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Old 06-18-2017, 12:24 AM   #51
howerd
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Originally Posted by Brian249x View Post
Howerd, I really don't understand why you have such a problem with what I believe.
Well call me old fashioned but I happen to care about whether we are living in a world where valid reasoning is important & fallacious reasoning is (potentially) dangerous if enough people buy into it. Voltaire put this issue very coherently when he said ''Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit an atrocity."

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I have changed my opinion several times and really don't take the whole reincarnation thing all that seriously.
OK but I don't see it as a major problem to take the idea fairly seriously just so long as you don't become so open minded about a claim your brains fall out!

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I did have a flash of memories during a meditation that I was an executioner/torturer in medieval Germany.
But why define it as a 'memory' when it could simply be a figment of your imagination? I once had a dream that I was an ostrich (seriously!). But does it follow that there's good reason to imagine I was once an ostrich? I can't see why it should be!


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Another time I caught snippets of being a woman or women with children. Are they real or is there another explanation?
But what do you mean by 'another' here? Thinking you were a woman with children in a former life is in no sense an 'explanation' at all because it's just a claim which doesn't have any genuine explanatory power what so ever. It might if you knew this woman's name, looked into your family tree & discovered that she was an ancestor of yours.

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We know that the descendants of lab rats who have learned to run mazes learn to run mazes much more quickly than lab rats whose ancestors did not run mazes. Is it possible that memories are somehow transferred in the DNA?
Maybe but isn't it more plausible that the genetic traits like 'maze solving skill' (probably 'intelligence' & / or 'determination') are the genetic attributes the descendent rats inherited rather than memories? I'd say so.

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I don't know, but assume that science may one day find out.
I don't know either so why imagine I can? I wouldn't be at all surprised by the explanation being simply genetic but yeah perhaps just perhaps memories can be inherited.

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I have an arthritic neck, the result of multiple car wrecks in my late teens and twenties. I joke that my neck is evidence of multiple hangings in previous lives, which were no doubt richly deserved.
Well it might be evidence I guess - but isn't it far far more likely that as a creature which is at the end of a long line of other creatures which stood a better chance of surviving from pattern recognition (a form of intelligence) & therefore passed on that pattern recognition trait to future generations than the creatures that weren't so good at it & therefore didn't notice the difference between poisonous mushrooms from edible ones & died out taking their weak pattern recognition genetics with them before they had the chance to parent the next generation? I'd say so. This state of affairs results in a generation of humans with a propensity for pattern recognition regardless of whether it's there or not? (I'm not saying you are stupid - quite the opposite in a sense: certain geniuses have also been overly sensitive to pattern recognition e.g. Sir Isaac Newton who saw astounding hidden patterns within the universe but sometimes 'saw too much' e.g. evidence for astrology which has never ever been scientifically confirmed).

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Originally Posted by Brian249x View Post
Certainly that joke/explanation has some probability of being true,
but is not testable.
There's the rub! If any claim cannot be tested or even accurately estimated somehow as highly or weakly likely it's just a wild card & of virtually no use at all. e.g. Maybe there's a part of our mind where we can put 'real time' on hold for a while like pausing a YouTube video, & this capability enables us to say or do something smart because we've had extra 'virtual' time outside of 'real time' to decide what's best to do next. The smarter we are the more access we have to this hidden 'virtual hold time' & therefore this 'explains' how & why some people are smarter than others due to this super power. - Now is that really an explanation or just a baseless 'just so story'?

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I really don't think we have answers.
Indeed - so why not learn to feel comfortable knowing we don't know? At least we know that we don't know which is better than thinking we might when in truth we really don't yeah?

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So, I choose a set of beliefs that many smart and spiritually adept people have espoused and use them to laugh at my pretensions.
Well OK that may be pretty harmless - or harmful if you happen to buy into beliefs that you're karmic history suggests you have a bad streak when actually you're simply assuming this negative idea on very very little.

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If you choose to believe something else, it is perfectly fine with me.
Sure - & you too can believe anything you like too but hopefully nothing which might be negative e.g. That you have an intrinsically wicked streak when in truth there's very very little reason to assume such a thing & fairly good reasons to imagine you are very probably over active in pattern recognition just like Sir Isaac Newton was.

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You should choose to believe something else as your experiences are not mine. However, given the known perils of confirmation bias, we must reject any notion that our beliefs have universal application if we wish to be honest with ourselves.
Exactly! I have my blind spots & conformation biases too. If at all possible I try not to 'believe' anything at all if I can help it. I prefer to know whenever I can but when I lose my car keys I'm sometimes forced to see if by belief that I may have left them here or there or wherever seems plausible!

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I believe in the existence of a spiritual being present in the universe because I have had multiple occasions of experiencing that presence over many years.
Well isn't it more accurate to say it seems like you have? Just how visceral & detailed were these experiences? If they are fairly vague couldn't they be delusions? I'm not calling you crazy, I'm simply suggesting it could well be a variety of H.A.D - Hyperactive Agency Detection. An inherited propensity to be overly sensitive to perceiving unseen agents? A phenomena the Cognitive Scientist Daniel Dennett called 'The intentional stance'. It's just a thought...

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You are convinced that I am delusional.
Not 'crazy' delusional, just mistaken a bit like Isaac Newton was about astrology & he was a genius!

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I really don't see how you can judge my experience given that you haven't had my experience, but that's OK.
True I haven't - but the reverse perspective also applies as well - from a view point inside your own head it's sometimes impossible to see things a different way & therefore it seems implausible that you could be mistaken.

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I am perfectly fine with you believing whatever you want as long as you follow our customary and legal agreements that each of us is free to believe whatever we want as long as we don't infringe on others rights.
Absolutely! Even if you are totally wrong it's probably a completely harmless belief. That may not be the case of a belief that you are karmically 'evil' but maybe you don't think that - at least I hope you don't!

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(Which is why so many of us strongly dislike fundamentalist Christians and those Muslims who seek to impose their habits and medieval values on us.)
Yes thank God fewer & fewer people take that view of God so seriously!

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The Special Ed Planet, frankly I thought the complete range of this lady's belief was absolutely bonkers, but adopted the special ed planet hypothesis because it appeals to my sense of humor and deflates my ego.
I'm not sure what you are referring to here but no worries.

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Originally Posted by Brian249x View Post
I often struggle with being a know-it-all, and am grateful for reminders of my fallibility (even if they do usually really piss me off at first.)
Yeah I know that one!

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Originally Posted by Brian249x View Post
David Hume in Treatise of Human Nature proceeded to demolish pretty much all claims to knowledge and even common claims to personal identity. He then proceeded to advise embracing custom as the best guide to behavior.
I must read some of his stuff! It's on my reading list. I'm struggling with reading Shoppenhauer right now. Pretty heavy stuff!

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After a lifetime of studying ethics and morals, I agree with Hume's notion that ethics and morals are grounded in our relationships with each other and have nothing to to do with God.
Yeah the ancient Greeks worked that out too in the Euthyphro Dilemma.

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Since I have an experience of the reality of the Divine, I would like to explore the whole question of theology free of the baggage of a dozen years of Catholic schooling, but recognize that Aquinas' framework is too deeply embedded to do so.
OK but remember that good old Bertrand Russell said 'In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.' - That applies just as much to someone who doesn't think there's a god than someone who thinks there is - so let me know if you come up with any compelling reason to believe if you discover one.

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Besides, Thomas Aquinas was a really deep and profound thinker and needs to be respected.
Sure. As long as one doesn't consider it impossible that he just might have been mistaken about a god existing.

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Anyway, that's enough for now. I've gone on too long already.
So have I! Here's a link to a video about what I've been trying to describe. It's fascinating stuff. I'm 99% sure you will very probably find it interesting: Check it out >
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:11 AM   #52
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In the current situation would you believe an individual has the prerogative to test out one's ability as a sex star in that and for that reason it being normal these days ?
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Old 06-20-2017, 02:12 PM   #53
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A question for the Christians: would you ever consider going to a faith healer?
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