A Sincere Question For Those Who Identify as ‘Religious’

Editor’s note: Our friend Khannea Suntzu asks sincere questions that need honest answers. Please read until the end for a background.

If you identify as “religious” and have read my previous articles or book chapters dealing with religious issues, you almost certainly count me as an enemy, not a friend, an atheist bigot lacking empathy – or even worse.

And I understand why you feel like that.

After all, I still refer to Religion as a serious delusional state and use largely dismissive language when speaking about this phenomenon.

That alone would brand me as a antitheist in your eyes.

But what if there is something wrong with today’s understanding of religion and spirituality? What if our current approach is not the best approach? What if clinical psychology has a better answer?

Over the last 350 years, as I’ve interacted frequently online or face to face with “religious” men and women, some have been gentle, fragile souls, having suffered much over the years and are obviously very sensitive about such deep-seated, painful, and personal issues.

Others have been angry and hostile, to the point of posting violent threats and ugly wishes, reminiscent of the extremist islamists who threaten half the world for disagreeing with them (I had a similar, but less extreme, experience a few years back when a religious individual challenged me in a hateful style that completely belied his religious values).

But even in the case of those who are angry and hostile, I recognize that there is often pain behind the anger, and in their eyes, people like me have played a big role in their suffering.

Someone very close to my family whom I have known all my life came out as “having found faith” a few years back, and I reached out to him, telling him I wanted to hear his story in detail, without responding or arguing.

But after sharing a little with me via email, explaining decades of secret fears and shame and tears, he cut me off, wanting nothing to do with me anymore.

Others have reached out to me as a fairly detached and scientific person, asking about what the deeprooted reasons and explanations in psychopathology for believing in a person in the sky nobody can see, and many of these people frequently have considerable cognitive dissonance leading a fairly rational and materialistic life, and then suddenly feeling this uncanny urge to believe in things nobody can see. And yet the longer we interact, the more pain and uncertainty I hear, almost as if they must continue to prove to themselves (and others) that the things they believe in are actually real. (Again, you can chalk this up to systemic “atheism” or you can ask yourself if there are other factors at work.)

My question, though, is very simple, and I ask it not to be antagonistic but rather to foster discussion: What is the definitive test that demonstrates what you believe is true?

I’m not talking about being schizophrenic, or other identifiable neurological abnormality.

I’m talking about someone who is a generally rational but believes in some kind of deity in the sky?

What is the definitive test that confirms the physical reality of this peculiar belief?

It is true, of course, that I am not a medical or psychological professional, but I have consulted specialists in the field who have worked with religious-identified individuals for decades, and I have read studies confirming what I believe as well as challenging what I believe.

I have seen the academic studies saying that there are brain differences between religious individuals and sane individuals. I have read other studies that they say there are no such differences. And then I have read still other studies that claim that any differences in brain structure are due to the plasticity of the brain (in other words, they are the result of existential fears rather than the cause of it).

I’m quite aware of the pitched debate that took place within the American Psychiatric Association over the classification of religion (formally hallucinatory disorder), and it’s clear that politics were involved as much as science.

And I’ve talked with individuals of faith who are sure that, if tested, they would have a unique and personal connection with something that created the universe from scratch, yet those I interacted with have found faith without undergoing any kind of test or self-reflection.

I’m also aware that there have been no comprehensive brain studies of children who identify as religious, charting their development over a period of years. (And let’s not forget that studies indicate that many, if not most, children who identify as religious, no longer do so after puberty and many of them subsequently identify themselves as agnostic.)

Recently, a religious individual referred me to a science book by Richard Dawkins, thinking it would present me with useful information. (Actually, what I read there confirmed what I already understood.)

The very first question was: “Help! I think invisible gods in the sky exist. How do I know for certain?”

The answer said, in part, “You very well might somehow have this magickal friend. At this time there is no test that will give you a definite ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’”

And that is exactly the point I am making.

For the vast majority of religious people, they are sure they are of faith not because of a verifiable, external test, but, ultimately, because their perception is their reality.

Where this can lead (and has led) is obvious, with people switching back and forth between belief systems by the day or hour, with others living as “closeted believers” with others claiming diffuse faiths in many contradictory things at the same time (horoscopes, bearded men in the sky, acupuncture), with others choosing not to identify as any belief, and still others not identifying as fully human – all because of deep-seated perceptions.

Is it really so hateful, then, to suggest that we invest more time and psychiatric resources and brain scans to understand why some people, even beginning as little children, believe they were created by a fictional being?

Is it really so atheist to say that the very best solution is to help people find wholeness from the inside out?

Whenever I address these subjects in a scientific setting, I urge those attending to welcome everyone who visits with patience and sympathy, be it a bearded Wahabi muslim chanting in gibberish, to all outward appearances, a Catholic priest wearing a dress.

And I call them to study the pathology of delusion, and respond with wisdom, power, and grace to have answers for those who struggle, being sure that there is a better way than celebrating some kind of esoteric religious experiences, putting children in bible camp, then subjecting them to the radical act of baptism, only to have to visit churches every week the rest of their lives.

There must be a better way than this, and true love does not celebrate a person such as Pope Francis. Instead, respect for sanity and reason calls him Jorge Mario Bergoglio to find some semblance of sanity.

You can call me hateful and antireligious if you like, and you can ridicule me as uneducated and bigoted, but if we all agree that growing up and living with the perception that you’re trapped believing in an invisible sky god is painful and difficult, then let’s join together and find psychiatry’s best way to make you rational again.

Today, we look back at old religious and shamanic practices with shock, amazed at what was considered “normal” and “rational” back then.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, we will look back at today’s “acceptance” of functionally delusional people, sending them to bible classes or Madrasahs in an altar boys dress, inundating them in religious scripture and then going through repetitive, weekly and extremely monotonous rituals of religious affirmation for life—as utterly primitive and outmoded.

Perhaps we will find a better way.

Is it really “atheist” to hope and work towards this goal?


In case you don’t get it, this is a sarcastic article in response to this little gem.

  • Giulio Prisco

    Interesting post K. You know my answers to most of that.

    First, the being in the sky has nothing whatsoever to do with the attitude that you denounce:

    “My God is not interested in the petty details of our daily life, as long as we act with love and compassion. My God has no interest in what you do with our genitals, or with whom, as long as you act with compassion and love. My God has no interest in what and when I eat, or drink, or smoke, or inhale, as long as I act with love and compassion. My God has no preference for one or another nation, religion, ethnic group, gender, or sport team. My God is very, very, very far above these things.”
    http://turingchurch.com/2014/04/08/cosmology-is-not-geography/

    Second, the being in the sky is someone we will meet out there among the stars. If we don’t meet him, we will build him, or become him. That being (or beings) is/are emerging from the community of advanced forms of life and civilizations in the universe, and able to influence space-time events anywhere, anytime, including here and now. I also believe he/we/they elevate love and compassion to the status of fundamental forces, key drivers for the evolution of the universe.

    I share your conviction that those who like to oppress others for “victimless crimes” that don’t harm anyone else need mental help. But that has nothing to do with that being in the sky, just like the – perhaps stupid – zoning laws in your little town have nothing to do with cosmology.

    • Greg Tingey

      In other words, you are a conventional religious believer – are you associated with “Zero State” I wonder – there’s a regular correspondent on a blog I read a lot, who repeats this unproveable & untestable mantra.
      Since your propositions are unproveable & untestable, they are in the realm of pure speculation.
      And I was trained as an engineer, oops.

      • Giulio Prisco

        I am familiar with Zero State and mostly sympathize with their positions, but I am not an associate or a regular participant.

        Re “Since your propositions are unproveable & untestable, they are in the realm of pure speculation”
        Right. So what?

        Also, unproveable & untestable at this moment doesn’t mean unproveable & untestable in-principle, or unproveable & untestable forever.

  • You know I am an atheist. You know I have lost most interest in religion. You know I agree with you in most you say.

    This article was intended ONLY to showcase the extreme cognitive dissonance exhibited in the original article. The man doesn’t have a clue. My only interest in this case is to drag that inconsistency kicking and screaming in front of the crowd.

    • Giulio Prisco

      I understand, but you shouldn’t blame metaphysics for oppression and intolerance. Blame intolerant assholes instead. Books don’t harm people, people do.

      • Greg Tingey

        Sure about that?
        Mein Kampf
        The Communist Manifesto
        The “bible” especially the OT
        The koran & the hadiths.

        Wir war nur unserer Befehlen zu folgen”

    • spud100

      I am not big on religion, since religion can be anything as you wish to describe it. On the other hand, Ideology has been called a faith movement. For the Christians, I supposed, it would be Mark 1:26 in which Jesus is said to “descend from the clouds.” Should there be a time limit on when J comes back to earth? Many of the Uma, (Islam) say that they see Allah’s work, become manifest in signs about us. Very view have any doubt, seemingly. Hindus and Buddhists seem not to see the world as win-lose or pass-fail, so no test.

      Now let me ask YOU. What kind of test would you see as proving atheism wrong?? If we encountered an alien who claimed to be God, would you disbelieve? Why? “Because I just don’t believe in a god!” Aha! A faith movement.!!

      • Giulio Prisco

        Note that New Atheist commander in chief Richard Dawkins said “It’s highly plausible that in the universe there are God-like creatures,” he says.

        In his book, “The God Delusion,” he wrote: “Whether we ever get to know them or not, there are very probably alien civilizations that are superhuman, to the point of being god-like in ways that exceed anything a theologian could possibly imagine. Their technical achievements would seem as supernatural to us as ours would seem to a Dark Age peasant transported to the twenty-first century.”

        See http://turingchurch.com/2012/02/26/richard-dawkins-i-cant-be-sure-god-does-not-exist/

        What should we call these super-advance God-like entities? Smug atheists would refuse to call them “Gods” and call them something else instead, but it’s really the same thing.

        In practical engineering, the operational definition of “infinite” is “very large.” Similarly, the practical definition of “Gods” is “very advanced entities.”

        • spud100

          Si, doctor Prisco,

          I have totally agreed with Dawkins conclusions regarding this. In fact, Skeptic magazine editor, Michael Shermer once joked, “Any sufficiently advanced alien. Is indistinguishable from God.” He called it Shermer’s Last Law as a copy of A.C. Clarke’s 3rd Law about technology and magic. Also, what if this super intelligence actually was the fellow who got things rolling for intelligence to arise on this planet? It wouldn’t be Exodus precisely, but if He did the work he deserves the credit!

          He, She, or It, would be a fascinating person to interview, if he exists, and would be great to get some advice on living and surviving. To the atheists I would add, there’s no need to be rude to it. If you think you can do better than this big Mind, then go right ahead.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Well said spud but I am afraid we can’t rely on Him for low-level, micro- advice on living and surviving. I don’t think such a Being could be interested in the petty details of our routine. He has only high-level advice to offer: love each other, love yourself, try to be happy, learn, build, come out here among the stars, meet / build / become Me.

          • spud100

            This view was held by America’s political founders, specifically, Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, and so on. This was called Deism, and it fits your previous descriptions of such a Being, exactly. Lincoln, 80 years later, was more of a Old Testament guy, who believed that the US, during its awful civil war, “must atone in blood for slavery.”

            More insanely, I toy with the idea of doing a deliberate search for ETI, with the question in mind of finding Richard Dawkin’s god-like intelligences and asking if one of them was our Creator, or if they happen to know the Fellow? “What’s HE like?” When I think of this foolishness I also ponder if one of these guys or Guy, was a Boltzmann Brain?

          • Giulio Prisco

            Yes, I think the Founders had the right approach to religion, and to many other things as well. It’s too bad that we stopped listening to them. Give me more Jefferson, more Franklin, and less Obama&Trump.

            Frank Tipler’s first book has a chapter dedicated to the Founders’ Deism. Deism may seem too impersonal, but the Cosmist concept of naturally evolved Gods derives Theism from Deism.

            Yes, we should talk to them. I guess spacetime is filled by their chatter, which we are still unable to detect.

          • spud100

            Yes, Guilio, the US founders seemed to not see an interventionist God, and Tipler points this out. Between, Trump and Obama, I see Trump as far less ideological than, Obama. Trump loves striking back, despite his own obnoxiousness, at the US establishment-this is refreshing!

            http://ericsteinhart.com/abstracts.html

            Your Cosmist views are endorsed by Steinhart. Note, his papers on rational polytheism, and the theological implications of being in a simulation. Steinhart was a computer science worker, before he went back to school to be a philosopher., and it shows!

          • Giulio Prisco

            I have strong reservations about Obama, but I still prefer him to Trump. Actually, Trump is one of the few persons who could persuade me to vote for a Democrat in 2016.

            I strongly criticize the excesses of contemporary “liberalism,” which in my opinion has became a sad, pathetic (and dangerous, too) caricature of its former self, but I believe in basic concepts of human kindness and solidarity.

            Back to the Founders’ religion, Tipler observes that their Deism faded out, probably because it’s too cold, distant and impersonal for most people. Deriving “Theism from Deism” – reconciling Deism with the possibility of a personal God who cares, is exactly what I’m trying to do here.

            Re Eric – super cool, but still I’m not going to spend 100 bucks for a book. I have a family to support.

          • spud100

            Trump handled the newsies, last night, quite well. He did a news conference in Wisconsin last night (I think in wisconsin) and gave blunt, direct, answers. Both Trump and Obama are vindictive, but of the two, Trump is non ideological. Trump understands the art of negotiation. But he understands which team he is on, and how human behavior really is, and not idealized slogans. Moreover, should Putin roll his tanks west, count on Obama to do the least amount possible, to repel Russian troops, while Trump, knows how to deal with tough guys-which is why he hits back and is so obnoxious. As Patton said of Rommel (paraphrasing) “Trump, you magnificent bastard!”

            On Steinhart, Yes, after months of consideration, last year, I did buy his very expensive book last year, though one can download his papers for free, should they wish to. I concede that I personally am, by way of personal character flaws, desparate enough to be willing to purchase the book, and completely understand why most others are not. Its one reason I was trying to prod Dr. Goertzel, into elaborating on his March 9 article on consciousness and the universe. He may have nothing more to say on the topic, but I tried, at least.

            Getting back to the original topic, I am guessing that should some conceptual progress be made in Cosmism (I can’t attend the October meet up) it might bring an increased calmness to the world. I am not saying peace, but calm, which is maybe the best humanity can hope for in our epoch?

          • Giulio Prisco

            Spud, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on Trump.

            I think the conceptual progress to be made in Cosmism is to make it emotionally appealing for the masses (see my previous comment).

            I am afraid that we, introverted nerds out of touch with the real collective imagination, just don’t have what it takes to make Cosmism emotionally appealing to real people. Perhaps somebody reading this wants to help?

          • spud100

            Trump, as it now stands threatens his own class rule of the super rich who now own the world. As the man said, “It’s all ruled by donations, this is why Hilary Clinton was at my wedding 10 years ago (true!)” His presidential run is an offense against the elites and the smug loyalist newsies. It’s pleasant, but yes Madame Clinton will likely be president in 2016, so never fear.

            The Cosmism thing needs to be emotionally compelling, and because of this, it needs to be true, or logically possible. My view has never been hostile to the religious folk (although fanatics do enrage me!) so, this is why someone with a real brain needs to be working on this. Maybe your colleague, Dr. Goertzel, may come up with a schematic of how Cosmism could work well-so well, that even the traditionally, religious, select this philosophy? As for me, I am, as Shakespeare wrote of life-
            “A tale told by an idiot, but not well.” ;-)

          • Giulio Prisco

            Let’s leave Trump alone, shall we. I haven’t yet read much about the Republican candidates. Of course Rand won’t win the primaries because he is too Libertarian for right-wing Republicans, but I hear that Kasich isn’t that bad. However, let’s not discuss partisan politics here.

            See my conversation with Ben The Turing Church and Open Source Religion: Ben Goertzel Interviews Giulio Prisco:
            http://turingchurch.com/2015/01/02/the-turing-church-and-open-source-religion-ben-goertzel-interviews-giulio-prisco/

            We discuss exactly “how Cosmism could work well-so well, that even the traditionally, religious, select this philosophy?”

            We use an analogy: the Linux kernel is the real thing, but Linux only started to become popular (slowly) after Ubuntu introduced a well-done user interface with a lot of fluff. What I am trying to do here is the kernel – I am only interested in that, and I have very little patience for fluff (sometimes I call that “geography and zoning norms).

            However, I realize that fluff and zoning norms is what most people want, and welcome efforts to add those (without losing compatibility with the kernel of course). Perhaps some or some other effort will be successful.

            (My) conclusion of the exchange with Ben: “Anyway, if we are John the Baptist waiting for Jesus, I don’t think Jesus will be a card-carrying transhumanist. He, or she or whatever, is more likely to come from a different path, and be much younger than us.”

          • spud100

            Goertzel wonders if Cosmism can ever be successfully promoted by small orgs, like TC, but he does think that it’s the coming thing in the 21st century-from your link. The draw, from an emotional appeal will be (my guess) that we humans some how matter, even though we know we don’t matter.

          • Giulio Prisco

            But we don’t know that. First, we most certainly matter to each other. Second, our descendants become Gods able to re-engineer space time and the fabric of reality, we matter on a cosmic scale. The problem is how to tell that story in an emotionally appealing way.

          • spud100

            Depending on the audience, since we are speaking about what stirs the blood, we can use Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, from 35 years ago (sometimes) sort of led the way in being compelling,

            From a Christian point of view, for example, one could sell the idea from the new testament, that our descendents would be the path for Jesus to do this. “Suffer the children to come unto.. “And a child shall lead them, etc..”

            My view, certainly annoying to yourself, is that I have said, we have to believe this first ourselves, that WE have to be convinced. This might be well-above what our capabilities, but I am trying to be logical in this view.

          • Giulio Prisco

            So we are unable to persuade others because we ourselves don’t really believe in our ideas?

            That’s a very interesting point, and I think you are mostly right.

            I, Ben and other contemporary Cosmists _don’t even say_ that we believe in our ideas. We say, instead, that we find our ideas “plausible” or something like that. This isn’t likely to convert anyone.

            Effete intellectuals don’t start revolutions. Passionate activists do.

            How can we believe more passionately in our ideas? Of course, hard evidence of super-advanced intelligences out there among the stars, or of the feasibility of Quantum Archaeology, would help – but we have no hard evidence yet, so we must find softer ways of self-persuasion.

            Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is still awesome and inspiring, but not in a religious sense. I find Cosmos inspiring in a religious sense, and I think you also do, but we are just a handful of nerds, not enough and not passionate enough to start a revolution.

            We need to do some translation work – formulate our ideas in ways that passionate prophets can understand and embrace. Then, they will take over.

          • spud100

            Ha! I hardly qualify as an “effete intellectual,” not with my poor math skills. However, if you are familiar with the American TV show, Mad Men, you will know that the show was about life in an advertising agency (plus a soap opera) during the 1950’s to the early 1970’s. The purpose for the business of advertising is salesmanship, promotion, propaganda.

            Nerds are passionate, which is the definition of nerds, the passion behind the hobby, be it Star Wars dress ups, or, in the US, painting your upper body in Team Colors for football games (U.S.). I would say that we have the passion, but we fail in the message. You, as a native Italian, coming from, your heritage politically, will find this as anathema, but I wonder if we could get the Papacy to endorse Cosmism-Digital Philosophy, as a basis for Christianity? If we are good enough in this endeavor, Cosmism-Constitutionalism has one thing to offer the Church, the Means to the Goal of Heaven, Guilio, The Word made Flesh. Who’s word? The New Testament, of course, and yours, and Goertzel’s.

            We need to sell the reason, the causality, to sell the passion.

          • Giulio Prisco

            I would not be against “the Papacy to endorse Cosmism-Digital Philosophy, as a basis for Christianity,” but they will never do that.

            It would be like Microsoft endorsing iOS as a basis for Windows phones.

            Don’t forget that organized religion (just like organized politics and organized everything) is all about power, not about what is right or good.

          • spud100

            I agree completely. But as you already know, and as I get reminded daily, with US politics., there is a “what’s in it for me,” factor in these transactions?

            So, given this premise, what’s in it for the Church? One, is that given the workability of Cosmism-Transhumanism-Virtualism-Digitalism, it would grant an air of intellectual respectability to the reasoning behind some of their dogma, and not just a leap of faith. “Heaven exists as we have promised for 21 centuries, here is how it works, here is how you get there.” This is what they get.

            What do we get? Well, it would become something that all people would involve in conversations. All of a sudden, via true plausibility, it become real, as G. Prisco has long claimed, even if it takes many thousands of years to reach this point. To get there, we as a species must do better, and work together to grant our children and our ancestors, and ourselves, one thing, hope, real hope.

            Using religion as well as non-religious targeting, we can mainstream this philosophy, a philosophy for all, because it’ has the ultimate reward. This is one reason for my obsession.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Hi Spud – I agree that the Church (specifically the Roman Catholic Church) might embrace some of our ideas someday, but in centuries, not years. Don’t forget that the same Church has waited centuries to “rehabilitate” Galileo (and still hasn’t honestly admitted and apologized for its crimes of those times).

            So if history is any guide (and it usually is) the Church will only embrace our ideas when almost everyone does. In the meantime, they will continue to do as a company that continues to sell obsolete products and services because its customers are still buying them, and lobby to kill newcomers with better products/services.

            That is a perfectly sound business strategy, and there are no reasons to abandon it as long as the customers continue to buy.

            Therefore I place more hopes in the emergence of alternative religions that might become popular.

            Are you familiar with the Christian Transhumanist Association?
            http://www.christiantranshumanism.org/

          • spud100

            I ma familiar now Guilio, with the CTA. Interesting. To accomplish the marketing of Transhumanist philosophy, successfully, I feel, that we need a better quality, product ;-).

            The product would be the idea of a scientifically, plausible, attainable, afterlife. We both know that you and I have waltzed about with this idea for quite a while, and I respect your ideas and feelings and judgement, regarding all this. Yet, to my sense of how humanity thinks and behaves, we will require a truly, decent product. The guys who have come closest to this goal, are of course, Tipler and Moravec. I would include Steinhart to this, duo, and make it a trio.

            To create such a product is far above my intellectual pay grade. But I am guessing that some big brain like maybe Goertzel, or somebody else, may have the intellect to view all that as a challenge. To attain the faith, we as nerds, need the passion, to attain the passion, we as Transhumanists, need rational reasons. Cause and effect, etc.

          • Giulio Prisco

            If by “product” you mean hard scientific evidence of the feasibility of our ideas, of course that would be great, but we might have to wait.

            A lab demonstration of the feasibility of quantum archaeology, or interaction between different universes (other times are special cases or other universes), or time scanning – or a message from aliens claiming that they can do all that – would be awesome, but such a “product” may arrive next week or in thousands of years – we just don’t know.

            Tipler and Moravec don’t offer proof, just (very) well written arguments. Same for Ben and Eric.

            Perhaps the missing ingredient is optimism.

            We say that the Big Questions – God, the afterlife, etc. are engineering problems. That should be accompanied by a can-do optimism – like we had in the 60s and the 90s – that big engineering problems can be solved. We as a society have lost that can-do optimism, perhaps we should recover it first.

          • spud100

            Aha! Recovering optimism is the harder task, I suspect. I know that I am discussing this with a Phd. physicist so my arguments are sadly, weak. But I do my best, as feeble as this is.

            I am guessing, without confidently knowing, that Sir James Jeans was correct, in 1929, when he first wrote, “The universe seems more like a Great Thought, than a Great Machine.” Eighty- Five years later, the good, professor Jeans, may have been exactly, correct, in the sense that its a great thought perhaps running on a great machine? To this I would add this guy to my list of ‘hopefuls’ on this, our big collective, project, “Transhumanism, the Universe, and maybe a few more things.”

            http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11497/1/R.a.Zahedi-OnDiscretePhysics-Jan.2015.pdf

            It appears that he may be a philosopher, like that Steinhart fellow, I keep peddling. I now look at it all this way, philosophers and engineers, tread, where physicists dare not go! A peer review in physics, this would not pass, yet we need something that in some fashion, seems truthful.

            I hold that the universe, is a Great Program, which yields, a reality, not necessarily, a simulation, which may be used for science and entertainment. It may be some kind of statistical mechanical analysis, for all we know? Your optimism idea is surely, correct, however, I would add that this optimism needs a boost.

          • Giulio Prisco

            When I was 12 or 13, I found a copy of Sir James’ Jeans “Mysterious Universe” in my grandfather’s bookshelf. The book had a huge impact on me.

            I consider it trivially true that the universe is a computation, running on hardware chips that we call particles and quantum fields, and software programs that we call physical laws.

            The interesting question is if there are thinking and feeling entities at the keyboard on the other side of the screen, and if we can find ways to talk to them.

            Perhaps they make backup copies of the sentient life forms that emerge in the computation?

            Thanks for the paper, it’s very interesting.

          • Greg Tingey

            “What’s in it for the church?”
            The same thing the church always wants.
            Power
            The ability to control & blackmail people.
            Nothing new there, at all.

          • spud100

            Greg, for certain, they want power, we all want power. I think you are hitting, (I am guessing) on emotional coersion, being, “if you do not do as we say, you shall burn in hell.” All want power, some for fair reasons, others for foul, others for retaliation. This is the human, primate, mind, going on. I personally accept this behavior as the dues we all pay, or the costs of doing business. In this discourse, I am looking for a Return On Investment, (ROI) in attempting to promote transhumanist ideas as the way forward. But all this is a transaction, for sure. The transaction is we, the transhumanists, futurists, geeks, and nerds, could offer a scientifically, plasusible, scenario, for an afterlife, being some sort of computational, VR, scenario, and the fellows in the robes, receive a reason to have faith.

            Such a post mortem, VR based existence (my best guess) would logically be good enough for atheists, agnostics, wiccans, and even Church of England. This could eventually turn human efforts into more of working together to gain such a goal. Working together for good goals, good outcomes, good stuff, seems not a poor idea to me.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Greg, nothing new here as you say, but in a sense wider than you think.

            Churches want power. Governments want power. Political parties want power. Corporations want power. Groups with a defined us-vs-them identity want power, without exceptions. And when they have power, they use it to oppress “them.” It’s just in the nature of power to seek more and more power.

            That doesn’t mean that religious beliefs, political ideologies, commercial firms and identity groups are bad. It just means that the power to oppress others is bad.

          • Greg Tingey

            Sorry, but, as I & others have pointed out to Dirk, in another place, this is just millenarial christainity dressed up in a new suit.
            And it’s still utter cobblers – we think – & will continue to think unless & until there is evidence (that word again) to the contrary

          • Greg Tingey

            Seen from Euprope, Trump is a thoroughly obnoxious thing & it is to be hoped he gets the GOP’s nomination – I’m sure you can work out why that should be so?

          • spud100

            Good, Greg, a political comment. Seem from the US, Trump is also considered thoroughly obnoxious as well. What you do not see is that Trump, for egotistical reasons, is rebelling against his own class-elites, whom run both political parties in the US.

            Being a nice guy, judged from the Republican Front runners from the 2008, and 2012 US elections, cause a candidate to finish last. Trump is what Europeans would call a nationalist politician, This is what gives me a bit of hope for those who wish America to last as a nation-state, for a few more decades.

            If you don’t care to have Putin’s Armada-14 tanks parked at Jardin des Tuileries, you might want to cheer for The Donald? Nice hair piece, that!

          • Greg Tingey

            Putin is not & will never be a threat that far west.
            However, people in Tallinn ( & Vilius & Riga ) will & do justifiably regard him as a threat, ditto most of Ukraine. As for “Belarus” it is difficult to tell what is wanted, by anyone.
            Also, ask the Georgians – who do not love Mr P, for good reason

          • spud100

            My suspicion, is that Putin will be as weak or as strong as the Europeans let him. This is based on the study of anthropology and history. Also, my point was, that a weak-minded US, as in weak willed, will guarantee Putin seeking to expand territory. Putin requires external enemies to keep him in power (just like the old Soviets). A supine leadership in the US will ensure that unbelievably, to most, war will return to Europe, like something out of the 19th century, minus the cavalry charges and sounding of horns. He may accomplish this through low intensity war fare, say, using ISIS, plus desperate migrants as his pawns. Why not? Politics makes strange bedfellows, and its the effect he is going for, the goals.

          • Greg Tingey

            Ah the sacred torch of “the founders’ religion”
            Oh dear, you have got it badly, haven’t you?
            Look the USA was founded, NOT as a refuge from British taxation, but to avoid the obviously-coming abolition of slavery, following the Mansfield decisions.
            Your so-called “civil war” was, in fact The Slaveowners’ Treasonous Rebellion – Part II.
            [ Pert one being the so-called Declartion of Independence, which preserved slaveowners’ rights for a few extra years.]
            Oh dearie, dearie me.

          • Greg Tingey

            Sorry, but what is often derided in the US as “liberalism” would be regarded as conservative or even Conservative here in England.
            Something has gorn seriousy worng with your Overton window over there …

          • spud100

            Here’s an article from Psychology Today, and it parallel’s religion, that we all could utilize. I would hope that transhumanists and singulatarians, would take note from this, and lead the way.

            https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-resilience/201509/sense-awe-and-life-purpose-increases-your-mental-health

        • Greg Tingey

          Utter rubbish sir, even in your own blog.
          Prof Dawkins is simply a simple, though very well-educated messenger.
          Shooting the messenger will not diminish the message.
          He is by no means ANY “commander in chief”

          • Giulio Prisco

            Greg, if you think this blog is rubbish, please feel free to leave. If you choose to stay instead, I would appreciate it if you could refrain from insults.

          • Greg Tingey

            Noted.
            As I said, it’s your blog.
            However, please do not do what many others do – assume Prof Dawkins is some sort of “leader” – he is in fact a very moderate & reasonable voice.
            Which is why, of course the believers in BSF get so annoyed, as they would much prefer a ranting communist.
            [ i.e. another form of religious believer: ]
            Perhaps I should explain – I came across as a result of a cross-link referring to the Hugo awards & was unsurprised to find Dirk over here as well …..

          • Giulio Prisco

            Good. Of course you are welcome here, and you are welcome to criticize what you disagree with, without insults.

            Re Dawkins, I know that he is a fundamentally reasonable voice. See http://turingchurch.com/2012/02/26/richard-dawkins-i-cant-be-sure-god-does-not-exist/

            My only issue with him is that he doesn’t distance himself enough from some followers who take extreme, aggressive, offensive, counter-productive, and very poorly argued positions.

  • Khannea, at a rational level, it’s simple: our probable future correlates with God’s probable present; faith in God is trust in our superintelligent potential, and skepticism about God is distrust in our potential. http://new-god-argument.com

    There are also cultural and esthetic and historical and social reasons why I use “God” to describe this, but I think you were mainly interested in the rational side of the matter.

    • Giulio Prisco

      LIncoln, I think K mostly agrees (or at least doesn’t strongly disagree) with our ideas, but she wrote this post because she is mad at society’s treatment of transexuals (see the end of the post).

      We (you and I) are not transexuals, but I think we and other persons not directly involved should bear in mind First They Came…
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_

    • Greg Tingey

      AT a rational level, BSF is non-existent

      • By the “rationality,” human potential is non-existent.

  • Also, at a practical level, I very much agree with Giulio: we should discover and join God to the extent they already exist, and we should create and become God to the extent they don’t yet.

    • Greg Tingey

      Since BSF ( “god” ) is totally undetectable, at any level, how are you going to “join god” eh?

      Time to quote Stratford Bill:
      it is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.

      • Greg, a flourishing future for humanity may be totally undetectable at any level, and yet some of us choose to believe. Is that idiocy? Well, we’ll only ever know for sure if the believers end up being right. Sometimes assessments of idiocy reveal more about ourselves than others.

  • Nupur Munshi

    Thanks Khannea. I express myself best through Tagore and would like to quote him yet again in this context.He said “I am able to love my God because He gives me freedom to deny Him”(Fireflies).Dr.Prisco’s God in Turing Church gives us a similar kind of freedom,freedom to be what we are.Infact,this freedom is well understood by all of us,God need have to say that I am giving it to you.Hence we are free to be “religious” and worship Him, be “atheist”and deny Him ,be creators and even build him.Because of this we are able to love our God and naturally everyone.The reason,perhaps, we are at war with one another because we are experiencing lack of freedom to express ourselves.

    • Giulio Prisco

      Nupur has always nice and thoughtful words! It’s certainly true that those who spend their time expressing themselves creatively have no time or inclination to oppress others – they have much better things to do.

      We will meet Gods, build Gods, and become Gods, and the Gods are present in the universe here and now in some sense that future physics will understand better and better, and (to go back to K’s point) I am sure they don’t have the slightest interest in what genitals we have and what we like to do with them. The will be – are – much above that, and we should begin to understand it.

  • Matthew C. Barrett

    I was outraged, until I saw the link at the end and realized what you were doing. Bravo!

  • Hi, Khannea Suntzu. If God does not exist, then nothing matters. Yet if God does exist, then everything matters.

    According to the known laws of physics, God does exist. But before getting to that matter, let me point out the logical implications of a position which maintains that God does not exist.

    If God does not exist, then immortality is logically impossible, as any form of immortality necessarily entails the existence of the capital-G God, in the sense of an omniscient, omnipotent and personal being with infinite computational resources. This is mathematically unavoidable, for the reason that any finite state will eventually undergo the Eternal Return per the Quantum Recurrence Theorem. This is very easy to see by considering the simple example of two bits, which have only four possible states (i.e., 2^2): hence, once these four states have been exhausted, states will have to recur. What that means is that any finite state can only have a finite number of experiences (i.e., different states), because any finite state will eventually start to repeat.

    Thus, immortality is logically inseparable from the existence of the capital-G God, since mathematically, immortality requires the existence of either an infinite computational state or a finite state which diverges to an infinite computational state (i.e., diverging to literal Godhead in all its fullness), thus allowing for states to never repeat and hence an infinite number of experiences.

    Yet the only thing that could give existence and life meaning is immortality, since less than full immortality would mean than living beings’ consciousnesses eventually come to an end.

    As well, with the growth of mental resources, it would make the death all the more tragic. Just as the death of a human is far more tragic than the death of an amoeba, the death of a superhuman intelligence would be all the worse. For then what is dying is greater in amount: more memories, more feelings, more intellect.

    Hence, if literal immortality does not exist, then it would be better that we die in the womb, and if not then than the sooner the better: for every day that we go on, new experiences and memories are added which will all come to naught–which will all be snuffed out. Better that a living thing die as bacteria than it die as a sapient intelligence were it not to be immortal: all the more given that the more primitive an intelligence, the less ability it would have to contemplate its fate.

    So also, it wouldn’t then matter if one were a serial-killer or a mass-murderer as opposed to a paragon of kindness, as in the end it would all equate to the same thing: eternal death. All life and anything anyone had worked for would all come to naught.

    Thus, the only thing that could give existence and life meaning is if God exists, since then an infinite computational state would exist, allowing for finite states to never repeat as they diverge toward greater complexity, and hence allowing an infinite number of experiences. Only then could life and consciousness, instead of coming to naught, be able to grow and progress endlessly.

    Physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology, which has been published and extensively peer-reviewed in leading physics journals, is a proof (i.e., mathematical theorem) demonstrating that sapient life (in the form of, e.g., immortal superintelligent human-mind computer-uploads and artificial intelligences) is required by the known laws of physics (viz., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics) to take control over all matter in the universe, for said life to eventually force the collapse of the universe, and for the computational resources of the universe (in terms of both processor speed and memory space) to diverge to infinity as the universe collapses into a final singularity, termed the Omega Point. Said Omega Point cosmology is also an intrinsic component of the Feynman-DeWitt-Weinberg quantum gravity/Standard Model Theory of Everything (TOE) correctly describing and unifying all the forces in physics, of which TOE is itself mathematically forced by the aforesaid known physical laws.

    The Omega Point final singularity has all the unique properties (quiddities) claimed for God in the traditional religions. For much more on Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology and the details on how it uniquely conforms to, and precisely matches, the cosmology described in the New Testament, see my following article, which also addresses the societal implications of the Omega Point cosmology:

    * James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Sept. 10, 2012 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011), 186 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708, https://archive.org/download/ThePhysicsOfGodAndTheQuantumGravityTheoryOfEverything/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf , http://sites.google.com/site/physicotheism/home/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf .

    Additionally, in the below resource are different sections which contain some helpful notes and commentary by me pertaining to multimedia wherein Prof. Tipler explains the Omega Point cosmology and the Feynman-DeWitt-Weinberg quantum gravity/Standard Model TOE.

    * James Redford, “Video of Profs. Frank Tipler and Lawrence Krauss’s Debate at Caltech: Can Physics Prove God and Christianity?”, alt.sci.astro, Message-ID: jghev8tcbv02b6vn3uiq8jmelp7jijluqk[at sign]4ax[period]com , July 30, 2013, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.sci.astro/KQWt4KcpMVo , http://archive.is/a04w9 .

    • Giulio Prisco

      Thanks for sharing James. My opinion of Frank Tipler’s work after “The Physics of Immortality” is a bit less enthusiastic than yours. See for example:
      http://turingchurch.com/2014/04/08/cosmology-is-not-geography/
      http://giulioprisco.blogspot.com/2008/12/review-of-physics-of-christianity-by.html

      I remain an enthusiastic admirer of Frank’s first book “The Physics of Immortality” and scientific papers. See:
      http://turingchurch.com/2012/01/20/frank-tiplers-talk-at-the-turing-church-online-workshop-2/

      I wouldn’t go as far as calling Frank’s Omega Point Cosmology “a proof” that “sapient life (in the form of, e.g., immortal superintelligent
      human-mind computer-uploads and artificial intelligences) is required by
      the known laws of physics,” not in the mathematical sense of proof. But it certainly offers suggestive evidence thereof.

      • Hi, Giulio Prisco. I am aware of all your publicly-available writings on physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler, just as I am aware of pretty much everyone’s publicly-available writings on him. At least those writings which use Latin characters for his name (i.e., writings which do not transliterate his name into non-Latin characters).

        Your closing paragraph above is unfortunate. I am sorry that you would not go so far.

        The only reason I go so far in reference to Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology is because it is mathematically unavoidable per the Second Law of Thermodynamics, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics. These three known laws of physics have been confirmed by every experiment conducted to date.

        Regarding the “Christian mythology” and “provincial geography” of it which you wrote about: you are *so* not understanding reality.

        Look, let me put it to you this way. Existence itself is a living, sapient being. Which is to say, we exist within that Person’s body. Quite literally. That is not a metaphor or some poetic license.

        We exist within the Ultimate Person’s body. Really. That’s neither allegory nor simile.

        This Ultimate Person incarnates to us in many ways in order to ensure He/She/It can exist in the first place. Because existence wants to exist. Which is to say He/She/It wants to exist. And He/She/It always gets His/Her/Its way in the end (within the bounds of logic, which is why any pain whatsoever exists in the first place).

        And so He/She/It is intrinsically Good, and cannot help but being so, because all that He/She/It wants is Its own ultimate pleasure, which means that He/She/It wishes to minimize pain/displeasure. Because everything is just It, and so any pain must be experienced by It. Which is why It is intrinsically Good, and cannot avoid being so. So It wishes to minimize pain and maximize pleasure, for Its own good.

        Any pain in existence is simply something that could not logically be avoided, when considered from the totality of existence, sub specie aeternitatis.

        Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology (which, again, is mathematically forced by the known laws of physics, of which have been confirmed by every experiment) has shown that the Cosmological Singularity intrinsically consists of a triune structure: the Big Bang singularity, the Multiversal singularity, and the Omega Point singularity–which are actually three distinct aspects of the same Singularity.

        Tipler has also shown how it is possible for the Singularity to Incarnate as a Person in order to save the world (i.e., in order to save Itself).

        Tipler has not claimed to have *proven* that a Person did indeed Incarnate, but rather that it is perfectly allowed according to the aforesaid known laws of physics. Tipler has proposed tests on particular relics which, if the relics are genuine, could verify whether a Person did indeed Incarnate. What the blood of these relics so far shows is that a genetically intersexed Person of parthenogenetic birth once strode across this wretched Earth of ours and was slaughtered. As well, Tipler also provides the explanation for the high-energy event which happened to this Person’s death-rags, which to this high-technology date no one has been able to reproduce.

        This “mytholog[ical]” Christic event is not mythological, per the evidence available at this time. Nor is it “provincial”, since I reckon this Christological event would happen on every sapient species’ planet in the universe, each in their own cultural way but with the transcendent Personage of Christ drawing them against their own cultures and toward the true transcendent culture of eternal truth. Because really it’s just the Ultimate Body contorting Itself in a manner which allows It to exist in the first place.

        In other words, the Ultimate Future determines the Ultimate Past.

        For the details on all of this, see my following articles:

        * James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Sept. 10, 2012 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011), 186 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708, https://archive.org/download/ThePhysicsOfGodAndTheQuantumGravityTheoryOfEverything/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf , http://sites.google.com/site/physicotheism/home/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf .

        * James Redford, “Video of Profs. Frank Tipler and Lawrence Krauss’s Debate at Caltech: Can Physics Prove God and Christianity?”, alt.sci.astro, Message-ID: jghev8tcbv02b6vn3uiq8jmelp7jijluqk[at sign]4ax[period]com , July 30, 2013, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.sci.astro/KQWt4KcpMVo , http://archive.is/a04w9 .

        * * * * *

        By the way, Mr. Prisco, I do very much thank you for your work in regards to transhumanism. Also, I thank you for your interview of Prof. Tipler. I hope I don’t come off as too sharp in the above; it’s just that I don’t wish to waste time and space but rather get straight to the point. Please don’t think that I hold any ill-regard toward you.

        • Giulio Prisco

          Hi James, same here. I find your ideas, and the latest explicitly Christian formulation of Frank Tipler’s ideas, a very intriguing superset of mine.

          However, at this moment I am more interested in developing a subset – a minimalist and open-ended “Turing Church kernel” that can stand alone but also be taken as a starting point for “geographical” extensions.
          http://turingchurch.com/org/

          I have used terms like “provincial” and “petty” for what I call “geography,” which is unfortunate because it sounds like a put down. But it isn’t meant as a put down, it’s just meant to emphasize that geography isn’t what I focus on. I will try to avoid using terms that sound like a put down.

          I fully realize that most people are more interested in geography than cosmology, and that geography is more directly related to the emotional appeal of religion. So, let 1000 places bloom!

          • Thanks, Giulio Prisco.

            What matters is the actual reality of people’s actions and inner-life, not what terms people call themselves. However, it is better for people to know than to not know, that way they can make informed choices–choices which potentially affect them after their technological resurrection.

            I understand that Christ is culture-bound in the sense that incarnating as a human meant that some specific human culture in particular had to be selected. But Christ calls us to transcend our human cultures.

            Your work has the merit of helping to educate people on the coming radically-transformative technologies.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Thanks James.

            One of the reasons why I am reluctant to give higher priority to one specific culture-bound religion is that I have the impression that, if you strip away the culture, politics, and language of their place and time, the prophets of traditional religions (Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha, etc.) said essentially the same things.

            It’s the common core that I focus on.

          • Greg Tingey

            Oh dear, you really are deluded – & yes it’s your blog but.
            Seriously, the teachings of Yeshua bar Joseph, Mahomet & the Gautama are mutually incompatible, even without subsidiary literature, such as the hadiths of islamic custom, or xtian theology & practice.

          • Hi, Giulio Prisco. Muhammad and Buddha cannot resurrect themselves from death, whereas the Messiah can.

            Medieval Christianity correctly understood Islam to be a Christian heresy, since it is a syncretism between Judaism and Christianity. Islam, unlike Judaism, is a universalist religion; it recognizes Yeshua as the Messiah, but rejects that Yeshua was the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity; and it seeks to preserve the primitivism of the Torah laws. Further, Muhammad himself was a warlord who converted people to Islam by force.

            Few Jews contemplate the great extent that modern Judaism and Jewish culture have been Christianized. No one alive today actually believes in much of the Torah laws: Jews least of all. What makes most strains of Islam so objectionable to people who do not ascribe to them is the primitivism of its Torah-like religious laws combined with its universalism. If Jews still believed in the Torah laws and were universalists, then they would be every bit as objectionable, and for the same reason.

            Buddha appears to have been something of a nihilist.

            Which isn’t to say that there isn’t a common core among these religions/philosophies. It’s just that Christianity is objectively correct so far as can be rationally known, and to the extent that other religions/philosophies contradict it, to that extent they are incorrect.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Hi James, I prefer to do without the notion of “objectively correct.” As Bohr argued, physics can do without “objectively correct” theories and work with complementary views. I prefer to consider Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism, as complementary views of the same hidden reality.

            By the way, I am reading again your “The Physics of God and the Quantum GravityTheory of Everything.” You have done a great job to clarify some of Frank Tipler’s points, and provided much needed references missing from Frank’s papers.

        • Greg Tingey

          “Existence itself is a living, sapient being. Which is to say, we exist within that Person’s body. Quite literally. That is not a metaphor or some poetic license.”

          Oh do GROW UP!

          Your pathetic maunderings remind me of believers in witchcraft or magic – oh, but you do, don’t you?
          Again – got any EVIDENCE for that?
          No, thought not.

          • Giulio Prisco

            Greg, are you able to have a calm discussion about interesting things without falling into insults like “pathetic maunderings” and similar? Frankly, your debating style seems dominated by strong emotional issues, and therefore I find it difficult to take you seriously.

          • Greg Tingey

            Replying here to this & a similar reply.

            I get SO BLOODY TIRED of the same meaningless platitudes, put about, with no supporting evidence by those who have been gulled into accepting that BSF exists, when there is no supporting evidence whatsoever.

            Result, I get a little “testy”.

            So, try this set of testable propositions, please.

            [ This is the preamble to a long essay, actually.

            If you can show that any of these propositions is false, I would be most interested. ]

            Unreasoning
            belief, and the believers.

            The believers, in all the
            monotheistic religions, and even that religion-without-a-god, communism, seem
            to have common characteristics, as do those religions.

            All those characteristics seem to
            suggest that religion is a very bad idea, and that religions, and especially
            their believers, will do certain unpleasant things.

            In order to combat this pernicious
            mind-rot, I am proposing some falsifiable tests for religions, and some
            suggestions as to what rational people should do about it.

            A set
            of testable Propositions

            1. No
            “god” is detectable

            2. All religions are blackmail, and are based on
            fear and superstition.

            3. All religions have been made by men.

            4. Prayer has no effect on third parties.

            5. All religions kill, or enslave, or torture.

            What
            do those religions (including Marxism) actually DO?

            How
            are they structured?

            Never
            mind what they claim – what are their real, testable parameters?

            For
            example, Marxist governments murdered millions in the name of their patent
            version of Marx’s holy truth – which was wrong, because the revolution was
            going to come to the most developed countries first – which was completely wrong …… Which sounds like a religion in its
            operating parameters to me.

            From these
            propositions, certain corollaries, additions and comments arise.

            [ And I’m going to stop there, for now. ]

          • Giulio Prisco

            Thanks Greg for stating your point without insults.

            “1. No “god” is detectable”
            Wrong logic. “No ‘god’ has been detected so far” would be correct, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (logic 101).

            “2. All religions are blackmail, and are based on fear and superstition.”
            Wrong. Think of Unitarian Universalism, Buddhism, or of the religion that I am proposing here.

            “3. All religions have been made by men.”
            Agree.

            “4. Prayer has no effect on third parties.”
            Same as 1.

            “5. All religions kill, or enslave, or torture.”
            Same as 2.

          • Greg Tingey

            1: Oh do come on!
            A BSF is proposed to exist.
            Is there any evidence at all for its’ existence?
            No
            Why should religion get a free pass & the opposite standards of proof from everything else?
            None whatsoever.
            Produce some evidence for your claim, or shut up, is the usual response for any proposal of this sort.
            I am simply following this line.
            Please give reasons & logic for doing it differently in this special case – & it had better be good.
            2
            Correct
            When bhuddism goes bad, it goes really bad – think Burma/Myanmar or Japanese bhuddism – “You can kill them with impunity, because they will come back better, next time, on the next turn of the wheel”
            4. No
            Separate testing required.
            Which has been done, actually … & no, it doesn’t work – what a surprise that was (not)
            5. Probably.
            I was thinking of the physical, as opposed to the emotional/theoretical effects.

          • Giulio Prisco

            OK, let’s just agree to disagree. I won’t be able to persuade you, and you won’t be able to persuade me. In such cases, I think the best one can do is to accept that others just have different opinions.

          • Greg Tingey

            Really?
            One thing is very noticeable.

            The BSF is always “just out of reach” in a very convenient fashion.

            At the end of the Bronze Age ( Book of Judges/Samuel in the bible) BSF was just behind the clouds.

            By the time of Yeshua ben Joseph, “he” was a little further away – above the sky itself, maybe.

            By the time Of Dante “he” was living in the Empyrean, behind the “sphere of the fixed stars”

            Now, we can detect fom massless particles right up to the “ends” of the universe & still no BSF.
            Very odd that – almost as if it did not exist.
            Which is the logical conclusion.

            Oh, a recent US take on this, is also to be found here:

            http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/all-scientists-should-be-militant-atheists

          • Giulio Prisco

            You seem really obsessed, may I suggest gardening? They say it helps.

          • Greg Tingey

            Grrr …
            Do you know what an “allotment” is?
            I have a total of approx 10×45 metres under cultivation for food.

    • Greg Tingey

      ASSUMPTION based on no evidence.
      “If BSF exists, then things matter” – got any evidence for that statement?
      If BSF does not exist, then nothing matters” – got any evidence for that statement, either?
      No

      • Hi, Greg Tingey. You wrote,

        “”
        ASSUMPTION based on no evidence.
        “If BSF exists, then things matter” – got any evidence for that statement?
        If BSF does not exist, then nothing matters” – got any evidence for that statement, either?
        No
        “”

        You provide false quotes of me. I do not even know what “BSF” is, nor did I write what you attribute to me.

        However, I did say, “If God does not exist, then nothing matters. Yet if God does exist, then everything matters.”

        For the proof of that statement, see my originating post of this thread, wherein that statement is also contained. See also Sec. 8.1.1: “The Dysteleology of Life without God”, pp. 53 ff. of my following article:

        * James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Sept. 10, 2012 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011), 186 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708, https://archive.org/download/ThePhysicsOfGodAndTheQuantumGravityTheoryOfEverything/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf , https://jamesredford.github.io/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf .

        • Greg Tingey

          GROW UP
          Right: “BSF” is BigSkyFairy – OK?
          a.k.a. “gawd” or “allah” or any other imaginary but oh-so-surprisingly-totally-undetectable supposed being, who, as Human detection equipment & range gets better & better, mysteriously becomes harder & harder to find.

          SO, my stnace id that BSF, since undetectable might as well not exist, & for all practical purposed=s, does not exu=ist, unless & until you can show differently – OK?
          Meanwhile, some things do matter, in spite of BSF being non-existent.
          Oh & I was brough up christian, I came to atheism gradually, against my prejudices, because of evidence.
          And DO NOT try theological arguments, please – one: I’ve herd them all & two: theology is a subject with no content, for reasons that should be obvious, even to you

          • Giulio Prisco

            Greg, you are too emotional for your poor keyboard. Maybe it’s you who should grow up.

  • Greg Tingey

    Yes, it really is hateful to these deranged & sick people.
    They are mentally ill & should not be blamed or victimised as a result.

    But, if any form of BigSkyFairy actually exists, at all, anywhere or anywhen, then…
    Why & how is it that said BSF is totally undetectable by any means?
    We can detect from massless particles, photons, up through netrinoes, to the major components of atoms ( p, n, e ) to atoms & compounds & complex compounds, including organic ones to life, to this planet & others & stars, including Sol & on & out to distant supergalaxy clusters at the limits of space-time observation.
    No BSF anywhere in all that.
    And, very notably, the better our detection equipment gets the less of any BSF is found or seen.
    Funny, that.
    Conclusion, BSF is non-existent, unless & until detectability in a laboratory or court of law (or better still both) is hown.
    Please answer my question, believers?
    All I ever get is either angry shouting or the most amazing collection of lying wriggles & weaselling.

    • Giulio Prisco

      No angry shouting from me. Let’s just agree to disagree.

  • rationalobservations?

    Some more questions for any christians reading this:

    1) Can you refer to any extant 1st century originated evidence of the life and times of a messiah claimant later Greek scribes employed by the 4th century Romans named “Jesus”?

    2) Can you name a complete bible text that dates prior to the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus christer bible and matches any complete text within the oldest/first 4th century originated Codex Sinaiticus?

    3) Are you aware of and can you explain the almost endless differences between the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus bible and those many diverse and different versions of bibles that followed it? Can you explain why significant passages regarding the later inserted “resurrection” myth are missing from the oldest NT bible?

    4) Are you aware of, and can you explain; the confusion and internal contradiction, historical inaccuracies and scientific absurdity that is contained within and between all the diverse and different versions of christer bibles today?

    5) Can you explain the complete absence from Jewish literature and tradition of the Jewish messianic prophesies that the god-man “Jesus” is claimed to have fulfilled?

    6) Can you explain why “Jesus” (according to the legends within bibles) fails to meet the specification of messiah that actually exists within Jewish literature and tradition? The clincher being that the “true messiah” will be a mortal human king fathered by a human and in the direct paternal descendant line of “David” – NOT a god-man fathered by a god like all the Pharaohs, Roman emperors, Hercules/Herakles and thousands more god-men that predate the 4th century originated legends of “Jesus”.

    I hope you can provide evidence based answers to these questions and note that your opinion, the recycled opinions of others or reference to cut-n-pasteapparently human authored fiction from within any of the many diverse and different contemporary bibles, or the very first/oldest 4th century bibles – just doesn’t conform to the definition of “evidence”.

  • rationalobservations?

    The questions raised by Khannea Suntzu regarding the psychology of blind faith are interesting.

    .Over many years I have developed some questions for those in thrall to christian businesses myself:

    Why did the oldest/first christer bible (Codex Sinaiticus – written in the 4th century) omit all later added references to the pagan originated notion of gods and god-men returning to life after dying or being killed?

    If this particular god-man Romans named as “Jesus” actually lives – where is he hiding from everyone and why is he hiding?

    Here are some other questions for you, or any readers who remain in thrall to one of the cult or sect self serving businesses of christianity:

    1) Can you refer to any 1st century originated evidence of the life and times of a messiah claimant (only much later Greek scribes employed by the 4th century Romans) named “Jesus”?

    2) Can you name a complete bible text that dates prior to the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus christer bible and matches any complete text within the oldest/first 4th century originated Codex Sinaiticus?

    3) Are you aware of and can you explain the almost endless differences between the oldest/first 4th century Codex Sinaiticus bible and those many diverse and different versions of bibles that followed it?

    4) Can you explain the confusion and internal contradiction, historical inaccuracies and scientific absurdity that is contained within all the diverse and different versions of christer bibles today?

    5) Can you explain the complete absence from Jewish literature of the Jewish prophesies that the god-man “Jesus” is claimed to have fulfilled?

    6) Can you explain why “Jesus” (according to the legends within bibles) fails to meet the specification of messiah that actually exists within Jewish literature and tradition?

    I hope you can provide evidence based answers to these questions and note that your opinion, the recycled opinions of others or reference to cut-n-paste apparently human authored fiction from any of the many different old or contemporary bibles, or the very first/oldest 4th century bibles – just doesn’t conform to the definition of “evidence”.