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About miekko

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    Complexity theory and computation, music theory, dance, the study of religions from a naturalistic point of view, literature, linguistics (chiefly typology, but also pragmatics)
  • More About Me
    I am fairly chiefly a person driven by his interests, with a love for applying reason in the pursuit of improving my skills and understanding

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Possibly some kind of Maimonidean featureless void
  1. Is there even a need to find a substitute, if there's a successful decoupling of prayer from religion first?
  2. I would suggest prayer might be useful to you do to the mental effects it has; try decoupling them entirely from belief - try thinking of them as mental calisthenics or whatever. That's how I do, although with Jewish prayers instead of Christian ones so as to avoid the baggage that Christian baggage would bring along for me. Prayer has an effect *in the mind that is doing it*, although nowhere else. If that effect relieves stress for you, why quit? You can pray without believing!
  3. Ask her if she thinks platypuses exist - they are not, after all, mentioned in the bible.
  4. Ignorance is an integral part of the cult. It extends to all areas of science and human behavior. It is even quite common outside of religious groupthink, it even happens in rationalist groupthink at times. Read, e.g. Randi's Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, especially its article on "auras". Now, if someone talks to a skeptically-minded person and claims to see auras, many skeptics will dismiss such a claim as bollocks or superstition, and possibly stop listening to the claimant or at least make it clear they don't believe the aura-seers claims as concerns the experiences the aura-seer himself has. However, the claim may only partially be bollocks: it is of course unlikely there is any supernatural significance to auras, but we do know of one phenomenon that is somewhat similar - synesthesia makes people "hear" sounds when they see colors, or perceive colours when they hear certain sounds, etc. There is a significant variation in the kind of sensory input that triggers synesthesia, and the kind of perception that gets triggered among those who have it. There is even good research linking the perception of auras with synesthesia, and it is likely that most people who claim to see auras actually do see fields of color the way they claim to. However, of course, there is no supernatural significance to them, they are just products of slightly unusual things going on in the brain. However, the rationalism group think on this issue does kind of exclude those who perceive such things - we don't tend to listen to their claims regarding their own perceptions but label them liars or delusional, which kind of forces them into the arms of new agers and other people who are willing to take their claims regarding what they see seriously (and invest some kind of supernatural significance into it). Essentially, there's a tendency for us rationalists to drive people with certain conditions away from rationalism.
  5. I've seen the opposite side of this coin: atheists on several internet forums making fun of Christians whose spelling, punctuation and grammar are not up to par. It's a common trait among humans, really: find a flaw in someone, point it out in the most obnoxious and insulting manner possible, imagine this somehow demonstrates your own superiority. (It gets really funny when the person pointing out the flaw has the very same flaw. That's usually when I like jumping in and pointing flaws out.)
  6. What sorta irritates me is the sentence "He is Risen!" It just sounds like bad grammar. "He has Risen" would be more appropriate. And I'm not considering capitals on words either. Is Jesus a verb or a noun? If Jesus' claim to fame were fly-fishing his way to heaven then Xians would say "He is Fished!" every Easter instead of "He has Fished!" I just don't get it. You do realize back when the earliest translations of the Bible into English were being carried out, English grammar actually permitted - and sometimes called for - the perfect tense being marked by 'is' instead of 'has'. (However, 'he is fished' wouldn't pass in the English of that era, since 'to fish' is not in the class of verbs that call for 'is'.)
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