Thank you for those few kind words welcoming me to the group. I take it you are an Englishman who lives in SW England so not too far from Cornwall/Devon area. Maybe you have visited Down House in Kent. Darwin is my all time hero and if I've got to worship anybody it's him. What a guy! Keith
I'm impressed by your short description of your childhood and beyond. I'm always curious to hear how so many different people, from many different backgrounds can arrive at the same realization and conclude a truth so simple and natural as Atheism. Thank you.
Well i would be delighted to do such a thing in the near future as i think that the debate is one of our greatest and most important battlefields in all our struggle to destroy the ideotic and manipulative statements made by men and women of Religion, therefore we must be prepared to engage into debates and discussions in order to cut down the risk of infecting uneducated minds with the supersticious and often dangerous comments by the clergy of any kind and confession. Yet for now i wish get at first a full grasp of how this website functions. Thank you for this most generous offer which i gladly accept and also for this warm welcome to this site :)
Dr. Meaden, in your essay you wrote "that gods exist nowhere but inside people's heads." Although that is certainly true, there is a sense in which the same can be said about the subject of your scientific research.
Our sole method for acquiring new knowledge is perceptual. But this means that, in a sense, we can only ‘know’ appearances, those shadows in Plato’s cave (The Republic, Book VII). Specifically, our brains interpret the input from our sensory organs (the direct conduits from the external world to the internal world of the mind) to make an ad hoc model of the outside world. Thus, the brain does not “see” the world in-itself, it is not immediately aware of it in a complete or an unfiltered state. In fact, evolution has only designed us to detect selected aspects of the world around us. Consequently, our sensorium only accepts those specific properties of the external world that stimulate sense organs (thermally, mechanically, chemically, or electromagnetically); and these inputs are conveyed only as neuronal electrical activity. In other words, all knowledge is originally based on sense perception (involving five different modalities, i.e., tactile, olfactory, gustatory, visual and auditory) which, in turn, is a function of a series of linked electrochemical transductions carried out by and modified within the human nervous system. This neuronal signal transmission (involving ion fluxes across semipermeable neuronal membranes and chemical flows across neuronal synapses) is reliable enough to ensure our survival within a hostile environment but not reliable enough to establish absolute certainty concerning the validity of any particular perception or the unequivocal authenticity of any particle of knowledge based thereon. Essentially, genetically preconceived and perceptually derived mental concepts are the only reality we can know. In short, the only reality that exists for us is essentially a virtual one in that all knowledge is based on modified sense data, on how the evolved brain, based on its pre-existing functional dispositions, handles sensory information. Consequently, all of our knowledge of the world is invariably and necessarily indirect, filtered, and phenomenal; and, as such, it is always incremental and tentative.
And to say that there is a world outside people's heads is highly probable but not absolutely proveable.
Thanks so much for the welcome! I really appreciate it! :-) I really DO hope to find people here that can have intelligent conversations that don't descend into name calling and upsetting confrontations. I really want some solid relationships from people that can have mature, adult conversations about intellectual topics that are above the sixth grade equivalent of religious babble. I will check out Origins! Thanks! :-)