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Grootvis
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

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Location: Western Cape, South Africa

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Posted:This is a topic i regularly get to debate about with fellow students. Why do Science rarely make any mention of a higher power ie. God, Allah, or any deity for that matter when looking at things like Evolution?

Here's my opinion:
'If we have to bring religion into science and make a statement, say from a christian point of view that 'Because there is a God, the evolution theory is totally wrong', then other religions will begin to interpret sicence according to their own views and beliefs.

The only reason why science doesn't make any mention about religion, is so that we can all have a unified view on say evolution, or laws of motion ect'

Now, what do you believe? What's your opinion?


we are all one...as we are part of space, space is also part of us.

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Selenia


Selenia

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Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Total posts: 28
Posted:Ammm, pagans have gods and goddesses and deities, alot in fact, they just don't mean the same thing like... like christian god for example. Some versions are just some kind of lifeforce for all the living, doesn't do fancy things like christian god for example. I red somewhere: 'God isn't a name, it's a job description.'' And that's how I feel it.

And about science vs. religion. There's this place, Mind/Body Medical Institute,(( http://www.mbmi.org/default.asp
))that has some very interresting researches. First I heard about it in one document about buddhist monks and how they can change their own body temperature and heartbeat and so on, in the meditation. I mean, that's what they study in that institute in that document...


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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

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Posted:Hi Selenia, apologies, what i was aiming at was that from the point of view of organised religions, paganism is seen as 'godless'.

Thanks for your input beefy, I dont have any education on these subjects and its good to read a more structured approach and thanks for the the book recomendation smile


Love is the law.

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quiet


quiet

analytic
Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:beefy: two issues, first concerning science, second concerning religion:

'Science is a system that describes our perceptions of reality. It doesn't say anything about how reality actually is, although that would be the goal.'

I've tried picking you up on this countless times before: you are simply wrong on this count. Experimental psychology describes our perceptions of reality: it talks about, for instance, the neurophysiology of perception.

Here's are some scientific claims. Look at them, and tell me if they are a) about our perceptions, or b) about the real world

1. Hydrogen atoms contain one proton.
2. Hydrogen and oxygen can combine to produce water.
3. The acceleration of an object is equal to the resultant force applied to the object, divided by the object's mass.
4. Fool's gold is not real gold [i.e. Au]

Are you seriously trying to tell me that those claims are just about our perceptions? Or that, if we all started believing that hydrogen atoms were made out of miniature gnomes, then they would be?

As Blackburn points out [end of Ruling Passions, OUP 1998] philosophers of science who think that e.g. Faraday was engaged in trying to 'describe our perceptions of reality' will have a hard time explaining the fact that none of Faraday's experiments were designed to measure anything of the sort. Rather, the experiments measured things like magnetic potential.

If anyone needs an introduction to philosophy of science, I'd recommend James Ladyman: Understanding Philosophy of Science. It might correct a few misconceptions which are being promoted in this thread ^^

//

Secondly: 'Religious claims ARE verifiable...'

You keep on ignoring my question, here. I'm asking for an EXAMPLE of a RELIGIOUS CLAIM (as opposed to a commandment, like 'don't steal', or 'meditation will make you happy'), which can be VERIFIED, and a DESCRIPTION of WHAT the VERIFICATION CONSISTS IN.

Commands like 'don't steal' don't count as examples, since they aren't specifically religious. Most religions will say a bunch of stuff like 'don't steal': maybe it constitutes practical advice, but if you take all of that stuff as a whole, you still don't have the religion. I grant that meditation has an effect on people: but that doesn't verify any of the religious stuff about Brahmin, it just verifies that meditation has an effect. I might equally well be an atheist and still think that meditation has an effect.

Particularly, it's stuff like: '. . . clearer perception needed to actually experience the Ultimate Reality claims.' I don't mean to cause offence, but this seems, to me, to be meaningless. What is an Ultimate Reality claim? And how on Earth can you experience it?

Here's an everyday claim: 'there's beer in the fridge'
I grant that you can *check* that there's beer in the fridge, but you can't 'experience claims'.

Again (and I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the way in which you simply re-iterate your position, banging the table, and don't try to cite some examples) - what I'm asking for is an EXAMPLE. Take any religion you want, and give me an example of an 'Ultimate Reality' claim which it makes which we can VERIFY, and explain HOW this verification takes place.


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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

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Posted:That's ok quiet, Ill try to bring you up to speed here...

Science is done by humans. Humans view and interact with the world a certain, human, way. Science takes a first premise material realism... and yes it does follow from that that objects are "real"... As such in science humans are PART of the measurement process.

For instance, lets say the universe really doesn't run by cause-effect and time the way we perceive it to (and the way a material realist perception would begin with). Cause-effect is obviously a very important concept to science. It is fundamental to the empirical method. Science describes the universe as we perceive and are capable of interacting with it giving said perceptions. Science does not reach the level of Ultimate Reality, or how things really are. Given that it describes how we can interact with it, I have no problem with scientific advancement. The more we understand how we can interact with it (of course, given the "law" of cause-effect, though many theoretical sciences like qunatum mechanics are finally starting the break out of that box), the more stuff we can do with our model.

Those claims are ABOUT the universe yes. But they are theoretical and based off of several assumptions. You fail to realize that there is a human being, who DOES experience the world in a certain way, involved. No system will ever completely explain, by Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. Some are better than others... but perhaps science has not found a way to reach the levels at which religion has sat for centuries yet. These claims are not True though, they simply describe how we perceive the universe to work. You seem to think that this means that I am claiming the universe cant be the way we perceive it to be... Im not saying this... just that its unlikely and if scientific paradigm shifts of the past are any indiciation, and as the living science model dictates, it will change to become better. Religions did the same thing: experiment and experiment until a result was reached.

I have given you several examples already. I dont understand how you are missing them. Meditation, Brahmin, the better life, and the religious experience in general. By your own refutations, science doesn't have any confirmatory power either. It just shows that one process or another works, but nothing about the theory behind said results.

Of course my view on religion is a little queer from the pigeon holes literalist traditions people often cite as being so against science. There's a letter out there to "Dr Laura" that nicely deals with Biblical Literalism of scriptures and why we shouldnt engage in it... I don't discount the human factor of perception in religious claims. You fail to realize it is there in science. Maybe we're both a little wrong and a little right. smile This is why I trust eastern ultimate reality claims more: their practices are specifically designed to negate the human element of ego. So are western occult practices and the argument can be made (using Hindu Bhakti as I already said as a parallel) that western christianity, when the love doctrines are actually practiced, do something similar.

For instance in meditation practices, its warned not to stop after realizing something. Realizing something almost always entails some kind of egotistical interpetation, and thus you have realized nothing (since anything less than Truth is meaningless I suppose).

I am seperating religious claims into two categories though of course: those about Ultimate Reality and those about reality. Those about reality Im not trying to support (and your attacking), while those about Ultimate Reality DO have confirmatory ability. Here's the problem of human egotistic interpetation though. You give a cave man a magnifying glass and show him how to start a fire with it. He interpretes it as a miracle from a God, even though that isn't whats going on. This is why I think the majority of Western religions (Well at least the abrahamaic ones) personify deity, whereas eastern ones that specifically got RID of the ego prior to experiencing ultimate reality do not. Science attempts to a sort of objectivity as well, of course, through peer mediation and argument.

Ok its time for work... Ill return, my good friend, to try and clear up more later.


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quiet


quiet

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Posted:'No system will ever completely explain, by Godel's Incompleteness Theorems.'

False. Godel applies to arithmetic/maths, and derivative topics, only.

'I have given you several examples already. I dont understand how you are missing them. Meditation, Brahmin, the better life, and the religious experience in general

I repeat: what I want is some explanation of how experience 'validates', or 'confirms', meditation, brahmin, etc. I realise that you've mentioned these words; I don't understand how they apply. Please explain. How does experience confirm Brahmin, for example?

'those about Ultimate Reality DO have confirmatory ability'

again, PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS. i don't have a clue what you mean.

i do realise that perception plays a role in science - however, science aims at accurate representation, and sometimes gets there. [see my examples above].

beefy, I've asked for two things. can you respond to them, please? specifically, I'm after:

1. examples of stuff that experience is supposed to confirm [that is, religious claims - ones about 'ultimate reality', whatever that is]

2. a brief account of what constitutes confirmation. is brahmin 'verified' because you feel like it is, or what?


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Selenia


Selenia

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Posted:Example of a religious claim? We pagans believe, that there is these energy flows in every human, that can be manipulated and used. Actually pagans has been calling them one sort of 'magic', but the real science has really found them, and they really exist. Is that a valid example? Other example could be aura's, have you ever heard about 'kirlian'? It's actually a bit different that auraphotography, but there is both of them, since aura is nothing more, than a energy that is leaking out of us. But still you can find out that way, what kind of energy there is in you in that point. Anyway, both, aura and kirlian, are quite interresting... and studied by science.

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

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Posted:True. Godel applies to all systems. A system can explain everything except its own axioms. All systems are axiomatic. Essentially, all knowledge requires that you start somewhere, with some kind of assumption. Science: material realism, cause-effect universe, etc. logic: own axiomatic functions, same for math. empiricism: a posteriori is only route, skepticism, etc. A system can either be complete and contradictory, or incomplete and consistent.

This was used by someone in a refutation of evolution I think, something along the lines of "it explains everything and thus explains nothing". I dont remember who it was though, its been a while since I looked at philosophical arguments on evolution...

HOW do these practices confirm religious claims? Im going to use eastern religions to make my case here because... well because its easier than with Abrahamic religions. The practices leads one to the religious experience. Once youre there, you can confirm or deny the claims about Ultimate Reality. Confirmatory ability.

What is confirmation for science? Similar results? By that definition, then it should be clear that all kinds of religions have confirmation. The biggest problem you come up with is that the human mind/spirit/whatever is the tool of measurement. But all kinds of religious practices have a cultivating element to them. They cultivate different things in people to help them to reach certain states. In my opinion, none of them is completely correct, though. But then Im Taoist or Zen in orientation so any description of ultimate reality is as absurd as any other, as it encompasses all dualities (as any really Ultimate Reality would need to I think, which is one problem I have with personified Gods.... Islam and Hinduism actually do ok in warning about defining "God" though...)

Rather it is the experience which then gives you something to speak of. Shall we say, "Of those things we can not speak we must be silent"?

Well practice and experience gives you something to speak about.


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quiet

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Posted:FALSE: and I quote [from an online encyclopedia: there are countless sites dealing with Godel. I suggest you look some of them up.'

'Misconceptions about Gdel's theorems:

Since Gdel's first incompleteness theorem is so famous, it has given rise to many misconceptions. They are refuted here:

The theorem does not imply that every interesting axiom system is incomplete. For example, Euclidean geometry can be axiomatized so that it is a complete system. (In fact, Euclid's original axioms are pretty close to being a complete axiomatization. The missing axioms express properties that seem so obvious that it took the emergence of the idea of a formal proof before their absence was noticed.)

The theorem only applies to systems that allow you to define the natural numbers as a set. It is not sufficient that the system contain the natural numbers. You must also be able to express the concept "x is a natural number" using your axioms and first-order logic. There are plenty of systems that contain the natural numbers and are complete. For example both the real numbers and complex numbers have complete axiomatizations.'

1. So the first point is that you're misusing Godel. It can't be used to refute evolution, for instance.

2. The second is that not all systems are axiomatic (or axiomatised, rather). For instance, grammar is a system, but is not axiomatic. Which leads on to my third point:

3. It simply isn't the case that all knowledge requires that you start somewhere, 'with some kind of assumption'. For instance, babies acquire knowledge about the world, but don't start off with any assumptions. Their method of knowledge-acquisition is holistic, rather than proceeding from axioms. Furthermore, consider again the case of language: we don't learn language by first positing a set of axioms. Although Chomsky posits some kind of 'innate grammar', this doesn't equate to a set of axioms.

4. You'd be right if confirmation for science was 'similar results'. Unfortunately, it isn't: confirmation in science is largely a matter of the results being as the theory predicts.

5. So you think that religious experience provides the confirmation? But isn't it possible to have the experience but still be wrong about the religion? E.g. I have a friend who claims that he hears God talking to him. Does this mean that God exists, or might it instead indicate that he's delusional?

6. After three times of asking, you still fail to provide a concrete example. This makes me suspect that you can't generate one. I'm looking for an example of a religious claim, and a brief description of what the confirming experience would be. CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE SUCH AN EXAMPLE?


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quiet


quiet

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Posted:Selenia: apologies, I forgot to mention your post.

Claims such as 'there are energy flows in each person', and 'people have auras', are - from my point of view - unproblematic, since I've got a good idea of what would provide confirming evidence for them. So if that's the kind of example at hand, I don't have an issue.

What I'm more concerned about is claims such as 'there is an afterlife', or 'there is a god'. I'm deeply skeptical that experience could possibly provide confirmation for such a claim.


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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

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Posted:4. sounds like similar results to me.

I've given the example of meditation and eastern religious claims each time you've requested such examples. You meditate, it has an effect on the mind and body and the wills effect thereon. Once a level of perceptual clarity is reached, during meditation experiences occur which the texts of said religions describe and deal with. The confirmation of those practice's effects are well excepted. The confirmation is personal and requires a great deal of preperation.

Sure, could just be confirming their own beliefs, which is why I cite eastern religions where said effects are specifically dealt with. I never said all religions are right or wrong. However in my personal view, Ultimate Reality is beyond definition / duality (as I said, Im taoist, which means we encounter things in dualities on our level, but on the Ultimate level they disolve into the Tao), so all religions are wrong and right at the same time.

All of our knowledge isn't axiomatic? We are biologically predisposed to sense and experience the world in a certain way. Our minds work in a specific manner. Descartes' Baby is a good book on this, and specifically on how our assumption of minds with intenttions / body dualism may lead to several of the elements of our human nature. Many of the "laws of physics" may instead be "laws of human perception", ie cause-effect, entropy, etc.


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violet --;-@
BRONZE Member since May 2005

violet --;-@

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Posted:Hmmm....well, my opinion is that sciences and religions are really basically saying the same thing, but quibbling over the details, kind of like looking at a coin from two different angles: face on it looks like a circle, but on it's side is looks like a slim rectange. Most just don't seem to realize they are describing the same coin.

I think the discovieries of science only validate religious idea of the consciousness of the universe (god, allah, ect.) by showing the beauty, complexity, and wonder of the space/time multiverse we find ourselves in. And most religions (at their true heart, not the twisted forms of them that we tend to see today), encourage people to look inward and outward at that which supercedes our immediate knowledge base, which gives scientists the imagination to look in unexpected places for study (ei. the prayer and intentionality studies, see Larry Dosey's "The Power of Prayer" for more info).

Maybe if they would quit trying to compete with each other over who is "right", they could work together to form a whole other branch of thought, making incredible studies and discoveries...

Who knows, maybe it will happen smile


Seeing your cage is the first step toward breaking free from it. +---rEvolution---+

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Selenia


Selenia

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Posted:quiet: All religion ain't about afterlife and the ultimate question: Is there a God. wink Some religions can be about _this_ life, and the gods and goddesses in us. I'm very religious witch, but i don't really care is there an afterlife ((I think there is, but not for our souls or mids, only the lifeforce we had. Doesn't contain even our memories. We die, that's it for us)) And i believe in Mother Nature, Gaia, as a living organism, much complicate than human beings, mut not supernatural in any way. (( http://www.oceansonline.com/gaiaho.htm
and more information with google 'gaia-hypothesis')) I don't even call her 'goddess', only Gaia. She's my spiritual mother.



My religion is the faith to life itself, to me, my strenght, my moral, and making my ((and perhaps others)) life worth of living. IMO too many religions focus to reach a nice afterlife, but doesn't give a censored about the quality of this one. Without any better information, this is the only life we have right now, and my job is to make this a piece of heaven.



I think, that believing about afterlife ain't that wrong, if it gives people hope, but it is, if it stops them from living _this one_ frown What if they live 86 yeares waiting that 'better life forever' and then they die... and that's it, one humanlife for nothing, empty, shallow, vain...



I think, that claims 'there is an afterlife' and 'there is a God' are in same category, that 'there will be better tomorrow' 'he won't hit me anymore' 'someone will save me' 'things will be better' and so on... nice, gives hope... BUT naive, miracles if happens, not propably worth of sitting down and waiting.



I'll stop now, sorry everyone ubbrollsmile I just wanted to show you how I do believe, and that all religions ain't just the afterlife-stuff. I'm really sorry about the inconvenience. hug

EDITED_BY: Selenia (1116132951)


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

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Posted:Thanks for that Selenia. Gaia has been mentioned a few times recently, but no one has really explained much about it. Even after reading the link, Im not sure I understand all the concepts of the Gaia hypothesis, especially the religion bit.

I would have thought a religion without a deity would be a philosophy or a science. Because a religion, as such, implies a strong belief in a god, gods or superrnatural power. Wicca and witchcraft are also generally associated with a mother goddess deity, and the use of herbal magic. Yet Gaia is not a mother goddess.

I agree that belief in the after-life is basically vanity and ego. Some people just cannot accept the fact that they will disappear from existence when they die. Religious leaders have used this conceit to enslave people since the dawn of time with promises of riches in the after-life, as the reward for a life of servitude on earth.

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

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Posted:smile for Selenia.

Love is the law.

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quiet


quiet

analytic
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Posted:Oh, beefy, beefy, beefy . . .

4. sounds like similar results to me.

Only if you don't read it carefully: there is a distinction between confirmation of theory by results (that is, where the results map onto the theory) and widespread agreement (that is, 'similar results'). Intersubjectivity isn't objectivity, as the slogan has it.

'I've given the example of meditation and eastern religious claims each time you've requested such examples. You meditate, it has an effect on the mind and body and the wills effect thereon. Once a level of perceptual clarity is reached, during meditation experiences occur which the texts of said religions describe and deal with. The confirmation of those practice's effects are well excepted. The confirmation is personal and requires a great deal of preperation.'

This is, and I repeat this everytime, not a counterexample. It fails for three reasons.

1. It isn't specifically religious. You could give the same instructions (re: meditation), and predict the effects, in a non-religious context.

2. All that is confirmed is that a certain practice produces certain effects. Again, there is nothing specifically religious about it.

3. Put another way, your account would allow meditation to 'confirm' any number of different religious practices, insofar as those different religions provided incompatible accounts of the experience. But you cannot confirm contradictory statements, hence none of these can count as cases of confirmation.

I've tried really hard to make it clear to you what I'm looking for. Just citing 'meditation' or 'eastern religious practices' is hopelessly vague. Furthermore, the stuff you cite isn't specifically religious - any old cognitive psychologist could trot out similar claims, and have them similarly confirmed. I want an example of a specifically religious claim - perhaps one which is core to your beliefs, like 'we encounter things in dualities on our level, but on the Ultimate level they disolve into the Tao'. That's an ideal example of a religious claim of the kind which I'm asking for; could you tell me how it could possibly ever be confirmed?

'All of our knowledge isn't axiomatic? We are biologically predisposed to sense and experience the world in a certain way. Our minds work in a specific manner. Descartes' Baby is a good book on this, and specifically on how our assumption of minds with intenttions / body dualism may lead to several of the elements of our human nature.

No, not all of our knowledge is axiomatic. Biological predispositions ARE NOT AXIOMS: axioms are propositions, and biological predispositions are not propositions: hence axioms are not biological predispositions, and vice versa.

Descartes' Baby is fairly interesting, but not a particularly good book. I also think you've misunderstood it: he doesn't argue for dualism, rather, he argues that we have evolved to be dualists (of a sort). This doesn't constitute an argument for dualism. Secondly, the dualism doesn't concern minds 'with intentions', but 'minds with intentionality'. Are you familiar with this distinction?

Selenia: sorry for the rant. I know that religion needn't be about afterlives/gods. But then, your description sounds more like a philosophy than a religion (I don't mean to impugn it, and I don't think that anything really hangs on the distinction). Rather, those seem to be sensible beliefs, held for good reason. My worry is that many religious claims are untestable, c.f.:

'we encounter things in dualities on our level, but on the Ultimate level they disolve into the Tao'

Now *that* seems to me to be at least unconfirmable, probably unfalsifiable, and quite possibly entirely meaningless.


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Selenia


Selenia

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Posted:Stone: Wicca has in fact both, God and Goddess. Goddess is a triple goddess, maiden, mother and chrone ((that's how it's written?)) and the god is the horned god, goddesses brother and husband, himself own father and so on, it's all about the wheel of the year. Although I'm not wicca, but I have been reading about it smile And what comes to other witchcraft, there is so many orientations, some believe both, god and goddess, and some are dianic believing only to goddess/es.

I know, that Gaia-hypothesis didn't say anything about religion, I wanted to show you the scientific point of it. Well, I believe in her, I believe, that she is the mother of all living in this planet, that everything has born from her. Of course i believe in evolution, but still there is this 'life' that haven't been proven even to exist. I believe that life is from her. Like mother, who gives birth to child, she has given birth to life in this planet. sounds corny, I know wink


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i8beefy2
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Posted:Why does the addition of an explanatory system make it a different kind of confirmation? In case 1, you have a bunch of people doing practices to obtain effects without knowing how it really works, and in case 2 you have them doing it with an idea of how it works that may be applicable to other different things. If your trying to make the point that religion belongs only to case 1 situations, I disagree. There are literally thousands of methodologies for meditation, and each works in its own right.

Why so quick to try and seperate religion from life my friend? Just because it isnt done in a religious context doesnt mean it isnt a religious experience. The extra little "religious" part isn't too terribly important for these things. They are just experiences which we deem religious. Unless you want to say that they are religious because they have no explanation except by religion. But I say unto that, weren't the seasons and the sun once thought of as only having religious explanation, but which science eventually came up with one for? If you mean to say that some religious claims are COMPLETELY unconfirmable, well yea Im sure there are quite a few. Humans do have great imaginations sometimes. However, the "religious explanation" for the effects of meditation are supposed to be seen as metaphorical. Kundalini, Prana, Chi, etc. is all meant to be a system to understand how to harness the higher abilities with. Once there, these systems of descriptions become meaningless because one is functioning on the Ultimate Reality level, where dualities used in descriptions ultimately fail.

And yes it does mean it can confirm anything. If it contains everything, how you are looking at it has an effect on what you perceive. It also means every claim about it right and wrong at the same time, but the practice is the jewel of each and every one that brings the experience.

That was how I used Descartes' Baby in my explanation... it was meant to show that many of our assumptions about reality that we don;t even realize we make prior to engaging in interaction with the world, can effect and shape how we think about the world fundamentally, and further that we have this biological predisposition (I still like my term usage, so Im stickin to it) to develop our cognitive faculties and such in this manner. Then he starts citing cog. sci. stuff and makes the claim that science has shown that the mind and body are really one and the same and such. I really didn't care for it too much either to tell the truth... but its useful for my explanation.

That statement is one of observation. The world contains dualities. It contains both. Therefore the world has both properties in a duality, so on the ultimate worldly level I guess, all dualities become meaningless. As the complete worldly answer is (arguably) the highest knowledge we can aim for, then it becomes clear that to do anything but experience it firsthand is useless. At least until we find some new physics and math to explain it again in some ingeneous way perhaps? Hahaha, who knows those scientists are tricky sometimes.


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quiet


quiet

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Posted:Beefy, please, please read the following very carefully. You've missed the point yet again.

1. I'm not saying that religion belongs to case 1 situations.

2. Nor am I trying to separate religion from life.

3. What I am saying is that there is NOTHING SPECIFICALLY RELIGIOUS about the claims being confirmed. Why isn't there? Because the claims could equally well be issued in a non-religious context.

3b. Put another way, these experiences aren't themselves religious. You can have them outside of any religion: why, then, think that they are religious? What is it that makes them religious?

4. Again, I keep asking for one detailed example, and you seem unable to come up with one. See my earlier post for an account of why just citing 'meditation' doesn't suffice.

I'm also puzzled by your last paragraph. What does it mean to say 'that statement is one of observation. the world contains dualities . . therefore the world has both properties in a duality'? Which statement is one of observation - is it the Descartes' Baby stuff about our predispositions? If so, that doesn't entail that the WORLD contains dualities; rather, it entails that we PROJECT some kind of duality (e.g. mind/body). Consequently, the world doesn't 'have both properties in a duality' (again, whatever that means).


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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

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Posted:I think people are mis-using words here. Quite frankly half of what i8beefy2 has written does not make any sense! No-one is going to get anywhere at all if people insist on using ambigous terms like 'duality'. Also I think it would be useful if people would be more clear what they are talking about when they say 'religious' as I think each poster is using it in a slightly different way. I say use the word ONLY IN ITS MOST BASIC MEANING OTHERWISE NO-ONE WILL HAVE ANY CLUE WHAT YOU ARE GOING ON ABOUT. Here's a definition from Wikipedea...



'Religion, sometimes used interchangeably with faith, is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the practices and institutions associated with such belief.'



Anyway now for my opinion on the topic (and I'll keep it brief). Meditation doesn't give any evidence at all for the supernataural (or whatever you want to call it). It is various mental states induced by putting parts of the brain in a sleep-like state. Essentially you induce some of the effects of various recreational drugs whilst you medidate, potentially pruducing strange effects such as a sense of oneness with the universe, a sense of well being and vivid hallucinations. It sound like a lot of fun, but it has b*gger all to do with religion.

EDITED_BY: jeff(fake) (1116245179)


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:at least someone agrees with me smile

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Thanks Selenia, I follow that Gaia is alive, but perhaps not alive in me. Im not yet feeling the spirituality that I find in sacred places. Thanks again, its not corny. I have much to think about. Cheers smile





If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Selenia


Selenia

member
Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Total posts: 28
Posted:Guess what's really annoying? umm To have so much to say, but languageskills don't go that far. frown I've been writing my posts with dictionary, and it takes long and doesn't say everything i wish to say.

I just wanted to say about spirituality with Gaia, that... well, I can't find that peace of heart and soul in sacred places, but I find it with Mother Nature. Maybe that's the differense with different beliefs, how they make you feel. smile

And the last thing I wished to say, is that I think it's good to question religions, these days too many people buys everything too easily. It's not healthy. Keep up the good work. heart


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quiet


quiet

analytic
Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:Selenia: you manage to say a lot in a few words, and that's cool.

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA

Total posts: 674
Posted:So what exactly is specifically religious then? This is what Im trying to clarify as well, since I dont exactly grasp what you are saying. Science and religion both offer explanations for experience. Quite frankly I dont understand what makes an experience specifically religious. For instance jeff claims that meditation's effects can be explained by science and it has nothing to do with the supernatural. This is something science tries to do with a good number of experiences that are deemed religious, and it can and does explain some things. Meditation has a number of effects on the body and mind, and those are measurable effects as he points out. THIS I believe is the point your trying to make quiet? That the experiences are only hallucination and dont confirm anything? Well given your definition, almost all eastern religions are not really religions. So let me suggest some other phenomenon...

How about cases where people can remember past lives as confirmation of reincarnation? Or in religious experiences where people are taken to heaven or hell as confirmation of afterlife? Or David Blain? Oh wait, scratch that last one... smile These can be written off as hallucination or invention as well... and I think I see where the issue is gonna be here.

On the confirmation issue, perhaps I should step back and accept that I might have a different view of it than you believe science possesses. Religious experiences, specifically those that confirm some religious claim about the non-physical world (would that be closer to your view of a "religious claim"?) are subjective experiences outside of the physical world. It happens in the head essentially. If you perform certain practices, experiences are supposed to be forthcoming, but they will never be objectively observable in the same way science is (which only deals with the physical realm). Now if your going to take a material reductionist view of things, anything experienced "in the head" will be explanable through physical causes, so any example given will be reduced to hallucination or some such explanation. So it appears that we are talking about two different kinds of confirmation.... not one based on an explanatory theory though, but on the type of experience. (of course, seperating experience now into two parts, the "regular" ones that science can deal with, and the "religious" ones that are wholly subjective, but supposedly repeatable).

Other religious claims like 'there is an afterlife', etc. I question too, but then they dont concern me much so I dismiss them as important out of hand. I dont really care about most of the claims of religions, only the practices they prescribe. They do great things for me. THAT is my confirmation, and the same for many others. But most religious claims beyond that I dont care for. Im not sure HOW those kinds of religious claims have confirmatory ability, but Ive been told by many Christians that they to do... but again, those arent the kinds of claims Im interested in (exoteric), rather I am interested in the esoteric claims, the common ground of ALL religions instead of the specific claims of a singular one.

As such, I guess I can't give you the example you seek. I agree with you that many claims are not confirmable, and others are just plain wrong. Just not that all of them are. My example, which I am most familiar with, doesn't fit your definitions of things. Selenia's also fall into the same category it seems. Im much too skeptical MYSELF to believe or try and support the stronger types of claims that your looking for. Not sure if I can make a good argument against jeff's reduction of meditation's effects to mere physical causes, but its kind of a moot point now anyway...

Oh sorry, that last paragraph was supposed to be an extremely abreviated explanation of the belief structure involved in Taoist philosophy. When I say "dualism" there I do not mean it in the same way I was talking about it before, body/mind (my mistake, should have clarified or set apart). I mean dualities, as in good/bad, black/white, etc. Of course things are not that simple, as each part of the duality has at least some of the other extreme in it (picture a yin-yang), so that there is a grey area between all extremes as well... On the Ultimate Reality level, any explanation is meaningless and counterproductive, there IS only the experience of it, as per Zen Buddhism. (<- added this part to finish the last posts point a bit)

And don't worry Selenia, your posts make perfect sense... aparently mine havn't, despite trying to conform to such vocabulary restraints, so maybe your ahead of all of us. wink
Plus it takes so long to write all of these replies, by the time I get to the end I usually forget or leave out a bunch of stuff so my fingers dont fall off or my g/f doesnt start beating me up for spending so much time playing on the computer... smile

Sure to be back to clarify something later, but its 4 AM so its bed time.

Cheers!


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quiet


quiet

analytic
Location: bristol

Total posts: 503
Posted:'THIS I believe is the point your trying to make quiet? That the experiences are only hallucination and dont confirm anything?'

No, this wasn't the point that I was trying to make. My claim was that not that the experiences need be hallucination, but rather that they lack a determinate best interpretation, and therefore don't confirm anything.

The next paragraph, however, goes completely off the rails:

'Religious experiences, specifically those that confirm some religious claim about the non-physical world (would that be closer to your view of a "religious claim"?) are subjective experiences outside of the physical world. It happens in the head essentially. If you perform certain practices, experiences are supposed to be forthcoming, but they will never be objectively observable in the same way science is (which only deals with the physical realm). Now if your going to take a material reductionist view of things, anything experienced "in the head" will be explanable through physical causes, so any example given will be reduced to hallucination or some such explanation.'

Religious experiences may well be subjective, but that in no way means that they take place outside the physical world. They happen, as you say, 'in the head' - I don't know about you, but MY head is certainly part of the physical world.

And why do you think that anything experienced 'in the head' will be explainable through physical causes? Even hard-line materialists can still allow that psychology is irreducible to physics. The materialist claims that there is only _one kind of thing_, but that's different from claiming that there's only one type of explanation. Nor, indeed, will the physical explanation (if any) account for the experience of meditation as some kind of hallucination: there are neurophysiological correlates of such experiences, and - if there's any physical explanation at all - that's where the explanation is going to fall.

But I think it's rather wrong-headed to think that ANY science could ever provide the kind of explanation of that kind of experience that people are looking for. Explanations need to be useable, and most people don't have a sufficient grasp of neurophysiology to interpret an explanation on *that* level. This does not mean, however, that experience confirms religion: it just means that some religions can provide some kind of wildly metaphorical framework which is useful to a certain extent. Usefulness and truth are not the same thing.

If the question is 'what makes a claim specifically religious', maybe the answer is best done by examples. So:

1. Sit down, close your eyes, and you'll relax
- isn't a religious claim

2. There is a God / afterlife / heaven / swarm of fairies around your left shoulder
- is a religious claim

and

3. The world contains dualities. It contains both. Therefore the world has both properties in a duality, so on the ultimate worldly level I guess, all dualities become meaningless.

- looks both religious and completely meaningless.

the point is, the claims need to concern the supernatural / divine / transcendent / etc in order to count as religious (going by the definition pulled earlier): and it is my contention that *none* of these claims are confirmable *in any way*, and this marks a fundamental schism between religion and science.

of course, I'm always open to counterexamples . . .


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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

Total posts: 3882
Posted:Trees always cheer me up no end.

As do flowers, birds, and the smell of grass.

There is no reason in the world you can give me that i cant believe in this.

I honestly dont understand why your not willing to let other people improve the quality of their lives throught there own beliefs quiet.


Love is the law.

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University, United Kingdo...

Total posts: 1762
Posted:It seems a bit weird that several people seem to think that Buddhism isn't a Religion. First off, most people don't know enough about it to comment on it. I mean, does anyone know what I'm talking about when I say: Theravada, Mahayana, Zen (Jodoshu and Jodoshinshu), Pure Land, Tao etc etc. The answer is that they are ALL denominations of Buddhism, and in the same way as Christian denominations, many of them have entirely opposed viewpoints.

Mahayana and Theravada (and several other denominations) ARE religious, because they believe in the fundamental idea that there is a being called "Buddha" who attained enlightenment. He reached Nirvana. The fact that this doesn't involve "God" or any other divine force doesn't detract from the fact that the Buddha (and every other enlightened being) has transcended reality as everyone else knows it and has therefore reached (in laymans terms) Heaven. And what is more, it is entirely possible for anyone to achieve enlightenment. (I mean, Zen says that one person saw the Buddha hold up a flower and he became instantaneously enlightened) So if you don't know about it, don't talk about it.

Also, did anyone else see the program on the beginning of art last night? Shamans used to use sensory deprivation/chants/herbs/meditation to experience visions of "The spirit world" and painted their visions on the cave walls. Then a person in a lab made a pair of goggles you can put on TO EXPERIENCE THE SAME VISIONS.

What possibilities does this open up for our beliefs in God and Divine Forces? I mean, does this imply that all of our beliefs are simply electrical impulses from the brain? Will it be possible to make something else that allows you to experience enlightenment?

Oh, and on another note, with the 2D/3D example above, then the people WOULD be able to detect the 3D presence. If, for example the "God" was a hand shape, and he then put his finger through the paper, then the people would simply see it as an oval shape (the end of the thumb pressed on the paper) BUT THEY WOULD STILL BE ABLE TO SEE IT.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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spiralx


spiralx

veteran
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 1376
Posted:Written by: ado-p

Trees always cheer me up no end.

As do flowers, birds, and the smell of grass.

There is no reason in the world you can give me that i cant believe in this.

I honestly dont understand why your not willing to let other people improve the quality of their lives throught there own beliefs quiet.


I don't recall him ever saying anything like that at all.


"Moo," said the happy cow.

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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

Total posts: 3882
Posted:I think what im saying is the same as what beefy was saying.

That is, if I believe in it, and it works for me, then it is confirmable. For me.


Love is the law.

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Total posts: 3899
Posted:Written by: Sethis


It seems a bit weird that several people seem to think that Buddhism isn't a Religion. First off, most people don't know enough about it to comment on it.





I was a practicing buddist for a couple years, and I strongly maintain it is not a religion - though I did give it up because it didn't really give me what I was looking for any more than any religion I have ever looked into has.



edit: actually Gaia hads done a wonderful job of helping find what I was looking for...


-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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