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Topic: One More Nail in God's Coffin< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 12:31 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Science continues to grind along, uncovering new physical facts year after year, and century after century.

The work being done in neuro science to document and explain the mysterys of the the brain is in a particular period of rapid progress right now.

Here is the beginning of the data that will eliminate all that unknown mystery of the brilliant white lights that appear to the dying and which has been wildly proclaimed to be the welcoming presence of god in the afterlife.  Not so much!

A study carried out on dying rats found high levels of brainwaves at the point of the animals' demise.

US researchers said that in humans this could give rise to a heightened state of consciousness.

   ......

In the 30-second period after the animal's hearts stopped beating, they measured a sharp increase in high-frequency brainwaves called gamma oscillations.

These pulses are one of the neuronal features that are thought to underpin consciousness in humans, especially when they help to "link" information from different parts of the brain.

In the rats, these electrical pulses were found at even higher levels just after the cardiac arrest than when animals were awake and well.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23672150

Next thing you know, people will begin to think that earthquakes, volcanoes and the plague are not manifestations of the intellegent, caring, but sometimes angry, god of their dreams.

At least, I can hope so!


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 12:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are other sensations besides the white light, such as floating at to top of the room, observing your body passively.

Science and religion do not necessarily need to be mutually exclusive.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 12:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Related, possibly interesting question:

If religious experiences are "all in our heads," does that make them not real?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Science and the appreciation of etheral beauty may indeed be compatible, as part of human conciousness, but being compatible with myth and power based religion, not so much.

IMHO


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 1:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Aug. 14 2013, 12:40 pm)
QUOTE
There are other sensations besides the white light, such as floating at to top of the room, observing your body passively.

Science and religion do not necessarily need to be mutually exclusive.

I would agree as long as said religion embraces reason and deduction instead of defaulting to dogma. Of course we know that's not the case in 21st century America.

So many of us would rembrace religion if it were grounded in good works instead of insitutionalized social manipulation for the purpose of an avaricous agenda grounded in an exclusion entirely incompatible with our nation's history of enthusiasm for inclusion.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Aug. 14 2013, 12:05 pm)
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I would agree as long as said religion embraces reason and deduction instead of defaulting to dogma. Of course we know that's not the case in 21st century America.

Your last statement is not universally true, although it is certainly true in way too many cases, IMHO.

Many mainline churches probably meet the definition in your first sentence fairly well. Unfortunately, mainline churches have become sadly absent from the picture of religion in America that people see these days.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 1:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If religious experiences are "all in our heads," does that make them not real?

Very interesting question!  

IMO, it is obvious that "religion in our heads only" is obviously "real" in the sense that it is part of the conciousness of the person excercising his/her brain about god and religion.

But that does not make religion "real" as a supernatural force in the universe.  

So far we have zero physcial evidence of any supernatural force in the universe, and the possibility seems to be growing less likely year by year, and experiment by experiment.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 1:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi...


                        Even House...in the TV 'medical' show of the same name...mentioned that...!!
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 1:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Riffing on this a little further...

(I like to discuss, and don't really care if others disagree, as long as we can play nicely.)

The "Kingdom movement" outlined by Jesus in the gospels has sometimes been described as a collaborative eschatology--in other words, it is a movement that could transform the world *if* people got on board with it.

John Dominic Crossan has summarized this relationship as "Without us, God won't, and without God, we can't."

Is it possible that God could be all in our heads, yet still have the power to change the world through a collaborative program that changes humans, collectively and individually?

I know that's not what you mean by "supernatural," but it might be a plausible alternative definition of "supernatural."

I'm not saying that you're wrong--I'm not interested in that kind of argument. But I might suggest that the theistic image of God which you reject might be a somewhat outdated image of God for many people. Have you ever though about the possibility of, for example, a panentheistic God?

(Theologian Marcus Borg says that when people tell him they don't believe in God, he always replies, "Tell me about the God you don't believe in: I probably don't believe in that God either.")
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 14 2013, 2:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are probably as many people in my greater social circle that are pantheists as agnostic/atheists as more traditional monotheists. Maybe a few more agnostics.

To your first question, if it is in your head, and it is an influence on your behavior, yes, it is real. This could wander off into clinical psychology, but there is plenty of room in my world for people that want to harness their spirituality.

I don't know the details of the Kingdom movement, but I do believe that people working together to do good can achieve their goals. We have seen this repeatedly in history. As to whether we could achieve lasting peace, heaven on Earth, or other some other spiritual paradigm, I have some doubt, but I am hopeful.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 15 2013, 12:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Aug. 14 2013, 11:05 am)
QUOTE

(Lamebeaver @ Aug. 14 2013, 12:40 pm)
QUOTE
There are other sensations besides the white light, such as floating at to top of the room, observing your body passively.

Science and religion do not necessarily need to be mutually exclusive.

I would agree as long as said religion embraces reason and deduction instead of defaulting to dogma. Of course we know that's not the case in 21st century America.

So many of us would rembrace religion if it were grounded in good works instead of insitutionalized social manipulation for the purpose of an avaricous agenda grounded in an exclusion entirely incompatible with our nation's history of enthusiasm for inclusion.

I agree.  Science is not guiltless either.  A few years ago, I listened to a series of lectures on the history of science.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=1210

Very worthwhile if you can find them at your local library.

At the end of the series, the lecture delivers an opinion, that if we can learn anything, it is that scientific knowledge changes.  Every few years, we learn something that shakes things up.  We used to believe that dinosaurs were cold blooded lizards, for example.  Often, the first one to espouse a contrary opinion is persecuted by the scientific community...until they are eventually proven correct.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 15 2013, 3:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We have had this discussion before. Science changes on a regular bases as outlined by Thomas Kuhn, but the changes are refinement resulting from an ever better understanding. It's not like they were entirely wrong about dinosaurs, they just learned more about the physiology of dinosaurs. Only a fool thinks that science should be locked down like the literal meaning of the bible. Here are Isaac Azimov's thoughts on the subject. The Relativity of Wrong

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 16 2013, 12:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wwwest @ Aug. 14 2013, 12:31 pm)
QUOTE
Science continues to grind along, uncovering new physical facts year after year, and century after century.

The work being done in neuro science to document and explain the mysterys of the the brain is in a particular period of rapid progress right now.

Here is the beginning of the data that will eliminate all that unknown mystery of the brilliant white lights that appear to the dying and which has been wildly proclaimed to be the welcoming presence of god in the afterlife.  Not so much!

A study carried out on dying rats found high levels of brainwaves at the point of the animals' demise.

US researchers said that in humans this could give rise to a heightened state of consciousness.

   ......

In the 30-second period after the animal's hearts stopped beating, they measured a sharp increase in high-frequency brainwaves called gamma oscillations.

These pulses are one of the neuronal features that are thought to underpin consciousness in humans, especially when they help to "link" information from different parts of the brain.

In the rats, these electrical pulses were found at even higher levels just after the cardiac arrest than when animals were awake and well.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23672150

Next thing you know, people will begin to think that earthquakes, volcanoes and the plague are not manifestations of the intellegent, caring, but sometimes angry, god of their dreams.

At least, I can hope so!

Two comments, posed as questions:

1.  "Wildly proclaimed?"  Where'd you get that?  Could that be a strawman?

2.  The "sharp increase in high-frequency brainwaves called gamma oscillations" caused the rats to see "brilliant white lights"?   Really?  And you know this how?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 1:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You should really do some serious reading in neuro science and the current level of measuring brainwave activity and the ability to measure the output of neural acitivity.

A monkey in North Carolina is able to walk upright, transmitting to a robot in Japan, and with only the brainwave output, cause the robot to walk, even when the feedback of the robot reaction has been removed from the monkey's vision.  

And the full feedback loop takes less than 250 milliseconds.

This may be the answer for prolonging the lives and activities of those who were previously thought to be permanently unable to move on their own.   All they need is activity from their brain, could save Parkinson's sufferers and Lou Gehrigs disease people.

Please try to keep up with the 21st Century.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 4:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wwwest @ Aug. 14 2013, 1:33 pm)
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So far we have zero physcial evidence of any supernatural force in the universe,

ZERO?

It's pretty much accepted that our universe started when a very hot very dense singularity rapidly expanded.  In other words, the Big Bang.

Where did that singularity come from?  Whatever the source of the singularity it was CERTAINLY "supernatural" because the laws of nature simply did not yet exist.

What/who caused it to suddenly expand?  Whatever the cause, it was CERTAINLY "supernatural" because the laws of nature simply did not yet exist.

What/who caused it to expand in the way it did to establish the laws of naure we know today that make human life possible?  Whatever the cause, it was CERTAINLY "supernatural" because the laws of nature simply did not yet exist.

QUOTE
and the possibility seems to be growing less likely year by year, and experiment by experiment.
It's all a matter of interpretation.  For example, you interpret this rat brain data in such a way that it puts "one more nail in God's coffin", yet NONE of the data actually support your hypothesis that increased gamma oscillations happen to humans who have undergone cardia arrest.  And even if we assume it did, there is zero evidence that increased gamma oscillations cause humans to see a "brilliant white light".

The fact is, you've simply decided that god does not exist, and now you've decided to use extremely tenuous data to further "prove" his non-existance.  BTW, neither you nor anyone can prove the non-existance of god.  It is a fundamental impossibility.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 7:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"One More Nail in God's Coffin "...........................LOL, the dumbest comment EVER made.
How could it be, to you, he doesn't exist.
Just another libby hoping and yes, praying, LOL, and scared there isn't a God to judge them.
And sadly, when they (libbies) find out, it's to late to "change".


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 7:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

LOL

That must be why all those dedicated Xtians take every step possible to prolong their lives, in order to avoid facing the sad truth that there is nothing in the "afterlife" except reduction to the atoms that make up that wasted body.

It seems so wrong that those rushing to greet god with his pie in the sky are so reluctant to get on with dessert!  They should be rusing to meet the great afterlife at every opportunity, if they really believed in such mythical constructs.

Like Peter Pan, you got to truly believe in order to fly!


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 9:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

History is full of phenomena that were considered supernatural until we had the science to explain them. Why should we think that we have exhausted all natural explanations now?

Religion is good for people that don't have the patience or knowledge necessary to appreciate science.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 10:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Aug. 17 2013, 9:27 pm)
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History is full of phenomena that were considered supernatural until we had the science to explain them.

Indeed.

QUOTE
Why should we think that we have exhausted all natural explanations now?
You misunderstood my previous post.  First, consider that when the universe was a singularity, the "laws of nature" we know today literally did not exist.  EVERYthing was "supernatural" by definition simply because the laws that govern nature did not yet exist.

And for a short time after the singularity began expanding, the laws of nature still did not exist.  So during that period everything was by definition "supernatural".

Further, this whole "supernatural" business is a wierd kind of circular argument to begin with.  God is "supernatural" becasue science cannot explain him.  But if "supernatural" is anything that cannot be explained by current science, then the majority of our universe is "supernatural" since the great majority of our universe consists of dark matter and dark energy which we know literally NOTHING about.  God is only "supernatural" to you because our limited science cannot explain him.  YET.

Just as a few decades ago a smart phone would have been considered "supernatural" but no longer is, I am firmly convinced humans will someday have sufficient understanding that god will no longer be "supernatural" to us.

QUOTE
Religion is good for people that don't have the patience or knowledge necessary to appreciate science.
This assertion is a crock on its face, and I'm quite sure you're aware of that.  So I'm rather curious about your purpose in making this statement.  First, there are many extremely knowledgable (and patient) scientists who are also religious.  Second, there are literally countless numbers of patient and knowledgeable people who "appreciate science" and who are also religious.  I count myself among the latter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 17 2013, 10:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wwwest @ Aug. 17 2013, 1:05 am)
QUOTE
You should really do some serious reading in neuro science and the current level of measuring brainwave activity and the ability to measure the output of neural acitivity.

A monkey in North Carolina is able to walk upright, transmitting to a robot in Japan, and with only the brainwave output, cause the robot to walk, even when the feedback of the robot reaction has been removed from the monkey's vision.  

And the full feedback loop takes less than 250 milliseconds.

This may be the answer for prolonging the lives and activities of those who were previously thought to be permanently unable to move on their own.   All they need is activity from their brain, could save Parkinson's sufferers and Lou Gehrigs disease people.

Please try to keep up with the 21st Century.

And this relates to your current thread how?
Perhaps we should call this post a red herring?

And BTW, can a monkey even "walk upright"?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 7:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ken, sorry to be pedantic, but it is germane that you are not using the word "supernatural" as it is normally defined. The existence of singularities is defined by natural laws, the limitation being that what goes on within a singularity is waiting on the details of quantum gravity to be worked out. From the moment that expansion began, most of the behavior of the expanding universe fits that standard model of physics. As for dark matter and dark energy, they are indirectly observable phenomena whose existence can be measured and quantified, so they are not supernatural even though we have not observed them directly, nor explain their nature in any detail. Understanding them will test the standard model of physics, replacing it with a new model if it fails to stand up to those tests. Gravity is not so different, and at one time air was just as intangible and unknowable. We have indirect evidence for gravitational waves, but as of yet no evidence of gravitons. No one doubts that gravity exists.

By definition, the supernatural eludes measurement and tests to quantify, direct observation, and is only known through highly subjective, anecdotal reports. You are welcome to kludge together the vaguest frontiers of science with your mystical experiences to fulfill your rational needs. I don't need to go to that much trouble to fulfill my rational needs, which is why I enjoy our discussions as limited engagements.

Yes, monkeys and apes are both known to walk upright. There are scientists that embrace religion, and there are people that can talk a little science and even more religion to explain the deep meanings of the Universe. Maybe you would enjoy a collection of Deepak Chopra's 100 greatest quotes.   :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 8:04 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I find it a little curious, wwwest, that you seem to have such a strong need to "disprove" views that are different from your own.  Rather than being content and secure in your own beliefs, you seem to have a need to attack those who do not hold your views as benighted fools.  This probably says more about you than it does about religion.

Many of your posts also seem to suggest that you think science is in the process of disproving the existence of God.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding you.  If true, this would suggest that you know as much about science as you do about religion.  It is true that science is capable of explaining observable phenomena without reference to anything supernatural.  That is nothing new.

As to the subject at hand; I just began reading Touching a Nerve: the Brain as Self.  I'm only 40 or 50 pages in, but it promises to be an excellent and thought provoking book.  As the title suggests, one of the author's working assumptions is that the "self" resides in the neurochemical processes of the brain, not in anything like a "soul".  If you haven't already read it, wwwest, I think you would particularly enjoy it, though it would also serve to reinforce your prejudices.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 8:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Aug. 18 2013, 7:05 am)
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There are scientists that embrace religion, and there are people that can talk a little science and even more religion to explain the deep meanings of the Universe.

FYI, the head bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, is a highly trained scientist with a PhD in oceanography.  She is one of the most intelligent and most spiritual people I have ever met.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 10:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What this seems to point out is that wwwest actually knows very little about science OR religion but continues to pretend otherwise

Most of the folks that think science and religion are somehow incompatible are in the same boat


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 10:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Bab can you name even one religion based on the scientific method?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 11:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

CW,

You're right, I did paint with a broad brush and was in error for that. My apologies.

I'd like to know your answer to HG's question as well Bill.

Trinity,

WW's desire to "disprove" this contrary view [to him] is in many of us to one degree or another simply because we've been bombarded by others trying to force us into reverence for instituionalized mythology. I don't think any of us have a problem with one person's personal reverences; the problem is with the inevitable missionary mentality of so many trying to impose that reverence on non-believers.

I welcome inclusive faiths that discard the missionary mentality to the trash heap of history and are ultimately grounded in the idea of good works for the benefit of all, not just the follower. I still volunteer for some Catholic community service projects because although I left the faith behind years ago today's Catholicism embraces education and reason to a much higher degree than the hateful hypocrites proliferating today.

Thanks for an awesome discussion folks.


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(double cabin @ Aug. 18 2013, 11:23 am)
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CW,

You're right, I did paint with a broad brush and was in error for that. My apologies.

I'd like to know your answer to HG's question as well Bill.

Trinity,

WW's desire to "disprove" this contrary view [to him] is in many of us to one degree or another simply because we've been bombarded by others trying to force us into reverence for instituionalized mythology. I don't think any of us have a problem with one person's personal reverences; the problem is with the inevitable missionary mentality of so many trying to impose that reverence on non-believers.

I welcome inclusive faiths that discard the missionary mentality to the trash heap of history and are ultimately grounded in the idea of good works for the benefit of all, not just the follower. I still volunteer for some Catholic community service projects because although I left the faith behind years ago today's Catholicism embraces education and reason to a much higher degree than the hateful hypocrites proliferating today.

Thanks for an awesome discussion folks.

With you all the way.  Really, I don't have any real problem with folks who take a "missionary" approach (I evangelize whenever I get the opportunity), provided that they do not seek to enlist the state as an agent of their propaganda.  As a faith leader, I will be right alongside you when it comes to protecting the separation of church and state.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, I should have added the "state" caveat you related here so well Trinity.

This thread reminds me of my own predjudice/bias when it comes to faith. With reflection I am compelled to acknowledge many if not most people of faith remain among the finest of us when it comes to content of character. I'm just wishing they'd get more active when it comes to drowning out the voices of division and imposition.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 2:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Aug. 18 2013, 1:17 pm)
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I'm just wishing they'd get more active when it comes to drowning out the voices of division and imposition.

That is a huge challenge for the inclusive church, and has been, frankly, an area of major failure in the recent past.

But it's a tricky path to navigate: how do you passionately oppose exclusivity and intolerance without becoming intolerant yourself? It's a delicate balance.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 18 2013, 3:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

"And BTW, can a monkey even "walk upright"? "

Hey, you are paying attention!  

Yes, that was an issue in constructing the research, with the monkey's brain hard wired to provide computer output.  They had to construct a special treadmill, with ergonomic supports, and a lot of training to get the monkey to walk upright, which of course, does not happen naturally.

But they were completley successful, and the monkey was capable of watching the feedback loop from the remote robot which was following the signals from the monkey's brainwaves in order to walk in time with the monkey's pace.  

And you are misrepresenting my position, as I am the first to admit that I cannot "prove" that god does not exist.  It is why I remain an agnostic, not an atheist.

But I do like to chalk up every example showing the past assumptions of supernatural powers are proven inaccurate.

At some point the weight of evidence will be so great denying all the specious claims of gods existence that god will be cast into the realm of unbelief along with Zeus, Odin, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

Maybe not in my lifetime, but it is coming.  

I'll bet that even Ken and Ben recognize that the Tooth Fairy is a non-existent supernatural being, neh?

Brain Machine Interfaces that allow us to operate computers by thinking about the task will be here during my lifetime, some of them are being used now:

"Researchers in Japan are using a brain-machine interface to control the actions of a humanoid robot. The goal is to allow people “to feel embodied in the body of a humanoid robot,” in the words of one researcher.

Roboticists at the CRNS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory, a collaboration between the French National Center for Scientific Research and the Japanese Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, are trying to interpret brain waves into actions that can be understood by a robot. In the video below, a volunteer wears an electrode cap and watches a screen with flashing dots, which is used to teach his brain to associate flickering objects with actions. By focusing his attention, he can induce actions, which are translated from his brain activity into robotic motion.
"

http://www.popsci.com/technol....s-brain


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