How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
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07-04-2013, 11:24 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(02-04-2013 10:32 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Gule.

Personally, I think that it's important to embrace all aspects of the human condition. As Rollo May says, where there is an obsession, we will find an equal and opposite repression. I'm all about science, but I feel that those that hold it up to be the single answer to all questions are really just being obsessive. And it's costing them the other parts of their nature.

You can't really break down Shakespeare's sonnets or Homer's Illiad with science. The poetic, the intuitive, the humourous, the creative, the abstract, the ineffable, the emotional, and yeah, the spiritual, are equally important parts of the human condition, as important as the empirical, that I feel need to be embraced. That doesn't mean let religion run amok. That's all or nothing thinking (an idea that can be explained scientifically Cool ). It means find the balance. Don't pretend we are only one thing, whatever that one thing happens to be.

Like the Hagakure says, it's bad when one thing becomes two. Science is science. It should concern itself with issues of science. It should leave the rest to the other pursuits. If you blend the black of science with the white of the spiritual, all you get is grey. Science doesn't have to feel like Atlas. It doesn't have to feel like it has an obligation to carry the entire burden. It can be a partner with the other pursuits. There's no reason it can't be.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

You know, this is exactly the type of comment that drives me up the wall. People who say "Science isn't the answer to everything. Science has limitations." have no idea what they are talking about.

Science is the study of everything in the universe. It has no limits. It will eventually study everything there is to study, provided it survives the faithful of this world.

You are confusing the scientific method and the rigidity of the scientific community with science itself. One might be a expert on Literature or Music, and yet never have applied the scientific method to either. There is no need, these things are arts and experiences in human happiness. They do not need the rigid system required by fields such as chemistry and biology.

Likewise Literature and Music can do without the constant peer attacks that go on in purely scientific fields, designed to destroy theories that cannot hack it with the evidence. When studying the humanities, or the arts, no opinion need concern itself with normal trends, facts, or even accepted rules. They can all be cast aside in the name of art and style, and be enjoyed equally well.

It would be more accurate to say the following. "The strict nature of the scientific method and the rigidity of the scientific community are not necessary to enjoy the nuances of art, culture, and literature. One is better off using the scientific method when facts are more important that style or preference."

Religion, rather than acting as a symbol of truth or justice, merely acts as a symbol of human gullibility and stupidity. Surely no race of beings with any real intelligence would concoct such drivel.
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08-04-2013, 12:10 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Hey, Prometheus.

Enjoy the view from high up that wall, the rest of us will be down here knowing exactly what we're talking about, wondering what you're doing up there.

Science is NOT the study of everything in the universe. It is the study of the interaction of matter and energy and nothing else and cannot offer any comment on that which is not that, nor on that which does not offer empirical evidence.

You're actually re-defining science when you say it's the study of "everything in the universe". You can't just define the arts, the fine arts and the humanities out of existence because you want to.

Philosophy is science? Astrology is science? Poetry is science? Theology is science??? This is news to me.

I have a friend doing her PhD in poetry and she can pretty much guarantee you that poetry is not a science.

You can't apply the scientific method to literature because you can't. Not because there's no need. If you could apply it to everything, restaurants would never fail. Films would never flop. Stand up comics would never get heckled off the stage. All they'd have to do is plug values into a formula and they'd get perfection. Because nobody dislikes formulaic art, right?

You know who says science has limits? Scientists.

If you want to reduce my commentary to a "type" of comment", you know, an off the shelf one that you've heard a million times, you better bring a better argument than "nuh-uh".

The issue is not whether or not we NEED science to do something, it's whether it CAN do something. Your argument is akin to me saying, sure, I could swim across that lake, but I don't NEED to, when I know damn well I'd drown.

I'm not saying that science is bad. And as a social scientist, I actually have to fight to have my work recognised as science. But science has distinct limits that are easily identifiable. I don't see what's so hard about admitting that.

If science cannot answer every question, then it does a disservice to humanity if it tries to pretend it can. That sort of thing stifles inquiry and exploration of other aspects of our humanity. On the most basic level, science is literal. It is not emotional, poetical, abstract, spiritual, dramaturgical, intuitive, creative, or lyrical. We need to explore those things just as much as we need to cure cancer and put a man on the moon.

Just don't start your post off talking about me in the third person and telling me that I don't know what I'm talking about. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that'll piss a guy right off.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-04-2013, 12:20 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Christianity is 2,000 years old. Fine. Some people get a break. Scientology is NOT 2,000 years old! 1952 isn't all that long ago, and minds like Einstein were postulating scientific explanations to universal problems before that, and others before him. I fear if we can't identify the condition that allows people, who are perfectly rational otherwise, to believe this horseshit, or isolate the psychological need that is met by believing in that horseshit, and create some happy alternative heavy with scientific overtones (ofcourse there is life after death, child, your pretty little compounds will go on to nourish countless beautiful rosebushes, and strawberry patches) then we'll just have to deal with physixology next! Except it won't have anything to do with real physics, and will be just as facepalm inducing as scientology, and just as nauseating as any of the other horse apples that got shat out before it!!!!

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08-04-2013, 02:34 AM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2013 02:45 AM by Luminon.)
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(02-04-2013 08:19 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  In a Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet round table discussion, Sam Harris made the point that science doesn't really tackle, all too well, the "spiritual" aspects of the human experience. Now there's nothing about the concept that love, relief (etc...) is nothing more than a bunch of endorphines getting dumped in amongst our neurons that would cheapen the way I feel those emotions, but for some it would. First loves, first time a person is accepted by a large group of friendly people; there simply MUST be more to it than that for them. I'm an athiest, but even I think to take an awe inspiring, life changing moment and reduce it to a measured, clinical calculation takes something away from it. I don't know what that "it" is; just feels like somethings missing. That all being said, I guess I'm asking is there a way to meld the scientific, and the spiritual? If all the organized religions of the world were to disappear tommorrow, a new one would pop up the day after, and I doubt science could fill the void!
Suggestions/Thought?
I'd say Harris is right. Science is an instrument, it does not say anywhere in sciences what people should do. It only says how. And I personally wouldn't subscribe to the idea that the brain is a box, what you put in, comes out or it sometimes generates things by itself. I'd say this is enormously cheapening. I'd say the brain connects us to reality in a way very few people can appreciate. Not just empirical reality, but many other realities, including rational, metaphysical, collective unconscious and so on. Some of these I can hardly describe. Other are of course artificial and contained in books and films. (not bad either) The brain is a gateway, a pink, squishy gateway to the universe, that acts subtly on the conductive pahtways and centers in the brain. So subtly, that at first you need to be really really calm to feel anything of it. The biologic and chemical aspect is just a part of what the brain does. I'd say drugs violently rip through the veil that hides transcendental reality, but there is a way to carefully lift the veil. Remember, there is a lot of reality out there, all the invisible spectrum, dark matter and dark energy universes we don't see. Our brain and the life itself evolved all along in this mysterious, invisible, intangible universe, held together by natural forces. I'd bet my money there is a link between the two mysteries, the consciousness and the invisible universe.

Yes, I'd say there is a way to meld the scientific and spiritual. For the most part, they are apart. There are things I describe which the science has not yet begun to study. It's not mind, awe, pleasure, universe, or anything you commonly associate with spirituality. It has no obvious external or internal cause. I sometimes call it the Transcendental Object.
I shouldn't say how to study it, I should first introduce it. I think you guys have a right to spirituality just like everyone else. Break the religion's monopoly on the transcendental.

Anyone who wants to read on what the spirituality or enlightenment is, how it feels like and what is it about, send me a message. I know where you can get a material on it. As someone who experiences it, I can tell the book is legit. I want to answer all your questions and wonderings about this topic, but first you should know what to ask about.

(02-04-2013 09:58 PM)poolboyg88 Wrote:  I swear, the more Harris talks the less I care for him. He's dangerous cutting close to 'science explains the how, but religion explains the why'. First guns, now spirituality.

No one says that you can't detach yourself from reality for entertainment of comfort. Just don't make the mistake of replacing aspects of reality with fantasy. And no fantasy can ever approach the awe and dread that the universe has to offer.
No, religion says nothing about "why". Not Judeo-Christian religion anyway. Not organized religion. Fantasy, entertainment and comfort should not be the criteria of spirituality. That is what work did to leisure, we think leisure means idleness because work takes all the activity out of us. Religion is about control and deprivation, so forbidden fruit must be good, right?

You already said it. Why does the universe bring awe and dread? Because it expands consciousness. Expanding consciousness is a spiritual experience. But this universe has again very little to do with your normal daily consciousness, with the way we live. What if you could spend a part of your day in expanded consciousness, seeing things in a new way? Without drugs, of course. For all the things I can't, this is what I can do.

Hey, I don't know about this community thing. There are very few people like you guys where I live. My meditation group is like a work group or exercise group. I don't get social. You know why? I don't like like-minded people. They're all right, but there's nothing I can do for them, we can only get busy working. Jacque Fresco writes in his book about an example of future:
"Jacque Fresco, Looking Forward, page 61 Wrote:The free minds of the twenty-first century challenge everything that seems self-evident. They like to try on mentally different points of view. They search for their hidden assumptions and delight in bringing them to the surface. They are experts at changing their minds. "There are many people I especially like because they do not share my points of view," Hella says. "I enjoy talking with them when they vigorously defend a position that contradicts mine. I know I learn more when I find people with ideas that challenge mine."
Sounds like me! Big Grin

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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08-04-2013, 05:55 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2013 07:58 AM by MuffinPuffin.)
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
I don't understand why people have such a great need for there to be "more" all the time.

Why can't it just be what it is?
It's like people saying, that heaven has to exist, because when you die, you can't just be dead and that is it. There need to be something more.

Also, why does "more" always only apply to humans. If there really were more to love, then what science tells us, then why would that only apply to humans, and not cows, fish or any other living being.

the same thing goes for stuff like, say Karma. Why does it only apply to humans?

On topic - I would say the best alternative to spirituality, would be learning to simply accepting there is nothing more, and learn to be happy without the constant need for there to be more.
Like, you say there has to be something more to love, than a "bunch of endorphins". But why? Would it really change anything, if there was nothing more to it?

And again, no other animal seems to have a problem with there being nothing more to love, than what it is.
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08-04-2013, 01:37 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(08-04-2013 05:55 AM)MuffinPuffin Wrote:  I don't understand why people have such a great need for there to be "more" all the time.

Why can't it just be what it is?
It's like people saying, that has to exist, because when you die, you can't just be dead and that is it. There need to be something more.

Also, why does "more" always only apply to humans. If there really were more to love, then what science tells us, then why would that only apply to humans, and not cows, fish or any other living being.

the same thing goes for stuff like, say Karma. Why does it only apply to humans?

On topic - I would say the best alternative to spirituality, would be learning to simply accepting there is nothing more, and learn to be happy without the constant need for there to be more.
Like, you say there has to be something more to love, than a "bunch of endorphins". But why? Would it really change anything, if there was nothing more to it?

And again, no other animal seems to have a problem with there being nothing more to love, than what it is.
Animals are such well-adjusted beings. Most of what they need they find in their genes. They grow to be a properly fluffy red fox, a properly singing songbird, a properly toothy crocodile...
But who can say what is a proper human expression? Where are human limits? We are unfinished. We are amazing pieces of capacity and capability walking around, unlike animals. It's our great weakness yet a great strength as well. We can't help it but change and improve, it's either improve or stay helpless. And once we start with education and other kinds of progress, who are we to draw a line? Who is there to say, now I am educated enough and I don't need to learn anything new ever?

The persistent desire for more may seem like a curse at first. We need to control the base urge for endless material wealth and transform it into desire for non-material treasures. From relationships and knowledge to more subtle experiences like inspiration and other kinds of expression. There are many areas of expression, because human society is very complex. We can't succeed in all of them in a lifetime. But the things we learn well, we can upload and share them online Wink

Karma applies to humans... does it? Does anyone here actually believe it? Well, just in case you're interested...
Theosophists say humans have "soul" (a superconsciousness) that can express itself through just one person, it's individualized. With animals, one monad (something like a soul) ensouls whole species and animals have just very general groups with collective karma, or even there's just the karma of animal kingdom as a whole.
If you care about the topic (which I think you probably don't) you're welcome to read up on the reincarnation and karma.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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08-04-2013, 02:01 PM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2013 02:17 PM by TheGulegon.)
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Luminion. What I want to ask? I guess the most naked, unashamed way to say it is:

How do we destroy humankind's need for religion?
I want to know, because I want to watch all faith based religions on planet Earth die off, either naturally like the dodo, or aided a bit like smallpox.
In asking for an alternative I reveal my fear.
I assume the dodo was given millions of years of a chance, and failed. But I don't have a million years. It only took from the late 1950's to the report/study in 1980 that humanity had rid itself of a terrible plague, to destroy smallpox!

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08-04-2013, 02:16 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(08-04-2013 12:10 AM)Ghost Wrote:  ..cannot offer any comment on that which is not that, nor on that which does not offer empirical evidence.


If science cannot answer every question, then it does a disservice to humanity if it tries to pretend it can. That sort of thing stifles inquiry and exploration of other aspects of our humanity. On the most basic level, science is literal. It is not emotional, poetical, abstract, spiritual, dramaturgical, intuitive, creative, or lyrical. We need to explore those things just as much as we need to cure cancer and put a man on the moon.



The problem I have with this post is you seem to be assuming that things that cannot offer evidence are real things. The problem with that is that, if there is no evidence for a thing, why would you assume it exists? Feelings? Feelings are not evidence. Neither are anecdotal stories or even your perception of things (because we don't always perceive what is there, sometimes hallucinations happen, sometimes we misinterpret things). The reason it assumes things for which there is no evidence don't matter and don't exist is because there is no reason to assume they exist, since there is no evidence (besides anecdotal, and if you go by that, you may as well assume the tooth fairy exists, too,because some people have said she does).

Also, science HAS studied things like music and how and why we enjoy it. I've read books on it. You don't apply the scientific method when listening to music because that's not how science works. Science observes and tries to find things out. Science doesn't enjoy music, that's not what it's for. But science can tell us about what our brain does when listening to music and how it impacts us, so I'd say your whole paragraph on these things is fundamentally flawed.

Exploring the arts for enjoyment pretty much has fuckall to do with the scientific method, because it's not a question about the nature of things. Science usually starts with a question, like "Why are their tides in the ocean?", forms hypotheses, collects data, etc. The way to apply science to art is to ask a question like "how/why do we enjoy music?"

Quote:I don't understand why people have such a great need for there to be "more" all the time.

Why can't it just be what it is?
It's like people saying, that has to exist, because when you die, you can't just be dead and that is it. There need to be something more.
This. I think it;s kind of like indoctrination, except it's even a lot of nonaffiliated or nonreligious people, they are told from birth that humans are special, they have magical souls and auras, and they live forever and death isn't death. that, and emotions. Apparently some people can't handle the thought the death is death and humans are just another animal, albeit a self-aware animal.
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08-04-2013, 02:29 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(08-04-2013 02:01 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  Luminion. What I want to ask? I guess the most naked, unashamed way to say it is:

How do we destroy humankind's need for religion?
I want to know, because I want to watch all faith based religions on planet Earth die off, either naturally like the dodo, or aided a bit like smallpox.
In asking for an alternative I reveal my fear.
I assume the dodo was given millions of years of a chance, and failed. But I don't have a million years. It only took from the late 1950's to the report/study in 1980 that humanity had rid itself of a terrible plague, to destroy smallpox!

If for no other reason, then to, someday, make it a thing of the past for a person, like myself, to have to deal with loved ones who delude themselves. I love them. It just depresses me, sometimes, they believe in an invisible entity!

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08-04-2013, 02:37 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(08-04-2013 12:10 AM)Ghost Wrote:  If science cannot answer every question, then it does a disservice to humanity if it tries to pretend it can.

I don't think science pretends it can answer every question. Science observes so it can provide verifiable resources which can help to discover some answers to some questions. Just by doing that, science asks more questions than it ever answers.
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By the way Prometheus, if one didn't have science working for and with, one mightn't understand the color spectrum or, how one's eyes see and why. Human anatomy might remain a mystery and the measurements of perspective might very well be unfathomable. Science provides measurements concerning factual standards which are quite relevant to art. Just sayin'. Drinking Beverage

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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