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The No Supernatural Thread


Mythra
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This thread has only one rule. Nothing supernatural exists. Only what we can smell and feel and taste and hear and observe. The physical world is the only reality. All invisible gods are imaginary. Mind reading and ghosts and talking to the dead are all phony. Spiritualism and religion and the afterlife are all fantasy.

 

So, the purpose of this thread isn't to debate the supernatural. This thread assumes that there is no supernatural. All of it is bunk. In this thread, it's not an opinion that the supernatural doesn't exist. It's a fact.

 

So, it occurred to me today what a ridiculous world it is. So many millions and millions of people all wrapped up in various religions, talking to imaginary beings, dreaming about whatever heaven their particular faiths promise. Spending all their time and money and mental energy working towards some imaginary goal, to win the approval of some imaginary deity. People killing other people left and right, to prove their imaginary deity is better than the other group's imaginary deity.

 

I can't decide if it's a gigantic, ironic comedy, or if it's unbearably sad.

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Hear, hear... lets get a beer. :beer:

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I find it unbearably sad. How many people have died because of stupid superstitions? How many have been abused and tortured? How many children have died because their religious parents denied them life-saving treatments because of superstition? How many people are homeless because of superstition or are living in homes, but at the poverty level? How many people have suffered needlessly around the world because of idiocy? Sadly, we'll probably never know the full count.

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I can't decide if it's a gigantic, ironic comedy, or if it's unbearably sad.

How does that saying go..... tragedy plus timing equal comedy... something like that.

 

It's a comic tragedy. Half of humanity is trying to appease some god while the other half is trying to kill the other half of humanity. Does that equal 3 halves? Anyway.... all this energy is being put into something besides humanity. That's the tragic part.

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It certainly makes life much more complicated than it needs to be. There is enough to deal with in the real world of oppression, poverty, and inhumanity, without an imagined extra layer.

 

I tend to believe that most people need some level of adversity to function, and if they don't have enough real problems, they start to make some up.

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It certainly makes life much more complicated than it needs to be. There is enough to deal with in the real world of oppression, poverty, and inhumanity, without an imagined extra layer.

 

I tend to believe that most people need some level of adversity to function, and if they don't have enough real problems, they start to make some up.

 

Not really. Rich people function well enough, although having money tends to lead to another set of problems. Just read about the rich and famous in the news.

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We each have one life. That's it. No second tries, no mulligans.

 

How's this for tragic? People who completely miss out on their one and only brief moment in the sun, due to having their heads in the clouds. Like priests who will never experience making love to a woman. Or suicide bombers who intentionally cut short their brief time of existence, for absolutely nothing. Or, missionaries who travel into the jungles of South America and die there. Or, monks who spend their entire lives in some contemplative, reclusive state and never experience the real world.

 

It makes me want to hop in my car and go see places I've never been. Drive to the ocean. Walk along the beach. Feel the waves washing over my bare feet. Pick up sea shells. Watch the sunset. Eat a great meal in an outdoor cafe. Live life. Fully experience everything I can. Savor every moment. It's such a brief time here. I'm going to try really hard to make the best of it.

 

Cause there isn't anything more.

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This thread spawned a couple of interesting ideas regarding supernaturalism and superstition.

 

My first perception is that people create rituals to mark the success or failure of a past enterprise. To explain further, if one was doing {silly thing} at the time significant event "X" happened, it would create a false correlation/causation equation in the brain.

 

Now, mix in a little bit of confirmation bias. Person wants "X" to happen again. Person repeats {silly thing} ten times. "X" only happens three times, fails to happen seven times. Despite this, our brains seem to be wired such that the false causal relationship is reinforced -- Not degraded. Any success at all is counted as positive evidence that {silly thing} works.

 

My second perception: As superstition appears to be a somewhat inaccurate form of pattern recognition, could this be the remnants of primordial hunter-gatherer training? And, if so, can we observe it in other primates?

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Not really. Rich people function well enough, although having money tends to lead to another set of problems. Just read about the rich and famous in the news.

Yup. Just look at the show "Real housewifes of Orange County". That's a sad bunch of rich losers.

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I think it depends where a person's priorities are. I think what wealth gives you a lot of free time. You don't have to spend your time making a living, supporting your family, or worrying about paying your bills. It's what they do with all the free time they have that creates a lot of their problems.

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Very true. With some worries gone, some new ones come in. For instance, kids that can do whatever they want, because they have the money to do it. Not saying that all parents dont' care or do the right things, they do, but with money the kids gets out a bit more on the wildside with drugs, cars, sex and alcohol. Not all of them of course, but that's the danger with money, and it's not easy to avoid it. Especially if you don't come from a wealthy family from start, then the parents have a bit harder to know what to do.

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I really don't like Donald Trump, but he's done a good job as a father. You don't hear about his kids partying or getting into trouble the way you do other billionaires kids. He didn't just hand them everything and made them work hard. I had read that he made his sons work on the docks tying up yachts, which is a hard job and they were like 12.

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Probably the only way it can be done. Don't let them have access to money, but let them work for it.

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It makes me want to hop in my car and go see places I've never been. Drive to the ocean. Walk along the beach. Feel the waves washing over my bare feet. Pick up sea shells. Watch the sunset. Eat a great meal in an outdoor cafe. Live life. Fully experience everything I can. Savor every moment. It's such a brief time here. I'm going to try really hard to make the best of it.

 

Cause there isn't anything more.

 

Yup. I also like the idea that I'm never going to die. That is, who I am now exists only while I exist. When I die, I no longer exist. Therefore, I, never die. Savvy?

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It makes me want to hop in my car and go see places I've never been. Drive to the ocean. Walk along the beach. Feel the waves washing over my bare feet. Pick up sea shells. Watch the sunset. Eat a great meal in an outdoor cafe. Live life. Fully experience everything I can. Savor every moment. It's such a brief time here. I'm going to try really hard to make the best of it.

 

Cause there isn't anything more.

 

Yup. I also like the idea that I'm never going to die. That is, who I am now exists only while I exist. When I die, I no longer exist. Therefore, I, never die. Savvy?

 

 

Totally. My reality is that which I am aware of. I am not aware during death, therefore there is no end to my life.

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This thread spawned a couple of interesting ideas regarding supernaturalism and superstition.

 

My first perception is that people create rituals to mark the success or failure of a past enterprise. To explain further, if one was doing {silly thing} at the time significant event "X" happened, it would create a false correlation/causation equation in the brain.

 

Now, mix in a little bit of confirmation bias. Person wants "X" to happen again. Person repeats {silly thing} ten times. "X" only happens three times, fails to happen seven times. Despite this, our brains seem to be wired such that the false causal relationship is reinforced -- Not degraded. Any success at all is counted as positive evidence that {silly thing} works.

 

My second perception: As superstition appears to be a somewhat inaccurate form of pattern recognition, could this be the remnants of primordial hunter-gatherer training? And, if so, can we observe it in other primates?

That's a great thought. Consider a primitive who has a 30% success rate making flint tools from pieces of flint rock. The 70% failure rate won't discourage him because of the overwhelming advantage of having flint tools. All he can do is work on his technique and hope it improves his success rate. Next, the same primitive does a little dance for rain, and by coincidence it rains 30% of the time. He attributes his failure again to some problem with his technique, maybe he didn't dance at the right time, with the right people, with the right steps, wearing the right costume, with enough belief in his heart. He was never schooled in the scientific method, nor does he really care where rain comes from, nor why striking a flint rock at a certain angle creates a sharp edge. In his mind, it's all the same.

Later, as the primitive advances, things such as tool-making become de-mystified as improved technique ensures repeatability, while other practices such as weather control remain steeped in superstition, yet are not abandoned because they are seen as so vital to survival.

 

Anyone care to add some clarity to that muddled thought if you have any idea what I'm trying to say?

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I understand what you're trying to say, Dan, but I don't have anything to add.

 

You almost got something nailed down though. I think. :scratch:

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He attributes his failure again to some problem with his technique, maybe he didn't dance at the right time,

I remember reading about a study with pigeons and feeders. You now the kind of thing, pigeon presses a bar, a pellet of food drops into a cup as reward.

 

OK, so they introduce randomising into the equation. Sometimes the pellet only drops after 2 presses, sometimes 3, sometimes on the first press.

 

They leave the pigeons for a few days. after some time the pigeons have devloped strange behaviour, some are bobbing up and down in front of the feeder bar before pressing, some turn in circles, some are cooing.

 

Conclusion? Some pigeons notice (learn) that the pellet dropped after a certain behaviour. Repeat of that behaviour seemed to bring success which reinforced the behaviour.

 

I'll try and find reference to the study. I just hope I don't find it in Snopes!

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While there is no supernatural, there is still room within the natural for awe, wonder and a sort of "spirituality" (hate the word)

 

Witness these videos:

 

The first is by the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about the "spritual" side of astrophysics.

 

The second is about the universe, the cosmos, its size etc. It is called "The

"

 

The third goes small. It is an animation titled "The Inner Life Of A Cell"

 

The Cathedral of the Universe

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While there is no supernatural, there is still room within the natural for awe, wonder and a sort of "spirituality" (hate the word)

 

Thanks Stewart. I'm looking forward to checking those out when I get more time.

 

Hell, it doesn't take anywhere near those things to blow me away. I'm in awe of the way my car works. I'm in awe of the way television channels can come through the air (or a wire).

 

I'm really in awe of the internet. If they had to wait for me to invent this shit, they'd be waiting a really long time.

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I was asked on another Group what is "God"? This is my answer and I think it is appropiate here:

 

What is "God" ? Simply a way for simple people with not much knowledge to "explain" the origin for the Universe and everything in it. They also are under the false impression that there has to be a reason for the Universe. They also ask the silly question: Why are we here?

 

The perception of "God" unfortunately has become embedded in most people. However it must be remembered that nobody is born believing in a "God". They are indoctrinated into it by their parents who were indoctrinated as well. The reason for all this is put down to the realization by the rulers of early civilizations that they could command better obedience of the people were told that there is a "God" up there who will punish them for wrong doings. Very convenient. The king can be overthrown, a "God" can't. This is why the "Holy" Roman Catholic Church was so successful. The Popes declared themselves as infallible. As I often heard at Mass: "Obey the Pope in everything. You are NOT allowed to question"

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However it must be remembered that nobody is born believing in a "God"

 

i can relate to that! as i was never indoctrinated as a child, and so i was free to form my own opinions and about religions by observing the world around me. and i can say it was not a positive conclusion.

 

unfortunately though, i think we are still indoctrinated by the silly superstitions of our cultures.

 

eg.

it's bad luck to: walk under a ladder, open up an umbrella indoors, see a black cat, break a mirror, the number 13, etc, etc.

 

or in asian cultures - bad luck is: the number 4, white flowers, etc, etc

 

and other cultures involve ghosts, and an assortment of many silly superstitions

 

 

it surprised me how long it took me to discard the notions of walking under a ladder, even though i knew it was all crap ever since i had it hammered into my brain, it was just something you sort of learned to avoid growing up. because everytime i would do it, of course someone around me would quip, "oh that's bad luck!" or something of the sort.. i would just do it around ladders though just to spite my own sort of mindset about it. but to discard the entire notion so that i simply didn't care any more and the thought would not even enter my mind took a while

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Well, not walking under a ladder is more of a common sense thing. You could get hurt if you're not careful.

 

But yeah, the rest is superstitious crap.

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Actual tabloid headlines from 21st century C.E.:

 

WOMAN DELIVERS OWN BABY WHILE SKYDIVING!

 

DOCTORS SUCCESSFULLY REMOVE BANJO FROM ALABAMA MAN'S KNEE!

 

THE WAY TO A MAN'S HEART IS NOT THROUGH HIS STOMACH! SURGEON'S LICENSE REVOKED

 

I WAS ATTACKED BY MONGOLIAN DEATHWORM!

 

FRENCHMAN JAILED FOR TAKING BATH

 

MR. ROGERS' GHOST TERRORIZING CHILDREN!

 

MY EX-WIFE’S FACE KEEPS APPEARING ON MY TOAST!

 

CONCRETE ENEMAS A BAD IDEA, DOCS WARN

 

2-HEADED MAN RUNS FOR MAYOR . . . AGAINST HIMSELF!

 

YOU’RE NOT GETTING HEAVIER, GRAVITY IS GETTING STRONGER!

 

 

Actual tabloid headlines from 1st century C.E.:

 

MAN BEING LYNCHED WALKS RIGHT THROUGH ANGRY MOB AND ESCAPES!

 

500 PEOPLE WATCH AS RE-ANIMATED MAN FLOATS UP INTO CLOUDS!

 

SATAN TRIES TO BRIBE MAN - WITH THE WORLD!

 

5,000 PEOPLE HAVE A PICNIC AND GET FULL… ON ONE LOAF OF BREAD!

 

MAN SAVES PARTY BY TRANSFORMING WATER INTO WINE - AT MOTHER'S REQUEST!

 

DEMONIC PIGS JUMP OFF CLIFF!

 

ZOMBIES ESCAPE GRAVES AND PARADE THROUGH JERUSALEM!

 

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH? MAN ASKS AFTER HIKING ACROSS SEA

 

 

People never change.

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