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Old 12-17-2007, 09:11 AM   #41
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Do I take it then you are agnostic? You find no evidence in the observable universe for a creator, but you also have no evidence there is no creator.

And a second question, about the intangible force/attitude called "love": would you consider "love" to be a kind of evidence different than "evidence in the observable universe" or the "natural world"?
The term "atheist" has such powerful (unwarranted) connotations that I don't drag it out in polite conversation. I used to think I was an agnostic. Technically, there's may be no way to disprove the existence of a God/creator/Thor who chooses to remain hidden. But, since I see no evidence of such a being, and no need for one, the most straightforward thing is believe there is none. That makes me an atheist.

By the way, almost everyone is an atheist. Unless an individual believes in Zeus, he is an atheist regarding Zeus. So, (as has been pointed out elsewhere), Christians are atheists regarding thousands of gods, all with really believable stories of the origin of things, and most with promises of great reward in the hereafter. I just add one more god to the list of gods they don't believe in.

I accept the emotion of "love" for what it is--an emotion, just like hate, greed, etc. I don't think any supernatural being invented these emotions.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:48 AM   #42
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I accept the emotion of "love" for what it is--an emotion, just like hate, greed, etc.
So you agree love exists. But you cannot "see" love. Why do you belive in this thing you cannot see, touch, smell, etc?

You call it an emotion. So you do not believe love is a "force"? You do not believe this thing called "love" can effect changes in the world? Same questions for "hate", "greed", etc.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:41 PM   #43
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So you agree love exists. But you cannot "see" love. Why do you belive in this thing you cannot see, touch, smell, etc?
If you wanted to, you could measure the emotions via neurotransmitters, neural activity, and hormones. You could even induce emotions "artificially." And you could explain these emotions via evolutionary theory -- they're useful (bonding, mating, the fight/flight response, etc).

It's not romantic to reduce emotions to their biological mechanisms, but at least they're not ghosts or mythological creatures -- not that there's anything wrong with those things.
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:05 PM   #44
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"Show me an individual who wears his religion on his sleeve (most Americans), and I'll show you someone who was brainwashed in infancy."

-Zipper from secular Canada 2007.

Although I must admit, we do have our share of [MODERATOR EDIT] up here.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:36 PM   #45
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"Show me an individual who wears his religion on his sleeve (most Americans), and I'll show you someone who was brainwashed in infancy."

-Zipper from secular Canada 2007.

Although I must admit, we do have our share of [MODERATOR EDIT] up here.
that quote alone sums up my ideas of religion....

of course the youth will beleive the same things as their parents if they have it shoved down their throat from day one...its all they know
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:22 AM   #46
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Sort of on topic article in the NY Times today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/18/sc...ed=1&8dpc&_r=1


There is in fact a kind of chicken-and-egg problem with the universe and its laws. Which “came” first — the laws or the universe?
If the laws of physics are to have any sticking power at all, to be real laws, one could argue, they have to be good anywhere and at any time, including the Big Bang, the putative Creation. Which gives them a kind of transcendent status outside of space and time.
On the other hand, many thinkers — all the way back to Augustine — suspect that space and time, being attributes of this existence, came into being along with the universe — in the Big Bang, in modern vernacular. So why not the laws themselves?
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More college students seeking spiritual answers
Old 12-18-2007, 09:03 AM   #47
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More college students seeking spiritual answers

Interesting USA Today article "More college students seeking spiritual answers".

More college students seeking spiritual answers - USATODAY.com

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Old 12-18-2007, 10:00 AM   #48
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So you agree love exists. But you cannot "see" love. Why do you belive in this thing you cannot see, touch, smell, etc?

You call it an emotion. So you do not believe love is a "force"? You do not believe this thing called "love" can effect changes in the world? Same questions for "hate", "greed", etc.
Love, greed, hate are "forces" only in the figurative sense. They are emotions. I believe that if there were no animals, there would be nothing that we call "love" in the universe (and I say "animals" rather than "humans" because it's possible that many of the things higher animals feel may come very close to human emotions. Elephants cry, and chimps murder each other in rages that look an awful lot like human hate).

I believe in lots of things that cannot be adequately defined or described. Beauty, pornography, the taste of a potato chip--none of these things could be described adequately to an individual who had never experienced them directly. But, I don't think these things are physical forces, and I don't believe they created the universe.

The "good news" (gospel!) is that humanity is inexorably moving away from theology and that we, as a species, now largely agree that there are natural explanations for most things (fire, gravity, weather, etc) and that we are in charge of our individual and collective welfare. A thousand years ago, nearly every society looked to spirits and otherworldly explanations for everything that had happened and was going to happen. The enlightenment and the age of reason eclipsed the age of faith. There have been steps backward to be sure--the Arab world was the seat of much academic thought and progress before "events" threw them back into the dark ages (where they largely remain). Similarly, now and again those with a theological bent are ascendant in our own country. But Europe has largely come into the light and won't be going back, and the same is true in much of Asia. In many places where many people still believe in spirits, at least the theology retreats in the face of science and reason over time (though I guess there are still some people who think the earth is 6000 years old and that all the species of the earth lived within walking distance of Noah's house and that they all fit on the ark). Most people of faith pray when they are sick, but they hedge their bets by visiting the doc. Good!

Reason is winning out, but the pace is painfully slow.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:26 AM   #49
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Love, greed, hate are "forces" only in the figurative sense.
One view I take is: emotions = gravity.

I don't really understand gravity - to most people, it just *is*.

The very fact that we have survived this long as a species indicates to me that we:

1) Have just enough 'greed' and 'self-ish-ness' in our DNA to make us fight for our lives, so that our species survives.

2) Have just enough 'love', 'empathy' and 'self-less-ness' in our DNA to make us support our community (even to our own apparent detriment), so that our species survives.

Otherwise, we wouldn't. Survive, that is. Or have that DNA. They seem inseparable to me.

If you learn the rules of gravity (even w/o understanding the why or how), you can generally use it to your advantage, or at least get along with it. But every once in a while, when you least expect it, it sneaks up behind you and wallops you. Greed and Love are like that too.

So, emotions just *are*. I suspect that small differences in the greed/love balance among individuals explains much of the conflict in the world (and this forum!). I also suspect that that conflict is necessary for our survival. Because it *is*.

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Old 12-18-2007, 10:52 AM   #50
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So, emotions just *are*. I suspect that small differences in the greed/love balance among individuals explains much of the conflict in the world (and this forum!). I also suspect that that conflict is necessary for our survival. Because it *is*.
That's the same view I have about religions: they exist, therefore they must have been useful. For some reason, man seems to need gods. My god is the scientific method. I'd be seriously freaked-out if that stopped working. I'd probably even be too afraid to hunt, gather, or procreate if the rules of the universe stopped behaving like I expected them to.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:29 AM   #51
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my daughter asked me what god was - i told her "if you take all the love in the whole world and put it together that is what god is"

she seemed to understand that...

one basic idea that makes sense to me is that energy doesn't disappear, it just changes, so when one dies, why would we assume our energy just ends? it must transform/transfer? - to what is up for debate...
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:36 AM   #52
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one basic idea that makes sense to me is that energy doesn't disappear, it just changes, so when one dies, why would we assume our energy just ends? it must transform/transfer? - to what is up for debate...
Fertilizer isn't good enough for you?

I admit that I put a little reincarnation spin on it for my kid since most of us don't aspire to become fertilizer. I tell her she might become part of a plant, a bird, a cat, etc. She seems to like the idea....
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:40 AM   #53
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yes, that's a good one - but perhaps only explains the exchange of energy for our physical bodies - but the rest of the "energy" we have gotsta to somewhere... since stars are big balls of energy, i like to think one day i could become one - or part of one!
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:58 PM   #54
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The "good news" (gospel!) is that humanity is inexorably moving away from theology and that we, as a species, now largely agree that there are natural explanations for most things (fire, gravity, weather, etc) and that we are in charge of our individual and collective welfare. .
Are you kidding? The biggest news of the past half century has been the unexpected rise of fundamentalism of all stripes. Even Europe is getting a good taste of it thanks to immigration.

Also, inexorable is a boomerang word. Few things appear to be inexorable other than maybe a rock falling to lower ground once it has been dislodged.

Ha
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:18 PM   #55
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Love, greed, hate are "forces" only in the figurative sense. They are emotions. I believe that if there were no animals, there would be nothing that we call "love" in the universe (and I say "animals" rather than "humans" because it's possible that many of the things higher animals feel may come very close to human emotions. Elephants cry, and chimps murder each other in rages that look an awful lot like human hate).

I believe in lots of things that cannot be adequately defined or described. Beauty, pornography, the taste of a potato chip--none of these things could be described adequately to an individual who had never experienced them directly. But, I don't think these things are physical forces, and I don't believe they created the universe...........

So, we have some common ground. We both believe in things unseen. From the above I take it you *do* believe love, hate, etc, exist. They are *real*. I also do not think of love as a physical force, but I do think of it as a force that can effect changes to those it operates on, and through them can change the world we live in, as well as the way we interact with each other. Another way of putting my understanding: love affects what we do, and what we do not do, for and to each other. This is how I understand love as a "force".

Where we may disagree is on "where" or "how" we think this thing called love came to exist.

Various alternatives have been proferred to try to answer "where did matter come from, where did we come from, and where did love come from". I personally was stumped by "where did the *first* matter come from, and how did that matter *first* become life, and why is that life affected by *love*. Not having been raised in a religious household, I had no preconceived explanations.

To make a long-story short, after searching, I myself found Christianity answered those questions more satisfyingly than other explanations.

But I am no theologian, and it is all a Great Mystery.
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:23 PM   #56
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Various alternatives have been proferred to try to answer "where did matter come from, where did we come from, and where did love come from". I personally was stumped by "where did the *first* matter come from,
My best guess would be China.

Ha
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:27 PM   #57
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To make a long-story short, after searching, I myself found Christianity answered those questions more satisfyingly than other explanations.
What I find intriguing is that all of us seem to search for an answer. We *need* to make sense of the world.

Which makes a lot of sense if you believe that we are preprogrammed pattern-matching/prediction engines, like I do.
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:13 PM   #58
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To make a long-story short, after searching, I myself found Christianity answered those questions more satisfyingly than other explanations.
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What I find intriguing is that all of us seem to search for an answer. We *need* to make sense of the world.
Interesting. Despite the fact that I'll debate just about anything at the drop of a hat, I decided long ago that I would not 'debate' anyone on their spiritual beliefs (unless they wanted to, or tried to convert me ). So I agree with Twaddle - we all seem to need something to make sense out of this mystery. So whatever works for an individual is what works.

I think 'love' is just evolution. If a mammalian mother did not 'love' her offspring enough to share her milk, and keep them warm, they would die. So DNA w/o enough 'love' in it didn't get passed on as often. Pretty romantic stuff, huh?

More of a mystery to me is my 'love' of music, and how moved I can be by it. Another recent Science Friday interview discussed this. The guy said that music is universal to all human cultures, yet scientists can't really pin down what it's purpose is.


-ERD50
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:20 PM   #59
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More of a mystery to me is my 'love' of music, and how moved I can be by it.
Music has been the most interesting mystery to me, too. There's a pretty good theory here:

Amazon.com: The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body: Books: Steven Mithen
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:51 PM   #60
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More of a mystery to me is my 'love' of music, and how moved I can be by it. Another recent Science Friday interview discussed this. The guy said that music is universal to all human cultures, yet scientists can't really pin down what it's purpose is.


-ERD50
Aren't the happy feelings purpose enough? Or does it help the scientist in you to say, the purpose of music is to "produce endorphins" which reduce stress, relieve anxiety and relax the heart rate? causes you to smile? Life can be challenging, the music, beautiful sunsets, etc help make it balanced.
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