Saturday, August 18, 2012

Schizophrenia and Religion

Further discussion on this topic and others...


  1. Pboy, a lot of those schizophrenics posting about their 'voices' were devout christians and the voices were giving them christian-dogma-related GUILT.

    Do psychologists notice this shit or do they dismiss it as 'societally normal' because of the widespread acceptance of christianity and religion as a universal good? I wonder...

    This relates to when I ran across my 'demon.' My direct perception (on salvia of course) of an 'informational virus' for the lack of a better word... a self-feeding loop, or a feedback loop, fed by my fear of it, trying almost with it's own sentience to 'take over' the whole show. Fear, guilt, the negative emotions, have a lot of power because of our conditioning.

  2. Guess Pliny may be the one to fill us in on that. Could be that it's just because there are many Christians in the 'west' and Christians are more likely to think that God will cure their demons, fucking retards, that God and demons comes up at all in their delusions. They do tell schizos to 'be sure to take your meds' though, which is decent of them I suppose. LOL

  3. I see an expression of christian-guilt-induced feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing culminating in a psychotic break. But that's just me.

  4. Strong emotions linked to fear, such as guilt and religious awe, can cause the 'primary ruling consciousness' of the brain to be forced to cede its dominance to a sub-mind that is made strong enough to accomplish this by the strength of the emotions resonating with it.
    The mind 'changes hands,' so to speak.

  5. Strong emotions linked to fear, such as guilt and religious awe, can cause the 'primary ruling consciousness' of the brain to be forced to cede its dominance to a sub-mind that is made strong enough to accomplish this by the strength of the emotions resonating with it.
    The mind 'changes hands,' so to speak.

    More Christian abdication of personal responsibility...

    or schizophrenia. Take your pick.

  6. Quite simply, what I'm saying is that the strong fear of evil is precisely what gives it real power over you, if you let it, if you're fearful enough; and ironically religion teaches people to be absolutely terrified of it.

  7. "How can any man accept as a revelation from God that which is unreasonable to him? God cannot make a revelation to another man for me. He must make it to me, and until he convinces my reason that it is true, I cannot receive it." Bob Ingersoll, arguably the greatest American who ever lived.

  8. What a time of ignorance and depravity we live in, those claiming to be the best among us, actually the worst, causing untold grief, willing to lie for their myths both recent and ancient, willing to lie to themselves and each other in the name of their petty prejudices, will they not be happy 'til the entire world is crying?

    Well, will they? Punk!

  9. Here's one by Ingersoll. Many Christians believe that the 'days' mentioned in teh Bible are 'ages'. What about the seventh day, when God 'rested'(yet needs no rest) and sanctified THAT day?

    What's the answer to this from these Christians? Sure the first to the sixth day were eons or ages or whatnot, but Moses switched to regular days when it came to the 'Sabbath' story?

    A witness in a court of law wouldn't be taken seriously if he made his case that a 'day' was a period of time, "For God, a day is like UNTO a thousand years...", then ignore the last day, which ended, we hear, when God visited his World, his garden, and found out(although HE is all knowing) that Adam and Eve had been naughty, not nice.

    At this point you have to be willfully ignorant, have the attitude that any old excuse will do, even no excuse, since you are so determined to believe the 'truth' of an old myth that sense itself makes no sense.

    All this so you, Mike, can practice controlling the flock's emotions, controlling their thoughts, right?

  10. "On 16 November 2006, two Jedi delivered a protest letter to UN officials in recognition of the International Day for Tolerance. They requested that it be renamed the "UN Interstellar Day of Tolerance" and cited the 2001 Census showing 390,000 Jedi in England and Wales."


  11. "In Scotland 14,052 people stated that Jedi was their current religion (14,014 "Jedi", 24 "Jedi Order" and 14 "Sith") and 2,733 stated that it was their religion of upbringing (2,682 "Jedi", 36 "Jedi Order" and 15 "The Dark Side") in the 2001 census."

    14 Sith, 15 'The Dark Side'.. fucking HILARIOUS! Bloody Scotsmen!

  12. Kilted tilters with no social filters....

  13. All this so you, Mike, can practice controlling the flock's emotions, controlling their thoughts, right?
    I can’t control anyone’s thought or emotions Ian…. I’m not the one who wrote the Book
    All I do is preach what is written therein . However God is interested in the thoughts of His creation as well as their emotions

  14. Do you ever consider the possibility, even a tiny sliver of a possibility, that you might be wrong, Mike? What then?

    I mean, we're imperfect human beings. We can always be wrong. Anybody that says otherwise is a victim of Pride, right?

    Compelling experiences like yours Mike, do not prove anything. Seriously. If you want one bad enough, then sometime you have some random thought and reflect on it and then expect 'something' to happen and get all awed over the idea of something happening, something will indeed happen, rest assured. Means nothing, or else I'd be able to offer it as proof of MY little pet theories, right?

  15. I’m not the one who wrote the Book
    A bunch of anonymous people wrote that book, Mike. Seriously. Even the four gospels were definitely NOT written by Matthew, Mark,, Luke and John. Look it up.

  16. Which version of the book is acceptable, Mike? Does it really need to contain all the mistranslations in the KJV? Is it okay to have those mistranslations in there to make the book more mysterious?

    If a person is reading through the book and Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is within, isn't that wrong, if it's 'really' telling us that the kingdom of heaven is in your midst?

    Shouldn't 'problems' such as the meaning of 'Shiloh' be cleared up so that readers can plainly see that they were talking about the city of Shiloh, and not left to the apologist's to finegle it to be a word meaning something prophetic?

    Don't give me that old, ".. the book says it, that settles it..", crap, there are thousands of versions of Christianity for that exact reason, the book being interpreted one way or another.

    If you feel that God is 'with you', 'guiding you' to preach well, that's fine I suppose, but what's the point? Everyone in front of you agrees with you, you're not telling them anything radical.

    Surely a 'good' sermon is one where your audience would say, 'If I had the 'gift' that is exactly what I would have said.'. Your audience certainly aren't there to hear that they're doing it all wrong, right?

    Try to imagine, if you can, an all powerful God, an all knowing God, an all seeing God, an all loving God. Now read the first few chapters of your book.

    God didn't make the world in the way that it's explained, this is obvious.

    God either planned the Fall of man, it was part of his plan, or, God is not all knowing and all seeing.

    Later on, we read about how God decided to drown out the majority of land beings and start again with one family. This was another part of God's unchanging plan?

    Basically, God cannot be all knowing and all seeing and all loving and be the God described in Genesis.

    Did God not know that man, like all the other large creatures which he made male and female both, would also need a female?

    Of course God knows everything, right? What's the point of the Eden shenannegins then?

    God didn't know about the serpent and didn't warn Adam and Eve about it. That's not 'all seeing'.

    God didn't realise Adam would want a female? That's not 'all seeing'.

    God put the tree in the midst of the garden. How could he not know that the serpent would tempt Eve? 'That's not all-seeing'.

    And it goes on and on, where God punishes Adam and Eve, which then turns out not to have been enough punishment, so then the flood, and on it goes.

    Is God trying to 'tell us' that HE isn't all-seeing, through this book? Did God know that punishing women wouldn't be enough, that punishing men wouldn't be enough, that drowning the majority of people wouldn't be enough?

    Why doesn't it seem to you that God made a huge mistake, that God, after seeing how good HIS job was, is, within days, now forced to punish, punish, punish!

    Seems to me that you guys are a bunch of sado-masochists, imagining yourselves saved only to imagine God punishing others.(perhaps with a little help from yourselves too!)

  17. This is how Mike will see that response Pboy:

    "Ugh.... many sentences disparaging my book... revert to blind belief STAT!"

  18. Mike, I know you tend to react to things like what pboy just said, but do you ever stop and look at it and ask yourself if it might have a basis in fact? Do you value facts, sir? Can you see that a fact can and does defeat a strong belief every single time? A fact is like a rock in your hand. Deny that there's a rock in your hand, Mike... go ahead, but know that it will look to us just as bad as that sounds.

  19. Mike, thanks for sharing an experience that you find illustrative of the power of prayer, though it seems as if it is missing today.

    I appreciate your openness about the incident.

    It’s hard to not make this next part sound like an indictment. It’s really not meant as one. But this incident is an excellent example of the void between those who believe as you do and many of the rest of us.

    To be frank, I found it to be one of the more disturbing things I’ve read in a while (written before the Todd Akin thing this morning...).

    In my estimation, after years of plastic reinforcement of your belief structure you were in a situation where you prayed for something you wanted. You wanted to share your thoughts with the group.

    Your friend gets up to speak but then exhibits classic signs of stage fright or at least an embarrassing loss for words. He looks at you, his friend, and hopes that you will come up and recover the situation.

    You do and in your mind a neuroplastic association is created between your prayer’s desire and your friends misfortune, a simple coincidence which you take as another example of the power of prayer, further reinforcing those associations.

    That is unfortunate, but the really disturbing thing is what it would mean if you were right. If you are right, your God had no problem choosing to make your friend suffer (nervously mouthing absent words like a landed fish) so that your prayer would be answered. Why not fill him with the knowledge that you had something important to say so that he could have said something like, “I’m going to sit down because I just know my friend Mike has something we need to hear.”

    That’s the second shoe dropping that never seems to happen. No analysis of the implications. To a nonchristian, this event is no example in support of a loving god. The most disturbing part is that if you can find an event where a friend’s suffering is an example of the positive power of prayer, what hope is there that misfortunes that might befall the rest of us would stir any empathy at all?

    Again I’m not trying to belittle your experience but just show how others might interpret the same data.

  20. B, pboy, I'm trying to dig some old articles out of my archives on this subject. There is some existing evidence that serotonin and dopamine levels in parts of the CNS seem to correlate with a continuum from skepticism - to religiosity - to frank schizophrenia with a strong genetic component.

  21. Ian said:

    Later on, we read about how God decided to drown out the majority of land beings and start again with one family.

    Omnipotent/Omniscient God FAIL. Drowning the world didn't fix anything.

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  23. What do they season preachers with, anyways?

  24. So Mike, it's "what rock in my hand?" then...

    Sure looks silly... we can still see it

  25. And Mike, it wasn't like you offered a revelation to the flock that day, is it? You admit that the message was pretty much the general message that most preachers consider 'boilerplate.' Basics. No new thing for them to consider.... wonder why god needed you to do *that?*

  26. B, pboy, I'm trying to dig some old articles out of my archives on this subject. There is some existing evidence that serotonin and dopamine levels in parts of the CNS seem to correlate with a continuum from skepticism - to religiosity - to frank schizophrenia with a strong genetic component.
    I'd be interested in that. It seems rather obvious, the connection I mean, but always good to see some science backing it up.

    Pliny, don't you think that there are a lot of studies that to me seem obvious, like looking for strong correlation between religiosity and insanity in general and so on, that even scientists don't want to touch? Due to the social pressure sure to come to bear against them the minute they publish?

  27. My friend the preacher is 76 years old and a seasoned preacher for over 30 years. He has never been at a lost (sic) for words...

    Ever heard of Alzheimer's Disease? Old folks deteriorate. The biological machine breaks down (including the brain), and it ultimately ends in death. Your preacher friend is not long for the world. That's life. It ends in deterioration and death.

  28. No you don't understand Ed, it's a miracle. God still does miracles just as long as only christians see them and they don't change anything in the world for the better.

  29. One thing is rather clear from Mike's previous admission that he doesn't want to be in this world, that he's only concerned with the next: That kind of christianity is an End-Of-The-World cult and should be abolished by those who DO care. Only problem is, they're also really, really good liars and have been working this scam for so long that it's ingrained in our society.

  30. Oh, sorry Mike, you're not one of the liars in your religion that I'm talking about. You're one of the ones that believes in them. Hope that makes you feel better.... but hey, why should I care about your feelings if all you care about is your own personal salvation and not the world that you and I both live in, right?

    (selfish much?)

  31. The ideal christian would be the one that cared more for total strangers, even atheist strangers, than he did about his personal salvation. The salvation can't be the goal or else you're being motivated by personal greed and not an honest desire to be good to others or even good in general. The idea is to be a good person and therefore be saved. Not to be a saved person and therefore be good. You've got it backwards, no?

  32. It's rather ironic that the path of Jesus Christ, the path of empathy, the 'narrow path,' is so difficult that most christians today can't even see that it exists at all. They say 'no, it can't be that; that's just what the unbelievers think it is...' Too funny. Their fear of death and nothingness clouds their minds to the Truth.

  33. I'm reminded of Fanman's moving plywood, ergo Jesus moment.

  34. I remember that!

    Ahh, the good old days....

  35. "Hugh Broughton, the most highly regarded English Hebraist of his time (but who had been excluded from the panel of translators because of his utterly uncongenial temperament), issued in 1611 a total condemnation of the new version, criticizing especially the translators' rejection of word-for-word equivalence and stated that "he would rather be torn in pieces by wild horses than that this abominable translation (KJV) should ever be foisted upon the English people"."

    Mike of course isn't feeling 'foisted upon' since he's a 'Mer'kan'. LOL

  36. So, funny story, the original text in the appropriate language is, of course, the most inspired. Every translation after that is 'meh inspiredish', but since the KJV stuck around 'til printing was cheap, by popular demand it is 'even more inspired', and to this day, that's what Mike and his pals will tell you!

  37. Hands up anyone who's been hearing about the new morals and values atheist movementists?

    I'm (ahem) caught right up in it! I've even found an ancient transcription which corroborates my 'new way'.

    It starts, "In the Beginning the Great Atheist created the heavens and the earth..", after that it goes on a bit, but it's faith-based atheism for me from now on.

    Seriously, what is wrong with these people? We have to have the 'correct' humanist attitude now?

    I think reality fell into a frickin' South Park episode while no-one was looking!

  38. Mike, read the Book of Job and ask yourself if you can really swallow this shit sandwich.

    If that complete nonsensical drivel is the divine truth for you, and if you feel that the 'world' is shitting on you, ask yourself, after reading and believing the 'truth' of Job, if it's not God testing you as he tested Job?

    I'm betting you'd rather blame 'teh atheists' for all your problems than blame your God!

    I'm betting that it's not that you don't believe that God will fuck you over, it's that you believe God put atheists on this planet for you to blame, you know, 'cos you couldn't stand blaming HIM! But it's telling you, right there in the Book of Job, inspired by the BIG GUY hisself, that he'll fuck you over even worse if you're one of the good guys, right?

  39. Hilarious! Emma comes in determined to sweep up, but Mozie's toys are all over. She's trying to pick them up but no, they're HIS TOYS!

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  41. B, I don't think scientists are skittish about studying religion, I just don't think many of those involved in neurophysiology research are particularly interested in the topic. To a neurophysiologist, religion is one of a hundred different expressions of the same basic principles at work. The processes are interesting, the specific expression less so.

    Implications to religion (ex: the apparent neurochemical associations amongst skepticism, religiocity, pharma induced delusions, and schizophrenia) are byproducts of the basic research not the purpose. But no one expects religious people to accept this discipline's data any more than they might accept the overwhelmimg evidence for evolution for example. Neurochemistry explains why it's a waste of time to do so.

    The closer the work gets to a the fundamental drivers of a particular behavior set, the less likely those affected will be to hear it.

    The deeper you get in this area of research the more reductionist you tend to become and at some point you stop arguing with people about what are essentially auto-reinforcing neurochemical feedback loops.

  42. Your people are rushing headlong into a clear choice!

    Choice no.1:= Choose to allow everyone to make their own choice.

    Choice no.2:- Choose to allow everone, by law, to make no choice!

    I dunno, I like Choice no.1, which continues to let others choose without breaking any laws. Now by this of course I mean civil laws, since it's up for grabs among Christians what the Christian God's LAWS ARE!

    Certainly it doesn't matter if all the atheists and Christians can agree to a civil law which coincidentally is considered one of their God's LAWS, same goes for any other religion, right Mike?

  43. Seriously, what is wrong with these people? We have to have the 'correct' humanist attitude now?
    Yes pboy you do. You have to be a humanisticly homogeneous Homo sapien.

  44. B, I don't think scientists are skittish about studying religion, I just don't think many of those involved in neurophysiology research are particularly interested in the topic.
    So what you're telling me is that even though it's plain that many if not most psychotics and schizophrenics are only like that because they fell prey to their own religious mindfuck, nobody's willing to write a paper on it? Why on earth not?

  45. What I'm saying is, if you study insanity, study insane people, you soon get to the part where religion is present in the mix of factors that caused their break with reality. So then, why wouldn't you study how much it's in the mix? It would be necessary to intentionally ignore it for some reason. Why would researchers do that? It's like studying anaphylactic reactions in people that were stung by bees and refusing to mention the bees!

  46. I think they are trying to work out all the fundamental processes first, then people can work on the implications of it all. I think a lot has been published but it doesn't affect anybodies thinking to any degree. People don't like the implications to how we perceive ourselves.

  47. People don't like the implications... well, isn't that too darn bad?

    So basically what I said about it holds. We're chickenshit to attack religion even if we can prove that *it* attacks human sanity itself.

  48. The brain-in-vat revisited. Imagine that you are a brain in a vat and that all your input is being controlled by evil scientists!

    For you, this is no different from the life you are living, as long as the scientists are consistent, give your 'world' a flow, you know, where you're not say typing in your comment here and suddenly a hundred cats appear in the room and you know that you know their names, that kind of thing.

    So the brain in vat thought experiment is a moot point, we're just dealing with the input from our senses as best we can anyways, right?

    As surely as we can say, "I think, therefore I know I am (a streaming consciousness)!", we can know that we're dealing with the appearance of(what it seems to be) that our senses are informing us of, our body in space, time being a given since 'streaming consciousness' implies that already, being on this planet, with all the things and stuff and bugs and people that we all know.

    Is the model that I have of this world really real, is what the brain-in-bucket thing is all about right?

    Let's say evil scientists snuck into your room and knocked you out and then severed all input from your senses, and just added nothing, no input at all?

    I have a feeling that the 'you' that you so bravely 'think you are' would disappear under these circumstances, there'd be nothing to think ABOUT!

    What do you think?

  49. The inner mind would still be there, severed senses and all. Innermost contemplation would still be possible. You can't be thinking that you need your senses for that, now can you?

  50. Well, I'm thinking that all we'd have is dreams. When I'm dreaming, I'm using my model of the world and like a story-telling part of my brain to make up a story, then when I wake up, I know I'm awake since I open my eyes, realise that what I'm hearing is the world around me, feel whether I'm cold or hot, sense my orientation in space and so on and so forth.

    Without this sensory input, I'm thinking that we'd be stuck in a dream with not a 'thread' to connect us to the world. As a thought experiment, it'd be easy to think that we'd just start a running commentary in our heads wondering what's going on, but I think that without that connection of our senses, we'd make up our own and that is a dream, just a dream.

  51. I tend to agree with all that. Seems about right. Is there a specific thing you're going for here? Because I'm curious....

  52. B, I realize that I am a bit jaded when it comes to human cognition, but I really don’t think there is any reticence in the research community toward studying religion. As I said, the hot research is in defining the fundamental physiologic and anatomic structures of the brain. Both to understand how it works and to try to address recognized pathology (i.e., clear impediments to functioning) through alteration in that chemistry. Brain research (or at least the practical application of it) is hampered by centuries of human misconceptions of which religion is just one.

    Religion doesn't attack sanity. Religion is just one example of how neuroplastic changes can be created in the brain in an individual with certain predilections through repeated stimulus, that affect behavior.

    Religion is just one example of how associated or coincident stimuli create cognitive connections without regard to true cause and affect. Keep in mind that at the neurophysiologic level, it is hard to differentiate the reinforcing of religious experiences through repeated exposure, your experiences and associations made under the influence of salvia, Eric's acceptance of classical philosophy, or a biologist’s acceptance of evolutionary theory. All become ‘learned behaviors’ essentially through the same mechanisms. Learned behaviors do not have to be based on true causality- just strong association and repetition. The repetition creates more opportunities for coincident association that further strengthens the associations. AI research encounters similar problems like the ‘garbage in/ garbage out’ problem that plagues neural net systems. That's a big part of the problem - people gain real knowledge and strengthen false biases through the same mechanisms.

    Once these connections are made and reinforced there is little hope of unseating them absent some real draconian 'deprogramming'. Something I don’t think we really want to consider.

    So the question is really not whether religion should be singled out but instead, what do we do about the fact that our brains are hard wired to create strong associations unrelated to true cause and affect? Do we outlaw marketing? After all marketing capitalizes on indoctrination and repeated association to alter behaviors. Do we outlaw the news media? Fox for example repeats the same catch phrases and associations dozens of times a day to reinforce associations that serve their purposes.

    Political agendas, ideologies, marketing, group associations, pharmacologic manipulation - all these actions, not just religion, physically alter our brains. It’s all brainwashing. Are we to consider it all some form of assault?

    It's an interesting thought exercise.

  53. Religion doesn't attack sanity.
    I've never said this to you before, but you sir, are wrong. Maybe current science thinks that it doesn't, but they're not doing the studies to even find that out. Also, you are more familiar with brain science I think, than psychology, am I correct? I was speaking of scientists in that field, and not those more concerned with morphological changes. So since I do think that you are the smarter one of the two of us, would you perchance be able to direct me to something that edifies me in this regard so that I may no longer be under this possibly false impression? I mean, not to take too much of your time, but this is an area of burning interest to me.

  54. What would be necessary I think, are exhaustive correlative studied on various disparate large groups, some of which are 'certifiably insane' or whatever the DSM-IV is calling it nowadays.

  55. If that sort of research has never been done, then science can not know the answer that I seek yet.

  56. What I strongly feel the results would show would be a very strong correlation between schizoid-type psychoses, 'breaks with reality' type disorders, and religious fundamentalism of some stripe or another.

    To think that such would *not* be the case is the same as saying that a way of life where the individual is forced *on pain of worse than death* to believe in a multiplicity of sets of contrary (self-negating) thoughts *at the same time,* plus a programming of utterly coercive, punitive so-called "moral" instruction, would not contribute to psychosis.

    It fucks with the ego. It either destroys all sense of self-worth, or if the individual goes along with it, inflates all sense of self-worth to the point of creating flaming egotists that think they're always right by divine decree.

  57. As to the rest of your response Pliny, some of that is even religion-based. Fox's target audience for example, has been 'pre-softened' by it's religious fundamentalism. If rationalism were the order of the day, Fox could not exist. But some kind of thing like it may, I grant you that... Still, religion causes psychosis *directly* and does not prepare believers to live in the real world, only in their fantasy interpretation of it. Adverts might make a sane person want to irrationally purchase something that they do not really need, but it's religion that can cause a person to go from a person that wouldn't hurt a fly to a mass-murderer in the shortest span of time.

  58. Of course, in atheistic societies, blind patriotism can take the place of a religion... but it's no less of a belief-system, so for all intents and purposes it's identical. Of course, said blind patriotism works even better in religious societies such as ours unfortunately is, since once again they're 'pre-softened.'

  59. If you define insanity as beliefs deviating from a basis in reality, then you are correct, though religion would be part of a crowded field, I'm afraid...

    My Bad B, I was speaking from the neuroanatomic perspective not classical psychology. Behavioral psych is the only part of that I dabble with in my work (which really isn't classical either).

    I'm a bit dense today so are you asking for classical psychological references or the brain chemistry/anatomy side? assuming it's the pysche side here are a couple of places that may help as a start.

    There is a fair amount of psych lit on this subject in PubMed through the NLM (National Library of Medicine). I don't know if you can get these through the library but here are a couple of references that cover these topics from the classic perspective with reasonable bibliographies:
    - - - - -- - - - - -
    Religious beliefs in schizophrenia: their relevance for adherence to treatment. (Borras, et al.)

    The relationship between schizophrenia and religion and its implications for care. (Mohr S, Huguelet P.)

    Dopamine, Paranormal activity, and the detection of Meaningful Stimuli (Krummenacher, et al) This one references a lot of the related literature on the subjects that may be more interesting to you and I think it's online. I can't vet the research in the paper but it's bibliography should jump start your efforts.

    These may be a start. Good Hunting!

  60. Come to think of it Pliny, do you really believe that our society's predilection to blindly believing in whatever their television or the Internet tells them, and to not revere science and logic and intellect, is NOT at all influenced by the fact that most of said society is religious or at least has been saturated by the religious mind-set throughout their lives?

  61. I don't believe that I ever negated the importance of religion in contributing to people's behaviors. I just don't think its alone in creating that problem. I think religion is an effect rather than a cause.

    I think that religious belief is just one example of a basic learned behavior loop that is expressed in many ways. Some religious, some not. I do not believe that we (humans) are fundamentally fact driven. Even amongst those who use logic there is not a strong tendency to base the logic on sound fact-based foundations (as evidence look at the atheism+ movement that pboy mentioned). You could argue that there were strong evolutionary benefits from this. Better to err on the side of caution from a causality perspective than insist on certainty. Run, don't question! Only recently in our species history has this become a problem.

    That's why the scientific method is so important. It's the only way so far that we've found that mitigates these tendencies.

  62. When I take a look through Wiki on loss of sensory function issues it turns out that our brains have a tendency to make stuff up to cover lack of input. Eyesight compromised, no problem, the brain will provide hallucinations! Ears not working, not at all, no worries, anything from angels singing to your favourite band! LOL

    I'm pretty much ready to believe that if a person were cut off from the world by loss of all their senses, they'd end up in 'loony-tunes' land, never realizing that they weren't dreaming.

    I'm going to out on a limb and suggest that our brain is so good at taking short-cuts and filling in details that our 'sense of self' is itself a function of the brain filling in for us what we think of as self.

    What I mean by this is that thing about the dog seemingly under the control of my unpresence. When we are talking to ourselves using an inner voice, we're talking to the part of ourselves that is listening and it fills in the idea that 'I'm talking to myself, I'm listening to myself', actually, "I'm talking to 'another' who is me and I'm listening to 'another' who is me."

    The point of this being that the I who is me and the I who is you is totally dependent on our memories. Each of our supposed free will is totally dependent on our individual memories which points at that conditioning thing that Pliny talks about, making the individual reaction to a statement such as, "There is no God.", either reasonable, debatable or completely offensive.

    Now close your eyes and concentrate on asking God for a new car. Repeat after me, "Heavenly father, I beseech thee, help me get a new car!"

    Say that with your eyes closed a few times and I swear you WILL hear an inner voice responding, maybe telling you, "No.", who knows, maybe, "Yes!"

  63. That's why the scientific method is so important. It's the only way so far that we've found that mitigates these tendencies.
    See, I'm strange that way, or so I've been told all my life. I always think of things in a scientific manner. Perhaps to some extent that's my ego speaking, but seriously, I do tend to think analytically, even with percentage estimates of the odds of relative outcomes. It's the only reason that I haven't totally committed to my 'beliefs' about reality being information or consciousness-based. I have to hold something back, with no solid proof. To not do so would be admitting to myself that I'm totally irrational, and I can't do that.

  64. I wonder Pboy, whether anybody ever asked people that question who were completely deaf, dumb, and blind and suddenly were cured, or at least 'reached' like Helen Keller was. I wonder what they'd say about what their ideas of reality were before they ever connected to it in a sensory manner.

  65. "what they'd say about what their ideas of reality were before they ever connected to it in a sensory manner."
    I don't know if you'll find this interesting or not (I may have mentioned this before in passing - sorry if it's a repeat) but we have looked at studies of the education of individuals with sight and hearing disabilities as a model for certain aspects of machine learning. The AI systems are in essence cognitive frameworks that have no sensory information nor any concept of color, tone, etc. There is no doubt that they are brains in a box ;)

    The machine has no frame of reference for typical human senses. So establishing a working model allowing the machines to relate to human sensations is a bit like teaching Helen Keller.

    The machines can have very different 'senses' than we do however. For example, it's quite easy for a machine to have a concept of red based upon the wavelengths of absorbed EM emissions that is more technically red than what we typically think of. In the same way a machine can perceive xrays, or low frequency radio waves. A machine can be constructed that senses the complete EM range. What it sees would make no sense to us.

  66. Was Helen Keller completely deaf, dumb and blind from birth? She had taste, smell, pressure/pain/heat receptors on her skin? She got hungry and felt her heart beat? How about a sense of balance?

    " the age of seven, she had over 60 home signs to communicate with her family."

    Well, she had a bit more than a 'thread' of communication between her consciousness and the world.

    Still a real heroine!

  67. So Pliny, are we(as in humans) trying to get machines to make models in their, what passes for 'consciousness'? It must be waiting for some kind of input, that there is a 'sense' connection to the world, yes?

  68. Thinking on that, although I did realise that your machines aren't working on the same principle, when I think of an intelligent machine I tend to think of a machine which has sensory inputs, feedback loops and virtual model making capacity, maybe with enough of those kinds of things we will duplicate, to some extent 'intelligence', or at least 'consciousness'. Awareness maybe?

  69. Yes, pboy that's a lot of what's happening. I would argue that consciousness must have some type of external stimuli (senses) upon which to act (an argument against eternal gods btw). Machines are developing along a somewhat similar path to biological minds. External data comes first, followed by progressive improvements in information gathering resources (senses) followed by improvements in goal directed information processing. There are already examples of machines that have some forms of awareness though not in our conventional (and ego driven) sense of it.

    It's possible - I think likely - that machines will never develop consciousness like we have. The reason is that the development of the machines does not have to be incremental. There is no need to build off of less efficient precursors or legacy hardware. Each new generation can be created with a nod toward eliminating prior handicaps to progress. At some point the machines may begin to evolve along the lines of biological systems but there is no innate requirement for re-purposing and adaptation like there is in our minds.

  70. Another corollary to human brains that is happening in our intelligent machine research, is subspecialization of different parts of the AI suite to better accomplish certain tasks that don't require machine cycles by the primary AI kernal. Human brains consist of different parts that optimize or batch processes that don't require conscious thought.

    The cerebellum stores motion algorithms for example that can run without thinking. It's why we can walk and talk at the same time. A great illustration is to watch a pianist (a moderately capable one) play a piece by rote, then see what happens when they get distracted. They falter and often have to start over. Or they try to muddle through the piece. The faltering is caused by an interruption in a stored cerebellar algorithm for the motions required to execute the piece on the piano. Once interrupted the player has to resort to cerebral (conscious) control to try and play. It's not as smooth unless they are truly gifted.

    Machines are being broken down in this way as well with separate systems performing and preprocessing data for synthesis by the core. Very much like us in that way.

  71. an interruption in a stored cerebellar algorithm for the motions required to execute the piece on the piano.
    Pliny! This is precisely what I have directly sensed while 'altered.'
    That 'little piece of consciousness that monitors a constant loop of memory (say, playing a favorite song over and over) and makes it accessible to my central main consciousness' is just that. Fantastic.

  72. Each new generation can be created with a nod toward eliminating prior handicaps to progress.
    Well, that's the standard way of doing it, right? But there's always the possibility that someone will decide to change that around and program for adaptability and the self-creation of new algorithms and make it more like our brains, no? And then we can have the 'Rise Of The Machines.....'

  73. I'm not too worried about that. I suspect the sequence and number of little events in our evolution that occurred to create us is probably unlikely to be repeated. We're also a long way from domain leaping.

  74. Domain leaping?

    Can't even find that on Google...

    Anyhow, doesn't it just take someone deciding to program a computer for self-interest and a survival instinct, for the effect to be identical?

  75. (Um, not that I lose sleep over this, by any means!)


    A prominent Louisiana-based Christian pastor known for his anti-gay stance was convicted of obscenity yesterday after being caught masturbating at a public park near a children's playground last year.
    Mike, are you PAYING ATTENTION?

    Can you see how this works?

    Those with real perversity pretend to be the most moral among us. Think about it. This is how it works. All the time, not just sometimes. The rest of them just haven't been caught at it. Yet.

  77. Wonder how many neurons it takes for a fruitfly to do fruitfly-ie things? I'm thinking that this kind of model would be mostly sensory input with a virtual model so simple that it is 'hard-wired'.

    If the AI starts out similarly we'd need to add some pieces, one which can alter the virtual model, two, basically comparing the old to the new, and , three, archiving the old if the new is deemed more accurate, and in this way the AI would evolve, just as we evolve in our musings over what-the-F is 'really' going on.

    Keeping the whole thing 'virtual', well there's one tough job creating a virtual universe that the intelligence 'lives in' and adding inpute. The AI, if it really is intelligent, would be a kind of brain-in-a-bucket!

  78. Oh, sorry, except of course for religious teachers who are seriously trying to stop everyone evolving, including themselves, since they feel that they are at the top of their game!

  79. Yes, we're the ultimate pinnacle of all creation, the very image of our creator, who happens to look like a piebald white ape.

  80. Seems to me that they're unwilling to evolve mentally. From the effete philosophical wordsmiths trying like a lumberjack with the world's worst constipation to 'metaphysic' God into 'being' to the academically illiterate but charismatic loud mouth, hypnotizing crowds into imagining God is healing them, there'll be no evolution of thought for them or you, if that's at all possible.

    It also seems to me that the Christian right found a partner in the GOP because they too, from the hardest Randian, "I'm alright, so fuck you!", to the, "We want less taxes and small government(i.e. no Democrats in it)!", they're willfully ignorant of anyone else's POV.

    These people would make 'not being a Republican' a crime if they thought they could get away with it!

  81. Of course. I know. And it's really depressing.

  82. Pliny, ever read Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"?

    Cool story about AI...

  83. I read that years ago... a very good tale, as I recall.

    Okay, I'll add in my thoughts. Pliny, ever read Stanislaw Lem? His robotic universe... Trurl and Klapaucius.... light hearted but thought provoking.

  84. My favorite Heinlein is 'The Past Through Tomorrow" the tales of Lazarus Long. A great story with a lot of interesting twists.

  85. Alas, Heinlein was right-wing in his philosophy, Libertarian if I judge it correctly.

  86. I read it a long time ago. Ironically (I didn't make the connection until just now) our first prototype was named MIKE.


    Bill Maher's new rule this week.... Exactly what we always talk about here..... (funnier though)


    Parables Of The Not-So-Social Gospel

    (This is excellent! Mike, are you reading this? Or are you afraid to click on atheist-posted links because you might get devil-cooties or something?)

  89. Hah! You should copy/paste a 'taste' of that for Mike to read! Of course he'll think it's ridiculous now, but it might percolate through as he notices how he feels about the poor, the old and the sick, compared to that Rev's stories.

  90. I read the crap... I doubt anyone throws out the kjv for that trash.

  91. Yes, caring about others is trash.

    Mike, you're not even a good person. Never mind religious or not, you don't even meet the basic idea of a normal, decent person. Doesn't that bother you? A good person would see the point of that article. Those things are what your Jesus (the version in your mind) would say. The real Jesus didn't say that, obviously, and that man wasn't trying to say that he did. The real Jesus spoke PRIMARILY of how to be a decent caring person, and you sir, do not give a shit about the real Jesus as portrayed in the Bible. Not one little shit. Your Jesus, the one in your head, would say those things. Think about it, if you can even still think at all.

  92. Well Pboy, I guess we can all see how well it 'percolated.'

    Amazing, isn't it? He throws out Jesus Christ himself because he believes he knows more than him.

    Why do they call themselves christians?

    Just the PR.

  93. I doubt anyone throws out the kjv for that trash.
    Pboy, are you seeing what I'm seeing here?
    It would appear that Mike took the writer seriously. Is that even possible? The writer was intentionally re-writing sections of the Bible, I think even the KJV itself, and substituting in the attitudes of modern christians where Jesus was teaching his philosophy of empathy. He intentionally removed the empathy part and showed us all how it sounded for Jesus to be talking like say, Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney. (Granted they often do not say this stuff out loud, but if you look at their actions, it is plain that is how they think)
    Can it be possible that Mike didn't get that irony? I mean, we all joke about how christians do not get irony, but this was IN YOUR FACE irony!
    I really think he was taking it seriously, as a re-write of the bible! That is what his comment indicated at any rate; that much is certain.

  94. FUNNY GIF! Short video...

    Smart Dog!

  95. That dog... he REASONED. You could see it happening. Is there any doubt?

    Dogs are great.

  96. Mike, maybe my first comments were too harsh? I mean, it later occurred to me that you didn't get the irony in the article and thought it an actual attempted re-write or something to that effect.

  97. The whole point of that rewritten Jesus stories is that that is how Christians are acting when they vote for 'the lesser of two evils' as y'all say!

    You detest socialism but you love Jesus as he is actually written about in the KJV? Well, I guess you must feel that Jesus was just 'so special' that he could 'get away with' that kind of thing, you know, while he was down here on Earth.

    Obviously he wasn't trying to be an example of how you all SHOULD act, right?

    'Turn the other cheek'? Why should you?
    'Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you'? What kind of fool would do that, right?

    And so on.

  98. How would it be possible to tell the rest of us what to do, how we ought to be, and be 'turning the other cheek' at the same time?

    I mean, over fifty percent of the population are supposed to knuckle under 'cos you guys have decided that an ovum, an egg, a potential human being, is actually a human being?

    So, if I see a girl walking down the road, it's one person, but if she tells me that her 'test' came out positive, I now have to see her as two people? That's ridiculous! What if she hasn't done the 'test'? Is she now one person, potentially two people, we don't know, there's no neon sign that appears above her head telling us that she's been doing 'the nasty' in secluded spots.

    If God is going to get credit for impregnating women, why isn't God getting credit for scientific discoveries, one of which is the understanding of biology that allows women to abort a microsopic egg before it starts developing?

    Christ almighty Mike! We'd look down on a person who kept a half a dozen cats and let them breed away uncontrolled, which is just as natural an outcome, just as God-ordained as a woman becoming preggers when she is too young or too poor to be stuck at home tending a baby, right?

    In this society, you want women to be caught in a metaphorical vise. You want them to deny that they are natural beings, to deny the hormones running through their bodies, which is fucking impossible, and/or suffer the consequences, completely unnecessarilly suffer consequences which is to force them to bring up a child under completely unnecessary circumstances!

    Plus, if they are 'blonde' and pump out babies as if they are completely irresponsible, they become welfare queens using the system to live high on the hog, playing bingo all day and hitting the bar all night(such a life, who wouldn't dream of that? LOL) on the govt. tab? Better to let the little buggers starve, to create a nation of cretins that THAT, right?

    If you think it through, you're actually advocating the dumbing down of your nation. If women insist on having sex then it's their responsibility and the child gets the resulting, '.. sins of the fathers being visited on their sons..'?

    What kind of justice, what kind of fairness is that, simply to allow YOU to feel that God's WILL is being done? This makes you a fucking MONSTER, you do realise this, don't you?


  100. B the first step in religious indoctrination is ablation of the irony centers in the brain. It doesn't work otherwise.

  101. It seems that many religious people are demons that are deluded into believing that they are saints. It's very common, really.
    If I believed in Satan, well, that would explain it: They think they're worshiping god but Satan fooled them into worshiping him. But there is no Satan, so sadly, it's their own black hearts that cause them to believe whatever it takes to absolve themselves for what they know resides in their own hearts.

  102. I love the word 'ablation.' First heard it in relation to meteorites.

  103. On irony:

    I think that in order to understand and 'get' irony one must be able to perceive the whole of a situation, all at once. A narrow view of it misses the components that indicate that it is not meant to be taken literally.

  104. So to christians, the Onion must be considered one really crazy, liberal, screwed-up real newspaper. I bet they make fun of it, how 'stupid' it is, thinking it totally real.

  105. I mean, what irony is at its best is a scenario that looks totally real at first blush, but on closer examination one sees the intentional 'hints' that indicate that it is not. Sometimes the only hint is the preposterousness of the story. So one must need be able to see that it's not realistic, so one must have a good internal picture of what reality really IS first, and then compare it.

  106. I know someone, a liberal actually, that for a long time thought that The Colbert Report was a real, actual, right-wing television show. The person hadn't really watched it; they had tuned in every now and then and immediately changed the channel, thinking it not worth their time. When they actually watched the whole thing they realized that they had pegged it totally wrong.
    Good irony looks a lot like the real deal.

  107. What? Colbert isn't 'real'? I'll have to reassess my gut feeling on this!! We cannot even believe his truthiness? Tell me that that one scene where he's crying, and not only is his mascara running but his snot is flowing, tell me that this wasn't truthy, I dare you!

  108. PROOF, FINALLY, PROOF that there is no GOD!

    In experiments done with two slits and individual photons, one either can know which slit the photon went through, or one can NOT know and see a wave pattern, isn't that right?

    If there were a GOD, then there would always be 'someone' who knows, therefore the experiment could only ever work one way!

    Any circumstance with 'no observer' exactly equals, 'no GOD', unless you redefine GOD!



    Another FUNNY doggie GIF.

    (Short video clip)

  111. WTF? I, Ian Taylor, proved that there is no God, as defined by theists, and you ignore it? I'm .. miffed.

  112. Well, as far as I am concerned there is no need for further proof, and as to the christians like mike no amount of proof would suffice.... so we're right back where we started, as usual...

    Nice proof though.... sort-of...

  113. For me, here's the real proof: all we know of God and Jesus we know from the Bible.
    This is predicated upon the Bible being the very word of God, and that we must, according to this same book, believe in all that is written therein.

    So the first question obviously is, 'Is the Bible internally consistent?' Is it even POSSIBLE to believe in all of it at once without holding contrary ideas in your head simultaneously, the very definition of insanity?

    The answer is patently a very strong "NO!"


  114. God can do anything, EXCEPT BE A HYPOCRITE.

    That's really 'all she wrote' as it were.

  115. But, as defined by Christians themselves, the double slit experiment, with all it's implications, i.e. that if someone observes, then the photon is a particle, but if no-one observes, then light is a wave, PROVES, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no God observing!

  116. That's an easy apologetic. God isn't a person, God is God. Done. Next!

    It's easy to make shit up about something that is already made-up. You don't have to conform to reality if your made-up thing doesn't have to either.

  117. For me it's easy. The Bible is stupid. Any hypothetical deity that might write a book would not write a stupid book. It would be a revelatory book with much wisdom and many, many things in it that were *not known at the time.* But, alas, no. Therefore he didn't write it, nor dictate it. And since that book is all the 'proof' we have of Him in the first place, the whole religion immediately dissolves like a sub-lingual Xanax.

  118. No, no, no, god is void which binds, so he (it?) neither observes nor unobserves, but always subserves. Ergo Jesus and damnation for gays. Or whatever...

  119. WTF? How can God be 'watching' you if he's not 'observing'? Just making up a knew word for 'knowing what you're doing' doesn't absolve God from knowing what a photon is doing, and if he knows what the photon is doing, it is a particle, and NOT a wave!

  120. WTF Ryan? No Christian on this planet would say that God isn't watching each and every one of us right now! Are you saying that they don't mean that? Are you telling me that they mean that 'watching' is a poor explanation only meant for such lowly people, children and the uneducated, but there is a 'better' explanation?

    Subserves? This is a made up word!

  121. "No, no, no, god is void which binds.." I don't care if God is extra crispy tacos.

  122. God watches in mysterious ways; He keeps his eye on the sparrow and the photon. But when He watches the photon, it's from the inside and not the out. So it doesn't count. It's His photon, after all...

    This shit is EASY. I could be an apologist! Hell, my dog could!

  123. "No, no, no, god is void which binds.."
    -Sounds like God is a lot like Gorilla Glue.


    Apparently thinks otherwise, Pboy.

  125. Why does God insist on watching me while I masturbate?

    I hate that shit. Breaks the concentration...

  126. WTF? How can God be 'watching' you if he's not 'observing'?

    Floyd, come on man! You need to read more theology before you can just dismiss my gibberish.

    Subserves? This is a made up word!

    It has a very precise meaning that only theologians, apologists and dumb chippies are schooled enough to ascertain.

  127. And I always thought that 'vacuum cementing' was the only void that binds.

  128. What does a worker at an Italian sandwich shop do?

    He subserves, of course.

  129. Badump-bump... ahh, I got a million of 'em.

  130. God subserves? This isn't an option. God may well subserve, but that isn't some kind of replacement for the observing, the knowing about everything, that HE is supposed to be up to, is it?

    "Well, God isn't really(hehe) watching us, you know what HE is really up to, HE is useful for stuff, yea, that's it, how dare you suggest that HE is omniscient, what are you thinking?"

  131. he knows when you are sleepy
    He knows when you are awake
    He knows when you've been bad or good
    So you'd better be good for goodness' sake!

  132. I'd be ever so slighty more convinced of God's existence if, at Christmastime, when I was a young boy, both of my parents were astonished when a bike showed up. Or maybe not astonished since they'd have had the same thing happen to themselves when they were young. Ah but this is a diversion from the facts, which are..

    God sees everything.
    Photons, in a double slit experiment act one way if observed, i.e. if it is known which slit they went through(sounds like physicists are just being horny there, what with the 'going through the slits', hehe), and, and in another way if it is not known.

    Can God know everything? Yes and no? No, not yes and no, right?

  133. I see your buddy Dinesh has a movie out now through Tuesday,"2016"

    Anyone see it?

  134. Do you think it's possible that birds and animals might commit suicide? I know that Mozie doesn't care too much for life as if he was like in 'heaven' surrounded by his family, a bunch of puppies and a bunch of kids, who'd play away with him all day long. When he came here, he was stuck with us two fuddy-duddies and you know, he'll try to run in front of cars passing by slowly and such, as if he doesn't give a crap whether he lives or dies.

    Another instance, recently is our poor budgie Spazzy, ended up crashing into the wall twice and I had to fend the dog off him since he was just waiting there as if, well, if the dog ate him, he'd be out of his misery. I got him home those times, and now he's dead, at the bottom of his cagey. :o(

  135. Hey MI, D'Souza is a whore. So all all the lefty pundits and Michael More and Colbert etc. etc., they're all whores, but so what?

    D'Souza is a damned lying whore, and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out he's gay as 19 balloons too!

  136. Here's a real groaner.

    My uncle fell into an upholstery machine. Happily he's completely recovered!


  137. Okay now, it's ludicrous to say that on the one hand God is three persons in one, Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, that Jesus is your personal saviour(it's a person to person thing for you), HE spoke to the ancients, "I am the Lord thy God!" kind of thing. WTF?

  138. Oh yea. .. on the other hand, there's reality.

  139. I love it how nobody hears of Jesus till the time of Jesus but hey, he's been there for the past two or three thousand years anyhoo.... Talk about a transparent attempt to legitimize him!

  140. MI, I love it how you only come here to try to bait us.

    I'm so glad that we can provide you an easy target for all that disgusting petty hatred that is in your withered, rotten heart; maybe it's all that prevents you from eating babies or something.

  141. Mittens is saying that we have to look not at Obama's words but at his actions and his record.

    But Mittens won't tell us anything about his actions and his record!

    Only someone as stupid as MI would vote for that flaming hypocrite liar.

  142. Dinesh found a great big tit to suck on: the hatred of the right wing for the black man in office.

    He's a piece of shit.

  143. Let's see...

    There's personal injury lawyers...
    Insurance salesmen...
    Used car salesmen...
    A few other occupations like say, office people in the DMV...

    And then there's the lowest of the low, Christian Apologists!

  144. Sorry... getting a bit bitter.... all the stupidity and hatred on the right is getting to me.

  145. Baiting?!

    I was simply curious if anyone here saw the movie-- after all, he's the reason we all blog together....

    I haven't been around because I had a major surgery back in March and now my youngest has cancer.

    The specialist doesn't want to operate on him and my energy's spent on my kids, swim team and gearing up for school.

    I'll try to blog when I can.

    I sure hope everybody's doing well here....

    Baiting? No, the last thing any of us need in these stressful times is more anger, etc.

    You may not like Dinesh, but you did read his blogs, so I just figured somebody from here took their curiosity to the movie theater.

    If you didn't go- no worries.

    The movie is a very good biography of Obama and I understand where Obama comes from now. I found it quite interesting.

    Have a nice evening, all!

  146. PS, I'm not voting in this election.

  147. Brian,
    Don't apologize--- never let anything --- anything allow you to be bitter---- ever!
    Always keep yourself peace-filled and never let anyone take your Joy away from you!
    That's priority 1!
    All the best,
    Mary Irene

  148. Hey MI, hope your kid makes it! Hope your back is feeling better.

  149. MI, I'm only sorry that I lose control, not that I don't like you. Heck, you're not likeable. And I simply do not believe anything you say, including the sob story you just said. If it's true then too bad because it's your fault that I can't believe it; all you fucking ever do is lie. The only thing that's true about you is that you're a total psycho.

  150. Hell MI, like three years ago it was you that was dying... are you dead? Nope. Still here fucking around with us.

    You broke your promise.

  151. I don't find fact-free propaganda films by slimy pathological jesuit liars worth my time. Maybe instead of Ipecac syrup I might use it to induce vomiting, but other than that it's useless.

    But mindless drones with fucked-up lives seem drawn to it for some reason.

  152. It's very hard to keep my cool with the amount of lies being accepted by the morons of this country. They affect me, and I can't stand my destiny being even partially in the hands of mouthbreathing pond scum.

  153. I couldn't agree more Brian, and before I go on, I'll just say that both sides do it, it seems all humans do it. But it's really bothered me lately. I'll need to think back and try to figure out if it's just that this is an election year, and that's why, [rant] but the fact that people are willing to both peddle and accept lies to advance their own beliefs and/or agendas really just pisses me off and has never been clearer to me than right now. I mean, they have to know they are doing it right? I can cut the person who's accepting lies on behalf of a belief some slack, but the peddlers (that's you Mike!!!), there is a very special place in a very imaginary hell for them (and by that I mean they simply have to live with a lie). But dammit, just stop lying!!! If you don't know something, don't pretend that you know it!!! It's really not that hard and it always bothered me when the street preacher or door to door salesman/evangelical, or whomever would say "well, have you ever told a lie?". Yes goddammit I have! But not in the last 25 or 30 years!!! Do these people lie so much that they think everyone does it all the time??? UNG!!!![/rant]

    Anyway, moving on and off topic, I was thinking about how a lot of apologists lately have been trying to use probability to argue for the resurrection. I think the basic idea is that if theism is true (IF???) then the probability of the resurrection increases, but if theism is not true, then it decreases (vanishingly so?). I can give them that, it's logical. But wouldn't it be the case that if theism is true then not just the resurrection story, but every cockamamie story that makes divine claims would be more probable? And this may be where there enormous amount of time between now and the last time I had a statistics class is causing me to fail, but since Christianity makes exclusive claims (i.e. basically if Christianity is true, then no other religions can be true), wouldn't each and every additional cockamamie story that makes divine claims reduce the probability that any individual cockamamy story that makes divine claims be true? So do they actually net anything with this?

    In short, the apologist make the probability argument as if the resurrection is the only cockamamy story that makes divine claims ever told.

    So do they actually net anything with this?

    Am I smoking crack here?

    Also, totally off the topic that was already off topic, but this guy wrote one of my current favorite fantasy series, and was a PhD student in philosophy (I think he dropped out to write the books). But I thought this was a good take on philosophy in general and it made me think of Eric.

    Carry on.

  154. Me: but since Christianity makes exclusive claims (i.e. basically if Christianity is true, then no other religions can be true), wouldn't each and every additional cockamamie story that makes divine claims reduce the probability that any individual cockamamy story that makes divine claims be true?

    I'm fairly certain this is where Mike punts to daemons.

  155. when you don’t know that you don’t know, you assume that you know all you need to know.
    -From Ryan's link
    Much wisdom is to be found in this statement.

  156. Ryan, isn't it frustrating how few people can even see the lies at all? How many believe they're really seeing through 'Obama's lies' or whatever, when they're just falling for their own side's lies hook, line, and sinker? And how they look down on us, us poor idiots who can see who is really distorting the truth and who isn't? I see dishonesty on Obama's side too of course, but it's not even in the same league as what's happening on the right. It's literally unbelievable. It's destroyed whatever faith I had left in humanity. They have managed to glorify stupidity and demonize intellect so well that their whole worldview is aas-backwards and *they like it that way!* They bray in their pride and act like the asses they are, and they receive not censure but adulation for their efforts! It is sickening.
    It is killing me slowly, I think.

  157. Brian, nil carborundum a illegitemis.

    There will always be bastards, nothing we can do about it, and we shouldn't let it affect us negatively.

  158. I mean, we control how they affect us, right?

  159. I know.... still frustrating though. I mean, I'm okay, but it's still very trying. The asylum is being run by the lunatics.

  160. They should be the laughing stock of the country, as they are the laughing stock of the world right now.... but we're just tooo damned stupid now....

  161. Our news media is afraid of their lies and chooses to try to find the halfway point between sanity and absolute utter foaming-at-the-mouth craziness. So nothing real gets through, and in the few instances that it does the other side effectively demonizes that too, even if it's absolute easily-checkable fact.

  162. I have trouble even believing that we're this stupid as a species. Makes me feel like we don't deserve to survive.

  163. I keep hearing that it's such a close election, or that it's a statistical dead heat... how in fuck is that possible? I mean, it's the black Obi-Wan Kenobi versus an even slimier version of Jabba the Hutt, and somehow Jabba is more Christ-like to these twisted fucks.

  164. If I look like I'm raving, well, I am. But in all honesty it's being able to rave here that stops me from raving... elsewhere..... where it would not be a good thing. This is my escape valve.

  165. Thanks, Floyd!

    Hey, Brian, don't blame anyone for your actions- man it up. It is of no consequence to me what you think. I had a tumor in my pancreas and some neurological disease that debilitated me until I had a series if tests, procedures and surgery. I've been through physical therapy and swimming therapy and that has helped, though, I do get fatigued.

    I will need aggressive therapy and lab tests every so often. No biggie: just some nausea and a significant loss of my hair....

    As for my son: we took him to the CLINIC at Hershey Medical Ctr. His right kidney needs to come out.

    So, Floyd, thank you for your kindness. Timmy thanks you and wishes you well!

    We'll get through this one way or another.....

    Seriously, if you can watch 2016, you'll learn much -- from an historical perspective- as long as you can get over your feelings about Dinesh.

  166. MI, D'Souza is part of the problem. You read his blog and how in his mind atheists are God-haters. He is well educated and understands that a person cannot hate what they believe is a fiction.

    I can understand someone of modest education assuming that everyone believes that God's there, you know 'really', in their heart, but just want to sin, or go on sinning. But that's ludricous, since every Christian will tell us, we are all sinners, they all feel that they need to confess their sins and that the main thing, for eternal 'life' is to believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us.

    This means that there is no point at all in just saying, "There are no gods, not even one!", unless, well let's make this about me, unless I was 100% sure of it. We can go into word games about not ever being able to be 100% sure of anything, sure, but that means nothing to me, since, I could suggest that there is an entire world of microscopic beings in my head, and yours too, making up our consciousnesses and we'd have to go with the less than 100% sure on that one too.

    But we 'know' it's not true.

    I know that D'Souza's movie is 100% propaganda without even watching it, and I look forward to hearing through the blogs how disingenuous the whole thing is, much like that Ben Stein crap against evolution.

  167. Brian, what can I say to you to make you feel better about the situation? You know that I agree with you 100% on the politico/religious stuff. Of course it's nonsense to us. Who, in their right minds would be voting to cut all aid to themselves since 'the country' is so in debt? Who in their right mind could imagine that they personally are responsible for what happens in the World, imagining themselves as the U.S. Armed Forces policing the World?

    Well, it turns out that quite a large percentage of people are like the fans of a sports team when it comes to U.S. military supremacy.

    A fan may feel fantastic when the team wins, well same thing with war, the U.S. just HAS TO WIN, if only so the 'real Americans' among us can feel superior!

    So for many people it comes down to believing in myths. Not just the Christian myth, the American myths. Sure the average American is struggling to get by these days, but, to use that cliche, 'at the end of the day', Americans WILL sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of these myths!

    And of course there are always going to be people who will use this against their own population.

    Look at Atheism+. Seems to me that Richard Carrier, P.Z. Meyers, Jen McCraight and them are buying into their own myths, convincing each other that they ought to be fighting all fights at once under this banner.

    I can't remember that quote which went something like, "If you want to find out who owns you, find the one that you can't joke around with, or can't make fun of."

    Well, the Atheism+ guys feel that they are the bosses, and with their 'secret' emails and whatnot, they keep convincing each other that they are! Actually I think it's Atheism plus radical Feminism!

    So there you go, it can happen under the 'best of circumstances', the takeover of a non-movement into a purified movement!

    And yes, we ARE nuts, all of us, from the laziest bum, through the fool who works himself to death for a pittance, to the richest asshole imagining he must be the smartest person in the World!

  168. MI, it really doesn't matter what you say now. You've proven yourself.

    I don't believe that you are a pharmacist. I don't believe that your husband is a doctor. I even doubt that you are married. And I don't believe that you're dying, although you are definitely mentally ill. I simply cannot believe anything that you say, not ever. Too bad you ruined any trust that I might have had of you. But that's what you get for being such a total lying psycho, over and over, for lo these many years.

    If you were to die, I would not celebrate. However, I would not mourn, either. It would be like a fly dying on a windowsill to me... that's how you've endeared yourself to me over the years. Frankly, I'd probably feel worse for the fly.

  169. I don't believe in unicorns, and yet I do not hate them.

    I do not hate god either. But some of the people that say they love god, are haters of men like me. So there's that.

  170. How can so many 'not so well off' people be sucked in to believing that giving extremely wealthy people big tax cuts is going to help anyone but those extremely wealthy people?

    Shouldn't the candidates be on their knees begging the ultra-wealthy to forgive them for putting the onus on them to create jobs?

    "Dear filthy rich people, we know that you're already rich, but please vote yourselves a huge tax cut so that you can work hard to create jobs somewhere! We know it wasn't you investing in India and China since you are true Americans, the only 'real' Americans we have actually! To prove that we believe this, we're in the process of disenfranchizing as many of those not-rich people as possible, since who is less deserving of having a voice if not them?

    I know that the faithful are on board with our plan for you to spread wealth around the country with charitable works such as soup kitchens for as the Scripture says, ".. the poor will always be among us..", and since the deficit is so high and someone has to pay, why not them, they outnumber us 99 to 1!"

  171. Their religion and their politics of hatred has bred the intelligence out of them, if they ever had it to begin with. They can't question authority. Their religion teaches them not to. They just have to believe it, and shut their little mouths and wait for Jesus to come back.

  172. I don't think that it's so much intelligence that they're lacking as it is culture that they're yearning for. The churches defend local cultures and traditions, bigotry, what it means to be a (fill in your locale here), since they're right in there, have been since as early as possible!

    Part of the local culture is who controls it, for example our Feds were giving away flags and we're always hearing how great Canada is.

    Apparently Canada was great because it jumped right in to Afghanistan, it's great 'cos 'we're' going to buy the latest fighters, it's great 'cos the CRTC is there, stopping us watching too much good television and forcing us to watch Canadian content.

    Of course taking away freedom is often disguised as 'a country's greatness', just propaganda. ".. the True North strong and free..", not so strong, and not hardly free, but it's one of those 'our country' memes that, culturally, everyone loves to think of themselves as, one of those 'everyone knows' "truths" that don't bear much scrutiny at all.

  173. Where is everyone? Glowing in the rapture of the aftereffects of the Republican Convention, I'll wager....

    I didn't even know that they gave a national convention for professional liars. How silly am I?

  174. Clint Eastwood did well... in the sense that he wasn't wearing a diaper on the outside of his pants.

  175. Couldn't you, just for a second, see a very tiny black man standing on that chair, shouting in a tiny, tinny voice, "Fuck off Romney!"? I know I couldn't, but then again, I can't see how slashing revenue could possibly balance a budget, like that entire audience can.

  176. Yeah, but Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were awesome tonight!

  177. I haven't seen them yet.... they're om my DVR...


    Did you guys catch Bill Maher tonight?

    Oh My God, he DISSECTED Dinesh DaSouza IN PERSON, face to face... even managed to call him a rat in a way that was hilarious! Bill had set a trap for him as it turned out you see, and Dinesh's EGO led him into it by his solenodonesque nose. A WIPE OUT! I never saw Dinesh look so weak and ineffectual. It made my fucking week.

  178. Tomorrow I'll try to post the video if it's out yet, but it was just amazing.

  179. Meanwhile...

  180. Emma was mad at me for the dog begging for her chicken dinner. This is 'the intuitive mind', she's mad at me, for the dog being a fucking DOG!

    Earlier she was mad at me because our kitchen tap seems to be fucking up and I suggested it might be her grand-daughter doesn't know how it works! Apparently knowing how kitchen taps work are in their genes! I caught her niece in the act of trying to wrench that same tap out of it's 'moorings' 'cos she didn't know how to turn it on! Same genes! My LORD, it is confusing, it's one of those left to right = cold to hot, and down to up = off to on.

  181. So there I am, out there throwing 'bits' to the dog so she can eat without feeliing guilty. Meanwhile I'm explaining to her intuitive mind that the dog is, how can I put this, a DOG!!! She's happy as Larry 'cos, well, I'm distracting the dog now. But now I'm getting slighty miffed since she doesn't feel the need to learn anything that I know about dogs, no, she's handled the situation perfectly intuitively, she's got me fending the damned dog off while she eats!!!

    Mother of CHRIST that's annoying though. "I don't see the problem, I've got you schlepping, (and this is where I'm thinking about laws and guns and stuff), no problem for ME now, right?", I can almost feel her neck in my hands as I squeeze the 'intuitive' out!!!

    Wonder what dogs are thinking when they are laying on the floor staring at the door right at the end of their nose?

  182. Alas, learning to control irrational anger is a rational mind attribute. I feel you pain, sir.

    Watched both Stewart and Colbert.... it's 2:19 AM and it was worth it.

    Still thought seeing Dinesh getting his ass handed to him by Bill Maher was even better though... but hey, it was close.

  183. LOL.. just turned on Colbert.. didn't know they were on tonight. Of course he's doing the 'chair' bit, what else? That there is comedy gold!!!

    Picture the Republican convention going for weeks and Clint Eastwood having to do multiple 'bits'. It's not a matter of 'whether' but 'when', when will he do the 'OH-WHA-TA-GOO-SIAM!!' bit!

  184. Wonder what dogs are thinking when they are laying on the floor staring at the door right at the end of their nose?

    My dog often lays down with his body aligned perfectly straight and his nose on the floor but pointing at his food dish. We call it 'the compass of sadness.'

  185. Love that compass of sadness! But the door was open and he was just laying there looking all sacked out staring at the door at the end of his nose. Weird.

    Anyway I tried summing up Eric and W.L.Craig's stuff:-

    There is the philosophy. If you can be talked into imagining 'The Act of Being' as an entity, if you can be razzled by the Brain-in-bucket thought experiment and dazzled by the "Aquinas said it, it must be true" premise, then you're well on your way to imagining how real God must be, realer than real!

    And if you can't buy that yet, start with the Kalaam Cosmological Argument. "Everything that begins to exist has a cause!", but be sure to discount material cause since that's basically what they're trying to slip in unnoticed. So, it's the efficient cause we're focusing on, the cause of material being altered if you're determined to spoil the argument by insisting on some account of material that isn't a magical 'poof' at the conclusion of the syllogism. The final diversion there is to claim that the efficient cause is actually a metaphysical cause, so now you're ready for the Act of Being thing!

    If you're not buying this at all, it's time for the derision, you obviously lack the schooling, mental capacity or both to not understand this!

    That's about it isn't it?

  186. "Anyway I tried summing up Eric and W.L.Craig's stuff:-
    There is the philosophy. If you can be talked into imagining 'The Act of Being' as an entity, if you can be razzled by the Brain-in-bucket thought experiment and dazzled by the "Aquinas said it, it must be true" premise, then you're well on your way to imagining how real God must be, realer than real!"

    Wrong on every count, but hey...

    "And if you can't buy that yet, start with the Kalaam Cosmological Argument. "Everything that begins to exist has a cause!", but be sure to discount material cause since that's basically what they're trying to slip in unnoticed."

    No, the point is that there is no material cause; how, then, can anyone be trying to "slip it in unnoticed"?

    "So, it's the efficient cause we're focusing on, the cause of material being altered..."

    Not 'altered,' but created. You can't alter it if it ain't there.

    "...if you're determined to spoil the argument by insisting on some account of material that isn't a magical 'poof' at the conclusion of the syllogism."

    It certainly doesn't "spoil the argument," though it may spoil any confidence one has in your ability to follow an argument if you think it does. But that aside, there's no more 'magic' involved here than there is when the physicist says that there's no efficient cause involved in the generation of virtual particles.

    "The final diversion there is to claim that the efficient cause is actually a metaphysical cause, so now you're ready for the Act of Being thing!"

    No, you don't understand the argument. The claim is that causation as such is a metaphysical category -- period. And, of course, it is. Science presupposes causation, it doesn't establish it. So when you attempt to limit talk about causation to the sorts of things that can be scientifically established, you're reasoning fallaciously. Think about it: (a) Science must presuppose X, pre-theoretically (I sure hope you agree with this uncontroversial claim); (b) Science can explain specific instances of X (again, I hope you agree with this); (c) only scientifically established instances of X can be justifiably appealed to in an argument (this is what you want to say when you reject the notion that, say, causation is a metaphysical category). Surely, Floyd, you can see the problem with those three claims.

  187. "Anyway, moving on and off topic, I was thinking about how a lot of apologists lately have been trying to use probability to argue for the resurrection. I think the basic idea is that if theism is true (IF???) then the probability of the resurrection increases, but if theism is not true, then it decreases (vanishingly so?)."

    Well, that's a part of the argument, sure...

    "I can give them that, it's logical."


    "But wouldn't it be the case that if theism is true then not just the resurrection story, but every cockamamie story that makes divine claims would be more probable?"

    Yes! Well, to the extent that they're consistent with the form of theism that's defended, of course...

    "And this may be where there enormous amount of time between now and the last time I had a statistics class is causing me to fail, but since Christianity makes exclusive claims (i.e. basically if Christianity is true, then no other religions can be true), wouldn't each and every additional cockamamie story that makes divine claims reduce the probability that any individual cockamamy story that makes divine claims be true? So do they actually net anything with this?
    "In short, the apologist make the probability argument as if the resurrection is the only cockamamy story that makes divine claims ever told.
    "So do they actually net anything with this?"

    Absolutely. The point you've raised here is a good one, which is probably why I've encountered it so many times. But I've noticed that each time I give the obvious response, the atheist/agnostic/skeptic abandons this objection! And what is the obvious response? Well, just this: once we concede that the probability of some set of claims (in this case, miracle claims X, Y and Z) is increased given specific background information (in this case, the truth of some form of theism), then we must evaluate each claim on the basis of the evidence we have for it. So, compare the evidence for the Resurrection with the evidence for any other supernatural claim that's central to other religions. Can you think of *one* that comes even close to being as well supported? (N.B. I said 'as well supported,' which may not be well at all as far as your concerned; the point here isn't whether the evidence is sufficient to justify the claim, but how one set of evidence for one claim compares with other sets.)

  188. NEW POST IS UP!

    Eric, I hope that you will join us there... it's all about your former demigod Dinesh D'Souza.

    And of course I hope this present conversation with pboy continues there as well. I'm interested!


  189. PS: Well supported? SERIOUSLY?

    HA HA HA HA! Funny joke, dude. Supported by WHAT exactly?

    Please post reply on new post.... :-)