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Old 4th December 2012, 06:29 PM   #281
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
You seem to have missed this:

Believer: The bible says to not eat pork, pork can make you sick therefore the bible is true and the word of god.
No, I did not miss this. I am simply pointing out that the silliness of the conclusion does not make the contention wrong.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@bruto:
Well, it's not just one thing. It's that if you do a shotgun approach and forbid a few dozen random things, even by sheer chance one or more will have some aspect which can be argued as worth avoiding.

Especially when

A) we're talking about ancient technology, where basically just about anything is a health hazard (E.g., if they had been forbidden to eat sheep instead, sure, then you can't get brain damage from scrapie sheep,) and

B) one doesn't have to do a balanced tallying up of the pros and cons, and weigh it against what is given up by having that restriction.

But really, there are ove six hundred 'don't's in the OT. I'm almost tempted to write a program that extracts 600 random words from a dictionary file just to make a point, and I'm betting that if you put appropriate 'do's and 'don't' next to them, you'll find a few which can be defended as good ideas. By sheer chance alone.
All may be so, but whether the effects are by chance or by poor observation, or any other means, one cannot say they do not exist. Maybe I need to read the thread again, but it seems to me that the original contention was simply that certain effects occurred as a result of certain laws. The response from many was a jump from questioning the rationale for the laws to denying the effects. There could be, and undoubtedly are, a million better ways to ensure healthy eating, and a bunch of stupid laws in the kosher list, but this does not mean that ancient Jews got trichinosis.
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Old 5th December 2012, 03:12 AM   #282
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Well, one can deny the positive effects if nobody did point B in my argument you quoted, namely actually show that the whole package actually adds up to a positive total. One can't just pick one thing and one effect of it and pretend that it's all that mattered.

E.g., one could do the same for hinduism. See, they forbid eating cattle, so less people die in a cattle anthrax outbreak. Positive right? But then you notice they were also all for burning widows alive. Hmm, maybe it's not so positive on the whole.

Even if one handwaves that it somehow only matters within one single factor, one must still show that the total even for that factor is positive.

E.g., the Islam forbidding alcohol sounds like a good thing (alcoholism can kill), but then you notice that wine was a very expensive good to export and one of the major contributor to the wealth of places like Rome or Greece. In fact it was so profitable that even some caliphs and emirs turned a blind eye to wine production at times. So once you add the kick in the pants to the economy, is it still a positive effect for that rule?

Or in your example with the one hour in church being one hour out of the rain, is it still positive after I balance it against everything else I could have done in that hour?

It seems to me like the same should apply to Judaism and its rules.
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Old 5th December 2012, 07:30 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, one can deny the positive effects if nobody did point B in my argument you quoted, namely actually show that the whole package actually adds up to a positive total. One can't just pick one thing and one effect of it and pretend that it's all that mattered.

E.g., one could do the same for hinduism. See, they forbid eating cattle, so less people die in a cattle anthrax outbreak. Positive right? But then you notice they were also all for burning widows alive. Hmm, maybe it's not so positive on the whole.

Even if one handwaves that it somehow only matters within one single factor, one must still show that the total even for that factor is positive.

E.g., the Islam forbidding alcohol sounds like a good thing (alcoholism can kill), but then you notice that wine was a very expensive good to export and one of the major contributor to the wealth of places like Rome or Greece. In fact it was so profitable that even some caliphs and emirs turned a blind eye to wine production at times. So once you add the kick in the pants to the economy, is it still a positive effect for that rule?

Or in your example with the one hour in church being one hour out of the rain, is it still positive after I balance it against everything else I could have done in that hour?

It seems to me like the same should apply to Judaism and its rules.
The issue here was the dietary laws alone, not the whole religion. It's quite reasonable to say that the net effect of any religion is negative, of course. Burning one witch undoes just about everything and believing nonsense is believing nonsense every time. But I don't see why that means we should not address individual ideas individually. If the ancient Jews were sicker than other cultures at the time, or sicker than they would have been without religion, then the effect of the dietary laws was negative. If they were healthier for it, then this is true no matter how regressive or stupid their religion was in other ways and no matter how effectively you can argue that as a whole they would have been better off.

And that's the point of my silly analogy. Of course, almost anything you could do would be more useful than spending an hour in church. But true as it is, saying it does not make them wet. You can point out the net loss in any of a million ways, but answering the local question with the universal answer is a short circuit.
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Old 5th December 2012, 11:35 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
No, I did not miss this. I am simply pointing out that the silliness of the conclusion does not make the contention wrong.

All may be so, but whether the effects are by chance or by poor observation, or any other means, one cannot say they do not exist. Maybe I need to read the thread again, but it seems to me that the original contention was simply that certain effects occurred as a result of certain laws. The response from many was a jump from questioning the rationale for the laws to denying the effects. There could be, and undoubtedly are, a million better ways to ensure healthy eating, and a bunch of stupid laws in the kosher list, but this does not mean that ancient Jews got trichinosis.
I guess we'd have to see how many died from starvation because they wouldn't eat pork and how many didn't die of trichinosis.
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Old 5th December 2012, 11:45 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
I guess we'd have to see how many died from starvation because they wouldn't eat pork and how many didn't die of trichinosis.
Not starvation, malnutrition. Animal protein in scarce in many parts of the world, or unaffordable to many poverty stricken peoples. The negative consequences are significant, from mental retardation in fetuses to acute kwashiorkorWP.

Currently there are protein shortages in some areas of the Middle East. It's conceivable that thousands of years ago conditions were worse.
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Old 5th December 2012, 01:20 PM   #286
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
I guess we'd have to see how many died from starvation because they wouldn't eat pork and how many didn't die of trichinosis.
I don't doubt that the current world situation, along with modern science, has made dietary laws utterly obsolete even if they weren't such a bad idea six thousand years ago. Whether this invalidates the possible benefits relative to what else was going on six thousand years ago is less certain, but the above argument would be a good and interesting one if it had actually been made. The blanket dismissal I'm objecting to, which treats all religious laws only on the basis of the perceived net deficit of the whole religion, has not bothered to make your current argument.
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Old 5th December 2012, 02:32 PM   #287
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I don't want to seem dogmatic, but any god who doesn't approve of eating bacon is deeply sad.
And anyone who listens to HIM needs his head slapped.
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Old 5th December 2012, 03:20 PM   #288
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I don't want to seem dogmatic, but any god who doesn't approve of eating bacon is deeply sad.
And anyone who listens to HIM needs his head slapped.
Or black pudding or scampi or to have milk in your coffee after eating a corned beef sandwich.

But you can keep the virgins for yourselves when you defeat the Midianites, once you have killed all the men and married women.
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Old 6th December 2012, 04:42 AM   #289
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@Bruto
Not sure what you mean by local problem vs universe problem. Also I think that when I said that the same should apply when one focuses even on one rule, it should be pretty clear that it applies for everything in between the full set and a set of one. I.e., yes, the same criteria should apply even if one discusses just the dietary laws.

And yes, discussing just the set of dietary laws, the thing is, they didn't forbid only pork.

E.g., it also forbids rabbit meat or horse meat. Which doesn't help with malnutrition. E.g., even from fish, it doesn't just forbid shells, it also forbids catfish or sturgeon. E.g., the mixed grain interdiction also ain't helping with getting a balanced mix of proteins, in a country where most of the population literally lived on their daily bread.

So while maybe a well aimed interdiction for pork could be defended, when you look at what they actually forbid, I don't see how those dietary laws could be seen as something positive.

And it's not something you can really cherrypick. They don't have one law that forbids shells, and one law that forbids sturgeon, so you can take one but not the other. They don't have one law that forbids pork, and one that forbids rabbits, so you can cherrypick. Their very phrasing creates both. So yes, they are bad laws.
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Old 6th December 2012, 05:03 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
This is a spin off from the thread about the woman who died in Eire because doctors would not perform an abortion which was necessary to save her life.
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...05#post8778805
In that thread, Rolfe refers to the difference between "genuine religion" and tribal prejudices.

This led me to ask her what is the difference, in her view, and what her actual beliefs are. I want to take my question to this new thread as it risks taking that one off topic.

Rolfe is someone we know to be a pretty hardline sceptic on most issues we think of as "woo", yet who at the same time describes herself as Christian.

Rolfe and I grew up near one another. We had similar schooling for a time, read the same (SF) novels in our town library. Our parents actually knew one another, although we ourselves never met until after we had both started posting at JREF and I became curious at the coincidences of style and background mindset that cropped up in Rolfe's posts and mine. Only when I PM'd her did I learn she came from damn nearly the same street!

Our upbringing was far from identical, but there are many similarities and while we can and do disagree on many things, there are clearly similarities of mindset that relate to that shared background.

Yet Rolfe is happy to call herself a Christian, whereas I was an atheist before I had even heard the word and don't recall ever believing in gods at all.(Though I recall thinking about it a lot as a child, which I assumed everyone did, but maybe they didn't).

One difference (I can't help seeing as critical) is that Rolfe's father was a minister, so assumptions may well have been absorbed early at a subconscious level. But I'm asking, not assuming.

My parents were regular churchgoers and I went every Sunday as I had no choice. I was into my mid teens before I managed to get out of it.

My mother was interested in biblical history and for years attended evening classes taken (initially) by the late and lamented Rev. William Barclay, one of the great Scottish theologians of the post war period. She would often talk about his explanations of biblical stories and miracles. His versions impressed me in two ways- first they demystified (Christ didn't calm the sea- he calmed the men. The miracle of loaves and fishes was that some folk had no food, some had plenty and Christ got them to willingly share, so everybody ate.) If you don't see either of these as miraculous, try it sometime.
This sort of explanation made sense to me. I was impressed by the personality of the man Christ - assuming the tales to be true at all- but even if they were true, and Robin Hood wasn't though 1200 years less garbled by time, so what were the chances? - even if they were true, they spoke of a charismatic man, not a divine being, which fitted my childhood suspicions.
So I went straight from naive innocent to naive atheist, without anyone indoctrinating me. Quite the opposite in fact, it was my experience of church and of actual theology that pointed me straight down the road to atheism.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, one of the smartest people I know was taking the opposite path.

I want to know why.

What do sceptic believers actually believe? Are they lying to themselves and aware of it? Is there just that one relict of their fairy tale and storybook childhood, hanging onto some brainspace when the dragons and unicorns have gone?

I can understand how religion grabs the minds of simple souls. But Rolfe?
Kittynh? And others on this forum. Famous scientists. Tony Blair and his wierd wife- clearly far from fools, yet still in the grip of this one odd irrationality.

Can any of our believers explain what it is they actually believe - and why?
I can't speak for Rolfe, but I was wondering if she would respond. Speaking for myself, I see this discussion as devolving into a discussion of the bible. For me the idea of God is one of a creator, I think God does care about what has been created, on what level that care applies to an individual, I can't say. I do believe there is a creator and that the universe was started by God. I also believe in a soul and that souls are recycled or reincarnated, in any case the soul exists outside of a physical body. I think that our attempts to explain God in terms of things like the bible are flawed.
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Old 6th December 2012, 09:13 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I don't want to seem dogmatic, but any god who doesn't approve of eating bacon is deeply sad.
And anyone who listens to HIM needs his head slapped.
Agreed. I feel sad for people who can't or won't eat bacon but, on the other hand, there is more for the rest of us who appreciate bacony goodness.

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Old 6th December 2012, 09:22 AM   #292
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Hmm... never looked at it that way, Multivac.

I think you may have just validated religion.

All (except me) hail the Bacon-hating Deity!
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Old 6th December 2012, 12:19 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
I think that our attempts to explain God in terms of things like the bible are flawed.
What attempts do you think aren't flawed?
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Old 6th December 2012, 12:47 PM   #294
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Originally Posted by Dani View Post
What attempts do you think aren't flawed?
God spoke. I like that part. Probably should have left it at that.
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Old 6th December 2012, 01:24 PM   #295
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
God spoke. I like that part. Probably should have left it at that.

Then Man put a spoke if the wheel.
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Old 6th December 2012, 02:34 PM   #296
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Rose, may I ask why you believe in a soul?

I'm curious as to your reason or reasons.
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Old 6th December 2012, 02:37 PM   #297
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
I can't speak for Rolfe, but I was wondering if she would respond. Speaking for myself, I see this discussion as devolving into a discussion of the bible. For me the idea of God is one of a creator, I think God does care about what has been created, on what level that care applies to an individual, I can't say. I do believe there is a creator and that the universe was started by God. I also believe in a soul and that souls are recycled or reincarnated, in any case the soul exists outside of a physical body. I think that our attempts to explain God in terms of things like the bible are flawed.
The population of the world has been growing for centuries. Where do all the new souls come from?
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Old 7th December 2012, 03:10 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
The population of the world has been growing for centuries. Where do all the new souls come from?
All life has an essence, a soul that lives one. It is what I believe. I would not limit that to this place, also my opinion.
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Old 7th December 2012, 03:18 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
Rose, may I ask why you believe in a soul?

I'm curious as to your reason or reasons.
If you are asking for evidence, I don't have it. I think it is fair to say that more things exist than we can observe. I believe in the existence of a soul.
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Old 7th December 2012, 03:25 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
All life has an essence, a soul that lives one. It is what I believe. I would not limit that to this place, also my opinion.
Nice dodge.
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Old 7th December 2012, 05:28 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
If you are asking for evidence, I don't have it. I think it is fair to say that more things exist than we can observe.
I agree

Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
I believe in the existence of a soul.
That's where we differ. I don't step from possible to belief in anything. Especially in extraordinary claims made by fallible humans
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:14 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
All life has an essence, a soul that lives one. It is what I believe. I would not limit that to this place, also my opinion.
Clarification, Rose- should the word "one" be "on"?
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:19 AM   #303
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How do the souls migrate over the vast distances in the universe? That would seem to require magic.
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:43 AM   #304
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Well, I'm quite open to the possibility of souls and whatnot, should evidence ever be presented for them, but let's skip the evidence part for now. More important, I think, is to clarify what is that soul thing supposed to be, and how does it work. And especially the edge case, so we can also have a clear idea where the concept ends and what it doesn't do. E.g.,

1. Ok, I'm perfectly fine with "all life" having souls. But at one point, there weren't even cells and such. All the planet was a big bowl of aminoacids and RNA bases, and a bunch of self-replicating RNA. It qualifies as life, albeit only barely. Which would make it such a useful edge case.

So did the whole planet have one huge soul? What happened to it then, when life turned into self-contained cells? Did the planet die, effectively?

Or did every self-replicating RNA strand have a little soul?

2. Life also does include single-celled organisms. And I'm ok really with bacterias and amoebas having little souls. But then presumably so do the sperm and egg.

So, when a sperm and an egg fuse, does one soul go to heaven? Which one? Or do they have half a soul each? Does only one of them have a soul? (The ancients did believe that only the guy's seed matters, and the woman is kinda like the flower pot in which it grows.)

3. What happens for identical twins, which do come from a single zygote? Does an extra soul get created when one cell goes stray and results in another fetus? Or is one (or more) of the twins a soulless p-zombie? Or what?

4. What happens for chimeras? That's the polar opposite of identical twins. For chimeras, two fraternal twins merge into one in the womb, and result in a person that's a patchwork of cells with different DNA. Sometimes even some cells are XX and some are XY. And it seems to be far more common than we ever imagined.

So does one of the two souls die and go to heaven? Or does the resulting person have more than one soul like the ancient Pharaohs? Or what? How does it work there?

5. People with their brain lobes separated develop two different consciousnesses, and often with radically different beliefs, morals, etc. Basically each brain half repairs by remapping to allocate neuron columns to the missing functions, and starts working like an independent brain.

Do these people have two souls? One soul that holds two radically different sets of views and thoughts? Or does the soul have nothing to do with what you think? (In which case, why would God punish the soul, if it had nothing to do with it?)
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:52 AM   #305
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
If you are asking for evidence, I don't have it. I think it is fair to say that more things exist than we can observe. I believe in the existence of a soul.
Does this soul manifest physical effects?
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Old 7th December 2012, 07:23 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Does this soul manifest physical effects?
Or mental effects like believing in the existence of an imaginary being?
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:27 PM   #307
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I'm quite open to the possibility of souls and whatnot, should evidence ever be presented for them, but let's skip the evidence part for now. More important, I think, is to clarify what is that soul thing supposed to be, and how does it work. And especially the edge case, so we can also have a clear idea where the concept ends and what it doesn't do. E.g.,

1. Ok, I'm perfectly fine with "all life" having souls. But at one point, there weren't even cells and such. All the planet was a big bowl of aminoacids and RNA bases, and a bunch of self-replicating RNA. It qualifies as life, albeit only barely. Which would make it such a useful edge case.

So did the whole planet have one huge soul? What happened to it then, when life turned into self-contained cells? Did the planet die, effectively?

Or did every self-replicating RNA strand have a little soul?

2. Life also does include single-celled organisms. And I'm ok really with bacterias and amoebas having little souls. But then presumably so do the sperm and egg.

So, when a sperm and an egg fuse, does one soul go to heaven? Which one? Or do they have half a soul each? Does only one of them have a soul? (The ancients did believe that only the guy's seed matters, and the woman is kinda like the flower pot in which it grows.)

3. What happens for identical twins, which do come from a single zygote? Does an extra soul get created when one cell goes stray and results in another fetus? Or is one (or more) of the twins a soulless p-zombie? Or what?

4. What happens for chimeras? That's the polar opposite of identical twins. For chimeras, two fraternal twins merge into one in the womb, and result in a person that's a patchwork of cells with different DNA. Sometimes even some cells are XX and some are XY. And it seems to be far more common than we ever imagined.

So does one of the two souls die and go to heaven? Or does the resulting person have more than one soul like the ancient Pharaohs? Or what? How does it work there?

5. People with their brain lobes separated develop two different consciousnesses, and often with radically different beliefs, morals, etc. Basically each brain half repairs by remapping to allocate neuron columns to the missing functions, and starts working like an independent brain.

Do these people have two souls? One soul that holds two radically different sets of views and thoughts? Or does the soul have nothing to do with what you think? (In which case, why would God punish the soul, if it had nothing to do with it?)
I don't know the answers to your questions. I believe in the basic concept of a soul as well as the basic concept of a creator. Both of these concepts are common in many if not most religions and are part of my personal beliefs.
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:29 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Clarification, Rose- should the word "one" be "on"?
Yep, yep. Sorry for the typo.
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:32 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
I don't know the answers to your questions. I believe in the basic concept of a soul as well as the basic concept of a creator. Both of these concepts are common in many if not most religions and are part of my personal beliefs.
Why do you believe without proof?
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:34 PM   #310
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Does this soul manifest physical effects?
It is my opinion that it can. We just need something that will observe it. It is like the recent pictures made of the DNA strands. Amazing.
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:40 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Why do you believe without proof?
The theory of a creator or God makes more sense to me than the theory of no creator or God behind creation. I don't see either theory as being proven.
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Old 7th December 2012, 04:51 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Why do you believe without proof?
I intend to put off the point where it is proven to me (or not) as long as possible. Until then it is simply what I believe.
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Old 7th December 2012, 05:36 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
The theory of a creator or God makes more sense to me than the theory of no creator or God behind creation. I don't see either theory as being proven.
Who or what created your god? And why did your god make 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999 percent of the universe inimical to human life? Why did he wait nearly four and a half billion years to put human life on Earth? If you think that the universe was created for us then that is taking hubris a bit too far.

Last edited by dafydd; 7th December 2012 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 7th December 2012, 05:59 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
It is my opinion that it can. We just need something that will observe it. It is like the recent pictures made of the DNA strands. Amazing.
So as it stands currently, you're not aware of any physical effects manifested by this soul you posit?

If not, what does it do?
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:13 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
The theory of a creator or God makes more sense to me than the theory of no creator or God behind creation. I don't see either theory as being proven.
It's just a false layer answer that makes people feel good. It answers nothing unless you can say where god(s) came from.
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:33 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
If you are asking for evidence, I don't have it. I think it is fair to say that more things exist than we can observe. I believe in the existence of a soul.
You are probably right. More things exist than we can observe.
However, there are more things that we can not observe because they just do not exist.
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Old 7th December 2012, 06:35 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by RoseMontague View Post
I intend to put off the point where it is proven to me (or not) as long as possible. Until then it is simply what I believe.
If you simply believe then you have no idea if the soul exists or not.
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Old 7th December 2012, 09:46 PM   #318
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Hi RoseMontague,

How do you explain the fact that when the brain is physically damaged, through injury or disease such as Alzheimer's--we observe the intellect--the "person"--apparently damaged as well? Where is the soul in all this? Shouldn't that have remained whole?
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Old 8th December 2012, 02:02 AM   #319
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
Hi RoseMontague,

How do you explain the fact that when the brain is physically damaged, through injury or disease such as Alzheimer's--we observe the intellect--the "person"--apparently damaged as well? Where is the soul in all this? Shouldn't that have remained whole?
Yes, I believe this is correct.
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Old 8th December 2012, 02:11 AM   #320
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Who or what created your god? And why did your god make 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999 percent of the universe inimical to human life? Why did he wait nearly four and a half billion years to put human life on Earth? If you think that the universe was created for us then that is taking hubris a bit too far.
I didn't say this. I think it is highly arrogant to think the universe was created for us.
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