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The Bible ~ spiritually inspired?

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Postby humphreys » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:57 am

Again, the Shamans believe they are communicating with a God, but I see no good reason to assume they actually are. The experiences are explicable without positing the existence of a God.

When a person experiences the stars at the edge of the observable Universe, I can find no other reasonable conclusion than the fact they actually saw those stars. As to why this is the case, see my post above.

Those stars have a direct impact on objective reality, and they can be empirically measured. All that can be measured in mystical experiences is that the brain is reacting to something, and that something may be a God, or it may be a natural reaction to no particular external stimulus, as occurs in dreaming.

I think deep down you know there is a difference.

Ask yourself why you think there are atheists who have had mystical experiences, but no sane person who has been there believes there is no real place called England.
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Postby at1with0 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:13 am

humphreys wrote:Again, the Shamans believe they are communicating with a God, but I see no good reason to assume they actually are. The experiences are explicable without positing the existence of a God.


The experiences are also explicable with positing the existence of a God. Again, I am a pantheist so all experiences are of something worthy of the title god, whether or not that title is the best name for what I found it to be (ie, reality or the totality of all that exists, whatever that might be).

When a person experiences the stars at the edge of the observable Universe, I can find no other reasonable conclusion than the fact they actually saw those stars. As to why this is the case, see my post above.


As a falsifier, as a scientific oriented person, it makes sense that you would take scientific claims about what's going on at the outer limits that few have seen on faith. My faith is not that strong. Scientists have as a goal to prove old theories wrong to make way for better ones. The same is actually true of me and my quest towards understanding reality.

What kind of baffles me is that some people hypocritically accept whatever the science consensus is like grand unification theories and quantum mechanics even though they are so removed from experiencing first hand. Well, many people have experienced peak experiences first hand and that in my mind is no more or less reliable than accepting theories I am far removed from having first hand experience with.
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Postby humphreys » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:19 am

at1with0 wrote:The experiences are also explicable with positing the existence of a God.


Exactly.

If they can be reasonably interpreted either way, in what way are the experiences evidence?

It's like saying a bloody knife was found at the scene of the crime, therefore, this is evidence that Ted Bundy is the killer.

Nope, it just proves, at best, that a knife was used, who used it is still up for debate. Likewise, mystical experiences are, at best, evidence that people believe they are communicating with God, the source or cause of the experiences is still up for debate.

Unless you can rule out natural causes, they are not evidence for God, we need to look elsewhere.

at1with0 wrote:
When a person experiences the stars at the edge of the observable Universe, I can find no other reasonable conclusion than the fact they actually saw those stars. As to why this is the case, see my post above.


As a falsifier, as a scientific oriented person, it makes sense that you would take scientific claims about what's going on at the outer limits that few have seen on faith. My faith is not that strong. Scientists have as a goal to prove old theories wrong to make way for better ones. The same is actually true of me and my quest towards understanding reality.

What kind of baffles me is that some people hypocritically accept whatever the science consensus is like grand unification theories and quantum mechanics even though they are so removed from experiencing first hand. Well, many people have experienced peak experiences first hand and that in my mind is no more or less reliable than accepting theories I am far removed from having first hand experience with.


I do not reject that the experiences occurred, though. I agree, something is happening there, and it is worthy of respect and study, I just disagree on the source.
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Postby at1with0 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:39 am

humphreys wrote:
at1with0 wrote:The experiences are also explicable with positing the existence of a God.


Exactly.

If they can be reasonably interpreted either way, in what way are the experiences evidence?


Isn't all evidence circumstantial? The bottom line is that the amount of evidence required is arbitrarily chosen by the seeker. There is no absolute proof of anything whether that be a scientific theory or a theistic theory.

I do not reject that the experiences occurred, though. I agree, something is happening there, and it is worthy of respect and study, I just disagree on the source.


I believe the source is reality. You disagree?
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Postby humphreys » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:18 am

at1with0 wrote:
humphreys wrote:
at1with0 wrote:The experiences are also explicable with positing the existence of a God.


Exactly.

If they can be reasonably interpreted either way, in what way are the experiences evidence?


Isn't all evidence circumstantial? The bottom line is that the amount of evidence required is arbitrarily chosen by the seeker. There is no absolute proof of anything whether that be a scientific theory or a theistic theory.


All true, but some theories are superior to others, and certainly there are instances where enough evidence has accumulated to make judgement reasonable, and in other instances the evidence is clearly too lacking to come to any conclusions.

There is no black and white, it's all grey areas.

at1with0 wrote:
I do not reject that the experiences occurred, though. I agree, something is happening there, and it is worthy of respect and study, I just disagree on the source.


I believe the source is reality. You disagree?


I agree, but I think it can be broken down further than that. For instance, when I feel euphoria, the source of that is reality, but there is a lot more to it than that, for instance, chemical reactions in the brain perhaps triggered by drugs, or trauma, and so on, and so on.

Even if ultimately the source is reality, we can understand the experiences better if we break them down, and study them from a naturalistic perspective.
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Postby shadowcass » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:22 am

Humphreys, you are truly amazing. Mack cites physical evidence supporting the abduction experience even in the quotation I gave above and you are so intent on your own response you don't even read what the man said.

And there has been physical evidence including (but not limited to) the things he cites. Now, John Mack died on September 27, 2004 (he was 74) so he is no longer around to defend his conclusions. Nevertheless, his qualifications are certainly impressive:

"Born in New York City, Mack received his medical degree from the Harvard Medical School (Cum Laude, 1955) after undergraduate study at Oberlin (Phi Beta Kappa, 1951). He was a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and was Board certified in child and adult psychoanalysis.

The dominant theme of his life's work was the exploration of how one's perceptions of the world affect one's relationships. He addressed this issue of "worldview" on the individual level in his early clinical explorations of dreams, nightmares and teen suicide, and in his biographical study of the life of British officer T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1977. "
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Postby humphreys » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:31 am

I know what the man "said", shadowcass! Jeesh.

He is a bit of a laughing stock among his colleagues though, and we can certainly criticize him and should not put too much stock in his claims, or indeed his qualifications.

Some of the world's biggest quacks have amazing credentials.

Have you ever really looked into these claims of physical implants and so on? In my experience, they never match up to scrutiny.

Susan Blackmore talks about some of these "implants" here:

http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/journalism/ufo97.html
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Postby rath » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:35 am

Mankind, Aliens, God.

Did God create man ......... or did man create God.


Anybody seen the movie, The forth kind

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W__OsWuXj2s
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Postby at1with0 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:58 am

humphreys wrote:All true, but some theories are superior to others, and certainly there are instances where enough evidence has accumulated to make judgement reasonable, and in other instances the evidence is clearly too lacking to come to any conclusions.

There is no black and white, it's all grey areas.


fo sho,,,and, to add insult to injury, what is superior is in the eye of the beholder me thinks. I do not believe that reality is describable within the context of a true or false scenario but, more likely, a scenario in which the logic is fuzzy/many-valued.

I agree, but I think it can be broken down further than that. For instance, when I feel euphoria, the source of that is reality, but there is a lot more to it than that, for instance, chemical reactions in the brain perhaps triggered by drugs, or trauma, and so on, and so on.

Even if ultimately the source is reality, we can understand the experiences better if we break them down, and study them from a naturalistic perspective.


I agree.

Analyzing the experiences certainly is part of the quest for information and knowledge. hmmm ... We often assume dreams "mean something". Why do we hardly ever think waking life "means something"? The mystical experiences, the euphoria, the bliss and love, are these totally devoid of "meaning"? Now by meaning... let's see, what do I mean? heh. Well, maybe comparing it to dreams which we often think "means something" might help make more sense.
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Postby shadowcass » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:12 am

Spoken in true CSICOP style. If you can't attack the data attack the man. Yet the late John Mack is not the only psychiatrist or psychologist who considers the Abduction Phenomenon to have a basis in reality.
The real problem for those who wish to debunk all those who recount these experiences from the late Philip Klass to Joe Nickell and Susan Clancy is that they know nothing about the subject.
During abduction events, abductees are missing from their normal environments. Police have been called, search parties have been sent out, parents have frantically searched for their children, etc. When people remember abductions, they sometimes return with marks on their bodies – not just any marks, but with seemingly impossible fully formed scars. They sometimes return with broken bones and they have no idea how they happened. Sometimes people return with unusual stains on their clothes that were not there before the abduction. Attempts to discover the nature of these stains have been unsuccessful. They return with their clothes on backwards, and/or inside out. They return wearing someone else’s clothes. When people are abducted, they are often abducted with others who can confirm the details of their abduction, as with Barney and Betty Hill. Often it is family members, but there are instances when friends or bystanders witness the abduction as well. People are abducted while fully awake, driving a car, gardening, and so forth.

None of the debunkers have yet to manage satisfactory explanations for these things. Mostly they ignore them because these facts do not fit their pat little explanations.

The thing is---if your explanation doesn't explain the facts ALL of the facts---you have the wrong explanation.


And, with that, I'd like to get back to a discussion of the Bible if we could. Since that was what this forum was supposed to be about.
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