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Five Reasons to Reject Belief in Gods

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Copernicus, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. atanu

    atanu Member
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    To offer explanation that matter gives birth to intelligence is such a convoluted one, IMO, especially when we have seen no matter evolving to intelligence and we have not created such independent intelligent machine.
     
    #301 atanu, Apr 9, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  2. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    Yes. When you are asleep, you are not conscious. Of course, dreaming is a kind of consciousness, but there are periods of deep sleep when one does not dream. People in comas are not conscious in any meaningful sense of the word. People under general anesthesia are not conscious.

    I think that the concept of "intelligence" is itself extremely complex. If we look at organisms with brains, we see a progression from low intelligence to high intelligence that correlates with the size and complexity of brains. If more intelligent beings are evolved from less intelligent ones--a proposition that scientists considered proven beyond a reasonable doubt--then we have in effect "seen matter evolving to intelligence". If abiogenesis is true, then inanimate matter has evolved to intelligence.
     
  3. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Try to say that from within those states. Try to prove a brain in deep sleep state. All those statements refer to observations (of brain or its activities) by the waking in a third person. Kindly, do not propose that they are evidences of the sleep or dream states. So, a fleshy brain is only known with waking time consciousness.

    OTOH, in deep sleep man exists and a deep repair and rest takes place. How so? Deep sleep is full consciousness of the nature of joy. One does not know anything in it because the mind-senses have not created any boundaries that may reflect consciousness back. Mind-senses rest on this full pre-concsiousness called prajna (pre-awareness). Knowing this prajna fully allows one to be restful like in deep sleep yet fully alive.
     
    #303 atanu, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  4. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Rather brain is never known in absence of consciousness.

    Further, It shows that consciousness has control over the so-called chemical activities and not the other way around.

    Scientific data is always correct but often scientists are like little children holding on to their fancies. What does placebo mean? If I can consistently use a so-called placebo effect to calm my chemical reactions and frayed nerves then what does it prove? Consciousness controls the chemical reactions or chemicals control the consciousness?


    (Actually, most people are indeed controlled by their nature, without their conscious knowledge because they do not know the reality. They have placed faith on their body being 'me'. But meditators and yogis reverse the primeval conditioning that arises from the fatal idea that body is 'me'.)
    .........................

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_applications_and_clinical_studies_of_meditation
    Meditation Associated With Increased Grey Matter In The Brain
    The Science of Meditation | Psychology Today
    Brain scans show meditation changes minds, increases attention (June 25, 2007), Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice
    TIME Magazine: The Science of Meditation
    Clinical Proof Meditation Works | The Canyon - Malibu, California

    Yoga decreases kyphosis in senior women and men wi... [J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009] - PubMed result
    Yoga May Help Fight Depression
    Yoga Shows Potential to Ward Off Certain Diseases | LiveScience
    Yoga Calms Tsunami Survivors | Connect


    The reverse is always taught by the medicine makers.
     
    #304 atanu, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  5. Oneatatime

    Oneatatime Huh?

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    With the advent of applying controlled tests to religious claims the religious have resorted to retreating into the untestable, denying the evidence that undermines the testable claims or justifying their beliefs on the basis of perceived benefits of their religion or alternatively the perceived cost of adopting atheism or agnoticism. This last approach is interesting because it can be accomplished without any belief in the supernatural. For example there are people who follow the Jewish tradition but do not believe in God or any other supernatural entities.

    Retreating into the untestable is generally the approach taken by the more liberal and educated religious who realise that excessive belief in supernatural intervension makes them look a bit silly and naive.

    Denial of evidence is generally the reserve of the fundamentalist and/or less educated amongst the religious who either don't realise that they should be embarrssed for believing in miracles and suchlike or alternatively simply don't understand that wanting the world to conform to their beliefs doesn't mean it actually does.

    The list is pretty good and as expected some religious people have responded by retreating into the untestable or denying the evidence either directly or through criticism of science. Personally my view is that until they can provide good evidence in the form of scientific evidence to support their beliefs then there is no reason to take them seriously. Moreso because unlike science religious beliefs aren't founded upon existing knowledge which has been subject to testing and not been disproven.
     
  6. atanu

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    I do not understand what was the purpose of your post, which seems to me to be full of untestable statements. This is to clarify that, at present, I am contesting the materialist belief -- that Copernicus has put as his first premise in favour of his atheism. I am trying to show:

    a) consciousness when known can be used by man's will to control the reactions in brain and in man. There is nothing untestable here. Learn and practise meditation under guidance and find out that you will not require most of the routine medications that are poisons. If you cannot test it for yourself then kindly see the above references

    b) that man's will which was embedded in the sperm is not mere chemicals and their interactions.
     
  7. kutulu

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    1) there are known organisms that exist w/o a "brain" (many of them single celled)
    2) evolution in no way disproves religion as it is possible an entity created the 1st animals and left them to evolve.
    3) extremely similair religions have sprung up all over the world. almost every pagan religion has extremlely similair gods. and beleifs, mayans, celts, himdus, etc...
    4)there a plenty of people that would be willing to tell you how their prayers have been answered.
    5) the fact that you live is a miracle in itself
     
  8. Oneatatime

    Oneatatime Huh?

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    I was replying to the OP not yourself but admittedly I didn't make this clear. I didn't neccesarily agree with what you said but didn't want to jump into the middle of your discussion with someone else because that often results in misunderstandings on the basis that I am unfamiliar with the history of the discussion and what has or hasn't already been agreed upon. I also didn't see the direct relevence between your post and the OP. Your position is an interesting so here is my response.

    a) We live in a universe where its assumed that all events have a cause. This poses a problem in regards to notions of free will because any actions we take are therefore not made out of choice but rather are predertimed by chemistry and suchlike.

    The physiologist Benjamin Libet from the University of California in San Fancisco carried out an experiment in the 80's to test this. The result was that there was a large amount of brain activity about 1/3 second before a person said that they made a decision to carry out an action. Similar results were obtained by William Grey Walter in the 60's who found that when he hooked up the part of peoples brain that controlled hand movement to control that advanced a project screen the particpants reported that their decision to press a button which moved the slide machine was pre-empted by it moving. From this and presumably other work like it its been claimed that the decision to something is made before we're consciously aware of it.

    For some reason our consciousness decides to represent this as being a choice we've made rather than a choice that was already made on the basis of a materialistic cause and effect. A breakdown of this illusion of free will is a possible explanation for when people claim that they weren't in control of their body while they did something. There is also a phenomenon called automatic writing whereby a person writes something and claims that its not them writing it which is explained as an example of this. Incidently I'm getting this information from the book "Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there" by Professor Richard Wiseman and haven't done all this research myself.

    This is however a contentious issue in science but it seems to be that free will is incompatable with cause and effect thus rendering it inplausable as it would require a breakdown of cause and effect. Its much more reasonable to consider free will as an illusion although admittely this is a somewhat depressing thought. Ultimately how I or others feel about this is irrelevent because reality is indifferent to our desires of what we want to be true.

    b) There is something to this in that the expression of genes is subject to modification by their environment. Therefore the expression of genes in a child is partly determined by the environment of their parents which may have caused certain genes to be switched on or off while the sperm was in the testes or ovaries.

    Therefore if for example a father treats their body badly taking drugs, eating poorely and taking little exercise then the expression of their genes will be altered through the turning on or off of certain genes. This particular expression of genes will be passed onto their children via the sperm affecting the childs development. I believe this area of research is called epigenetics, the study of the expression of genes as influenced by the environment.
     
  9. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    But do they have minds? I'd say no.

    It doesn't disprove religion, but this does speak against it.

    And while there's some possibility (in the theoretic sense) that some entity created life and then left it to evolve, this idea didn't come from religion. Instead, science came up with the realization of evolution and religions were left to either incorporate this or reject it.

    How does this suggest anything about the truth of these gods? Every culture also has the common factor of being made up of people (who have common traits) and being influenced by similar outside forces.

    To the extent that there are similarities between disconnected religions, they can be rather easily explained: people tend to anthropomorphize the things that are important to them, and people, being people, will tend to place importance on the same sorts of things.

    And which god shows a better track record than the others of answering prayers? Which one answers prayers at a greater rate than would be expected from random coincidence?

    How does life "contravene natural laws"?

    IMO, if your understanding of natural laws doesn't allow for life, then this points to a problem with your understanding, not to the existence of a miracle.
     
  10. opuntia

    opuntia Religion is Law

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    You actually need no reason to reject belief in Gods. Why go through all that assumed reasoning to do it? Just reject them and be done with it. If others want to believe in them, it is their decision to make and not yours.
     
  11. kutulu

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    now ur just argueing for the sake of it. lol. either way you can neither prove or disprove the existence of superior entities. only cite your "evidence" w/o opening your mind to all possablities. to not at least seriously conseder everything is to reign yourself to ignorance...
     
  12. atanu

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    A good post Oneatatime.

    IMO, the question of free will is meaningless until we can answer precisely "Free will for whom?".
     
  13. Oneatatime

    Oneatatime Huh?

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    That reminds me of a quote in that book I mentioned that basically said that the best we can hope to achieve in regards to free will is to not be influenced by those around us. I'm not sure that this is even possible because a large part of what shapes us during our life is those around us and you can't escape this by locking yourself away in a room when making a decision.

    You are the sum of your experiences and you can't escape that.
     
  14. atanu

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    That however does not answer "Free will for whom?".
     
  15. PolyHedral

    PolyHedral Superabacus Mystic

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    It is still reductionist, in that you are trying to explain the universe in terms of a few fundamental objects. However, your idea is interesting, and I'd genuinely like to know more. I generally think of conciousness as a decision-maker being aware of and capable of analyzing its own decision process, so how would you reduce non-animate matter into such a thing? Or do you mean something different by "conciousness?"

    The process is self-referential. Consciousness is, IMO, a superstructure of chemicals, which can influence the production of other chemicals within the body. These in turn can go onto affect the brain, and thus consciousness. (or your ability to remain so.)
    In my view, man's will is conscious. Or rather, "conciousness" is merely man's ability to analyse and predict his own thought process.

    Wouldn't showing this require showing that there is something in the brain that is not included within standard physics?
    Me. Of course. :D
     
  16. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    Penguin did a good job of responding to these, but I'll also respond.

    What makes you think that these organisms have minds? The question is whether brainless minds can exist, not whether brainless organisms can exist.

    Evolution undermines belief in creator gods. If intelligent life evolved from less intelligent life and, ultimately, inanimate processes, then there is no need to posit an intelligent creator in order to explain our origins. (Of course, the god-based argument begs the question, since the existence of an uncreated god would violate the premise that everything was created.)

    Similarities among gods can be attributed to similarities in the environments that people live in. You wouldn't expect monkey gods in the arctic regions or snow gods in the tropics. You are always going to find similarities that either have good explanations or are just random similarities. What you do not get is exactly the same revelations springing up in isolation from each other, yet one would expect that if any of the gods were real. Why would they just communicate with only one group of humans? Why, for example, would there have only been one Jesus associated with just one locality? God could easily have spread the same revelations to the Mayans, Toltecs, Aztecs, etc., yet Europeans found no hints of communication with their gods when they conquered the Americas.

    Yes, and plenty to admit that their prayers have not been answered. Objectively, though, no group of people associated with a religion appear to have their prayers answered any more frequently than many others. One can expect that a certain number of prayers will be caused by luck or actions taken by the supplicants themselves. When that happens, they are naturally predisposed to believe that their prayers were "answered". When prayers don't get answered, people just keep praying usually. Confidence builds up from "answered prayers" in the same way that mediums build up confidence in their customers through cold reading techniques. People are naturally predisposed to ignore counter-evidence.

    This is where the theory of evolution undermines your reasoning. I can explain my existence in terms of natural selection in evolution. I do not need to appeal to miracles. You do, but that is perhaps because you do not understand how evolution works.
     
  17. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    What makes you think that I am making the decisions of others for them? This is a religious debate forum. My assumption is that people here want to discuss these matters. If you do not, then why are you here? To stop others from discussing them?
     
  18. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    You asked me not to say what is obvious--that we know a lot about unconsciousness from introspection and from observation of the behavior of others. That constitutes evidence of dream states, loss of consciousness, and conscious awareness. Moreover, we can now record brain activity during these states. There is less brain activity in certain areas of the brain when people are not conscious. The brains of Alzheimer's victims have distinctly different physical profiles from those who do not suffer from the disease. Hence, we can correlate mental activity with physical activity in a brain. The evidence is quite convincing that the destruction of the brain most likely leads to permanent loss of consciousness.

    Yogins have developed wonderful mental and physical exercises. I myself was trained in some Hatha Yoga and pranayama techniques, although I no longer practice many of them--mostly just conscious relaxation. :) However, none of that has anything at all to do with whether the mind can exist independently of a brain. Yes, the brain does seem to modify itself during sleep, and that is likely a kind of natural self-maintenance. Sleep is usually a physical requirement in organisms with brains. We get tired, and we fall asleep.

    Where does consciousness go when we are under general anesthesia? Every time I have had it, I have woken up with the feeling that no time had passed and with no memory of the operation. I lost consciousness because of drugs that physically changed the state of my brain. Loss of consciousness cannot be resisted under those conditions. Therefore, the brain must control consciousness, not vice versa.

    I don't understand this statement. In what sense is the brain known when we have consciousness and not known when we are without it? Other people have seen me unconscious, and I believe that my brain was still in my head at the time. ;)

    I'm sorry, but it is the other way around. When a person's brain is destroyed, that person dies. When it is damaged, that person's mental capacity is damaged. It is true that thought affects the brain and the body, but those thoughts are always generated by physical brain activity.

    A placebo is a sham cure that works because belief in its curative powers strengthens the immune system. It proves that belief has an effect on the body's natural defense mechanisms, but why should this be a surprise? After all, we can move our body parts through sheer mental effort. That's the whole point of a brain--to control a body. Animals evolved brains, because brains keep their bodies alive by moving them away from danger and towards safety, sustenance, and opportunities for reproduction. We can build robots that mimic that behavior, and we may some day build machines that can think like we do.

    I understand that you believe this, but it is not what I believe. I think they do it all with physical brains that produce their mental states.
     
  19. Sweetvoice

    Sweetvoice Member

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    To Copernicus: I like your debate about this thread
     
  20. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Hi

    There are two problems (one of which you are feigning not to exist).

    1. There is no valid third party control information ever available. For example you believe there is sun and as evidence you say that others also see the sun. However, evidence of sun existing and others existing both come from you.

    I am not saying that third party validation is useless. I am saying that third party validation of consciousness is useless, since conciousness alone makes everything aware. I will repeat the question "How the knower is known?" or "Who will know the knower?"

    2. All third party observations you are mentioning here are waking state observations that have little relevance to actual dream state or actual deep sleep state.

    Throughout exististence consciousness is inseparable. That one brain may cease functioning is similar to a leaf falling off a tree.
     
    #320 atanu, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
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