• Agent Smith
    1.2k
    Imagine you're a neuroscientist, the world expert on neursocience. You're in your lab, its pouring outside, rain falling in sheets with an unusual freqency of lightning & thunder.

    "Good day Mr. Anderson" you say as you greet the new volunteer test subject. You ask Mr. Anderson to take a seat and then proceed to apply the head elctrodes of the ECG machine.

    You turn on the ECG and it records Mr. Anderson's brain's activity. You see a familiar trace on the ECG, that of an awake, conscious human. After about 15 minutes of recording Mr. Anderson's brain, you conclude the experiment. You bid farewell to Mr. Anderson and he leaves the lab.

    You're doing something else now. The lab's empty except for you, not another soul.

    Suddenly, you see a flash of bright light outside the window and the deafening sound of thunder! Your lab has been struck by lightning.

    Your immediate reaction, apart from concerns for your own safety, is whether your lab equipment has been damaged by Zeus' chosen weapon. You check all your equipment one by one. Everything seems ok until you come to the ECG machine.

    There's another recording on the ECG machine. It's because of the thunderbolt. You expect to see some random squiggles but to your shock you discover that the ECG from the lightning bolt is exactly what a normal human brain ECG looks like!

    You're left wondering...a consciousness, but no brain!
  • universeness
    113

    Yeah, a beginning for an average fable/fairy story. Keep going, you might be able to bring back Zeus in a new religion Zeustology. I can see the new places of worship being built all over the world.

    What was it Joeseph Goebbels said:
    "The bigger the lie the more people will believe it, especially if repeated again and again, as truth from authority backed by force"

    You do like sophistry....
  • Raymond
    649
    It's a great beginning of a story! You got a nice writing style! And you're funny!

    Is the measurement of a lightning the same as the 15 minute pattern? Maybe it's a short flash of consciousness.
  • Raymond
    649
    What was it Joeseph Goebbels said:
    "The bigger the lie the more people will believe it,
    universeness


    Yeah... words as small doses of poison. Little by little the "truth" is established. Like the scientific view...
  • Raymond
    649


    I don't think he means to discover Zeus in the lightning... How are you so sure the gods don't exist?
  • universeness
    113


    Didn't expect to be conversing again so soon Raymond but its a different thread so....

    "Yeah... words as small doses of poison. Little by little the "truth" is established. Like the scientific view.."

    Don't you recognise how you keep trying to conflate Science with Politics and/or religion?

    "I don't think he means to discover Zeus in the lightning... How are you so sure the gods don't exist?"

    With Sophistry, you have to interpret intention carefully. It turns out that those who seek power, position, control over others and great wealth etc Never had to fool all of the people all of the time. Some of the time or some of the people all of the time, proved perfectly adequate for their goals.
    I am not accusing Agent Smith of any such motives but I will call out sophistry if I sense it, especially the theist variety.
    The existence of gods is probably the earliest and most successful method used to achieve such goals as I have mentioned.
    From the divine right of Kings to rule to the opiate of the masses. Even in the current book I am reading, Ulysses Grant is writing about the attitude of the Southern states close to the outbreak of the civil war. He writes "For there were people who believed in the 'divinity' of human slavery, as there are now people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the Most High. We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but forbid their practice.'
    This is no game, not funny, not funny at all. More people have died or been killed as a direct cause of religion than for any other reason. The only thing that has a higher death rate is old age.

    I know there are no gods because if they ever existed they would be in our midst, physically.
    Guiding us. There are more planets in the Universe than there are grains of sand on Earth.
    Earth is overcrowded and currently, very badly managed. If there were gods why are they not helping that which they created and therefore would be responsible for.
    They would be the vilest of creature(s)/parent(s) if they existed.
    REMEMBER one of the biggest con tricks religion will attempt to sell you. It goes something like this:

    You are too inferior to know god or even contemplate god. But lucky you, he has sent me and other prophets (in the early times, these were probably my pals) to tell you what his directives are. The directives normally involve you behaving the way dictated to you by gods messengers and first involve you accepting that gods messengers or those you have been told god has declared 'divine' must be given respect, they must be feared, given power, position, wealth etc.
    Your reward as a mere compliant follower will be given to you, AFTER YOU ARE DEAD! and if you don't agree to this then you will BURN IN HELL, FOREVER.
    I think you must be blind to not see the human mind all over this. The need to deceive others to gain advantage was learned from our 'survival of the fittest' inheritance. A lion will sneak up on its prey. Predators come up with all manner of deception to get what they want. Why would humans start any differently? It's only our developing morality and our ability to question the justifications behind the actions of others that allow us to try to create systems and checks that allow us to experience better lives and insist on fair and just treatment for all.
    No god will ever ever ever! deliver such for us, we have to do it for ourselves or we will perish as a species and I would then say with my last breath, 'Good Riddance! our species deserved to perish.'
  • Raymond
    649
    Don't you recognise how you keep trying to conflate Science with Politics and/or religion?universeness

    Science and politics are conflated. In fact, state and Science these days show exactly the same relation as God and society did once. It's taught in school obligatory, and gobally (a wet dream for our religious friends maybe, though I don't think they long for world domination, apart from some weirdos) whether you like it or not, and the science books are the new bible, in fact a whole bunch of bibles, which, when faithfully followed, promise heaven on Earth. Material heaven, that is. And look how a natural paradise has been turned into hell! The planet has never been in a worse shape and the future looks even grimmer. "But science can help us out!" Maybe. Maybe not. But the scientific imperative to seek for new (mostly highly artificially) forms of knowledge is ruling supreme, like the notion of progress. Progress mostly means more of anything, be it in economics, knowledge gathering, career, money making, etc. Inflation rules suppreme.

    What if the gods just created the universe as a joke? Or just without further bothering with us? Who knows their intention? Maybe they can interfere even (by means of the hidden variables of quantum mechanics) if we can't manage ourself to fix the world and the nature on it. A nature fucked up like never before. You could say, why didn't they think about that sooner, before they created the universe, but who says they knew what was about to happen?
  • universeness
    113

    The gods you describe sound like incompetent fools, jokers. Just as well they don't exist.
    Your general sentiment is rather pessimistic. Put the blame where it belongs.
    Don't use fictitious gods as scapegoats for the actions of humans.
    Force our species to take responsibility for their own actions.
    If you want to insist and push the 'hell on Earth' idea then lay the blame correctly, where it belongs and then insist that all effort is made to do better in the future. Be another motivated voice for progressive politics. Speak out against vile ideologies like those of Trump or the clown the UK people elected (Boris Johnstone).
    All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.
    I for one, am willing to accept and even welcome our extinction if we let such happen for whatever reason.
    I welcome death(when my natural time comes) as a harbinger of change.
    I don't seek it because I enjoy life, the happy times and I accept the sad times and the mix of the two.
    I will maintain my optimistic view for my species and do what I can to help improve things.
  • Raymond
    649
    The gods you describe sound like incompetent fools, jokers. Just as well they don't exist.universeness

    Same holds for the people they created! In their own image!
  • Hermeticus
    164


    While what you say of sophistry in general appears agreeable to me, your general stance on theism ignores many of the details concerning the topic of religion.

    For instance the idea of god itself.
    I know there are no gods because if they ever existed they would be in our midst, physically.universeness
    You deny the existence of god on the basis of not existing physical - yet many religious systems do make no claims of any such entity existing. Many of the eastern doctrines view god more akin to a concept - a mysterious force that pervades all beings that makes no claim to an identity of it's own. It's only due to the talking god of the abrahamic tradition that we're so used to "god as an entity".

    If there were gods why are they not helping that which they created and therefore would be responsible for.universeness
    Who ever said that god cares about humans?
    The problem with anti-theists is that almost none of them ever read the source material they are trying to refute. They take the most mainstream understanding that can be found among the common populace - who to the largest degree have no idea about the material as well.

    In the Bible it's not humanity as a whole that is favoured by god but the sons of Israel.
    Everyone who wasn't a child of israel, when the occassion allowed it, was brutally annihilated by that very same god. Reading and understanding the Torah let's us ponder whether any cruelty in the name of religion was much more inspired by tribalism and kinship, rather than divinity itself.

    The wrath of god(s) appears to be a more common topic than their mercy.
    But here's the thing: In most if not all of these occassions, the blame is put on the humans.
    It's one of the central themes in religion; if humans act in a harmful and moraly question way, they get punished by god. And if a society acts in a harmful and moraly questionable way for an extened time, their whole civilization gets wiped out.

    This alone should be reason to question the idea that religion itself is at fault here. If the scriptures that are the basis for the belief do not condone such behaviour, how can the scriptures be the basis of that very behaviour?

    It's only ever the rotten individual that searches for a disguise to his abuse of power. Religion is an easy excuse - but we need not look beyond men to find "something greater than men". A group identity suffices to justify any kind of cruelty, which is perfectly evident in nationalism. A common religion then is merely used as an additional element to cement the idea of "us" versus "them" - but it's by no means a requirement.

    Religion then is merely a tool that the tyrant may misuse to his advantage.
    But if we are to say that this makes religion a bad thing, then we must curse science as well - as it gave the tyrant a much greater set of tools than religion ever did.
  • universeness
    113


    "You deny the existence of god on the basis of not existing physical - yet many religious systems do make no claims of any such entity existing. Many of the eastern doctrines view god more akin to a concept - a mysterious force that pervades all beings that makes no claim to an identity of it's own. It's only due to the talking god of the abrahamic tradition that we're so used to "god as an entity".

    I have many reasons for not believing in god. Apparent inability to physically appear in front of all of the humans they created is only one failing for an omnipotent creature. I have no problem with panpsychism or cosmopsychism or even Diest's or most of the Theosophists, eastern or otherwise. My problem lies with is with Christianity, Islam etc all the way to the even more ridiculous ones like scientology.


    "Who ever said that god cares about humans?"
    Not me! My problem is that humans seem to care about non-existent gods.

    "The problem with anti-theists is that almost none of them ever read the source material they are trying to refute. They take the most mainstream understanding that can be found among the common populace - who to the largest degree have no idea about the material as well."

    I have not read every religious text. I have read the bible cover to cover twice and an English version of the Koran or Quran. I certainly can't quote chapter and verse. I leave that to more subject specialist Atheists like Matt Dillahunty etc. They normally contain and diminish theist's very well on their internet based encounters.

    "In the Bible it's not humanity as a whole that is favoured by god but the sons of Israel.
    Everyone who wasn't a child of israel, when the occassion allowed it, was brutally annihilated by that very same god. Reading and understanding the Torah let's us ponder whether any cruelty in the name of religion was much more inspired by tribalism and kinship, rather than divinity itself."

    Sounds to me like you are trying to find ways to excuse the ethnic cleansing directive issued to old testament prophets. Would it not be more honest to state that such reported directives could only come from an evil god. What does it matter which group of humans it favoured and why. You personally either have a consistent sense of justice or you don't, which is it?

    Specifically in response to: "Reading and understanding the Torah let's us ponder whether any cruelty in the name of religion was much more inspired by tribalism and kinship, rather than divinity itself"

    So where the prophets of the Torah lying when the said 'In the name of god' or something like it.
    If so, what else did they lie about?

    "The wrath of god(s) appears to be a more common topic than their mercy.
    But here's the thing: In most if not all of these occassions, the blame is put on the humans.
    It's one of the central themes in religion; if humans act in a harmful and moraly question way, they get punished by god. And if a society acts in a harmful and moraly questionable way for an extened time, their whole civilization gets wiped out.

    This alone should be reason to question the idea that religion itself is at fault here. If the scriptures that are the basis for the belief do not condone such behaviour, how can the scriptures be the basis of that very behaviour?"

    So, first you state that bad, immoral humans get punished or their whole group destroyed for not stopping such behaviour, due to god being 'wrathful' or 'very angry' with them for their behavior.
    Then you say but that not religions fault its down to humans not interpreting the scripture adequately.
    So it their own fault this fate happened to them.
    How is that different from any dictatorial power like the Nazi's justifying their actions by saying
    'well if they just did what we wanted we would not have destroyed them'
    Would you accept such a justification?

    "It's only ever the rotten individual that searches for a disguise to his abuse of power."
    Yeah, I agree and often their disguise is sackcloth or bishops robe or priestly garb or imam garb etc.

    "Religion is an easy excuse - but we need not look beyond men to find "something greater than men". A group identity suffices to justify any kind of cruelty, which is perfectly evident in nationalism. A common religion then is merely used as an additional element to cement the idea of "us" versus "them" - but it's by no means a requirement."

    I take it you mean people, as you intended to include women when you seek something greater.
    On the contrary, study the lessons of history. Religion is used very deliberately, almost every time,
    by both sides to add divine permission to help justify their case for killing the other sides. Catholic Vs Protestant, Moslem Vs Hindu. KILL KILL KILL, god demands it.
    Don't you think its time to insist humans stop using non-existent gods as a scapegoat to excuse their evil behaviour. If you want to maintain religion and the posit of god then that situation will never stop.

    "Religion then is merely a tool that the tyrant may misuse to his advantage."
    I agree, so lets take it away from such, safer to take it away altogether but never by directive or force, only by consent without threat of punishment for non-compliance. This only works if we become capable of exposing tyrannical behaviour and are not fooled by characters like Donald Trump. Unfortunately, currently, we have nowhere near the required checks and balances in place.

    "But if we are to say that this makes religion a bad thing, then we must curse science as well - as it gave the tyrant a much greater set of tools than religion ever did"

    Nonsense, it's not about cursing, it's about education and justice. Technologies can be as deadly as any religion if used to harm rather than help. Ultimately religion or technology or some combination is quite capable of destroying our species. Does it matter which one succeeds? Let's employ better control. Let's not focus on nonsense like which is better at destruction, religion or technologies produced via scientific effort.
  • universeness
    113


    "Same holds for the people they created! In their own image"

    This just implies you have a low opinion of yourself as you are included in the group you describe, which I hope is not true
  • Raymond
    649
    Religion then is merely a tool that the tyrant may misuse to his advantage.
    But if we are to say that this makes religion a bad thing, then we must curse science as well - as it gave the tyrant a much greater set of tools than religion ever did.
    Hermeticus

    Very true. Without these tools Science would never have been able to establish itself as the dominant worldview. Just like God, it's a story told. And just as people once felt, and still feel, the urge to convert other by force, so does Science, and actually does force people to comply to its imperatives. Science and politics form an unholy combination.

    Not me! My problem is that humans seem to care about non-existent gods.universeness

    Hoho, Scotsman! How do you know they don't exist?
    Measured by scientific standards the don't. But scientific standards are not the only ones. No matter how hard it tries to establish itself as the universal standard. This is the same attitude as the attitude some religious friends seem to have.
  • Raymond
    649
    This just implies you have a low opinion of yourself as you are included in the group you describe, which I hope is not trueuniverseness

    Opinions are just farts puffed into funky existence from assholes. We all puff them once in a while. The gods don't care a second about what we think about them...
  • universeness
    113


    Hee Hee American, I already answered your 'how do you know they don't exist' question, in a previous comment. I can copy it and repost it for you if you need me to but I'm sure you can find it for yourself, it won't be too far amongst the previous comments.
  • universeness
    113


    You have to decide if you favour the philosophy of the well known American philosopher, Harry Callahan (a.k.a Dirty Harry a.k.a Clint East wood) or not.
  • Raymond
    649


    Did that Dirty Harry say that? I thought it was a philosopher! Damn! He's right though. Opinions are like the cigars we smoke and the whiskies we drink. We all like a brand. Are opinions like brands? In a way yes.
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