I’ve been a member of Atheist Nexus for about three months and have finally summoned the courage to post on a subject dear to my heart but sure to cause a bit of controversy.
I know that we do not believe in a supreme deity, or we would not be members of this group, but why do so many of us refuse to believe in anything that relates to the supernatural?
Consider Edgar Cayce, and Peter Hurkos. Edgar Cayce attributed his remarkable power to Jesus, but because he believed that Jesus was the source of his talent does not necessarily make it so. Cayce’s revelations could just as easily be explained if you believed in a parallel universe. Peter Hurkos is considered by experts to have been the world's foremost psychic of the 20th century and he attributes his “gift” to be from a fall off a ladder and landing on his head. Whatever the reason for paranormal experiences there is no denying the fact that there is more to our physical world than what can be seen or felt with our five senses, and all of them can be attributed to forces other than to a supreme deity.
I, for one have had some very strange things happen to me and I’d like to talk about them in future posts. But for now would anyone like to relate his or her story? We can talk about things like: out of body experiences, precognition, extra sensory perception, miraculous healing, and other paranormal activities. The only thing I would ask is that we stay away from subjects such as flying saucers, little green men, and topics that might land us in a funny farm. There are other forums for those subjects. What I would like to know is: “Why do “believers” attribute anything they can’t explain to a God when there are so many other explanations, and what are the other possible explanations?”
I have never had any kind of strange thing happen to me, but if I did, being an Atheist, I wouldn't attribute it to any kind of 'god'. I don't know, and with just trying to live my day-to-day life, I don't spend any time trying to figure it out or wonder. There are some things we just don't know. Like Andy said, there is some natural explanation for them that we just don't know yet (paraphrasing him).
" What I would like to know is: “Why do “believers” attribute anything they can’t explain to a God when there are so many other explanations, and what are the other possible explanations?”
Because that's the way they were brought up/trained as children/brainwashed/whatever. For most people, it's undoubtedly easier to simply go along with the crowd/majority than risk currying disfavor with an unpopular view.
Why do most believers stop believing that Santa's real as they move thru childhood, but not God? Answer: because that's the societal norm here. Pretty much that simple in most cases.
Your right of course. I guess my question is more of a rhetorical one, but it's just that I can't believe you can't get through to people. It's not that I'm trying to convince someone not to believe in their god, but just to open their mind to new ideas. I guess it's like trying to convince a Democrat the Republicans have all the solutions and visa-versa.
"Open their mind", the mind exists because the brain does. I think you are travelling towards the minefield that is conciousness. About which no one agrees
I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?
I did some research on Edgar Cayce and Peter Hurkos. Read the following on Cayce: http://skepdic.com/cayce.html
This link is about Hurkos: The section is titled: Enter the Dutchmen http://swallowingthecamel.blogspot.com/2009/04/psychic-detectives-p...
Here's something to think about: How come you never see a headline like 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
How to Tell If a Psychic Is Fake? If they say they are a Psychic...
I read the links. It was interesting, but there were no annotations to verify what was said, so who knows how true the statements are. On the other hand there are many websites that will contradict the information you provided. Peter Hurkos, for example has been recognized by Interpol and had been an adviser for several US presidents and even a Pope had praised Hurkos for the work he has done.
Our beliefs are hard to change :)
I'd highly recommend Michael Talbot's book "The Holographic Universe." Perhaps you've read it. He sort of combines quantum mechanics, M-Theory, and String Theory with ancient mysticism to come with these descriptions of nature and the universe that may strike a resonance with you.
Just as you pointed out earlier that the paranormal could be explained if you consider parallel realities in that we do not perceive the apparitions of dead relatives, but rather genetic clones alive and well in a parallel universe. That the transceiver of the signal (our brain) can perhaps go out of kilter and cause this instance to happen.
Kaku talks about "decoherence" which is supposedly the boundary that keeps something like that from happening, but whether this boundary could be dissolved is a deeper question. So, here's another take you may be intersted in:
Well, in that same way, if you take the broad world of the so-called mysteries -- parapsychological, shamanic, extraterrestrial, and so forth -- and hypothesize another spatial dimension, then suddenly all these mysteries become trivial. They are easily done. Locked boxes are opened; future events are discerned; lost objects are found. This sort of thing becomes quite the ordinary run of things if we hypothesize dimensions hidden from ordinary experience. And this is, in fact, what String Theorists rave about constantly, that there truly is a higher plane that is the ground of all being, the foundation of all universes wherever they may reside in space and time.
M-Theorists may call it "11-dimensional hyperspace," Hindus call it "Brahman," but it's essentially one and the same. So, I agree with you. I believe a lot of atheists overlook this and opt for more reductionist models to explain these things which is why so many of them in this thread of attributed "magic" to "sleight of hand" without digging a little deeper into the topic. They're thinking provisionally without grabbing for the bigger picture.
Another book you may be interested that covers "out of body experiences" as well as the "near-death-experience" phenomenon is Dr. Rick Strassman's book "DMT: The Spirit Molecule." Just a suggestion.
Not all theists attribute the "unexplainable" to their god, but it is amusing to me how many theists actually believe in all sorts of "paranormal" things.
I am going to try to answer your question: "... why do so many of us refuse to believe in anything that relates to the supernatural?"
I consider myself to have some level of skepticism, so I do not define things I do not have an explanation for as "unexplainable", I would rather say "things we do not have an explanation for, yet".
The history of human progress has so many instances where things that now have an explanation were considered "supernatural" before, for example what we know now as "seizures" were thought to be "demonic possessions".
So, I will gladly take the "I don't know" position before entertaining the belief in something readily labelled as supernatural.