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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is belief in God about whom you know nothing directly worth having?
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I've just read a book called Sapiens in which the author argues that the success of homo sapiens derives from our inclination to believe myths - and to act on those beliefs.

Yes, I agree it is a very good book. I listened to it recently. There were several places where I would like to have argued with him, but the chapter on capitalism was particularly interesting I thought.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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rolyn

Thank you for your interesting reply. Can't think of anything further to add at the moment!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Maybe we'd have been better off in small tribes, competing with other apes.

The writer of 'Sapiens' thinks so too ...

"The forager economy provided most people with more interesting lives than agriculture or industry do. Today, a Chinese factory hand leaves home around seven in the morning, makes her way through polluted streets to a sweatshop, and there operates the same machine, in the same way, day in, day out, for ten long and mind-numbing hours, returning home around seven in the evening in order to wash dishes and do the laundry. Thirty thousand years ago, a Chinese forager might leave camp with her companions at, say, eight in the morning. They’d roam the nearby forests and meadows, gathering mushrooms, digging up edible roots, catching frogs and occasionally running away from tigers. By early afternoon, they were back at the camp to make lunch. That left them plenty of time to gossip, tell stories, play with the children and just hang out. Of course the tigers sometimes caught them, or a snake bit them, but on the other hand they didn’t have to deal with automobile accidents and industrial pollution."

That's the story of a single subspecies.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
rolyn

Thank you for your interesting reply. Can't think of anything further to add at the moment!

Had just got in from work and felt it to be slightly ramble-like.
Not easy to articulate as to why one feels the existence a greater being or greater meaning .
Along with everything else it must have something to do with the wonder of it all, coupled with the absolute perculiarness of ourselves...
Good /Bad , Order/Chaos, the possibilities and permutations are endless. Unless we are to say that the death of us and our planet is the end of everything ?

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rolyn
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Another thought that has just entered my transparent walls...
It goes like this, as is it the point where science and religion overlap that I find most interesting.
Going with the notion of our death, and that of the Earth, with all it's richness of biodiversity gone, (because we shat all over it or the sun blows up etc.). Along comes secularism and comforts itself with an Ah well, there's bound to be other life out there somewhere .

But Hey, what if we never aquire tangible evidence that there is actually any other life anywhere other than here, doesn't this then make such sentiment akin to religion of sorts, a hope based on fancy?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Another thought that has just entered my transparent walls...
It goes like this, as is it the point where science and religion overlap that I find most interesting.
Going with the notion of our death, and that of the Earth, with all it's richness of biodiversity gone, (because we shat all over it or the sun blows up etc.). Along comes secularism and comforts itself with an Ah well, there's bound to be other life out there somewhere .

But Hey, what if we never aquire tangible evidence that there is actually any other life anywhere other than here, doesn't this then make such sentiment akin to religion of sorts, a hope based on fancy?

[Confused] Who comforts themselves that life on other planets will continue after our ends?
Straw argument, IMO.
I think it is silly making comparisons like that. This false idea of equivalence does no argument any good. Personally, I think it does faith no good. One believes what they do for the reasons they have worked out and that should be sufficient for them.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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simontoad
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Before I start... an ancient forager starting work at 8am? I find that hard to believe. More like first light.

My adult conversion experience involved an overwhelming feeling that there was a power for good in the world beyond humanity. That's the bedrock of my faith and my antidote to self-loathing and despair. People might say that it was the product of anti-depressants and intense emotional pain, and that's OK. They are probably wrong, but why can't everybody be right?

The New Testament and especially the writings of Paul caused me to make the intellectual identification of my power for good with the Triune God. My youth as an Australian Sectarian Catholic made that easier.

For me then, most theological speculation is a waste of time, but it can be diverting. I think someone said something about how in the past they wanted to know all about God so they could see what's going to happen in the future. That was a revelation to me. I know it sounds incredibly naive, and as a consumer of history especially the middle ages I should hang my head in shame, but it bought home to me just how much the quest to know God can be a quest to control God and everyone else.

What a pack of bastards some of those theologians could be.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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Lamb Chopped
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I suspect the time the ancient foragers got up depended on whether they had young kids. Just like today, really...

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Martin60
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Aye, we are those same staggeringly successful story telling monkeys.

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Love wins

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That's the story of a single subspecies.

The last human species.

We wiped out all the others, all easily as clever as us - but without the story telling capacity which allows us to wipe out all that's in front of us. Animal species too, of course.

"No sooner had they arrived at a new location than the native population became extinct. The last remains of Homo soloensis are dated to about 50,000 years ago. Homo denisova disappeared shortly thereafter. Neanderthals made their exit roughly 30,000 years ago. The last dwarf-like humans vanished from Flores Island about 12,000 years ago. They left behind some bones, stone tools, a few genes in our DNA and a lot of unanswered questions. They also left behind us, Homo sapiens, the last human species.'

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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There's no evidence we wiped them out. That we ever met. There were far too few of any of us.

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Love wins

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There's no evidence we wiped them out. That we ever met. There were far too few of any of us.

The evidence is in the here and now - we continue to wipe out species after species of wild animals.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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?

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Love wins

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
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AIUI many homo sapiens carry some Neanderthal genes. There is a theory that these genes protect against schizophrenia.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That's the story of a single subspecies.

The last human species.

We wiped out all the others, all easily as clever as us - but without the story telling capacity which allows us to wipe out all that's in front of us. Animal species too, of course.

"No sooner had they arrived at a new location than the native population became extinct. The last remains of Homo soloensis are dated to about 50,000 years ago. Homo denisova disappeared shortly thereafter. Neanderthals made their exit roughly 30,000 years ago. The last dwarf-like humans vanished from Flores Island about 12,000 years ago. They left behind some bones, stone tools, a few genes in our DNA and a lot of unanswered questions. They also left behind us, Homo sapiens, the last human species.'

And if they couldn't do story telling, they weren't as clever as us.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Who comforts themselves that life on other planets will continue after our ends?
Straw argument, IMO.
I think it is silly making comparisons like that. This false idea of equivalence does no argument any good. Personally, I think it does faith no good. One believes what they do for the reasons they have worked out and that should be sufficient for them.

Well I can't names as to exactly who would be reassured to believe that life exists outside of this Planetary Sphere. How then would you explain our human, ( beyond the curious), obsession with trying to find traces of life on places like Mars, Europa or elsewhere in the Cosmos.

It strikes me as odd that you find my line of enquiry 'silly', and appear to want to protect holders of Faith from such nonsense while yourself not professing to hold any Faith.

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simontoad
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# 18096

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I thought Homo Denisova was a tennis player.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
How then would you explain our human, ( beyond the curious), obsession with trying to find traces of life on places like Mars, Europa or elsewhere in the Cosmos.

Curiosity for its own sake is a strong feature in our species.
quote:

It strikes me as odd that you find my line of enquiry 'silly', and appear to want to protect holders of Faith from such nonsense while yourself not professing to hold any Faith.

I do not denigrate faith or those who have it. Nor atheism and those who hold to it. This doesn't preclude questioning aspects of either or points of view of their adherents.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There's no evidence we wiped them out. That we ever met. There were far too few of any of us.

The evidence is in the here and now - we continue to wipe out species after species of wild animals.
And we have tended to wipe out tribal people in many parts of the world. This isn't proof that sapiens wiped out other species, of course, but isn't it suggestive?

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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Moo

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One species wiping out another is not a purely sapiens trait. Many animal species have wiped out other animal species.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
One species wiping out another is not a purely sapiens trait. Many animal species have wiped out other animal species.

Moo

Yes, but humans have specialized in it, haven't they? I look out the window at the barren arable fields, with few birds and animals. OK, this isn't deliberate extirpation, but in some ways, it is worse. Getting a bit o/t now.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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Martin60
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That's a completely different mechanism. Solo man was erectus. Not sapiens. They used fire and eventually cooked. They were gone 100,000 years ago. Story telling didn't wipe them out. As with Neanderthals, whose peak Eurasian population was less than that number too, climate change was a somewhat larger factor.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Will all story telling creatures transcend? Do ALL creatures transcend? Does all creation? In a new heaven and a new Earth? Now? Paradise? Today?

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Love wins

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rolyn
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It seems a sure certainty that our story will be ended just as we have ended for other species'. Therein lies the appeal of an eternal God I suppose.

Daresay our story will live on a longer than our species in the form of various tin can time-capsules floated off into space. Some extra terrestrial might just bump into one of them in the far off future, read our story, and say to itself "Bleepin tough ****"

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
It seems a sure certainty that our story will be ended just as we have ended for other species'. Therein lies the appeal of an eternal God I suppose.

It is also a weakness. "God'll fixit"
"It's all God's Plan" etc.

quote:

Daresay our story will live on a longer than our species in the form of various tin can time-capsules floated off into space. Some extra terrestrial might just bump into one of them in the far off future, read our story, and say to itself "Bleepin tough ****"

Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life. Given the size and age of the universe, it is very likely some of it survived at least as far as we have.
Given the size and age of the universe, it is very unlikely that we'll encounter each other or even each other's debris.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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Martin60
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It's an absolute certainty a thousand times over at least, concurrently, in our galaxy. Myriads. Millions even. And we will never, can never communicate. We will detect watery worlds in goldilocks zones, we will detect biogenic oxygen. In a century or ten. But never talk. Ever. There are no magic materials or power supplies. No fusion. No diamond space elevator cable. We can't even charge our phones with body heat. Ever.

Anyone would think it's designed that way by some Joker ...

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Love wins

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anteater

Ship's pest-controller
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The question that interests me most concerns the specific type of atheist objection, favoured a lot by positivists, and well expressed by Anthony Flew's well-known argument.

And a lot of Christian apologists, especially those who follow the via negativa do tend to do what Flew suggests. And it is my own approach.

So God is not an item in the external universe, is not a being that causes the Sun to rise, Set (and occasionally have a break), etc. So what is God? Unknowable, yes. But if that's all you can say, have you said anything, and why do you believe an unknowable to be a Good Thing? Aren't you secretly admitting that you do know Him, at least to the extent that He is Good?

So you almost end up with a sort of fideism. Because whatever we say about God as Other, we do say all sorts of things about Him: Father, Triune, Cares for the widow and orphan. And we do that by an act of the will to embrace the idea that God (who can presumably do this???) has given a revelation that He knows is the best humanly comprehended revelation that we can get.

And I would agree that this is non-rational. There is, to my knowledge, no good argument to suppose that this is more likely that not.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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agingjb
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"Absolute certainty" can be modified somewhat by comparing the mean time between catastrophes interrupting the progress of a biosphere towards a culture analogous to humanity and the age of Earth.

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Refraction Villanelles

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
The question that interests me most concerns the specific type of atheist objection, favoured a lot by positivists, and well expressed by Anthony Flew's well-known argument.

And a lot of Christian apologists, especially those who follow the via negativa do tend to do what Flew suggests. And it is my own approach.

So God is not an item in the external universe, is not a being that causes the Sun to rise, Set (and occasionally have a break), etc. So what is God? Unknowable, yes. But if that's all you can say, have you said anything, and why do you believe an unknowable to be a Good Thing? Aren't you secretly admitting that you do know Him, at least to the extent that He is Good?

So you almost end up with a sort of fideism. Because whatever we say about God as Other, we do say all sorts of things about Him: Father, Triune, Cares for the widow and orphan. And we do that by an act of the will to embrace the idea that God (who can presumably do this???) has given a revelation that He knows is the best humanly comprehended revelation that we can get.

And I would agree that this is non-rational. There is, to my knowledge, no good argument to suppose that this is more likely that not.

Interesting post. I never quite get the idea of likelihood or probability, in relation to the supernatural. I mean, probability is to do with outcomes, which are usually part of a physical system.

So I don't get how that gets transferred to something non-material or supernatural. I suppose you could say that 'probable' is being used to mean 'I prefer it'.

I think that the idea of the non-falsifiable is being used a lot today on atheist forums and so on. It's not a killer argument, (since you can believe something that can't be falsified), but it seems to reduce many ideas to a kind of equal zero, e.g. tap-dancing unicorns in Alpha Centauri, or more mundanely, the Matrix.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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Martin60
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# 368

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@agingjb. We are average. Our evolution accelerating catastrophes included.

@TheGenerality

To communicate above noise from 100-1,000 LY apparently we'd need 10 PW (a thousand times human energy consumption) - EW (a million). That takes us a ways up and down our spiral arm only. And we'll never even be able to do that. Neither will they. The teeming civilizations in the neighbouring spiral arms are at least 10,000 LY away.

@anteater et al

The only rational argument for the existence of God is the Kalam Cosmological one taken up by William Lane Craig, which I'm surprisingly warming to.

Platinga then gives us the free will defense against the logical problem of evil.

Simple ennit?

Transcending the critiquable apologetics is the Jesus story.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life. Given the size and age of the universe, it is very likely some of it survived at least as far as we have.
Given the size and age of the universe, it is very unlikely that we'll encounter each other or even each other's debris.

I do get that. Look at the night sky away from city lights and you see an incalculable number of shining heat sources, and beyond all that is visible we are to assume there is more and more, on to ad infinitum.

To date our knowledge tells us three main components are necessary for the formation of life, heat, water and amino acids. So it is indeed understandable to believe that infinite lifeform possibilities are in existence but are too far away for us to ever see it or touch it. 'Happy are they who believe without seeing' ?

I know all of this doesn't necessitate the existence of a single Supreme Being but given the apparent pointlessness of infinite random Cosmic chaos it is possible that a species such as ours has been given a unique insight to put a meaning to it.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I know all of this doesn't necessitate the existence of a single Supreme Being but given the apparent pointlessness of infinite random Cosmic chaos it is possible that a species such as ours has been given a unique insight to put a meaning to it.

May I just raise a small quibble about the idea that we have been*given* an insight. We, with our brains having most fortunately evolved to think in a million ways including the abstract, have thought of the ideas. They did not arrive from somewhere or something else, did they.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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rolyn
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I did think twice on using 'given' as it has Godspot * overtones.

Maybe better to say we have 'developed' an insight.

* A pocket in the human brain which some think God purposefully put there in order that we may come to know Her/Him.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I know all of this doesn't necessitate the existence of a single Supreme Being but given the apparent pointlessness of infinite random Cosmic chaos it is possible that a species such as ours has been given a unique insight to put a meaning to it.

May I just raise a small quibble about the idea that we have been*given* an insight. We, with our brains having most fortunately evolved to think in a million ways including the abstract, have thought of the ideas. They did not arrive from somewhere or something else, did they.
My quibble is infinitely large. It isn't possible that we've been given a unique insight (what?) beyond the Incarnation although we've been given a unique Incarnation, just like every other sapient species in our practically infinite universe of infinity from eternity. Nothing else is faithfully reasonable.

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Love wins

Posts: 15126 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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rollyn

I agree that 'developed an insight' works well!


quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It isn't possible that we've been given a unique insight (what?) beyond the Incarnation although we've been given a unique Incarnation,…

First part of that – not too sure about what you mean! Second part – well, each individual’s genetic code is unique; and we could say ‘given’ by our parents, but they cannot choose that code can they.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
rollyn

I agree that 'developed an insight' works well!


quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It isn't possible that we've been given a unique insight (what?) beyond the Incarnation although we've been given a unique Incarnation,…

First part of that – not too sure about what you mean! Second part – well, each individual’s genetic code is unique; and we could say ‘given’ by our parents, but they cannot choose that code can they.
My incarnation isn't THE Incarnation.

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Love wins

Posts: 15126 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
anteater

Ship's pest-controller
# 11435

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lilBuddha:
quote:
Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life.
I'm never convinced by this argument, although it's better than the apes and typewriters one which is pure bullshit.

Maybe it's because I've engaged rather a lot with the probability of large numbers. Maybe you have, but then your assertion is even harder to understand.

In fact I read a book on the probabilities of very large and very small numbers, which dealt a lot with how badly we handle it. Above a certain level we think: Wow, that's so-o-o-o much time and space that everything must not only be impossible but incredibly likely.

I'm not saying I know, because any opinion requires you to place probabilities on life occurring. And that's more or less impossible. So yes, I cannot state as a fact than it is highly unlikely. We just do not know.

But I have no difficulty in believing that it may never have been repeated, and I cannot see what basis for assuming it to be highly likely other than the "everything's possible given 10 or so billion years", which is plainly not true.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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The refutation of that stares you in the mirror. You exist because it started raining here four billion years ago. It's raining on thousands of other worlds. Millions. In our average galaxy. Of hundreds of billions.

You have no rational reason for not being uniformitarian.

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Love wins

Posts: 15126 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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