"Religulous" looks very funny - must chase it up to view. Loved the ending:
BILL MAHER: God knows what could have been accomplished in this world....(interrupted)
VOICE OVER: YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!
DR NEWBERG: You weren't expecting that...
BILL MAHER: (looks to the heavens) Is that God?
DR NEWBERG: It's the voice of God......
Like the stock market - it's all in the timing.
Clearly she performed this, um, 'miracle' as an agent of God.
I don't believe religion will ever cease to exist. Many people have an inherent need to believe in something and don't have the confidence to make that 'something' themselves.
Btw on the dietary stuff, Seventh Day Adventists are supposedly all vegans. They will not touch any animal products. This is based on the belief that they are unclean in the first place and then that the way they are killed and processed is also unclean.
It's just a belief. Doesn't hurt anyone. They don't go round insisting others should adhere to similar beliefs. They might be right. We might all be better off if we ate a bit less meat.
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them" - Albert Einstein
A few reasons for keeping an open mind on “higher powers”:
1. Antimatter - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter
In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles. For example, a positron (the antiparticle of the electron or e+) and an antiproton (p) can form an antihydrogen atom in the same way that an electron and a proton form a normal matter hydrogen atom. Furthermore, mixing matter and antimatter can lead to the annihilation of both in the same way that mixing antiparticles and particles does, thus giving rise to high-energy photons (gamma rays) or other particle–antiparticle pairs.
There is considerable speculation as to why the observable universe is apparently almost entirely matter, whether there exist other places that are almost entirely antimatter instead, and what might be possible if antimatter could be harnessed. At this time, the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this asymmetry between particles and antiparticles developed is called baryogenesis.
2. Dark Matter - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is matter that is inferred to exist from gravitational effects on visible matter and background radiation, but is undetectable by emitted or scattered electromagnetic radiation. Its existence was hypothesized to account for discrepancies between measurements of the mass of galaxies, clusters of galaxies and the entire universe made through dynamical and general relativistic means, and measurements based on the mass of the visible "luminous" matter these objects contain: stars and the gas and dust of the interstellar and intergalactic medium. ... dark matter constitutes 80% of the matter in the universe, while ordinary matter makes up only 20%.
3. Multiverse - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse
The multiverse (or meta-universe, metaverse) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes (including the historical universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. The term was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes.
Since ‘intelligent life’ exists in our small matter-universe, and since many people believe there’s a high probability that life also exists elsewhere in our universe, why couldn’t ‘intelligent life’ (perhaps superior to ours) exist in a parallel antimatter- or dark matter-universe? And if that life is made of antimatter, how would it communicate with us since matter and antimatter mutually annihilate? The unknown unknowns are mind boggling and great stuff for science fiction writers! The simple fact is that the 20% of our universe that we’re aware of is far from simple and we know very little about it, and we know absolutely nothing about the other 80% of our universe, and any parallel universes if they exist. By all means be skeptical, but be open minded and don’t dismiss things you don’t understand as absolute rubbish.
As for our religions, and how we behave under them, the term ‘intelligent life’ is frequently very questionable, and I agree that many organized religions are simply a power grab and a tax dodge, but if a salesman is total rubbish, is the product he’s selling automatically total rubbish as well?
No disagreement about "open mind on higher powers". The fact that none has stopped by and handed me his business card, doesn't mean such a Higher Power can't exist. That's why I classify myself, in line with many skeptics, as an Agnostic rather than an Atheist. I even presume our current Prime Minister won't deny the possibility of the existence of a Higher Power, which is the original meaning of a-theism. I find it more appropriate to say "Dunno!" because I cannot know.
Given the myriad of contenders for the throne, I find it highly unlikely that any hypothetical omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent Creator and Manager of the universe should have picked two feuding tribes of goat herds in a "godforsaken" corner of the Earth and revealed him/her/itself to those two tribes in similar, yet mutually exclusive personae to the extent that those two tribes have been at each others' throats ever since. I find it even less likely, that this being should have told the Nordic peoples a totally different story about Yggdrasil and Ragnarok, appeared to Australian Aborigines as a Rainbow Serpent, to Incas and Mayas and Aztecs in yet a variety of other shapes, sizes, and made-up rules. etc ad infinitum.
And then have a look at the way some of these idols are presented to their followers: Acting like petulant kids if they don't get the proper amount of adulation in this chant or that prayer offering. One projection has allegedly nine Billion names, the other forbids any name to be uttered at all?
Strikes me as a rather sloppy way to run a Multiverse.
But as you say, we can't know what's outside our space and time horizon. As a corollary to that truth, any "Being" outside our space and time horizon will then hardly be in a position to expect us to know, believe, and worship it according to rules that are unknowable.
The early bird makes the early worm look pretty stupid.
Atheists (as well as fundamentalists) remind me of flat-earthists – absolutely convinced that they’re right and unable to accept alternative possibilities. Life is the deepest mystery of all and will remain so until a scientist succeeds in creating life in the laboratory.
I've always highly rated him as a statesman. Anyone who has listened to his off-the-cuff-speaches would be highly impressed.Treat Muslim Brotherhood with caution, Blair urges
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
February 7, 2011 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Tony Blair warns against letting "religious autocracy" take hold in Egypt.
London (CNN) -- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood needs to be treated with caution, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Monday.
"It's not an extremist group in a way that we have seen in other countries; on the other hand, we shouldn't be complacent about it either," he said.
"It is founded on a different view of the relationship between religion and public policy than most people in secular societies would want," he argued.
"Religion is an important part of our society, its voice should be heard, but I wouldn't want to live in even a democratic theocracy," the former prime minister said at the office of his Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which works to promote multifaith understanding.
He spoke a day after Egypt's government, under pressure from nearly two weeks of anti-government demonstrations, held talks with a range of opposition groups, including the Islamists.
Officially banned but quietly tolerated, the Muslim Brotherhood is regarded as Egypt's most organized opposition force.
Blair has been warning for the past week against letting "religious autocracy" or "religious exclusivity" take hold in Egypt.
He declined to say Monday that the Muslim Brotherhood aimed to impose either one.
"The truth is, I don't know, and neither does anybody else. And therefore what I am really saying is, don't be hysterical about it, but don't be complacent about it either," he said.
"I've always believe that democracy and Islam are perfectly compatible concepts," he added.
A truly gifted orator.
History will rate him on his speech and decision making.
But, I think he is wrong on true religion.
It can never, EVER, be democratic or credible because it requires dogmatic belief and suspension of logic. A leap of faith that is not supported by one ounce of evidence.
Religious voice should only be taught in history classes. It is history after all.
The paradigm of Democracy linked to Islam, is a true oxymoron, let alone being 'compatible' concepts. No religion of the book is democratic.
Bangladeshi teen dies from sharia lashing after reportedly being raped
Not sure if compatible, but they can use our democracy to beat our system.Kennas
"I've always believe that democracy and Islam are perfectly compatible concepts," he added.
Probably Kosovo would ring the bell, after all only majority is needed to do what you want in our system!
Quantum Gravity Rules
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." Quote Groucho Marx
Agnosticism and atheism do not lie along the same continuum, in fact, the concepts are orthogonal to each other. What this means is that there are 4 positions:
1) agnostic atheist (unknowable, lack belief)
2) gnostic atheist (knowable, lack belief)
3) agnostic theist (unknowable, belief)
4) gnostic atheist (knowable, belief)
Although, I admit that the common use of the terms make them appear to be directly comparable ("I am an agnostic" vs "I am an atheist"), but this is not really correct, as you can be both (or neither) at the same time, for example.