The Tao of Paradox | Part 1: The Only Thing I Know For Sure

5년 전

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Introduction:
For most of my life I have had an unquenchable thirst for an ever deepening understanding of truth... whatever that is! Over the years of searching a few concepts have emerged as ideas worth holding onto, at least for a while. As you make your way through this series, keep in mind that all of these ideas are in continuous use in my life specifically because they give me practical benefits. This isn't philosophy for the sake of making ourselves feel special because we understand complex philosophical things. It's pragmatic. If it's not useful then it isn't worth anything.

What I intend in this series is to write an overview of the key concepts that form an interconnected system of philosophy I refer to as The Tao of Paradox, but before we get to why it's called that, we first need to lay the foundation that all of these philosophical 'beliefs' are built on. As the title of this installment suggests: after all these years there is only found one single philosophical precept that I can be sure of, and it's the foundation stone that everything else is built on.

The Only Thing I Know For Sure Is That I Don't Know Anything For Sure.

As a kid you hear of people claiming to have seen ghosts. You hear of people believing in aliens. On the other hand you also learn Santa and the Easter Bunny aren't real, so you start to wonder what else you're hearing that might not be true.

The inner skeptic is born.

When I was around 12, I clearly remember pondering the question:

'If all these people believe all of these different things (like the paranormal, psychic ability, religion, spirituality, agnosticism, atheism)... what do I believe?'

I didn't know what I believed, but unlike many who just followed along with whatever the culture around them was programming them with, I made a clear decision to remain open to possibility. In my case, my culture was strongly telling me not to believe in ghosts, aliens or the paranormal - but I refused to disbeleive. I also refused to believe.

In essence I even became skeptical about my skepticism.

Something inside me told me that if things like, for example, 'magic' existed then making the choice to not believe might somehow block these things from making contact with me and becoming part of my reality.

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I don't ever recall hearing, until adulthood, Roald Dahl's idea 'Those who don't believe in magic will never find it', but somehow, as a kid, I found my self on a similar track. Similar, but not the same. Roald Dahl's version - although he doesn't say it outright - seems to imply that in order to find magic one needs to first believe in it - and this is an idea that which has never sat well with me. Religions inticing me with promises of 'if you first believe, then you will see, but probably not until you die' have never been as appealing as offers of techniques that allow me to first experience and then believe.

So in answer to my original question 'what do I believe?', I simply decided to refrain from believing or disbelieving, instead remaining open to possibility and wait for further evidence around all kinds of things. I must have been 15 when I went through a stage of being a bit obsessed with Bruce Lee, which was my first encounter with someone who considered them self a philosopher, (Lee studied philosophy in San Francisco). His book 'The Art of Jeet Kune Do' contained an idea sometimes attributed to the Buddhist monk Sent-ts’an, from around c. 700 C.E.

“If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between ‘for’ and ‘against’ is the mind’s worst disease.”

It was later in life that I discovered that Socrates perhaps said it best when he states (in various ways)"The thing I know for sure is that I know nothing".

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The idea that the only thing I know for sure is that I don't know anything for sure has stuck with me throughout my life and served me well. To me, it promotes a certain humility in that nothing I 'believe' is set in stone and there is always an openness to new ideas and an openness to the possibility that I may be wrong.

I now have a final definitive answer to my original question. The only thing I know for sure is that I don't know anything for sure. This is my one and only Belief. All that follows could be considered 'beliefs' with a small b; tentative beliefs, ready to be dropped at a moment's notice.

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There are 4 states:

State 1) The Only Thing I Know For Sure Is That I Don't Know Anything For Sure.
State 2) Based on state 1's "emptiness" state in your mind , you start the journey to know Anything's true nature.
State 3) Even you know For Sure Things true nature , but you still not thinking that you know Anything For Sure.
State 4) Based on state 3, you probally have the real chance to know Anything For Sure.

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This is more a brain teaser.I am understanding it as more of a stepping up process. I do believe there there is a 5th state or the Ayn Soph the state in which there is complete nothingness; because the first state although empty is still a EURIKA moment. The idea in itself that you don't know anything for sure is still a state of mind.

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Insightful view.

Until we are oneness with The Ultimate, maybe we still have Xth state to go , and X could be 6..7..8..9.....99......999999........ -)

So the state 1 is important foundation stone.

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I agree, however my point was the state of 0
to me, is the unknowable perhaps that which sits beyond the vail of our lowly perception. Some refer to that as the creator of all :)

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Welcome to the paradox. :)

The fact that you can't know anything for sure, should not stop you from inquiring about and comparing the possibilities and likelihoods of different things to be correct.

For instance, the likelihood of the laws of physics we have discovered so far to be correct even if incomplete is quite high as we have gathered piles upon piles of evidence that clearly point in a certain direction. A the current precision of our findings is so great that the GPS satellite networks is adjusted for minuscule time dilations to allow it to pinpoint anybody's location within a few meters. That level of precision is truly extreme as just being a few milliseconds off could lead to errors in the ball park of kilometers/miles. Sure, there is always a chance that we might be off base here, but even in that case, it is safe to say that the probability of special relativity being correct is at least 95%.

You can compare that to a claim of a creator that comes with zero measurable evidence to substantiate it. So even in the most generous of evaluations, you couldn't reasonably give it more than a 50% chance and even that would be absolutely unsubstantiated.

So even if you can't be 100% sure about anything which is in all actuality really the case, you can still compare probabilities and evaluate and compare claims.

We should be open to dropping our assumptions and evaluations of those probabilities at a moments notice as soon as new evidence is put forward to change that, but we should also not ignore all the evidence about reality we have gathered so far and the predictive power scientific theory has to show for.

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The fact that you can't know anything for sure, should not stop you from inquiring about and comparing the possibilities and likelihoods of different things to be correct.

I agree, it certainly doesn't. It just means that when I arrive at a conclusion, I keep this fundamental core belief, my only actual belief, in mind and don't hold the conclusion so tightly that it can't change in the face of more accurate evidence.

Thomas Kuhn's history of scientific revolutions maps the fact that science repeatedly rejects new worldviews due to biases until finally a dam wall breaks and a new paradigm comes through. I just don't want to be one of the people obstinantly holding back a new way of looking at things whose time has come... if that time comes.

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Keeping an open mind is important and I agree that we should strive to do that. It's very important not to view things getting disproven as a personal failure or a failure at all, but as progress and enlighment.

It's also important to note that jumping on the bandwagon of new ideas is not always the reasonable thing to do. Rigorous research takes time and that's why sometimes it takes time for a paradigm to shift, but I think often (especially in modern times) it's not that scientists want to defend the status quo, they just require convincing evidence to accept a proposition and it takes time to gather that evidence through repeatable experiments and so on.

For instance, take the double-slit experiment. It didn't take a lot of time for it to lead to a paradigm shift, but people still needed to verify the data and to repeat the experiment.

It also needs to be pointed out that physics is one of those sciences where evidence is actually easier to measure and quantify which makes it less susceptible to problems with anti-progress predispositions while social sciences have a harder time with evidence, so opinions hold more sway and progress, consensus and agreement might be a bit more problematic.

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You mention jumping on the bandwagon.

You might enjoy the following section of this book talking about the bandwagon effect in science. It partially answers the question you had about the speed of light not necessarily being a constant after all, in that it discusses the reason why it may have been presented as a constant.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f1BpAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT332&lpg=PT332&dq=intellectual+phase+locking&source=bl&ots=tCCuaVh02t&sig=4esByekk7S5wXlxqSS7R44fKOiU&hl=en&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwiw_uCnq-nUAhXCvbwKHSyoBSsQ6AEIXzAJ#v=onepage&q=intellectual%20phase%20locking&f=false

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Also, I'll be addressing the double slit experiemt in future posts in this series, as it's a great example of paradox in action.

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Great, I'll keep an eye on that and make sure I won't miss it.

In my opinion, the double slit experiment is really a paradox only in the sense of our intuition and perception. As far as I understand it, it doesn't really involve an internal paradox, it's just a way to show what matter actually is and neither the fact that it's happening, not the math that we use to describe it are intrinsically paradoxical.

Of course, I'm looking forward to reading your take on it and I'm eager to learn what exact paradox you are referring to.

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I like that you bring up that there are some sciences that are more quantify than others.

I use this 'i don't know anything for sure' attitude to remain open to possibilities that fall outside what science can currently measure at all.

Germ theory was once preposterous because we didn't have the instruments to measure them.
We can now measuere gamma, xray, infrared, ultraviolet. On a more gross level, dogs can hear things we can't hear.

Again, Carl Sagan's flatland rap is great at pointing out the challenges of being able to experience extradimensional realities.

To reference a comment you make elsewhere, perhaps the reason why unicorns and dragons exist in myths is because some humans have found technologies that allow their consciousness to go into multidimensional realities and come back and report what they have seen.

Just because these things don't exist within our physical reality doesn't rule out the possibility to me that they may exist in other dimensions... dimensions which may have no physicality in the sense that we experience it at all.

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I use this 'i don't know anything for sure' attitude to remain open to possibilities that fall outside what science can currently measure at all.

I think that should also be the correct scientific attitude and I my personal opinion based on my limited experience is that that's how a great deal of the scientists look at it.

In the end, there is nothing that can be demonstrated with absolute certainty, but the degree of certainty that you might expect from a particular theory should also be taken into account.

Germ theory was once preposterous because we didn't have the instruments to measure them.

Preposterous is a judgment based on intuition. Intuition has a lot of value when hypothesizing, but it should be excluded from the evaluation of correctness.

The more important thing is that when it was proposed, it was not unreasonable to view it as unsubstantiated by evidence as the evidence was not in yet. Keeping in mind that looking at the theories that have survived scrutiny gives you strong selection and confirmation biases.

Look at it this way. When germ theory was initially proposed, there were let's say 9 other theories to explain the same phenomenons that have now been shown to contradict the evidence. But before the evidence was in, you wouldn't have had a good way to distinguish between the 10. So saying that all of them were not substantiated at that time is not at all unreasonable.

Of course, I'm speaking a bit hypothetically here as I'm not actually aware of the exact history of germ theory, I'm talking about the principle.

Additionally, it's always possible, especially if you go further back in history, for particular scientists or even whole scientific communities to have been reluctant to accept new evidence even when it was clearly contradictory to the then accepted theories. My personal opinion is that it is less likely today, but again it is more likely in some branches of science than in others.

Just because these things don't exist within our physical reality doesn't rule out the possibility to me that they may exist in other dimensions... dimensions which may have no physicality in the sense that we experience it at all.

Sure, we cannot rule out anything that is untestable, but the question here would be how reasonable would it be for us to base our views on such unfalsifiable claims? There are just too many things that are theoretically possible and if we have no way to peer into them reliably, should we postulate them as reasonable?

Humans might believe in myths because they had technologies to peer into some other reality, but keeping in mind the utter diversity and inconsistency of myth, is it reasonable to assume they did?

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For instance, the likelihood of the laws of physics we have discovered so far to be correct even if incomplete is quite high as we have gathered piles upon piles of evidence that clearly point in a certain direction. A the current precision of our findings is so great that the GPS satellite networks is adjusted for minuscule time dilations to allow it to pinpoint anybody's location within a few meters. That level of precision is truly extreme as just being a few milliseconds off could lead to errors in the ball park of kilometers/miles. Sure, there is always a chance that we might be off base here, but even in that case, it is safe to say that the probability of special relativity being correct is at least 95%.

I'm curious to know how you feel about the variances in recordings of the speed of light over the years and the strong evidence that it is not a constant after all.

I bring this up as an example of a fundamental variable that was, and still is by many, not considered a variable at all. It's a great example of the importance of holding onto a scientific tenet for only as long as it is not surpassed by more accurate infomation.

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I'm curious to know how you feel about the variances in recordings of the speed of light over the years and the strong evidence that it is not a constant after all.

That's something I'm not yet aware of, do you have specific source that you might be referring to so I can check it out? Not that I can't google that, I'd just prefer to start with what you have found interesting already.

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This is perhaps the most balanced thing I have found to start you off.

Beware, it contains content from Rupert Sheldrake, a figure who if you're not familiar with, ruffles the feathers of skeptics everywhere. ;)

http://www.josephvoelbel.com/blog/rupert-sheldrake-on-the-speed-of-light-and-big-g

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keep in mind that i get to hide behind the fact that I don't believe or disbelieve, I allow possibility and wait for further evidence.

When it comes to issues like 'will i fall off this cliff if i take another step?', I err on the side of caution as evidence strongly suggests i will fall, however on issues like this i find it more interesting to hold back and keep exploring the possibilities and the evidence.

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I don't see why we should hold out examining the evidence that's in right now to make a tentative judgment of what seems to be the case and what doesn't.

I think this is an utter and very common misconception about science, most scientists especially physicists spend their time testing out theories and questioning our understanding of reality, not defending it. No self-respecting physicist will claim that we have all the answers. The claim is always, we have all this evidence and it seems to entail this and we have this level of certainty based on the amount of data we're gathered. It's never a dogmatic postulation that cannot and should not be challenged.

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Beware, it contains content from Rupert Sheldrake, a figure who if you're not familiar with, ruffles the feathers of skeptics everywhere. ;)

LOL :P I'll check his claims out. The article you've shared talks about circumstances not substance, but the name looks googlable enough ;)

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You can compare that to a claim of a creator that comes with zero measurable evidence to substantiate it. So even in the most generous of evaluations, you couldn't reasonably give it more than a 50% chance and even that would be absolutely unsubstantiated.

When it comes to claims of whether God is real, I keep in mind that approximately 95% of the humans on planet earth have some form of spiritual belief. I also want evidence and refuse to believe without it, as you do, however I am not so quick to dismiss the opinion of 95% of the human species. Some might consider this evidence of a kind however I'm not going that far. What I do believe (with a small b) is that all religions have their roots in someone, somewhere having what is commonly described as a personal mystical experience. It's easy to dismiss this and scoff at it, however we must take extra care not to do so out of cultural programming.

Reports of direct personal experiences of mystical experiences can be found throughout human history through to the modern day.

Of course science wants repeatable experiments and empirical evidence, however it could be one of those Carl Sagan 'flatland' type problems. How does a 2D being from flatland describe a 3D being when their only experience is 2D?

My suggestion is for science to look to a chemical produced by the human brain and found throughout nature called 5-MeO-DMT which is reported with extremely high frequency to cause people to experience these mystical states with astounding reliability.

If there is a chemical technology that can be studied to examine the human belief in god then sceinctist who wish to finally dismiss or confirm this endless debate should be looking here.

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On god in general, I personally like Carl Sagan's stance of approaching these matters with a respectful tone instead of taking a position of ridicule. Though I've only seen the film, I also love the ending to Contact which depicts a science having personally experienced something unverifiable by science suddenly understanding what it is to KNOW something, and not be able to present any evidence. Carl Sagan exemplifies the fact that compassion, consideration and respect do not have to be left out of science. He demonstrates a clear attempt at understanding the mind of the 'enemy' of science aka religion, without feeling compelled to become reactive and attack it.

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I agree that respectfulness is important to any discussion in any topic, but it should also not impede honesty. There are certainly aspects of some major religions that deserve to be confronted like misogyny, homophobia and purposeful misinformation. When religion actively tries to impose itself on society (and it does that on regular basis), it warrants a pushback.

Having the feeling that you know something just inside yourself should not be a sufficient reason to believe it. We could all fall victims to delusions, false memories and hallucinations. It's like the stereotypical institutionalized mental patient that believes themselves to be Napoleon. That's why it's important to not just have faith in your sourceless internal knowledge fueling the "I just know" argument, but to compare notes with reality.

The protagonist of the movie contact does not need to rely solely on her own experiences. The device that she used to travel can be build again and can continue to be tested until there is more conclusive data. Even in the movie's fictional universe, she should not be 100% sure of the truthfulness of her own experience until there is more evidence.

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Let me start this comment of by sharing that I don't think we disagree on much, but I do enjoy the conversation and that's why I'm replying and discussing my point of view in opposition to yours despite the fact that I think the differences are subtle at best.

When it comes to claims of whether God is real, I keep in mind that approximately 95% of the humans on planet earth have some form of spiritual belief. I also want evidence and refuse to believe without it, as you do, however I am not so quick to dismiss the opinion of 95% of the human species. Some might consider this evidence of a kind however I'm not going that far.

Considering that evidence would be a logical fallacy. What people believe doesn't have to have a direct correlation with what's true. There was a time when 95% of the people believed the Earth was flat. If you don't think it's evidence of something, why at all bring that up?

Btw, I think this number is shrinking and I would be surprised if it was really 95%, but I haven't checked as I'm not sure if it's at all relevant.

Reports of direct personal experiences of mystical experiences can be found throughout human history through to the modern day.

There are also personal reports of people hearing voices in their heads but we classify those as mental disorders most of the time. In the end, none of those are really verifiable and when people have used their personal spiritual experiences to make predictions about the world, they have turned out to be wrong.

Most religions claim that in the past people have had collective spiritual experiences that they could have verified together, but those don't seep to happen in modern times. In a way, all the miracles disappeared with the invention of the camera.

Of course science wants repeatable experiments and empirical evidence, however it could be one of those Carl Sagan 'flatland' type problems. How does a 2D being from flatland describe a 3D being when their only experience is 2D?

It depends. If the 2D reality interacts with the third unnoticeable dimension in some way be it subtly, than should be some measurable consequences of that interaction. Like the "2D sheet" vibrating ever so slightly or whatever. If there is interaction, some effects should be measurable in some way and the scientiests in the 2D world might someday discover a way to measure, explain and prove the existence of an unseen third dimension.

But if the 2D reality does not interact with anything occupying the third dimension in any way, there might never be evidence. The thing is, would postulating a third dimension would be reasonable at all as it will be an unfalsifiable claim.

But if you talk about personal experience as something that could possibly be attributed to a god of some sort, then the latter would certainly not be the case as those experiences would have to have been caused by something that can interact with the reality they are in.

I hope I managed to express this contradiction clearly.

My suggestion is for science to look to a chemical produced by the human brain and found throughout nature called 5-MeO-DMT which is reported with extremely high frequency to cause people to experience these mystical states with astounding reliability.

It's not just that, they have also used electrical fields to stimulate the brain to have similar experiences.

If there is a chemical technology that can be studied to examine the human belief in god then sceinctist who wish to finally dismiss or confirm this endless debate should be looking here.

I'm not sure that will be enough to refute the claim as many theists and deists tend to seek refuge for their belief in unfalsifiable claims. The thing is (and I think you probably agree) we should require evidence before we start making our minds up.

The reason I oppose faith is the fact that it goes against the exact thing you are advocating for here - being open to the possibility of being disproven and a belief to turn out to be incorrect.

I'm not saying the existence of god can be refuted with 100% certainty, but I am saying that believing in a god is unreasonable as it is unreasonable to believe in ferries, leprechauns, unicorns, magic and the flying spaghetti monster.

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@rocking-dave Hmm, So you are an atheist ?
and Science is all what you believing in?
Sounds like Science is your Religion or God.

Let us look what really science is:

The Real Science is but a Spirit rather than a Method.

Those who stick to belive in narrow scientific method definition (esspecially by using external appatus to do experment) always against the Real Spirit of Science.
(and this is the real problem of so-called morden science we now faced)

What do you think about Scorates or those who we call Sages, do you think these kind of ancient peoples without now so-called scientific method or knowledge could posiblly have the chance to probe into some deep of the mysteries of our universe?

Or just like what you said:

In the end, the scientific method is the most powerful and arguably the only tool to allow us to probe into the mysteries of the universe.

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As many former atheists discovered and as is documented in the Bible, everything has its root in the spiritual realm. Our physical world is merely a projection of that what is happening in the spiritual. Quantum Physics support these observations.

Also interesting to read:
Michael Talbot's The Holographic Universe
The Universe is a Holographic Projection.

Happy Sunday

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The fact that a religious person might have been an atheist has nothing to do with the validity of their claims. The Bible is full of internal contradictions and hasn't been demonstrated to be true, so things in there matter only to people that have chosen to believe in it on faith.

Quantum Physics support these observations.

That is a statement about quantum physics that is false. Quantum physics does not require the existence of a spiritual world to work, so claiming it supports it is fallacious. There is no real reason to come to this conclusion. If you want to talk physics, you have to be ready to talk evidence, right? What evidence do you see in quantum mechanics that would support the existence of a spiritual world?

The idea of the holographic universe is just an idea for now. And even if it turns out to be the case, there is no logical connection between a holographic universe and a spiritual world as a spiritual world would not be a necessary condition for a holographic universe to be possible.

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Atheists Scientist turn to God

For me, it is not about religion. I am not religious. Thank God! Religions are false contracts with other humans in my view. Scientists who turn from Atheism to Having a Relationship with God have turned to God because of scientific evidence. Most tried to prove that God didn't exist and not only were unable to do so but their scientific skills led them to the scientific conclusion that God does exist. How are their skills and findings now that they believe in God less relevant to when they did not believe?

Bible or Not Bible

I have and am studying the Bible without finding evidence of any contradictions. It is a master piece written by 40 authors in 66 books forming ONE congruent message. Have you or are you studying the Bible? Or is your statement/belief the result of someone else's opinion? Many translations of the Bible are misleading and false. One can only arrive at the messages in the Bible by also studying the original languages. Genesis 5 is a good example. It reads like a phone book. But hidden in it foretold is the coming of Christ, encoded in the names from Adam to Noah.

QP

As for QP, the fact that a particle can be observed in two different places at the same time, and the fact that they are communicating with one another instantly - is the very definition, and in my view, proof of the existence of spiritual reality.

I do wish you all the best.

Take care.

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Religions are false contracts with other humans in my view. Scientists who turn from Atheism to Having a Relationship with God have turned to God because of scientific evidence. Most tried to prove that God didn't exist and not only were unable to do so but their scientific skills led them to the scientific conclusion that God does exist. How are their skills and findings now that they believe in God less relevant to when they did not believe?

I don't really distinguish between religion and a personal relationship with god.

I haven't heard of any scientists that started from being an atheist and then proved to themselves that god existed. I would be very interested in learning their stories and more importantly, learning about what evidence they found convincing.

I'm pretty certain there have been no scientists that have set out to prove god doesn't exist as negative claims like that are impossible to prove. You can never have definitive proof that something doesn't exists because it can always be somewhere you haven't look at.

Keep in mind, the general atheist position and certainly mine is that the claim that god exists has not met it's burden of proof and therefore it is not rational to believe it, not that it is definitively proven that god doesn't exists. Atheism is the lack in belief in god.

Scientific findings are not evaluated based on the beliefs of the scientist performing the experiments or proposing the ideas, they are evaluated on their own merits.

Have you or are you studying the Bible?

Yes. I find the original language argument a bit of a cop out, but I have discussed the old testament with rabbis whose native tongue is Hebrew in English.

I do see a lot of contradictions in both the text and the common apologetics.

As for QP, the fact that a particle can be observed in two different places at the same time, and the fact that they are communicating with one another instantly - is the very definition, and in my view, proof of the existence of spiritual reality.

There is a huge leap from your premise and conclusion. I don't see any way that follows. Could you explain why you think so?

I do wish you all the best.

Take care.

Same to you and thank you for taking the time to reply.

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Simply put my long theory short.

Do you Love your wife or childs?
You know for sure there is Love inside your deep heart.

And you don't need Any Scientific Method to test whether you have Love or not.

But you definitely for sure you have Love inside.
Because you have some kind of Scientific Spirit to know that your Knowing is True!

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@rocking-dave Hmm, So you are an atheist ?

Correct, I am. I find the claim that there is a god unconvincing. Atheism is a rejection of the claim that there is a god because of insufficient evidence for the claim to be determined as correct.

and Science is all what you believing in?
Sounds like Science is your Religion or God.

Might sound like that only if you want to be disingenuous in your assertions...

There is a substantial, fundamental and qualitative difference between examining and probing reality and coming to conclusions about it based on evidence on one hand and having faith in something that has not yet been shown to be true on the other. You might say I believe that scientific theory is the set of reasonable conclusions that can be drawn from the data that humanity has managed to gather and examine so far. The way I say that the laws of physics seem to be the case in the universe has nothing to do with the way a religious person has basically blind faith in the existence of the deity of their religion without having good evidence or reasons to do so.

After all, not every claim that starts with "I believe" is religious, that is obvious, right?

The Real Science is but a Spirit rather than a Method.

Why do you think so? The method might be relatively broadly defined, but it is defined nontheless. You can read my post talking about what science is here

Those who stick to belive in narrow scientific method definition (esspecially by using external appatus to do experment) always against the Real Spirit of Science.
(and this is the real problem of so-called morden science we now faced)

I'm not sure I understand what problem you see with "modern science".

What do you think about Scorates or those who we call Sages, do you think these kind of ancient peoples without now so-called scientific method or knowledge could posiblly have the chance to probe into some deep of the mysteries of our universe?

Philosophy is about ideas. But if you want to test if your ideas are true, you resort to checking if your ideas about the world are indeed correct. That's in fact the essence of the scientific method. You make a hypothesis and then you test it. If the evidence supports it, you have reason to believe your hypothesis might be true.

The Ancient Greek philosophers all had different ideas on what matter was, but only after we gathered enough data about it and performed enough experiments with it, that we learned about molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks and so on.

I'm saying it's the only real way to probe into the mysteries of the universe, because the only way to do so is based on evidence from the real world. If you are working with evidence from the real world, than it's really the scientific method you are trying to engage in.

Can you propose a different way that would lead to real knowledge about the real world that you might have any reasonable confidence in?

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The Ancient Greek philosophers all had different ideas on what matter was, but only after we gathered enough data about it and performed enough experiments with it, that we learned about molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks and so on.

How do you know those Ancient philosophers whether east or west, Not already Saw that ''molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks and so on'' inside their mind thousands years ago?

To gather enough data (hard material evidence) to believe is what I call morden science in essence.

I'm saying it's the only real way to probe into the mysteries of the universe, because the only way to do so is based on evidence from the real world. If you are working with evidence from the real world, than it's really the scientific method you are trying to engage in.

What is real world by your definition?
What is mind, and what is material?
What is US?

Love your wife in the real world and find that Love inside yourself, isn't that the true evidence from the real world?

You always find Love there without doubt, Love could be the one of most profound mysteries of the universe!

So is Consciousness!

Can you propose a different way that would lead to real knowledge about the real world that you might have any reasonable confidence in?

Maybe follow this topic by @jonathan.davis -)

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How do you know those Ancient philosophers whether east or west, Not already Saw that ''molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks and so on'' inside their mind thousands years ago?

Why is that question relevant?

Anyway, I don't actually have a way of knowing that. But none of the ideas that have made it to the present come anywhere near to the level of detail and descriptive and predictive power of current scientific theory.

The thing is, even if they had the exact right thing in their minds, including all the math, precise values and so on, you can't assert anything based on the fact that it's just in your mind. If it was just in their minds, it would have been just a hypothesis. To prove a hypothesis you gather evidence and you check if your hypothesis fits reality. Only after you have gathered enough evidence, can you start asserting your hypothesis to be correct. Otherwise you are making internally consistent stories up, but you have no guarantee that they have anything to do with the real world at all.

What is real world by your definition?
What is mind, and what is material?
What is US?

I wonder, what point are you trying to make with those questions? We do have interesting things to study, sure, but what does that have to do with your claim that science is a religion? Those are all questions that science is equipped to answer while all religion can do is make empty claims. Or do you expect them to be answered by pure theoretical phylosophy? Your point here honestly alludes me, so I'd appreciate if you actually went ahead and made it directly.

Let me give you some answers anyway.

What is real world by your definition?

The real world is the universe we share, interact with and observe. If you want to probe into it, you need to interact with it, not just make up stories about it. The interaction (which is essentially experimentation) is how you check if the stories you have made up are true.

What is mind

A mind is basically another word for consciousness. We usually define it as the state of being aware of your surroundings and of yourself. It's a field of study that is still wide open which of course cannot be viewed as a weakness of the scientific method. If you go to the claim that if science hasn't answered it yet, than we can start making stories up, that would be a logical fallacy and a pretty clear one at that.

what is material?

By material do you mean matter? Matter is physical substance. Essentially, in the deepest sense of our current understanding, matter is all energy that is going slower that the speed of light and is made up of particles that posses a quality called mass. Do you doubt that "modern" science has a more thorough understanding of matter than the one that can be acquired through religion or just pure theoretical philosophy? I ask again, is there anything else out there that you suggest we use?

What is US?

We are a species living on this planet, aren't we? If you are looking for a meaning, that's subjective and ascribed, not intrinsic.

Love your wife in the real world and find that Love inside yourself, isn't that the true evidence from the real world?
You always find Love there without doubt, Love could be the one of most profound mysteries of the universe!

I hope you understand that love is by no means outside the scope of scientific inquiry and that inquiry has already made progress. Love might be a subjective process viewed from the inside of your consciousness, but neuroscience has already figured out a lot about the basics of how it works and what chemical processes in the brain are involved with it. We are a long way from a thorough understanding, but that's something that will change with time. Is there a reason to believe otherwise? I certainly see no evidence to the contrary yet.

My personal opinion is that how to find a physics theory that would reconcile quantum mechanics and special relativity is much more profound mystery of the universe, but that's of course subjective. Still, consciousness in general is an absolutely fascinating topic as well and I think you could appreciate its full depth only if you enter it with an open mind instead of one burdened by dogma or predetermined beliefs.

Maybe follow this topic by @jonathan.davis -)

I'm not sure what you mean here, maybe a link is missing? I feel you haven't answered my question though ;)

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BTW, if you have leisure time, I strongly recommend you take a look at this book.
This one is Steven Jobs most favorite, he read it once each year when he still in this planet.
Autobiography of a Yogi

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science is a religion?

For some, science is just a tool not a religion.

For some, who claim science is the only tool to seek the truth, science is their religion.

We are all seeking The Truth on this little planet in the vast Universe by each one's own way.

The Truth including everything and every domain you can think of and name it.

Science and Religion are just two of largest major domain to seek The Truth of mankind.

(Scientific Spirit permeates The Way to seek The Truth, or you can call it Wisdom if you like, is one of the symbol of The Truth)

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My personal opinion is that how to find a physics theory that would reconcile quantum mechanics and special relativity is much more profound mystery of the universe, but that's of course subjective. Still, consciousness in general is an absolutely fascinating topic as well and I think you could appreciate its full depth only if you enter it with an open mind instead of one burdened by dogma or predetermined beliefs.

I must admit that you are serious and sincere with your statement and research, I think we are in the same spirit to seek The Ultimate Truth regardless of through the different opinions and approach .

If you are interested in further research, I would like to recomend some books that are related with our discussion.

Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness

Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer

Cosmology of Consciousness: Quantum Physics & Neuroscience of Mind

The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism

The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World
The NonLocal Universe - The New Physics and Matters of the Mind
The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena

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There are also personal reports of people hearing voices in their heads but we classify those as mental disorders most of the time. In the end, none of those are really verifiable and when people have used their personal spiritual experiences to make predictions about the world, they have turned out to be wrong.

Most religions claim that in the past people have had collective spiritual experiences that they could have verified together, but those don't seep to happen in modern times. In a way, all the miracles disappeared with the invention of the camera.

There is an assumption here that the pathologising of these experiences is correct. The WHO commissioned longitudinal studies over more than 3 decades whichshow that developing countries have better mental health outcomes than countries that employ modern psychiatry. These countries instead continue to employ folk medicine techniques, which include awareness that the experiences the person is having may be real on some level but aren't able to be experienced by everyone.

I put it to you that the labelling of these expereinces as sickness is a majot contributing factor to what turns them into an actual sickness.

Consider a person in a voluntary non-ordinary state such as those induced by psychedelics. Psychedelic therapists who say success in using these substances in spychotherapy for decades before they were banned, and in modern day clinical trails site set and setting as the primary factors in influencing the experience. What is the mindset of the person before they take the substance and what is the setting that could influence that mindset during?

So to simplify... imagine a person of medical authority telling a person who is on acid, for example, that they have a mental illness and they will have it for the rest of their life. This would be deeply irresponsible as the person is highly vulnerable to influence and could cause all kinds of psychological problems.

Why then would we do exactly this when a person is going through the same kind of experience involuntarily?

Without making any accusations, it certainly would be good for business.

Coming back to the claim of people being wrong about the things they learned during mystical experience / psychosis, I point you to Carl Jung who described these experiences as the dream world overlapping reality.

If we choose, we can learn about ourselves though our dreams. Let's assume there are no multidimensional realities beyond the physical for a moment. This dream content can reveal to us information about our own subconscous mind.

If the dream world starts to overlap reality, it can contain content that can help us learn about ourselves. It can also allow us to process trauma and more.

The problem comes when we live in a culture that devalues these non-ordinary states and instead of having clear information and training for people, as well as cultural awareness from childhood, we have nothing. Worse than nothing. Ridicule and fear.

If we existed in a culture which celebrated these experiences and understood how to guide them to a healthy conclusion, people wouldn't get stuck in them, which is the essence of the WHO discovered in the developing world.

In this instance I feel that scienctific bias towards the need to not allow the possibility of a spirit world is in fact contributing to a global mental health epidemic.

Whatever these experiences are, suppressing them is making people sick. Whenever people are given permission to explore the mythological content they have a better chance of coming through.

Perhaps a compramise is for science to recognise the power of myth, the power of fiction, the power of storyteling. Psychology has seen Narrative Therapy emerge as an effective model. But on a much larger scale, if science doesn't believe storytelling is powerful then they should look to the money being invested and made in the the film and tv industry. Or even better, look to advertising. If stortelling doesn't affect behaviour then why do advertisers spend billions and billions on it. They wouldn't do it if they didn't get return on investment.

My point is that confronting individuals who are experiencing the dream state overlapping consensus reality with 'this isn't real and you are sick' is not a medically effective story. Telling our entire culture that 'none of this stuff is real and anyone who experiences it is sick', in my opinion is making our culture sick.

So the compramise could be science saying 'mythic content is powerful and should be respected.

From an atheist point of view, perhaps 95%of thepopulation is suffering from some form of mental illness. If this is the case, if you want them to be healed of their delusion I suggest accepting the content as Myth (read fiction) but also accepting that Myth is powerful and engaging with these myths on their own terms instead of suppressing them may lead you to your goal more effectively.

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My mental disorder point was to illustrate a situation when we can determine an internal belief that seems to be convincing to the person having the experience to be objectively (as much as that can be asserted) false. What I'm talking about is how you can go about determining if something that a person is experiencing internally has any connection to a truth or reality or is a delusion.

Whatever these experiences are, suppressing them is making people sick. Whenever people are given permission to explore the mythological content they have a better chance of coming through.

Even if that was the case (and I'm not entirely convinced it is) can you claim that the myths are true because of that? Making that conclusion will in my opinion be faulty logic.

Coming back to the claim of people being wrong about the things they learned during mystical experience / psychosis, I point you to Carl Jung who described these experiences as the dream world overlapping reality.

In that case, Carl Jung made an unsubstantiated claim. That's in essence one of the problems of pure philosophy, if you don't go and test your claims and see that they conform to reality, you might as well be describing your own imagination instead of the real world.

If we choose, we can learn about ourselves though our dreams. Let's assume there are no multidimensional realities beyond the physical for a moment. This dream content can reveal to us information about our own subconscous mind.

If the dream world starts to overlap reality, it can contain content that can help us learn about ourselves. It can also allow us to process trauma and more.

There are a lot of if-s here. The fact that dreams might help us understand ourselves better (if that's at all the case as I see that as unproven as of now as you probably do yourself if you are consistent in your belief/disbelief), does not mean they have any relation to the reality that exists outside of our consciousness. The fact that they might provide information about our internal state does not mean that they contain any real and reliable information about the external state of reality and the universe as a whole.

Even if we accept the idea that non-ordinary states as you called them are in fact healthy for the human psyche, does that tell us anything about the state of reality outside of our human psyche? I maintain that it doesn't. It's like saying that since optical illusions fool all of us, then science should consider that the lines are indeed different lengths instead of the same one. Why would you use subjective experiences as a basis to try and justify things that can be measured objectively?

In this instance I feel that scienctific bias towards the need to not allow the possibility of a spirit world is in fact contributing to a global mental health epidemic.

I think using the word bias here is unfair and fallacious. It's by no means scientific bias to see that we have found no objective evidence that a spirit world exists. The only evidence you might have would be internal experiences of people which simply cannot qualify as objective especially when those experiences are not reliable. My example with the visual illusion is indeed consistent among our species while the interpretation and experience of the spirit world differs vastly among cultures. So if those experiences are not even consistent and often contradict each other, how could you base any rational claims on them?

Perhaps a compramise is for science to recognise the power of myth, the power of fiction, the power of storyteling.

Why would you say that science does not recognize the power of myth, fiction or storytelling? Don't you think psychologists, neurologists and anthropologists study those things extensively among others?

Psychology has seen Narrative Therapy emerge as an effective model.

The fact that something is an effective psychological therapy doesn't mean that what a person undergoing the therapy would infer from the experience would be true. For instance, it would be comforting and possibly psychologically beneficial to tell a child that their deceased pet lives on a farm upstate now, but that wouldn't mean that the knowledge the child would acquire would be correct. It would indeed be false as successful psychological therapy is not evidence for universal truth being communicated. The fact that fiction might be more comforting than the truth for some doesn't magically change it from fiction to reality.

But on a much larger scale, if science doesn't believe storytelling is powerful then they should look to the money being invested and made in the the film and tv industry. Or even better, look to advertising. If stortelling doesn't affect behaviour then why do advertisers spend billions and billions on it. They wouldn't do it if they didn't get return on investment.

Statements like "science believes" or "science doesn't believe" are at all times fallacious. Science - not a homogenous community, not an institution, so no official opinion of science. Most scientists might agree on something and accept it as true, but it's rarely all.

The fact that an idea, concept or claim affects our behavior is no evidence for reality and the truth of the claim. Neither does return on investment.

So the compramise could be science saying 'mythic content is powerful and should be respected.

Science doesn't say anything as pointed above. It is a tool that allows us to evaluate claims against reality. If the evidence is pointing in a certain direction, it doesn't really matter how people feel about it as it has no effect on if it is true or false. Why would you want a dishonest compromise anyway?

From an atheist point of view, perhaps 95%of thepopulation is suffering from some form of mental illness. If this is the case, if you want them to be healed of their delusion I suggest accepting the content as Myth (read fiction) but also accepting that Myth is powerful and engaging with these myths on their own terms instead of suppressing them may lead you to your goal more effectively.

Not from mine. I wouldn't say religion is a mental illness. If you'd like to make the case that it behaves like a mental disorder, you could, but that is by no means required or productive.

I think the proper way to deal with a delusion is through being reasonable. Discussing what is true, false, likely, unlikely, logical or logically fallacious is by no means suppression of ideas. Why do you think accepting false premises would be in any favor of an honest discussion and real seeking of truth?

Awesome... I appreciate your quest for knowledge.

I'm going to be following you on your journey :)

“If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between ‘for’ and ‘against’ is the mind’s worst disease.”

Excellent quote

Great blog. Based on your post and comments, I think you might like a book I wrote, which you can download for free on Smashwords.com: Why: An Agnostic Perspective on the Meaning of Life. Good luck on your search for truth.

I love your post @jonathan.davis. Thank you for one-upping one of my posts, that's what led me to find your posts.

My thoughts provoked from your post:
We don't know what we don't know; meaning we may know a lot, but there's always something more that we're unconsciously incompetent about.

and... "To know and not to do is not to know." Leo Buscalia