Our Existence

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?

88 thoughts on “Our Existence

  1. My thought on Philosophy, Ontology, and Meta-whatever-ology: How could you know if you are wrong? You could be following a line of reasoning that’s completely invalid, and come to conclusions that are completely off-base. Without some way to check your ideas against reality, none of that stuff has any usefulness. Of course, for me the central idea of science boils down to “check your work”

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    • You will feel a feeling of connection, a feeling of love in your heart & soul if you are right about something. That would be the feeling of your intuition, the feeling of the universe letting you know that “Hey, you got it. Good work”

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  2. Based on statements of god being unobservable, incomprehensible, and unimaginable, if there was a god and you hit an idea Square on the head, you’d never know it. The entire philosophical exercise is a charade in futility that will never have consensus! I heard a voice say my name in the night. I think god must be talking to me. If you go down that road you will never find the answer and border quackery your entire life, while all along there is a confirmed scientific explanation. People want their gods more than reality.

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  3. I read some of those blogs. There is really no way for me to argue the issues or settle the debate. Not that I can come up with. I stopped taking philosophy in college after one course.
    Just unanswerable questions is all I can see.

    I see science and religion USA dealing with two separate questions and issues. Science can study issues that can be tested and verified. Religion does not. Neither do any of the humanities.

    The psychologists cannot agree on whether they are a science or part of the humanities. I believe they majority want the latter but others want to be recognized as scientists. I believe most schools have them in the humanities department.

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    • We can ask the exact same questions and come up with completely different answers. One side cleverly words a philosophical argument that may sound pretty, may even be enjoyable to listen to, or you can muddle through an equation, bore people half to death, be completely right and never get any traction. What people want to hear becomes their truth because the real truth can be slow and difficult.

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          • It reminded me of I’m a Christian , I’m a real Christian , I’m born again Christian , I’m a believing Christian. By the way I’m a real blogger and I rub shoulders with Democratic bloggers and Republican bloggers .

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        • Heres the truth. Let me start off by saying, I don’t believe in religion. I do however believe that science and religion go together quite nicely. Theres no need to separate ourselves with choosing and comparing. We are all connected; until we all realize that & start acting like it the world will always be corrupt. Try this for yourself because you matter, & you do make a difference in this world. Instead of competing with one another, try to agree with someone you would normally dismiss on something, anything. That persons feelings and thoughts matter just like yours do. Try giving a compliment instead of giving criticism Peace+Love=Happiness

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  4. I’d never heard of Stephen Barr before so I looked him up.
    A Catholic (which puts him at odds with the Christian subject/s of your post straight away) and also a member of Biologos.

    I thought you might like this:
    Number eleven of their ”core commitments”

    We believe that conversations among Christians about controversial issues of science and faith can and must be conducted with humility, grace, honesty, and compassion as a visible sign of the Spirit’s presence in Christ’s body, the Church.

    Based on personal experience, and reading the comments on said subject’s blog I suspect he doesn’t subscribe to the about quote.

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      • I am sure he can be excused for his somewhat irascible behaviour. After all, as I have mentioned before, when he kicked off his blog I somehow doubt he was quite prepared to face such awkward questions.

        It might be better ( for him/them) if he were to take an actual apologetics course – maybe Barr could suggest such a course? That way he would be able to lie like a champion and mask his hubris much more effectively.

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  5. “God” as a creator of the multiverse, who exists in a timeless, limitless realm which is outside of existence, yet somehow created it, and interacts with it while leaving no testable, empirical, demonstrable evidence is completely, totally, and conveniently, un-falsifiable. It can not be proven such a thing does NOT exist. Thus, it must. Right? And thus, since invisible pixies, who ride unicorns and appear only when we’re not looking to keep the universe running, can not be demonstrated to NOT exist, they must. Right? “And the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. Oh, the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. Oh, the wheels on the bus go round and round all the live long day!”

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  6. The question why is not one for science to examine it merely explains how things came to be as they are. Why is a question we often ask but really it makes no sense at all , but we like to feel that there is a reason for our existence , it gives us a sense of meaning . Religion fulfils that need for a sense of meaning.

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    • The problem is that the “sense of meaning” is only as valid as the belief system which is “fulfilling” it. A person who gets his sense of meaning from a scam (such as religion) has simply been conned.

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      • Outside of science we have only subjective ideas and religion is one of these. Sam Harris claimed that his idea of well-being was not subjective in the same way as religious moral codes might be and it is a better attempt at giving us a level playing field along the lines of the golden rule, but it is still subjective because the well-being of some maybe to the detriment of others. Nearly all humans feel the necessity to justify their own behaviour and they often judge others by the yardstick they use for themselves.
        Religions see the vital necessity to extend justice beyond the grave for they feel this world is not a just one , and a short perusal of people’s lives will confirm that fact. I cannot believe in an after life so I’m forced to accept the injustice of human existence.
        We can perhaps console ourselves by the old adage ‘ there is always someone who is worse off ‘ , but when I see the pain and suffering that is everywhere such consolation wears very thin.

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        • You keep using Harris’ name and piggyback on ideas you presume he has but you getting what he meant wrong.

          The ‘objective’ morality he speaks about is based on known bookends in reality so that moral components or effects of actions that cause a placement on the epectrum can be impersonally measured not by some other standard like ‘good’ or ‘evil’ but by DIRECT COMPARISON to improving or declining human well being. That is why his book is called the moral LANDSCAPE, in that actions have greater and lesser effects on human well being in the same way we may not know the exact height of this mountain but can easily determine it to be higher or lower to another mountain. That allows us to have a very good approximation about moral effects versus this PoMo idea that all morality is simply relative to each person. Harris vehemently disagrees as soon as a common metric is supplied, and THAT is how we can compare and contrast impersonally. As you can see, neither religion offers us a means to do this nor does PoMo moral equivalency. Both are failures to enact independent moral standards. But we CAN enact moral standards by using the comparison method and the same metric. He suggest human well being.

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          • Let me clarify its not just me making these claims , I’m a plain blunt man and just not smart enough, it’s the Cosmicskeptic on utube who believes Sam Harris is wrong about objective morality. I’m only capable of looking at practical outcomes too much theory spins me , but the reason I go along with the moral skeptic is not that I follow his very complex argument but that it seems obvious to me one man’s well-being could easily be another man’s disadvantage . Let me give a practical example the UK national health service with its high pay encourages doctors to leave India , their country of origin — you know the possible consequences.

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            • It’s my experience that those who disagree with Sam Harris usually don’t understand what he’s saying. This is especially true regarding his thesis about morality, that we don’t need to establish and objective basis first to define it perfectly and objectively in order to then compare and contrast its outcomes on a scientifically informed moral scale, in the same way we can compare and contrast peaks and valleys using a scientifically informed scale without first demanding an absolute baseline starting point for measurement. If critics of this thesis would just look at numerals, for crying out loud, they would see the benefit of this approach: there ain’t no such ‘thing’ as a ‘4’or a ‘quantity. It’s the differences we can inform scientifically once we select a metric.

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            • Let me give you another example (I’m full of them) In could make a good argument that the building of the new Haddon Collider was an immoral action and that the vast cost would be better used to give basic medical hygiene to the millions that lack it.
              Let me say I greatly admire Sam Harris but as with all clever scientists he could be wrong and there are those who disagree with him. Being a layman of no particular talent it is up to me to try to make what I can of all the differing views or perhaps conclude that we are on shaky ground.

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            • In the same way we can add or subtract two quantities as long as we keep our units of measurement the same, so too, does Harris argue we can compare and contrast the moral effects of two actions as long as we keep our units of measurement the same. In your examples, you can compare and contrast the moral effects as long as you keep the units the same, and you can inform these components with scientific data. He’s talking about process.

              Harris is arguing against the capitulation rampant throughout the West of refusing to judge, refusing to compare and contrast moral effects because the base – the cultural or religious base – is too subjective, but rather assume no one has any right to introduce morality at all, that all actions are morally equivalent, that because morality is subjective, such comparisons have no objective value. Au contraire. And using the landscape analogy should be enough to demonstrate that the capitulation is idiotic, that we really can determine one mountain is higher than another using objective data even if the base point we use for the height comparison is arbitrary, is manufactured, or is simply a relative starting point. We really can compare and contrast even from a ‘subjective’ base and we really can use objective data from reality to inform the comparisons.

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  7. To be honest, I’d never even heard of the word “scientism” before Mel started throwing it around as some sort of slur. Seems it’s an invention of the evangelical, for that is the only circle I’ve sween it used since.

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  8. As someone who is religious and practices a religious tradition as best I can, I feel kind of uneasy about jumping into this discussion, but here goes. All forms of religion, spirituality, and belief in the supernatural are creations of the human thought process. Outside of our minds and our respective cultures they don’t exist. That’s not to deny the reality of religious /spiritual experience, but it’s a “reality” we create individually and collectively. Not very scientific I’ll admit as I’m not sure that the hypothesis is provable one way or the other, but it’s served me well for more than 50 years.

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    • Barry, I think you’ve made an excellent point: All forms of religion, spirituality, and belief in the supernatural are creations of the human thought process. Outside of our minds and our respective cultures they don’t exist.

      Yet many consider them very real, very tangible … and because of this, they want to infiltrate others with their personal perspectives. As a result, it’s doubtful discussions like this one will cease anytime in the near future.

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  9. I would assert to the blogger that “Your religion cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality or of God.” Is there a majority or unanimous definition of who God is, his/her/its nature, purpose, and specific verifiable revelations to humanity… now and in the past 3-4 millenia? If his “God” had done any such proving, the world would essentially be ONE religion, belief-system, or faith.

    The reality is that “God” or a “God” from the Stone or Bronze Age has with time and advancing science and logic is just getting more and more ridiculous and unfounded.

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    • Unanimous definition? In most cases you can’t even get one religionist to stick to a consistent definition from one moment to the next. As soon as you debunk one concept of God they move on to a slightly different one. It’s like trying to nail diarrhea to the wall.

      Of course, back in the days when they were in charge and could just burn people at the stake for arguing with them, they didn’t use evasive definitions because they didn’t need to.

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  10. As one who is interested in all the above, I am more inclined to the school of thought that all these are human creations as an attempt to explain our place in the world. Further, science, broadly construed, comes closer to giving as a representation that is closest to what we observe daily.

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    • You have to be joking , place in the world is a human concept not a scientific one , it like asking what is the purpose of natural selection ,or relativity . Science is an investigation into how the world works and the relationship between things. When the great war poet Wilfred Owen asked ‘ What made those fatuous sunbeams break the earth’s sleep at all ? he was acknowledging the sun started life but asking the pointless question why ; can sunbeams be fatuous?

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      • Oh yes. Our place in the world. We name things. We make predictions and say if this behaves like this, it is A. For example we have said those animals that live in water and land are amphibians. The naming is done by us. The living on land and water is fact. We could have called them something else and would not change the fact they live in water and on land.
        The same way men create gods and forget and start to worship them.
        And nowhere do I object to science being an investigation. It attempts to explain among other questions the being of the universe. And it is our creation. We create language that allow us to explore cosmology, biology and so on. We should never forget that it is all human work, accumulated over the centuries

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        • Science is not our creation we investigated the world around us and science was the system that evolved , not only that we were led by the observations we did not choose the path and we do not know the outcome. Of course we have a system of investigation and it is very refined today because our senses have been enhanced by instruments that are now extremely complicated such as electron microscopes and radio telescopes. Our language does far more than that it enables us to investigate the world of the imagination it creates fine art and music and in so doing it creates a world that leaves science behind , a moral world that is beyond science .

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          • The electron microscope, the LHC and all are our creations built on what we have discovered.
            Science as a way of understanding the world is very much our creation. It is not independent of the human mind.

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            • Before humans existed science ruled the universe just as it now does. Stars followed their orbits , huge clouds of gas slowly condensed into stars which if they were massive enough became nuclear touches. The earth revolved around the sun and was a lifeless ball of molten rock filled with all manner of chemical activity.
              This will still be the case when we are gone ; science will not disappear , it may create other minds who can unravel or understand it who can say.

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            • The laws that govern the way things work haw always existed from the moment of the big bang , we do not know if they have changed because we have only come into existence about 13 billion years later. As far as we can tell physics has not changed much in last few billion years. The intelligent mind , which is the product of the universe is able to probe it’s surroundings by means of senses also developed by natural selection. The intelligent mind has not altered physics , or invented physics , it has simply applied it’s intelligence to unravel things.
              Steven Pinker in his book ‘How the Mind Works’ points out that natural selection created the Mind to survive not to engage in physics and we may not have the ability to understand some of the deep questions .

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            • I’m pointing out that you have conflated ‘science’ to be something it’s not: you have conflated the method to be what the method has revealed. Science is not a product of inquiry; it is how we go about inquiring.

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            • No, you get it wrong.

              Science is the concerted human effort to understand, or to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works, with observable

              But as I said before, crocs will live part of their life in water and other part whether future humans call them warm/ cold blooded animals.

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          • Kersten, you often make sweeping statements about things that come across like you’re disagreeing … but not really. Also, sometimes you sound like a Christian but other times, not so much. So which is it? Are you … or aren’t you?

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            • Apologies Nan I don’t have many very solid opinions but In do read a lot of different ones from various experts . Part of my trouble is I’m not too smart as you probably know my IQ is only about 105 slightly above average and I have no higher education. I’ve said before I’m agnostic and have nothing against religious people or anyone else come to that. I tend to judge people by how they act rather than what they claim to believe , the old adage ‘ actions speak louder than words ‘ rings nicely in my ears.
              Your right I do make sweeping statements sometimes and I get things wrong but don’t we all at times ? Christianity is not a black and white philosophy any more than any religion and I’m bold enough to take my pick just as everyone else does . Let me be clear I do not believe in life after death nor do I believe Jesus Christ performed miracles but that does not mean I dismiss the whole of Christian thought.
              We are complicated beings as a brief look at utube will tell anyone and we cannot be sorted into boxes like letters.

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            • Apologies not necessary. I was just curious as to where you stand from a religious POV. Thanks for the clarification. Oh … and IQ is just a number. It’s how we USE our brains that counts, don’t you concur?

              I agree there are some redeeming qualities in Christianity. It’s just too bad so many who claim the title don’t put them into action.

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            • I dare not get into an argument about IQ , I’ve had many ,on different sites but I do believe IQ is very significant since it enables understanding ,
              not to be confused with knowledge which is a collection of facts.
              You are right many label themselves as Christians but don’t behave with Christian charity. We must be careful because some devote more of their time and effort to others because their consciences drive their actions. I suppose the perfect example of Christian charity is a life whole-heartedly devoted to serve others.
              Then we have the debate about what service is and what it is not : for example a dedicated nurse in the UK could be considered to be serving the rich while the poor are neglected. A friend of mine neatly brushes these questions aside and says ‘ you can only do your bit ‘ .

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  11. Of course we don’t have a complete picture of reality. Every rational person knows that. Only religions have ever claimed to have a complete picture of reality.

    “Scientism” is a buzzword meant to degrade science by lowering it to the level of religion. I’m sure the atheist commenters here are well aware of the reasons why science is not like religion.

    There’s no evidence that any god was “the author of nature”, so the writer is just playing word-games there.

    Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

    Wrong. As Stephen Hawking said, “Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics.” Philosophy is based on intuitive concepts of existence, time, and how reality works which have been objectively refuted and are out of date. Philosophy is simply not relevant to such questions any more, and it’s hard to see what it still is relevant to.

    I don’t see that our existence raises any profound questions whatsoever. In any environment where self-replicating molecules exist and a few other basic conditions are met, natural selection will produce increasingly-complex life forms. For reasons we don’t yet understand, organic matter organized for data processing (that is, brains) is capable of giving rise to self-aware minds. In some cases natural selection favors the development of such self-aware minds, so here we are. People can wax philosophical about it and use words like “ontological” all they like, but ultimately it’s no different than staring at a rock and contemplating its shape — it’s all about what’s going on in those people’s heads, not about our “beingness”.

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      • But that’s cool. They need to understand that, unlike religion, science doesn’t claim knowledge of things it doesn’t and can’t know — and scientists aren’t ashamed to admit when they don’t know something. In fact, if scientists did think they knew everything worth knowing, science would come to an end, because there would be nothing left for it to do.

        The other thing they need to understand is that “we don’t understand this yet” does not mean “so pounce on it and declare that only a god can explain it”. If they’re proposing an explanation for an unexplained phenomenon, they need to provide supporting evidence. Otherwise the phenomenon simply remains unexplained.

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      • Loy, just as an FYI — I have chosen not to approve any of your past comments and will not be approving any future ones. From reading your input on other blogs, you seem to simply want to disagree and rarely offer anything substantial that supports your POV and/or adds to the conversation. Sorry.

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  12. Douglas Adams (as usual) not only identifies the problem by analogy but reveals the perniciousness inherent it to be true:

    “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

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  13. If you reduce humans to their most basic level of survival, three things stand out: the need for nourishment, the need for shelter against whatever elements are out there, and the need to procreate.

    We are, at base, of the animal kingdom as surely as the giraffe, the ocelot, the chimpanzee. We didn’t spring from the earth fully formed and human, we gradually, oh so gradually evolved.

    But every animal on earth, every bird, flower, and fish, has one basic instinct that supercedes all the others–the need to reproduce. Without that surge, man would disappear within a hundred years. As would any species of animal prevented, for whatever reason, from creating the next generation.

    Whatever else there is in our lives–machines, or trains, or telescopes or knitting, whatever we choose to do with the gifts we so definitely have, it means nothing without a next generation to carry the gifts along.

    And I do think we are still evolving, slowly, endlessly. We no longer need an appendix, and most people never miss the gall bladder or their wisdom teeth, and the dentist tells me many kids now aren’t even born with the ability to grow them.

    The fact that our brains are wired differently, giving us speech and abilities other animals lack, bodes well for a future evolution into something more. It may already be happening, deep inside our selves.

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    • Yes, Judy! Agree! I think you’ve summed it up quite well.

      Of course, there are those who would totally disagree with this: We didn’t spring from the earth fully formed and human. 😈

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  14. At base, we are powered by the same urges as flowers, ants, elephants and horses; how we handle it, and how we express (or repress) it, is what makes us human. And how we manage to function and surge forward regardless is the other thing that makes us truly human.
    Most living things have a powerful cycle of reproduction, gestation, and birth. Humans have found a way to break away from that cycle, making us ‘available’ or “not open for business” on a personal basis. We have found ways around the whole cycle, so that it suits us, instead of us being slaves to it. I think this is what separates us from other species and gives us more control over our environment.

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    • —break away from that cycle, ….. so that it suits us…..,gives us more control over our environment.—
      Nicely worded. But Christians call that arrogance. They feel a strange proudness to be slaves. That is what God demands of us. By being a good slave, you earn heaven. I cannot understand that, perhaps because I don’t try hard enough?…
      .-

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  15. Hi Nan,
    I come to this post very late, because somehow I was knocked off you followers’ list, along with a few other blogs I was following. It took me until tonight to realize I was not having your posts announced anymore, but now I am back.
    Please pardon me that I only browsed a few of the above comments, as it is late and I am getting tired.
    However, I wanted to say a thing about existence, and someone may have said something similar already, but in case no one did–our minds imply that there is more to life than what science tells us, at least in my opinion. Science can look at our brains, and identify certain areas of thought, and can in some cases even cause people to think about certain topics. But, to the best of my knowledge, science is unable (yet) to cause us to think particular thoughts. This suggests to me that there may be “dimensions of thought” that are beyond science. I translate that into dimensions of life.
    As you already know from my blog posts I label myself a spiritual atheist, meaning, amongst other things, that there are dimensions of life beyond physical life, and there is a part of every living being that will continue on after our physical and even mental lives come to an end. I came to believe this because of experiences I have had. If my experiences were real on some level, as I totally believe they were, then there is a purpose or goal to life, though I hate those words–but I have none better to replace them with. That purpose or goal, for me, is the betterment of life. I obviously do not see this as a divine purpose, or a prime purpose, because those words carry a lot of baggage with them. What I do see, from looking at the science-based history of life is a continuous progress of better forms of life, better species that can do more than species that have come before. At some point a lot of species stopped progressing, they reached the pinnacle of their forms. The cockroach and the crocodile come to mind. Many other species may or may not have reached their pinnacle, we cannot tell because evolution is not a fast process, small changes happen over millions of years, making them impossible for humans to see even over many generations. The thing is, I see all these changes as the result of chaos, not some kind of planned process on any level. But all species seem to have developed from the same microscopic living organisms back some 40 billion years ago. And that means all living things, I call them beings, are still related to one another. This is another part of my term spiritual, we are all connected through our ancsestors.
    And finally, if, as I believe from my experiences, we do have parts of us that live beyond our physical and mental deaths, parts I call spirits for lack of a better word, these spirits also seek the betterment of spirits. Again this is a result of chaos, not planning. Still, our spirits are evolving as surely as our physical bodies are, IMO. And this too gives us purpose and goals–spiritual progress.
    All this I see as part of existence. As I said, for what it is worth, all this is part of my life experience. Take it for what you will…

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    • Hi back, rawgod.

      I’m also in the dark as to why you were eliminated from the “follow’ list … but I’m glad you’re back. 🙂

      I’m fascinated by both your experience and your outlook as a result of it. There are parts of it that sound reasonable, but others that, well, leave me wondering. In any event, what’s most important is that YOU feel comfortable with it. Particularly since none of us has all the answers. We each must deal with our mortality in whatever way works for us.

      For me, I tend to agree with the words in my avatar, as put forth by Mr. Sagan. Was he right? Who knows? But one thing is absolutely certain — each of us will find out someday.

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      • That is the truth (none of us has all the answers… we each must deal with our own mortality), although if there is nothing after death we will never get to know that truth. And so it goes. But what parts of what I write leave you wondering, if you don’t mind telling me? I know a lot of what I experienced seems incredulous, because it was incredulous to me, which is why it took me decades to figure out what my memories told me was true. It was a difficult place to be in. At first I thought I was downright insane, and the memories would fade. But they didn’t fade, and kept on nagging at me till I gave them a more serious look. I spent years believing the unbelievable. I saw a number of psychiatrists, but they just laughed at me and handed me different pills to take. I took their pills, but they did not help. The only thing that helped was accepting those memories, and believing they were believable. Even now a part of me (my ego?) thinks I am crazy, and I readily admit that. But I don’t feel crazy, for whatever that is worth.
        But one thing is sure, my expeiences changed me at my core. Not that I think I was a bad person, even given my horrible childhood, but I am more tolerant of people now than I was, more accepting of people with opposing viewpoints. I feel I am more helpful now than I was before, less money greedy amongst other things. I’m not even sure what I am trying to say here, how does one describe changes to one’s core being. So I guess I will leave this here, hoping you are going to challenge me nicely, not with anger or hatred. If you are willing…

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        • But what parts of what I write leave you wondering — I think you know I’ve read the details of your entire experience (can’t remember where … ??). And although you’ve discussed how it changed your outlook on both life and death, you have to admit, it’s not an everyday occurrence. As to what leaves me wondering? Obviously, when I have nothing to compare it to, it all becomes rather mysterious. But that’s OK, isn’t it?

          In any event, I have no criticisms or arguments. From things you’ve written, the experience seems to have made your life better … and that, to me, is what’s really important. Whether anyone else understands it or not is inconsequential.

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          • Thank you for understanding. No, the experiences were not everyday experiences, and while I have heard of others having similar kinds of experiences, I have never met one, not even on the net. The only thing I can truly say, once I did it, I purposely tried again, and had a sort of contiuation expereience.
            Yes, I remember now, you were the one who asked me why, if it was so beautiful there–and it was– why I didn’t stay. I don’t know if you remember my answer, but it really didn’t matter. I came back, and I am still here. Someday I won’t be, and I may then find out for sure…

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  16. hey nan-
    If you must know, (since you chimed in at the other guy’s place) the ‘blab, blab blab’ were doug’s disingenuous additions, to make it appear it was mine.

    Doug has said on numerous occasions that ‘religious’ references will not be accepted in his NATURE posts.

    I simply observed that while he has no problem ACCEPTING every single comment from someone who berates God, scripture, and people of faith on the very same NATURE posts, he refuses any comment from another side, and hides behind ‘intellectual superiority.’ Puhleeze.

    I also remarked that this is the quintessential example of hypocrisy. If you had an ounce of fairness, you would defend me, not because I am ‘wise,’ but because I am correct. Go ahead, I dare you, side with the stoopid CS. lol

    And the atheists avow how Christians are unable to be fair and ‘censor?’ Laughable. And surely you must admit my comments are never laced with pornography and would be well received in any company, whether they are believed or not.

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    • hey john-

      I knew exactly what he was doing. He’s stated on several past occasions that he’d do this if he thought your comments were irrelevant.

      I admit your contributions are generally G-rated; however, you tend to ramble a bit in your defense of “scripture,” so I do understand his reluctance to let them stand as-is.

      BTW … I’d like to ask you something. As you know, many of my posts reference Christian beliefs but then I countermand them with a more “realistic” (non-believer) point of view. What I wonder about is … do Christians even read these posts? I continue to regularly get Christian followers, yet what I write is often totally against Christianity. As one of “them,” do you have any clues?

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      • I’ll answer your question but first things first.

        IRRELEVANCE? Hmm. Lets be honest here. Read the FIRST comment in that bird thread, and tell me if that was relevant.

        Unless you agree with me that not only was it not relevant, but that it was equally responsible for the train wreck that followed.

        I pointed out the HYPOCRISY of not allowing a believer to remark, harmlessly I remind you, but allowing all others to preach their brand of ‘religion’ in a genre that is forbidden, ie, nature posts.

        Unless you at the very least agree, and stop making excuses, then my other answer will be pointless.

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        • I allow normal people to make religious references on my photographic posts because more often than not they are funny.
          If you ever develop a sense of humour about your god then I am more than willing to allow your comments through unscathed.

          Let’s be honest, Jim’s good-natured poke at the nonsense of Yahweh and the rainbow was funny as was Mike’s jibe at Heavenly Management.
          Shucks …. don’t be such a poor loser, John. It’s so unlike you!

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        • Read the FIRST comment in that bird thread, and tell me if that was relevant.

          Yes, it was relevant.

          You should know, by now, that the purpose of nature posts on that blog is to provide an excuse to discuss the excesses of religion or to talk about soccer.

          Liked by 1 person

        • CS — I’m not the one deciding the relevance of any comment on ARK’s blog, so I’m not going to defend or support him. My sarcastic comment (on this particular post of his) was totally related to how he views your input.

          As to my take on whether or not what you wrote was relevant or not? Since he didn’t allow the comment to stand as you wrote it, I can’t offer an opinion.

          BTW, Ark’s already warned you he may censor your remarks so why bother?

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          • Ah yes nan, it’s the light shining in darkness kind of thing, but a world that has 10 mile deep water covering 3/4 is hardly funny when speaking of a deluge. Gee, I wonder where all that water came from……

            For 120 years God was patient, so the btching by people in 2018 is……

            ……aw never mind.

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  17. Let me start off by saying, I don’t believe in religion. I do however believe that science and religion go together quite nicely. Theres no need to separate ourselves with choosing and comparing. We are all connected; until we all realize that & start acting like it the world will always be corrupt. Try this for yourself because you matter, & you do make a difference in this world. Instead of competing with one another, try to agree with someone you would normally dismiss on something, anything. That persons feelings and thoughts matter just like yours do. Try giving a compliment instead of giving criticism Peace+Love=Happiness

    Like

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