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just suppose you were wrong after all...

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#21 Post by animist » April 28th, 2011, 2:02 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Emma Woolgatherer wrote: On the other hand, if I knew I was dreaming, I might just have the courage to get really close to him, look him straight in those twinkly blue eyes, and say, "You. Don't. Fucking. Exist!"

Emma
excellent stuff, and maybe you could write 240 (sorry, 280) pages on why not believe in God (I was going to quibble about the dream certainty again, but twinkly blue eyes would be a pretty good clue that you were dreaming!). You in particular, and I think Alan C based on other things he's said, do seem to be absolutely sure about this non-existence, and you have mentioned the motive of wanting to be with loved ones as your idea of why other people do believe. The idea of meeting my parents, even tho' I still miss them, is IMO grotesque as well as absurd, but I have never felt so certain about God's non-existence as you are: in my case it is more about fear than wanting (which is no doubt why it was me that started this thread). Anyone else feel this way?

petemster
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#22 Post by petemster » April 28th, 2011, 5:12 pm

Here's my proof for the non-existence of "God". I worked it out about fifteen years ago.

The christian God exists to "give us our daily bread" and to "deliver us from evil" - a Provider-Protector (P-P).
"God" is NOT a construct of the human mind but an innate concept and survival instinct.
At the point of birth the new-born emotionally desires and mentally "knows" that there is a big P-P for them - one that
is correspondngly pre-programmed to do the caring.
This innate desire and knowledge explains why offspring of one species will attach, if necessary, to a guardian of a
different species, or why animals such as lions, bears or elephants can be trained to do a human's bidding.
This is easiest if you get them young. The human is accepted as fitting into the concept "Provider-Protector".
The brain's picture of the P-P is not species specific but indeterminate, and is most commonly the female parent.

This survival instinct is observable in those species that practise parental care - not just mammals, but also reptiles
like alligators whose hatchlings readily climb into the parent's tooth-filled mouth, or the mouth-brooding cichlid fish.
Then there are birds, whose hatchlings will follow a human P-P around and even fly thousands of miles with them.
All because of this innate concept - which some humans reinforce and rationalise as "God" while others allow it to
wither and atrophy. But if it is purely internal, then there is no external reality required, although it's not going away.
It remains emotionally and mentally innate in many species, having evolved over many millions of years.
In fact it is probably true that even the dinosaurs believed in God.

Well, apart from observation of other species is there any way of proving my "thesis" right or wrong ? Possibly.
If and when neurological science develops the ability to read brain activity at a highly refined level - not necessarily
to the level of individual thoughts but the level of permanent or semi-permanent electro-chemical activity - then a
comparison between species may be possible and enlightening. ( First catch your dinosaur . . . )
Who knows ? As Niels Bohr said, "Prediction is difficult. Especially about the future".

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#23 Post by animist » April 29th, 2011, 8:28 am

Emma wrote:On the other hand, if I knew I was dreaming, I might just have the courage to get really close to him, look him straight in those twinkly blue eyes, and say, "You. Don't. Fucking. Exist!"
sorry, one more comment. I imagine you as the only person to remain an atheist centuries into her afterlife! "It's only a dream", you keep saying :laughter:

david house
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#24 Post by david house » May 2nd, 2011, 2:07 pm

As no-one can ever prove a negative there has always been a small nagging doubt at the back of my mind, which says "what if all these idiots are actually right". I have always that if they were I am pretty sure that how you lived and treated your fellow man is going to be much more important than whether you followed all the nonsense that organised religions say you must. So I would just say, Hi, now what happens?

A more interesting question, for me anyway, is what a man of religion, for instance a dead pope, would think if as he died he was able to realise it was all nonsense. He cannot, of course, but I just wish there was some way these guys could come back and tell those who cling to their fantasies that they are all myths.

ludite
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#25 Post by ludite » May 2nd, 2011, 2:59 pm

I would say I have never taken a life I worked honestly for all that I had I was never unfaithfull to my wife helped were i could with those less able than me. I tried to treat all I met with tolerance and dignity and never coerced anyone to believe as i did how many of your followers can say that.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#26 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » May 2nd, 2011, 5:28 pm

animist wrote:excellent stuff, and maybe you could write 240 (sorry, 280) pages on why not believe in God ...
Actually, the 280 pages were going to be about why I don't believe in the afterlife. God is a slightly different matter. Might take a bit longer ... :)
animist wrote:(I was going to quibble about the dream certainty again, but twinkly blue eyes would be a pretty good clue that you were dreaming!).
Well, I tend to get God and Father Christmas confused, even when awake. Still, I suspect there would be other clues.
animist wrote:You in particular, and I think Alan C based on other things he's said, do seem to be absolutely sure about this non-existence, and you have mentioned the motive of wanting to be with loved ones as your idea of why other people do believe.
Why they believe in the afterlife, that is, not in God. I have come across people who believe in some kind of afterlife despite not believing in a personal god.
animist wrote:The idea of meeting my parents, even tho' I still miss them, is IMO grotesque as well as absurd ...
Grotesque in some ways, I suppose, but, for me, mainly absurd. However, I do wish, sometimes, that they were still alive, but well. And I get the impression that wishes of that kind are fairly common.
animist wrote:... but I have never felt so certain about God's non-existence as you are: in my case it is more about fear than wanting (which is no doubt why it was me that started this thread). Anyone else feel this way?
What is it in particular that you fear?

To clarify: I am not absolutely certain that there is nothing at all in existence that might reasonably be described as a god. But the existence or non-existence of a non-personal deistic god is not something that I can summon up much interest in. Still, it's fair to say that I am as certain that the Judaeo-Christian God does not exist as I am about anything. And the idea that He does exist is absurd, and slightly grotesque, and slightly comical. I can't imagine being fearful or hopeful about it.

Emma

Nick
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#27 Post by Nick » May 2nd, 2011, 5:44 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Well, I tend to get God and Father Christmas confused, even when awake.
I know what you mean. I am on occasion confused as being both of those chaps.... :D

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#28 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » May 2nd, 2011, 6:07 pm

petemster wrote:Here's my proof for the non-existence of "God". I worked it out about fifteen years ago.

The christian God exists to "give us our daily bread" and to "deliver us from evil" - a Provider-Protector (P-P).
"God" is NOT a construct of the human mind but an innate concept and survival instinct.
At the point of birth the new-born emotionally desires and mentally "knows" that there is a big P-P for them - one that is correspondngly pre-programmed to do the caring ... The brain's picture of the P-P is not species specific but indeterminate, and is most commonly the female parent ...
All because of this innate concept - which some humans reinforce and rationalise as "God" while others allow it to wither and atrophy. But if it is purely internal, then there is no external reality required, although it's not going away.
I don't entirely understand. Even if you're right about the innate concept, you surely can't assume, and you certainly haven't proved, that it is purely internal. As long as the female parent, or male parent, or someone else, is doing all the necessary providing and protecting, then there is at least one kind of external reality. There might be no other external reality required, but it does not follow that there definitely isn't an external reality. There could be a big Provider-Protector in the sky as well as an innate P-P concept. So I don't see how your "proof" is a proof for the non-existence of "God".

Also, since the idea of the Christian God (which in my view is a construct of the human mind) is taught to children while the majority of them still have at least one parent or surrogate parent who fulfills the necessary functions of a Provider-Protector, why should we think that those children's belief in God has anything to do with the innate P-P concept? I mean, it might have, in the case of those who don't have a satisfactory P-P to hand, and are looking around for something to imprint on, as it were. It seems more likely to me, though, that people believe in God mainly because they are taught to. And since the children of atheists are pretty likely to be atheists themselves, it seems that the innate P-P concept isn't particularly important in determining God-belief. Though it might be important in other ways.

Another problem, I would have thought, is that, because there isn't really a big P-P in the sky, even people who believe in one don't actually get provided for and protected by one. (Not even in the most rudimentary ways, like the terrycloth-covered surrogate "mothers" in Harry Harlow's experiments with rhesus monkeys, which were, if nothing else, something to cling on to.) So I would have thought that, after a while, all things being equal, any God-believing animal would conclude that God isn't really a P-P at all. It doesn't fit the innate template. The lack of positive reinforcement would lead to the extinction of God-seeking behaviour, and belief. So if they carry on believing in God, as so many people do, even when he doesn't provide for them or protect them, there surely has to be something else keeping them on that track.

Emma

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#29 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » May 2nd, 2011, 6:25 pm

animist wrote:sorry, one more comment. I imagine you as the only person to remain an atheist centuries into her afterlife! "It's only a dream", you keep saying :laughter:
Ah, who knows what I'd be thinking after a week or two, whether it was a dream or not. I'd probably go insane well within the first decade, if it were possible to go insane in Heaven or Hell. And if not, and since suicide would be impossible, and booze and drugs and mindless debauchery probably not on the menu ... Hmmm. I think I might be cottoning on to what you're frightened of. No way out. Trapped for an eternity. Yes, it is the stuff of nightmares.

I've now got the Elvis Costello song "This Is Hell" playing in my head. Do you know it? It includes the line, "'It's not the torment of the flames that finally sees your flesh corrupted. It's the small humiliations that your memory piles up."

Emma

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#30 Post by animist » May 2nd, 2011, 6:53 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:I think I might be cottoning on to what you're frightened of. No way out. Trapped for an eternity. Yes, it is the stuff of nightmares.
thanks, Emma, knew you would understand. I don't like Elvis C (or the line you quoted, which sounds very post-religious) but I think I got my fear from James Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", which includes a very frightening "sermon" delivered (IIRC) to children and on the inexhaustible torments facing them

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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#31 Post by animist » May 2nd, 2011, 7:05 pm

Nick wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Well, I tend to get God and Father Christmas confused, even when awake.
I know what you mean. I am on occasion confused as being both of those chaps.... :D
I know what you mean too - you know that you're getting old when all the Father Christmases look young to you. Haven't met God yet, but probably he will look young too. So I could say "God, you're grotesque!"

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#32 Post by animist » May 2nd, 2011, 8:05 pm

Emma wrote:Why they believe in the afterlife, that is, not in God. I have come across people who believe in some kind of afterlife despite not believing in a personal god
so is this a spiritualist or reinacarnation thing? I sort of wonder in these cases who is it that keeps these immaterial systems going, but maybe again that's my monotheistic upbringing showing thru

petemster
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#33 Post by petemster » May 4th, 2011, 6:02 pm

.

Hello Emma,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post above, about the non-existence of God.
I'm very glad to get your reaction because I'd like to know if my idea has any merit at all
or if it is pure nonsense - and only other people can make these judgements.

I'll respond in turn to your own post, as soon as I can, though I will probably have to take
your various points separately, if only because there's some kind of technical issue that
prevents me from doing more than about twenty lines of typing before the page stops
scrolling down and the typing disappears off the bottom of the page.
I wonder if everybody experiences this problem - or is it a good thing that nobody is
allowed to witter on for too long ?
Anyway, because of the above problem my initial post was too short for me to properly
define some of my terms and fully explain some of my points. I'll try to rectify that.

So I'll get back to you soon.


Pete.

thundril
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#34 Post by thundril » May 4th, 2011, 8:11 pm

david house wrote: A more interesting question, for me anyway, is what a man of religion, for instance a dead pope, would think if as he died he was able to realise it was all nonsense. He cannot, of course, but I just wish there was some way these guys could come back and tell those who cling to their fantasies that they are all myths.
I don't believe that anyone who has seriously studied the matter can actually believe in God. I strongly suspect that they (perhaps only surreptitiously) view god as no more than 'a concept that unifies certain moral and cultural values', as a particularly cool rabbi once admitted to me.
So imagine the shock if some pope or other apologist for the kiddy-fiddling fraternity woke up after death to find the big G actually there, and frowning at him!
Now that thought almost makes life-after-death worth contemplating!

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#35 Post by animist » May 4th, 2011, 10:13 pm

petemster wrote:I wonder if everybody experiences this problem - or is it a good thing that nobody is allowed to witter on for too long? Pete.
I can only speak for myself, who does like to witter on and on. I copy stuff from TH into Word, write what I want and then copy back into TH

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Dave B
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#36 Post by Dave B » May 5th, 2011, 10:45 am

animist wrote:
petemster wrote:I wonder if everybody experiences this problem - or is it a good thing that nobody is allowed to witter on for too long? Pete.
I can only speak for myself, who does like to witter on and on. I copy stuff from TH into Word, write what I want and then copy back into TH
This is something I keep telling myself I should do, might save some embarrassing typos (even with the spell checker in Firefox), Freudian slips and points not well, or too quickly, responded to!

"The unexamined response is not worth publishing"?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#37 Post by Alan H » May 5th, 2011, 11:51 am

petemster wrote:...there's some kind of technical issue that
prevents me from doing more than about twenty lines of typing before the page stops
scrolling down and the typing disappears off the bottom of the page.
I wonder if everybody experiences this problem - or is it a good thing that nobody is
allowed to witter on for too long ?
Odd. That shouldn't be happening. What browser are you using? Are you saying that if you continue typing, the existing text doesn't scroll up, so you can't see what you typed?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

peterangus
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#38 Post by peterangus » May 5th, 2011, 2:27 pm

animist's question is addressed to unbelievers, I presume.

It could apply more-widely.

Imagine the panic of a Christian soul cofidently approaching the pearly gates, to be confronted not by a snowy-bearded Saint Peter, but by a black-bearded ayatollah.
Peter Angus

petemster
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#39 Post by petemster » May 5th, 2011, 2:59 pm

Alan H wrote:
petemster wrote:...there's some kind of technical issue that
prevents me from doing more than about twenty lines of typing before the page stops
scrolling down and the typing disappears off the bottom of the page.
I wonder if everybody experiences this problem - or is it a good thing that nobody is
allowed to witter on for too long ?
Odd. That shouldn't be happening. What browser are you using? Are you saying that if you continue typing, the existing text doesn't scroll up, so you can't see what you typed?
Hello Alan,

What you just said - that describes it exactly. It's very strange. I'm puzzled. Not a computer buff.

I'm using Internet Explorer 8 on Windows Vista.

Any thoughts ?

Pete.


this typing right now is off the bottom and out of sight - ????

why is this happening ?

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Dave B
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#40 Post by Dave B » May 5th, 2011, 3:43 pm

IE8 :sad2:

Windows Vista: :sad2:

Can you see a scroll bar on the right when you reach the bottom of the window pete?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

petemster
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#41 Post by petemster » May 5th, 2011, 4:09 pm

I don't think there's any actual disagreement with this part - just a need for some fuller explanation of terms.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
petemster wrote:Here's my proof for the non-existence of "God". I worked it out about fifteen years ago.

The christian God exists to "give us our daily bread" and to "deliver us from evil" - a Provider-Protector (P-P).
"God" is NOT a construct of the human mind but an innate concept and survival instinct.
At the point of birth the new-born emotionally desires and mentally "knows" that there is a big P-P for them - one that is correspondngly pre-programmed to do the caring ... The brain's picture of the P-P is not species specific but indeterminate, and is most commonly the female parent ...
All because of this innate concept - which some humans reinforce and rationalise as "God" while others allow it to wither and atrophy. But if it is purely internal, then there is no external reality required, although it's not going away.
I don't entirely understand. Even if you're right about the innate concept, you surely can't assume, and you certainly haven't proved, that it is purely internal. As long as the female parent, or male parent, or someone else, is doing all the necessary providing and protecting, then there is at least one kind of external reality. There might be no other external reality required, but it does not follow that there definitely isn't an external reality. There could be a big Provider-Protector in the sky as well as an innate P-P concept. So I don't see how your "proof" is a proof for the non-existence of "God".
Emma
Well, I can't argue with that. I wouldn't claim to provide an absolute proof. There's always the theoretical possibility,
and vanishingly small statistical probability, that some kind of God exists. As Richard Dawkins has said, "Technically
we're all agnostics". But I think there are different types or degrees of proof, e.g. reasonable proof.

For instance, even in today's scientific age some people would still attribute natural disasters like earthquakes and
tsunamis to the will of God. Or, despite the overwhelming evidence in support of natural selection there are people,
(ignoring those who reject it outright) who claim that evolution in its every detail is the work of God.
But for a rational person, the weight of scientific evidence provides more than reasonable proof of natural causes
rather than of some external reality such as the hand of God or some other kind of supernatural force.

Likewise with the belief in God itself. If and when neurological science can demonstrate the existence of an innate
"concept of God" (whether my own suggestion is part of the story or not), the believers will say that this "concept" is
implanted in the brain by God, whereas I would take it as a natural explanation for why people believe in God -
and reasonable proof for discounting the existence of any meaningful reality external to nature.

When there are still theists who can trot out long-discredited logical fallacies and non-sequiturs and call them
"Proofs for the existence of God", then hopefully I can be forgiven for stretching a point and calling my own idea a
"proof" - even if it's done at least in part as a little attention grabber.

Anyway, as I said at the start, I don't think there's any actual disagreement with this part. As for the real issue, my
postulation of an innate "Provider-Protector", I'd like to come back to that a little bit later.


Pete.

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