Open Thread - 12-02-22 - To Whence We Came

"Swear there ain't no heaven and pray there ain't no hell."

What happens when we die. That's the big question that's plagued mankind since, probably, when the first synapse fired. Religion answers that question for the true believers and that, in my humble opinion, explains the various religions' popularity.

I'm not much of a spiritual person, never have been. But I do find solace in my simple belief. My simple belief answers that age old question as well, but my conclusion wont sit well with religion. Although, I guess, it could be considered a religion unto itself, a belief derived from science, mostly cosmology. It works for me.

ch1-p0.jpg

We are star stuff. Every atom in my body was forged billions of years ago from the cauldron of stars. When I die, those atoms will break up and become other forms, gases mostly. Those atoms wont be destroyed, they'll change form, but they'll still exist. In essence all that comprises my self will be existent, sans consciousness, sans spirit, sans soul if you will.

That's where my belief diverges from religion. Consciousness. I believe that when I die that will be it, consciousness dies with me. That flies in the face of religion. It's that part, losing the soul or spirit, that is unfathomable by most. My answer? What do you remember before birth? I remember nothing. That's the state I'll return to, in my very humble opinion.

Some day, billions of years from now, when the sun blows out and engulfs the solar system, we'll all be returned to whence we came. The stars.

Now let me add this. As I said, I'm not much of a religious or spiritual person. But. In light of the current world events of the last couple of years, if one is honest, one must wonder about the Book of Revelations and End Times prophecies. I reject it, but it has crossed my mind. I think that religion is man made and current events are made to fit those prophecies. But who really knows? For to find out one must die.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

Richard Dawkins

Share
up
15 users have voted.

Comments

"Ooh, it makes me wonder"

up
11 users have voted.

Interesting topic this morning.
Follow your reasoning.
Seems sound.

Where I would diverge is the essence of consciousness.
I believe it is a part of all of those atoms you mention.
It is not lost with the cessation of biological life.
It is just not being recorded by the individual.
Have some empirical evidence to substantiate this,
but it is a volume too vast to bridge here.\

ymmv obviously Wink

thanks for sharing

up
9 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Hi all, Hey JtC, Hope it is all good out there!

As I started reading, I immediately thought of a song... the great one you put and the end... Smile as well as... 'We are stardust, we are golden...'

I am deeply spiritual, but not religious whatsoever. Except about being deeply spiritual. My passions are consummate. Do everything with the zeal of a missionary. Religion is something that answers all the hard questions, fast and easily, but not necessarily correctly. Without thinking or thought. You can know the answer, without knowing a dang thing. This I think drives its widespread acceptance. Too complex, don't understand? Must be a higher being, or gag, intelligent design, because I'm not that stupid. Guess again sky fairy Sherlock.

Religion is an easy lazy way out of deep thought. It deceives one into thinking they do know the answer, when they don't. And most (western) religion is organized spirituality. Which like in most things claimed to be organized, I see a great disorganization. I'll stop before I get to contradictions.

I agree it is that refusal to accept ones death as the end a major driver of the belief in it, that there must being more, something else. Hate to break the news to them but if you want to do something, make a difference, or leave a mark (not a stain), you better do it now or it will never happen. You get one fleeting chance to leave the world a better place than you found it. It is called life. Where is the altruism that drives that belief in making positive change and influence? In my naive idealism I would have thought it intrinsic, innate.

What is most common here in America amongst the most religious is selfish greed in shiny new cars, drowning in consumaholism if not alcoholism, voting for war and weapons export whilst pretending to be better, and more religious, than your neighbor. Virtually all of the people responsible for all of the major problems we face in the world today would claim to be religious. Most probably have a bible handy. Far over half of atheists believe it would hurt their careers to say so. How can we come to good conclusions or results in such a situation? Here in America we have moneyism as the most popular religion. They call it capitalism so it doesn't sound as bad and stupid as it is.

Meanwhile the full force of the media is being used to keep people uninformed and stupid, instead of educate. To brainwash and propagandize instead of elucidate and enlighten. We're doomed I tell you!
Wink

Have a great day all! I gotta fly.

up
11 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Lookout's picture

Had to cut up a big poplar that came down in the storm this week. Just finished. That tree like us all will break down slowly and return to the Earth (it was already rotting, that's why it fell).

I'm not religious nor spiritual, but I do find beauty and meaning in the natural cycles and Earth systems. I feel a part of that cosmos much like an atom in the tree I cut today. In other words, we are each a small part in the fabric of nature.

Like Groucho, I don't want to join any club or religion that wants me as a member, but scientific Pantheism sounds near my state of mind

Scientific pantheism moves beyond “God” and defines itself by positives. Atheism and Agnosticism both define themselves negatively, in relation to a “God” that they deny or doubt. These are useful starting points – but they don’t take us very far. Most people also need positive beliefs and feelings about their place in Nature and the wider Universe. Scientific pantheists take Nature and the Universe as our start and finish point, not some preconceived idea of “God.” We do not believe in a supernatural creator god who watches or judges us. Most scientific pantheists avoid god-language or religious words like church, worship, divinity and so on. We regard them as misleading in relation to pantheism. Those of us who do like to use these words, use them metaphorically, as a way of expressing their deep feelings of reverence, gratitude and belonging towards Nature and the wider Universe.

So much for the philosophizing, still have chores to do.

Thanks for the OT!

up
11 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Socialprogressive's picture

Humankind's oldest and longest running April Fools Day joke that people still believe to this day, there is a God. Thankfully I never fell for the joke. Man is quite the bullshitter and has always said whatever would be believed in order to gain power and control over the masses.
My belief. There is no before life, there is no after life. There is only the here and now.

thumb-1412649741115-bs.jpg

If you know what life is worth, you will find yours here on earth _ Bob Marley, Get up, Stand up

up
8 users have voted.

The fact there's a Highway to Hell and only a Stairway to Heaven should tell you something about anticipated traffic.

usefewersyllables's picture

here. I was raised in the absence of religion, so I developed my own approach to spirituality without a lot of the embroidery that comes from that context. I also believe that at the moment of death, consciousness simply ceases- that is it a function of the neural circuitry. I fully expect my final thought to be "Oh shit!", followed by a fade to black. Or perhaps white, depending upon the circumstance.

I had a friend in college who was much more of the evangelical-atheist type, and who liked to get into long-winded arguments with genuinely religious folks on this topic. He would invariably steer the argument towards the very elaborate concepts of heaven and hell, and end it by stating "That's all very nice, of course, but who's going to pay for it?"....

Your mileage will most definitely vary! Interesting topic, for sure.

up
8 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

snoopydawg's picture

AFDC3933-B703-4885-9D2C-7E0B4F57D1C0.jpeg

If there is a Fox hole close by when my time comes I’m pretty sure I’ll dive into it. It’s taken me a lifetime to shuck the teachings of the Catholic Church that I learned from a wee age and were instilled in my brain, but I still hold on to a belief in a higher power. I agree too that religion is just a made up concept and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Looking at you, Francis. And most of your predecessors over the ages.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate over the last 3 years with all my readings of the human body is how incredibly amazing it is with its trillions of cells that have to all go in the right place for us to be healthy humans and that so many of us are. I first got amazed at the body when I was learning about the anatomy of the eye. The cornea has 5 different layers and the retina has 9. All have to work perfectly so that we can see. Just a few things go out of wack and that’s not possible anymore. Now add in the rest of the eye and our body’s makeup….simply amazing to think about when we started off as just one cell.

up
11 users have voted.

Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

When I drove OTR, I enjoyed listening to the interviews of two physicists from the Copenhagen school describe the congruence of their theory with eastern metaphysical beliefs. They were guests on the Stars channel on satellite radio. I have difficulty describing a physics theory or belief system such as this. I once read The Physics Of Consciousness: The Quantum Mind And The Meaning Of Life by physicist Evan Harris Walker, who approached this topic as the theme of his book. It was pretty much along the Copenhagen theme (note- I'm not a physicist or scientist). I think the author was prompted to dwell on the metaphysics of consciousness, because of the impact of wife's death.

This is from the Amazon description of the book:

For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and an army of brain researchers have been struggling, in vain, to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Now there is a clear trail to the answer, and it leads through the dense jungle of quantum physics, Zen, and subjective experience, and arrives at an unexpected destination. In this tour-de-force of scientific investigation, Evan Harris Walker shows how the operation of bizarre yet actual properties of elementary particles support a new and exciting theory of reality, based on the principles of quantum physics-a theory that answers questions such as "What is the nature of consciousness, of will?" "What is the source of material reality?" and "What is God?"

I know some scientists disagree with Harris, they're sticking with the chemistry of synapses theory. In any case impermanence is in the nature of experience. There is impermanence in the conception of self. This is the source of the eastern belief that all is illusion including the concept of self. At best, the mind vs. no mind quandary is always with us, along with the particular v. the universal, transience v immutability.

Art forms can transcend the observing mind which is always measuring things. I like the imagery in some popular (Korean) Buddhist songs.

무생화(보현스님) Lifeless Flower - Bohyun Seunim

명사십리 해당화야 꽃 진다고 서러 마라
At Myeongsa beach, rugusa rose flowers fall, don't be sad
명년 3월 봄이 오면 너는 다시 피련만
In March, coming year, when spring comes, you will bloom again,
우리인생 한번가면 다시 오기 어려워라
Once our life goes, coming again is difficult,
빈손으로 나왔다가 빈손들고 가는 인생
Life emerged empty handed, with empty hands it leaves
어디에서 왔으며 어디로 가는가
From somewhere we came, but where do we go?
한조각 뜬구름이 모였다 흩어지는 것
Fragments of clouds gather and then disperse
풀잎에 이슬이라 공수래 공수거
On blades of grass, morning dew comes and goes, leaving nothing
물위에 거품이라 일장춘몽 꿈이로다
Bubbles on water, a spring fantasy scene we dream

어디에서 왔으며 어디로 가는가
From somewhere we appear, but where do we go?
한 조각 뜬구름이 모였다 흩어지는 것
Fragments of clouds gather and then disperse
풀잎에 이슬이라 공수래 공수거
On blades of grass morning dew, comes and goes, leaving nothing
물 위에 거품이라 일장춘몽 꿈이로다.
Bubbles on water, a spring fantasy we dream
물 위에 거품이라 일장춘몽 꿈이로다.
Bubbles on water, a spring fantasy we dream

up
8 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

up
7 users have voted.

"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

Cassiodorus's picture

up
7 users have voted.

"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

@Cassiodorus

and is he broke? Saw this guy on the bike path the other day holding a JESUS sign.
Scammer to the bones. Kinda weird and out of character with the whole free flying
old hippie vibe going on. He actually caused a fist fight and the cops descended and
cut-off the path for us free riders. Wasn't pretty. But hey, Jesus saves at the local
credit union, so who am I to bark?

up
6 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@QMS -- Roger Waters on religion:

up
4 users have voted.

"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

Cassiodorus's picture

@QMS though I like the other song better:

up
3 users have voted.

"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

religion, and wouldn't even know how spirituality worked.
I will say, I am lucky to be alive, and not only appreciate every day, but I have always thought that since I was spared an early death, I should strive to do something good while I have the chance. I have no children, so my legacy is whatever positive difference I can make, and how I will be remembered after I die.
I recently lost a friend to cancer. To say she was religious is an understatement. She once said, "We will all be surprised when we die." For all her devotion to gaining entry into Paradise, she was apparently unconvinced it exists as described in the Bible.
I hope she was pleasantly surprised.

up
9 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Pluto's Republic's picture

An excerpt:

Crazy

They’ll make you poor,
then shame you for being poor,
then push you into a job that keeps you poor
at a billionaire megacorporation.

They’ll make you crazy,
then shame you for being crazy,
then sell you the cure for crazy
at eighty bucks a pill.

You’re a failure if you can’t make ends meet
on impossible wages at an impossible cost of living
with a worthless degree you will never pay off no matter how hard you work
while advertisers blare at you about your insufficiencies,
while the news man tells you war is normal,
while Hollywood tells you the system is working perfectly,
while armed police guard grocery store dumpsters full of food from the hungry,
while executives go on five billion-dollar space rides for fun,
while you live surrounded by screens that tell you you are crazy
if you think any of this is not sane.

Take Oligarchizac™ for your depression,
take Plutocracipam™ for your anxiety,
just ninety bucks a pill.
Side effects may include compliance,
acquiescence, subservience, docility,
menticidal ideation,
a marked lack of interest in guillotines,
a dystopian society and a dying biosphere.

And the pundit says
“A new study by a Raytheon-funded think tank says war is good for the environment,
but first here’s a millionaire to explain the benefits of urinating on the homeless.”

And Hollywood says
“Here’s a movie about well-dressed attractive people with nice houses
engaging in amusing antics you’re too poor and stressed out to experience yourself.”

And the news man says
“Here’s a rags-to-riches story which proves capitalism works fine
and you should hate yourself if you can’t hack it here.”

And the advertisement says
“Do you feel like you’re losing your mind due to your sense of inadequacy
because you can’t afford Google’s latest NSA surveillance device?
Ask your doctor about Empiradol™,
just a hundred bucks a pill.”

They lock us in a room
and fill the room with water
and then shame us for drowning
and then charge us for tiny gasps of air
from a hose that leads to an ecosystem
that they are destroying as quickly as they can.

And hey I’ve invented a new antidepressant anti-anxiety antipsychotic
that I’m getting to market as quickly as I can.
It’s not a pill or a jab or an electrical shock treatment,
it’s just a big wad of cash taken by force from thieving megacorporations.
Side effects may include peace and relaxation,
an ability to buy food and think clearly,
a fondness for red flags,
and a hysterical corporate media.

And hey I think we just might make it,
past the veil of madness and cutthroat cruelty.

And hey I think there’s something deep within us
as yet untapped and as yet unrealized.

And hey I think an earthquake’s coming
that just might topple the towers of madness
once and for all.

.
By Caitlin Johnstone

Excerpted from: Lao Sue And Other Poems @ Amazon.

Published with permission.
up
8 users have voted.

____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
lotlizard's picture

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=psychedelic+christianity&t=osx&ia=web

In the Bhagavad-Gita, G~d (speaking as Krishna) seems to suggest that one gets whatever sort of afterlife / reincarnated life one has believed in.

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me. [Bhagavad-gita 9:25]

up
4 users have voted.

@lotlizard

will we pray together next season?

praying-mantis-220987_1280-min.jpg.png
up
7 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@QMS  
Afterlife! It’s like Toyota ads in the 1970s.

It’s all there in the manual (at least for devotees of Hindu Vedic culture).

up
4 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

As you said, JtC....

As I said, I'm not much of a religious or spiritual person. But. In light of the current world events of the last couple of years, if one is honest, one must wonder about the Book of Revelations and End Times prophecies. I reject it, but it has crossed my mind. I think that religion is man made and current events are made to fit those prophecies. But who really knows? For to find out one must die.

.
In light of world events, I think there is One single revelation that is explored in secrecy by small influential groups of chosen people (mostly men) down the ages. Groups like the Masons, cults related to the Catholic Priesthood, ancient Egyptian cults, and several other groups both ancient and modern, who closely guard this secret. These groups are currently associated with global power, although they are largely unnoticed by the masses. In early times, members of these groups were associated with the erection of very tall structures; in latter days they are vaguely associated with global finance, the accumulation of wealth, and with control over essential natural resources. The US was their brainchild. Their closely guarded secret is simply this: The minds of people, in disciplined communal focus, have the power of gods (the ability to manifest whatever reality they envision).

Self-fulfilling Prophesies. Religious thought is designed to neutralizes this power because the focused of attention of the congregation is directed away from the planet into empty space, based on people's delusions about divine intervention. The knowledge that humans are inheritors and the sole possessors of the Power of Creation in the earthly realm, is taboo — a blasphemy. Thus, religion is financially promoted to hold humanity in bondage. Communism must be destroyed at all costs because it leads to a shared visions of the future. This would conflict with the world that the secret groups have manifested — a world where humanity serves their purposes as workers toiling in production, soldiers in the wars of resource capture and empire, social workers maintaining the human livestock, academics and religious workers taming and training minds to conform, and millions of hangers on.

That's the world in a nutshell, and that's the one revelation that means something. That's the reasons for the current wars. Plato discovered 2,500 years ago that democracy doesn't work without a meritocracy (the election of philosopher kings), and it rapidly devolves into a dictatorship (while still referred to as a democracy).

And for death: One reason it makes no sense is because humans age and die too soon after their offspring reach adult maturity and independence. Unlike other big brained species. Humans age and die before they can fully evolve their minds and gain wisdom, before they can do the real work that society needs to become collectively independent, before they can refine and complete their support for their adult offspring, before they can come to terms with completion and death.

It's a genetic flaw that we are right on the cusp of repairing.

Just thought I'd kick in what I have discovered.

up
10 users have voted.

____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
janis b's picture

@Pluto's Republic

I think most of us are born naturally with an ingrained/collective consciousness, of a 'mature and independent' nature. Unfortunately much of society isn’t geared to recognise or respect it, and it gets crushed along the way.

up
7 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@janis b

...that runs through the universe was deliberately crushed by religions. Pagans in harmonic convergence with the tides of the heavens (natural religions) were wiped out with a vengeance. The idea of a New Age philosophy horrified religious leaders. As you say, all those things are crushed out of human thinking. But as we approach quantum realities and entanglement in the way we design thinking machines, the revelation of the power in the collective harmonic focus of sentient minds starts to make scientific sense. The potential to shift timelines and wormhole physical matter becomes probable. To determine the future before it arrives is how creation works. These are pressing concepts whose time has come. They solve mysteries. This is not an unfamiliar landscape to theoretical physicists. Intuitive "knowing" is an intellectual skill.

It is cognitive dissonance, introduced early by both the church and the state, that ultimate damages the human mind. Holding (two or more) conflicting beliefs as both true (hypocrisy is one example), or holding beliefs that conflict with the laws of physics (religious super-natural narratives) undermine logic functions and critical thinking abilities. This is how people are broken and infiltrated. We can see the political and social damage in people all around us. Human life is cheap. Punishment is in-human. The injustice is breathtaking. The US is overflowing with the mentally injured. They are armed to kill.

It's not hard to see where this is going.

up
6 users have voted.

____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
janis b's picture

@Pluto's Republic

This rings true to me ...

"To determine the future before it arrives is how creation works.”

I think that to some extent we personally have the capacity to determine our future before it is formed. For example ... by noting those thoughts we sometimes have that seem to come out of nowhere, and paying attention to them, we can create the direction our lives take.

up
1 user has voted.

@Pluto's Republic repair a genetic flaw? I am curious!

up
2 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Pluto's Republic's picture

@on the cusp

The DNA can be cleaned up to provide an extended life span. Cell division is leaving dangerous debris behind that needs to be cleaned up to slow aging. The number of times a cell can divide needs to be reset higher. Tasks like that using existing technologies, at first.

up
2 users have voted.

____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
lotlizard's picture

@Pluto's Republic  
seem to have the regeneration and immortality thing knocked:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydra_%28genus%29#Non-senescence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planarian#Regeneration

So yeah, with a little intelligent DNA diddling with the genes involved …

Of course, with the usual caveat of “Be careful what you wish for” …

up
4 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic being genetically modified by the genius tech created by TPTB, I say, "You go first!"

up
5 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

@on the cusp

don't those brain chips guarantee life everlasting?
I mean you can't die as long as the AI program does
not need a reboot right? And they can 3D print your
failed organs, replace the joints and program you to
want to live for eval! All-in-one package* Wink

*Some restrictions apply, not sold in some states, some assembly required.

up
3 users have voted.

@QMS read the reviews.
I wonder if I get to change my eye color? How about teeth?
I have so many questions to pose to the automated bots.
What happens when the power goes out?

up
2 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

lotlizard's picture

@on the cusp  

up
4 users have voted.

@lotlizard walking among us, Lot! Great stuff!

up
4 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

janis b's picture

I wonder now whether the polarity we see more clearly today than ever before is a result of the duality religion propagated? How is it that everything in between is negated, when in reality that’s where life exists?

Oh well.

up
7 users have voted.

@janis b Purgatory. That "place" sounds so dull, I think it is to be avoided.

up
3 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

That Dawkins quote is a variant of Sam Clemens (Mark Twain): "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

Consciousness seems pretty obviously to be an emergent property of our bodies. Look at how it can be changed, or even snuffed out, by changes to the brain. So when the body dies, the consciousness goes with it.

As to souls, deities, afterlives, etc, the people making those positive claims have the burden of proof, and as Laplace, Jefferson and Sagan (to name a few) have noted ""Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof". I think it especially true when a human claims to know the intentions of some postulated transcendent being that is beyond space/time/knowing.

I used to be interested in pointing that out to people I met, but you largely can't reason people out of something they didn't reason themselves into, and since the most likely determinant of what religion someone practices is what they were brought up to believe, it is pretty hopeless to show them reasons why they might want to change their mind. A lot of politics seems to operate about the same way, with taking "received wisdom" from someone standing in front of a crowd of people.

I don't think I've ever been to Missouri, but I'm in accord with it being the "show me" state:

https://history.howstuffworks.com/american-history/missouri-show-me-stat...

up
6 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@MichaelSF  
Why this body for “me” and that body for “you”?

Whence cometh our respective “me”-ness?

There are “emergent phenomena” happening all over the physical universe, but how is it “you” are directly experiencing “from the inside” what it’s like to “be” a particular one?

up
2 users have voted.

@lotlizard How about "beats me"? Smile

I'm with Richard Feynman: “I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.”

Religion always seems to end up with dogma. "Spirituality" may avoid dogma but mostly seems to be handwaving/woo/"clap louder to keep Tinkerbell alive" fantasy, especially when "quantum" gets mixed into the patter.

Frankly, I really don't see how "knowing the answer" would make any difference in my life, unless of course the answer is "vengeful deity who demands worship or else dire consequences". But I want some proof of that, not just assertions, before I modify my behavior. So far, I've not seen anything even beginning to get past the assertion stage and moving towards proof.

cheers,
Michael

up
5 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@MichaelSF  
1. Whether there is some kind of supreme being or deity
2. What philosophers call the unsolved “hard problem” of consciousness

One can, as I am urging, acknowledge the inadequacy of purely materialist explanations for (2) without necessarily conceding any ground on believing that the affirmative case on (1) remains unproven.

up
4 users have voted.

@lotlizard I guess I'm not following you very well.

A deity is an aspect of the "supernatural", and it seems that once you move past materialist reasons for consciousness then you move into the supernatural, so the deity is just an extreme case.

Consciousness seems to arise only in living organisms (and I'm not limiting it to homo sapiens) and goes away when the organism dies or the brain is severely damaged. Why not just accept that and not go making up stories that involve fairies at the bottom of the garden? If we can't detect something and have no evidence that there's something "extra" then go with what we can know. Having an ever multiplying number of stories based on no evidence and that have no predictive value doesn't improve things, but rather muddies the waters and makes it even harder to understand what little that we can see going on.

up
2 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@MichaelSF  
is our respective subjective sense of self, of “being here” at all, willing things and experiencing things…

BUT perhaps there are some truths human minds