on to the urreligions that practices animism, panpsychism, etc. Very early shamans were engaging these experiences, and its taken on various names throughout history. So, when you ask, “How are you using the term God?” I’m using it as to point the content described in these mystical experiences which have described throughout millennia, that the very term itself “God” is one utterance among many that mystics have used to speak on these so-called spiritual/mystical experiences where they felt a unity with the very nature of that which they describe in various ways throughout all the major religions, in to the very dissolution in to the Absolute or Divine or God; or the complete absorption into Brahman; or the experience of an “Ultimate Reality” that is more real than everyday waking consciousness, etc. Within the Perennialist view, these are all ways of saying one and the same thing.

    You don’t have to read this, this is an aside that I wanted to share, but… I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about the “ordeal poisons” used by ancient shamans. You see, they didn’t just use psychedelics to induce these experiences, but things like the Texas mescal beans that you can find where I live pretty much everywhere, but no one’s doing them nowadays of course because they’re highly poisonous. If you ate half a bean, you’d probably spend the rest of your night violently vomiting your guts out. There’s some pretty intrepid people who’ve reported experienced on Erowid.com of 3-4 beans and going into convulsions and seizures. You see, there’s scholars that believe that the use of the mescal beans (not to be confused with peyote or its derivative in mescaline) was perhaps an original method used by shamans to induce these type of experiences, but it’s not reliable, and it’s very easy to overdose. Mescal beans are the red hard beans and they contain the poison cytisine. You could literally die from eating maybe 4 or 5 beans, perhaps much less than that. They’re highly poisonous, and shamans would literally eat these things to induce a near-death experience. So, people often think of peyote as this very old drug that’s been used for thousands of years when evidence shows that it use may be some very recent going back perhaps only 500 years ago. So that when natives started using peyote, the use of mescal beans drastically declined. While peyote is a much safer candidate than mescal beans, it does have its risks, too, since it contains amphetamines, especially if you’re doing it raw and not isolating the mescaline. However, it is much safer than mescal beans. I didn’t find out about mescal beans, even though I grew up as a kid around them, until my early 20s at the local library. There’s a shaman section in the second floor, and they have dried peyote on display, the mescal beans, and the tools they used to prepare this stuff. When I was a kid, these beans would be on the playground at my elementary school, but the shell is very hard to break, you have to get a rock to crack it, but looking back I don’t recall any kids attempting to do that. Instead, because the shells are so hard, we’d play with them and rub ’em against the ground really fast so they’d get hot, and so when you’d place it on someone’s skin, it’d burn them. But that’s as far as I remember it went with that. I never recalled actually attempting to open one up and eat it. I told this story to a friend, and there happened to be some nearby, and so he picked one up, broke it, ate half, and spent all night vomiting, even he said he’s never vomited so much in his life. He was making this crazy sounds, like, “Owuusughghghgh!!!” I mean, he even said that he not only never vomited so much, but he’s never retched so hard in his life. Anyway, that was a personal story I wanted to share that was semi-relevant, but not necessary to my point so if read, thanks, but you certainly didn’t have to.

  150. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Kafei #156:

    “Oh, it’s just hallucination, it’s just an illusion that you’re attaching all this shit to.” […] whether they call it an illusion or “Ultimate Reality,” it’s the exact same experience

    A hallucination of water won’t stave off dehydration.
     
    All together now… “YOU’RE A SOLIPSIST!?” *click*

  151. speedofsound says

    paxoll

    It’s a Koffee thread again and there is much more to say but it will get lost in the noise.

    #124

    My point is that when we criticize the excess of Dawkins we don’t call Dawkins ‘Genetics’. That’s not his name. Tooby and Cosmides are not named ‘EvPsych’.

    I would like to say a bit more about my claim on neuro-dev and how this is the key part fo EvPsych but I just can’t fucking stop myself from reading the Kafloop exchange. I am a BAD person.

  152. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @speedofsound #104:

    I really like […] Pinker.
    […]
    Help me understand.

    I’ve collected some reviews of him before.
     
    Comment: Axp 22.23 – CA7746 #5
     
    Article: Hj Hornbeck – Steven Pinker and Feminist Glaciology

  153. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #160
    What a ridiculous gish gallop. Why can’t you simply define the terms? If I ask a normal person to define a word, the response I get is “God is defined as X, Ultimate Reality is defined as Y”. With you, I get a wall of text about ancient mystics and McKenna/Watts. That’s not an answer to the question. I don’t understand what any of this shitty poetry means. You may as well be speaking a different language. If the only way I’m going to understand this is to take a “heroic dose” of psilocybin, then I’m never going to understand you so I may as well just put you on mute and move on. We’re just way too far apart here to have a meaningful discussion on anything that isn’t clearly laid out in the paper.

  154. speedofsound says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Pinker is not the author of any of the textbooks I use. But I really like his books.

  155. speedofsound says

    Atheists just don’t get it man. I took a few dozen heroic doses and effectively fucked my brain up to the point where I couldn’t be out in public and I got this really great feeling about being one with the all. The trees blended together at my feet and swept me up into them rendering all reality as a crisp, bedazzled, storybook universe. All time and motion stopped and yet kept changing simultaneously. The essences of the universe blew through me like rivers of light that fragmented my very being.

    Then the drug wore off and I thought, cool. Gotta try this shit again next week.

  156. t90bb says

    166…..speed……

    no no no…..you clearly never had a “true” complete mystical experience. Because if you had you would be circle jerking with those of us that have had a true cme….

    the cme “is the evidence!”

    LMFO

  157. t90bb says

    tell jimmy I send my love….and nice job on talk heathen!!! he needs to call more often…..great fun watching his stammer and struggle…….he had another Complete Humiliating Experience! or CHE!

  158. buddyward says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    What a ridiculous gish gallop. Why can’t you simply define the terms? If I ask a normal person to define a word, the response I get is “God is defined as X, Ultimate Reality is defined as Y”. With you, I get a wall of text about ancient mystics and McKenna/Watts. That’s not an answer to the question. I don’t understand what any of this shitty poetry means. You may as well be speaking a different language. If the only way I’m going to understand this is to take a “heroic dose” of psilocybin, then I’m never going to understand you so I may as well just put you on mute and move on. We’re just way too far apart here to have a meaningful discussion on anything that isn’t clearly laid out in the paper.

    When you do find the time to watch TalkHeathens, you will find that Jimmy did the same thing when the hosts asked him for his definition of God and he tried to obfuscate his response by stating what the research says which really has nothing to do with the definition of God. Also notice that Jimmy did not mention that the study was comprised mainly of self reports but he is eager to point out how some atheist volunteers no longer identified as atheist. It is this type of dishonesty that prevents people from having a productive conversation with Jimmy.

    I found it very entertaining how Jimmy flails to find answers to the host’s questions.

    I only responded to Jimmy simply because I did say that I will look at the study when it comes out. However, after seeing the same dishonesty that Jimmy does every single time then I have to say, I am with you on putting him back on mute.

  159. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @buddyward #169
    I just finished TH. Jimmy’s call went like all of his others on AXP over the years: mystical experience this, Hopkins that, blah blah blah. Once again, nothing came of the call. He couldn’t explain himself well enough to be understood, same as on here. Also notice that Jimmy didn’t point out that even if we assume everyone’s memories were flawless and that they’re being 100% honest and communicating their past experiences perfectly and without confusion, about 1/3 of the people who called themselves atheists before the experience remained atheists after.

  160. buddyward says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic #170

    I agree. Although there are so much more that I can add I think I am at a point of beating a head horse. I am sure that there a some (if not many) here would rather that I stop engaging as they may see it as me being an enabler. I hope to talk to you about some other more interesting topic.

  161. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @buddyward #171
    After his last gish gallop, I’m done with him unless he clearly defines his terms or sticks to the paper without going off on poetic tangents. Hopefully something else comes up to distract us from him.

  162. says

    @t90bb

    jimmy I send my love….and nice job on talk heathen!!! he needs to call more often…

    Thanks. I thought I did okay, up until Kyle and Jamie started asking why didn’t God create the mystical experience, why did that have to wait for the doctors at Johns Hopkins to do it? Which is a loaded question that makes no sense. Kyle says, “Mankind can do essentially what God can do” as though the two things were different events. In a Perennialist view, no such confusion takes place, for the Perennialist may acknowledge the mystics who realize and know that God is everywhere but is invisible to us due to our ego-centered
    nature, will find it easy to believe that a drug that occasionally obliterates the ego can also make God more visible. So, it’s not like there’s a “God entity” out there that causes mystical experiences that mankind can re-create, I believe this was the assumption of Kyle and Jamie, but rather it’s that the great mystics whom this experience has happened often were led to a panentheistic understanding of God, consider Spinoza, Plotinus, Simeon the New Theologian or modern philosophers such as Ken Wilber or Alan Watts or even physicists like Albert Einstein.

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    What a ridiculous gish gallop. Why can’t you simply define the terms? If I ask a normal person to define a word, the response I get is “God is defined as X, Ultimate Reality is defined as Y”. With you, I get a wall of text about ancient mystics and McKenna/Watts.

    Well, if it were so easily defined, then we wouldn’t have 1,000 of posts attempting to clarify this notion of God. I’ve attempted to at length in the first thread, especially with my exchanges with Einy to describe how God is defined within the Perennialist perspective. I’ve often said that Terence McKenna is one of the most articulate in describing these type of experiences, and even he has said no one has coined the perfect metaphor. I’ve often thought if the most articulate person who’s spoken on these topics, perhaps it’s not something which can be told, it’s something that must be experienced. If you listen to accounts of N,N-DMT, not just any DMT experience, but a breakthrough DMT experience. Often this full-threshold experience occurs after the infamous “third toke” of DMT.

    That’s not an answer to the question. I don’t understand what any of this shitty poetry means. You may as well be speaking a different language.

    Sure, if you haven’t had this experience, then reading writings based on the experience may seem like gibberish or a different language. I’m sure if I had read the Enneads of Plotinus prior to my CME, I would be like, “What the fuck does this all mean?” However, after a CME, I not only understood it, I resonated with the writings of Plotinus, I resonated with the scriptures of the Bhagavad Gita, the poems of Ashtavakra, etc.

    If the only way I’m going to understand this is to take a “heroic dose” of psilocybin, then I’m never going to understand you so I may as well just put you on mute and move on. We’re just way too far apart here to have a meaningful discussion on anything that isn’t clearly laid out in the paper.

    Perhaps, it may be the case that you initially have to have a CME in order to even hope to understand one. However, it doesn’t take a CME to consider a view as entailed with the Perennial philosophy. I find those people who identify as solely agnostics have, I don’t know, more tolerance? To be able to play with these concepts, and they can see, through their intellect, the sense in the Perennial philosophy, and they didn’t have to have a CME. I find it’s primarily atheists, those atheists who identify as atheists, who even have a sense of pride in their atheism, are the ones that have a very hard time grasping this stuff.

    I just finished TH. Jimmy’s call went like all of his others on AXP over the years: mystical experience this, Hopkins that, blah blah blah. Once again, nothing came of the call. He couldn’t explain himself well enough to be understood,

    Well, I was also constantly being cut-off, and asked all the wrong loaded questions that made the whole thing just confusing.

    same as on here.

    At least here I can attempt to clarify on a particular point that someone brings up. I had to re-listen to the exchange to understand what Kyle and Jamie’s questions towards the end there were about, and the only thing I could think of is that they’re asking a loaded question, they’re asking a question based on a either a misconception or something they’ve assumed about God.

    Also notice that Jimmy didn’t point out that even if we assume everyone’s memories were flawless and that they’re being 100% honest and communicating their past experiences perfectly and without confusion,

    Because I didn’t think it was relevant. You know, the laboratory volunteers at Johns Hopkins, I really doubt they’re going to misremember or not be able to recollect the events 10-20 years after the fact that happened at Johns Hopkins the day they were given a single high dose of psilocybin. It’s something that I’m sure these people are going to ponder for the rest of their lives. I’d like to see Hopkins do a follow-up 10-20 year studies on their volunteers, and they can assess how potent this memory was retained, but I think you’re pouring too much emphasis on this, and not realizing the sheer power or drastic transformation of consciousness that occurs at the height of these CMEs.

    about 1/3 of the people who called themselves atheists before the experience remained atheists after.

    I’ve address this at the reddit threads.

  163. t90bb says

    make sure you guys ask jimmy to let you know when his” theist experience starts”…..I don’t want to miss that shit show! and post it here since I have no idea if hes posting on this and other threads…

  164. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #173

    Well, if it were so easily defined, then we wouldn’t have 1,000 of posts attempting to clarify this notion of God.

    Ok so I guess we’re just unable to have a conversation then. I need at least a general idea of what you mean if you want to be able to communicate your ideas to me. At least Christians can say something like “spaceless, timeless, disembodied mind” where I can kinda get what they’re envisioning.

    Sure, if you haven’t had this experience, then reading writings based on the experience may seem like gibberish or a different language.

    Since I’m not going to be ingesting enough psilocybin to have a CME looks like I won’t be able to understand you.

    I find it’s primarily atheists, those atheists who identify as atheists, who even have a sense of pride in their atheism, are the ones that have a very hard time grasping this stuff.

    Blaming me for failing to understand what you’re saying isn’t going to make me any more interested in learning about this stuff. I’ve already shown that I’m engaging in good faith by reading the papers and giving you multiple chances to explain yourself instead of just calling you a deluded idiot and muting you.

    the only thing I could think of is that they’re asking a loaded question, they’re asking a question based on a either a misconception or something they’ve assumed about God

    Maybe you should have clearly defined what you meant by “God”. I’ll cut you some slack because your topic is hard to cover in a short call without the papers handy but if you want people to have fewer misconceptions about your beliefs you need to do a better job of clearing those up.

  165. anton2347 says

    Could “May the force be with you” be a good response to “Have a blessed day” to express the ridiculousness of it in an equally aggressive fashion?
    Can’t think of a reasonable way you’d be allowed to say one but not the other.

  166. says

    @AtheismNotAgnostic

    Ok so I guess we’re just unable to have a conversation then. I need at least a general idea of what you mean if you want to be able to communicate your ideas to me. At least Christians can say something like “spaceless, timeless, disembodied mind” where I can kinda get what they’re envisioning.

    Okay, so you’re saying that you kinda get where a Christian is coming from when they give you a description of God that is a “spaceless, timeless, disembodied mind.” Would you be able to express how you understand that? That’s not a trick or quiz question, I’d just like to hear how you interpret that. Perhaps we can start a conversation from there, because that notion of the “spaceless, timeless, disembodied mind.” I would say there is definitely a sense of this in a CME, in the “ego death” experience, because there is no ego there, there is no body in that experience, there is only consciousness, but a consciousness that contains all the permutations that could ever be; this is why it is said to be timeless, because you see, if you have an impression in consciousness of all things happening at once, then there’s nothing to unfold tensed time, because all things are simultaneously occurring so people say of it that it is beyond space and time or some express it as a timelessness, and it’s not necessarily space, because space also involved tensed time, it involves something that manifest in a tensed time. So, the Christian mystics have, too, expressed The Father in this fashion, it is not that consciousness glimpses a philosophical Absolute, it temporarily becomes it. That’s why I try and stay away from this term “altered state,” because many of us know what altered states are, you’ve had alcohol, I’m sure, you’ve had cannabis, perhaps, and maybe other substances, and of course, altered states don’t simply happen from drugs, and I mean subtle ones, like an adrenaline rush or something like that; that’s all very different from describing the types of experiences that are reported by mystics or in these with a high dose of a psychedelic. What happens is a drastic transformation of consciousness, from caterpillar to butterfly, it’s almost as consciousness somehow inverts on itself, and you find yourself not as a separate entity from the environment somewhere out at the edge of the universe, far out in space and in time, but all that temporarily inverts on itself so that you’re somehow the consciousness of the universe itself, in all times and places. You’re everything that has, is, and ever will be, what Ken Wilber calls the Totality or Wholeness or what Hindus call Brahman. So, this is why it’s called an “ego death,” the isolated individual, the bag of bones doesn’t consider itself the mere skin-encapsulated entity, but as part and parcel of an interconnected wholeness, a chain of being that is eternal. Lots of people are starting to discuss “free will” and the lack of it in the latest thread, and so if you would for a moment, imagine that this is the case, that all things are ultimately predetermined and there is no such thing as free will. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, but there’s a fictional extraterrestrial race called Tralfamadorians that are placid in their predetermined perspective, they perceive in the fourth dimension into a completely predestined reality so that from their perspective, you would look like a long undulating snake coiling from inception to your grave, a snake frozen in time and space where as from your perspective, you live out a life where you experience space and time. Well, a CME is something like that, so that even the world is this undulating snake that is complete at every moment, it’s all fixed and already there, beyond that to the universe/multiverse itself, all space and time is all seen at once, it’s a frozen block. It is “the everything” as described by Tracie Harris, and interesting enough, these are also the attributes of how these volunteers at Johns Hopkins also describe the content of what’s encountered in these experiences; they ask questions like was it intelligent, was it sacred, was it benevolent, was it eternal, was it conscious, was it malicious, was it negatively judgemental? And their results are very interesting so much that they’re now adopting this survey by Ethan Herwitz into the laboratory studies, but nevertheless, you see, Tracie said, “Well, that’s just the universe.” But you see, that’s not necessarily Spinoza’s pantheism, Spinoza never was claiming “God is the universe,” this is a very common misconception, and a straw man at best to that description of the divine, but for the mystic, it is a direct experience of that which is everything and all-encompassing, a flash of the complete Totality. And as I’ve said before, that’s one thing to type, it’s quite another thing to experience.

    Sure, if you haven’t had this experience, then reading writings based on the experience may seem like gibberish or a different language.

    Since I’m not going to be ingesting enough psilocybin to have a CME looks like I won’t be able to understand you.

    Out of curiosity, why not? I will admit, I’m a bit like Joe Rogan when atheists approach him who aren’t concerned to walk through the door of what he calls the “God room.” Aren’t you curious as to whether any of this is even possible? If it’s due to legality issues or lack of a connect, then as Talk Heathen respected not to address me there, then you definitely don’t have to answer this question. Skip it, if you’d like.

    I find it’s primarily atheists, those atheists who identify as atheists, who even have a sense of pride in their atheism, are the ones that have a very hard time grasping this stuff.

    Blaming me for failing to understand what you’re saying isn’t going to make me any more interested in learning about this stuff.

    I’m not necessarily blaming you in particular. I’m only saying in my own experience, I’ve found this stuff is much harder to discuss with atheists. Especially if they’re anti-theist. I really feel Matt deep down is, and I know Steve McRae doesn’t like these terms, but he’s never given me a a good term for those atheists who say they “know there is no God” except to simply call them atheists, and not all atheists say that. He once told me to use “gnostic atheist,” but then he retracted because the word “gnostic” has religious associations, and “strong atheism” Steve would argue is the “belief that there are no Gods,” not someone who says they know there is no God. Matt is that type of atheist, the atheist who says he knows there is no God. He parades himself as an agnostic atheist, but really if you corner him, you’ll find he’s actually a gnostic atheist, not to confuse with Gnosticism, of course. So, in my opinion, Matt’s defined his own God that he describes as “supernatural,” and because he believes the supernatural is necessarily something that is “not natural” and therefore can never be demonstrated to exist, atheism is always triumphant in his mind, but that’s simply because he’s defined God within his own parameters where God is necessarily something that can never be demonstrated, because it’s necessarily something in his perspective, something that can never be demonstrated to be accord with reality. That’s my take on Matt, but maybe someone can correct me.

    I’ve already shown that I’m engaging in good faith by reading the papers and giving you multiple chances to explain yourself instead of just calling you a deluded idiot and muting you.

    Oh, you mean, as some of my detractors have here in the thread? Well, I’ll give you that you’re more tolerant than your fellow atheists. Honestly, not a lot of them show any genuine curiosity even in the iota. They’re not willing to read even the peer-reviewed papers except with the intention to criticize it. You’re definitely not part of that camp, and you actually have asked interesting enough questions to respond to, imho.

    the only thing I could think of is that they’re asking a loaded question, they’re asking a question based on a either a misconception or something they’ve assumed about God

    Maybe you should have clearly defined what you meant by “God”. I’ll cut you some slack because your topic is hard to cover in a short call without the papers handy but if you want people to have fewer misconceptions about your beliefs you need to do a better job of clearing those up.

    Whole-heartedly agreed. Again, that’s one of the reasons I participate in threads like these, to really address these semantic issues, because I have a suspicion it may simply be an issue of semantics. If you recall that point I brought up with Steve McRae. Matt talks about how every dictionary has an entry for the word “God.” What he doesn’t talk about is the etymology for the word God, how far this word goes back with its use, because what the Perennial philosophy is saying is that “God” is one term among many which mystics have used to refer to a Totality that they encounter or experience at the height of a CME, and so while the word “God” hasn’t been around for many years and years, this phenomenon of the CME has, and so the further you go back in time, you’ll find various terms that reference this phenomenon such as “Brahman” uttered long before the word “God” took foothold. I don’t find that point brought up very often, even Matt only acknowledged that the word “God” can be found in every dictionary.

  167. says

    @AtheismNotAgnostic

    Sure, if you haven’t had this experience, then reading writings based on the experience may seem like gibberish or a different language.

    Since I’m not going to be ingesting enough psilocybin to have a CME looks like I won’t be able to understand you.

    Out of curiosity, why not? I will admit, I’m a bit like Joe Rogan when atheists approach him who aren’t concerned to walk through the door of what he calls the “God room.” Aren’t you curious as to whether any of this is even possible? If it’s due to legality issues or lack of a connect, then as Talk Heathen respected not to address me there, then you definitely don’t have to answer this question. Skip it, if you’d like.

    I find it’s primarily atheists, those atheists who identify as atheists, who even have a sense of pride in their atheism, are the ones that have a very hard time grasping this stuff.

    Blaming me for failing to understand what you’re saying isn’t going to make me any more interested in learning about this stuff.

    I’m not necessarily blaming you in particular. I’m only saying in my own experience, I’ve found this stuff is much harder to discuss with atheists. Especially if they’re anti-theist. I really feel Matt deep down is, and I know Steve McRae doesn’t like these terms, but he’s never given me a a good term for those atheists who say they “know there is no God” except to simply call them atheists, and not all atheists say that. He once told me to use “gnostic atheist,” but then he retracted because the word “gnostic” has religious associations, and “strong atheism” Steve would argue is the “belief that there are no Gods,” not someone who says they know there is no God. Matt is that type of atheist, the atheist who says he knows there is no God. He parades himself as an agnostic atheist, but really if you corner him, you’ll find he’s actually a gnostic atheist, not to confuse with Gnosticism, of course. So, in my opinion, Matt’s defined his own God that he describes as “supernatural,” and because he believes the supernatural is necessarily something that is “not natural” and therefore can never be demonstrated to exist, atheism is always triumphant in his mind, but that’s simply because he’s defined God within his own parameters where God is necessarily something that can never be demonstrated, because it’s necessarily something in his perspective, something that can never be demonstrated to be accord with reality. That’s my take on Matt, but maybe someone can correct me. I know this is also how AronRa expresses his “understanding” of God. AronRa says he knows there is no God. Although, Matt’s definitely more inquisitive about these things that AronRa, in my opinion, he did a very interesting journal on theological noncognitivism and ignosticism that suggests that he might be really re-examining these terms. You know, it’s funny ’cause I’m friends with Steve and I don’t often read his journal entries ’cause they’re in text format. I find Matt’s video format more interesting, and he’s very articulate, and what I mean by that, is he reminds me of Ralph Smart, he’s able to do these long entries in one fell swoop, without multiple takes, etc.

    I’ve already shown that I’m engaging in good faith by reading the papers and giving you multiple chances to explain yourself instead of just calling you a deluded idiot and muting you.

    Oh, you mean, as some of my detractors have here in the thread? Well, I’ll give you that you’re more tolerant than your fellow atheists. Honestly, not a lot of them show any genuine curiosity even in the iota. They’re not willing to read even the peer-reviewed papers except with the intention to criticize it. You’re definitely not part of that camp, and you actually have asked interesting enough questions to respond to, imho. I appreciate your feedback. I know people accuse me of bringing these topics up often, but what they may not understand is that this is not just ideas I bring up often, this is my perspective. It’s like telling a lawyer not to bring up the law in court. It may seem derailing, but I really believe all these topics are interconnected as long as you’re talking about religion and God. I don’t know mind if a thread wants to spend time on abortion or how did life form in the universe or whether we have free will or not (the topic of the current thread), that’s fine. I find all these topics interesting, and so I don’t mind kicking back discussing free will, and I will respect John’s comments, so if we’re permitted a dialogue here on these topics, then if you please wouldn’t mind elaborating on some of the questions I’ve asked here.

    the only thing I could think of is that they’re asking a loaded question, they’re asking a question based on a either a misconception or something they’ve assumed about God

    Maybe you should have clearly defined what you meant by “God”. I’ll cut you some slack because your topic is hard to cover in a short call without the papers handy but if you want people to have fewer misconceptions about your beliefs you need to do a better job of clearing those up.

    Well, thanks for the slack, ’cause I’m not attempting make some sort of excuse, the screener was prompted to tell everyone to keep it short. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps it was because they were doing the swaps throughout the show, I happen to get Kyle and Jamie. I wonder if it would’ve went in another direction if I got Shannon Q and Eric or Cosmic Skeptic. He was there, too. That point I brought up with Steve is something very important when it comes to the semantics to all of this. You see, I don’t know if you’ve ever called into Talk Heathen or The Atheist Experience, but one of the first things the screener will ask you is of course your name and where you’re from, but what I want to emphasize is right after that is, “Are you an atheist or a theist?” As though it’s this black and white, binary thing. In other words, don’t call in answering that question as, “Neither.” The screener will respond, “Does not compute!” and you’ll hear her head explode. I’m joking, but my point is that they take that question pretty seriously, so when I called into Talk Heathen, I said “neither” on purpose, and it almost prevented my call from being taken. The screener literally told me, “Uh, you have to choose one or the other.” So, I just opted for theist. You see, during the April Easter call 2017, Matt noticed that the screener labeled me in the “atheist/theist” area as “neither.” So, instead of addressing my call and the question I wanted to ask, we went into this semantic argument because Matt said, “The screener listed you as ‘neither,’ and that’s not possible.” Well, perhaps the screener should’ve known, then, right? Since it’s an “impossibility.” If I had any point at the end of Talk Heathen, I said it would depend on how they’re thinking about God to which Jamie retorted, “That’s the golden question. We don’t… ’cause atheist.” In other words, he doesn’t imagine God ’cause he’s an atheist, but that’s precisely what they were doing when Kyle said that the doctors at Johns Hopkins were Gods because they could provide this experience, and that’s what threw me off. I have no idea how he’s thinking about God in that sentence, but he’s obviously imagining God in some fashion to ask such a loaded question, you see. So, the last point I left them with is that there’s an issue with even the word “God” itself, that it will boil down to a semantic argument, that on one side of the spectrum the word “God” makes completely no sense at all, it’s the theological noncognitivist’s wet dream, and on the other side of the spectrum, the word is completely compatible and correspondent to reality as per the mystics who encountered divine unity in these mystical experiences, leading to pantheism, but not as Tracie said, some vague comparison to the universe we perceive, but a unity of all things, in all times that is not simply “the universe,” but a sense of the Totality of all nature, in all times, an unbroken wholeness, and often this experience is accompanied with a sense of unconditional love to which when I mentioned it to Matt, he called it a “flat-out delusion,” perhaps, but it’s universally expressed at the height of these experiences. Why a view that unites and harmonizes the major religions in unity, that is based on the scientific research, etc. is rejected, doubted, disdained, criticized, etc. I don’t know. Maybe it’s merely my own approach, some people have asked me to consider that, but I can’t help how I express these things, and how I’ve interpreted them as I’ve had this so-called CME experience for myself, and a long time ago, too. The most potent CME I could recall was about 10 years, but it’s heavily influenced the rest of my life, obviously, as these topics are things I think about constantly. Of course, I find time for meditation and I think that’s important, too. If you’re mind is incessantly running, then you’re entertaining thousands of illusions, delusions. Okay, well, that’s enough of that, I realize there’s walls of texts here a good majority won’t read, largely because they’ve blocked me. I haven’t blocked anyone in this thread, and I’m not trying to compare our patience, but so I’ll end it briefly here. I really believe these terms, especially God due to its many variances and connotations can be very misleading and puts people into boxes where they don’t really fit, and may ultimately be a false dichotomy, because we’re not whether you “believe in God or not,” but what it actually is which is a very different question. Anyway, I’ll end with a quote from Alan Watts for ol’ speedofsound, “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so this person becomes detached from reality, and lives in a world of illusions.”

  168. says

    I think I had a few typos up there. *Interestingly enough Ah, well, anyway, I hope some of that comes across. I’m not going to waste a post correcting a typo, so here’s just a couple of more quotes from Terence McKenna relative to what I’ve brought up here. Here’s Terence speaking on the DMT flash, and why it’s so damn hard to describe one of these experiences:

    The reason it’s so confounding is because its impact is on the language-forming capacity itself. So the reason it’s so confounding is because the thing that is trying to look at the DMT is infected by it—by the process of inspection. So DMT does not provide an experience that you analyze. Nothing so tidy goes on. The syntactical machinery of description undergoes some sort of hyper-dimensional inflation instantly, and then, you know, you cannot tell yourself what it is that you understand. In other words, what DMT does can’t be downloaded into as low-dimensional a language as English.

    Here’s another one that I thought was pertinent, especially to what Tracie said in the time-stamped link I posted above relative to her analogy of God.

    We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.” – Terence McKenna

  169. speedofsound says

    buddyward #169

    you will find that Jimmy did the same thing when the hosts asked him for his definition of God and he tried to obfuscate his response by stating what the research says which really has nothing to do with the definition of God. Also notice that Jimmy did not mention that the study was comprised mainly of self reports but he is eager to point out how some atheist volunteers no longer identified as atheist.

    From the beginning I wanted to know a very simple thing. If I no longer identify as an atheist then what do I identify with? If I no longer not believe in X then what and fuck is x?

    Now I have some friends who when pressed say “I don’t know, but there is Something”. Spooky! If you dig in a little all gods, things supernatural, or deep mystical experiences are about Something to do with Mind. Now Kafail will freak out at the word supernatural and backpedal all over hell but if it is about Mind it is supernatural as commonly used.

    What minds really are is a simple machine to take dorsal input and emit motor output on the ventral side, granted with some layers between. The SN version suspects that Minds can do more than minds. Kafloop would claim, if he had a backbone at all, that he believes science will discover something about Consciousness showing it to be more fundamental in the fabric of reality. Something along the lines of One Big Mind with bubbles that are our limited everyday mindview. when you take the magic mushroom the door opens and the bubble disappears and now you can experience the whole big thing.

    That is blatantly supernatural on it’s face. Guys like me, and Alan Watts, have taken it a different way. When your brain is alive and working you are in this limited space and when the brain goes away entirely you get back to the truth of the matter. Which is no-mind. Nothing. I like to call it Dead as a Doornail myself, in keeping with the ancient tradition of philodoodles Theoeffluvium.

    But there are states in between where you can put most of your reality processing rational brain on the shelf and just go back to that dorsal to ventral feel-shit/do-shit mode of operation. This is the only result of meditation. ‘Shrooms give you a bit more. They put you in this state of being able to feel everything, unfiltered, all at once, and still apply a vast amount of imagination to the mix.

    That shit all feels good. Really Good. Concepts about reality melt and mix and you can have a hell of a good time. Better yet, you can see your self from new perspectives and even do a little positive rewiring when you put your head back together again.

    The downside of melting all of your beliefs is that any ghostly hanger-on batshit crazy crap may seep into your worldview as you sober up. Double-edged sword here. You can either become a better person or you can start to believe all sorts of crazy.

    Now Kerflaw has come to believe that there is this door in the back of his mind that he opened and in so doing he caught a glimpse of Ultimate Reality, and, no surprise, it felt just like his very human mind except much much bigger. So big that it must be The All and The All it turns out is just like consciousness. So warm and fuzzy that is.

    Now getting this fucker to face his Woo and define his god is going to be impossible. He cannot articulate it. On articulation he not only would be criticized but he would become critical himself.

    I’m going to pull a Kerflup here. He is so attached to his warm fuzzy , pridefully and emotionally, that he is afraid to entertain another view. Putting it down in black and white would be his first step in seeing what he really believes in here and he is too afraid to do that.

    see this for ‘pulling a Keflup”

    I find it’s primarily atheists, those atheists who identify as atheists, who even have a sense of pride in their atheism, are the ones that have a very hard time grasping this stuff.

  170. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy 176

    Okay, so you’re saying that you kinda get where a Christian is coming from when they give you a description of God that is a “spaceless, timeless, disembodied mind.” Would you be able to express how you understand that?

    I’m a noncognitivist/igtheist so I don’t think the definition points to anything at we could evaluate (what’s a disembodied mind?) but it does revel some characteristics about what they call”God”: it has agency and doesn’t reside in our local space-time universe.

    Out of curiosity, why not?

    I’ve spent my entire life getting to a point where I’m content. I’m not going to throw it all away by risking brain damage by taking large amounts of a drug that isn’t known to be 100% safe.

    I’m not necessarily blaming you in particular. I’m only saying in my own experience, I’ve found this stuff is much harder to discuss with atheists.

    I’m not surprised that this is harder to discuss with atheists. I’m sure as a whole we’re disproportionately more skeptical than any other group and aren’t likely to give ground when it isn’t earned. I’m not gong to address the Matt stuff in detail because I’m not him, but I do hate his use of the word “supernatural”. It’s one of my few major disagreements with him. I’ll respond to the rest soon.

  171. speedofsound says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic (#180)

    but I do hate his use of the word “supernatural”. It’s one of my few major disagreements with him.

    On analysis it is hard to make sense of the word. One way a thing could be supernatural is if say a whale appeared in the atmosphere ten miles up. But then why a whale? Why not an amorphous blob of frozen nitrogen?

    or if gravity quit working in an amorphous area of about one cubic meter.

    Though most people would start to jitter a bit when thinking about small breaks in normal laws as supernatural.

  172. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @speedofsound #181
    I agree, that’s why I don’t use it. I think we should just erase it from the lexicon.

  173. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #176,177

    Matt talks about how every dictionary has an entry for the word “God.” What he doesn’t talk about is the etymology for the word God

    I’m not a huge fan of arguments from etymology. Word usages change over time. Matt does this same thing with “agnostic”, which is my other major disagreement with him on terminology (just look at my name) but I REALLY don’t want to spark another tangential discussion about that right now.

    Well, thanks for the slack, ’cause I’m not attempting make some sort of excuse, the screener was prompted to tell everyone to keep it short.

    We agree that your topic isn’t really suitable for the show’s format, so why don’t you stop calling us and instead try to get on NonSequitur? Since you know Steve and just spoke to Kyle you have an “in”. You could then spend 90+ minutes going through the topic with them and maybe someone else like Shannon Q, who has a psych background. That would be much more productive than every one of your calls to AXP combined IMO.

    Kyle said that the doctors at Johns Hopkins were Gods because they could provide this experience, and that’s what threw me off. I have no idea how he’s thinking about God in that sentence

    This was a joke. Like I said earlier, I don’t really want to get into a debate over the definition of atheism, but it seems to me that under either of the major definitions you are a theist, just a very unusual type of theist.

  174. speedofsound says

    @ AtheistNotAgnostic (#182)

    That would then require that each person proposing something out of the ordinary to fully detail what that event is and how they think it is caused. I like that.

  175. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @speedofsound #184
    Yeah my goal is rejecting the natural/supernatural distinction is to get people to realize that they can’t dodge scientific inquiry into their proposed mechanisms by just changing the label. If the stuff you propose affects reality, we can use science on it to study it. If it doesn’t, then I don’t care about it. NOMA gives people cover for their unsubstantiated bullshit. Also, there’s the simple fact that “supernatural” is so poorly defined that it doesn’t convey any meaning. There’s my noncognitvism showing again!

  176. t90bb says

    I see jimmy is posting based on the posts responding to him….jimmy has never defined god in his own words..explained what he actually learned during his mystical masturbation sessions. besides feeling warm and fuzzy…what did these sessions actually reveal about the deity?? Dummei will quote wiki on perrenail shitology and name drop (watts! lol)….but can never quite get around to explaining in his own words who or what god is…and what was revealed to him during mystical masturbation.

    BUT BUT BITTTT…….”the cme is the evidence!:”” lol,,,,lmfao.. poor guy. Did you hear him stutter and stammer on Heathen???

    As I have said…his argument is the same argument used by those who claim near death experiences are evidence for the sky wizard…….”if you have not had a NDE…….yadda yadda yadda”….

    just another way of pretending to be special or somehow enlightened..lol……although they cant explain how or what precludes the entire experience as nothing more than altered/dying/ox deprived brain state.

    make sure you ask jimmy when his “theist experience w mystical masturbation” goes live…hes been promising this for months and does not seem to have the time but continues to litter social media..convincing only the most desperate if any at all…LLLOOLLl

  177. buddyward says

    @Speedofsound #179

    From the beginning I wanted to know a very simple thing. If I no longer identify as an atheist then what do I identify with? If I no longer not believe in X then what and fuck is x?

    Now I have some friends who when pressed say “I don’t know, but there is Something”. Spooky! If you dig in a little all gods, things supernatural, or deep mystical experiences are about Something to do with Mind. Now Kafail will freak out at the word supernatural and backpedal all over hell but if it is about Mind it is supernatural as commonly used.

    What minds really are is a simple machine to take dorsal input and emit motor output on the ventral side, granted with some layers between. The SN version suspects that Minds can do more than minds. Kafloop would claim, if he had a backbone at all, that he believes science will discover something about Consciousness showing it to be more fundamental in the fabric of reality. Something along the lines of One Big Mind with bubbles that are our limited everyday mindview. when you take the magic mushroom the door opens and the bubble disappears and now you can experience the whole big thing.

    At this point, I believe that I have given Jimmy enough opportunity to present his case and all I got are dishonest responses. I do not think that it would be rational to continue having a conversation with Jimmy, let alone spend the time trying to decipher his statements.

    That is blatantly supernatural on it’s face. Guys like me, and Alan Watts, have taken it a different way. When your brain is alive and working you are in this limited space and when the brain goes away entirely you get back to the truth of the matter. Which is no-mind. Nothing. I like to call it Dead as a Doornail myself, in keeping with the ancient tradition of philodoodles Theoeffluvium.

    I do not understand what “getting back to the truth of the matter” means. The truth of what? Which truth? How was this truth evaluated to be true? Is this truth demonstrable?

    But there are states in between where you can put most of your reality processing rational brain on the shelf and just go back to that dorsal to ventral feel-shit/do-shit mode of operation. This is the only result of meditation. ‘Shrooms give you a bit more. They put you in this state of being able to feel everything, unfiltered, all at once, and still apply a vast amount of imagination to the mix.

    That shit all feels good. Really Good. Concepts about reality melt and mix and you can have a hell of a good time. Better yet, you can see your self from new perspectives and even do a little positive rewiring when you put your head back together again.

    What I got from these statements is that meditation and shrooms make you feel good so much so that one’s perception of reality no longer aligns with what is actually real.

    The downside of melting all of your beliefs is that any ghostly hanger-on batshit crazy crap may seep into your worldview as you sober up. Double-edged sword here. You can either become a better person or you can start to believe all sorts of crazy.

    So, it feels good and can lead you to believe things that are untrue. Hmm, does that sound like a reliable pathway to the truth?

    I apologize if I am confusing Jimmy’s belief with yours as I seem to be having a hard time figuring out where his ends and yours begin. Please correct me where you see that I have made errors.

  178. says

    @speedofsound

    From the beginning I wanted to know a very simple thing. If I no longer identify as an atheist then what do I identify with? If I no longer not believe in X then what and fuck is x?

    X is the philosophical Absolute. It’s the God as described by Tracie, except Tracie made a common mistake which is to equate this with the universe, and that’s not necessarily what this understanding entails. This direct encounter with the Absolute experienced by the mystic leads to a more kind of Spinozan understanding of the divine. The reason Tracie cannot make sense of it is because she hasn’t had a direct experience of the Absolute, so instead she attempts to intellectually grope what this might mean, and instead conclude that she’s only calling the universe God, and so abandons the term “God” and simply acknowledges the universe. To apply what Tracie did to Spinoza’s view would be a misattribution, because that’s not what Spinoza has done, Spinoza is not calling the universe God. As I’ve pointed out before, this is a very, very common misconception.

    Now I have some friends who when pressed say “I don’t know, but there is Something”. Spooky! If you dig in a little all gods, things supernatural, or deep mystical experiences are about Something to do with Mind. Now Kafail will freak out at the word supernatural and backpedal all over hell but if it is about Mind it is supernatural as commonly used.

    No, I think people don’t define supernatural properly, especially Matt Dillahunty. He’s defining supernatural to mean that which is “not natural.” When the prefix “super-” actually means to go beyond, to transcend; it’s not “a-natural” as in a negation of the natural, it is more accurately the transcendence of nature which would tie in quite nicely to what is sensed at the height of these CMEs. Here’s how one Perennialist put it:

    t has been said more than once that total Truth is inscribed in an eternal script in the very substance of our spirit; what the different Revelations do is to “crystallize” and “actualize”, in different degrees according to the case, a nucleus of certitudes which not only abides forever in the divine Omniscience, but also sleeps by refraction in the “naturally supernatural” kernel of the individual, as well as in that of each ethnic or historical collectivity or of the human species as a whole.

    -Frithjof Schuon

    What minds really are is a simple machine to take dorsal input and emit motor output on the ventral side, granted with some layers between. The SN version suspects that Minds can do more than minds. Kafloop would claim, if he had a backbone at all, that he believes science will discover something about Consciousness showing it to be more fundamental in the fabric of reality. Something along the lines of One Big Mind with bubbles that are our limited everyday mindview. when you take the magic mushroom the door opens and the bubble disappears and now you can experience the whole big thing.

    That is blatantly supernatural on it’s face. Guys like me, and Alan Watts, have taken it a different way. When your brain is alive and working you are in this limited space and when the brain goes away entirely you get back to the truth of the matter. Which is no-mind. Nothing. I like to call it Dead as a Doornail myself, in keeping with the ancient tradition of philodoodles Theoeffluvium.

    Guys like you and Alan Watts? You mean, the man that you keep misinterpreting and misconstruing as atheist? Alan Watts said himself, “My metaphysics, let me be perfectly frank with you are that there is the Central Self, you can call it God, you can call it Brahman, you can call it anything you like, and it’s all of us, it’s playing all the parts, all beings whatsoever, everywhere and anywhere.” You see, I’m not saying anything different from what Alan Watts is saying. The “Central Self” is what’s glimpsed at the height of the CME, and has been throughout millennia, and it has taken upon various names as Brahman, as Wakan Tanka, as Quetzalcoatl, etc. long before anyone uttered the word “God.” I really believe atheists confuse themselves over this word “God” because it’s the term with the most associations, it’s the term with the most loaded connotations.

    But there are states in between where you can put most of your reality processing rational brain on the shelf and just go back to that dorsal to ventral feel-shit/do-shit mode of operation. This is the only result of meditation. ‘Shrooms give you a bit more. They put you in this state of being able to feel everything, unfiltered, all at once, and still apply a vast amount of imagination to the mix.

    That shit all feels good. Really Good. Concepts about reality melt and mix and you can have a hell of a good time. Better yet, you can see your self from new perspectives and even do a little positive rewiring when you put your head back together again.

    The downside of melting all of your beliefs is that any ghostly hanger-on batshit crazy crap may seep into your worldview as you sober up. Double-edged sword here. You can either become a better person or you can start to believe all sorts of crazy.

    Now Kerflaw has come to believe that there is this door in the back of his mind that he opened and in so doing he caught a glimpse of Ultimate Reality, and, no surprise, it felt just like his very human mind except much much bigger. So big that it must be The All and The All it turns out is just like consciousness. So warm and fuzzy that is.

    Now getting this fucker to face his Woo and define his god is going to be impossible. He cannot articulate it. On articulation he not only would be criticized but he would become critical himself.

    I believe I have explained it. Only I wouldn’t call it a “glimpse of ultimate reality,” I’d say more accurately consciousness is transformed to that which is being referred to as “ultimate reality.” Ego dies like the caterpillar transforms butterfly, and it’s as though you’re the butterfly for a brief moment, then you return to the baseline of consciousness, the ego returns, and it’s like you’re the caterpillar again trying to remember what it was like being the butterfly. Or I really like Bill Richards analogy of the cave man who takes mushrooms, then finds himself in the middle of Manhattan c. 2019, and he sees cars, buildings, technology, smartphones, traffic lights, etc. then when he returns to the baseline of consciousness and finds himself back at the cave with his wife, and his wife asks, “So, what did you see?” All he can do his make gestures and groak, and say, “It was big! IT was impressive! It was amazing!”, etc., but of course, his wife’s not really getting a good picture of what was going on at all.

    I’m going to pull a Kerflup here. He is so attached to his warm fuzzy , pridefully and emotionally, that he is afraid to entertain another view. Putting it down in black and white would be his first step in seeing what he really believes in here and he is too afraid to do that.

    I’m not afraid at all. It’s simply that I’ve had this experience for myself, this is my perspective. Like is said, it would be like asking a lawyer, “Sir, would you please not discuss the law while we’re in court, please? Thank you.” I can’t help it. These things are intrinsic to my perspective.

  179. speedofsound says

    Jimmy I do not give a flying fuck about anything further you have to say. I may talk about a hypothetical kerf*** but I assure you it has nothing to do with you and I would prefer no response.

  180. speedofsound says

    @buddyward (#187)

    I do not understand what “getting back to the truth of the matter” means. The truth of what? Which truth? How was this truth evaluated to be true? Is this truth demonstrable?

    I probably shouldn’t have used the word truth. It’s more like ‘dead’. The zen mind is no-mind and the best way to get that is be dead. If you are alive you can do all sorts of things with your mind to be more like dead. Like just quit thinking and chop wood.

    None of this is rocket science. If you take certain drugs that alter your, particularly the part of your mind that keeps you knowing who, what and where, you can experience some pretty cool things. None of it amounts to a hill of beans in the long run.

    But say that you are facing your own imminent death. When we think about the death of our ‘going on being conscious’ we run up against the paradox of our belief that we are a conscious mind. That belief is pure bullshit. We have all sorts of undercooked ideas about our minds.

    Now if you drop some acid, a lot of acid, all of the parts that we hold onto about a belief in our minds dissolves. We kind of get back to a state of pure unknowing. If you know nothing you cannot feel bad about dying.

    The idea of Watts and zen is that we think too much. That we have beliefs about mind and self that are useful fictions. When it comes time to face death or other troubles some of these useful fictions become the Problem itself.

    Now do not think any deeper than necessary on this stuff. It’s not that complex. You are an animal. You feel best when you are doing just animal things like breathing and ham sandwiches.

  181. speedofsound says

    @Kafei

    That was a bit harsh but the thing is, you can’t tell me what your concept fo god is. You don’t understand that the concept you seek is not conceivable. It’s no-god. Atheists are way ahead of you on that and you aren’t going to get that.

    Want to know a secret? Get a hammer. whack yourself hard on the head with the hammer. Instant CME. Fucking beautiful. Now imagine that you could slow it way down. Have your imagination and senses active while the hammer was tearing through your parietal lobes. That’s what the ‘Shrooms are doing for you.

  182. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    I’m a noncognitivist/igtheist so I don’t think the definition points to anything at we could evaluate (what’s a disembodied mind?) but it does revel some characteristics about what they call”God”: it has agency and doesn’t reside in our local space-time universe.

    You didn’t mention “agency” before. So, from a Christian telling you that their God is a spaceless, timeless disembodied mind, where did you draw “agency” from? You haven’t really said what you understand about this God, only what you know what it’s not. You know it’s something not in the “local space-time universe,” but you made it seem as though that you could gleam somewhat of what all this means, and it doesn’t seem you have at all. The way I interpret this is as I’ve said before, in an “ego death” experience, there is no body that consciousness identifies with, there is simply a consciousness there in the CME that is described as being “beyond space and time.”

    Out of curiosity, why not?

    I’ve spent my entire life getting to a point where I’m content. I’m not going to throw it all away by risking brain damage by taking large amounts of a drug that isn’t known to be 100% safe.

    Those no evidence that psychedelics cause brain damage. Sure, people can have bad trips, but there’s even precautionary measures one could take like diligence to set and setting that would lessen the likelihood of a so-called “bad trip.” If the risks outweighed the advantages, I assure you they wouldn’t be attempting to perform the science that’s being done to legitimize psychedelics in a legal setting. The UK just launched its first major institution dedicated to the research of psychedelics, and I wouldn’t be surprise if you saw more and more of these research centers popping up throughout the globe.

    I’m not necessarily blaming you in particular. I’m only saying in my own experience, I’ve found this stuff is much harder to discuss with atheists.

    I’m not surprised that this is harder to discuss with atheists. I’m sure as a whole we’re disproportionately more skeptical than any other group and aren’t likely to give ground when it isn’t earned.

    I would argue that they’re too skeptical, throwing out the baby with the bath water in some of the things they reject. Even Matt has spoken on a very recent journey entry regarding this kind of hyperskepticism.

    I’m not a huge fan of arguments from etymology. Word usages change over time. Matt does this same thing with “agnostic”, which is my other major disagreement with him on terminology (just look at my name) but I REALLY don’t want to spark another tangential discussion about that right now.

    I’m not a huge fan of etymological arguments either, because they can lead into silly nonsense. Imagine someone making an argument from etymology in using this term “gay” in the context it was once used in the theme song of the Flinstones, “We’re going to have a gay ol’ time.” You can’t say “we’re going to have a gay ol’ time” now as an etymological argument, because that phrasing would mean something quite different today. However, I wouldn’t apply this to religion or to how an exegetical approach would consider etymology or as found with hermeneutics. These are attempts to understand what the original terms meant when they were coined, when they were originally conceived. So I’m not going to attempt to understand Theoria as it might be misconstrued or how its meaning has been twisted today, I want to know what the mystic who coined the term actually meant when they originally used the term, the purpose of exegesis is to construe a word like samadhi as close to its original context as we can possibly get. To say, “Oh, well, God today means a magical being in the sky.” I find that naïve, and I’m not interested in that misconception of the divine at all. I’m within Einstein when he called that the “childish analogy of religion.” It’s what it has been contorted into, it’s not what it originally meant.

    Well, thanks for the slack, ’cause I’m not attempting make some sort of excuse, the screener was prompted to tell everyone to keep it short.

    We agree that your topic isn’t really suitable for the show’s format, so why don’t you stop calling us and instead try to get on NonSequitur? Since you know Steve and just spoke to Kyle you have an “in”. You could then spend 90+ minutes going through the topic with them and maybe someone else like Shannon Q, who has a psych background. That would be much more productive than every one of your calls to AXP combined IMO.

    I’ve been on NonSequitur, not to discuss this stuff, but other topics. I was invited to Craig Reed the Christian Response last night. I wouldn’t mind going back and forth with Kyle or Shannon Q about this stuff, they seem like they’d know how to better entertain these ideas than some of the hosts on TAE. Kyle’s very interested in Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape” hypothesis, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind the discussion.

    Kyle said that the doctors at Johns Hopkins were Gods because they could provide this experience, and that’s what threw me off. I have no idea how he’s thinking about God in that sentence

    This was a joke. Like I said earlier, I don’t really want to get into a debate over the definition of atheism, but it seems to me that under either of the major definitions you are a theist, just a very unusual type of theist.

    I suppose. If this were the era of the early mystery religions, I don’t think my type of theism would be as rare as it is today. I don’t think Kyle was joking when he said that, he was being quite sincere, but I believe he was assuming something about God in the context he presented, and what that assumption was, I’m not quite sure. We didn’t get into it, but it’s certainly not my understanding of God, and that’s why it appeared as though I was stammering. I wasn’t. I was just trying to figure out what Kyle meant by his question. I realize no one likes Jordan Peterson, but he speaks on these things very interestingly. He’s also admitted taking psychedelics himself, but I’ve never heard him on speak on to what degree he has done this.

  183. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #192

    You didn’t mention “agency” before. So, from a Christian telling you that their God is a spaceless, timeless disembodied mind, where did you draw “agency” from? You haven’t really said what you understand about this God, only what you know what it’s not.

    “Agency” is implicit in “mind”. You’re correct, I don’t really understand much about this god which is why I’m a noncognitivist. I guess when it comes to your god I don’t know if it’s an agent that’s causing stuff to happen, if you’re just labeling the experiences god or what. Can you be both a perennialist and an atheist? Like if I accept that all ancient major religions have similar mysticiam at their core, but think there isn’t a god behind all of that, am I still a perennailist? Just curious.

    These are attempts to understand what the original terms meant when they were coined, when they were originally conceived. So I’m not going to attempt to understand Theoria as it might be misconstrued or how its meaning has been twisted today, I want to know what the mystic who coined the term actually meant when they originally used the term

    Ok, but if the experience that the mystic was pointing too is not better described by a different word, would you use that newer word or Theoria? What I’m trying to get at is that modern conceptions of god may be so different from ancient ones that you’re better off just using a new word for clarity’s sake. If your definition of god is so far from the common understanding, you may as well not be using the word god. Same goes for the “coffee cup is god” jokesters.

    I was invited to Craig Reed the Christian Response last night.

    If you have a link to that I might give at a listen at work.

    I don’t think Kyle was joking when he said that,

    Agree to disagree I guess.

  184. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    “Agency” is implicit in “mind”. You’re correct, I don’t really understand much about this god which is why I’m a noncognitivist. I guess when it comes to your god I don’t know if it’s an agent that’s causing stuff to happen,

    Agency is not easy to address. During the CME, there’s this impression of no-agency. Everything is already done. There’s nothing left to do, all things have already happened simultaneously in that experience, so what’s the point of agency? Then again, when you return, because there is this break between the subject-object duality, and all is seen as the divine, then the entire world, one could say, is the agency of God, including your own actions and decisions. This is what I believe perhaps the Bible means when it says “Thy will be done.” Meaning divine providence, meaning nothing can happen unless it is the will of God which is also referred to as predestination or hard determinism, etc.

    if you’re just labeling the experiences god or what.

    I don’t think it’s a labeling of the experience, but rather the Totality, the unbroken wholeness which is this encounter with the philosophical Absolute.

    Can you be both a perennialist and an atheist? Like if I accept that all ancient major religions have similar mysticiam at their core, but think there isn’t a god behind all of that, am I still a perennailist? Just curious.

    Well, that’s the thing. This is why I feel it’s a kind of false dichotomy to say that, “Are you an atheist or theist?” when you’re screened into the queue for The Atheist Experience. When I responded “neither,” Matt was like, “Whoah! Hold up! That’s impossible.” And so what ensued was a semantic argument for the next 5 minutes or so before I finally got around to say something about it. You see, Albert Camus once said, “I don’t believe in God and I’m an atheist.” Lots of atheists might have quarrel with that comment, but you see, what a Perennialist is calling “God” is the philosophical Absolute, it is the highest vision of the divine that is briefly experienced at the height of the CME which is at the core of the major religions. How to separate that from the Perennialist view seems nonsensical to me. It’s like saying, I’m a theist, but I don’t believe in God. In other words, what do you mean by “I don’t think there’s a God behind it all.” You see, what the Perennialist means is that there’s a Absolute behind it all that is directly intuit in the CME, and many cultures throughout history have given what they sense as the Absolute various names such as Brahman, Allah, God, nirvana, etc. Once again, like my point on Talk Heathen, I believe the word “God” causes all types of semantic issues precisely due to its loaded connotations. What could you mean by accepting the Perennialist view, but not acknowledging that they referred to this Absolute as the divine or God or Brahman unless you were interpreting “God” in a specific and unrelated context? You see, in other words, you may have some loaded context of God that you’re introducing that isn’t suitable or aligned with how it’s defined within the Perennialist view.

    These are attempts to understand what the original terms meant when they were coined, when they were originally conceived. So I’m not going to attempt to understand Theoria as it might be misconstrued or how its meaning has been twisted today, I want to know what the mystic who coined the term actually meant when they originally used the term

    Ok, but if the experience that the mystic was pointing too is not better described by a different word, would you use that newer word or Theoria? What I’m trying to get at is that modern conceptions of god may be so different from ancient ones that you’re better off just using a new word for clarity’s sake. If your definition of god is so far from the common understanding, you may as well not be using the word god. Same goes for the “coffee cup is god” jokesters.

    Well, I wouldn’t mind a neologism, but it simply doesn’t exist. I mean, philosophical Absolute is one way to refer to it without invoking religious language.

    I was invited to Craig Reed the Christian Response last night.

    If you have a link to that I might give at a listen at work.

    It’s certainly not my best work. It was light, I’ve a cold so my voice is a bit more high-pitched than usual, and I we stayed up ’til like 3 AM last night, and I was losing the thread of conversation at times, but despite all that, I suppose I’ll link it anyway.

    I don’t think Kyle was joking when he said that,

    Agree to disagree I guess.

    How do you think he was joking? I never heard him laugh. His question, I thought, came off quite sincere.

  185. buddyward says

    @speedofsound #187

    I probably shouldn’t have used the word truth. It’s more like ‘dead’. The zen mind is no-mind and the best way to get that is be dead. If you are alive you can do all sorts of things with your mind to be more like dead. Like just quit thinking and chop wood.

    I am not sure I can relate. I cannot imagine being dead and still have the faculty to perceive something or to realize anything. I am sorry, I know I sound like an ass but I cannot think of any other way to express it.

    None of this is rocket science. If you take certain drugs that alter your, particularly the part of your mind that keeps you knowing who, what and where, you can experience some pretty cool things. None of it amounts to a hill of beans in the long run.

    Ok, drugs makes you experience cool things. I agree.

    But say that you are facing your own imminent death. When we think about the death of our ‘going on being conscious’ we run up against the paradox of our belief that we are a conscious mind. That belief is pure bullshit. We have all sorts of undercooked ideas about our minds.

    I have never faced imminent death and I therefore cannot say what it would be like. I imagine that if I were to face imminent death at this point in my life, my thoughts would be that my children are fucked as they are not old enough to care for themselves. That and whether or not I left the oven on. I do not think that my thoughts would even go as far as whether or not my beliefs are valid.

    Now if you drop some acid, a lot of acid, all of the parts that we hold onto about a belief in our minds dissolves. We kind of get back to a state of pure unknowing. If you know nothing you cannot feel bad about dying.

    The only thing I would feel bad about is that I have not yet raised my children to the point where they can care for themselves. If I die past that point I probably would not feel bad about anything. If I am at a state of pure unknowing then I probably would not know I am dying. I probably would not have anything to reflect on, nothing to think about. I will just die.

    The idea of Watts and zen is that we think too much. That we have beliefs about mind and self that are useful fictions. When it comes time to face death or other troubles some of these useful fictions become the Problem itself.

    Is thinking too much a bad thing? What is like to think too much. How do we gauge that someone is thinking too much? In what situation is it acceptable to think too much and which ones is it acceptable not to think at all? Does Watts make that distinction or is Watts saying that we think too much in all occasions.

    Now do not think any deeper than necessary on this stuff. It’s not that complex. You are an animal. You feel best when you are doing just animal things like breathing and ham sandwiches.

    Lol, both my dog and I like ham sandwiches and we are both animals. Neither one of us like to think this deep.

  186. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #194

    the entire world, one could say, is the agency of God, including your own actions and decisions. This is what I believe perhaps the Bible means when it says “Thy will be done.” Meaning divine providence, meaning nothing can happen unless it is the will of God

    So God is somehow the entire universe, and therefore the entire universe has agency? You seem to be saying in the last sentence here that your god has a “will”.

    what a Perennialist is calling “God” is the philosophical Absolute, it is the highest vision of the divine that is briefly experienced at the height of the CME

    I have no idea what the “philosophical Absolute” is, so I guess I’ll google it when I have time. I don’t know what “divine” means either, so you’re going to have to define what you mean by that. Do you mean god is the brain state(s) that you experience in a CME, or do you think god exists outside the mind and is being “accessed” during a CME? Not sure if that question makes a ton of sense but I’m trying to understand exactly what you’re saying.

    You see, in other words, you may have some loaded context of God that you’re introducing that isn’t suitable or aligned with how it’s defined within the Perennialist view.

    This is precisely the point. The word “God” carries a certain common understand in modern language, which is why saying “coffee cup = god” or “god is that which is worshiped” is dumb. I understand that there aren’t “correct” definitions for words but there are “useful” ones. What you mean by God is so far away from how English speakers use the word that you’re hard to communicate with.

    How do you think he was joking? I never heard him laugh.

    I thought I saw him smirking when he asked it but I could be wrong.

  187. says

    I misquoted. Camus said, “I don’t believe in God and I’m not an atheist.” I’ll definitely find some time later to respond to your comment, AtheistNotAgnostic @200.

  188. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @speedofsound #182

    When your brain is alive and working you are in this limited space and when the brain goes away entirely you get back to the truth of the matter. Which is no-mind. Nothing. I like to call it Dead as a Doornail myself
    […]
    But there are states in between where you can put most of your reality processing rational brain on the shelf […] to feel everything, unfiltered, all at once, and still apply a vast amount of imagination to the mix.

    Even granting “unfiltered”… unfiltered perception isn’t necessarily congruent with truth.
     
     
    Video: Oliver Sacks – Losing Stereo Vision and Depth Perception (4:02)

    Either because it was built into me or because I practiced a lot, the sense of apparent depth became greater and greater for me. I also found that if I closed one eye briefly, the world flattened out and expanded, in an amazing way. This apparently didn’t happen with other kids. Nine out of ten kids would say, “So I close one eye. It makes no difference.”
    […]
    Due to some problems in my right eye […] I lost stereoscopy at the age of 75.
    […]
    I no longer see objects residing in space, with space in between them at different levels. I see a sort of collage of shapes and colors and movements, all basically on a plane. I manage okay with difficulty, but I’m very conscious now in reverse of what a wonderful gift stereoscopy is, what a blessing, how one tends to take it for granted, and what trouble one is in if it’s been a strong gift all one’s life and it’s then gone.

     
    Article: Oliver Sacks – Stereo Sue

    she had been born cross-eyed, and so viewed the world with one eye at a time, her eyes rapidly and unconsciously alternating. I had asked if this was any disadvantage to her. No, she said, she got along perfectly well – she drove a car, she could play softball, she could do whatever anyone else could. She might not be able to see depth directly, as other people could, but she could judge it as well as anybody, using other cues.
    […]
    “No one mentioned to me that I lacked binocular vision, and I remained happily ignorant of the fact until I was a junior in college,” she wrote. Then she took a course in neurophysiology
     
    [… After special glasses and vision therapy…]
     
    Her new vision was “absolutely delightful,” Sue wrote. “I had no idea what I had been missing.” As she put it, “Ordinary things looked extraordinary. Light fixtures floated and water faucets stuck way out into space.”
    […]
    One would think that the sudden appearance of an entirely new quality of sensation or perception might be confusing or frightening, but Sue seemed to adapt to her new world with remarkable ease. She was startled and disoriented at first, but for the most part she felt entirely, and increasingly, at home with stereoscopy. Though she continues to be conscious of the novelty of stereo vision, and indeed rejoices in it, she also feels now that it is “natural” – that she is seeing the world as it really is, as it should be. Flowers, she says, seem “intensely real, inflated,” where they were “flat” before.
     
    Sue’s acquisition of stereoscopy after almost half a century of being stereo-blind has been a constant source of delight, and a great practical benefit. Driving is easier, threading a needle, too

  189. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Our faculties, including sense of self, are constructed. They can be disrupted, modified, overstimulated, impaired… piecemeal. Deep brain stimulation can make someone feel bliss that would otherwise be unwarranted for their circumstances. Disable them all, and sure, no more you.
     
    I disagree that heavily impaired faculties == “unfiltered”. We are constructs. Degrading “reality processing” diminishes us, until nothing is left.

  190. recoveryshared says

    Can someone point me to the data that Tracie has that 12 step recovery does not work and that other methods have better results? I need to solve an argument with wife who is addiction professional she says 12 step works better than other methods.

  191. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    So God is somehow the entire universe, and therefore the entire universe has agency? You seem to be saying in the last sentence here that your god has a “will”.

    It’s definitely not something easily put into words. I’ll give it a shot. I’ll start with an analogy from the Static interpretation of time. There is metaphor used to explain this interpretation of time, if you can consider that your life and everything that “happens to you” is akin to a movie reel of film, and the entire movie is already “in the can.” This can extend to the entirety of the universe itself being “in the can,” already static and set in stone, completely frozen in beyond the dimension of time. However, your consciousness is a the projector, and while it may seem as though you’ve some sort of freedom within all this, the actuality is that you’re merely a predestined actor within the play. I don’t know how deeply you study Hinduism, but it’s thought of very similarly to in the Hindu view, Yogananda Paramahansa echoed the Hindu teachings that the entire universe is God’s cosmic motion picture, and that individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation. In this view, consciousness doesn’t die, it transforms. So, in the Hindu view, you’re not the atoms that make up your body. You realize that even your skeleton replaces itself completely after several years. Where is the “me”? The “me” is always associated with the body and the body as seen through the microscope is nothing but a play of cells being created and destroyed. In other words, we have a very myopic view of what we consider and define as ourselves.

  192. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic So, when you have a perspective that sees all things as God, essentially. That there is nothing that is not God, and so even all that happens in the universe is ultimately happening according to what would Ramesh Balsekar would call “God’s will” or if you prefer, because I realize you’re an atheist, “Cosmic law,” then an obvious question that often follows in a discussing a view like this is, “Then, the rapist who committed the sin did it because it was the will of God?” Now, that can be very misleading, and I’ve read mystics write on this, and philosophers, but here’s my way of attempting to explain this. Anthony the Great, one of the most renowned Desert Fathers, he was one of these early Christian monks who isolated himself for over 30 years in isolation and meditation, and ultimately encountered in the Devil in his visions before achieving enlightenment. There’s a very similar story with Gautama, the original Buddha, encountering the demon Mara, you can find parallels to these metaphors and archetypes for evil, like devils and demons rooted in one’s own ego, but once this is overcome, I believe this is when these experiences of enlightenment happen, and when men like Anthony the Great or Bias of Priene or Symeon the New Theologian cultivated these experiences, they became then renown for their probity, their honesty, etc. Even the Jains who were a people who cultivated these practices had such a profound respect for life that they were strict vegans, not only that, but they didn’t even eat potatoes because there was too much risk hurting underground insects when pulling ’em out. Even Bill Richards has pointed out that they haven’t done it yet, but he’d wager that people who have this experience finding themselves killing less bugs. I can attest to this myself, in my own experience, after I had this, I went from swatting flies, for instance, and instead just leading ’em out the door or window. However, what I’m trying to get at here is that once this experience has happened, a mystic no longer sees any separateness in nature, and having glimpsed unconditional love, it would be damn near impossible to sin. The mystic or sage is beyond all desires and material needs, and no longer sees his/herself as separate from the rest of the All. So, the rapist is someone who’s lost this connection to their source, and sees himself/herself as a separate entity from the rest of the environment and a stranger to others as to be able to perform the sin in the first place. If you ask shamans what they think is wrong with most modern countries in the world, they’ll often reply that they’ve lost their connection to spirit, this sense of the totality of nature, not simply right here and now, but a reconnection that encompasses all times and all places. So, as long as you think you’re something that’s somehow intrinsically separate from the rest of nature, then you can have a perspective in which rape is permissible, likewise murder, stealing, lying, etc. For the mystic, a direct experience of unconditional love is the moral compass, and this is what is cultivated into their daily lives.

    what a Perennialist is calling “God” is the philosophical Absolute, it is the highest vision of the divine that is briefly experienced at the height of the CME

    I have no idea what the “philosophical Absolute” is, so I guess I’ll google it when I have time. I don’t know what “divine” means either, so you’re going to have to define what you mean by that.

    Well, it’s expressed in many ways, it’s Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega point, it is the Brahman in Hinduism or The Father in Christianity (not to be confused with t90bb’s paternal sky wizard, but rather the philosophical Absolute itself), Peak experience by Abraham Maslow, oceanic feeling by Romain Rolland, non-dualism in eastern philosophy, there are all various ways of expressing one and the same concept. Of course, for mystics, it isn’t simply a concept, it’s a vivified reality temporarily experienced in the transformation of mystical consciousness. If you get a chance, I’d really like you to check out the link I left with Ramesh Balsekar. Balsekar taught from the tradition of Advaita Vedanta nondualism. His teaching begins with the idea of an ultimate Source, Brahman, from which creation arises. Once creation has arisen, the world and life operate mechanistically according to both Divine and natural laws. While people believe that they are actually doing things and making choices, free will is in fact an illusion. All that happens is caused by this one source, and the actual identity of this source is pure Consciousness, which is incapable of choosing or doing. This false identity which revolves around the idea that “I am the body” or “I am the doer” keeps one from seeing that one’s actual identity is free Consciousness. Only when it acts in ignorance, it’s prone to sin and the illusion of separateness; when it acts in wisdom, it’s aware of its placement as part and parcel among a Totality, an interconnected and eternal chain of being. That the universe, in a way, plays this kind of hide and seek game forever, because it’s in its very nature to do so. You see, you play this game for 50, 60 years if you’re lucky, may be longer, but existence has to play this game eternally, and so in a sense, you could say the Brahman purposely forgets that it’s all-encompassing consciousness so that it can once again have this experience that you’re experiencing right now. For you see, if you were omniscient at this moment, there’d be no reason for you to read any of this, you’d already know what you’re going to read. That’s the the illusion involved in this, that’s the natural dynamics at play here that go on forever and ever according to the Hindu view.

    Like other Vedanta teachers, Balsekar says that while creation and creator appear to be different and separate, that they are actually two sides of the same coin. He taught that life is a happening but there is no individual doer of life. Among his most notable students is Dorje Khandro, a former disciple of Chögyam Trungpa.

    Do you mean god is the brain state(s) that you experience in a CME, or do you think god exists outside the mind and is being “accessed” during a CME? Not sure if that question makes a ton of sense but I’m trying to understand exactly what you’re saying.

    No, I’m not calling simply the state that, because what this experience ultimately affects is perception, it is ultimately a metanoia, it affects your very perspective such that God is seen in all things in this fashion I’ve been attempting to explain. All the great mystics were led to pantheism or panentheism by their sense of this ultimate consciousness, this so-called “complete” mystical experience. This was what Spinoza adhered to, even physicists like Albert Einstein.

    You see, in other words, you may have some loaded context of God that you’re introducing that isn’t suitable or aligned with how it’s defined within the Perennialist view.

    This is precisely the point. The word “God” carries a certain common understand in modern language, which is why saying “coffee cup = god” or “god is that which is worshiped” is dumb.

    I agree, Russell’s teapot is a gross caricature of the more sophisticated understandings of God, the Spaghetti Monster, too. I love Ramesh’s comment on this regarding a God that’s worshiped, he’d say, “What is generally understood to be prayer is nothing more than one fictitious entity called ‘me’ begging for something from another fictitious entity called ‘God’.” Of course, he’s pointing out that both the God and the ego that has imagined it in such a way that it’s going to pray to it or beg from it or worship it are both an illusion. Like an imaginary hand attempting to grasp at smoke. Neither are real in the context that they’re being expressed.

    I understand that there aren’t “correct” definitions for words but there are “useful” ones. What you mean by God is so far away from how English speakers use the word that you’re hard to communicate with.

    Well, that’s because you’ve avoided etymology. I study etymology deeply. I’ve found if you don’t acknowledge exegesis and hermeneutics, then you’ll fall prey to eisegesis quite facilely. These are how these religious concepts have been described, even in Greek philosophy, Hypatia echoed the teachings of Plotinus who taught that the very goal of philosophy is a “mystical union with the divine.” This is the goal of Hinduism, to experience moksha, likewise for the Christian mystics, it is Theoria or the Beatific vision or Fana in Islam or wu wei in Taoism, so on and so forth.

    How do you think he was joking? I never heard him laugh.

    I thought I saw him smirking when he asked it but I could be wrong.

    I’ll have to go back and re-watch it, but even if he was smirking, may be he sensed that the question was a silly example. But I don’t know, Jamie tried to help him out, and even fist-bumped him because he thought he made some progress, but I was still just as confused as to what he was talking about. I was thinking about calling Kyle on his live show today, but I got side-tracked. I can always message him on FB or something, I don’t know him as well as I know Steve, but Steve has told me Kyle’s really intrigued by Terence’s “Stoned Ape” hypothesis, and so maybe we’ll discuss that on one of his shows one day, I’m quite familiar with Terence’s “Stoned Ape” hypothesis. Anyway, I could write a lot more on these topics, but I’ll leave it at that.

  193. speedofsound says

    @buddyward (#199)

    Is thinking too much a bad thing? What is like to think too much. How do we gauge that someone is thinking too much? In what situation is it acceptable to think too much and which ones is it acceptable not to think at all? Does Watts make that distinction or is Watts saying that we think too much in all occasions.

    “Now do not think any deeper than necessary on this stuff. It’s not that complex. You are an animal. You feel best when you are doing just animal things like breathing and ham sandwiches.”

    Lol, both my dog and I like ham sandwiches and we are both animals. Neither one of us like to think this deep.

    Watts and I make a distinction. But first the imminent death thing was in reference to say a diagnosis of terminal cancer, where you end up living for two years or so knowing that you are going to be dead soon.

    In this case thinking too much can be a real problem. Clearly. Anxiety, PTSD, addiction, etc are psychology issues that have no source other than what we think. Depression, while having a physical underlay, is made worse when you think too much. Then you are not only depressed but you, in addition, ‘suffer from depression”. I know this very well. I am plagued all my life with suicidal depression. But I no longer suffer it.

    It’s important to understand that all this eastern theoria crap is actually about some very useful psychology. That’s why it ain’t going to go away. We have fools like Kafei who are going believe all manner of religious craptardation until we get a fix on what is really happening, in the grand scheme of things.

    Meaning, morals, psychology, altruism, and sentiment are very human. All too human. To US in our limited sphere they are the most important thing in the universe. To the universe they amount to specks of dirt bumping one another. There most certainly is not anything out there that has a mind such that it could give a shit what happens to US.

    So we have this local sphere of humanity that is big as the cosmos, to US, and the actual cosmos could give a rat’s ass. Take the right drugs and some of this may clearly present itself to you and suddenly you see the bigger scheme and our little ‘ego’ scheme melts away. Now that should be fucking terrifying right? But it’s not! Suddenly you feel better than you have ever felt before.

    Now what Kafei has done is he had a glimpse, on ‘Shrooms, then he came down and he tried to drag the cosmos back into his little ego sphere with him. Claiming some cosmic god consciousness thing to be the absolute ground of the cosmos. For him enlightenment became the ultimate endarkenment. As is the folly of all those who are man-god-pig religious (anthropomorphic gods).

    Alan Watts saw through this comic condition of man. Then he laughed and womanized his way to an early death, seemingly without a care in the world. We occasionally poke our heads out of our asses and glimpse the utter insignificance of our lives and then we try to invert it all and drag the cosmos back in with us. Hence religion.

    Now I think a lot. I look at the woods and I have this cosmic imaginative sense of all those biomolecules and I can barely contain my cosmic glee. When I’m done doing that I go eat a ham sandwich. Or chop some wood. whatever.

    I know that my cosmic imaginings are just locale mammalian shits-n-giggles and I don’t make a god damned religion out it. Keeps me sober.

    Now I write for shit. But let’s keep engaged and maybe eventually I’ll start making sense here.

    Here is the thing. I think Kafei is fucking this whole thing up. Him and all the crystal loving anti-vaxxing, homeo-fools and yoga mat Hollywood Buddhists are just insisting once again that they are a bigger deal in the cosmos than they are. They get a few seconds of actual enlightenment and suddenly they are sage gurus speaking down to all us pathetic a-theists. Fuck. I despair.

  194. speedofsound says

    I misquoted. Camus said, “I don’t believe in God and I’m not an atheist.” I’ll definitely find some time later to respond to your comment, AtheistNotAgnostic @200.

    Yes Kafei. We smart humans can play all sorts of paradox games with our words and we are SO wise when we do that. We even look wise when we do that. It’s all in the Guru Sales Handbook my boy. elementary!

  195. speedofsound says

    Sky Captain (#202)

    Even granting “unfiltered”… unfiltered perception isn’t necessarily congruent with truth.

    Yeah. I shouldn’t have used the T-word. It does give me perspective though. Altered as it is. Through acid I was able to get a better ‘sense’ of what my senses do. A biological sense. Acid seems to get rid of that higher level processing that turns your multi-sense into a sort of a rational cartoon or adumbration of what is really going on around you. Now granted if you look for physics truth, which is math on a coordinate system you end up using the cartoon. And it’s damned truthy. But physicists are just embryonic bio-goo interacting with that truthy world.

    Carefully engaging in both worlds, humbly too, can yield a better sense of the dichotomy.

  196. speedofsound says

    Kafei. It’s your hubris that psises me off. You so miss the point, yet you are so fcuking close and you know so much about The Point.

    If you drop all the jargon and just get right down to meat or your last few posts about 4-d space-time, determinism, and the falsity of ego you would be better served.

    Go back to Watts for a moment and read Beyond Theology. Look at the Chinese Box and then put on the coat of the atheist. Look at this from another angle for bit and see what you get.

  197. speedofsound says

    Oh, and drop the Consciousness shit. There is no such thing, neither in your or the cosmos.

  198. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #204
    This is all very poetic but I don’t see how ti relates to the question I asked.
    #205

    So, when you have a perspective that sees all things as God, essentially. That there is nothing that is not God, and so even all that happens in the universe is ultimately happening according to what would Ramesh Balsekar would call “God’s will”

    You don’t believe that god is an agent with a will though, so how does the phrase “god’s will” make any sense to you? If you believe that the universe/nature is god, then your god can’t have a will because it’s not an agent.

    The mystic or sage is beyond all desires and material needs, and no longer sees his/herself as separate from the rest of the All. So, the rapist is someone who’s lost this connection to their source, and sees himself/herself as a separate entity from the rest of the environment and a stranger to others

    This is where you lose me. What’s with the capital-A “All”? I haven’t seen any evidence that we’re “connected” in any way beyond the fact that we share an environment. Our minds are separate entities brought about by separate brains. If you have some scientific evidence that we’re all “connected” (and not just in a poetic sense, I can’t tell if you actually mean this or if you’re still in vague poetry mode) please present it. I’ll get to the rest when I have some time.

  199. speedofsound says

    gods will makes sense to me when I think of all the things in the cosmos, especially those that impinge upon me, that I have no control over. Capitalizing any of these words is where Jimmy misses the point.

    It’s an odd case of inside/out. You catch a glimpse on these drugs of something very complex and at the same time you seem to melt into the background. That’s actually what you deduce if you look at yourself in the cosmos with the science-eye. We don’t amount to a hill of beans.

    what Jimmy is doing with all of this jargon is taking us back out, with our consheeshusness to just the exact opposite of a humble position. That is the mistake of the eastern guru wannabe.

    All that poetry makes good sense when strictly viewed from a rational, and scientific perspective. Where they lose the thread is when they start to feel like, we the Conscious are on the A-team in the cosmos. We are so much a part of something greater that we once again become the Ego center of the fucking universe. This is the mistake of religion time and again.

    Does anyone get what I am saying here about this inversion?

  200. indianajones says

    ‘But physicists are just embryonic bio-goo interacting with that truthy world.’

    Dude, mate, pal. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I have read and enjoyed a lot of stuff you have written. But come on man, really???

  201. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Jimmy #206

    This false identity which revolves around the idea that “I am the body” or “I am the doer” keeps one from seeing that one’s actual identity is free Consciousness. Only when it acts in ignorance, it’s prone to sin and the illusion of separateness; when it acts in wisdom, it’s aware of its placement as part and parcel among a Totality, an interconnected and eternal chain of being.

    Please don’t take this as an insult, but this whole paragraph came off as complete word salad-y nonsense. My brain could parse the words but and individually i know what (almost) all of them mean but when you chain them together in this way I’m totally lost. What’s the deal with the captial-C “Consciousness” and capital-T “Totality”?

    All the great mystics were led to pantheism or panentheism by their sense of this ultimate consciousness

    Ok, so you believe that the universe or all of nature is god. Why call that god? What understanding are you gaining by attaching that label to nature or the universe when they already have perfectly fine labels?

    Well, that’s because you’ve avoided etymology. I study etymology deeply. I’ve found if you don’t acknowledge exegesis and hermeneutics, then you’ll fall prey to eisegesis quite facilely.

    But why does it matter how the words used to be used? You’re communicating in 2019 English, so those are the definitions you need to be wary of. For example, it’s still “ok” to use the word “gay” to mean “happy”, but you need to understand that “gay” has a more common usage now so you may confuse people. If you’re consciously aware that you’re using a non-standard definition and do so anyways, any misunderstanding is on you.

  202. speedofsound says

    Indianna

    ‘But physicists are just embryonic bio-goo interacting with that truthy world.’

    Dude, mate, pal. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I have read and enjoyed a lot of stuff you have written. But come on man, really???

    What’s the problem with that? I think it’s kind of poetic.

  203. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    You don’t believe that god is an agent with a will though, so how does the phrase “god’s will” make any sense to you? If you believe that the universe/nature is god, then your god can’t have a will because it’s not an agent.

    It’s not an agent in the sense of some kind of “supernatural being,” what most naïve people imagine when they try and think about what a God might be like. The rather elaborate point I was making is that a mystic sees all action inside the universe as inevitable, so that while you wandered about thinking that you’re the “doer” and the author of your thoughts, no such thing has happened. It’s always been set in stone, you could say it was all ultimately the action of the universe or the ultimate will of God in the sense that nothing happens unless it is by this sense of “God’s will” or as I said, if you prefer, “Cosmic law.” Then, I went on further to elaborate that not all people realize this connection to the source or God, or to what Ken Wilber calls unbroken or undivided Wholeness, and so if you don’t realize you’re part and parcel of a Totality, and think you’re separate from the rest of nature, then this perspective gives one permission to sin as in murder, steal, rape, etc. You see, I thought you were familiar with the backlog here, if not, if you’d really like to know what that capital “W” is doing there, then I recommend reading a comment I left for Einy back on the first thread of this year that elaborates on that. I assumed you already had been through that, also I mentioned a lot of this stuff on Craig Reed’s channel, so if you missed that, then it’s understandable that these words are flying over your head and appear as word salad. You see, I assumed that you already heard it, and so I could take shortcuts without having to explain this stuff. So, if you’d like an explanation, I recommend that post to Einy in the first thread of the year.

    The mystic or sage is beyond all desires and material needs, and no longer sees his/herself as separate from the rest of the All. So, the rapist is someone who’s lost this connection to their source, and sees himself/herself as a separate entity from the rest of the environment and a stranger to others

    This is where you lose me. What’s with the capital-A “All”?

    It’s another Wilber reference, I’m using it precisely how it’s portrayed in the post to Einy I linked above. I’m using it quite synonymously.

    I haven’t seen any evidence that we’re “connected” in any way beyond the fact that we share an environment. Our minds are separate entities brought about by separate brains. If you have some scientific evidence that we’re all “connected” (and not just in a poetic sense, I can’t tell if you actually mean this or if you’re still in vague poetry mode) please present it. I’ll get to the rest when I have some time.

    Well, this is what Alan Watts was talking about, that people think they’re somehow separate from the rest of the world, they don’t see its nature in unity. He often gives the example of the bee and the flower. Where you’ll find bees, you’ll find flowers, and vice versa. You will not find a natural environment where there are only flowers and no bees, because the two organisms could be seen as one if you consider their very intimate yet dynamic and inseparable symbiotic relationship in nature. And of course, it goes well beyond that if you consider Bell’s nonlocality, that all matter throughout the universe is instantaneously interconnected. Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance,” but it is part of this vast interconnectivity of the universe that even our modern physics has yet to pin down, no physicist today is smart enough to prove something like M-theory or superstring theory.

    Please don’t take this as an insult, but this whole paragraph came off as complete word salad-y nonsense. My brain could parse the words but and individually i know what (almost) all of them mean but when you chain them together in this way I’m totally lost. What’s the deal with the captial-C “Consciousness” and capital-T “Totality”?

    Once again, this is how it’s expressed in these philosophies or if you read the writings of Wilber or Ramesh Balsekar, What Ramesh means by the capital “C,” is that you’re not some egoic entity that can only entertain thoughts you’ve been brought up to habitually conceive, that once you realize this inner potential, you see that your consciousness possesses infinite possibilities, where we draw this sense of “free will” from, and so can literally take it in any direction, so often these experiences are very revivifying because people see that their life can be remade if they wish it to be.

  204. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    All the great mystics were led to pantheism or panentheism by their sense of this ultimate consciousness

    Ok, so you believe that the universe or all of nature is god. Why call that god? What understanding are you gaining by attaching that label to nature or the universe when they already have perfectly fine labels?

    I’ll point this out once again, but Spinoza nor I nor is any Perennialist relabeling the universe as “God.” This is a very, very common misconception that I believe even Tracie held when she attempted to imagine this sort of God, but what’s important to realize this is not merely a relabeling of nature as God.

    Well, that’s because you’ve avoided etymology. I study etymology deeply. I’ve found if you don’t acknowledge exegesis and hermeneutics, then you’ll fall prey to eisegesis quite facilely.

    But why does it matter how the words used to be used? You’re communicating in 2019 English, so those are the definitions you need to be wary of. For example, it’s still “ok” to use the word “gay” to mean “happy”, but you need to understand that “gay” has a more common usage now so you may confuse people. If you’re consciously aware that you’re using a non-standard definition and do so anyways, any misunderstanding is on you.

    Well, my point is that this confusion doesn’t take place in a person who actually studies religion or eastern philosophy or comparative religion. In eastern philosophy, it’s quite common that you’ll find self with a capital “S,” because yes, the word does not mean the self as in yourself, some organism separate from its environment, but the self with a capital “S” in the sense of the Totality, All that is, Brahman, the unbroken Wholeness, Consciousness with a capital “C,” etc. This is also what the Greek philosophers were talking with the adage, “Know thyself.”

  205. speedofsound says

    @Kafei

    What Ramesh means by the capital “C,” is that you’re not some egoic entity that can only entertain thoughts you’ve been brought up to habitually conceive, that once you realize this inner potential, you see that your consciousness possesses infinite possibilities,

    Here you go off the rails slightly. What possibilities? Be specific.

  206. buddyward says

    @speedofsound #207

    I am again sorry for not being able to relate. I have not had to face imminent death whether it be in the short or long term. I am also not a psychologist so anything that I say with regards to how I will react to that specific event in my life would be nothing more than pure supposition. The little I know of with regards to treating depression are people who go to therapy. I do not think that they are advised not to think but rather to redirect (focus) their thinking towards something more real and productive.

    I do not think that having to suffer a long term idea of imminent death is comparable to the short term effects of LSD (large dose or otherwise) as I think that the length of time makes a big difference.

    We might be at an en passe here if we continue to talk about things I am not familiar with. Perhaps this is the problem with communicating this type of experiences. People have no basis to make any good opinions on the matter as the experience have not happened to them and to suggest that a specific drug will induce this same experience is a bit of stretch (to me) as the person taking the drug who does not have a prior experience will have nothing to compare it to. I do not know if there have been experiments where terminally ill people are given the drug to see if the experience is the same but how do you separate the effect of the drug vs. the current mental state of that person?

  207. speedofsound says

    buddyward

    we got out of sync somehow. I never suggested that the drug would give you the experience of dealing with a potential terminal illness.

    Not thinking in dealing with depression is something I do have experience with. I take no medication, get no therapy, and have dealt with a lifelong issue of depression using techniques that I have learned. Skills. some perhaps are derivative of my drug experiences but most are from learning to deal with my addictive nature.
    Depression has two stages. Kind of like fear. There is the trigger state which is the underlying physical fact. The second stage is where you feed back what you think into the condition itself and thereby extend it beyond what is necessary. This is what the buddhists talk about as suffering. I get a depression attack about once every two weeks. It used to set me back about two more weeks. Now it lasts about 12 hours. During that time I kind of enjoy myself. I don’t LOOK like I’m enjoying myself but I really am.

    I have had two recent brushes with a potential terminal illness. Doctors really thought I was fucked. So for two weeks I had to sit around and decide what my life was going to be if the tests came back the way everyone thought they would. I had a good time. What I did not do is suffer. Tests fooled everyone and now I’m still here. Posting.

    You do realize that you have the power to not think something? You can develop that as a skill and use it when shit gets real.

  208. says

    @speedofsound

    Here you go off the rails slightly. What possibilities? Be specific.

    Which ones? Well, all of them. There’s no specific set or limitation. This capital “C” in consciousness or capital “S” in Self refers to the great Self or what Alan Watts called “Ultimate Consciousness.” You go from being a victim of Cosmic laws to more of an actor in a play or in a work of art or you go from a chess piece on the board to the chessmaster or from a character in the plot of a story, to becoming the author. This is why it’s often very liberating to undergo this experience, to have what the Hindus call Moksha. I mean, you want to talk about the human as a speck in the universe, there’s a painting in eastern philosophy, and in fact, it was these sort of paintings that attracted Alan Watts to eastern philosophy. You’ll find the philosopher in the middle of a huge landscape painting, painted in as a “speck,” but completely at home, completely at one with nature.

  209. speedofsound says

    Kafei. Do you know the meaning fo the word ‘specific’? You seem confused. I gave a SPECIFIC example in the post on depression.

  210. buddyward says

    @speedofsound 221

    Did I misunderstand you when you said the following?

    Something along the lines of One Big Mind with bubbles that are our limited everyday mindview. when you take the magic mushroom the door opens and the bubble disappears and now you can experience the whole big thing.

    That is blatantly supernatural on it’s face. Guys like me, and Alan Watts, have taken it a different way. When your brain is alive and working you are in this limited space and when the brain goes away entirely you get back to the truth of the matter. Which is no-mind. Nothing. I like to call it Dead as a Doornail myself, in keeping with the ancient tradition of philodoodles Theoeffluvium.

    It appears that you are equating taking shrooms with “getting back to the truth of the matter” which you later to revised to being dead and further revised to facing imminent death.

    I understand that I have the power not to think of something, as in I can redirect my attention towards something else, but I do not think I have the power not to think at all as in when my brain goes away entirely.

  211. speedofsound says

    I probably ran too many things together.

    What I am getting at is a meditative state of just feeling with a quiet mind. This happens if you stub your toe. It’s a state of say ‘less thinking’ or cogitating.

    Extend that a bit and you have ‘Dead’. No thinking possible. A very freeing state to be in. You have no issues if you are dead. Or before you were born.

    This spirituality stuff that is being tossed about is referring to a partial state where you are just experiencing without cogitating. It’s damned simple.

    The idea of buddhist suffering is that we make ourselves more miserable often times by dwelling on something. Churning it around in our minds. When I thought I had lung cancer I could have sat there and dwelled on it. Instead I chose to only think about it when I had something to do with the thoughts that was useful. I did not suffer.

    The drugs of Kafei seem to put us in that state. But forget about that until we sort this not thinking or dwelling thing out. Drugs obviously fuck up our brains.

    Again I define spirituality as acting without thinking or believing anything. I hope to find a better word with less woo-smell.

  212. says

    @speedofsound

    what can YOU do with it?

    Well, it’s a sort of vague question. It’s like asking, “If everything is predestined, what do I do?” Ramesh answers that very interestingly. I would say a better question is not what you can do with it, but what it can do with you. Ramesh also talks about how many people would ask him, “What will enlightenment bring me that I haven’t had before?” And some people think they’re going to have unimaginable bliss or they’re going to become richer financially, etc. However, I agree with Ramesh, the ultimate thing that an experience of enlightenment could ever offer you is simple: peace of mind. You don’t dither, you don’t vex, you’ve infinite patience, etc. You can be comfortable in any circumstance.

    And why can’t an atheist be the author and feel at one with nature?

    Well, I suppose it depends how tolerant the atheist is, because if you’re an atheist who doubts the mystical experience, then you doubt your own potential to directly connect with the rest of nature which would bring about a conflict, not the “at oneness” you find in a more harmonious perspective. For instance, atheists often have issues with religious terms, I think I’ve even heard Matt Dillahunty saying he hates the word “spirituality” because he can’t fathom what it means. No such thing happens for a Perennialist, you see, because a Perennialist isn’t discombobulated by the word “spiritual” or any religious vocabulary coming from any religion, for that matter. Matt’s felt compelled to speak on what he calls the “superiority of a secular morality,” because you see, he wants to rid religion from the face of the planet, instead of evolving them and harmonizing them which is what I believe the science is slowly doing with these studies on mystical experience and their intrinsic relationship to the Perennial philosophy. So, Matt wants everyone to adopt a kind of world-wide atheism, and so that’s why he feels compelled to create such a moral foundation for a future secular/atheist world. I really don’t believe that’s feasible at all. I think religion is always going to be around, yes, you’ll have atheists, you’ll have religions evolving, you’ll have diversity, but as long as you want something to go one way as oppose to another way or as long as you cannot tolerate the diversity, I would say yes, the atheist is constantly going to be in conflict as opposed to being one with nature which, after all, is the very basic religious impulse.

  213. buddyward says

    I would not characterize my mind as being quiet when I stub my toe. I may be focused on the pain and the expletives that I may blurt out but a quiet mind is not something I have at that moment. Am I focused on one thing? Yes, I am. Can I extend that to focusing on nothing or to being dead? No, I cannot.

  214. speedofsound says

    @Kafei

    then you doubt your own potential to directly connect with the rest of nature which would bring about a conflict, not the “at oneness” you find in a more harmonious perspective.

    Sorry but I don’t see it. A naturalist is far more likely to understand his biological connections than someone who dwells on consciousness with a capital ‘C’ or thinks about gods and spirit and such. We have the power of science to figure such things out.

    You mentioned earlier that we are entirely replaced at the atomic level every so many months. Did you get that knowledge from religion or science?

  215. speedofsound says

    @ buddyward

    Let’s try something easy. Hum ooooohhhmmmmm in your head and do nothing else but stare at something. Do you agree that you are not thinking any thoughts or that you CAN choose not to think any thoughts about what you are seeing or hearing?

    That there is a distinct difference between doing that exercise and say thinking about what you did at work today?

  216. buddyward says

    @speedofsound

    Is thinking any thoughts equivalent to perceiving something? Is making a choice not to think equivalent to thinking since making a choice is a thoughtful process? If I stare at a blinking cursor does that mean I am not thinking even though my mind is continually perceiving the blink of that cursor? If perception is separate from thought and both are products of our brain, how can I imagine perceiving something and not having thought while not having a functioning brain (i.e. I am dead)?

  217. speedofsound says

    Yes. Ho hum in your head is a brain thing. Of course it is. Shame on you for asking. No change in mind state can occur without a change in brain state.

    I have a long history with brain and phenomenology so I see that I differ with you in some terms and concepts. I do not classify thinking as encompassing perception. Thinking is an extension or an exaptation of motor movement. It’s in the subset of things that we call mind. Perception OTOH is the broad sensory input group of mind things and happens at a smaller time scale.

  218. buddyward says

    Thinking is an extension or an exaptation of motor movement. It’s in the subset of things that we call mind.

    Do I understand this correctly? Thinking is moving?

  219. indianajones says

    @Speedofsound: Physics is about as truthy and poetic as an uncontrolled fall from 20 storeys up

  220. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @buddyward #236:

    Thinking is moving?

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Subvocalization

    the internal speech typically made when reading; it provides the sound of the word as it is read. This is a natural process when reading, and it helps the mind to access meanings to comprehend and remember what is read, potentially reducing cognitive load.
     
    This inner speech is characterized by minuscule movements in the larynx and other muscles involved in the articulation of speech. Most of these movements are undetectable (without the aid of machines) by the person who is reading.
    […]
    The exploration into the evolutionary background of subvocalization is currently very limited. The little known is predominantly about language acquisition and memory.

     
    Article: Nature – Brain signals translated into speech using artificial intelligence

    The researchers worked with five people who had electrodes implanted on the surface of their brains as part of epilepsy treatment. First, the team recorded brain activity as the participants read hundreds of sentences aloud. Then, Chang and his colleagues combined these recordings with data from previous experiments that determined how movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and larynx created sound.
     
    The team trained a deep-learning algorithm on these data, and then incorporated the program into their decoder. The device transforms brain signals into estimated movements of the vocal tract, and turns these movements into synthetic speech. People who listened to 101 synthesized sentences could understand 70% of the words on average
    […]
    But it’s unclear whether the new speech decoder would work with words that people only think, says Amy Orsborn, a neural engineer at the University of Washington in Seattle. “The paper does a really good job of showing that this works for mimed speech,” she says. “But how would this work when someone’s not moving their mouth?”

     
    See also: Internal Monologue

    or inner speech, is a person’s inner voice which provides a running verbal monologue of thoughts while they are conscious.
     
    It is usually tied to a person’s sense of self. It is particularly important in planning, problem solving, self-reflection, self-image, critical thinking, emotions, and subvocalization (reading in your head). As a result, it is relevant to a number of mental disorders, such as depression, and treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy which seek to alleviate symptoms by providing strategies to regulate cognitive behaviour.
    […]
    In some cases people may think of inner speech as coming from an external source, as with schizophrenic auditory hallucinations. Additionally, not everyone has a verbal internal monologue.
    […]
    In a theory of child development formulated by Lev Vygotsky, inner speech has a precursor in private speech ([audibly] talking to oneself) at a young age.

  221. buddyward says

    @ Sky Captain

    Is the act of internal vocalization a side effect of thinking or are you saying that it is thinking itself? If my larynx and the other muscles involved in speech is removed can I no longer think?

    Putting out references without your input makes it difficult for me to gauge what you are trying to say and thus seemingly silly questions like the above may arise.

  222. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @buddyward #239:
    I just thought that background info would help you make sense of speedofsound. That was how I was tentatively interpreting his “extension or an exaptation of motor movement” statement.
     

    If my larynx and the other muscles involved in speech is removed can I no longer think?

    I doubt thoughts would cease. Though the subvocalization article does suggest muscles have a role in “potentially reducing cognitive load”.

  223. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    And the Nature article points out that it’s unclear whether muscle movements would reveal inner speech.

  224. speedofsound says

    Powerful theory that I have a soft spot for. Even with it’s critics it hopefully allows you to make a distinction between thinking as a act over seconds and sensing in the smaller window of 200 msec intervals.

    There are many, thousands, of things we can tease out of our minds subjective landscape. Each one has an observable action map in the brain. Some things can and have been studied and classified and found to be in common to most mammals. You have a guy here spouting reams of posts about one such type of brain activity. It helps to at least be able to separate a few of these things as means of getting to the facts.

    Think of state space in the brain. Now think of your subjective experience as another state space. There is a sure correlation fo the two. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking of that mind-space as some singular point source. It’s more like an extended thunderstorm.

  225. speedofsound says

    The correlation of speaking and thinking in words is pretty strong. I suspect thinking without speech skills would be very strange to us though we do a little of that as well.

    Thinking as movement without firing off the motor cortex makes a lot of sense. Premotor planning probably developed first then with primates it extended forward to the frontal cortex and conceptual processing. The same areas of the brain, though slightly anterior on the structures is involved in movement and thinking. Mind is pretty much just body and it’s wiring. We are odd animals that can ‘move’ without moving. It’s a hell of a trick in the animal kingdom.

  226. buddyward says

    Let me first state that I am tentatively accepting the Confabulation theory which defines cognition to include perception: vision, hearing, etc. and not just limited to thought processes. Wouldn’t this mean that the act of staring at something is also thinking? I do not see anything in paper that distinguishes perception from thought processes. The more I think about it, the more it make sense as being able to see something forces your brain to make evaluations and assessments on what you are looking at and thus (perhaps unintentionally) you are thinking.

    So how do we know that we are not thinking? How do we know that it is the same as being dead? Is this the same as being in a meditative state? If you are not thinking, how are you able to asses the experience that you are having?

  227. speedofsound says

    I’ve kind of lost track but I think we started this chain out trying to assess what these ME’s and other experiences are. Trying to make sense out of what the religious among us are actually talking about. I really doubt they are making up this business of having a powerful sort of other-worldly feeling. So do you agree that we can’t just dismiss what they experience?

    @ buddyward(#245)

    I do not see anything in paper that distinguishes perception from thought processes.

    I would have to go dig to find more on this. I’m a bit busy with neural dev right now so I hope we can just accept that there is a distinction. Do you accept that there are dozens of distinct things that we do in our minds that we can classify and compare intersubjectively? Feeling painful stubbed toe is not the same as lightly stroking your head? Reading while mentally mouthing the words is not the same as reading a whole sign like ‘Turn off your cell phones’? Constructing a response to a post over several minutes is not the same as stubbing your toe?

    being able to see something forces your brain to make evaluations and assessments/blockquote>

    I must speak for myself but I seem to be able to choose whether or not to evaluate after sensing. Sam Harris actually has an app for that. 🙂 Now if I am assaulted with rapidly changing sensory scenes like nearly getting into a freeway accident I do not do the evaluation and in this case I had no choice but not to do it. (this is a tangent, but ‘knowing’ what we were conscious of a moment ago is not possible unless you do this post evaluation and dwell on the scene for seconds. (This is part of my claim that we do not really no we are conscious. But I am distractible so better not to go too deep here)

    So how do we know that we are not thinking?

    I can tell. After the fact I can tell that I was off on thinking lark. That I had pulled away from sensation and went into my head. Again SH’s Waking Up app works on this sort of thing.

    Is this the same as being in a meditative state?

    Yes. This is a big part of some meditative techniques. My AA sponsor, years ago, asked me to learn how to pick up a book, walk across the room, and set it on a table. But not to have anything in my head to do with setting it on the table while I was picking up and walking. A thought pops up and you shut it down. I have been trying to pull this off for about eight years now.

    Mindful meditation involves setting up a thought watcher. You develop a trigger so you know when you have gotten into think-path. On practice the trigger itself becomes like a skill that you needn’t think about.

    If you are not thinking, how are you able to asses the experience that you are having?

    This one is complex. You can never know what you are conscious of. You can only know some highlights about what you WERE conscious of a moment ago. You always move forward on the timeline when you introspect. The is no homunculus experiencing in the moment. The trick of thinking we are conscious is a trick of a multilayered hierarchical system that has persistence. Memory. The memory is of a marker sort. Not eidetic but a sort of a heading on a note. So we are in this continual stream of making notes about notes about sensory. This plays a little into Damasio’s Somatic Marker Hypothesis. If you intorspect you fool yourself about the very possibility of introspection. The best you ever end up with is just more things to try and introspect.

    How do we know that it is the same as being dead?

    This is one of my little quirks I guess. I was making fun up above, of Kafei and enlightenment by insisting that the ultimate Zen experience is being Dead( with a capital D!). But I am half serious about this. I don’t dare go too deep on this but there is a continuum between being fully in your think/action brain and being dead or even non-existent. There is another continuum that we can imagine between being a C. elegans worm conscious thing and being a conscious human. In our daily ordeal we go from one extreme to another. Often. Being asleep is very close to Dead. Being without thought is not so close but closer.

    Again. This is my quirky way of making sense of some of the Eastern mumbo-jumbo.

    Now a little more on thinking. There is an action cycle that involves the basal ganglia action selection circuits, and the thalamus that steps you through skillful movements. It’s like a stepping motor. I hold the ‘opinion’ that thinking is an exaptation of this and uses the same mechanism. In the human brain there is a swelling, not present in other animals, toward the front of these core brain structures that seems to indicate we have an extra set of ‘more abstract’ loops. Those extra loops connect to the frontal cortex. (Kent Hovind doesn’t have these). It’s a working hypothesis of mine and one day I will dig in deeper. For now I like to use it like a tentative tool.

    Have I dug myself into a right hole here?

  228. speedofsound says

    Woo always puts it’s foot in the gaps. The only gap we have left is mind and consciousness (C). The reason people say silly things like ‘science doesn’t know x’ when talking about these things is not because science doesn’t know. We know a heel of lot. All that we need to explain any of this. The problem is that none of us, scientists or laymen alike know what the question actually is. We come up with suitcase words like C. Worse it’s a suitcase full of delusions concerning homunculi.

    It feels to us like we have this unified mind, which I call a point source. We believe in other silly notions like the Unconscious. If we cannot get a fix on C we most certainly are talking out of asses when we refer to the UnC. The delusions related to the UnC and C alike are pretty much spirit mind ideas. So I refer to the Point-Source-Spirit-Mind thinking often. PSSM. Like my acronyms.

    Our minds are actually a stormy sea of many modules overlapping in time, intensity, and hierarchy. We have many minds. Most of what we call mind is actually a dynamical system consisting of our brains, bodies, and the world around us to the extent of our senses. The mind is like the processor and the world is like the software of the mind.

    In the last few posts it is obvious that we are in no condition to even have an exchange about this inner landscape. We have none but the coarsest words for it’s multi-variant features. We can argue all day over what thinking is and what sensing is and we haven’t even scratched the surface of that landscape.

    So this is the one science where the science is light years ahead of the questions the science is being called on to answer. When some sucker asks neuroscience what C is it’s like a two year old asked an astrophysicist how much the blue in the sky weighs and why it doesn’t fall down.

  229. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @speedofsound #246:

    Trying to make sense out of what the religious among us are actually talking about. […] a powerful sort of other-worldly feeling

     

    My AA sponsor, years ago, asked me to learn how to pick up a book, walk across the room, and set it on a table. But not to have anything in my head to do with setting it on the table while I was picking up and walking. A thought pops up and you shut it down. […] Mindful meditation involves setting up a thought watcher.

    This was a “powerful sort of other-worldly feeling” for you?

  230. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @speedofsound:
    So… this is basically the entirety of your argument then?
     

    I really doubt they are making up this business of having a powerful sort of other-worldly feeling.

     
    You have a practice you had been calling ‘spiritual’, of “acting without believing. Or thinking.” I’m guessing ‘relaxation’?
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Relaxation

    an absence of arousal that could come from sources such as anger, anxiety, or fear. […] Relaxation is a form of mild ecstasy coming from the frontal lobe of the brain in which the backward cortex sends signals to the frontal cortex via a mild sedative. Relaxation can be achieved through meditation, autogenics, and progressive muscle relaxation.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Ecstasy

    an example of an altered state of consciousness characterized by diminished awareness of other objects or the total lack of the awareness of surroundings and everything around the object. The word is also used to refer to any heightened state of consciousness or intensely pleasant experience.
    […]
    For the duration of the ecstasy the ecstatic is out of touch with ordinary life and is capable neither of communication with other people nor of undertaking normal actions. The experience can be brief in physical time, or it can go on for hours. Subjective perception of time, space or self may strongly change or disappear during ecstasy. For instance, if one is concentrating on a physical task, then any intellectual thoughts may cease.
    […]
    Ecstasy can be deliberately induced using religious or creative activities, meditation, music, dancing, breathing exercises, physical exercise, sexual intercourse or consumption of psychotropic drugs.
    […]
    People interpret the experience afterward according to their culture and beliefs

     
    23.15 #346:
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2019/04/14/open-thread-for-episode-23-15-matt-don/#comment-660631

    one of those old biofeedback machines […] My ‘experience’ took place at an ADHD conference and my friend and I were both shocked that the state they described as countering our ADHD, and paying attention, was the state were we felt like we were fuzzed out.

     
    23.15 #327:
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2019/04/14/open-thread-for-episode-23-15-matt-don/#comment-660577

    Now you can train yourself to sort of fuzz out and enter a multimodal state. It seems the more time I spend there the better I feel. Nothing too magical about this.

     
    23.15 335:
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2019/04/14/open-thread-for-episode-23-15-matt-don/#comment-660597

    People that believe are sort of addicted to this feeling. […] But if they understand that it is a subjective experience that anyone can train themselves to have, often, without any belief it might help.

     
    Because anything theists claim to experience must be relatable as a difference in degree?
     
    23.15 #346:

    Your brain is not a spirit point source. It’s a fucking organ and it has state-space. When believers feel a personal relationship with god, or have a CME or whatever, they are somewhere in that state space […] How far you are into a particular part of that space will be the gradation of the experience.
    […]
    you have fucking felt ‘spiritual’!

     
     
    So whatever they’re claiming to experience without drugs ought to be regularly attainable without – as in not the product of – religious baggage?
     
    But you’re not claiming to know the means yet?
    And IIRC you were never a theist for comparison?
     
    23.04 #244:
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2019/01/27/open-thread-for-episode-23-04-matt-john-guest-hector-garcia/#comment-655353

    No not meditation.
    […]
    I sat under the xmas tree and started to read Beyond Theology. […] A simple thought experiment in the book somehow induced what should have been a suicidal mental breakdown. Instead, inexplicably, I was actually having serious visual hallucinations as a result i think of stress. […] I was launched into this three-day tour of white light and… acceptance? Peace? Fuck I don’t know. Something happened to me that changed EVERYTHING.
    […]
    I think that that thing saved my life at the time. Though I did my best over the next forty years to reverse that salvation.

     
    23.04 #235:
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2019/01/27/open-thread-for-episode-23-04-matt-john-guest-hector-garcia/#comment-655335

    not a drug induced loss of standard mental function […]. Granted there are powerful similarities.
     
    Did I get wisdom. Yep! Three days of it the first time and then one week on the second near-death induced experience. Learned a fuck-ton about myself. […] I did not learn about the nature of reality
    […]
    I had a ‘feeling’ of great knowledge and perfection. The feeling that everything fit together perfectly and everything was just as it should be. Those CME questionnaires they have would have got me a A on this first experience. What I didn’t do is come to a belief after the fact that I had been given some privileged view into the internal engine of the cosmos.

  231. speedofsound says

    I guess. The argument? Kafei is full of shit. All these experiences are perfectly natural and attainable without religion. They are cool. Kafei is full of shit. What else?

  232. says

    @speedofsound

    Sorry but I don’t see it. A naturalist is far more likely to understand his biological connections than someone who dwells on consciousness with a capital ‘C’ or thinks about gods and spirit and such. We have the power of science to figure such things out.

    Sure, and physicists like Neil DeGrass Tyson say things like “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” The naturalist may have an intellectual or conceptual grasp of this understanding, however for the mystic, this is understood within a flash in consciousness, where one’s intuition is heightened to the point of omniscience. It’s not to be confused with a kind of intellectual omniscience, of being able to tell you the lotto numbers or find your lost car keys. Let’s say for example free will does not exist. That if you took the current state of the totality of the universe/multiverse as it is now, you could perfectly predict the entirety the past and the entirety of the future. In the CME, it’s as though your intuition is revved up to the point where for a brief moment, it intuits the entire past and future in a single moment. I realize to people who haven’t had this experience, that may seem impossible. And I don’t think someone like Richard Dawkins realizes that an experience like that is possible. When he was asked that question by Graham Hancock, he ultimately said something like, “If it were to happen to me, I wouldn’t interpret it as something supernatural. I’d just think it’s just something amazing that the brain is capable of.” Or something like that, I’m paraphrasing, but note the reference to supernatural. I believe a lot of atheists evidence for God has to be supernatural or they have some fixated expectation of the “supernatural.” Like they’re going to be shown some magic trick, instead of realizing a potential in consciousness. Richard Dawkins may admit the brain is amazing, but I don’t think he knows just how quite amazing it really is. He’s never revved it up. This thing that occurs that I was talking about, this kind of omniscience, this Kevala jñāna is a tried-and-true phenomeon that can, indeed, happen, and yes, it can also be quite dangerous. I’ll share a couple of experiences, my first encounter with this state, and because I didn’t meditate into it, with psychedelics, it’s sort of forced upon you. At the height of this experience, for me or perhaps my ego, it was an ugly experience perhaps the worst trip/bad trip of my life of which I’m nevertheless grateful for now, but when it was happening; to sort of express something of it, there was a boredom at the height of this heightened intuition, not simply a boredom, but this bizarre and insane ennui that started to creep in. It’s almost as though having this impression in consciousness that you’ve done everything, you’ve been anywhere, you are everyone. There’s nothing to do; and of course these metaphors pay no justice, but it’s like you’ve heard every song, you’ve seen every movie, not just once, but infinite times over. Everything is known in that state, and so when your ego encounters this, it can seem like madness. I’m speaking of a boredom to such degree, that if I had stayed in that state, I would have been very liable to gladly commit suicide in hopes to end it. So, when I started coming down, I could feel it. You sense the terror slowly drifting away, and so I was practically kissing the ground to be back to this “dumber state,” if you will, baseline of ordinary consciousness. So, I’m not one to dismiss all those stories involving suicide in the 60s and 70s and psychedelics. This also happen in my brother’s girlfriend. She took 4 dried grams of Psilocybe cubensis, and she’s pretty small framed, and from what she’s explained to me about it, it sounds like her experience was more powerful than the one I can recollect, she also saw herself as everything, as everyone on the planet, she was them, and she didn’t like either, so she tried to get a weight of my brother’s to use to smash in her head, suicidally. My brother was their to stop her from doing it, but she did attempt to kill herself for this very same reason I was talking about. It’s been a long time since both of these events, and since then I’ve been reading about religion and practicing meditaiton, and I’ve also been using these things annually and have found if you’re not trained, and you’ve never meditated in your life, you don’t study religion much, etc. then you’re definitely not prepared for an experience like this if you’re just going to jump right into it like I did. I didn’t tiptoe in the water, I went straight to the “heroic dose.” However, I realize now how important set and setting are, and this is what is catered to at Johns Hopkins as well, they prepare their volunteers before the experience, and also follow-up with them to aid integration. However, I have pointed out that some of the volunteers who were part of the original pilot study at Hopkins done back in ’99 are to this day seeking psychiatric help because they had such a bad and hellish experience. I’m not surprised at all. It’s definitely possible, it’s definitely not all roses and rainbows. I haven’t done it in about a year and half. My last dose was 16 dried grams, but they were kind of weak. I’ve gotten more out of much less. So, it’s been a while since I’ve had a very powerful experience, but when I’m now much better at approaching them, and I find if the thought of suicide is creeping in, then I find that is usually the reaction of the ego. I bet you guys would’ve laughed your asses off at me on my first try, I laid on the ground for about two hours thinking I was going to die. So, it’s definitely not an easy experience, and I get really nervous every time I do it.

    You mentioned earlier that we are entirely replaced at the atomic level every so many months. Did you get that knowledge from religion or science?

    You can learn it from either. From Neil’s quote or from the Buddha’s words. The eastern saying is “everything is in flux and nothing is permanent.” That’s very compatible with our current understanding. Or Heraclitus has many quotes on this, such as “You cannot step into the same river twice.” In other words, you are not the body, what you call “you” or your body is just a pattern of moving energy in a very similar way when Alan Watts would say a candle flames. You don’t see a single flame at the end of the candle, you might see a fixed pattern of the spear-shaped flame, but it’s not the same flame at every moment nor is the pattern of the whirlpool the same water at every moment. Well, in that very same way, atoms whirlpool through you, but you don’t notice this flow because it occurs much more slowly than the wave over the water. These parallels can be made all the way to what M-theorist attempt to describe as when Michio Kaku says, “The universe is a symphony of vibrating string resonating in 11-dimensional hyperspace.” Well, wherever these physicists place that “final dimension,” be it 11-dimensions or there’s even some theories involving 12 dimensions which allow universes that have backwards flowing time. Whether 11 or 12, the point is that all possible music notes of the string draw from that source, that’s why they’re said to “resonate.” Time is the moving image of eternity in the sense that we’re simply a cross-sectioning of a higher dimension that’s already complete, that doesn’t need anything added or taken away from it, everything is “already there” in that higher dimension and it’s been paralleled to the philosophical Absolute, the “11-dimensional hyperspace” as described by physicists is essentially what mystics are describing when they talk about Brahman. These are two ways of describing one and the same thing.

  233. speedofsound says

    @Sky Captain

    But you’re not claiming to know the means yet?
    And IIRC you were never a theist for comparison?

    The means are varied and many. Depends what your goal is here.

    But are you suggesting that because I have never believed in the Woo that I can’t possibly know what the Woo experience?

    We both, the Woo and I, got stoned off our asses so I know that part.

    ???

  234. speedofsound says

    @Kafei (#253)

    Sure, and physicists like Neil DeGrass Tyson say things like “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” The naturalist may have an intellectual or conceptual grasp of this understanding, however for the mystic, this is understood within a flash in consciousness, where one’s intuition is heightened to the point of omniscience.

    So you are saying that the physicists like Tyson could never have these experiences then? Or are you saying that if they did they would suddenly be theists?

  235. speedofsound says

    For a heroic suicidal good time I like to snort a half gram or so of PCP. You kids don’t know shit about hellish ego death till you’ve met the PCP MotherFucking demon.

    Kafei. Now your last post talked a lot about knowledge. Even future knowledge. But what useful piece of prognostication has come out of the JH study that got written down in our journals?

  236. speedofsound says

    You do realize that through the 60’s and 70’s thousands of us had these all knowing all-is-one ego death experiences right? It was the big secret we had that our parents did not get.

    Yet all of us also knew and joked about how when we came down we still didn’t know anything other than some clever intuitive feels. Feelings of noesis and knowing everything are very far apart.

  237. says

    @buddyward

    So how do we know that we are not thinking? How do we know that it is the same as being dead? Is this the same as being in a meditative state? If you are not thinking, how are you able to asses the experience that you are having?

    I really think speedofsound may be leading you astray. I don’t believe the meditative non-thinking state of Zen is like being dead at all. Quite the opposite. What happens, if you can manage to do this, if you can manage to stop your thoughts is what in eastern philosophy has many names such as Samatha, Ekaggata, it’s also practiced in Zazen, it is the very goal of samadhi, but what is done in meditation is the mind will concentrate on a single point, this is referred to as one-pointedness or single-pointed meditation which is often more easy to do with eyes closed. So, that in the very center of your visual field with eyes closed, you will focus your concentration on a single point so that you do not move from that point, you practice stillness upon that one point and what will happen, if you practice meditation and breathe appropriately, meaning just breathe involuntarily, do not attempt to control your breath, is that when your thoughts begin to fall away is that very same point that you’re focusing on will then in your mind’s eye become an infinitesimal point of light, like a white dot. Now, if you can continue to remain thoughtless, serene, and just be, this dot will continue to grow larger and larger. But you see, the moment you have a thought, that light will disappear. It’s almost as though anytime the ego comes in, this vision vanishes as the the ego were the very veil for it. However, if one manages to silence their ego completely, you’ll see the smallest form of infinitesimal light grow and eventually engulf your mind’s eye. That is the divine light or the Tabor light or uncreated light, it’s known as Prakāśa in eastern philosophy, it’s the Ohr in Jewish mysticism, Nūr in Islam, it’s the The Light upon the Candlestick for 17th century English Quakers, etc. It was the source of Archimandrite Sophrony’s life’s work, it is the source that has inspired, that has been the very afflatus for all mystics.

  238. says

    There’s a parody on Richard Dawkins version of the afterlife. Richard Dawkins says you better live your life to the full now (which I have no quarrel with, everyone should live full and poignant lives), but he goes on to say that we better do so because there’s “nothing after it.” How does he know that? Did he die, explore nothingness, then come back to let us know what happens after death? I doubt it. Even Watts has spoken on this in what he calls the “problem of birth and death.”

  239. buddyward says

    @speedofsound

    I agree that we are losing track of what we are actually talking about and I believe that it is partly if not mostly my fault. I have no expertise in neuroscience and thus whatever you present in that field, I will not be qualified to make any comments. The most that I can give you as a response would be “I don’t know.”

    Our conversation IIRC is about the claim that magic mushroom somehow gives access to the truth. You claimed that when your brain goes away you “get back to the truth of the matter”. That somehow does not make sense to me as I do not know how you can recognize truth without a brain. You then described it as being dead and that also did not make sense to me as I do not know how being dead gives you access to anything else. You further revised your statement as to experiencing imminent death where people get depressed and start to “think too much”. I responded by saying that since I have not experienced imminent death, I cannot make any conclusion as to what I would do in that situation and that the best that I can do is guess which is not helpful in our conversation. Then you tried to provide examples of not thinking (i.e. stubbing your toe and staring and doing nothing else) where you asked me if I agree that I am not thinking any thoughts or choosing not to think. I think this is point where we went off into the weeds of neuroscience.

    Perhaps we can pick up the conversation from this point. Let me answer you question first:

    Do you agree that you are not thinking any thoughts or that you CAN choose not to think any thoughts about what you are seeing or hearing?

    No, I cannot agree as I do not know what it is like NOT to think. Comparing it to being is not helpful as I do not know what it’s like to be dead.

    Choosing not to think, I believe is a process that involves thinking and therefore I am thinking at that point.

    I am unconvinced that not thinking give assess to certain knowledge or certain insights as those two requires the process of thinking.

    Your description of treating people with depression by instructing them not to think appears to be more of an instruction of refocusing their mind to something other than what is causing their depression. Perhaps what you mean here is that by practicing meditation (i.e. trying to calm your mind) you are then better to control your brain in refocusing it’s attention. If that is the case then I would agree that it can be helpful but only to the point of gaining some control over your brain.

    Does that sum it all up or are there any details that I have missed?

  240. says

    In meditation, one doesn’t try and stop thinking. That would be like attempting to smooth out the ripples in water with a flat iron. You’d only end up creating more ripples that ways (more thoughts). In order for water to become still, it must be left alone. Of course, it’s easier said than done.

  241. speedofsound says

    Buddyward

    “I am unconvinced that not thinking give assess to certain knowledge or certain insights”

    No. No! I never suggested that.

  242. speedofsound says

    Your description of treating people with depression by instructing them not to think appears to be more of an instruction of refocusing their mind to something other than what is causing their depression. Perhaps what you mean here is that by practicing meditation (i.e. trying to calm your mind) you are then better to control your brain in refocusing it’s attention. If that is the case then I would agree that it can be helpful but only to the point of gaining some control over your brain.

    Does that sum it all up or are there any details that I have missed?

    “Your description of treating people with depression by instructing them:

    No! Emphatically. I do not treat people with depression or instruct them. i do this to myself for my own depression. It’s personal. Now I may make suggestions and if someone is interested in how I handle it I will have that conversation. I am not the doctor. Not the guru. Not the guy with mushrooms. Way off track here. I apologize for getting you there. I am speculating about why it works for me I guess.

    Mind is a fiction. We are stuck with thsi bit of fiction to make marks on the subjective landscape. Neuroscience is about what is happening.

    Without neuroscience there is no discussion of the mind. So we can leave this here. Again, I apologize for thinking out loud on this.

  243. speedofsound says

    Kafei “In meditation, one doesn’t try and stop thinking”

    There are as many ways to meditate as their are people meditating. Shame on you. You are not The Guru.

  244. buddyward says

    @speedofsound

    “I am unconvinced that not thinking give assess to certain knowledge or certain insights”

    No. No! I never suggested that.

    So what is it good for?

  245. buddyward says

    @speedofsound

    No! Emphatically. I do not treat people with depression or instruct them. i do this to myself for my own depression. It’s personal. Now I may make suggestions and if someone is interested in how I handle it I will have that conversation. I am not the doctor. Not the guru. Not the guy with mushrooms. Way off track here. I apologize for getting you there. I am speculating about why it works for me I guess.

    I am sorry, I was not implying that you are treating people. I am commenting on your description of the treatment.

    Mind is a fiction. We are stuck with thsi bit of fiction to make marks on the subjective landscape. Neuroscience is about what is happening.

    Without neuroscience there is no discussion of the mind. So we can leave this here. Again, I apologize for thinking out loud on this.

    Ok, I will agree to leave it here. Sorry that I cannot get further in the discussion due to my lack of knowledge in neuroscience.

  246. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @speedofsound #254:

    The means are varied and many. Depends what your goal is here.
     
    But are you suggesting that because I have never believed in the Woo that I can’t possibly know what the Woo experience?

    Is it one goal state, or many?
     
    You know *a* woo experience.
     
    I’m saying *theists* frequently don’t know what they’re talking about, so *ideally* you would’ve had personal history for reference in identifying similar experiences when testing methods. It’s suboptimal is all.
     
    Theists say “god” a lot, but they’re often not referring to the same personality or concepts, never mind an existing referent for the concepts to map onto.
     
     
    Twitter Thread: DaveGass – Exvangelical
    (originally here; his account is currently protected)

    After 40 years of being a devout follower, 20 of those being an evangelical pastor, I am walking away from faith.
    […]
    I was raised in a hyper-fundamentalist family, and it felt good to be in a system that promised all the answer[s] and solutions to life. […] The promises were empty. The answers were lies.
    […]
    In 40 years I never witnessed a single event that was supernatural. Not one. Time and again I watched people die of cancer. I did funerals for 47 people from the age of 4 to 96. I prayed in faith with hundreds of people for healing to no avail. god didn’t answer prayers.
     
    My devoutly christian parents were abusive, my marriage was a sham, prayer was never answered, miracles were never performed. People died, children rebelled, marriages failed, addictions occurred – all at the same rate as non believers. The system just doesn’t work.
     
    I pastored mega churches & tiny churches. I did college ministry, camp ministry, youth ministry, music ministry, preaching ministry, church planting – everything in the church except work in the nursery. And what I saw was people desperate for the system to work for them.
     
    I traveled on speaking teams, preached to thousands of teenagers at a time, wrote blogs, was published, formed curriculum, taught workshops, was an up-and-comer reforming my denomination. The whole time hoping at some point it would click, and become true for me.
     
    An inescapable reality that I came to was that the people who benefited the most from organized religion were the fringe attenders who didn’t take it too seriously. The people who were devout were the most miserable, but just kept trying harder.

     
    IIRC Seth Andrews (Thinking Atheist podcast) as a child once worried he was unable to speak in tongues and was told by an adult, “Just fake it. We all do.” Other glossolaliacs report having been convinced it was happening without their volition, a spirit commandeering their body… before they deconverted… They could still perform action as atheists, a skill practiced into effortlessness.
     
     

    We both, the Woo and I, got stoned off our asses so I know that part.

    If you find a way to emulate a stoned / NDE experience by force of will alone, more power to you. I don’t think THAT is a standard occurrence among theists… enough to be of practical concern in outreach.
     
    There’s Vineyard Christians. They do imagination exercises to increase likelihood of spontaneous hallucinations (mostly auditory). Satisfies their own craving for evidence that the theology is true. Stories earn esteem from their peer group. Every day, they talk to an empty chair, as if Jesus were sitting on it… sometimes Jesus randomly talks back when they do laundry. A different experience from your xmas event.
     
    More generally, testimonials where the holy spirit suddenly turns a wretch’s life around is a performative shtick, partly egged on, partly informed by assorted events misconstrued. They fall apart under examination. I’m sure there’s a pleasant yarn-spinning experience to scan in the brain, too.
     
    There was a caller whose personal experience as evidence of god was a lump that went away after praying (she’d self-diagnosed it as cancer). That story was important to her.
     
    If by “deeply powerful” experience, you mean there must be some brain module for the bare feeling of profundity itself… and profundity can be induced by secular means, sure? Then again, if you’ve watered down the tales so much that all that’s left is an intensifier word, that minimal commonality can just as easily be hype.
     
    There’s also the feeling of solidarity. And the feeling of self-disclosure to a confidant (real or imagined). And the feeling of security in having answers and protection (real or imagined). And the familiarity with a franchise. The effects of music, etc.
     
    And folks who get worked up in a haunted hotel probably have constellations of fear, paranoia, panic, etc. lit up in their brains without need to posit a spook module or refining ghost hunting techniques until an apparition really seems to appear. For some skeptical podcasters, visiting notorious locations for the ambiance is an enjoyable pasttime though.
     
    I once heard about an anthropology course that did a ghost hunting field trip. (Yes, they came back alive. =P )

  247. says

    @speedofsound

    Kafei “In meditation, one doesn’t try and stop thinking”

    There are as many ways to meditate as their are people meditating. Shame on you. You are not The Guru.

    You may have misconstrued me. Sure, there’s many methods in meditation, and I have heard people describe different types of meditation, even ones of challenging yourself to think more, hold more thoughts simultaneously, etc. However, that’s not what I meant by this quote. In my own studies in comparative religion, I’ve found the earliest forms of contemplation or meditation have been various techniques and disciplines to cease the chatter in the mind, to silence the ego, forms that represent the cessation of volition. They’re found in the earliest forms of Buddhism, they’re found in Hinduism, they’re found in early forms of contemplation in Christianity which would influence the later forms found in the Quaker mystics or the Christian mystics who practiced quietism, it was also practiced by the Hesychast monks. I may not be a “guru,” but I have listened to many gurus explain this type of meditation as a kind of “conscious sleep,” and likewise have likened sleep to “unconscious meditation.”

    @Sky Captain

    Is it one goal state, or many?

    Well, I may not be a guru, but I can certainly quote ’em. A guru once said, “Paths are many, truth is one.” I believe there’s one final Goal, one final state, one nirvikalpa samadhi, so that in Buddhism, you may find myriads of disciplines surrounding meditation, but the goal is still one and the same: that is to reach or experience Nirvana or the Buddha-nature. Totapuri taught Ramakrishna that the sole reality of the transpersonal absolute could only be realized in a state of consciousness devoid of all conceptual forms. The Void is the Absolute, it’s not a state of “emptiness” as one might imagine, an experience of “nothing.” You cannot have an experience of nothing, it is impossible. It’s not “deep sleep,” because you’re still conscious in meditation, you’re just not conscious of your own ego, if you’re doing it right. This is why it’s called “ego death” or why the Sufi mystics say “Fana.” That is to “die before you die.” Alan Watts would say this is when consciousness hums, to cause one’s entire sensorium to hum, and people describe that ultimate experience as “the Void.” Void not because it’s nothing, it’s no experience, but void because it’s maxed out experience or ultimate consciousness, it’s a form of consciousness which encompasses everything, all permutations. The professionals call that the “introvertive mystical experience,” as opposed to the “extrovertive mystical experience” which is more so described precisely as Alan Watts has called a “natural satori.”

  248. says

    The topics developing on the latest thread are interesting, indeed. I really find the content that the gurus have to say regarding these topics. I wanted to link a few for anyone interested in topics like free will or determinism. Some of the gurus I’ve come across that go into these topics are people like Rupert Spira, Shunyamurti, and there was another discussion I wanted to share with Adyashanti, but I couldn’t find it. I’m sure all the greatest gurus have had to address this topic, but since I couldn’t find Adyashanti’s, I’ll post a joke about the ego that Ramesh Baslekar once delivered to an audience of one of these Satsangs that he would hold at his house in Bombay, India.

  249. speedofsound says

    Sky Captain

    If by “deeply powerful” experience, you mean there must be some brain module for the bare feeling of profundity itself… and profundity can be induced by secular means, sure? Then again, if you’ve watered down the tales so much that all that’s left is an intensifier word, that minimal commonality can just as easily be hype.

    I don’t like the word brain module to be overused but you are getting warmer with this one. We get feelings of knowing and we get feelings of cognitive dissonance. Something odd catches your eye and then after attending it you suddenly gather enough information to get what it is. A warm feeling of knowing comes over you. If you stick a sharp wire into the source of that feeling and plug it into a car battery, it will most certainly be profound and powerful.

    Most of what happens on psychedelics can be explained by this.

  250. speedofsound says

    @Kafei

    You may have misconstrued me. Sure, there’s many methods in meditation, and I have heard people describe different types of meditation, even ones of challenging yourself to think more, hold more thoughts simultaneously, etc. However, that’s not what I meant by this quote. In my own studies in comparative religion, I’ve found the earliest forms of contemplation or meditation have been various techniques and disciplines to cease the chatter in the mind,

    I’m confused. So you agree with me? Stopping thoughts is a useful form of meditation. Thoughts = Chatter.

    Have you ever actually read a book by Alan Watts?

  251. speedofsound says

    Overall, after spending a chunk of my life on this seeking business, I must insist that the guru’s can take their nirvikalpa samadhi and shove it up their asses. Same goes with all of the youtube videos where “jargon, jargon->then you get misty” drones on into more and more meaningless jurble.

    I figured out some practical things that you can actually do at home with your own brain. A little psycho-haywire and electrical tape and you are good to go.

    If I read one more jurble-babble from the ancient mystics I’m either going to throw up or slit my wrists. Really want to read your posts Kafei but fuck. Reel it in a little. You are starting to sound like a cross between Alan Watts and the Sham Wow guy.

  252. speedofsound says

    Sky Captain and buddyward.

    I am very interested in phenomenology and correlative neuroscience and all the things that make believers believe. I love the details. The two of you latched on to me and I got excited for awhile. I just started spewing out ideas. It’s clear we are not on the same page, do not use the same definitions, and I have vastly more enthusiasm for the subject than the you two.

    But I hope we all learned just a little.

  253. speedofsound says

    I need to clarify one thing here for others.

    Thinking is a defined brain process over time. Your brain is not always thinking just like your body is not always walking. The easiest form of thinking is that which follows inner speech. Speech is a step-wise process that has the speech as it’s output at the top of a complex underlying process. So too is inner speech. The motor system is simply not activated and it remains pre-motor in brain activity. There is a band of your brain just to the front of your motor cortex that is the pre-motor cortex. You can rehearse or plan movement there without actually moving.

    Other learned types of thinking probably involve imagined spatial figures or learned ‘markers’ for concepts and figures. Math is a good example of this sort of thing. But again a very step-wise process is happening. One action triggers the next, but in a guided way. So we feel that we are ‘willing’ the thinking.

    Often times though the thinking just seems to happen all by itself. You see a picture of the Orange President and a train of thought fires off, seemingly out of your control.

    Other times you are just simply ‘not-thinking’. No step-wise process is going on. You still feel conscious but more on the order of just inputting what is going on. This is a state of low activity, or it feels like it, because you are not willing anything and no obsessive thought streams are firing off. Say you are immersed in action scene at a movie. You are not thinking about it for seconds at a time because too much sense is going on. But then as soon as it slows down thoughts will fire up about what just happened.

    Some forms of meditation involve controlling those unbidden thought streams and shutting them down as soon as it starts. There is no deepity here. You are learning a simple skill. Long ago we all learned to ‘not-act’ with out bodies. We learned to hold still while getting a shot or in class. The same can be done with inner-thought sequencing. You can learn to not do it.

    in that sickening parlance of the new-agers it’s ‘quieting your mind’.

    Now why is it so hard for me to get this across? Is this stuff surprising to any of you?

    Or is something else going on? Above someone put words in my mouth as indicated by a comment “I am unconvinced that not thinking give assess to certain knowledge or certain insights”

    I never suggested that not thinking would get you something other than just not thinking. There is no woo-shoe about to drop here. Chill out.

  254. says

    @speedofsound

    I never suggested that not thinking would get you something other than just not thinking. There is no woo-shoe about to drop here. Chill out.

    What do you get aside from not thinking? Ultimate insight. You no longer have to question whether a God exists or not, or whether free will exists or not, etc. It’s literally a conflict-free state of awareness that is prior to time or transcendent of time. All problems are dissolved in this experience. You know, these topics are coming up more often and more often. Did anyone catch Non Sequitur tonight or AronRa’s appearance on “Mysterious Force Live!“? Shannon Q brought up the very point I said at 253, that Dawkins said that if he were to have DMT, he would just cast it off as something like, “Oh, it’s just something amazing our brains can do.” No! What he doesn’t realize is how amazing we’re talking here. Shannon Q said, “The brain can do way cooler things than we thought it could do.” Precisely! And that “very cool thing” that it has been doing throughout history is precisely what the neuroscientists are calling a CME, it’s precisely what mystics have been given various names throughout history be it Brahman, God, Allah, nirvana, etc. These streams just happened tonight. Another thing that hasn’t been addressed here is that if you’re going to practice meditation, you’ve got to be healthy. You can’t be an alcoholic, then meditation becomes futile. You can’t be drinking loads and loads of fluoridated water everyday, calcifying your pineal gland with a bombardment of chemicals, a bad diet, chewing gum coated in aspertame, etc, etc., etc.

  255. speedofsound says

    When I quit my 6.2 pack a day habit 8 years ago I actually upped my dose of nicotine. I eat enough nicotine every hour to stone kill a dinosaur. An heroic dose I like to call it.

    From not thinking, and controlling how much and what I think, I just get not thinking. I feel good, I do not fantasize myself into resentments, problems dissolve in minutes instead of taking hundreds of hours of therapy.

    @Kafei Your obsession with CME is concerning. Particularly the drug induced experience you reference. It is way the fuck different than a flash enlightenment. It’s shorter, far shorter, and it changes perception in a brute force way. No one in satori has ever been terrified of ego death or felt that the earth was melting. Well. I do know one woman that took sixth months to get okay with herself after a non-drug experience.

    All this cosmic noesis is bullshit. You learned nothing during these experiences about the cosmos or reality. You simply learned that your interface to reality can change. A Lot. Proof of this is in your inability to describe what you learned in concrete terms. You need to face that you got a powerful feeling and nothing more in the religion/knowledge/reality field. Your obsession is taking you way off the mark. Not closer TO the mark. I am concerned.

  256. speedofsound says

    Isaac on the non-sequitur show may-03-2019 is an example of what Kafei is not. He honestly expresses his belief in the Woo. Though both will say it’s Not Woo because of course it’s Real and therefore part of naturalism.
    He is very clear that he believes the brain is like a tuning fork that communicates with a non-local Consciousness. DMT is the key to get the fork humming just so.

    A not on non-local C. I believe it is non-local in the sense they referred to it on the show. Defining ‘local’ as ‘in the body’. I believe it is local as in ‘in a local environment’. My idea has it only working through fields and particles but doing so in dynamical systems that cannot be separated into ‘in-here’ and ‘out-there’. I am staunchly against the ideas of representation in the brain and sense datum.

    Now clearly Kafei believes in this non-local, otherly kind of communication of consciousnesses that amounts to psychic clap-trap. All this of course being just another way that the religious want to make man a bigger deal than man actually is in the universe.

    So. Kafei is lying. Isaac is an honest man.

  257. speedofsound says

    I meant to write “I believe it is non-local BUT NOT IN the sense they referred to it on the show.

  258. says

    @speedofsound

    Your obsession with CME is concerning. Particularly the drug induced experience you reference. It is way the fuck different than a flash enlightenment. It’s shorter, far shorter, and it changes perception in a brute force way. No one in satori has ever been terrified of ego death or felt that the earth was melting. Well. I do know one woman that took sixth months to get okay with herself after a non-drug experience.

    Terence McKenna would say that very few people go to the ashram for their daily meditation with their knees knocking in terror over what’s about to sweep over them. I don’t think you can compare these natural methods to what’s approached in the full-blown psychedelic experience. Even in Dr. Roland Griffiths’ study on long-term meditators, these long-term meditators admitted that they hadn’t experienced anything as powerful in their meditation as what they did when they were given a single high dose of psilocybin.

    All this cosmic noesis is bullshit. You learned nothing during these experiences about the cosmos or reality. You simply learned that your interface to reality can change. A Lot. Proof of this is in your inability to describe what you learned in concrete terms. You need to face that you got a powerful feeling and nothing more in the religion/knowledge/reality field. Your obsession is taking you way off the mark. Not closer TO the mark. I am concerned.

    There’s no need to be concerned. I have explained it in concrete terms. It simply didn’t register for you. However, for me, when I read these scriptures or refer to these terms, I not only understand them, but I resonate with the meaning. What you seem to not understand is that Hindu yogis have been encountering these CMEs for thousands of years. Hinduism dates back of 10,000 B.C. They’ve developed a very rich vocabulary that refer to these vast inner states of mind, the ultimate of which they referred to as samadhi which is the direct experience or absorption into Brahman or the philosophical Absolute. So, while you may have an issue with terms like “savikalpa samadhi,” that’s simply because you don’t realize that something is actually meant with these terms, these yogis aren’t just speaking gobbledygook.

    Isaac on the non-sequitur show may-03-2019 is an example of what Kafei is not. He honestly expresses his belief in the Woo. Though both will say it’s Not Woo because of course it’s Real and therefore part of naturalism.
    He is very clear that he believes the brain is like a tuning fork that communicates with a non-local Consciousness. DMT is the key to get the fork humming just so.

    Actually, it was between Isaac and I over who would represent the Stoned Ape Theory, which I agree with Paul Stamets, is more accurately referred to as the “Stoned Ape hypothesis.” I wasn’t available, so Isaac presented it. I think I have a bit of a better grasp of Stoned Ape, and would’ve brought up many other points, but I actually thought Isaac did all right.

    A not on non-local C. I believe it is non-local in the sense they referred to it on the show. Defining ‘local’ as ‘in the body’. I believe it is local as in ‘in a local environment’. My idea has it only working through fields and particles but doing so in dynamical systems that cannot be separated into ‘in-here’ and ‘out-there’. I am staunchly against the ideas of representation in the brain and sense datum.

    I think Isaac said it to Shannon, that “inner” and “outer” space, from the vantage point of the CME, are one and the same.

    Now clearly Kafei believes in this non-local, otherly kind of communication of consciousnesses that amounts to psychic clap-trap. All this of course being just another way that the religious want to make man a bigger deal than man actually is in the universe.

    I never said I definitely believe in it. Rather I do not rule it out, and consider things like Bell’s nonlocality and its possible role in hypotheses found in quantum consciousness.

    So. Kafei is lying. Isaac is an honest man.

    I’ve not lied about anything. I’m as honest as my friend Isaac. Did you catch the end? Isaac announced that he’ll be interviewing Dr. Rick Strassman next week, the guy who led the legal DMT studies in the mid-90s, to get his take on these various phenomena in consciousness that occur with entheogens. I really believe people are, indeed, slowly waking up to these things.

  259. t90bb says

    Speed……u say…

    “From not thinking, and controlling how much and what I think, I just get not thinking. I feel good, I do not fantasize myself into resentments, problems dissolve in minutes instead of taking hundreds of hours of therapy.”

    You just don’t think about your problems…..they do not dissolve….Your creditors will be back…your terminally ill wife still needs your care…..your 47 percent body fat will need to be reckoned with…..your dog still needs to be walked…….your unrelenting and unreasonable boss will still be there on Monday……..

    Ignoring problems do not dissolve them….denying them do not always solve them…..I know people in AA that swear they have not had a bad day or a bad moment for decades. They claim to want for absolutely nothing….Then you see them in the parking lot bumming cigarettes….

  260. t90bb says

    281…..and clearly Kafei is not obsessed with CME…..he name drops and argues from dozens of authorities, cites dozens of dozens and dozens of videos…seems to watch or beg to be on nearly every podcast, fantasized about his own show called the theist experiences……but no…not obsessed….how foolish to claim he is obsessed, right?

    lol….whats worse is hes not even good at being a spokesperson for his own position. He cant describe the god hes “experienced” in any concrete or meaningful way…..rather falling back on nebulous descriptions and hour long videos to answer the simple…..

    If having a CME makes one more like Kafei…..I will gladly deny myself.

    If Kafei ever steps up and starts the podcast he masturbates about please let me know…..I have blocked oreo and kafei and can only see your responses to his foolishness.

  261. speedofsound says

    t90bb

    You just don’t think about your problems…..they do not dissolve….Your creditors will be back…your terminally ill wife still needs your care…..your 47 percent body fat will need to be reckoned with…..your dog still needs to be walked…….your unrelenting and unreasonable boss will still be there on Monday……..

    Jesus H. Christ. Does thinking about your creditors all weekend long pay the bills or do you pay the bills with actual money? I actually get money for thinking Monday-Friday. So in that case the thinking is working as designed. Your idea that I should sit around and mind-grumble all weekend doesn’t work. Your dog needs to be walked? That’s what you are calling thinking?

    You are taking a piss here right? Just funning?

  262. t90bb says

    282…..it seems you suffer from black and white thinking pal….the kind that troubles most addicts…..

    my point was ignoring your problems does not “dissolve” them (your work pal).

    so according to you….you either dissolve your problems by not thinking about them…OR “think about your creditors all weekend long” and or “mind grumble”…..

    a healthy balance of the two might be ideal….that would be what I consider true “recovery”….being real about our situations without letting them overwhelm us. I suppose if that is not possible for you then ignoring them might be better than putting a gun to your head.

    not pissing and not funning…..100 perc serious. I agree that finding that healthy balance is tough for all of us. Im 13 years sober and I still struggle with it..albeit a lot less than I once had. I find in many situations today I can find balance. But I am a work in progress. Praise jeeezass!

  263. t90bb says

    speed I remind you my response was to your claims that “problems dissolve in minutes rather than hundreds of hours of therapy”…..

    sure ignoring your problems is what you did by using copious amounts of drugs and booze (like me)…..how did that work out for you??? Doing it without the use of mind altering substances is still ignoring your problems…

    Now it is true that some problems may come from ruminating in your own thoughts….working yourself up into perceiving a problem where one may not exist….

    But we all have real problems sir……and avoiding them is not an approach of the well adjusted (if that even exists lol).

    I find it hard to believe you can have a problem with these observations….perhaps we are talking past one another.

  264. t90bb says

    some may play a game that problems are not problems at all…..BUT opportunities for learning and growth….

    well then…ok…..but you don’t ignore problems if you use that approach. And you will need to think and use your mind.

  265. t90bb says

    and one more thing….if you get paid for thinking mon thru fri.……..then why do you have creditors?? lolololol….

    pulling your leg there 🙂

  266. speedofsound says

    We are talking past one another on this. Text is not the medium to hash out the finer points. I hope I can continue these conversations. I have hit upon an idea that I am going to start a secular meeting along 12 step lines. The AA-Illuminati in New York will surely hear about this and send agents to dispatch me. Wish me luck brother. This may be my last post!

  267. speedofsound says

    t90bb

    It seems you have painted me in black and white and then charged me with being black and white. In your last posts you said some of the same things I am saying. Looks like the medium is not working here.

  268. t90bb says

    secular meetings exist in aa…I know because ive started some in nj myself….you are late to the party.

    I have only used your own quotes man…….looks like you plead guilty lol

  269. t90bb says

    but I agree…..mostly……I think you and I are in agreement with much…..

  270. speedofsound says

    T90bb
    Can you find a way to get in touch with me by email and give me a hand starting a secular group? Had a discussion on this today and we are not clear about a few things.

  271. speedofsound says

    .looks like you plead guilty lol

    Fuck if I will concede that. You were closer with talking past one another.

  272. says

    @t90bb

    seems to watch or beg to be on nearly every podcast, fantasized about his own show called the theist experiences……but no…not obsessed….how foolish to claim he is obsessed, right?

    I’ve never begged anyone to be on their podcast, I’ve been invited in every case to these talks. I wouldn’t beg to be on anyone’s podcast. Maybe Joe Rogan’s podcast, so stay tuned for that, I’ve been e-mailing him back and forth lately, and we’ve mentioned the possibility of a podcast, but he says he’s booked for the next 6 months with major guests. All power to that guy, and I suggested guest that I’d like to hear over myself that haven’t been on Rogan, such as Kilindi Iyi, Sadghuru, I’d really like to see my friend Ralph Smart on there. Joe Rogan hasn’t had someone like Dr. Roland Griffiths or Dr. Bill Richards on his podcast, I believe that would be interesting. He’s had Neil DeGrass Tyson, he’s had Brian Cox, Elon Musk, Alex Grey, Terence’ McKenna’s brother, Dennis Mckenna, but he’s never had Dr. Richard Dawkins, that’d be another interesting encounter I’d like to see.

    lol….whats worse is hes not even good at being a spokesperson for his own position. He cant describe the god hes “experienced” in any concrete or meaningful way…..

    I’ve described it at length. I believe the reason you’re having such a hard time grasping it is because A) you’re ingrained of thinking of God rather naïvely, especially when you always make a criticism about God, you equate God to a “magical sky wizard.”

    rather falling back on nebulous descriptions and hour long videos to answer the simple…..

    I’ve offered all this context as to help your understanding, and after watching hour long videos, you still don’t get that your simple question has been answered. It’s simply flown over your head or you’re not trying to grasp it. You’re more content on criticizing it.

    If having a CME makes one more like Kafei…..I will gladly deny myself.

    You’ll deny yourself? I could only assume you mean deny yourself of partaking in psychedelics. You’ll deny the perturbation of your own consciousness. That’s fine. That’s what our government today would prefer anyway. Why do you think these things are illegal? They don’t want you to explore other dimensions of your consciousness.

    If Kafei ever steps up and starts the podcast he masturbates about please let me know…..I have blocked oreo and kafei and can only see your responses to his foolishness.

    It’s in the making. I’m just making preparations, and speaking on other podcasts just to sharpen my own position among these things, etc. I’ll let you know whenever I get around to something, and I do plan for something come summer. It’s just that I’ve been invited to speak on various podcasts that I want to participate in before I start anything “official.” Yes, I’ve been playing with “The Theist Experience,” I’ve asked various sources I’ve been involved with for support and perhaps some publicity for the first episode, so that I don’t have no callers at all. I was also planning to ask Kyle of Non Sequitur if he’d help me do some type of promotion for it. So, it’s definitely I’m considering, but I haven’t definitely decided on doing that. I’d really rather do my own podcast, but “The Theist Experience” might be interesting, too. We’d, of course, go beyond your “magical sky wizard” conception of God to the more profound notions in religion to the science relative to all these topics like the work being done at Hopkins which has prompted research throughout the world and the possibility of legality of entheogens in the treatment of depression, drug addiction, PTSD, etc. within various states among the U.S.

    @SpeedofSound My friend Ralph Smart refers to me as “the cat down the road.” If you’ve listened to his talks, the majority have always been about inspiration, an insight I’d equate found in mystical experience, which is this theme of “becoming the best version of yourself,” whatever that may mean to an individual, whether it’s becoming more articulate, practicing a more healthy diet, becoming more fit, learning a new skill, mastering an instrument, focusing on what you’re passionate about and making that your living as opposed to accepting job after job, and letting someone else set your agenda, instead of being your own boss, etc. That’s fine, of course, that’s the source of Ralph Smart’s motivation to even make these videos in the first place, however when it comes to the deeper topics that we have been discussing here, Ralph Smart doesn’t address that beyond referencing the “cat down the road.” Well, speaking from the vantage point of the so-called “cat down the road,” that’s why I feel these topics are important, and even more important before we can address anything at all which are the very semantics we use surrounding these topics. I know that’s why when McRae invited me to his philosophy discussion, I gladly accepted. Because we don’t know how to linguistically address these topics, lots of us are either speaking past each other or not even attempting to understand one another. I’ve been blocked by the majority of denizens here, for instance. If you’d been one of those close-minded individuals yourself, you’d not be reading this text in the first place, you see. So, I give you that, I’ve pointed out in the past how some of your own fellow atheists have criticized some of the fundamental aspects of your perspective. I’ve seen Monocle Smile put down even Twarren1111 whom I happen to highly respect. He’s been a very honest individual, has said what he only has meant to say, he’s not wasted a post in vain. He speaks very honestly, admits if he’s not familiar, and while he might refer to his credentials, he doesn’t boast them. One adage that he’s invoked in my recollection is, “It is much better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” So, what I’d like to do before I start anything t90bb’s requesting is maybe a podcast with my friend Leo whom I’ve referenced before and you’re familiar with, I’ve never talked to him verbally. It’s up to this point been purely textual via e-mail, YouTube messages, social media, etc., but I’m quite sure if I asked him if he’d take some time for a discussion, he’d be game. And so my participation here, a possible dialogue with Leo, our discussions, what you’re talking about with M1 and M2, etc. I’d like to bring this all to light, and really dissect the semantics, the philosophy, the science, etc. What say you?

  273. speedofsound says

    I would be interested in framing some of this in the R1/R2 M1 model. That model is a razor shop reduction of what I call naive metaphysics, reality, induction etc.

    I think any talk of atheist becoming theists is along the axis of moving from R1/R2 to accepting, or maybe just being open to some M1 hypothesis.

  274. speedofsound says

    ‘razor sharp’ typo above

    R1 is invariant and defined as what we apprehend. R2 is the mechanics behind it or the science. Being charitable Kafei, I must include our impressions of our own minds as part of what we apprehend. So if you have some science or possible future science explaining that then your idea would not be in the naive M1 cloud. Brain in a Vat for instance is in M1. God-dun-it, as the active mind god who tinkers with the universe after creating it is in the naive M1 cloud.

    There is a distinction that must be made. The science, the physics that we already know, for the most part, is distinct from imaginings about science that we will someday figure out. We might call those speculations R2′ .

  275. t90bb says

    you do know there are a number of secular aa websites I hope….let me know how we can talk ….

  276. t90bb says

    hahah ok man ill hit you up tonight…..my latest secular group just got added to the aa meeting book in fact,,,,,online and in print……

  277. speedofsound says

    Stayed up all night waiting for my facebook message about secular AA meetings Staring at my monitor, tear in my eye. Why hast thou forsaken Me?

  278. speedofsound says

    So Kafei. We have an old dead thread here do you want to try again to define you god thing reason that would cause me to not identify as an atheist.

    I want to modify my designation to be a strong-atheist and an ontological naturalist. Per Steve McRae. He does make sense to me.

  279. indianajones says

    Just those 2 chapters have a mind being taken apart and put back together again, with some nice, and what to me look relevant, commentary throughout. Would be about a 15 minute read for just those 2 chapters anyway.

  280. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Book: Alfred Bester – The Demolished Man (txt)
    For indiana’s spot, search for the sentence “For almost a minute.”
     
    Article: Wikipedia – The Demolished Man
    (Introduction + Plot summary’s first 2 and last 3 paragraphs)

  281. speedofsound says

    20 more pages of Developmental Biology and I promise I will try and read f-f-fiction. 🙁

  282. indianajones says

    Not quite Sky captain, the 2 chapters I am referencing start with ABOLISH THE LABYRINTH

  283. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @indianajones #308:

    the 2 chapters I am referencing start with ABOLISH THE LABYRINTH

    I see what happened. Chapter 16 was *397* in the PDF, not 367.
     
    Typo was a whole chapter earlier. That was an odd place to jump in at.

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