ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Alecks Gates on October 24, 2011 at 11:53am

First I would like to point out that, by definition, being an Atheist doesn't mean you don't believe in spirits, ghosts, magic etc.

One reason many people believe in things like this is simply because they see things they cannot explain and look for some sort of explanation.  Most of it is, of course, complete crap.  A lot of it is no different than believing in a deity.

However, there are some people out there who do believe in it and try to use scientific means to explain some of these things.  I have seen some things I cannot explain, and although I don't jump to silly conclusions, it's also not correct to completely dismiss these things without a proper explanation.

The only thing that's come close to good credibility for me is the show Ghost Hunters, where they 1) Debunk whatever they can and 2) Attempt to capture evidence (not proof).  They have never once, in my time of watching, declared absolute proof in anything.  The show offers the perfect example of keeping an open mind about things and not forming an opinion in any direction without proof.  Do they do hoaxes to convince people?  The possibility is there, but I don't get that sort of vibe from the show.

Disregarding observations is just as bad as making up wild stories to explain them.  Imagine if Galileo looked into the stars and never changed his opinion about anything.

Comment by Troy Gorsline on October 24, 2011 at 11:29am
So here is my question based on the discussion on magic and spirits. I know folks who are convinced in the presence of ghosts/spirits. As there are now three Parinormal Activity films, there is popularity to this. Are these believes in occurances all hoaxes and fixes? Is the believe, or desire for belief, so strong that the mind convinces itself of its truth?
Comment by Susan Stanko on October 22, 2011 at 7:07am
I had a friend in high school who I discussed this with.  He quickly came to the conclusion that he is also an atheist.
Comment by Joseph P on October 22, 2011 at 6:57am

Ugh, not Chris Angel.  He's a freaking hack.  He uses stooges for damned near every trick on the show.

 

There's a trick he does where he walks on water across a pool full of people.  Every single person on the set is a plant.  Same with the trick in which he rips a girl in half while she's lying on a park bench.  Every single person in the crowd is a plant.

 

Go look up stuff from a real magician: Penn and Teller or James Randi.  I'm not up on all of my mentalism techniques.  There are people who can teach you to do cold-reading, which is what the woman talking to you about your dead ancestors was doing.  I'm sure you think you didn't give away any information, but there are ways to give vague generalities and have the person you're reading fill in the details without even realizing they're doing so.

Comment by John Burtonclay on October 22, 2011 at 1:51am
What happens when we're in our wooden overcoat is a fascinating subject, and none of us can really know the answer, if there is one. It's like religion. No tangible evidence to back up any of the beliefs. Some believe there are other dimensions where we go. I met a lady who calls herself a channeller, and she told me things she couldn't possibly have known about people I've known, but are now brown bread. I gave her no clues, and she didn't go fishing either. Being the sceptic I am, this had me puzzled, as she appeared to be actually communicating with them, as if they were in the room. I questioned how she does this, and she didn't really know for sure, but assured me that they were there, and what did I think. I told her my best guess was that she might be able to somehow access my memory, even things I'm not consciously aware of unless reminded.  In my lifetime, I have met only one other person, who called himself a faith healer. He could tell you all your ailments with no clues whatsoever, and was spot on, as if he could read your mind. Could even tell if you were worried about something. I don't believe that the spirits of dead people are drifting around out there in some sort of limbo, and can be contacted. The channeller thinks there could be parallel universes, or other dimensions we can't see. She was raised a cacko, but gave up on that, but likes the Buddhists very much. I agreed with this, as they don't kill everything like the Christians do with their dominion. I believe when we kick off, that's it. Nothing. No judgement day, or anything else. If I have a soul, then so does a worm. When you see a dead flyblown sheep in a field, do you wonder where it is now? In heaven? Or is that just for humans? I believe that many people stick doggedly to religion because they're afraid not to because of the threats of eternal punishment dished out by the church.  We all know it exploits fear. Also, when all seems lost, and you're on your own, there's God to comfort you. I have no doubt that human beings need some sort of support, I don't know what to call it, maybe spiritual, but it sure isn't religion. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here. I can't really explain it in a logical way, but I sometimes feel it myself. Like a child who wants his mother. What do others think about all this? I know some of it doesn't sound rational.  John B.
Comment by G Smith on October 21, 2011 at 11:01pm
I am no more fearful of the year 2111 than I was during 1811.  :)
Comment by Natalie A Sera on October 21, 2011 at 10:57pm
Julie, I don't fear non-existence, because I have already been there. Think of all the billions of years since the formation of the planet, and the millennia of recorded history, and I wasn't here for ANY of it! And I won't be here for whatever the future brings, either. Non-existence isn't painful or scary -- it's just nothing. But it does make me value my life here on earth, and I figure I got a chance to enjoy things and actually HAVE a life. Good enough!
Comment by Lisa Schmidt on October 21, 2011 at 10:31pm
I don't think it has anything to do with age, I think it has to do with vulnerability.  I mean, look at the ones religion goes after...kids, the elderly, prisoners, addicts, the grieving...basically, the vulnerable.
Comment by Julie Carter on October 21, 2011 at 10:18pm

Funny, I just started reading Penn's book last night!

 

But yes, I think everyone sees that the older you get, the more likely you are to believe in god. Fear. That's all it is. And you know, I fear it too (non-existence), but just because I KNOW that this is all I have, and when I die, I will cease to exist. I'm not sure why I fear it, because it's not like I'll know the difference at that point! Lol.

Comment by Joseph P on October 21, 2011 at 10:16pm
What a stupid thing to say.  What does being comfortable with something have to do with reality?
 

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