Thursday, January 22, 2015

562: Atheism with a smile...

In my previous lecture I showed you that it was almost a logical consequence of my projects , that I had to arrive at Atheism as new subject.
And again it seems that the subject I have chosen happens to be topical in the minds of many these days. Take the headline of today’s newspaper, for instance.
To the left you see the latest GALLOP poll. It relates to  the answers of the Dutch poll.
At least I already have come to one conclusion: you have to make a clear distinction regarding atheism between the philosophical, psychological and social dimensions.
Analyzing “believing” from an epistemological perspective is something completely different from investigating it from a psychological point of view, for instance.
The question “Why do people believe?” is a psychological question. “What means ‘to believe’?” is a philosophical, epistemological one.
I am really wondering where I stand in the whole debate. Take the four categories of the Dutch headline: Atheist - Agnostic - Somethingist - Believer.
What am I? What are you? I mean, when I look at my stance, I would describe myself like this: 
1. I am an organism that interacts with its environment (life)
2. I am a sentient being and self aware (consciousness)
3. I am capable of knowing things (science)
4. This knowledge of things is the result of my sensory 
    interaction with my environment (learning)
So I am a conscious living being, able to learn and store knowledge in its interaction with its environment and this whole process seems to have only one driving force: to survive.
Now, where should I fit in this phenomenon: religion? I don’t say I am an atheist, for to me it is such a weird idea.
It is like seriously debating the kind of question like “Does the Man in the Moon exist?”
Neither am I an agnostic, because it is so weird to even consider the possibility, that the question, does the Man in the Moon exists, is a meaningful question.
Maybe I am a Somethingist ? Yes, I am. Based on my knowledge of the macro and microcosmos so far, I am willing to assume that there are physical laws of nature.
Laws that govern, for instance, the predictable fact that when I let go of this stone it will fall to the ground and given the same circumstances, it will always fall to the ground.
I even can calculate the speed of its fall and the spot where it will fall, when I use the right mathematics and physical parameters.
But of course, this kind of Something isn’t meant by the Somethingist. Such a person probably suspects that  there is something that goes beyond the laws of nature.
Then, do I believe in God? That is of course the weirdest thing to suggest. However, I have knowledge of the fact that organisms like myself do so.
And as a philosopher that makes me wonder and makes the question “Why is there Atheism?” a meaningful question,
because the fact that other organisms (people) do believe, has a major impact on the interaction between all organisms.
And as a philosopher I observe, that it leads to all kinds of peculiar points of view, which are in contradiction or conflict with my knowledge of myself and the reality, with which I am interacting.
To give you an example: Cicero (106 - 43 BC):
“When you see a sundail or a waterclock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. 
How then can you imagine, that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence?” -end quote-
I would say to Cicero: well, you know how a sundail works and you don’t know how the universe works and you are free to formulate a hypothesis.
However, he didn’t know Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Newton and Einstein. With them he could have discussed his hypothesis of the relation between the universe, purpose and intelligence and learn.
So you could say that Cicero is excused, but take these words, published in an interview with a prominent creationist in the New York Times in 2005.
“The physical marks of design are visible in aspects of biology… In the absence of any convincing non-design explanation, we are justified in thinking, that real intelligent design was involved in life” - end quote -
When I read this, I am completely flabbergasted. Especially because the man says that we are “justified” in thinking……
The logic! Because we can not explain X, we are JUSTIFIED to conjure up some other explanation. 
OK. Let me give it a try. The design in nature that you observe, is created by aliens which visited the earth long ago.
Then, why didn’t they ever return? Simple, because they have forgotten about earth.
Take this text. It is a letter, sent to my newspaper by a reader as a reaction on these figures behind me:
“There are now more atheists than believers
(January 17). All well and good, but what take the new atheists as replacement of their old viewpoint? The big bang theory for example, does not solve all riddles of existence.
Stephen Hawking, the famous and publicity-horny physicist who has now a movie running in the theaters, even needs an infinite number of parallel worlds to find a solution for the dilemma. 
I suspect, that those who changed their mind don’t think at all about their change.  -end quote-
Amazing, this line of thinking. First there is the assumption, that there is or has to be an answer to all riddles of existence.
Then there is Stephen Hawkins, who conjures up an infinite number of parallel worlds. Rubbish of course.
And finally  there are those who changed their minds. They don’t think at all.
As you see, why is there atheism? To begin with…. to make us smile.
To be continued…..thank you….the floor is yours ^_^

The Discussion

Daruma Boa claps
herman Bergson: The "of course" was the idea of the writer of the letter, Daruma :-)
Daruma Boa: ah ok
Corona Anatine: i was wondering if the american chart reveals anything abouit US presidents and economic status
herman Bergson: Now tell us about that code in our genes Max...:-)
Max Chatnoir: Well the code has two kinds of repetitive patterns.
herman Bergson: Stick to the subject corona. plz
Corona Anatine: ok DNA code
Max Chatnoir: Blocks of four codons for a single amino acid, and blocks of two codons for a single amino acid.
Corona Anatine: at which instant in tiem would the code have been fixed
Max Chatnoir: They say that if you take a codon from a 4-block and replace the A's with C's and the G's with T's or something like that, that each set of 4 blocks predicts the two blocks.
Corona Anatine: because life evolves and also humans dna has a great proportion shared with other species
Max Chatnoir: So the claim is that pattern must have been designed.
Max Chatnoir: I thought it was an intriguing idea, but I don't like the "aliens" left it.
Daruma Boa: look, we< all live in a matrix^^
Corona Anatine: it is a flawed argument
Max Chatnoir: It's just intelligent design once removed.
Areyn Laurasia: do you have a link to this?
herman Bergson: That is so funny with this theory....
Max Chatnoir: And I think the pattern must have something to do with the relative strengths of the AT and GC pairs.
herman Bergson: Because then we ask the question....Who designed the Designer???
Chantal: Why are "people" so scared of unanswered questions?
Daruma Boa: Ja the funny thing is, that really everything is connected on earth and has a pattern.
Areyn Laurasia: I'm not interested if aliens left a code or not but I would like to know more about the patterns
Daruma Boa: true chantal
Daruma Boa: we are always searching for answers
herman Bergson: Nothing wrong with that....
Max Chatnoir: I think there is a lot we don't understand about the universe.  But it seems -- well -- like a copout to blame anything we don't understand on God or Aliens.
Chantal: which is beautiful and wanted but we should be patient if we cannot find out certain things... we will with time
Corona Anatine: and how would we actually determine whetter aliens designed the gene pattern or not
Max Chatnoir: And it doesn't help!
Corona Anatine: until those alines are actually met
Areyn Laurasia: would you even know them if you met them?
herman Bergson: I wished this would happen one day Corona....
Chantal: Areyn
Ciska Riverstone: if it helps to ease fear until the questions are found why not call it god?
Max Chatnoir: Well, I think it's an interesting phenomenon, and I love science fiction as entertainment or speculation.
Corona Anatine: well those who could visit this systtem would presumable y have the tech
Ciska Riverstone: sorry- answers
Daruma Boa: I guess we  humans have to learn more in life. Perhaps we should connect all on earth and work together without wars. Perhaps that gives us the "enlightenment" and answers we all need.
herman Bergson: Why not call it AUDI or General Motors Ciska? :-)
Areyn Laurasia: it's impossible.. there are wars because of religions
Max Chatnoir: I think that smart technological species may wind up killing themselves before they ever get off planet.
Areyn Laurasia: god, aliens, atheists.. they are just labels for something we don't understand yet
Ciska Riverstone: if that helps ;)
Chantal: Because I wouldn't call it wurlip either... god is nothing
Daruma Boa: ja areyn thats the thing to learn.
Ciska Riverstone: yes areyn
Corona Anatine: and actually my thoughts were relevant Herman - the diagram shows 'can religion fix todays problems' - note the dive int he stats around 2008
herman Bergson: Well....we have to keep one thing in mind....
Ciska Riverstone: you can call it aunt betty if you like that more herman ;)
herman Bergson: Religion is a part of the human culture....
Max Chatnoir: Well, there is a common understanding about "gods" as very powerful beings, so if some individual did make the universe, then...
Corona Anatine: its reflecting presidents and historical/economic things
herman Bergson: We can not deny its existence nor its influence on our existence...
herman Bergson: So we HAVE to question it...
Areyn Laurasia: it's needed to fill a gap, to help explain and understand.. social cohesion
herman Bergson: I donot agree Areyn....
Daruma Boa: but there was no real religion 2015 years ago.
Corona Anatine: max assumes two things a god is singular b god is sentient
herman Bergson: it doesn’t fill any gap nor explains a single thing ....
Max Chatnoir: When you are a little kid, you ask your parents to explain the world.  When you grow up, I think there is a tendency to keep asking that.
Max Chatnoir: No, it doesn't.
Daruma Boa: cos no one anser it really
herman Bergson: it only askes us to BELIEVE it does...
Corona Anatine: of course there was real religion 2015 years ago
Areyn Laurasia: and which religion would that be?
herman Bergson: .
Areyn Laurasia: :)
Daruma Boa: not in a way we do now. we believed in something, but it wasn’t named.
Corona Anatine: first define 'real' religion
Max Chatnoir: And so we think, well, if _I_ can't explain it, some very powerful and omniscient being can.
Corona Anatine: no if nothing else the jewish and vedic religions are far older than 2015 year
herman Bergson: But such thought all lead to an infinite regress Max...
Chantal: Believes in her bed at this point Wishes everyone a good time and thank you Herman and everyone else :)
Max Chatnoir: Exactly.  so don't go there.
Areyn Laurasia: sleep well, Chantal :)
Corona Anatine: night chantal
Chantal: Waves
herman Bergson: Who designed the designer?
Ciska Riverstone: sleep well chantal
Areyn Laurasia: who codes?
Corona Anatine: why does it even have to have a designer
Daruma Boa: that was more a philosophical way. medicine men and scientists these days. they searched active, and tried to find answers. they did not just believe
Max Chatnoir: If I were a protein, I might think that DNA was God.
Daruma Boa: as we do for example.
Areyn Laurasia: because there's a pattern...
Daruma Boa: we only repeat whats in the bible.
Daruma Boa: most do
Areyn Laurasia: if I was a cell, I would think the living organism is God
Corona Anatine: gravity and erosion are not designers but they do form patterns/designs
Max Chatnoir: The rules may only be understood from outside of the system, and we can't GET outside of the system we are in.
Max Chatnoir: so we may have to put up with learning what we can.
herman Bergson: No, we can not go beyond our brain Max....
Daruma Boa: and we have to keep our mind clear
Daruma Boa: without patterns
Max Chatnoir: But not empty.  :-)
Areyn Laurasia: why don't people search for the truth instead of getting lost with labels?
Daruma Boa: with patterns and old learnings and not accepting new things we can not find anything
herman Bergson: That is a serious problem Areyn.....
Daruma Boa: hi rodney^^^
Max Chatnoir: Well, it's like the multiverse thing that Herman referred to.
Corona Anatine: what truth would that be areyn the truth a truth or your truth
Rodney Handrick: Hi Daruma
herman Bergson: for in your remark you suggest that there exists some one single thing named the truth
Areyn Laurasia: all versions of it
Max Chatnoir: That doesn't seem like the best way to account for the value of the universal constants that we see around us.
Corona Anatine: all versions of truth [do you not see the flaw in that statement
Max Chatnoir: The mass of the hydrogen atom, and so forth, are just right.
Max Chatnoir: So two possibilities is that there are universes where it isn't just right.
Corona Anatine: just right for what ?
Areyn Laurasia: duality of nature
Max Chatnoir: Or that for reasons we don't understand yet, it has to be that way.
Areyn Laurasia: There's no best way, just a continuous search for answers
herman Bergson: Question is, Max, has there be a reason.....
Max Chatnoir: Just right for being able to generate the higher elements.
herman Bergson: the concept of 'reason' is our mental construct...
herman Bergson: matter just is....period...I could say
Max Chatnoir: Well, maybe it just IS.
Max Chatnoir: LOL
Max Chatnoir: Yes.
Corona Anatine: do you know how higher elements are formed max?
Areyn Laurasia: when stars die?
Max Chatnoir: by nuclear fusion in stars?
Corona Anatine: partly yes
Max Chatnoir: I'm not a physicist, however.
Corona Anatine: yes coversion of matter by fusion
Corona Anatine: and then helium to oxygen
Corona Anatine: etc up to iron
herman Bergson: And what should that mean Corona?
Corona Anatine: anything beyond iron requires supoernova
Door Deluxe Plus: Valcyrie Resident has just entered your land !
Max Chatnoir: Good thing carbon is small.  :-)
herman Bergson: very nice, but what does it mean in relation to atheism?
Corona Anatine: amazingly enough elemental rarity correlates to star formation frequencies
Corona Anatine: i am a 'really don’t care about godist ' so have no idea
herman Bergson: ok :-)
Areyn Laurasia: when one starts of thinking is there a god or is there not a god, are they asking the right question?
Corona Anatine: no
Corona Anatine: because until we define 'god' the question has no meaning
Areyn Laurasia: and what if, in the end.. god and science are one? :)
herman Bergson: You know Areyn....this god idea.....we are stuck with it due to culture and history....
Max Chatnoir: I agree.  If we were descended from something other than primates, it might be different.  Or maybe not.
herman Bergson: But if you just forget about it...the whole debate becomes so meaningless
Corona Anatine: indeed herman
herman Bergson: So..this "believing in a god" is a psychological issue....
Corona Anatine: we can only put forward the p most likely explanation given the known and available evidence to date
herman Bergson: to begin with...
Corona Anatine: science has no 'end' as such
Max Chatnoir: Well, science is a way of looking at the world, and describing reality.  There are things it can't tell us.  Like how should be treat one another.
Max Chatnoir: That's what philosophy is for:  truth, beauty and goodness.
herman Bergson: No MAx....
Corona Anatine: well how we should treat each other can be subject to mathematical equations
Max Chatnoir: No?
herman Bergson: I wouldn't look for truth as a philosopher :-)
Corona Anatine: it says nothing about how se should
Max Chatnoir: yes, but those equations might be based on nonscientific assumptions.
Areyn Laurasia: everyone has their own truths, why must there be only one? :)
Corona Anatine: wher eis the dividing line science/non science
herman Bergson: I would look for understanding...
Daruma Boa: true areyn
Daruma Boa: i think there can not be only one
Daruma Boa: life is too complex for that
herman Bergson: really create a huge problem here...!!!!
Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
herman Bergson: Take this....
Areyn Laurasia: sorry about that.. I was just thinking aloud :)
herman Bergson: I say A is TRUE....that is my truth...
Daruma Boa: and we all have to life with that answer
herman Bergson: You say NOT-A is true, that is your truth...
Daruma Boa: that there arte many answers
Daruma Boa: and more than one truth
herman Bergson: Now we live in contradicting worlds....that can not be true ^_^
Corona Anatine: but only one of the two A or not a are actually true externally
Areyn Laurasia: we do actually...
Corona Anatine: regradles sof which is right only one of the two can be
herman Bergson: To be more specific...I say the earth is flat, You Areyn say that the earth is a globe...
Max Chatnoir: None of the worlds great social systems is without flaw.
Corona Anatine: and..
herman Bergson: Which truth is the truth here???
Max Chatnoir: Great meaning governing a lot of people.
Max Chatnoir: Capitalism can be brutal.
Areyn Laurasia: yes, the earth is flat on your screen and on a map, but it's real shape is a globe.. both holds true
Max Chatnoir: Communism can be brutal.
Max Chatnoir: Socialism can be brutal.
herman Bergson: Hold on cheat !!!!
herman Bergson: all of a sudden you come up with the REAL shape...
Ciska Riverstone: it always depends on the reference system
Corona Anatine: actaully its not a globe in space-time
Areyn Laurasia: *smiles*
herman Bergson: so that is the REAL truth? :-))
Areyn Laurasia: no..
Max Chatnoir: But that's because you can get outside of it, Areyn.
.: Beertje :.: sorry it's late...I have to go to sleep
Areyn Laurasia: the truth is it's based on the context ;)
Ciska Riverstone: sleep well beertje
Daruma Boa: night beertje
.: Beertje :.: goodnight and thank you Herman
Daruma Boa: welterusten
Corona Anatine: nite Beertje
herman Bergson: Sweet dreams Beertje :-)
Areyn Laurasia: good night Beertje
.: Beertje :.: welterusten:)
Rodney Handrick: goodnight beertije
Ciska Riverstone:
Max Chatnoir: Goodnight, little bear.  :-)
herman Bergson: WEll..I think it might the the subject of the next look at the psychology of believing...
Ciska Riverstone:
Daruma Boa: oh ja. interesting^^
Max Chatnoir: Sounds like fun.  :-)
Corona Anatine: okies
Areyn Laurasia: do I need to bring a gag next class? :)
herman Bergson: Oh yes IS fun :-)
Corona Anatine: thanks herman good presentation
Ciska Riverstone whispers: (and finding out atheiss believe too ;) )
Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
herman Bergson: Why should you Areyn ? ^_^
Areyn Laurasia: think I'm more of a somethingist...
Daruma Boa: thank you herman. see u thursday. good night and welterusten^^
Areyn Laurasia: goes and hunt codons..
herman Bergson: You are quite something indeed Areyn ^_^
Max Chatnoir: Thanks, Herman.  This always goes so fast!
Areyn Laurasia: lol...
Areyn Laurasia: I want to challenge the way I think
herman Bergson: Thank you all again....
Ciska Riverstone: thank you all - good day or night folks
Areyn Laurasia: of course.. most of the time.. I don't even know what I'm thinking... need to find structure
herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
Max Chatnoir: Oh, I'm suspecting the stability of the GC pair.  ALL of the codons that are only GC are four-blocks.
Rodney Handrick: Thanks Herman
Max Chatnoir: All of the codons that are AT are two blocks.
Corona Anatine: as are cg
Max Chatnoir: So somewhere in there is an explanation.
Corona Anatine: an explanation of randomness
herman Bergson: You figure out the code, Max, and tell us next time :-))
Corona Anatine: more plausible from the alien visitor idea is chromosome 2
Areyn Laurasia: why must there be an alien involved?
Corona Anatine: there doenst
Max Chatnoir: Well, I have a preference for natural explanations.
Corona Anatine: but if the idea has any plausbile basis
Areyn Laurasia: this would be a fun puzzle to solve
Corona Anatine: then chromosome two would be the place to statrt looking
Max Chatnoir: I'll try to find a link and send it to Herman.
Max Chatnoir: I don't think we need aliens for chromosome 2.
Corona Anatine: we dont
herman Bergson: This idea of aliens doesnt answer a thing....
Corona Anatine: but if there wer ealines inlvoled
Max Chatnoir: No, it isn't helpful.
Corona Anatine: then that would be the place to look
herman Bergson: It is a lovely thought, appealing....but makes no sense at all :-)
Areyn Laurasia: blocks of 4.. blocks of 2... 42!!! The answer to everything
Max Chatnoir: Yes, it's an entertaining notion.
herman Bergson: But we LOVE consipacy theories...
herman Bergson: conspiracy
Max Chatnoir: LOL.  I didn't notice that.  good for you!
herman Bergson: But philosophically totallly uninteresting....
Max Chatnoir: and scientifically uninteresting.
Max Chatnoir: Unless there is an alien at hand...
herman Bergson: yes...for it moves the question just to another station...
Max Chatnoir: Exactly.
herman Bergson: Yes Max.....I already have been waiting for the alien all my life...
Corona Anatine: goodnight all
Areyn Laurasia: goodnight Corona..
herman Bergson: but so far...they only made it to Hollywood...
Max Chatnoir: Goodnight, Corona.
Rodney Handrick: Goodnight Corona
Max Chatnoir: Have you read The Book of Strange New Things?
Areyn Laurasia: what would the code lead to? an improved species?
Max Chatnoir: Well, the code has already lead to lots of species.  :-)
herman Bergson: The Book of Strange New Things? No...what is it?
Max Chatnoir: It's about a missionary to a distant planet.
Max Chatnoir: Lovely little novel, and doesn't fall into any of the usual plot twists.
Rodney Handrick:
herman Bergson: a missionary...oh my....what belief was he representing?
Max Chatnoir: That's it.
Max Chatnoir: Some kind of fairly conservative Christian, I think.  That isn't really clear.
Areyn Laurasia: isn't reality already quite strange these days?
herman Bergson: yes is....
herman Bergson: But I discovered one thing....
herman Bergson: it is mainly due to our misconception of ourselves...
Max Chatnoir: That's probably a good insight.
herman Bergson: We have a brain....we think and we believe that it is a consistent machine...
herman Bergson: but it isn't at all....
herman Bergson: it is one big mess of conflicting systems
Areyn Laurasia: yet there is a pattern in there somewhere
herman Bergson: emotions, rationality, logic, big mess :-)
Max Chatnoir: Yes, that's a good point.  And I'm sure it influences the kinds of gods that we create.
herman Bergson: yes there is we call it the "Self"
herman Bergson: Oh yes Max....
Areyn Laurasia: do people with the same kind of religion have the same kind of skull structure?
Max Chatnoir: Maybe the same kinds of social structure.
herman Bergson: The fact that we have some idea about a "SELF", keeps us in one piece mentally....
Rodney Handrick: That's a new one...
herman Bergson: skull structure????Areyn....
Rodney Handrick: Birds of a feather?
herman Bergson: Are you back to Phrenology???:-)
Areyn Laurasia: remember some previous class? about thoughts
Areyn Laurasia: how the skull shape the brain.. and how the brain shapes the thoughts?
Max Chatnoir: I think that fact that we talk to ourselves is interesting.
herman Bergson: The skull has developed through the millions of years indeed...
herman Bergson: I think I'll get back to that Max......for that is a funny issue indeed
Max Chatnoir: So is there more than one self in there to talk to?
Max Chatnoir: And if we talk to God, is that another self?
herman Bergson: lol....a classic Max....
herman Bergson: When I say..I talk to myself....
Areyn Laurasia: some people believe the God is the person him or herself :)
Max Chatnoir: In which case, it's not surprising that we can't agree on the nature of God.
herman Bergson: then this "I" must be someone else than this "myself"
Max Chatnoir: Well, I can see that next week will be interesting.
herman Bergson: Will be next Thursday , Max :-)
herman Bergson: Might keep yu locked in for the rest of the week.:-))
Max Chatnoir: Oh, right!  I have to take my husband to the dentist, so I'll be trying out my SL mobile.
Max Chatnoir: See you Thursday, then.
herman Bergson: OK..:-))
Max Chatnoir: Bye Areyn and Rodney.
Areyn Laurasia: good night
Rodney Handrick: Bye Max
Rodney Handrick: See you later
Areyn Laurasia: it's such a coincidence to just listen to dna music.. come to philosophy class and find a mention of dna again..

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