Monday, November 21, 2005

The soul and the spirit.

My definition of spirit and soul in people is as follows: the spirit is the inspiring principle or dominant influence, always natural in my view. The soul as I see it is roughly defined as the “inner self”, the “private I”; the soul is the emotional part of an individual or the essential part and is really an extension of ones conscious awareness and personality. I find inconclusive evidence of a “spiritual” part of a person in the sense that the soul or spirit is a phantom like specter that inhabits the human body and upon physical deterioration and death is then released into the spiritual world of either heaven or hell. Understanding these two words as I have laid out there is no need for a supernatural existence to justify them, you can understand them in very natural and humanistic terms; or if you wish you may also define them as very miraculous, unearthly, and supernatural, but taken as they are defined in the English language one is not forced to do so, one may even be led to the more naturalistic definition; for influence is found in the “real” world, example: when one is hungry one is then influenced by physiological urges to eat and nourish themselves, when one is poor one is then influenced by society and a demand of decent living standards to acquire a general education equipping one with the knowledge and capability to produce an increase in revenue. The soul and the spirit are items found exclusively within nature and can be seen as material, there is no necessity to ascribe supernatural attributes to these two items.

Is Atheism Dangerous?

A large number of people claim that atheism is damaging. “You must accept god!” they shout, “Without god, there’s debauchery.” They maintain that atheists are the pariahs of society intent on its destruction. In their eyes “godless infidels” are attacking government, religion, education, and the culture, hence the “culture war”. According to these views atheists are only content when actively destroying and manipulating all the over bearing goodness that religion has created. Do these claims coincide with reality? Do they have bearing in truth? Of coarse they don’t. Atheism is simply the belief that there is no god, and/or no supernatural entity. I claim there is no god, the religious cry “heresy” ironically enough heresy literally translates into “choice”. Having a choice is engaging in free will, do not the religious believe in free will? Having a choice has never hurt anyone, making the wrong choice is what causes damage. Atheism is merely the choice to posses ones own belief that there is no god. Not believing in the supernatural won’t hurt you, it won’t hurt others, and it won’t deter progress; as far as I’m concerned it is progress. So is atheism dangerous? I say no more than theism.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Why does religion prevail in the age of science?

It is now almost 2006 well into the new millennium and religion appears to be as strong as ever, certainly stronger with regards to religious extremism; christian fundamentalists like Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, and James Dobson, or the plethora of muslim extremists seem to be on the rise. Presumptions and prophecies that religion would die in the age of reason and rationalism have obviously been mistaken. Well, why is this so? Why does religion persist despite having been proven wrong time and time again with regards to it’s inherent supernatural explanations of the universe and life? Along these lines and inquiries Richard Dawkins wrote an essay with insightful observation. In it he asks why religion has evolved with humans and persisted through out the generations.

“My specific hypothesis is about children. More than any other species, we survive by the accumulated experience of previous generations. Theoretically, children might learn from experience not to swim in crocodile-infested waters. But, to say the least, there will be a selective advantage to child brains with the rule of thumb: Believe whatever your grown-ups tell you. Obey your parents, obey the tribal elders, especially when they adopt a solemn, minatory tone. Obey without question………Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believe whatever their parents and tribal leaders tell them. And this very quality automatically makes them vulnerable to infection by mind viruses. For excellent survival reasons, child brains need to trust parents and trust elders whom their parents tell them to trust. An automatic consequence is that the “truster” has no way of distinguishing good advice from bad. The child cannot tell that “If you swim in the river you’ll be eaten by crocodiles” is good advice but “If you don’t sacrifice a goat at the time of the full moon, the crops will fail” is bad advice. They both sound the same. Both are advice from a trusted source, and both are delivered with a solemn earnestness that commands respect and demands obedience.”

So as Richard Dawkins illustrates in this small excerpt from one of his essays, religion persists as a sort of adaptive survival quality misfiring.

Evidence for Evolution

Evolution 1) is the gradual process by which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.
2) a) the process of developing b) gradual development
3) a) change in genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of a new species. b) the historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
“In biology evolution is the process by which populations of organisms acquire and pass on novel traits from generation to generation, affecting the overall makeup of the population and even leading to the emergence of a new species.” –

I was intending on writing specific evidence for evolution that I have read, studied, or come across but I don't really have the time plus I found a great piece on the evidence for evolution on wikipedia and I’ll just use that for now to read use this link:

Opening statement

Religious faith and belief have a weight and substance that requires intelligent comprehension, understanding, and an obligated examination. One purview of this blog will be to interpose the various subjects related to religious faith and belief. However, the design of this blog will not only be offering the skeptics challenge to religious views and belief but offering a perspective from a secular humanist viewpoint and perspective. Following this statement is a greatly elongated “essay” on my individual humanist beliefs; I would greatly enjoy any response to it, however brief and hasty. I ask that you read through at least one of the points in it to respond, I dare not request the reading of it entirely.