Monday, July 26, 2010

Properties of Thought

Spirituality and humanity - Beliefnet:

"The one thing I can be sure of is that bio-chemical reactions exist in the body and brain that allow me to exist as a living animal, and think as a rational being. Everything else even my thoughts as a rational being are the constructs of the one rational being I am sure of, myself.

These thoughts have properties, such as being based on observations, or second level observations of others, products of fictions and myth, and self generated thinking on all of the above. These properties can be evaluated as to reliability, and a level of trust can be assigned to all in theory.

Myth and fiction are of course the least trustworthy, at least as raw data, but when combined with observation and self generated correlation and evaluation may be assigned a high level of trust or truth if you will."

Death Myths

Spirituality and humanity - Beliefnet:

"It is correct that facing death after it happens is a myth, one that must be comforting to some as it is quite popular. I have indeed studied those myths, and have chosen to reject them as the costs are too high in the life that I am sure of, the life which began when I was born and will end when I die. Meaning and purpose in this life come from doing what I can to improve the lives of all that I can affect in my chosen society and not incidentally improving my own tiny part of it as the ripples spread, some reinforced by others, others not."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christian Baggage

The Bright Line - Beliefnet:

it is 'you' that the instrument [the cross] is meant for, it is 'you' who are damaged beyond repair, it is 'you' whose every chacteristic must be 'snuffed' out of existance, and that with the greatest fanfare of pain... justice..... have you ever considered yourself such baggage upon creation?
"It is only Christians that suffer from this disability. And even they have to accept on faith the denial of their human heritage of social responsibility, innate morality, and respect for all humans that do not prove themselves unworthy of that respect. This is the heritage you give up when you are 'born again' and forsake your humanity for the baggage of sin and bigotry that is inherent in the faith you accept.

You may carry that instrument of self-hatred and work on snuffing out the human heritage of social responsibility, innate morality and respect for your fellow humans on this earth. And when you die you will be forgotten by all as another useless Christian. I doubt that even God cares, but that is your problem not mine."

Spiritual but Not Religious

Spirituality and humanity - Beliefnet: "Jul 23, 2010 -- 3:01AM, wrote:

Spirituality has to do with seeking improvements to one's spirit, to achieve such values as tranquility, joyfulness, meaning in life, wisdom, and generally any improved vantagepoint on life. That's spirituality in a nutshell.
One of the best definitions of "Spirituality Without Religion" I have seen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Spirituality and humanity - Beliefnet:

Spirituality is 'just' an evolved reward mechanism, in the same way that breathing is 'just' a way to stay alive. Spirituality came first as we see in cave paintings and archeological figurines. The shamans came later and figured out how to make a buck by selling people something they already had, created God to bottle it in, then tossed the bottle into heaven so nobody could look too closely at it.

Legacy and Reminder

substance - Beliefnet:

**Stands and shuffles some papers behind the pulpit.**
I have been asked for a self supporting defense of atheism as a religion. This is of course impossible as any definition of religion requires acceptance of or belief in some higher power that creates and gives meaning and purpose to the universe or at least to those arrogant apes that think the universe was created to give meaning and purpose to their lives. Without this higher power there is no religion. Atheists have none.

Thank you. And good evening. For those of you with a higher power may that higher power bless you with the meaning and purpose that you are unable to discover for yourselves. Amen.

What is that? You in the back. You will have to speak louder. It sounded like you said 'Without God there can be no meaning and purpose or even morality in the world.' That is what you said? Thank you. I am so very sorry that your religion is so constraining that you are unable to interact with a larger society to build a moral, meaningful and purposeful life for yourself, but must rely on dead males to tell you what to do.

I have no such constraints. I am constantly learning from the best and most intelligent people about what behaviors will improve the society of which I am a part as well as improving my tiny part of it. This entails the intensive study of past and current moral teachers of all genders. (Moms, even gay and lesbian moms, have a lot to teach if we would only listen to them instead of those dead men.)

My studies which began with my mom, have taught me that meaning and purpose in my life must come from within myself, my family and the larger society of which I am a part. I am expected to pay attention to what works for others and ask meaningful questions based on my studies to date. This provides me enough meaning and purpose that I do not worry about creation myths, I was created for a purpose by loving parents, and when I die I will leave a Legacy of a beautiful, valuable, and useful space for those who remember me affectionately as well as:

From John Dobbs who wrote Legacy


The world began the day that I was born
and on the day I die the world will end.
Between these dates there will have been
Matters of great importance.
But no awakening apparently
to the neglected knowledge
that energy lies in the grains
of wheat and rice
as well as mass twice multiplied
by the speed of light.
The poor are as poor
as history has ever recorded
and there is nothing I can leave
on the final date
but a legacy of urgencies.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

For my Atheist friends - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

For my Atheist friends - Beliefnet:

Yeah, perhaps, but you are missing out on the woo-woo's and all that 'fun stuff' that theists just love to wave in the athiest's faces... nah nah nah naaaah nah....

When I want woo-woos I can always pour myself a double bourbon. Nowadays I drink so rarely that a single bourbon usually does the trick. It's much more economical than going to church.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Honor among thieves (and drug dealers)

When my children were young there was a park near our home that was divided by community tolerance into the drug dealer's half, and the community half. The main walkway down the middle of the park was in the community half, the grass/dirt at the edge of the walkway on their side was dealers turf. The community half had a children's playground close to the main walkway.

One evening on my way home a dealer solicited me from the area between the playground and the walk. I told him he was on the wrong side of the park and using street language to return to his side. He sneered "Whatchya going to do call a cop? I was a fairly athletic person and said "No, I am going to kick the living shit out of you right here." He glanced significantly at the other side of the park, and I said "They are laughing at you, right? If not they will be soon as I start kicking." Apparently they were. He didn't stick around to call my bet. Good thing too, my kids played in that park.

Supporting Science

This ought to be fun - Beliefnet:

"The industrial 'johns' and increasingly university 'johns' support science because some of it pays off in the marketplace big time. But it is the marketplace that pays for the science, so when it becomes clear that the marketplace is not interested in that particular science the funding is cut off and the scientists can either find other 'johns' who might still have market dreams, or move on to other science that has market potential. Or as happens in a few cases the scientist moves into herm garage files the patent numbers off the science and tries to find a VC that will buy it. A very few companies 3M, DuPont, and others will provide the 'garage' but the entrepreneurship is still the responsibility of the scientist."

Science and technology

This ought to be fun- Beliefnet : "Your son's masters may be in [computer] technology, but there is real science behind the technology he is studying. Pushing bits may be technology, but knowing how a bit stream is going to affect what it acting on is still science and damned hard science at that."

On Rainbows

This ought to be fun - Beliefnet :

"A rainbow does not exist at all without both an photosensitive device and an interpreter of the image produced by that photosensitive device. Therefore the interpreter creates the rainbow for the purpose of at the very least entertaining the interpreter, See video 5M+views. If a rainbow had no purpose you wouldn't even know what your fairies were talking about, because you never would have noticed one."

Behind the Wheel - 2011 BMW 535i and 550i

Behind the Wheel - 2011 BMW 535i and 550i - Review -

"Even the mildly uncommunicative helm didn’t prevent the 5 from turning impressive racetrack laps or from gulping huge helpings of twisting curves on public roads. Crank the BMW to its Sport Plus chassis setting, and it’s hard to imagine anything in this class outrunning a 550i with a manual transmission. Facing a 1,000-mile journey and given a choice of any car in this fiercely competitive segment — Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class, Infiniti M, Audi A6 — I’d grab the BMW’s chunky key fob and never let go.

Yes, some people buy a BMW for the badge. But the real prestige of the 5 Series, and its continuing superiority, has nothing to do with the badge, and everything to do with what’s inside."

I will keep my Volvo S60R thanks. The customization of removing the front spoiler lip so it slides smoothly off the curb that was inadvertently parked on makes it a super practical family car, and while its mere 300 HP won't keep me up with the 550 on the track, if the track is tight the lighter weight might take away the 550's advantage in the straight.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Secular Society Example

moral training....stealing-right or wrong? - Beliefnet :

"An example of a non-religious society might be a modern high level research university. Certainly there will be a few religious people in that society, in fact there may even be a religious studies department as part of the university. But the ideals and the mores are defined by academic standards, not by some religious authority even in the Religious Studies Department.

When I mention an extended face group, the extension is to all that might in some way become part of ones face group. A physics freshman's university face group might be herm dorm mates and class mates that hesh studies with. But it is a real possibility, if not a probability that hesh might eventually be a post doc in the lab of one of the Nobel Laureates. So that Nobel Laureate is part of the extended face group. But in order to get there hesh must comply with extensive written and unwritten rules and mores that if violated will forever exclude him from the extended face group. As a simple illustration all papers must be based on research by the person writing the paper and must contain the original thinking of the author and no other.

A university culture is in many ways much more rigidly structured than a typical church culture. There is no GOOHF card for mistakes, even inadvertent ones. And selection for the face group is an arduous and demanding process. One can't say I love the Bears or the Wolverines and get in. One must demonstrate skills in a variety of disciplines to even have a chance.

Ethical Education

Svengali ME! - Beliefnet:

"Unless you were sent to a Catholic boarding school for reasons other than religious indoctrination, I can think of several, I might suggest that your parents were neither wise or fair to you or your fellow students. I suspect the physics epiphany did not come out of the blue, but that you were familiar with the atheist alternative from your parents.

By my cosmopolitan morality of radical respect for all including religions I think are dysfunctional, I would find a different way to 'fully present the other side' than using the Catholic Church to educate an atheist's child presumably without full disclosure. By the way, why a Catholic rather than a non-denominational religious boarding school. Or for that matter why not St. Thomas Choir school?

And lest you worry about my walking the talk, I spent the better part of my adolescence trying to become a Catholic. I loved the Mass, I enjoyed the ritual, I enjoyed theology discussions with anyone who would take the time mainly Jesuits, but I never presented myself as anything but an atheist, and I never convinced the Jesuits that they were really atheists. Basically we parted on Pascal's wager. I wouldn't give up this life for the next.

The first couple of paragraphs do not need a referent, although one exists. The context is religious brainwashing of children by their religious parents.


Theists Welcome?Beliefnet:

"I don't know how the universe wasn't created, nor do I claim to know how it was. I just find it much more likely that natural forces about which we know a lot is much more likely than some sort of creator. As theists are fond of pointing out many constants have to be just right and many conditions also just right if a creator is intending eventually to produce a species in herm own image. (Does the hubris of that bother you from either side of the image, as it does me.)

I find a quantum generated universe in which life evolved on at least one blue speck of rock much more likely than a creator capable of creating that universe just so the creator could look at hermself in the mirror.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moral Training.

moral training - Beliefnet :

"The law is a first approximation of what the larger society considers to be proper. It has nothing at all to do with morality. It is normally reasonable to comply with it if it does not conflict with a higher morality, that is one from the more important group that you consider to be your moral peers. The law is always the lowest common denominator and properly contains prohibitions that may not be appropriate for a modern society. It is up to those who find them inappropriate to change them. Some laws may be properly and discretely ignored if the effect is local to those ignoring them. Your pot and abortion examples are apt examples.

Other laws need to be challenged openly. Prop H8 as an example.

Ultimately though the only morality that is worth the name is that which keeps you from injuring others of your moral peers."

Moral Compass

moral training....stealing-right or wrong?Beliefnet:

"Rule 1 of any decent moral compass religious or otherwise, is, or should be 'There will be no victims of my behavior.' If you love your neighbors-all of them-even the ones you hate there can be no victims. The law is not a moral compass it is rules of behavior for those religious or otherwise that have none."

Sirronrex on Homosexuality

Homosexuality - Beliefnet : "Jul 2, 2010 -- 5:27PM,

If you believe in the bible, homosexuality is a sin.

The bible is nothing more than a silly little book used by silly little people to judge and condemn other people. It's all it has ever been.

If you don't believe in the bible you could still scientificlly say that it is wrong.

You could 'scientifically say' that homosexuality is wrong all day and night. The problem is you can't scientifically prove the 'rightness' and/or 'wrongness' of, well, ANYTHING. Right and wrong require judgment and science is not about judging is about proving facts to be true or not.

The human bodies are not designed to be homosexual.

My human body is designed perfectly well to be homosexual. My parts fit everywhere on a man that they do on a woman. The fact that a woman has one extra hole for my parts to fit in does not change the fact that all of the other holes are identical.

Which lesbian parts are not designed to be homosexual? What makes a male or female part designed to be homosexual? What decides whether it is designed or not to be homosexual?

We were made up a certain way for a reason.

And what reason do you think that is? Breeding?

Now I respect the fact that in nature we often do find glitches or accidents.

Who do you think you're kidding? You don't respect anything. It's obviously a glitch that you can even remember to breathe.

I can see a certain chemistry in the brain may be affected like when it is said that a woman is born in a mans body Or the other way around. But I don't believe that is always the case. I feel like certain individuals may have been taught wrong when they were children or possibly molested as a child.

Was it a molestation that occured in your past that makes you want to stick your parts inside another man's parts? Did your parents teach you to want to stick your parts inside another man's parts?

So in other words I think most do it because they want to.

Well, we certainly don't do it because we don't want to.

It is still not natural.

Homosexual activity has been studied and reported in over 450 species in the wild. But who cares? So what if it's not natural? Contraception isn't natural, should we outlaw it? Ketchup is not natural, it does not occur in nature, should we outlaw it?

I don't care how you try and justify it.

I don't care what you think at all. Feel free to justify your prejudice anyway you choose. Just don't try and blame it on your pathetic religion like so many other Christians do in these forums.

Now don't get me wrong.

But you are wrong. 100% wrong.

I am not a 'gay' hater.

You're certainly selling a lot of hate for someone who's not a hater.

But I do personally feel that it is wrong both spiritually and scientifically.

I personally feel that you're a pathetic waste of human life, as are the vast majority of those who claim the title Christian...but who cares?

I try to keep my kids aware that homosexuality is not the 'norm'

All you're doing is keeping your kids aware that if they're gay, they better remain in the closet and keep it hidden from you because clearly you aren't going to support them or love them if they are and will only have denigration and hate for them.

You're obviously a pathetic parent, too.

And one more thing that I want to speak on. I don't think that gay families should be allowed to adopt children!!

And I think parents like you should have your children removed from their custody and given over to a nice, loving gay couple to be raised. They'd certainly have more love for your their children than you ever will.

No child should have to grow up in that lifestyle.

No child should have to grow up in a home as pathetically ignorant as yours.

If it was meant for homosexuals to have children than the human body would not have been designed for children to be made thru heterosexual intercourse!

Gay people bear offspring every day. I know that just confounds ignorant buffoons like you, but we aren't broken. Our parts work just like yours do...the difference is that we love our children before they are even conceived because we have to actually plan to have them instead of just pumping them out whenever Billy Bob forgets to put his rubbery thingy on his wee-wee.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moral Training

moral training....stealing-right or wrong? - Beliefnet:

"I suspect children learn morality the same way they learn language. The dominant social group has certain ways of doing things, just as they have a distinctive dialect. The child will learn 'our people don't do that' whoever 'Our people' are. If 'Our people fear God' the child will fear God. If 'Our people' play nicely with neighbors no matter what religion or color they are. the child will play nicely with all who play nicely. From the trivial, like manners, to the critical like 'Those are not good people' the child absorbs the morality of his group the same way hesh learns to speak the local dialect. Not because anyone teaches the child, but because the child naturally mimics the behavior of the important people in herm life. And by the way children will do what we do, not what we tell them to do.

This fitting in or mimicking the behavior of the dominant group continues well into adolescence and early adulthood. A military unit for example has considerably different mores from the cohort attending MIT, or the local community college."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rejecting God?

Reasoned Ignorance? - Beliefnet: "As long as you admit that the premise that we are all children of God is a belief system and not a fact, then the discussion can proceed reasonably. You may even believe that I am a child of God, it is no problem. But I do not reject that position, I reasonably find that it is not true, in large part because I have no connection at all with the supposed parent. That in turn is not rejection, but a reasonable choice that the God in question is not a reasonable choice for a parent or any other kind of mentor. I have studied the Biblical God among others and other belief systems, both as a child and an adult and found none worthy of belief. In order for God to be useful Hesh must provide some definable benefits. Show me the benefits of belief and I might believe.

The benefit of being a bored zombie in heaven, or a tormented zombie in hell does not hold much attraction for me. So we can put aside the afterlife.

That leaves this life. I have grown beyond the playground taunt of 'My dad (God) can beat up on your dad.' It does nothing to help me live with the eclectic experiences of the intelligent and thoughtful people that have become my society of choice. Some of them are in fact children of God, this does not bother me, nor does it bother them that I am not.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Divine Art?

We Thirst - Beliefnet:
From an otherwise forgettable thread.

"I would say the Pieta is an incredibly beautiful and emotionally powerful work. I first saw it as a young dogmatic atheist and was moved by the universal humanity of a mother grieving for a dead child. I saw it again as one better educated in Christian theology and creed, and saw not only the humanity of the mother grieving for the divine sacrifice, but also, more than a little resentment, I carried and nurtured your child for this?

I don't know how much of what I saw was put there by Michelangelo, and how much was put there by me. But in studying art, I do not assume divine inspiration, even if the artist is doing a professionally excellent job for a religious client. Editorial comments which are masked by the believers superficial interpretation, may nonetheless be in the art for those who wish to see. Note that even bad art is not really looked at if it tells a religious story. See the stations of the Cross in any Catholic Church."

I have been thinking a lot about what the composer/artist is putting into the music/art commissioned by the church. Of course the believer will take it with a large dollop of faith and not really think much about it. Also some composers Messiaen is a prime example put their art in the service of God. But many of the others I wonder about. One believer claimed Mozart was divinely inspired. I wonder about the dueling sopranos in the Grand Mass. They seem to be a bit much, and the Ave Verum Corpus in a Major key, and when Christ is pierced shift to another Major key?? An absolutely beautiful piece of music, but I am sure Mozart understood the text, and was at the very least indulging in a bit of irony in his setting.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Contributions of Christianity?

The Biblical Self-Destruct Clause - Beliefnet:
El Cid wrote in an otherwise worthless thread:

"Almost everything good about western societies is the result of Christians and Christianity."

Hardly. You need to learn a little history, my friend. Ancient Egypt gave us strong mathematics; ancient Greece gave us philosophy, medicine, and natural history; ancient Rome gave us the system of government we largely use to this day, law, charity, hygiene, and marvelous architecture; the Enlightenment gave us science and modern logic in SPITE of the Christians.

If we had been waiting around for the Christians (who have thought the 'end was nigh' since Paul) to do anything real for humanity, we'd have been waiting a long time. They managed to give us a working calendar, almost by accident, and not without controversy, but that's about it.
Tolerant Sis

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Existence of God

What is an atheist? - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

"At the risk of being thrown out of the atheist club by some theists I don't deny the existence of God.

I am convinced that some theists, influenced by their tradition are able to create God by their prayers and other actions usually in their churches. The fact that God is created by people, in their own image no less, and has existence only in their living minds does not mean that God is not real. At least for them. You might convince them that they are wasting time, money and emotional energy on this God.  But you have about the same chance of convincing them it does not exist as you have of convincing a small child that herm imaginary friend does not exist.

A reason a child outgrows an imaginary friend is that nobody else has the same friend unless they go to Sunday School. There they find everybody has an imaginary friend as well that will befriend them."

The creation of God, which a theist will never admit to, is a speculative process certainly.  In the traditional churches especially the Catholic the ritual and the liturgy interpreted by the congregation and local priests, but based on the long tradition preceding them will create the God that they all feel is with them in the church.  God will be unique to each parish although there will be some commonality with most similar traditions.

On even days I think that the creation is a collective consciousness process in which all "tune into" the consciousness of all. I call this the chamber music model.  Where all are hearing the same music in their minds and simply playing it together.  Probably one person usually the priest or first violin is the actual creator, but all will influence the collective result.  This might be thought of as the mental wiki model where one lays out the characteristics of God and others add their notes, comments, and emphasis.  The basics come from the tradition that all are familiar with, the score in the music analogy, and build their unique God from there. 

On odd days I think the Priest creates God which the parishioners tap into.  I call this the maestro model where the maestro interpreting the score creates the music that all are listening to with their consciousness.  There may be some feedback from the parishioners, but the priest is in charge and any changes are made at herm discretion .  I am confident that the larger churches work on this model.

In either case the tradition is a guide, not a straight jacket, as are the directives from the denomination.  

Maturity in Theists and Atheists

What is an athiest? - Beliefnet

I realized why I think of a certain type of atheists this way, it is because they do remind me so much of fundamentalist Christians. But for the sake of argument I think I have come up with better terms to describe these types of atheists in relationship to other atheists and in relationship to their glaring similarity with fundamentalist Christians. Keep in mind I am not saying atheism is a religion. We all know it is not. These terms have nothing to do with age.

Mature Atheist/Mature Theist

1) They are mainly concerned with how they view the universe and do not understand why others want to change other people’s views.
2) They are comfortable with their views.
3) They like listening to others views.
4) They like or at least do not run away when new ideas which cause them cognitive dissidence. It gives them something to maul over.
5) They like people who challenge them.
6) They see a certain type of change as growth not as an indicator of being inconsistent.
7) They do not make changes lightly it is almost always a gradual change and it is never done out of fear.
8) If no one else thought like they did they would still not change their views because popularity of views is not important to them.
9) Their morality is like an invisible undershirt that is with them at all times. It is made up of hundreds of little pieces that have been sewn together. Each piece has been picked with great care. The welfare of not only their self but many others has been considered while picking each piece.
10) Their family, clubs, and friends are not picked because they share their views about the existence of God or the non-existence of God.

Immature Atheist/Immature Theist

1) They do not trust anyone that does not share their view. Be it that a god does not exist or that a God does exist.
2) They know they are correct.
3) They think that everyone would be better off thinking like them.
4) They feel distain for people who do not think like them.
5) Their mind is closed to others who do not think like them in debates.
6) They can not admit to others logical points even when they know they are logical.
7) They are fearful.
8) They think they know the truth and anyone that can not see that is ether stupid, brainwashed or angry.
9) They can not change therefore they can not grow because to them it would mean they were not correct before and they can not handle that.
10) They pick their family ,clubs and friends because they agree with them about God existing or not existing.

What do you think?


As usual Shirley, you nailed it.

About the only thing you left out was that Mature Atheists and Mature Theists will be working comfortably together to build the Cosmopolitan society that is the only hope for the survival of the human race, as well as in most other useful human activities.

The moral undershirt in 9) is well described by Kwame Appiah in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers.

I am sure maul is a spell-checker ambiguity in 4) but I love it. There is nothing more fun than mauling over cognitive dissonance. If you can't resolve it, just get a bigger maul.

Absolute good

Valid Criticism or Projection? - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

The absolute standard for "good" is that which facilitates social living for all people. Which definitely excludes God. By any definition God facilitates only for believers, and frequently only for some of them.


Valid Criticism or Projection? - Beliefnet

I have no problem at all with existence. It needs no modifier, it needs no definition, it is observable wherever we look, or touch, or listen, or use any of the other senses, augmented as necessary by scientific tools to experience it. I have no problem experiencing the awe, wonder, and even transcendence that existence provides free and uninterpreted to anyone not blinded by God beliefs. If you wish to interpolate a necessary something between you and existence, again be my guest. Since you can't even begin to describe this "necessary" something it seems to me like you are simply placing an opacity between you and existence that requires that little tinhorn in the fancy dress in the overdecorated balcony to tell you when you can experience existence. Thank you. I can do without the tinhorn and herm God, and go direct to the source.

On God

Valid Criticism or Projection? - Beliefnet

Whether it is the idea of Deity, Deity itself, The Whichness of the Why, The Woo-Woo Wishiness, or the supernatural omnipotent alpha humanoid, or whether it is defined or undefinable. It makes no difference. Whatever it is it is worthless to anyone except the believer. The believer may think it is the be all, or the ultimate ground of being, that which is greater than all things, or simply God. Believers are welcome to it. God bless them. They need it.


Valid Criticism or Projection? - Beliefnet

Almost: Life, consciousness and intelligence are well explained properties resulting from ordinary reactions of organic chemistry. Under suitable conditions of, in the case of the third rock from the sun, water, land and an energy source which may have been geothermal or solar organic chemicals get concentrated and react. Once sufficient quantities of adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil get concentrated in a local area they begin to form long chains of pairs of bases. Like any chemical process some are more stable than others and the more stable forms predominate by using up material from the less stable forms. We can only guess at what some of the stable forms looked like but eventually a chain we now identify as DNA became dominant because not only was it extremely stable but it could replicate itself, and use a similar chain we now identify as RNA to help it manage its environment. From that point it is only a matter of time, lots of it, for consciousness and intelligence to be manifested as we see in several land and marine animals.

Valid Criticism?

Valid Criticism or Projection? - Beliefnet
"OK. Phrase by phrase deconstruction of a common Christian argument:

Atheists say: This should read "Deluded theists assert with absolutely no support or knowledge of anything that "atheists say." Atheists do no say anything of the sort. In a lifetime of discussing science and religion with atheists and intelligent believers I have never heard anything like your statement which you erroneously or maliciously attribute to atheists.

"Emergent properties" Emergent properties is a theist buzz word that they think means somehow being generated by some woo-woo higher power, God, or other unknowable numenous activity. It means nothing except "We don't know what is going on, we don't want to find out, we will blame it on God.

"Unexplained laws of physics" have absolutely nothing to do with Life, consciousness and intelligence for believers and atheists alike. Physics deals with interactions of mass and energy. There are no unexplained laws of physics for emergent properties to "emerge from." There are areas of physics where the explanations are tentative, but those are generally in the quantum physics area of subatomic particles and forces which do not affect life consciousness and intelligence.

"Altogether different" from what? Those unexplained laws? Certainly believers can't tell the difference between what they don't know and what they observe, but atheists do not suffer from this disability. We know what we don't know an are comfortable with not knowing, as that is simply a challenge to learn more. We don't need woo-woo to put areas of knowledge off limits.

"(If not altogether different,)" not different from what? Unexplained laws of physics? From woo-woo numenous whatevers? Or is "whatevers" too specific for you perhaps I should simply use numenosities.

WTF is "all mechanism" do you have a clue to what you are talking about here? Are you referring to, since the reference is to physics the electrochemical nerve impulses? If so why don't you say so, because they are not God inspired nerve impulses?

"including every judgement" A believer buzzword that tries to pretend that one mental concept is different from other mental concepts and some of which are so different that they can't be the result of electrochemical nerve impulses, but must originate in some numenosity that is forever beyond the capability of the electrochemical neural network that defines the human mind. Certainly beyond a believers mind, but what isn't?

Judgments, moral and social choices, spiritual thoughts, even transcendent mental states, are all natural and normal activities of life with consciousness and intelligence. They are normally the result of neurochemical activity in certain areas of the brain which provide the mental rewards for useful brain activity."

Seeking God

Standards of evidence - Beliefnet
Finding God has nothing to do with choosing to seek or reject God. It has to do with first and foremost to do with whether there is a God worth seeking. Some people through training and character are willing and able to seek and usually find whatever God a majority of their respected friends suggest is worthy of finding. Others again through training and character tend to examine the God a respected friend or group of friends is suggesting, that is, for example reading the entire Bible, to find out what Jewish and Christian friends recommend as a God worth finding. This is always a disaster. Even the Christians who really read the bible have trouble with their faith.

If you think you know of a God that you think is worth my trouble to seek, give me some data to look at and I will think it over. Warning: I have studied the Mass. the Requiem, and most of the Christian Prayers in depth and read several versions of the Bible including the major Catholic and Protestant Bibles in traditional and modern language versions and while I have learned many valuable things in the process I still haven't figured out a reason to seek God.

I am an atheist Jesuist. But Jesus makes a lousy God, and the one he apparently believed in has been thoroughly evaluated and is not worth seeking.

Life in a Christian Country.

Poor Christian or Bad Atheist? - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

While it might fry your brain, think about the fact that by one study 76% of Americans are Christian. That means that even for the small percentage of born atheists most of their friends attempted to brainwash them into God beliefs. Intellectually lazy would be to say why not? I could go to church, mumble with the rest of them and make it through to coffee hour without a moment's thought just like the rest of them.

I would say that combating this overwhelming majority many of which actively proselytize most of the time is intellectually quite difficult. Even getting them off your doorstep is an intellectual challenge of the highest order. Especially since rude doesn't work. The only effective tactic I have found is quoting the parts of the Bible they don't want to hear. The context of their tract works very well.

The thread is worth a skim.