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Richard Dawkin's Says This Is What Christians Believe. Is He Right?rine


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#18 Qfwfq

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:47 PM

Perhaps the experimental criteria is all wrong! Afterall if someone experiences a metaphysical occurance - how can you measure something metaphysical with physical instruments?

This would apply if you weren't talking about purported interactions between metaphysical and physical.

I've read about claims of these cases where people did report things they could not have perceived through their physical sensory organs and, if such claims could be considered reliable and reasonably without doubt, it would be an empirical observation. The only trouble is the same as many other things that some claim to have witnessed: each person may believe or disbelieve the witnesses in question, it isn't something that can be checked methodically and so on. At that point people reckon on their judgement of plausibility, in believing claims made by others.

In short, it isn't something you can use as an example of ignored evidence.
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#19 CraigD

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 03:05 PM

OBEs offer a straightforward test of a kind of paranormal claim, because those who claim to have had them report seeing objects not visible from their bodies position, and the ability to remember ordinary sensory data, that is, what they are seeing from outside their bodies. If an OBE was physically real, its experiencer would be able to report a simple observation, such as a word or number on a card not visible from her or his body’s position. Despite many claims of the ability to do this with near 100% consistency and accuracy, and the ease with which the test can be and has been performed, it’s never yielded a positive result.

The many documents claiming that OBEs are examples of people physically existing outside of their bodies are, simply put, all wrong. The belief that some or many of these claims are true is not supported by objective evidence. It is superstitious, placing one who professes it in my SR or SN category.

Perhaps the experimental criteria is all wrong! Afterall if someone experiences a metaphysical occurance - how can you measure something metaphysical with physical instruments? The two are so very contrary.

The experiment I describe doesn’t require any instruments. It is so simple, I see no possibility its “criteria is all wrong.”

It simply tests the claim “I can see something not visible from my body’s present position by removing myself from my body to a position where I can see it, then return to my body and report what I saw”, by asking the person to report an unambiguous, easy-to-remember feature of the claimed remote view, such as a word or number, then checking the report against the word or number viewed in an ordinary manner.

Many people have made this claim. None have passed this simple test.
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#20 Pudd

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

The famous Richard Dawkins describes Christians as ones who believe that "the Inventor of the laws of physics and programmer of the NDA code decided to enter the uterus of a Jewish virgin, got himself born, then deliberately had himself tortured and executed because he couldn't think of a better way to forgive the theft of an apple, committed at the instigation of a talking snake. As Creator of the majestically expanding universe, he not only understands relativistic gravity and quantum mechaics but actually designed them. Yet when he really cares about is "sin," abortion, how often you go to church and whether gay people should marry."

It seems to sum up the whole way Christianity and Intelligent Design theory come together.

Who believes it and who does not---and why? Posted Image


Dawkins is right. I say that with the experience of being a former fundamentalist extremist christian. Except I rejected Intelligent Design, and went for pure Creationism. He forgot one thing though- God needs money :P

#21 HydrogenBond

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 10:49 AM

There are certain types of human experiences, which are valid at the individual level, yet beyond scientific proof.

For example, although everyone has had a dream and we can show when someone is dreaming; REM, we cannot prove the specific contents of dreams. The technology does not exist therefore specific dream contents are not provable, even though anyone can observe and prove these do exists, to themselves. Transferring such dream content from one individual to others, one has to take it with faith since science is not up to the task, but would have to claim this is unprovable or subjective, even though it is not. Religious experience fall into a similar category in that it is individual, but not yet subject to science, due to a gap in the scientific method.

#22 The Polymath

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:40 PM

There are certain types of human experiences, which are valid at the individual level, yet beyond scientific proof.


This would depend on your definition of "valid", but, for your apparent definition of "provable to an acceptable extent", this is true (for the most part, however, as one should not discount the possibility of misremembering something).

For example, although everyone has had a dream and we can show when someone is dreaming; REM, we cannot prove the specific contents of dreams. The technology does not exist therefore specific dream contents are not provable, even though anyone can observe and prove these do exists, to themselves.


This is also true, as far as I can tell.

Transferring such dream content from one individual to others, one has to take it with faith since science is not up to the task,


Also true - when someone relates to you a dream that they claim they had, all you can do is choose whether or not to believe them.

but would have to claim this is unprovable or subjective, even though it is not.

(Emphasis mine)

I have to disagree with this part, however. Unless I am misunderstanding you, your assertion here is that it is possible to prove the contents of your dreams to other people, correct? Yet, you acknowledged in the first part of this sentence that you cannot prove the contents of your dreams to others. Could you clarify which one it is that you are claiming?

Religious experience fall into a similar category in that it is individual, but not yet subject to science, due to a gap in the scientific method.


The first problem here is that the phrase "Religious experience" is extremely vague. If one takes it to be an actual, physical experience, then it would be subject to scientific scrutiny, as the scientific method is used to analyze such events. If one takes it to be a mental experience, then it still would be subject to scientific scrutiny, as mental phenomenon are still observable.

The second problem here deals with the last part of your sentence - "not yet subject to science, due to a gap in the scientific method". You appear to be saying that the scientific method changes as technology changes. It does not. The scientific method is the exact same - and has the same capabilities - whether you are using sticks to make fire, or an electron microscope to study the structure of molecules. For instance, while string theory did not produce predictions testable with the current technology level for many years, it did still produce testable predictions.
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#23 HydrogenBond

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:29 PM

The point I was trying to make was if I had a dream about purple unicorns, there is no way to prove that dream had purple unicorns, even if I was sitting on a table wired with the latest instruments. Since there is no hard proof I dreamed what I said I dreamed, it is not provable, even if it was real. Try to publish these dream details and claim it was proven. I am not ragging on science, just the human mind is a frontier, with little in the way of paths, that can offer such detail proof. It come down to faith in the subject.

If you had a relgious experience or saw a ghost, just for the sake of argument, we may notice brain activity since there is awareness. But again there is no way to project the images, sensations, and feelings that are internally conscious, to make sure this is not a fabrication. It is not provable but lead to egg on the face.

People who see UFO's and aliens, see what they see, in terms of their consciousness. It is not clear if the UFO induction is from outside or inside or both, since it can not be done on demand. Irregrdless whether it is sensory or imaginary, we still can't project the mind to prove the details were as defined. Such things are outside the proof of science and comes down to faith, where people of similar experience, share mutual experiences.

Dawkings is a smart biologist, but he is a layman of the human mind and a layman of religion. But he is a good entertainer for other layman. He developed the viral meme concept and proves it each lecture. He projects this manipulation on others and does not seem to realize some people have unique experiences that are still beyond the proof of science.

Edited by HydrogenBond, 03 April 2012 - 04:38 PM.


#24 CraigD

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:40 PM

Dawkings is a smart biologist, but he is a layman of the human mind and a layman of religion. But he is a good entertainer for other layman.

I’m only superficially familiar with the work and credentials of Richard Dawkins, but think you mischaracterize him as not being a recognized expert in subjects involving the human mind. In the linked wikipedia article and other biographical reference, Dawkins is described as ethologist, which means a student of animal behavior. Although the idea that human behavior could be studied as a kind of animal behavior was scientifically controversial 100 years or more ago, I don’t believe it is now, resulting in much overlap of the disciplines of human psychology and zoological ethology.

That said, I think Dawkins choice of “delusion” to describe many humans’ belief in supernatural being such as gods, angels, demons, and ghosts, is confusing, because the term has a previous well-know meaning in psychiatry. Conflating the “delusions” of a schizophrenic with the beliefs of a religionist is, I think, incorrect and unhelpful. Were I Dawkins, I would have titled his book The God Delusion something like The God Superstition.

The point I was trying to make was if I had a dream about purple unicorns, there is no way to prove that dream had purple unicorns, even if I was sitting on a table wired with the latest instruments. Since there is no hard proof I dreamed what I said I dreamed, it is not provable, even if it was real. Try to publish these dream details and claim it was proven. I am not ragging on science, just the human mind is a frontier, with little in the way of paths, that can offer such detail proof. It come down to faith in the subject.

I believe you’ve made a badly false analogy here, HB.

If I say I dreamt of purple unicorns, I may or may not be lying. However we understand that, whether my report is honest or not, the purple unicorn I describe is not real, in the sense that neither you nor I can go and see it while awake. I may propose that the unicorn represents my mother, who we can go and see, but we both understand that this is merely an interpretation, which may or may not be correct or useful.

If I claim to have had a literal religious revelation that, say, God exists, and wants me to do some act, we understand that I am claiming that God actually, objectively does exist, and want me to do that act. If my revelation was not literal, but symbolic – say a purple unicorn which I propose represents God, we understand that I believe this interpretation to be correct, and cannot accept that it might not be without also accepting that my revelation is false.

This is not to say that people can’t have emotionally powerful, life-transforming dreams and waking epiphanies, or that they may not understand and interpret these experiences in religious terms. It’s also not to say that atheists don’t have such experiences, or have less passionate emotional senses that gods don’t exist than theist have that they do.

I did, and described it in a 2009 Philosophy forum thread:

Shortly after reading about Jung’s “cathedral dream” (I’m unable to find a good online summary of this dream – it is one had and recounted by Jung in which he sees the huge, bare “ass of God” descend from the clouds and bury a magnificent Cathedral in shit, which he interpreted as advice that he should reject orthodox religion), I had my own such dream (similar in personal significance, not in detailed content) in which I died and underwent an “ascent to heaven” (in my actual dream, I was an otter, swimming into a deep underwater cave), discovering at its conclusion that my faith and the faith of my fellows was false, and there was no afterlife (which, in my dream, was called “the sacred holy assurance”). Since having this dream, I have, on an emotional, intuitive, absolute level, believed and expected that neither I nor any other human has a soul that survives physical death.



#25 belovelife

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:24 AM

The story about fish begins at molecular level but otherwise your evolutionary wiew seems ok but a bit thin... A replay of evolution would still give civilisation and spacegoing species.

About moral reasons... there is pride ...of course you are proud of your past and you will let us share it with you ...no?

Life after death is perhaps logically possible but to see is to believe.



what if adam was a flatworm, and he started penis fencing :rotfl:




where the winner is the dad, and the loser the mom :whp-pssh:



:rotfl: