VirtueScience Home
Articles
VirtueScience Home
The Spiritual Forums The Spiritual Forums The Spiritual Forums The Spiritual Forums The Spiritual Forums





Sponsored Ad


Advertisement


Sponsored
The VirtueScience Forums
One Stream is the central message board. A single stream of topics influenced by who you invite, the messages you reply to and the topics you post.
Main Sections: Character Improvement | The Number Database | The Physical Body | The Esoteric Section | Tactics and Self Defence
Healing Society | Conceptual Science | Scientific Theories | Webmaster Tips and Tricks | Financial Freedom | Living Space/Environmental
Art, Music, Poetry | Mysteries of the World | Non-Duality & Spirituality | Shamanism/Magick | World Events
You are here: Index location Scientific Theories location The Limitations of Materialistic Atheism

The Limitations of Materialistic Atheism

This debate occured on the 'Atheism - evidence and reason' facebook group. I disagreed with the initial post from their admin and so commented. From there a debate developed into a discussion on the nature of awareness. I believe that this is the major weak point in the materialist only world view.

Take a look for yourself and see if you can recognize some of the tricks and evasions used in the debate. Do you have any further points to add?

Atheism - evidence and reason:
Trust In Humanity
Religiosity is built on the extremely negative assumption that humans are nasty, selfish, violent creatures unless our evil human nature is tamed and subjected to external control via holy books, laws and the threat of an external grilling.

Without scripture, according to religious people, we would be all out raping and pillaging the neighbourhood. Why wouldn't we?

The fact is, we don't.

We are glad to know what humanity is and what goodness humans are capable of, given self-respect, love and education.

4Like · · Share.

Neil Buckley and 37 others like this..


James Barton: it seems by that logic that you also disagree with laws and courts etc.

September 2 at 8:28pm · Like · 3..


Rhys Williams: James Barton...how so? This statement simply makes the point that, as is often stated, good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things...whether they are religious or not makes no difference.

September 2 at 8:47pm · Like · 4..


Mark Craddock: 1600 years ago they had more of a point... Create thought police... but it went a bit too far, for way to long...

September 2 at 8:51pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Markie Thomas Bullock: At no point did the posting say 'and disregard any laws written by man.'

Yes 'The Law' developed and changed as did our scientific understanding of the world and global human rights.

I'm just awaiting Julius posting about 'only God makes the law'

September 2 at 9:32pm via mobile · Like · 4..


Lee Emmott: Good people do good things and bad people do bad things, for good people to do bad things it takes religion... Steven Weinberg

September 2 at 9:45pm via mobile · Like · 2..


James Barton: Hi Rhys, the original post is claiming that religiosity negatively assumes that people are bad and thus require laws and threats to keep them in order. Laws and threats are also used in atheist countries just the same. In fact some of those officially atheist type countries such as Russia(USSR period) and China have stricter laws then many countries that are not officially atheist.

If this is just a negative carry over from past religiosity then come up with a different system.

The original post is not claiming that some people are bad and some are good is it? It is claiming that religious types think people are bad and need laws etc to guide them where as atheists are contrasted as thinking differently.

Actually many religious doctrines are saying that our true nature is pure compassion and goodness.

Your statement that good people do good things and bad people do bad things is actually half agreeing with what you claim is the religious position ie that some people are inherently bad etc.

Proper spiritual meditations and contemplation on the virtues etc can actually turn a bad person into a good person and there are many examples of this throughout history.

Some spiritual people have such a genuine goodness about them that when a bad person insults or attacks them their compassionate reaction changes the aggressor beneficially.

The problem with many atheists is that they fall for the straw man logical fallacy. They reject all spirituality just because of some false doctrines that some religious people have fallen victim to.

September 2 at 9:57pm · Like · 3..


James Barton: Hi MTB, secular laws and punishments are in place because there is an assumption that they are needed and beneficial. That is just the same with religious rules and guidelines.

In both cases there are good and bad laws. It is not sincere to only point out bad religious laws and good secular laws or vice versa.

September 2 at 10:03pm · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: I think you are completely missing the point, Barton. When it comes to laws in a secular society, you are given the benefit of the doubt until you display your misdemeanour and face the consequences. With religion, you are deemed bad without its tenets and must seek salvation or you face damnation (and the concept of eternity tends to go with this). And although punishment is part of government legislation, it is not as prominent or emphasised as in religion. Personally, I think punishment is not justified when humans don't really have free will. But since we are not as advanced in genetics as one would hope to be in order to eradicate misbehavioural urges, we'll just have to make do with what we have. The point is, while religion claims to know that we have souls with free will and therefore deserving of punishment, science opens the door to new possibilities. Imagine a future world where humans are genetically modified to be reasonable and very empathetic to the point where crime and punishment is a thing of the past. Imagine future humans looking back at us and thinking of our methods as barbaric. Imagine revenge and punishment being considered completely immoral. On the countries you mentioned, it is not really their atheism to blame for the laws they have, is it? You forget that such laws are used to enforce their political ideologies and it all boils down to power and control. Nothing to do with whether one believes in God or not. Also, such countries still tolerate religion and this still has a monopoly. I've said this before and I'll say it again: an atheist, secular and enlightened utopia, that has adopted the teachings of Enlightened thinkers, is yet to happen. Instead, what you get in the world is leaders who either try to accomodate everyone in the hope to win their votes, or you get despotism.

September 2 at 11:18pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: On meditation... you can meditate and not be religious or hold silly beliefs about reincarnation, karma or nirvana. In fact science recognises meditation as a great tool for well-being. So is exercise. Neurosciemtist Sam Harris meditates, and guess what: he's an atheist. The point is, we don't need religion. Buddhism may be the most tolerant, but they still preach about enlightenment and regard the human condition as delusional and shackled by desired. We are humans and we have urges because we are animals. How we choose to channel these urges is up to us. We need not be told that if we don't address our egos that we will be reborn again in lower or higher realms.

September 2 at 11:26pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Also, Gandhi's pacifism might have world on the English and the Indians but it would not have worked on the Nazis and he knew it. In fact, Gandhi would have made the job easier for Hitler to slaughter the Jews.

September 2 at 11:29pm via mobile · Like..


Keith Marten: Pre-monotheistic belief and scripture, our early ancestors provide clear evidence of carefully burying their loved ones.

September 2 at 11:30pm · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: By the way, go on obe4u where i head one of the departments of the OOBE Research Center. We study out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams. I have loads myself. But we regard them for what they are: products of hybrid brain states. They can be spiritual in the sense that we can get profound feelings and insights but thats about it. No souls leave bodies and there are no Gods or dead people - only mental environments and dream figures.

September 2 at 11:35pm via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, as mentioned there are many spiritual/religious doctrines that say that our true nature is good. There are also spiritual doctrines that say free will is an illusion etc. A lot of atheists arguments against particular beliefs are valid. The problem is superficially lumping all religion together as false just because of some corrupted doctrines.

I think that punishment is prominent in secular laws for example fines, imprisonment and death. Is that not so?

I disagree with doctrines of an eternal hell.

You are considering yourself only as an animal but you are not understanding the nature of your awareness/consciousness. For materialistic scientists consciousness is a mystery. There is no evidence that a computer can ever become conscious/self aware in the way that you are aware of your own being. Many atheists believe such a thing is possible but that is only their faith influenced by the many propaganda films etc.

What you describe eg lucid dreams and out of body experiences are happening before a pure awareness which is you. That awareness is not derived from any combination of chemical elements.

You've made plenty of other interesting points and I can reply further later on if appropriate.

September 3 at 12:20am · Like · 2..


James Barton: Hi Keith, I think that those ancient cultures believed in the spiritual world and also understood to some degree the idea of oneness ie the totality of all life.

September 3 at 12:22am · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: Of course they (ancient cultures) believed in the spiritual world James. Thunder, lightning, the sun rising, tribal dispute, death... not to mention earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Must have been terrifying. I think that religion or spirituality as you describe was perhaps our first serious attempt at understanding the world, the first serious attempt at philosophy perhaps?

You have raised many interesting points here James so I will end this message on this one point.

September 3 at 12:45am · Edited · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Barton, you are assuming that consciousness is a thing that exists apart from the physical body. It's a bit bold of you considering that dualism is so outdated and cartesian materialism is fast proving to be inaccurate. Consciousness is still indeed a puzzle, but, as intellectuals like Susan Blackmore have pointed out, the problem may be in defining consciouness before we can solve it. You will not find evidence of a self anywhere in the body. You will, however, observe that the brain of a person who is awake differs greatly from that of a person who is deeply asleep and not dreaming. Other neurophysiological evidence suggests consciousness is a byproduct which arises epiphenomenally from matter. You also misunderestimate the complexity of the human brain - the most complex organ we know and the work of millions of years of evolution. But this isn't all. There is also a good chance that consciousness itself is an illusion. This is not to imply that it doesn't exist, just to say that it might not be what it seems. The Scottish philosopher David Hume spoke about bundle theory in that one cannot describe and object or thing without mentioning its properties. The used an apple as an example: the apple doesn't exist but what is really there are the properties. If you remove them the apple ceases to exist. Cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett extends this to include the self as a necessary abstraction. Dennett will say that the self is like a centre of gravity - its not really there and there is no such thing but it arises as an illusion. As you know, rocks and dust formed the Earth in space because such elements attracted each other to form a more massive object. The planet now seems to have a centre that pulls everything together but this is simply not true. It is very likely, and indeed quite a few experiments suggest that this could be the case about subjective experience especially when consciousness is so interrelated with memory. Don't just assume there is a ghost in the machine especially when it is nowhere to be found. Now, I don't know if we will ever produce a sentient robot or synthetic consciousness, to me it seems quite a challenge as it could mean having to recreate what nature did over such a long period of time, but even if we succeeded, how would we know? How do we know its not just a machine emulating human behaviour even with the Turing test? Also, we may not be as conscious as we think we are, it certainly comes in various degrees or the intensity of the illusion varies. As for secular laws and punishment, sure it's prominent with life in prison and death, but these laws don't say "you will burn in hell for all eternity" or "may God have mercy on your soul" or "you will be reborn to pay your karmic debt". As for the creeds that say we are perfect: they are simply deluded.

September 3 at 1:30am via mobile · Like · 2..


Keith Marten: You're on a roll tonight, Arlindo. Well done, but I cannot compete. Nice post though.

September 3 at 1:46am · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: To reiterate, don't be fooled by the illusion into thinking that you are a real spectator and things happen before you. There is no humunculus or little guy watching a screen inside your head - and you can immediately see why this would not explain consciousness, it would only aggravate it because you'd have to describe how tje little guy became conscious and the little guy inside him in his cartesian theatre ad infinitum. The same applies to the erroneous concept of a soul in vitalism or even erroneous monisms that claim consciousness is the quintessential of the cosmos. How is the soul conscious is we say that people are conscious because they have souls? It's no explanation. Not to mention that we can be largely unconscious whilst doing complex tasks (autopilot). Not to mention that you can believe you're a little black boy with a swollen belly in Ethiopia and completely buy it in a dream. Not to mention that you can forget who you are in certain cases of amnesia. Not to mention many people become a shadow of their former selves with dementia. Who are we? Just who do you think you are? From where I stand the only true self is nothingness - it's where we really came from and it is where we're headed.

September 3 at 1:54am via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: You better believe it, Keith. My brain is buzzing. Lol!

September 3 at 1:55am via mobile · Like..


Keith Marten: Goodnight Arlindo.

September 3 at 2:09am · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Descartes got it wrong when he said, "I think therefore I am." What he really should have said is this: I think I am. Lol! And that's the problem, isn't it? The minute our evolution stumbled upon a gestalt of higher order intentionalities and language the illusion inevitably arose and was strengthened overtime and hence the awareness of self concept. We are self-aware animate objects (most of the time).

September 3 at 2:14am via mobile · Like · 2..


Atheism - evidence and reason: Are you curious to know what consciousness is and is not? If so, then this is the talk for you. John Searle, one of the world’s great philosophers of mind and language, has spent fifty years thinking about it.

http://www.skeptical-science.com/science/consciousness-brain-john-searle-tedxcern

Consciousness & the Brain: John Searle at TEDxCERN
www.skeptical-science.com

Are you curious to know what consciousness is and is not? If so, then this is th...See More.

September 3 at 3:49am · Unlike · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Please can we all just freeze JULIUS out of this thread which is a really interesting discussion?

If you respond to him in any way ill get angry

Arlindo you've written some great stuff - and it is all consistent with what serious meditators know from their own experience.

There is no thing you can call 'self' - there are only shifting patterns that come and go and appear to be self like for a time.

But you only see this if you are paying really close attention. Even highly skilled meditators will fall back in to the sense of having a Me if they stop paying attention.

So you said that Buddhism is wrong because it says we are all deluded and shackled by desires.... but here you see it's not wrong at all - we all suffer from this self delusion.

And when you see through it, the impact in reducing your suffering is quite amazing.

It's also true to say we are shackled by desire, but again in a very specific sense. All desire has a down side - the downside is that when you don't get what you desire (which might be desire FOR something or desire for something like pain to go away) then you become miserable. You get in to a rolling vicious circle of reinforcing frustration or anger or despair, and thoughts of 'but I need this if I don't get it the world will end' take over and spiral out of control.... And we stop being happy.

This is the basic habit pattern of 99% of us 99% of the time.

But if you can learn to enjoy life and endure pain without sadness when the happiness fades or the pain comes- then you can live without the pain of frustrated desires, whilst still enjoying everything good in the world.

And actually the good becomes richer, more intense, more precious.

Finally you said enlightenment isn't real. Well, again, it depends on how you define it. If you mean become a saint, or be god made flesh, or be perfect, or something like that then I agree with you.

But if you mean 'has seen permanently through the self delusion and mastered the way of letting go of experiences and not desiring/clinging/rejecting/fighting them' - then that is definitely possible.

September 3 at 8:52am via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: You raise some great points and indeed Buddhism has its values. It is true that the less we look at the world based on our likes and dislikes the happier we'll be. But some take this great philosophy to the extremes. It should be used as a tool when necessary. But there is no Mara shackling you to rebirth and no punishment or karmic debt. Also, some people have urges so powerful that they are swayed into committing evil acts. It's part of their brain make up. Like serial killers. Anyway, great points raised. And post thanks for the video!

September 3 at 9:08am via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Personally i find it fascinating that modern science and philosophy is starting to crack the truth about the self illusion and free will etc...

.... but about 2,500 years later than people doing it subjectively investigating themselves through introspective meditation managed it.

Of course science will put flesh on the bones that no mediator could - the precise brain systems involved, the mechanisms and how neural plasticity makes all this possible.

But the fact remains that a scientist who intellectually knows the self is an illusion is in a vastly different position to a meditator who no longer HAS a self illusion. One knows some cool shit, and is still just as unhappy as he ever was. The other is happier than its probably possible to really grasp without having experienced it.

(Side note: One day science may work out a pill or surgery or something to accelerate the benefits of meditation - it's quite possible. They may also through brain scans and the like be able to develop meditation aids, like feedback devices, that can significantly accelerate meditation. Who knows! I know some meditation teachers like Shinzen Young are already re-framing meditation teaching and theory in ways that are consistent with cutting edge neuroscience.)

September 3 at 9:08am via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Well if you call the self delusion mara, then yes mara exists. It's just a word.

If by karma you mean 'all things have consequences' then yes karma exists too. Again it's just a word. (A much abused word!)

In what sense do you think meditative insight can be taken to extremes? What does that even mean?

September 3 at 9:11am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Well, when some Buddhists say you must refrain from certain things and must pursue the righteous path and then bring the many lives and karmic debt in the way they mean it. Like they know. Then again, there are different factions of Buddhism. Are you suggesting that we all become Theravadins? To me the whole thing seems like a hypocritical affair. It is still about the ego, you are still aiming to be happy or aiming to be in a better state of mind whilst claiming that isn't the goal. The goal is still Epicurean.

September 3 at 9:34am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: I have reached states of awareness where the observer seems to be absent. It provides the reminder of a diffetent perspective that you can retain for long and you can help but notice the bliss you feel upon reflection because it is different and thoughts don't weigh on your conscience. But I think it should only be used lightly as a tool in our workaday lives. When one avoids, and tries not to feel, or tries detachment all the time, one is missing out on the intensity of life. Explore your emotions without denial. No suppression. All religions are a recipe for disaster because they say this is the way and will discourage the individual from doing his own searching.

September 3 at 9:45am via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: I also very much dislike the word "karma". It does not exist in the way that is implied by Buddhists. It almost alludes to a judgemental agent behind the course of events, people's actions, and their intentions. If a soldier kills the enemy's child by accident it does not mean that later something similar will happen to his. Or even if it was intentional! There is cause and effect in the Newtonian sense but that does not compare with the religious idea.

September 3 at 9:52am via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Well ok - lets ignore all the reincarnation and karmic superstition. The basic point remains - we suffer from a self delusion, and are a victim of our inability to let go and accept that the present moment isnt as perfect as we would like it to be.

If you take THAT to an extreme, you are left with someone who suffers from no self delusion, does not make themselves unhappy with constant craving after impossibly perfect present moments - and is probably about as serenely happy as its possible for a human being to be.

So I can't see that as a negative "extreme" at all.

I don't know why you think happiness isnt the goal of meditation. More formally (philosophically formally if you like), the goal is the eradication of suffering - but this amounts to the same thing.

You say it's about the ego - and you're right in a way, although it sounds like you've misunderstood. Eradication of suffering is tightly tied to the breaking of the self delusion - i.e. the ego delusion.

So yes you can say you are being "ego-istic" by seeing to free your "self" from suffering and be fully happy instead... but there is a paradox here, because the solution to this problem ultimately isn't strengthening the ego further, it's the exact opposite - weakening it until it disappears.

September 3 at 10:01am · Like · 2..


Arlindo Batista: Wait, I never said meditation doesn't make people happy. I said it can be beneficial and can indeed bring bliss. But you can practice meditation without being a Buddhist. This goes back to the original post that all religions, Buddhism included, starts on the assumption that people are naturally bad and need salvation. For Buddhists, the ego is something that deserves eradication and the goal has to be Buddha nature. I disagree. You make up your own goals and do what you like. Meditation may be used as a tool to reduce stress. To Barton, I'd like to point out that the original post does allude to the fact that not everyone is humane and hence secular laws are put in place. Religion does not help.

September 3 at 10:12am via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: On consciousness, I don't believe in the hard problem. I think people aggravate the puzzle by expecting consciousness to be something it's not.

September 3 at 10:23am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Buddhism to me is a sordid affair potentially creating a legion of zombies or zombie wannabes.

September 3 at 10:29am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: You can also live by this philosophy: don't have high expectations but if the good stuff presents itself take it and enjoy it! Lol! I'm off to work guys. Nice talking to you!

September 3 at 10:34am via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Well, i'm not here to defend buddhism. I'm a meditator yes, but not a buddhist.

But for what its worth, i don't think buddhism (properly understood at least) says that people are naturally bad. Actually it says the opposite - that people have the innate capacity to be deeply compassionate, happy and fulfilled - but we are stopped from achieving that because of these delusions that evolution has left us with.

Because let's be clear - the self delusion is an EXTREMELY effective survival tool. Evolution stumbled on it and the human race has never looked back. But this particular survival tool is also profoundly unhelpful when it comes to being truly happy. Of course, evolution doesn't care about our happiness - unhappy people who successfully reproduce will always win out over happy people who are less good at reproducing.

If you think learning to see through these delusions leaves you in some way a zombie than you really have profoundly misunderstood meditation.

Or maybe you haven't: you said "When one avoids, and tries not to feel, or tries detachment all the time, one is missing out on the intensity of life. Explore your emotions without denial. No suppression."

Ironically this sentence both misunderstands and then understands what meditation should be. The first part is the opposite of proper meditation: "tries not to feel", and "avoids"? That is what Anders Brievik abused meditation for, as did Samurai warriors - and look what happened:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/may/22/anders-behring-breivik-meditation

The way you meditate so that you DON'T just "detach and miss out on the intensity of life" is exactly what you said next: "Explore your emotions without denial. No suppression." This is is PRECISELY what proper meditation is - it is not at all about suppression, it is 100% about full experiencing.

So this is how you meditate seriously without becoming a zombie. You meditate on your own experience without suppressing it one iota. This is very, very difficult to do, because we have some extraordinary self-defence mechanisms (literally! they defend the self delusion) that exist purely to stop us experiencing everything that goes on inside us. The less self-reflective you are, the better primeval hunter you are I guess! But you can get through that stuff.

And what is left is the true intensity of living. So if you want to experience life at 100% bandwidth - then you need to start meditating and learn how. It doesn't come fitted as standard - you need to upgrade yourself....

Anders Behring Breivik used meditation to kill – he's not the first | Vishvapani Blomfield
www.theguardian.com
Vishvapani Blomfield: The Norwegian mass murderer meditated to numb his emotions. The effect of any practice depends on our values.

September 3 at 11:27am · Edited · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: "Stuart Valentine Please can we all just freeze JULIUS out of this thread which is a really interesting discussion?"........Point taken Stuart and it appears to have worked. But it is difficult to ignore him particularly when he posts so many falsehoods without a shred of evidence. As he has on this very thread. And maybe just maybe he serves a useful purpose in that his sneering and childlike condescension shows up the fatuous nature of religious belief for those that are beginning to move away from faith themselves. Which considering I wanted him blocked from this page and am probably guilty of engaging him on numerous and fruitless occasions, and have allowed myself to become as angry and insulting as him none of which are, obviously, the way forward. But having thought about it I have come to (the admittedly subjective) conclusion that he serves a useful purpose for this side of the religious divide. As outlined above

September 3 at 3:13pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: Who is Julius? What is Julius?

September 3 at 2:35pm · Like · 2..


Stuart Valentine: Here is a Zen Koan for you: What is the sound of Julius talking sense?

September 3 at 5:07pm · Like · 2..


Arlindo Batista: You are not wrong in what you said Stuart. But don't misunderstand me. My attack wasn't on meditation when I made the zombie comment. I was attacking Buddhism itself. It has this code that people must follow and tells people to abstain from certain things. I also mentioned wannabes. Many Buddhists will have a holier than thou air about them, like they are trying to act wisely like Mr. Charismatic Buddha - and it's not them. Meditation is fine and can influence one's behaviour in a positive way, but it's a tool no more effective than exercise. I also think its overrated or hyped. There seems to be a pop cult about it these days and not too dissimilar to the whole astral projection shebang.

September 3 at 10:49pm via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, you say "don't be fooled by the illusion into thinking that you are a real spectator and things happen before you."

In my view there cannot be any illusion without an awareness perceiving it. Therefore as soon as you admit to illusion then you are also standing up for the awareness.

The symptoms you describe eg dementia and amnesia etc are all consistent with the spirit/brain interaction being disrupted somehow. Although the physical brain is complex it is in my understanding merely a biological computer and 'radio' interface. Now if you damage a radio in certain ways then the signal will be disrupted wont it? In a similar way if you damage a brain its computer and 'radio aspects' may also be affected. All the brain related things that scientists study are merely outer symptoms of the relationship between spirit and the material brain.

The most advanced computer is no more conscious than a simple calculator. The kind of software designed to fool us into thinking it is sentient is merely emulating the outward appearances of a conscious being. Software is merely lines of code and definitely not conscious. In the same way human DNA is also like computer code. It is made up from chemicals which are combinations of insentient atoms.

"How do we know its not just a machine emulating human behaviour even with the Turing test?" That's the point, we may find it hard as outsiders to tell if a computer is conscious or not judging by its output however we can be absolutely sure that we ourselves are conscious. In any case we also know that lines of computer code are not conscious at all.

"There is no humunculus or little guy watching a screen inside your head - and you can immediately see why this would not explain consciousness, it would only aggravate it because you'd have to describe how tje little guy became conscious and the little guy inside him in his cartesian theatre ad infinitum."

No one is saying that there is a little guy inside your head watching a screen. My view is that your true nature is awareness itself and that awareness is primordial, eternal.

Materialists believe that matter was first from which consciousness arose. The opposite view of this is that conscious being(s) was first and that matter arises within it. Another view is that matter and awareness are co-eternal. So looking at it from this perspective it is not such a definite scientific fact that matter came before awareness is it? Especially as scientists see awareness as a mystery ie they are ignorant of it in so many ways. It is not so absurd to hold the view that awareness is something completely unique and distinct from matter and energy and that therefore awareness may have been prior to matter or co-eternal with it.

" From where I stand the only true self is nothingness - it's where we really came from and it is where we're headed."

Yes, the true self is nothingness that is it is not a 'thing'. It is beyond existence and non-existence. Awareness is not a thing.

Interestingly the laws of mathematics share some similar properties. Mathematics is sometimes called the queen of the sciences because it is independent, it is the unchanging foundation of all the other sciences.

For biology there needs to be chemistry but there can be chemistry without biology. For there to be chemistry there needs to be physics but there can be physics without chemistry. For there to be physics there needs to be mathematics but mathematics does not need physics. Mathematics/number properties are inherent to reality and even if there was hypothetically no matter or none to perceive the mathematical truths they would still be latently true.

Mathematical truths were not created by any god nor did they form in any big bang. They are eternal and unchanging. They have no substance and cannot be called things and yet they can be discovered. In that respect we cannot rightly say that they exist or that they don't exist: they transcend both existence and non existence, they are all pervading and yet nowhere.

Mathematical statements on the intellectual level are like conceptual maps. Yes we can create and manipulate various conceptual maps yet the 'territory' is not affected. Mathematical truths are not reliant on whether we are aware or unaware of them or whether we have right or wrong views about them: they are simply true.

Once we grasp this then we are then in a better position to realize that concepts themselves arise from mathematics. Just as there is a periodic table of chemical elements there is also a 'periodic table' of simple conceptual elements from which all more complex concepts/conceptual strings arise via permutation. So, in effect there is an eternal and universal Language from which all our earthly languages are but fragments and froth.

September 3 at 11:59pm · Like..


James Barton: I agree with admin that this is worth watching:
http://www.skeptical-science.com/science/consciousness-brain-john-searle-tedxcern
He explains some of the distortions in science trying to sidestep consciousness as it seems to (and indeed does) contradict the materialist world view. However he is not really understanding that it is pure unchanging awareness that is illuminating the subjective conscious experiences that he is trying to understand. In contrast to this certain mystics and wise spiritual people have known such things for thousands of years.

Consciousness & the Brain: John Searle at TEDxCERN www.skeptical-science.com Are you curious to know what consciousness is and is not? If so, then this is th...See More.

September 4 at 12:25am · Like · Remove Preview..


Arlindo Batista: I did not resonate with that video at all. He is trying to refute every view but does not provide a coherent one himself. He has also ignored the vast evidence that people like Susan Blackmore and Dennett have gathered in support of consciousness been illusory. Moreover he kept saying about thinking about moving an arm and it moves. The feeling that we are the authors has proved to be an illusion and predetermined by other causes is our apparent will. Not once did he touch upon the incoherent concept of free will. He offered his water analogy which is somewhat valid, the liquidity in H20 is a condition and consciousness may be somewhat like it. But what is wet if not an illusion? You can be sure that the atoms that constitute water are not wet! Another thing, Barton. You either say that there is a spirit which powers human bodies and causes them to be conscious (which there isn't as no such thing is found and certainly would not explain consciousness) or you say that nonconscious matter can be in such a state as to produce subjectivity (my gravity analogy is very fitting). You can't have both, my friend. You are starting from an unfounded premise and assume it to be true. For vitalism to work you would need this 'spirit' to be something tangible and physical - and thus measurable like electricity. Again, that is not the case. Human beings never existed prior to the formagion of the Earth and were most certainly not conscious. Human consciousness did not exist then. Nonconscious matter precedes consciousness. I have mentioned earlier that Descartes' dualism is not viable, the monism that takes the universe to be essentially made od spirit is not viable, and cartesian materialism is not viable either. The reason why I included the latter is due to the fact that your view kinda borrows its theatre-spectator scenario. If you assume there is a spectator that can have its view impaired when a brain is damaged you have failed to explain consciousness. Simply saying consciousness is real because there is a spirit is not explaining jack. Or saying consciousness is real because there is a self is also another fallacious argument. How is the spirit conscious (and note that in here you are trying to explain the function of something you are not even sure exists). Or how is the self conscious. This is similar to creationists saying the we exist because God made us, which, of course, is no explanation. Barton, I suggest you digest some David Hume and look into his bundle theory. You may also look into mathematician Bertrand Russell and what he thinks of Hume. Just because mathematics appears to precede everything, and is universally intrinsic, does not mean that consciousness is the same.

September 4 at 11:06am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: The pure unchanging awareness is bollocks to me. If you are unconscious, there is no awareness of anything. It's bollocks.

September 4 at 11:08am via mobile · Like..


Keith Marten: Is it not that consciousness or being able to think is just a material fact unique to humans? A truly fantastic evolutionary product of neurons buzzing in our brains. There is no mysticism. When we sleep, that consciousness manifests itself in dreams. Interesting posts gentlemen.

September 4 at 1:37pm · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Exactly. The problem of consciousness is not as great as what people make it out to be. There is some great work being done on the neural correlates of consciousness already and the integrated information theory is not a bad one. There is also a great book by Norretranders called "The User Illusion," where some interesting points are made. I feel that some people find it convenient to perpetuate certain puzzles and love the usage of the word "mystery." Many would rather have consciousness unsolved to allow room for their fantasies.

September 4 at 1:54pm via mobile · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Arlindo, you said "Meditation is fine and can influence one's behaviour in a positive way, but it's a tool no more effective than exercise."

Well, it depends what you mean by effective - effective at what? Meditation is useless for training muscles. And exercise does have mental benefits but nothing like as profound as meditation does.

So you say meditation is overhyped - with respect, the only people who say that are people who have never meditated properly.

Your zombie comments about Buddhism don't make much sense to me. You pretty clearly linked 'zombies' with 'deliberately not feeling things' - which i refuted as a misunderstanding of what meditation (and buddhism) is.

But now you are linking zombies to having a moral code and having things you should abstain from. How does abstaining from harming yourself or harming others mean you are a zombie?! It just means you are less selfish!

I quite agree that people who (try to) live by a moral code (or have strong opinions that people should try to, even if they personally suck at it) very often have a holier-than-thou attitude. That is simple arrogance - and immediately shows that they are not as moral as they think they are, because looking down on others in that way is profoundly ego-driven.

But I think we have to admit that some people ARE actually holier (in the positive sense) than others.... some people genuinely are more ethical, less selfish, less egoistic, more compassionate etc. And meditation is one of the biggest (in my view by far THE biggest) tools for transforming yourself from a not-very-good person in to a very-very-good person.

Everything you are saying about consciousness though is spot on in my view.

September 4 at 2:07pm · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: To see a radical transformation using meditation alone years and years of experience are required and in the end you only reach a set of habitual behaviours that have become natural to you through experience and practice. It is the same with exercise. It is the same with learning a musical instrument. But it does not make you 'holier'. It merely makes you and expert at a particular thing. Someone like Hitchens abused his body with alcohol and tabacco. He harmed himself but, in fact, it's what kept him going in his career and he wouldn't have changed a thing even as he was dying with cancer. People go about things in different ways and can still be great. Had he been a devout Buddhist he wouldn't even have bothered with debates. It is true that meditation can be a great tool, but there have been some geniuses who hardly meditated and got great insights from mere dreams. Now, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't meditation about focusing on as little as possible? The less thoughts the better, let alone dreaming. I'm just making the point to you that meditation isn't a solution to everything and certainly not everyone can practice (some cases of mental illness are examples). Meditative states, by the way, have been compared to the state you're in after a good work out. On the most profound occasions, you can also skip the training and hit the jackpot with psychedelics -as it also happened to me. I have done it with and without. In the end it is just an experience that may or may not influence you to a great extent.

September 4 at 3:26pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: You also seem to misunderstand my zombie analogy or you deliberately twisted what I said. Buddhists have a code they abide by but it is precisely this that turns them into zombies, and thus less human, for a number of reasons. They are discouraged to think for themselves and do not live life to the full. Many lead monastery lives and do not have responsibilities such as family life. They miss out on its richness and deny themselves a range of emotions and challenges. They seek nirvana but in the end death is surely it and everyone ends up dead. And no Buddhist or meditator in the world is free of desire, that I guarantee you. Every monk has a desire to get to his temple and meditate. The Shaolin developed their Kung Fu to defend themselves and protect their monasteries. Richard Gere feels the urge to praise the Dalai Lama while this one is curious about science but is still enamoured with beliefs of other realms and "good/bad karma." It's a big circus. In the end, as the Buddha himself mentioned, you can try to live by this philosophy, but, if you feel it's not for you, drop it. Such humble statement is a far cry from what is claimed today by Buddhist factions. Buddhists are not holier and meditation couple with whatever religious precepts is not the only solution and certainly not a solution to all.

September 4 at 3:42pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: As Christopher Hitchens put it about Buddhists, they desire to "put their reason to sleep and discard their minds along eith their sandals."

September 4 at 3:57pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: I will agree with the Buddha when he says that you only lose what you cling to. Well, bottom line is to learn about acceptance. But we must also embrace this opportunity. The opportunity of life.

September 4 at 4:06pm via mobile · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Arlindo,

Well, you said a lot of stuff that is just plain wrong! I get the distinct impression you've got a bit of a prejudiced view of meditation, and/or don't understand it very well - certainly what you are describing bears almost no resemblance to what I do every day.

"But [meditation] does not make you 'holier'." Well, it DOES make you 'holier', or at least it does if what you are practicing is developing 'holy' attributes like compassion, love, selflessness..... exercise makes you stronger physically... compassion meditation makes you more compassionate etc. Exercise doesn't make you more compassionate! Almost nothing does that (in terms of things you can do deliberately and systematically)... but meditation can. Meditation can make you less selfish, more generous, braver, emotionally stronger, happier.... so given that, i think you are just wrong to say "meditation does not make you holier". It definitely can, if you know what you are doing.

"It merely makes you and expert at a particular thing." Precisely - and that thing can be (and should be) being a better person. Exercise doesn't make you a better person. Meditation can. So the use of the word 'merely' here is a bit dismissive....

"Had [Hitchens] been a devout Buddhist he wouldn't even have bothered with debates." Where on earth did you get this idea?! If you know anything about Tibetan Buddhism for instance you would know they spend hours every day debating lol. This is utterly utterly wrong. Meditation/buddhism does NOT make you indifferent, uncaring, lacking passion, zombie like, or any of that - all wrong.

"Now, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't meditation about focusing on as little as possible?" Totally totally wrong. You definitely don't properly understand what meditation actually is if you think this. I can focus on and be simultaneously aware of more of my moment to moment experience than you would probably believe possible.

"The less thoughts the better, let alone dreaming." Wrong. See above. It's about changing the RELATIONSHIP with your thoughts, not about trying to get rid of them or not have any.

"Meditative states, by the way, have been compared to the state you're in after a good work out." That is true to a point yes - only meditative states can go far far deeper. But think about how great that feels when you are exercising and in the zone. Only when you meditate, you can learn to be "in the zone" like that ALL THE TIME.

"[Buddhists] are discouraged to think for themselves and do not live life to the full." What?! Where are you getting this from? If you mean when buddhism goes full ball religion that it shuts down debate then yes, all religions do that. But that is emphatically not true of meditation - meditation gives does the total opposite in fact. Thoughts that scare religots away from questioning deeply held beliefs become easy to ask, and you live life to the full in a way that non-meditators can only access sporadically (like your example of intense exercising, or other intense experiences of being alive such as lovemaking, or in nature suddenly you have an intense experience etc).

"And no Buddhist or meditator in the world is free of desire, that I guarantee you." You might actually be wrong about that too. You may find that unbelievable, but that doesn't make you right. Although it comes down to what you mean by desire - the question is whether you can let go of what you desire or not. Can you allow yourself to be attracted towards something and yet not have the *slightest trace* of dissatisfaction that you don't have it, or had it and now lost it? Can you experience pain and yet not have the *slightest trace* of wishing that the pain would go away? Total acceptance of your present moment like that IS possible.

September 4 at 4:27pm · Edited · Like..


Stuart Valentine: You can quote Christopher Hitchens all you like, but he didnt understand meditation any more than you do

The guy was an amazing man, but he didn't know everything about everything....

September 4 at 4:37pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: What you have demonstrated is that there are conflicting Buddhist factions and many inconsistencies within Buddhism. Nothing more. Many Theravadins, for example, would regard Tibetans as not practising Buddhism the right way. Also, a debate requires passion and a desife to get your point across. You also seem unable to separate Buddhism and meditation. Like I said about meditation, it is a tool that is not applicable to all and certainly not a 'holy' solution. If you attempted to try your Buddhist philosophy with the Nazis during thd Holocaust, it would not have worked. Your pacifism would only facilitate their moves and would not influence them away from their goals. Like I said, there seems to be a pop cult out there that hypes Buddhism.

September 4 at 4:42pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: You have also taken my comparison between meditation and exercise too literally and missed the point I made. And you also use the old tactic of accusing the person of not understanding something if that something does not have the same effect or impact that it had on you. I think we'll just have to leave if here, mate. Buddhism is just a set of precepts that addresses the human mind on some levels and upholds meditation but it's not the end all.

September 4 at 4:48pm via mobile · Like..


Stuart Valentine: "Also, a debate requires passion and a desife to get your point across." Again, you are still not understanding. meditation does NOT leave you without passion.....

"If you attempted to try your Buddhist philosophy with the Nazis during thd Holocaust, it would not have worked." It's not "my" buddhist philosophy, i'm not a buddhist. And this is a nonsense claim anyway - what are you saying, that talking to Nazis about karma wouldnt have helped? no doubt you're right. If you're saying that if all the Nazis meditated nothing would have happened differently, then i think you are totally wrong - you only have to look at the research to see what a profound impact it has on behaviour including ethical behaviour. Where is YOUR evidence?!

"Your pacifism would only facilitate their moves and would not influence them away from their goals." I'm not a pacifist either. Neither is the Dalai Lama. You really don't know what you are talking about here.

"Like I said, there seems to be a pop cult out there that hypes Buddhism." I agree, but so what?

September 4 at 4:53pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: By the way, who doesn't have the desire to move and do something upon awakening? What human being doesn't feel the natural urge to move, eat, drink, and engage in an activity of some sort? No amount of meditation will prevent you from getting bored. The mind may have everything but the body has its needs and we are still puppets.

September 4 at 4:53pm via mobile · Like..


Stuart Valentine: "What you have demonstrated is that there are conflicting Buddhist factions and many inconsistencies within Buddhism. Nothing more."

How did you get to this? Which inconsistencies are you talking about? There is plenty of disagreement on surface supernatural doctrines and all of that nonsense, but not when it comes to meditation and the insights which it brings - there is different language used and differences in precise meditation technique but the experience and the benefits of it are just the same.

You seem to have a set view of this subject which is impervious to argument and evidence from someone who actually knows what he is talking about.

September 4 at 4:57pm · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Buddhism is just another religion that has been exploited in a number of ways and gives certain narcissistic individuals the excuse to exercise their holier-than-thou attitude. It has its extremists and its moderates. It has also been used as an excuse for war and military action. It is hypocritical to say Islamic moderation insidiously provides fertile ground for dangerous fanaticism whilst holding a different stance on Buddhism. What may be attracgive now may not be so later. Tell me, Stuart, do you consider yourzelf to be enlightened if you have taught yojrself to be in the zone all the time? If your answer is "no" then how could you possibly know that it is possible to be in such a zone all the time? Think about your answer as well as yojr desire to win this argument. Be aware of that.

September 4 at 5:04pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Apologies for the typos*

September 4 at 5:08pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Nothing is 'holy' (really dislike this word) or wholly is you will. It implies a limit that one cannot go beyond and this alone is a recipe for disaster as people can have bad judgements about what is good, bad, sufficient and insufficient. In our mediocre mammalian condition, we are not in a position to make such tall claims.

September 4 at 5:17pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista I don't doubt that you may have had profound meditative experiences, Stuart, but your state of mind now is not the same as it was then. The experience is now a memory which, at this very moment in time, as you debate with me, is not as effective as you would hope it to be. If you disagree, I dare you to concede that you have lost the argument in your enlightenment. See if you can without feeling down, depressed, regretful and like you need to say a few more things to get your point across. See if you can shed your ego on this one. I certsinly won't because, contrary to what Buddhists would say, I love my ego and I'm quite happy this way. Plenty of time to be silent when I'm dead.

September 4 at 5:26pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Then again, you could just do as I say to prove a point. Lol! This reminds me of the "selfless good deed" episode of Friends. The same applies to the free will argument. Brain states and urges dictate.

September 4 at 5:39pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: I think Julius gave up.

September 4 at 5:40pm via mobile · Like · 2..


Stuart Valentine: I think you think you are setting me challenges i can't hope to meet, without conceding that I have an ego, or am not enlightened, or whatever.

Well, your premises are flawed.

I am not saying Buddhism is great - Buddhism the religion is fucked up. Just look at Sri Lanka, look at Burma/Myanmar.

What I am saying is that the meditative practices that buddhism (amongst many other traditions) teaches, are immensely valuable.

And speaking for myself, the fact that meditation is now being properly researched, and taught and practised by people who have NO religious axe to grind (like me - I am an utterly convinced atheist), is absolutely fantastic - because the religious trappings are pointless, whereas the meditation part is the opposite of pointless.

You say my state of mind is not the same now as when im in a deep meditative state. And that is obviously true. But what is ALSO true is that my general state of mind, my normal baseline state of mind these days is, compared to what it was like before i meditated seriously as a part of my daily life, is:

1) More energetic
2) More compassionate
3) More balanced
4) More relaxed and less anxious
5) More enthusiastic and passionate
6) Less selfish
7) Less ego driven

These are simple facts, and they are not personal to me, they have been *proven* to be the case in *peer reviewed academic research* in *serious meditators in general*.

You keep confusing having no or little ego with being silent, having no opinions, no passions, no drive - you are wrong wrong wrong on this.

You also strongly imply that the only reason for me having this debate with you is that I have an ego-need to "win" the debate.

But that's not why im doing it. I'm doing it because I genuinely want you to consider the possibility that you are actually quite badly misunderstanding what meditation is all about - because I know from the *academic research* as well as my personal experience that it could be as profoundly beneficial to YOU as it is to me.

So you could say my motivation for debating this with you is compassion and good will, not ego.

"I dare you to concede that you have lost the argument in your enlightenment. See if you can without feeling down, depressed, regretful and like you need to say a few more things to get your point across. See if you can shed your ego on this one. I certsinly won't because, contrary to what Buddhists would say, I love my ego and I'm quite happy this way."

You dared me, so. I haven't lost any argument - if you think I have then you (still) don't understand. But I can quite happily concede I could still be wrong, and yes, without feeling depressed, or feeling a need to say a few words more to "win" or anything like that. I HAVE shed my ego on this one.

You love your ego and you are quite happy that way.... let me rephrase that for you. You love your ego and you THINK you are quite happy that way... but actually you are only sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy - and you could be so much happier than that!

But you haven't developed the ability to be introspective enough to see for yourself how ego makes you dissatisfied on a very deep level. This sentence probably makes no sense to you - but that doesn't make it false. The human condition is the human condition, and you are human....

As you've already said, the self is an illusion. So what do you think are the consequences for the human mind when it has to continuously fight to maintain this illusion, instead of just letting go of it?

September 4 at 7:00pm · Edited · Like..


Keith Marten: We, as humans, can indeed be extremely introspective without resorting to meditation. The idea of karma, meditative thought, that many young and old, generally white, middle class westerners flock to Tibet and which the likes of the self-proclaimed 14th Holy Man profit from is an attractive proposition. A very interesting debate though. Thanks.

September 4 at 7:11pm · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Keith - yes we can be introspective without meditation.

But that is like saying we can be physically fit without going to the gym. It's both trivially true and totally misleading.

The introspection you can develop without meditation is a molehill compared to the mountain you can develop with meditation.

And why is that? Quite simply because meditation in a nutshell IS introspection, but done systematically, deliberately, repeatedly, with real skill and understanding, and in a disciplined and focused way.

So it is better for all the same reasons that a well designed gym regime is better for superb physical fitness than just relying on "life" - you take the basic idea (exercise) and then do it systematically, deliberately, skilfully, and with discipline and focus.

And as you would expect, the results you get are dramatically better.

I agree there is a superficially attractive new age sort trend at the moment - but this is superficial, trivial stuff. 95% of these middle class westerners have no clue what they are doing, and wouldnt know proper meditation if it hit them in the face.

September 4 at 7:35pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: My meditation solely derives from listening to friends chatting and laughing, chilling out to a favourite song, sharing a joke. Is there really any need for a prescribed version. I have some very close friends who share your philosophy Stuart so am not trying to be deliberately antagonistic. Again, enjoyed the posts and the reason why I subscribe to this forum.

September 4 at 8:12pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: A man trying to convince another man that he is not happy is never a good sign. As I said before, meditation can be a beneficial tool to some. Usually, those who pursue meditation have a desire to improve themselves and it is not a bad thing, of course, but it stinks when they try to say it's a selfless act. One must also be careful in claiming that meditation alone is tesponsible for profound behavioural changes whilst excluding external occurrences or even the enticement of a delusion to be enlightened. Let me also rephrase what you said above, Stuart: you may also THINK that you are less selfish, more cmpassionate and a better person in general when it may not be so. Goes back to what I said about Descartes' cogito ergo sum. He should have just said: I think I am...

September 4 at 8:19pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: That's what I was trying to say, Arlindo. Spot on. I'm out of my league here! (only one exclamation mark NB. Julius if you're watching).

September 4 at 8:26pm · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: I'm off to drink coffee and watch Breaking Bad. Heisenberg is enlightened in his own way. Lol!

September 4 at 8:40pm via mobile · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Bear with me here Arlindo as I am not sure where I'm going with this. But I thought that the phrase "I think therefore I am" was a recognition of our sentient self and our ability to be conscious not only of our own existence (and our demise) but also conscious of the external world as a material reality.And we achieve that through a process of rational thought and a physical experience of the material world. If that is the case (and I'm not sure it is) then the use of the phrase "I think I am" excludes physical experience from the sum total of human consciousness and thus reduces human experience of a physical reality to merely a phase in which all rational thought can be replaced by reducing the totality of of human experience of the physical world.

September 4 at 9:17pm · Edited · Like..


Cameron Spence: Some of the most atheistic regimes (under Stalin, Pol Pot etc.) have been perpetrated some of the most horrific crimes against humanity, mass murder and indoctrination. There is something in us that in most cases tell us right from wrong (our conscience) but unfortunately people often ignore it. A Christian perspective would suggest that this conscience is God-given, part of His image in us. All humans are capable of great good, and also great evil.

September 4 at 9:56pm · Like..


Cameron Spence: forgot to add, said with respect, just putting a point of view.

September 4 at 9:56pm · Like..


Keith Marten: You cannot post a comment like yours and expect respect Cameron. The crimes that the political leaders you mention were indeed associated with those who refuted religion. Unlike our friend Hitler, who was feted by the Catholic Church. Their policies and actions were not carried out in the name of atheism however. Do some research.

September 4 at 10:11pm · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: Cameron this is an old argument and it has been debated ad nauseum, it has also been refuted ad nauseum. What you are presenting is a fallacious argument used as a tool by the religious to level the historical playing field, as it were. As in all debates at some point someone will raise the issue of the crimes committed in the name of religion and they are many, from the Yahweh inspired massacres in the OT to the inquisition to the Holocaust etc etc. Thus in order to establish an equilibrium the former communist states are used because the leadership were communists and thus de facto atheists, But what they don't do is look at the political motivation which was the primary concern of the likes of Stalin, and Pol Pot etc. Thus if you wish to argue that what motivated their actions was their atheism then you have to willfully ignore their politics and then you have to prove a causal link between a lack of belief in a god and a predisposition to oppression and an aversion to democracy, and at one and the same time morally justify the crimes committed in the name of religion. It is no more than the logical fallacy of "tu quque" or "you too" and it deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

September 5 at 12:53am · Edited · Like · 2..


Arlindo Batista: Valid point, Belcher. I'll have to re-read your previous one too. I'm so tired it just went over my head. Lol!

September 5 at 12:54am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Cameron, we are dying of tedium. Goodnite.

September 5 at 12:55am via mobile · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Ok Arlindo no problem and it's Jeremy BTW.

September 5 at 1:09am · Like..


Alexander Hamlyn-Hyde: @ Post - That's just how good humans can be without moral guidance... http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1505c16a-0ff2-11e3-99e0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2gtFe8hJe...

Lunch with the FT: Shin Dong-hyuk - FT.com
www.ft.com

Shin Dong-hyuk looks as though having lunch with me is about the last thing in t...See More.

September 5 at 3:35am · Like..


Joseph Falcone: I am spiritual, not religious. Religion started as a way to explain 1) the unexplainable events (weather, natural disasters, etc) of the times and 2) what happens after death. The rest after that was men/women seeking authority

September 5 at 3:41am · Like · 1..


Tony Pretzello: Joe, The Bible doesn't say that. You cannot self interpret. Hope your well.

September 5 at 5:18am via mobile · Like..


Tony Pretzello: Remember folks, Atheism is a religion. Check the dictionary. Spiritualism is a system of beliefs.

September 5 at 5:20am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Do you even know what religion means?

September 5 at 7:26am via mobile · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Hi Keith no antagonism detected don't worry.

"My meditation solely derives from listening to friends chatting and laughing, chilling out to a favourite song, sharing a joke. Is there really any need for a prescribed version."

Well, yes. What you have said is like saying "my education comes from reading the odd book etc, so why go to school?" Or "I get exercise by walking I work so why go for a run or actually do proper training?"

The answer is simply - you don't HAVE to, but the benefits you get if you do are DRAMATICALLY better.

Equating everyday life with real meditation is like saying that sorting your personal finances is the same as theoretical physics.

September 5 at 7:44am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Jeremy, I re-read your post about Descartes' axiom and I guess I was being pedantic and referring to our thinking ability in the context of semantics. I exclude the word "therefore" to rule out his conclusive dualism and to make the following point: the self, or self-awareness, may have arisen as an illusion when we inevitably stumble upon the thought "I am." In a mental system that was growing complex and by the bye generating new concepts against old ones conceiving not only synonyms, but antonyms, too, the developing imagination and the sense required for survival inevitably led to a sense of self because the concept could simply be conceived. Hence the birth of such user illusion and the reinforcement of consciousness. So, literally, "I think I am." In this sentence, the first "I" identifies with the physical body and therefore refers to the primacy of matter, and the second "I" identifies with the sense of self which is illusory and an epiphenomenal byproduct.

September 5 at 7:47am via mobile · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: Here you go Tony several dictionary definitions of atheism and no mention of religion, this argument is just a product of the religious mindset which can't cope with the concept of a rejection of faith and the consequent lack of belief in a god. And thus need to reduce atheism to an idea they can cope with........http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-definitions.html

Atheism: Definitions of atheism
www.infidels.org
Atheism: Definitions of atheism.

September 5 at 9:13am · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Alexander Hamlyn-Hyde....Yet another attempt to equate North Korea and atheism and thus implies that a rejection of biblical morality necessarily leads to the oppressive nightmare of of the one party state. It is a vacuous cheap shot and comes from someone that is desperately clinging on to the concept that "you can't be good without god". Of course I could point out how the North Korean regime mirrors the monotheistic religions. There is a centralised text in Kim il Sung's "Juche" the founder of the state and the party and although dead is still General Secretary of the party and the "glorious leaders" are deified, glorified and exalted but I'm not that cheap. Now take a look at a few nations where democracy and lack of belief in a god sit happily side by side.........http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/us/28beliefs.html...

Beliefs - Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists - NYTimes.com
www.nytimes.com
Americans may believe that a society with little religion would be immoral. Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist, found the opposite in Denmark and Sweden..

September 5 at 2:26pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Arlindo,

I'm enjoying our debate Although you really have some preconceived ideas about meditation that aren't at all accurate.

"A man trying to convince another man that he is not happy is never a good sign."

Well I think you misunderstood me. What I meant was, whilst you may be happy with your ego as you are - you would be happiER if it was weaker. So continue to be only averagely happy if you want, by all means.

"Usually, those who pursue meditation have a desire to improve themselves and it is not a bad thing, of course, but it stinks when they try to say it's a selfless act."

I think this is very unfair. If one of the outcomes of serious meditation is that you become less selfish, more generous, more compassionate, more willing to help others, then it is surely quite reasonable to say that meditation is not entirely selfish, but that it has a fundamental selfless component to it. Of course it is fantastic for the individual too - but I never said it wasn't....

"One must also be careful in claiming that meditation alone is tesponsible for profound behavioural changes whilst excluding external occurrences or even the enticement of a delusion to be enlightened."

Again, I never said it was ALONE responsible. Just like running marathons isn't ALONE responsible for being in incredible physical condition (but it helps!!!!!). Same with meditation. As for enlightenment being a delusion - it depends what you mean by it. I don't think you know what you even mean by the word - and you clearly don't understand what *I* mean by the word.

"Let me also rephrase what you said above, Stuart: you may also THINK that you are less selfish, more cmpassionate and a better person in general when it may not be so."

But it is so. *Objectively* so. This isn't a matter of me having a deluded opinion of myself. How do I know this? Because other people tell me so. Because I can objectively see that I handle situations differently now. And because there has been *peer reviewed academic research* done demonstrating that serious meditators make different ethical decisions in games like the prisoners dilemma, for instance.

September 5 at 11:04am · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: "So continue to be only averagely happy if you want, by all means".

Have to pull you on that Stuart. One, I don't read the odd book and two, I can out run anyone of my own age.

Averagely happy though? If some wise fellow explained to me what this meant I would be none the wiser. Meditation works for you. Fine. I like to cook and read. Many choose faith because they are comforted by this but are compelled to join forums such as this to convince themselves in the pre-text of convincing others of their fantasies. I think you know where I'm going... . I'm not sure whether I do though.

September 5 at 1:55pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: "Scientists have an expression for hypotheses that are utterly useless even for learning from mistakes. They refer to them as being "not even wrong." Most so-called spiritual discourse is of this type. A faith that despises the mind and the free individual, that preaches submission and resignation, and that regards life as a poor and transient thing, is ill-equipped for self-criticism. Those who become bored by conventional "Bible" religions, and seek "enlightenment" by way of the dissolution of their own critical faculties into nirvana in any form, had better take a warning. They may think they are leaving the realm of despised materialism, but they are still being asked to put their reason to sleep, and to discard their minds along with their sandals." - Christopher Hitchens

September 5 at 3:39pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Buddhism still preaches the doctrine of atonement, reward or punishment, and the imposition of impossible tasks and rules.

September 5 at 3:40pm · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Arlindo, I said before Hitchens was a great man who simultaneously obviously didnt understand meditation, and you've found the perfect quote to illustrate that, so thank you.

Buddhism the religion preaches a lot of shit - but in case you missed it, this whole time i've been talking about *meditation* not Buddhism the religion.

Speaking for myself, I am not trying to escape materialism, or dissolve my critical faculties. Meditation can be abused like this - some people DO use it as an escape from life - but done properly meditation is about facing life full on and not blinking, not looking away, not avoiding it. It doesn't dissolve your ability to be rational - quite the opposite - it helps you clear away emotional distractions from your mind so you can be MORE rational, MORE clinical in your thinking, MORE focused so you can concentrate harder and longer and clearer.

I don't regard life as a poor and transient thing, and I am better equipped for real self-criticism and self-understanding than you could probably really understand, because you haven't done the thousands of hours of self-introspection that I have done.

Hitchens rightly says that most spiritual discourse is unfalsifiable and therefore "not even wrong". I entirely agree. But in case you missed it, I have referred multiple times to *peer reviewed academic research* in to the claimed benefits and effects of meditation.

So meditation is one (perhaps the only?) area of "spiritual" practice (if you want to use that word, not that I do) that actually can and does make falsifiable claims.

September 5 at 3:57pm · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: "Buddhism. Just as Christianity is sometimes thought to be a nicer, gentler religion than Islam, Buddhism is often cracked up to be the nicest of all. But the doctrine of demotion on the reincarnation ladder because of sins in a past life is pretty unpleasant. Julia Sweeney: 'I went to Thailand and happened to visit a woman who was taking care of a terribly deformed boy. I said to his caretaker, "It's so good of you to be taking care of this poor boy." She said, "Don't say 'poor boy,' he must have done something terrible in a past life to be born this way."' - Richard Dawkins; The God Delusion

September 5 at 3:52pm · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Keith,

"One, I don't read the odd book and two, I can out run anyone of my own age."

And you got that fit just by walking around, running for buses?

You got as educated as you are just by stumbling across books, with no purpose, no regularity, no focus, no aim in mind?

Of course you didn't. You went to school, university, where you read and studied deliberately, systematically, regularly, with skill and focus. If you can out run anyone your own age then you must have done plenty of running - deliberately, systematically, regularly, with skill and focus.

And just in the same way, if you take a deliberate, systematic, regular, skilled and focused approach to training your mind to be happier, better at concentrating, more compassionate etc, you will get the same dramatic results on your ability to modulate your internal life as a modern education has on your understanding of the external world.

"Meditation works for you. Fine. I like to cook and read." Except cooking and reading, as a matter of neuroscience, is never going to deliver the changes to the brain, the states of mind, the concentrative abilities, the compassion, the selflessness, the self understanding, that meditation can......

Meditation is not a hobby that can you just lazily say is basically the same as cooking or reading, we all have the things we like to do and that's all it is etc etc.

Again, that's like saying going to the gym is "just a hobby like cooking is". Except going to the gym is far more than that, because getting fit has a HUGE impact on many areas of your life, like mental health, energy levels, physical health, old age etc etc.

Some activities really are objectively better than others.

September 5 at 6:38pm · Edited · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Arlindo - by all means keep the anti-buddhist quotes coming - but what is the relevance of crazy buddhist dogmas to meditation?

September 5 at 5:04pm · Edited · Like..


Tom Hawkins: What a dreadful crock of shit. Love the word 'religiosity'. Its hard to know where to start. Probably it isn't worth the bother. You assume to know how religious people think. You don't know. Let go of your fear. You'll be better off for it.

September 5 at 9:54pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Tom Hawkins: Try and learn about religion, try to learn about it. There are billions of religious people around the world. Just humans, like you, but with a certain belief. You should be more tolerant, use your intelligence to try to understand why people are religious. You have a compulsion to condemn what you don't understand. That isn't a good thing.

September 5 at 9:43pm · Like · 1..


Tom Hawkins: Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindu's. There is deep and complex thought and intellligence that runs like a thread throughout all religious thought and belief. Over thousands of years. Go to any university in the land and you will find a theology department - full of bright, clever, thoughtful people. When you dismiss religion, you do you self a disservice. Also - some of your posts are so cheesy!

September 5 at 9:54pm · Unlike · 2..


Jeremy Belcher: "Tom Hawkins Try and learn about religion, try to learn about it." We do had you not noticed that we debate with the religious all the time and we reject it and will continue to do so.

September 5 at 11:48pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Stuart, for someone who has devoted a lot of time on meditation you seem to believe that almost every statement I post is aimed at you... hmmm

September 5 at 10:57pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: To Tom: This topic includes religion, I'm afraid. If you are not comfortable, don't come here. Simple. For centuries your people weren't very tolerant of my people. In fact, you were and still are animals. As for a compulsion to condemn what we don't understand...ha! Talk about the old pot calling the kettle black. I feel sorry for those whose minds have been corrupted from an early age and continue to be discouraged to think for themselves... and I distrust those who claim to know what God wants. They are the most manipulative.

September 5 at 11:04pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Finally, the original post asks us to do one thing: trust in humanity. We don't need celestial supervision especially when the cameras are not really rolling. We have the potential to be mature without threats or the promise of reward. We can feel empathy, compassion, love, and other valuable, inherent qualities.

September 5 at 11:13pm · Like..


Keith Marten: I reach a wonderful high Stuart after reading a good book, after cooking a lovely meal for friends. I don't need any existential factor to prove my state of happiness. Meditation is just as lazy an idea as completing a Sudoku puzzle. I reiterate, if it works for you , that's great. I prefer the hard and often uncomfortable reality.

September 5 at 11:44pm · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Meditation can indeed make someone calmer, more relaxed, focused, and psychologically benefit the individual in general. Nobody is disputing this even though he seems to think we are. But it is also true that you get individuals who are exceedingly remarkable and who have never meditated in their lives. Their brains just happen to be great without the effort. This is what I am trying to get him to understand. But he has expressed that holier than thou attitude which usually come from devout Buddhists who say meditation is a must and without it one pales in comparison. The preamble is usually this: I know what I am talking about and if you contradict it, you don't, because you have not dedicated as much time as I have to this exercise/sport.

September 6 at 12:09am · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: Excellent post Arlindo. We must disagree one day. Goodnight all.

September 6 at 12:17am · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: The transcendental part is bollocks though because you are really only accessing certain perspectives which are already innate or within your potential, even though some experiences may appear to be transcendental. But it is only the novelty of them coming to the fore that creates the transcendence illusion. Then, the aftermath brings excitement and gets us to thing highly of them. As we cherish the insights we may assign great importance to them, often undeservedly as the mind will further adorn the memory for the sake of beauty. Some even think there is objectively more to life than what materialism proposes and allow all manner of delusional thinking to overpower them, fancy or biased misinterpretations of their apparent epiphanies that they wish to cling to. We are used to having all the lights on in our mental home but all of a sudden, and for the first time (or rarely), we only have one of them on and that causes us to really pay attention to the clarity as the rest has suddenly disappeared in obscurity.

September 6 at 12:30am · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Goodnight, Keith!

September 6 at 12:46am · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Oh..... and Tom try and consult a dictionary then you won't make such a total uneducated prat of yourself ...religiosity'.......http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religiosity

the definition of religiosity
dictionary.reference.com
Religiosity definition, the quality of being religious piety; devoutness. See more..

September 6 at 1:37am · Edited · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: @ Tom please I implore you take your whining and whingeing about being misunderstood somewhere else. We have heard that "crock of shit" (to steal a phrase) so often now it has become mundane and tedious. The reality is we do understand you, it forms part of the reason why we reject religion and a delusional faith in an intangible and invisible god. Unless you have evidence of gods existence of course. So do you ?

September 6 at 1:22am · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: And Tom, I can't help this one: "The most extraordinary of all the things called miracles, related in the New Testament, is that of the devil flying away with Jesus Christ, and carrying him to the top of a high mountain, and to the top of the highest pinnacle of the temple, and showing him and promising to him all the kingdoms of the World. How happened it that he did not discover America, or is it only with kingdoms that his sooty highness has any interest?" - Thomas Paine; Age of Reason

September 6 at 1:25am · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Can I call you Tom Pain?

September 6 at 1:26am · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, regarding the video posted by admin about consciousness:
http://www.skeptical-science.com/science/consciousness-brain-john-searle-tedxcern
from atheist speaker: "John Searle, one of the world’s great philosophers of mind and language, has spent fifty years thinking about it"
you said:
"I did not resonate with that video at all. He is trying to refute every view but does not provide a coherent one himself."

The materialist atheist speaker has spend fifty years thinking about consciousness. He has realized the problems in the various atheist positions on the nature of consciousness and has come up with his own which you admit is not coherent itself. In my understanding also he has missed the essence of the subject and is not understanding the underlying awareness that illuminates consciousness. He is not even addressing it, only appearances or states of consciousness.

You say the guy is ignoring the "vast evidence" of Susan Blackmore etc pointing to consciousness being illusory. Well then what is all that vast evidence? I have listened to some of her lecture and read a bit about her but I have found no such evidence yet. It seems that she has completely misunderstood that pure awareness is the root of consciousness. Is it that she is claiming that various appearances within the field of awareness are illusory? If so then she is only repeating what mystics have being saying for thousands of years although she is missing the essential context.

How can there be an illusion without an awareness? It is self evidently not possible. Talking about illusions of consciousness that appear within awareness is completely different than saying that the awareness itself is an illusion. Can you see that?

"For vitalism to work you would need this 'spirit' to be something tangible and physical - and thus measurable like electricity. Again, that is not the case."

You are wrong that the spirit needs to be tangible and physical. That is your assumption, your faith, your belief: it is not a fact. In any case I will try and explain why the higher aspects of being cannot be detected/measured by the materialists' gross instruments. It is quite simple really. Can you tell me roughly the highest frequency that a materialist scientist can detect with his instruments? There is a limit is there not? Is that limit any indication that there are not much much higher frequencies beyond the capabilities of material instruments to detect? Of course not. As you know the higher the frequency the shorter the wavelength. So let us make a diagram which encompasses the absolute full range of theoretical frequencies and wavelengths from zero to infinity: http://www.virtuescience.com/frequencytriangle.html Now appreciate that the full range of frequencies detectable via 'modern' instruments is only a tiny window in the complete spectrum.

Your Spirit (which is no doubt completely different from the straw man/paper tiger that your current understanding is projecting onto It and then rejecting) is at the apex of the triangle. Between that spirit and the physical body is a ladder of frequencies-a microcosm of subtle bodies according to the esoteric sciences.

Now if we cannot detect these subtle realms and measure them scientifically with gross material instruments then how (apart from by deduction) do we know that they are there? Well the answer is that a few genuinely enlightened people have those higher aspects of themselves awakened and some have a very clear understanding of them. The only instruments that can detect the subtle are necessarily and logically just as subtle ie the higher senses of awakened beings. However such complex and esoteric concepts are not necessary in order to understand the reality of your own awareness.

Please consider that from your earliest memory till right up to the present moment your awareness has not changed. Just for the moment leave aside the periods you call unconscious. Every single waking moment of your life so many things have changed. Your body has grown, your emotions fluctuate. Thoughts pass before you. Your physical location has changed. Everything perceivable by your awareness may have changed but the background awareness itself has not changed it is simply and by definition simple (ie pure) awareness. Try as much as you like to think of a time when your awareness has changed and I should be able to explain that it is a perceivable 'object' that has changed not the simple awareness.

Let us now carefully consider the periods of unconsciousness. You say: "The pure unchanging awareness is bollocks to me. If you are unconscious, there is no awareness of anything. It's bollocks."

What you say sounds reasonable and valid but is there a way awareness could be continuous after all??

Imagine a radio receiving a signal. This special radio is not only receiving the signal and converting it into sound it is also recording the signal. Every varying change in the signal is being recorded. Now imagine that every night the radio receiver part is switched off for repair and recharging. The signal is still being transmitted but during those 7 hours there is no recording going on. When the radio again switches on in the morning there is a 7 hour gap in the recording. It may seem like that during that time the signal had stopped but actually it was unceasing-only the radio was not making memories of it.

In a similar way when the brain/bio-computer/receiver sleeps the consciousness retreats up the ladder of being to the astral worlds sometimes remembered as dreams. In deeper sleep the consciousness retreats even higher up the ladder of being to subtle levels that most people cannot comprehend. During those periods when the organic brain and possibly the etheric/astral aspects of the microcosm are shut down no 'gross' memories are recorded. There may be memories of these super subtle realms within the entirety of Being yet the everyday person will not be able to hear them due to the 'noise' and distractions of the impure mind. However a few rare beings have reported being continually at peace and continually aware whether they are physically sleeping or not.

Here is a question to and answer from someone I consider to be one of those rare awakened beings:

"Question: Does a jnani have dreams?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Yes, he does dream, but he knows it to be a dream, in the same way as he knows the waking state to be a dream. You may call them dream number one and dream number two. The jnani being established in the fourth state-Turiya, the supreme reality- he detachedly witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, as pictures superimposed on it.

For those who experience waking, dream and sleep, the state of wakeful sleep, which is beyond those three states, is named Turiya (the fourth). But since that Turiya alone exists and since the seeming three states do not exist, know for certain that turiya is itself turiyatitta (that which transcends the fourth)."

Consciousness & the Brain: John Searle at TEDxCERN
www.skeptical-science.com

Are you curious to know what consciousness is and is not? If so, then this is th...See More.

September 6 at 1:39am · Like · Remove Preview..


Stuart Valentine: Keith and Arlindo - I think we must be misunderstanding eachother.

Keith said: "I reach a wonderful high Stuart after reading a good book.... I prefer the hard and often uncomfortable reality."

First: Meditation isn't for reaching highs. Second: as i've said many times before, meditation done properly is ABOUT the hard and uncomfortable reality, its ABOUT facing that reality, understanding and perceiving that reality, and training yourself to ACCEPT that reality. You've both made a comment like this, basically saying that meditation is about escaping from reality not confronting it - you are 100% wrong, it is the exact opposite.

Arlindo said: "Meditation can indeed make someone calmer, more relaxed, focused, and psychologically benefit the individual in general. Nobody is disputing this even though he seems to think we are."

I don't think you are disputing this - but i do think you don't fully understand just how profound the changes are. It is not just "more relaxed" like sleep makes you more relaxed, or more focused like being on a roll makes you more focused. It is far far far deeper and more fundamental than that.

So the issue isnt that you dont think meditation is helpful - it's that you don't realise just how transformative it is. Hence the comparisons to things like cooking and reading and exercise (and sudoko?!!) - you wouldnt make these comparisons if you knew what you were talking about. It's like saying "going for a jog now and then" is essentially the same as "being a professional athlete". They are only the same in an utterly trivial sense.

"But it is also true that you get individuals who are exceedingly remarkable and who have never meditated in their lives. Their brains just happen to be great without the effort. This is what I am trying to get him to understand."

I understand this perfectly well. But it's not relevant. Some people are born with natural athleticism... but those people still benefit from going to the gym.

Likewise some people are born with amazingly strong innate concentration, or compassion, or whatever - and still THOSE people will benefit from meditation. As will everyone else.

No matter how good your concentration - meditation will improve it. No matter how good your empathy - meditation will improve it. No matter how good your ability is to accept the cold hard facts of reality, both internal and external - meditation will improve it. No matter how kind and happy you are - meditation will improve it.

"But he has expressed that holier than thou attitude which usually come from devout Buddhists who say meditation is a must and without it one pales in comparison."

I have?! Where? I'll apologise for it if I have. But I really don't think I have.

"The preamble is usually this: I know what I am talking about and if you contradict it, you don't, because you have not dedicated as much time as I have to this exercise/sport."

Well, that is within reason pretty fair enough, isn't it? You clearly know far more about philosophy than I do - if I say a bunch of misinformed ill-educated stuff, you would be quite within your rights to set me straight.

You have said a lot of misinformed stuff about meditation, and i've set you straight on all of it. If you don't accept what i'm saying that's up to you, but two things:

1) I AM an expert of sorts, because I've done a LOT of it, over many years. You haven't. I really do know from personal experience what I'm talking about. You clearly don't. 2) I've read some of the peer reviewed academic research on it, and you obviously haven't either.

You obviously seem to think you know a lot about this subject, but haven't actually said why you think that.

What ARE your sources for your views on meditation? You haven't said.

Whatever your sources are, they seem to have misled you in quite a number of ways, including the basics of what meditation even is!

I understand (and agree) that buddhism the religion has some stupid, some crazy, and some actually nasty doctrines - but that is irrelevant.

It seems to me that you've let your well-founded antipathy towards religion cloud your judgement on this subject.

Not EVERYTHING that has come out of religious traditions is bad. (I may get lynched by my fellow atheists for saying that, but its true...)

September 6 at 12:24pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: I certainly have not studied meditation Stuart and have no wish to (perhaps I should but my preference errs on the side of contemporary fiction). I do however respect your views especially as you find solace and strength from your practise. It's not really a case of understanding for me though. You interestingly point out that "So, you are agreeing with me whilst apparently thinking you are disagreeing with me...". I don't need to meditate then? Ergo.

September 6 at 12:08pm · Like..


Stuart Valentine: I find it odd that people can have no interest in trying something that has the potential to have such a profoundly beneficial impact on their life But each to their own!

Understanding what meditation is, or why it is helpful, obviously isn't the same thing as actually doing it, so..... less ergo and more no-go

September 6 at 12:37pm · Edited · Like..


Keith Marten: And I find it interesting how odd people are Stuart. We'll leave it at that. Respect. No-go for me though.

September 6 at 12:44pm · Like..


:Stuart Valentine Lol fair enough. Total respect, sir

September 6 at 12:47pm · Like · 2..


Arlindo Batista: Barton, your concept of pure awareness without consciousness is incoherent really. If nothing is conscious, no-one is aware. I have already asked you to look into bundle theory, David Hume and also the work of Daniel Dennett who has gathered an array of illusions that strengthen the theory. As for Blackmore, I haven't got time but she has written extensively about it and has also taken into account what Searle hasn't: the incoherent concept of free will. Like I said, the self is an illusion similar to a centre of gravity and evidence weighs in favour of consciousness being an epiphenomenal by-product of brain matter, and, apparently I might add, might not be what it seems (hence why its illusory). You will also need to take into account that before we can solve consciousness, this one needs to be properly defined. It is tied to reportability and memory. All of this, I can assure you, is not and argument from faith or belief, I'm merely declaring where the evidence points at. I'll tell what is belief-centric: to predicate that the universe is intrinsically aware or that consciousness is the quintessence. This is as faulty as vitalism and there is no evidence for it whatsoever. The last Christian scientist to try to prove our immortality, Duncan McDougal, became a laughing stock with the 23 gram fiasco.

September 7 at 12:29am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Oh, something else I wanted to ask you, Barton: do you think a rock is aware of anything?

September 7 at 12:31am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Also, if a soul is something of another frequency, why on earth would it not interact with our measuring equipment and yet influence the human body so strongly? After all, when it comes to something like, say, sound, machines can detect frequencies that escape the human range of perception. Your reasoning is flawed, Barton. Take your New Age elsewhere.

September 7 at 12:36am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Stuart, if meditation works for you, good. I've had my fair share. These days I'm more into lucid dreaming for artistic insight. By the way, I never said everything that comes out of religion is bad. Christmas is a great tradition and brings families together. There.

September 7 at 12:45am via mobile · Like · 1..


Keith Marten: Good to see you back Arlindo. I was about to turn in, and eat the last of the pickled onions in the cupboard.

September 7 at 12:45am · Like · 2..


Arlindo Batista: Oh, and Barton, you say I make arguments from faith and belief and then you try to convince me astral planes exist? Ahem...

September 7 at 12:48am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Everything about the human mind, every mental faculty, is obliterable via brain damage or malfunction. This includes consciousness and the sense of self. There is not afterlife and astral malarkey is beyond moot.

September 7 at 12:55am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Now, good night.

September 7 at 12:55am via mobile · Like..

John Kinory: If you don't know by now than most humans are nasty and selfish, you need to get out more.

September 7 at 5:36am · Like..


John Kinory: "Remember folks, Atheism is a religion. Check the dictionary." - as illiterate as it gets.

September 7 at 5:39am · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: We discover the Higgs field that gives all objects their mass and yet we cannot detect the human soul. Hmm... It's in another frequency that remains unexplored by science, they say! Theosophy, Spiritualism, and the New Age movement have their own "God of the gaps" syndrome.

September 7 at 10:48am via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, "Barton, your concept of pure awareness without consciousness is incoherent really. If nothing is conscious, no-one is aware." Not sure how you got this from my posts. Please quote me where I have said this. Pure awareness is 'conscious'. I have not said otherwise. What I am saying is that pure awareness is the root of all the varying states of consciousness. The various states of consciousness can be labelled as illusionary fro a certain perspective. However awareness itself cannot be an illusion because awareness itself is required prior to any illusion arising.

I appreciate your pointers to Hume and Bundle Theory etc. I will look into them but if you have a good understanding of them then you can list their main features within the discussion.

September 7 at 11:55am · Like..


James Barton: "Also, if a soul is something of another frequency, why on earth would it not interact with our measuring equipment and yet influence the human body so strongly? After all, when it comes to something like, say, sound, machines can detect frequencies that escape the human range of perception."

My position is that your true nature is pure Spirit. Between Spirit and matter there is a hierarchy of bodies which bridge the gap. The lowest body is the physical body and the next one up from that is the etheric body. I would say that the etheric body is interacting with the brain and body. The other subtle bodies are of a much higher frequency. Spirit is the highest frequency far beyond the frequency of the material world. Thinking that a physical machine can detect that is silly. It would be like trying to detect high frequency radio waves with a pile of sticks and stones. Regarding the etheric body I have had that kirlian photography can detect it to some degree. I heard that they did kirlian photography on a human and they were puzzled by tiny 'search lights' of energy emanating from certain points of the body. They were puzzled because those points did not correspond with physical nerve centers etc. Then someone realized that they were the same points described in ancient manuscripts regarding the acupuncture points.

I am not saying that this is definitely true but if it is then it implies that ancient seers could see those points of energy ie features of the etheric body as some people say that they can today.

Possibly some machines can detect the etheric body but they may not be recognize what it is.

Regarding: "The pure unchanging awareness is bollocks to me. If you are unconscious, there is no awareness of anything. It's bollocks."

What did you think of my radio illustration describing how awareness could be continuous? Is it not true that everyone dreams? Yet some people claim that they do not. So they believe for that period of sleep they were completely unconscious where as we know via REM/brainwaves etc that they were dreaming. In other words some may believe that they were unconscious when actually they did have awareness of dreams. What has happened is that the lack of memories created the *illusion* of unconsciousness. In periods of deep sleep no memories are laid down and so it creates an illusion of unconsciousness. What do you think?

I asked you some questions about your own experience. In your *experience* has your awareness ever changed? Please give me a description and then we can investigate whether or not the simple awareness has changed or whether it is actually phenomena within that field of your awareness that has changed.

September 7 at 12:40pm · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: What? Kirlean photography does not prove the existence of any esoteric worlds and certainly has nothing to do with your belief-centric position. You have just proved yourself unfit to have this kind of argument. I think you'll find that the evidence we have so far strongly favours physicalism and your pseudoscientific commentary will only confuse the layman. If everything is made of Spirit, as you say, and there are other etheric layers of existence, your job is to prove their existence. So far, you have failed to convince anyone. I have refuted claims like this a thousand times. I study OBEs and lucid dreams, my friend. They are nothing but products of the brain. I don't know what you think you know that a scientist wouldn't.

September 7 at 2:45pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: On awareness, if it's the root of everything, you would have to assume that even an unconscious person is aware. Even a stone for that matter. Your argument doesn't make any sense. Without consciousness you cannot have awareness of anything. Awareness requires the observer illusion and this one isn't always present. Also, look at the listed brain deficits in medicine and then come and talk to me without fantasies or delusions. Pfft...kirlean photography! Lol! You haven't got a clue, do you? Astral planes? I can't take you at face value.

September 7 at 2:53pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: On awareness changing, actually my awareness did change. I am more aware of things than I was when I was, say, five. In fact, that kid is dead because all his cells have been replaced. I am literally a different person. I only remember being him because long-term memory has been preserved in neuronal patterns. As you can see, no eternal observer. No real self.

September 7 at 2:57pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: These New Age types are as delusionally ill as the religious. Their need to believe without evidence is for the same reasons: a fear of death and deep narcissism.

September 7 at 3:00pm via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo,
"So far, you have failed to convince anyone."
Well firstly I am not really trying to convince anyone at this stage, I am just giving you a basic layout of my cosmology and pointing out some of the weaknesses in the strictly materialist worldview. Secondly you cannot know whether I have convinced anyone or not. It is only your unproven belief which you have stated as a fact.

Regarding kirlian photography if it is showing search lights of light where the ancient acupuncture charts show their points to be then how do you explain the ancients knowing about these points? I am not affirming this story is true but only relating it as an anecdote I heard many years ago.

Regarding stones etc I will try and give my observations on different levels of consciousness. Again this is not to prove anything but just to share the cosmology.

Stones etc are basically completely insentient. They are simply following external forces via the laws of physics. Creatures like flies are subject to their instincts. For example if someone suddenly moves their hand next to a fly it will automatically fly away. More complex animals begin to have some awareness of rudimentary emotions. They will feel sad if their offspring are killed for example. They may override their flight instinct to defend a loved one. Humans also have instincts which they can override in favour of emotional drives. Furthermore humans also have more of an intellectual aspect. Imagine a human going back into a burning building to save his research work or putting his body at risk in a dangerous experiment. The instincts for safety are still there but he has suppressed them in favour of intellectual considerations. The next level of development after the intellectual is the spiritual. A human with a sense of the spiritual may transcend the intellectual achievements/the mental maze for a humble life of contemplation and inner silence.

So there is the basic spectrum of the different levels of consciousness. Within the human family there are people of varying levels of understanding. Those of the lower cannot really understand the higher. For example those of a more mundane instinctive/emotional nature do not and cannot really appreciate the intellectual. And in a similar way the intellectual types cannot really understand the spiritual types.

" On awareness changing, actually my awareness did change. I am more aware of things than I was when I was, say, five. "

Here you are still misunderstanding what I mean by awareness. If you are aware of some things and then later aware of more things nevertheless the awareness itself has not changed: only the content of it.

Let me give you the example of the old style movie projector. A constant light shines through a moving film and various images are displayed on a screen. The images may be bright or dark, portraying happy or sad scenes for example. The images may be simple or more complex. Whatsoever the images are, no matter what dramas they spell out they cannot effect the constant light which illuminates them. In the same way awareness may 'illuminate' base emotions or higher emotions. Before your awareness center at the age of 5 was a childs' understanding. Now that you have grown your understanding has developed but the awareness itself is simply awareness: it has not changed.

Look, as a child you were aware of some things and now you are an adult you are aware of more things. That does not mean that your awareness has changed. Imagine a space. It may be empty, containing some things or more things. Whatever it contains or doesn't contain does not stain its' essence of being simple space. Does water in a bowl change it's essence if a stone is placed in it? No matter what stones are placed in the water, it is still simply water. Here are some quotes from Sri Nisargadatta: "You observe the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body acting; the very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. "

"The perceived cannot be the perceiver. Whatever you see, hear or think of, remember - you are not what happens, you are he to whom it happens."

"Desire, fear, trouble, joy, they cannot appear unless you are there to appear to. Yet, whatever happens points to your existence as a perceiving centre. Disregard the pointers and be aware of what they are pointing to."

"Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that while all happens, comes and goes, you alone are, the changeless among the changeful, the self-evident among the inferred. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications."

"The person is merely the result of a misunderstanding. In reality, there is no such thing. Feelings, thoughts and actions race before the watcher in endless succession, leaving traces in the brain and creating an illusion of continuity. A reflection of the watcher in the mind creates the sense of "I" and the person acquires an apparently independent existence. In reality there is no person, only the watcher identifying himself with the "I" and the "mine"."

"I am not an object in Consciousness but its source, its Witness, pure shapeless Awareness." http://www.nonduality.com/asmi.htm

Excerpts from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's I AM THAT
www.nonduality.com
A re-organized version of Nisargadatta's I Am That, by Miguel-Angel Carrasco

September 7 at 10:52pm · Like · 1 · Remove Preview..


James Barton: I found a quote you may like regarding his view on punishment etc: "Punishment is but legalized crime. In a society built on prevention, rather than retaliation, there would be very little crime. The few exceptions will be treated medically, as an unsound mind and body."

September 7 at 10:59pm · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: James - one line from your Sri Nisargadatta quotes Arlindo might agree with (not sure):

"Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events"

I think this is the explanation of consciousness that science is converging towards. There is no centre of gravity, no central consciousness or awareness... there is only a stream of events.

But out of that stream emerges the illusion of a self, and the illusion of some sort of all encompassing all pervading Awareness too, I would add.

September 8 at 9:24am · Like..


Arlindo Batista: I do not think it's all-pervading, Stuart, but thank you for reminding Barton of the points he's refusing to acknowledge. Barton, with all your New Age fantasies, your irrelevant analogies, and a fallacious outlook on the burden of proof that you have just expressed, I cannot take you seriously. Sorry. You need to read more about science and logical positivism and less about pseudoscience and mystical tripe.

September 9 at 8:34am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: "Thinking that a physical machine can detect that is silly." - As silly as thinking that the spirit and the hierarchy of subtle bodies that you mentioned can influence and grossly control the physical body. If something of that nature can influence and move the physical then it can definitely interact with physical devices. In fact, such a thing would have to be physical by default. But no such thing is found. The reason for this is that it's most certainly not there at all. Hence the fallacy of spiritualism and Descartes' dualism. Even if an intrinsic awareness pervaded all things, as in the Hagelinian doctrine, this is still no solution. You then have to explain what makes it aware (before you can even be sure that it exists.) This is not how it works. By the way, I don't know where you got that story about kirlean photography but I can assure you that it is a natural phenomenon. We are atheists who vehemently argue against the religious for holding a faith-based position, and yet, we have individuals here who believe in ghosts, spirits, and an afterlife simply because consciousness remains a mystery. Let me make this clear: there is how doubt that consciousness arises from matter as a byproduct (to reiterate: matter first, consciousness second). There is plenty of evidence for this from koch's work and Tonomi's integrated information theory. The puzzle only lies in the "how" (it arises in the brain). And as I said before, look at Hume, Blackmore, and Dennett who point out that consciousness itself is poorly defined and is most certainly a persistent illusion tied to memory and time. Norretranders with his "The User Illusion" is another one you can check. It points out the auditory continuity illusion, there is also the cutaneous hare, and optical ones are also included. Then we have conditions like Korsakoff's syndrome, hemifield neglect, antrograde amnesia, autopilot, and the list goes on. It is also true that people can forget dreams, even lucid dreams - and, of course, they had been conscious at the time. But this argument is so weak for the continuity of consciousness and so-called illusion of unconsciousness. There are also times in your life when you were fully awake and you don't recall them. In fact, you could look at a phone number in the yellow pages, move away, and after a couple of minutes you would not remember it (but you would know that you had looked at a number). The details would have to be rehearsed in order for the neuronal patterns in your brain to stick. Capisce? It also raises the question, how conscious are we, really? You see, your REM sleep argument only reinforces the physicalistic stance. As for remembering, you have failed to mention the peak of delta sleep, where we are truly unconscious and there is absolutely nothing to remember. Wake someone at this stage and they'll be pissed off and confused. Wake someone during REM, and they will remember dreams (even those who usually don't remember. Also, sleepwalkers can engage in a number of complex activities and not be conscious - something that reflects our autonomic nature. Now please, please, please read some scientific literature and let go of your silly confirmation bias. Someone told me they can see auras when they look at someone's third eye against a white wall - yet they knew nothing about the oculus and optics for that matter...

September 9 at 11:56am via mobile · Unlike · 1..


Arlindo Batista: I don't know why I even bother. There is no afterlife. You get no second chances. If you are celibate thinking that you will be rewarded in heaven you are mistaken. If you spend all your time in a monastery meditating, fine, but don't preach to others that it's a must. If someone wants to be gay, let him. If someone wants an orgy before they die, let him. If one wants to explore real tangible places around the world rather than exploring the vivid realms of imagination in lucid dream states or ease the mind with meditation, let him. If one wants to have their meat cravings duly satiated instead of eating healthly like a vegetarian, let him. In the end we all die and death means death.

September 9 at 12:13pm via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Good food for thought, cheers.

September 9 at 12:55pm · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: I'm putting out there the scientific conclusions that others arrived at. And these people would be the first to admit that it's not a closed chapter. On the awareness that you mentioned that we appear to retain throughout the years: it's an illusion that persists and survives through the various types of memory. If you could clone yourself right now, an adult version of yourself Multiplicity style, you would observe a Barton replica that would remember having been a kid like you. He would remember having done those things that you did. In fact, he would believe himself to be the original. And yet, that doesn't make it so. He merely started out having the same cerebral physiology. In a similar fashion, you are not the kid you remember having been in your childhood. That kid is dead as all his cells have been replaced. But the memory remained because you retained that physiological stencil so to speak. And even this 'stencil' has evolved. How you remember things now isn't necessarily how they happened. You see? Illusion...

September 9 at 1:08pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Personally, arlindo, i think you would find it utterly fascinating to see all this from the inside out (via meditation), and not just from the outside in (through studying the research in to it)....

...just sayin'

September 9 at 2:26pm · Unlike · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Stuart, I've have profound insights whilst meditating. I've even tripped on psychedelics and have been where I wasn't ready to be at the time. I've written extensively about this and it will form the chapter of a book I'm writing about lucid dreaming. I may not have years of experience with meditation but I have stumbled upon interesting states, one even involving concepts falling away, where observer and observed distinction dissipates. Ineffable states that bring bliss and make us ponder in the aftermath. Even states that conjure up sights in which I am able to switch my recognition of the mundane things they represent on and off. Yes, like having the switch of knowing and not knowing. Giving oneself agnosia, if you will. But whatever you think you can accomplish via meditation, it won't prove a thing and certainly not the New Age claims that Barton has spouted out. I don't know why you assume that I never looked into meditation all of a sudden but that's beside the point anyway. Whatever you experience in meditation is subjective and is not a reliable way to establish consciousness as not being an illusion. Why is this? Because the mind itself is full of illusions and in the end all you are doing is playing with your neurons and synapses. I don't doubt that you have extensive experience with meditation and have probably read an awful lot about it, but, I believe the interpretations of your experience is somewhat naive or misguided, if not biased.

September 9 at 4:05pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: As Chandrakirti said in "Guide To The Middle Way": The self is like a cart. It is not other than its parts, not non-other, and does not possess them. It is not within its parts and its parts are not within it. It is not the mere sum and it is not the shape. - I have probably quoted this before but it's worth revising. I think John Searle missed a lot of things in his argument but he is probably close to the truth with his water analogy. It is the condition a state is in that gives rise to subjectivity. But I will also liken the self to that of wetness. Water feels wet. But that is an illusion. Break it down to what constitutes it and its not wet at all.

September 9 at 4:42pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: ^^ As you can see, and even Searle seems to agree, illusion or not, consciousness is secondary to nonconscious matter. The fluidity of water won't be there if this one evaporates or freezes out. So, pure awareness that one can experience during meditation can still be encompassed as a state of affairs within the brain and not necessarily the insight of an "awareness" as the foundation of objective reality. Nothing is what lies at the foundation before inanimate matter comes into the picture. Consciousness comes last as inevitable reportability.

September 9 at 4:55pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: To recapitulate: There is no reason for us to believe in God, the afterlife, the soul or our immortality, and free will. Those who are certain that vitalism is right, what makes you so sure? Feel free to provide evidence against those things that science has observed. Feel free to provide it to the layman who also observes the harsh reality of our mortality for himself to a degree, and at times bears witness to our mental fragility. Watch your own mind deteriorate as you age, or even that of those around you who are ill or senile. And if you think the dead visit you in your dreams, think again. Do they? Or is your mind lingering on something that you treasure? Another illusion... Question everything within reason but also pay attention to what has been empirically established.

September 9 at 5:24pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: There are those of us who seek the truth, and those who seek to hold on to their fantasies. Which one are you?

September 9 at 5:29pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Finally, I'd like to point out that everything is essentially the same at the quantum level. Break down wood and metal far enough and both will display the same constituents: electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks etc. Why should the distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness be any more mysterious than this? Or even gravity? I'll tell you why. Because it is more personal, intimate, profound. It has the power to provide both awe and comfort. It's not a novelty when I say that there are those of us who desire to have the mystery of consciousness perpetuated.

September 9 at 5:43pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin

September 9 at 6:39pm · Like..


Stuart Valentine: Arlindo - this is getting in to a very interesting area from my point of view.

"Whatever you experience in meditation is subjective and is not a reliable way to establish consciousness as not being an illusion."

Well, meditation done properly establishes the precise opposite - that consciousness IS an illusion, that it emerges from materiality as a sequence of events and if you break these events down in to their components, you no longer fall for the illusion of a self etc.

"Break down wood and metal far enough and both will display the same constituents: electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks etc. Why should the distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness be any more mysterious than this?"

It isn't any more mysterious - meditation properly done shows you this too. Break down human subjective experience far enough and you do indeed get to a single underlying constituent/ experience/ phenomenon.

(Major caveat however: As i've said before, intellectually understanding these things is totally different to having directly experienced it. One is interesting and fascinating and awe inspiring - the other profoundly transforms you as a person for the better.)

So although yes meditation is subjective, it is quite extraordinary when you think about it that the insights you get from meditation are actually entirely consistent with modern science.

In fact, it's the other way around in terms of chronology - these insights in to the true nature of consciousness have been around for thousands of years.

It has taken all that time for the right instruments and the right science and the right experiments to be devised to even be able to start answering these questions.

Lacking the right apparatus and experiments, thinkers like Descartes and others have come up with completely the wrong answers - dualism and the like. Equally, eastern thinkers have come up with equally wrong answers, like "the universe is pure awareness and that is why humans have awareness" - which is basically dualism in a different form.

But now that we can at last do the science, the insight meditators are being shown to be extraordinarily close to the mark about the true nature of the human mind.

Where meditators go wrong is when they try to draw conclusions that go BEYOND the nature of the human mind.

Because (obviously, in my view) meditation gives you zero good evidence about the nature of the universe.

It's a very good source of information about the profound capabilities and true nature of the human mind. In fact right now I would say science is only barely on the learning curve - meditation masters still know vastly more about the human mind than scientists do.

Science will eventually get there - but the complexity is so huge that for a long time to come at least, meditation masters will still be the true experts on the human mind - they will know things about the mind that science just can't hope to examine or demonstrate yet.

But jumping from "the human mind works like this at the deepest level", to concluding "the universe is all pervading awareness" or "the universe is pure spirit" and the like isn't justified.

It's unfortunately a mistake that a great many meditation masters make - an understandable mistake maybe but a mistake nevertheless, and quite a big one if you ask me. It hugely pisses me off having to listen to meditation teachers opining on all this supernatural mumbo jumbo. Just stick to what you know!

But that said - the point of meditation isn't actually to understand the universe. You can just ignore all that supernatural guff and you won't lose a thing.

The point is to understand your own mind, and by so doing transform your own subjective experience from one dominated by suffering to one entirely free from suffering.

And meditation can definitely do that much.

September 9 at 7:52pm · Edited · Like..


James Barton: Hi Stuart,

"I think this is the explanation of consciousness that science is converging towards. There is no centre of gravity, no central consciousness or awareness... there is only a stream of events.

But out of that stream emerges the illusion of a self, and the illusion of some sort of all encompassing all pervading Awareness too, I would add."

If materialistic science is finally coming to the point where it recognizes that the ego and various phenomenon in awareness are in a way illusions then they are beginning to catch up with the mystics who knew and understood this thousands of years ago. The mystic ideas on this are long on record. Will the 'scientists' pay tribute to this or claim all the glory for their own?

If such scientists believe that the awareness is also an illusion then they are in error. However if there is a convergence to the first part then it is hopeful stepping stone to further understanding.

For an illusion to arise there must be a pre-existing awareness. That is something that even a child could understand, it is self evident.

Regarding consensus in science on consciousness it seems that there is none yet. Searle in the video above is criticizing the various conflicting materialistic theories about consciousness. He then comes up with his own theory which our expert Arlindo describes as incoherent.

As far as I can see the main consensus of mainstream science regarding consciousness is that it is a mystery which is only another way of saying that they are ignorant of it.

The problem with all these theories is that they are already side tracked due to an idealogical aversion to Spirit. They are then in the position of trying to construct a self consistent model. They may use various technical language to disguise their ignorance but don't fall for it. It is like 'the emperor's new clothes'.

September 10 at 1:50am · Edited · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo,

To give my summary of your posts I would say there are some points worth exploring but also some logical fallacies that can be discarded.

I feel that you use the 'argument from authority' logical fallacy when you mention various names of scientists and citing 'vast evidence' from one of them which you "haven't got time" to actually outline. By mentioning a list of these names this could be seen as another logical fallacy ie: 'Appeal to Popularity' which in any case is not justified as there is no real consensus.

Regarding calling me a newager etc well I do not class myself as such and I have debated against many of their positions on various subjects. Really some of your statements along that line are Ad hominem logical fallacies ie you attacked your opponent's character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.

The clear minded and useful approach is to examine each statement of the argument on it's own merit. Attacking the other person with vague labels or appealing to authorities are all just distraction tactics and are recognized as such.

If we strip away these irrelevant parts of your argument you still have some interesting points remaining.

September 10 at 12:35am · Like · 1..


James Barton: Although your mentioning a list of names and names of theories is not proving anything I appreciate that you are providing some interesting links for further reading. Regarding Bundle Theory it is not saying anything about awareness but only the 'sense of self', the ego, the personal story which appears in the field of awareness and which people mistake for being their real selves.

This is only an echo of much earlier works of a mystic nature. Those earlier philosophers and Seers still understood that awareness itself is not an object in consciousness. They also understood a number of other esoteric truths which you are presently bias against.

Regarding Dennet I see that he is talking about the illusory nature of our visual world. This has merit but it is not saying anything against awareness itself it is only looking at the content arising in the consciousness from the physical senses.

He is making a distinction between consciousness and content apparently which is correct if he is defining consciousness correctly. It was as I was saying before: the *content* of your awareness may have changed between when you were 5 and now but the *awareness* itself has not changed as it is simply awareness.

If Dennet is making other points relevant to awareness then feel free to list them.

Try and concentrate on your own experience for a minute. You 'are' aware now. Whatsoever appears before that awareness is not changing that awareness in any way. You may perceive something via your physical senses and this may then cause various emotions or memories to arise within your field of awareness. Any sequence of events , feelings or memories appears before you. It is fine to call them illusions from one perspective. Yet none of them could appear without awareness. Awareness is prior to them and awareness is obviously needed as the background for any illusion to appear in.

Awareness is not reliant on memory but perception of memories is obviously reliant on awareness.

"On awareness, if it's the root of everything, you would have to assume that even an unconscious person is aware. Even a stone for that matter. "

As explained before I do believe that an apparently unconscious person is aware at the time of either dreams or even more subtle mystic states during deep sleep. Only later due to forgetfulness or lack of gross memory does the illusion of unconsciousness arise. Regarding stones I do not see them as discrete entities. A stone is merely a collection of atoms and so cannot be conscious just as technically the human brain is also completely unconscious in itself.

The difference is that a stone does not have a connection with etheric and then higher and higher frequencies culminating in the self luminescent Spirit as does the physical brain.

Could it be that an apparently unconscious person is still somehow conscious? Well I gave you the example of a person who has dreamed and yet when awake later on claims that he didn't dream and was in fact completely unconscious all night. That is a definite example is it not? I agree it is not proving that a person in deep non-dream sleep is also actually aware however it does at least show that apparent unconsciousness can be an illusion doesn't it?

"you have failed to mention the peak of delta sleep, where we are truly unconscious and there is absolutely nothing to remember." I haven't failed to mention it as I have mentioned deep sleep which implies delta sleep. In very deep delta wave sleep the brain as you say has nothing to remember (roughly speaking). That is exactly what I was saying! That is why upon waking it appears like we were really unconscious as there is a blank in the physical memory. You seem to be using circular logic: because you believe the physical brain is the source of awareness you then affirm that there is nothing to remember during deep sleep because the brain is 'asleep'. You then use that as evidence that we are unconscious during those times. In actuality the awareness is leaving the material and lower bodies and is aware of deeper realities which are not then remembered by the average person. There is testimony from some rare people that say that they are constantly aware even during deep physical sleep. You may well dismiss their testimony but anyway their testimony is in harmony with the self evident logic of awareness etc.

I am interested to know if during delta sleep do people still move around during sleep as they do in REM? If so and they are completely unconscious then why don't they fall out of bed? Also if someone is in delta you say that they are completely unconscious then what is the process by which they are awakened by a loud noise in the room? Apologies if these are obvious or irrelevant questions.

Overall I see these main points: One) Awareness never changes in the waking state: it is absolutely changeless, it is only the content that changes within it.

Two) Upon awaking from sleep a person may claim that he was unconscious all night but actually he had been dreaming and forgot. So there are cases where periods of unconsciousness apparent to the person are actually an illusion caused by lack of memory recall.

Three) During the dream states whether 'lucid' or not the awareness is also unchanging ie whatsoever the dream nevertheless the awareness is simply awareness.

Four) There is a limit to the frequencies that a material scientists' instruments can detect. What is the current highest frequency that they can detect? That limit is only a limit of detection and not a limit of actuality. The real limit may be billions of times faster than can be currently detected and the properties of such super high frequency phenomenon may be consistent with the explanations of the genuine mystics.

September 10 at 1:57am · Edited · Like..


Stuart Valentine: James: "For an illusion to arise there must be a pre-existing awareness. That is something that even a child could understand, it is self evident."

No no no. This is nonsense. It's terrible logic apart from anything, and also makes no sense given that as Arlindo has pointed out so many times to you, no-one has EVER detected awareness ANYWHERE, EVER, outside of a biological organism.

By claiming that awareness must exist separate to, outside of, and pre-date (in an eternal sense!) biological brains, you are claiming that it is impossible that awareness could emerge as a local (in time and space) property of a neurological system.

On what possible basis can you claim that this is IMPOSSIBLE?

You are essentially making the same mistake that Michael Behe makes when he talks about irreducible complexity, or the flat-earthers did before galileo and copernicus, etc etc - because you personally can't conceive of how such a thing could be possible, you are jumping straight to IMPOSSIBLE.

There is zero good reason to conclude it is impossible, and plenty of good reason to suppose it is possible, in fact must be possible - because all the evidence points to it. There is no evidence that DOESN'T point to it!

(By evidence, I mean objective facts, not opinions).

September 10 at 8:57am · Like..


Stuart Valentine: "Overall I see these main points: One) Awareness never changes in the waking state: it is absolutely changeless, it is only the content that changes within it."

This is nonsense. You cannot have meditated seriously or you would be laughing at yourself for saying something so absurd. Awareness is ALWAYS changing. Everything is always changing! It comes, it goes, it sharpens, it dulls, it moves, it stays, it strengthens, it weakens.... it is absolutely not changeless, ever.

You have made a fetish of Awareness - without apparently seeing what is plain as day if you can look at it objectively without a pre-existing bias.

September 10 at 9:02am · Like..


Stuart Valentine: I'm sure we agree on a great many things, but i obviously profoundly disagree with you on "Awareness"... for me this is a classic example of "mystics" for want of a better word going way beyond their brief and coming up with theories about the universe based on what they've observed in themselves.

This is (obviously!) a really bad idea. The human mind is the ideal machine for investigating the human mind, and pretty much the worst machine for directly investigating the wider universe.

Being able to cultivate a subjective experience of pure, perfect, unbroken awareness, however amazing and transforming and inspiring that is, provides precisely ZERO evidence that the *entire universe* is like that!

Intuition and subjective experiences cannot hope to compete with electron microscopes, or mathematics, when it comes to the world outside our heads.

Human history has taught us this lesson countless times - virtually every conviction our forebears have had about the universe has been proven to be categorically, profoundly, embarrassingly wrong by later science.

And this "Awareness" nonsense is just one more example of that.

September 10 at 9:24am · Edited · Like · 1..


James Barton: Hi Stuart,
"no-one has EVER detected awareness ANYWHERE, EVER, outside of a biological organism."

This is wrong in my opinion as there are many examples throughout history stating otherwise.

"By claiming that awareness must exist separate to, outside of, and pre-date (in an eternal sense!) biological brains, you are claiming that it is impossible that awareness could emerge as a local (in time and space) property of a neurological system."

Yes it is completely impossible for awareness to arise from any combination of insentient atoms. Every possible combination of insentient atoms brings forth zero awareness. However the brain can interface with pre-existing Spirit via a series of other subtle bodies which act as a ladder between them.

"You are essentially making the same mistake that Michael Behe makes when he talks about irreducible complexity, or the flat-earthers did before galileo and copernicus, etc etc - because you personally can't conceive of how such a thing could be possible, you are jumping straight to IMPOSSIBLE."

On the contrary this is what the material scientists are doing regarding Spirit and life after death etc. Because they cannot understand it the jump straight to IMPOSSIBLE.

"Awareness is ALWAYS changing. Everything is always changing! It comes, it goes, it sharpens, it dulls, it moves, it stays, it strengthens, it weakens.... it is absolutely not changeless, ever."

Yes all *things* change but Awareness is not a thing. All those changes that you mention are happening within an unchanging field of awareness. You are mistaking the fluctuating properties of consciousness for That which is unchanging and deathless. Only a few beings such as Sri Ramana have come to the 'end' of meditation and attained full liberation. Those others who are considering themselves accomplished meditators are still under the sway of delusion. If the state comes and goes it is not the true final state.

"The human mind is the ideal machine for investigating the human mind, and pretty much the worst machine for directly investigating the wider universe."

Those beings who have investigated the root of the human mind fully are in agreement with each other. My words echo there's. The material scientists who try and investigate the human mind are really only like infants stumbling around in the dark.

Do you realize that you yourself are making something unique of the human mind in relation to the rest of the universe by your above statement? At the moment you are ignorant of the relation between the microcosm and the macrocosm and due to that ignorance errors in your thinking are arising. Later knowledge and understanding will replace that ignorance and then your false views will be given up.

"Human history has taught us this lesson countless times - virtually every conviction our forebears have had about the universe has been proven to be categorically, profoundly, embarrassingly wrong by later science.

And this "Awareness" nonsense is just one more example of that."

I would suggest that it is the 'materialistic only' science that will be proven to be categorically, profoundly, embarrassingly wrong by later science.

September 10 at 5:26pm · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: James:

"Yes it is completely impossible for awareness to arise from any combination of insentient atoms."

You really have to prove that, now you've said it.....

September 10 at 6:27pm · Unlike · 2..


James Barton: Hi Stuart, it is a good area to focus on although it is related to the other points above. If we can agree that awareness is unchanging for example then that will make it easier to understand that matter cannot produce awareness.

Firstly though, isn't it usually said that the burden of proof is on the God believers to prove that there is a God? The atheists taking the 'negative' position on God ie believing that he does not exist demand proof of God's existence from the theists.

In the case above I am saying that it is impossible for awareness to arise from any combination of insentient atoms. Similar to the atheist I am taking the negative position on this and I feel that the burden of proof is at least equally on the materialists to prove that atoms can produce awareness.

Dualistically speaking there is awareness 'in' biological machines ie organic life forms. It must either be that the awareness is created in the brain or that the brain is an interface for the non physical awareness via in my understanding a series of increasingly subtle 'bodies'.

What are the proofs on either side? What is the proof on your current side?

As I see it atoms are events, patterns of energy. Energy is not awareness. No pattern or sequence of patterns in energy can be awareness either.

Awareness is not a thing, it is not a pattern , it is not a physical energy.

Here is an illustration: Water is not fire. Therefore no pattern of water produces fire.

As you have said yourself all things are subject to change. I agree with this. Awareness is not a thing and it is not subject to change.

Of all the phenomenon associated with atoms awareness is in a completely different class.

Matter may create 'sensors' for example a motion activated video camera. Any such sensor is completely unaware in itself. A camera is not aware is it any more than is a human eye?

Matter may also create computing power. From a simple calculator all the way up to a super computer. A simple calculator has no more awareness than a pile of rocks. If we go up the scale all the way up to a super computer the level of awareness remains at zero. A super computer is no more aware than a pile of rocks.

A computer may be programmed to mimic a being. Yet that is all it is. It is just lines of code. Lines of code are not aware are they? No amount of lines of code, even software that is great at mimicking human language interaction is any more aware than "Hello World".

DNA is not aware and no combination of DNA can create awareness. Sensors may be created from biological matter and so may computing power but not awareness. The closest biology can get to awareness is making a *receiver* or interface so that a Spirit may interact with it via the etheric and higher bodies as intermediaries.

September 10 at 8:30pm · Edited · Like · 1..


James Barton: Although it may not be worth much to you lot I suppose I should outline all the evidence and testimonials regarding out of body experiences and telepathy etc. Over the years I have come across many examples that clearly indicate that awareness is not reliant on a physical body.

There are plenty of frauds and misunderstandings to be sure but also many genuine cases. I cannot list this as proof of course but it should be enough for an intelligent person to investigate deeply with an open mind.

One case I heard relates to communication with deep sea submarines. As I heard it communication with very deep submarines is not conventionally possible. They did an experiment and put a mother rabbit in the submarine which then went down deep. The baby rabbits were kept on shore. At a certain time one of the baby rabbits was killed and it was found that at exactly the same time the mother rabbit's brain activity spiked. So if true this demonstrates a nonphysical communication unknown to materialistic science.

Regarding kirlian photography apart from the example given earlier whereby points were discovered that corresponded with ancient acupuncture charts there is also another example that I recall. That is that if a living leaf is photographed with a piece taken out of it in that space there is a glowing image of where the missing leaf was. This then maybe the famous etheric body.

Although some people may believe that out of body experiences are imagination etc only as I understand it there are many cases where there are independent verifications. For example the person in surgery sees and hears things that he would not be able to unless it was a genuine out of body experience. There are also cases for example that when a great guru dies in one part of India at exactly the same time another great master comments on it: and this before modern day communications. It is only explainable by the master having awareness of the other masters physical death in a metaphysical way.

In a court of law witnesses and testimonies have some power. The power may depend on the quality of the witness. If someone is known already to be untrustworthy then their testimony is suspect. On the other hand if there are multiple witnesses of good character then their testimony is worth more.

There are many descriptions from various psychics and mediums etc which are highly suspect. On the other hand there are some which are of value in understanding the universe-unless one is blinded by a dismissive prejudice.

One example I heard is that a particular master claimed that he could see etheric blobs in women who had abortions. Another completely different seer described a similar phenomenon in relation to his healing work. For those who can understand the inherent logic in the esoteric cosmologies these things are supporting phenomenon.

September 10 at 9:18pm · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: I think we actually agree on many points, Stuart. The mumbo jumbo irritates me too. I would only add that some scientists are avid meditators, too, and are able to make observations with that in addition to their science. But yeah, I get what you're saying. I have once stumble upon a state which seemed simple, I was clear-headed as no thoughts weighed on me, in fact, even a concept of me seemed to be gone, but obviously awareness was there. It's hard to describe but I was blissfully less, boundaries were broken, distinction between observer and observed wore thin. I must confess that it took me by surprised. I was awed in the aftermath and couldn't help but think: "I don't really exist!" - The state was very brief, but totally worth it as an insight and quite profound. In a sense, it can cause you to arrive at understandings, but one can also read too much into it. Meditation is great and beneficial but I would say to people that they must practise it. It's a choice.

September 10 at 11:36pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Oh, and Barton, firstly, it is pretty evident that consciousness arises at least in the human brain. You can see this from the development of human beings, to brain damage, deterioration etc. - consciousness is either lost or reinforced. No evidence for you dualism whatsoever. On sleepwalkers, what part of the word "autonomic" don't you understand? I'm sure you can also program a robot to not fall down a flight of stairs - and this one isn't conscious! By the way, I'd also be careful with what you claim is or isn't conscious. Familiarise yourself with the Turing test and its implications. Finally, you are the one claiming that such a thing as Spirit exists while scientists humbly say no such thing is found and all evidence points to physicalism. You also have an experienced meditator in our midst denying it. There is no evidence for what you claim. Nothing is observed or measured entering or leaving bodies. The burden of proof is on you. If you find this other-frequency realm (I doubt that you will) which purportedly holds consciousness, you can then explain to us what makes it conscious (I've mentioned this before but it went unnoticed). Alleged ad hominemer out.

September 11 at 12:03am via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, I will have a go at answering you properly when I get home from work later. However I am getting the impression that you missed some of my posts above. if you get the time please read my last few posts.

September 11 at 6:16am · Like..


Stuart Valentine: James you can't list hearsay about supposed out of body this or rabbits in submarines that and expect us to be impressed.

And you definitely can't ask me to concede an obviously false assertion like 'awareness is unchanging' to help you prove that 'eternal unchanging awareness is the only possible source of human consciousness'!

That's pretty cheeky lol.

September 11 at 11:14am via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: You seem to have a very low threshold for believing bullshit, sad to say.

September 11 at 11:14am via mobile · Like..


Stuart Valentine: And your argument for the eternal unchanging Awareness that exists outside of the material universe seems to be nothing more than:

"Awareness is eternal, unchanging, and exists outside of the material universe. Therefore, awareness is eternal, unchanging, and exists outside of the material universe".

I quite honestly did not read anything more than a circular argument.

And you entirely failed to even begin to address a proof of the IMPOSSIBILITY of awareness arising as a phenomenon out of matter - here again you merely said "As I see it atoms are events, patterns of energy. Energy is not awareness. No pattern or sequence of patterns in energy can be awareness either."

Again - circular. "Energy is not awareness - therefore, awareness cannot emerge from energy".

September 11 at 1:34pm · Edited · Like..


Stuart Valentine: In case you missed it, my take on the evidence/argument that awareness must indeed arise out of matter and energy is:

1) There is an observed phenomenon called awareness. This has never been observed to be eternal and unchanging, as it is impossible to have an eternal experience of anything - we are not immortal. It is also impossible to have an unchanging experience of anything, period - the observers own awareness is never unchanging. If it was unchanging, these 'masters' would all still be alive! So no meditator or mystic has ever, actually, seen an "eternal unchanging awareness" - such an experience is impossible. Instead they've just had a changing, not-eternal experience of something they THOUGHT was eternal and unchanging. These are not the same thing.

2) There is no objective proof of anything existing in the universe that is not either matter or energy (which are the same thing ultimately). So any claim that awareness is partially/fully dependent on things outside this is assuming that there IS something outside this - with no evidence.

3) Awareness operates on matter and energy (neurons fire, bodies move - all material processes). There is no objective evidence at all of awareness of any kind operating on anything other than matter/energy.

4) When the matter/energy construct called the brain is interfered with, awareness can be objectively destroyed - there ceases to be any objective evidence that the awareness exists any more. Therefore awareness at least partly depends (a strict dependence) on matter/energy.

5) Given the lack of anything observed outside matter/energy, there is no reason to suppose that awareness is anything more than a phenomenon that emerges from matter/energy, i.e it is not a partial dependence, it is a total dependence.

6) The fact that we haven't yet identified precisely HOW awareness emerges in this way is not proof that it isn't happening. Just as being unable to explain how precisely life on earth first started is not evidence that life could only have started if God did it.

September 11 at 2:17pm · Edited · Like..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo,

"I have once stumble upon a state which seemed simple, I was clear-headed as no thoughts weighed on me, in fact, even a concept of me seemed to be gone, but obviously awareness was there."

Yes, obviously :)

"Meditation is great and beneficial but I would (..not..? )say to people that they must practise it. It's a choice."

Agreed.

"it is pretty evident that consciousness arises at least in the human brain. You can see this from the development of human beings, to brain damage, deterioration etc. - consciousness is either lost or reinforced. "

All such phenomena is also consistent with the idea that the brain is a bio computer/receiver of spirit. It only seems so obvious to you that awareness is brain based because you have a pre-established ideological bias in that direction. Examine carefully and you will see that every experience ie conscious experience has an unchanging background as it's foundation. Every case of development or damage where there is consciousness there must be an unchanging awareness. All that changes is by definition not the awareness, it is just varying states of consciousness and sensations etc that pass before you. By you I mean pure unchanging awareness. It really is self evident once you can untangle the objects in awareness from the awareness itself.

Try this experiment if you like: Realize that you are aware right now. Next have a few beers and then have a few more beers. As you get drunk your state of consciousness will change, the sensations of your body will change. However the awareness itself is consistent and persistent throughout the entire experience. How do you know this? Well otherwise you wouldn't be able to register the changes. Even the sentences themselves should give you a clue. Look: *aware of being sober*, *aware of being drunk*, *aware of being young*, *aware of been old*. All these descriptive sentences are different and yet they all share one unchanging factor: the awareness.

"On sleepwalkers, what part of the word "autonomic" don't you understand? I'm sure you can also program a robot to not fall down a flight of stairs - and this one isn't conscious!" Exactly but what does this prove? How does it disprove my ideas on this subject? Please clarify.

Regarding deep delta sleep you say: "..the peak of delta sleep, where we are truly unconscious and there is absolutely nothing to remember."

Can you explain then how a loud noise wakes someone up from delta wave sleep? It seems like a puzzle to me. If a noise is detected then there must be continual monitoring going on and so I think that this is a big problem for your current model of reality. In any case it contradicts your above statement.

Regarding the Turing Test it is all about mimicry. Look:

'In 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum created a program which appeared to pass the Turing test. The program, known as ELIZA, worked by examining a user's typed comments for keywords. If a keyword is found, a rule that transforms the user's comments is applied, and the resulting sentence is returned. If a keyword is not found, ELIZA responds either with a generic riposte or by repeating one of the earlier comments'

The above describes a fairly simple programme which is no more conscious than a pile of rocks. Later and more sophisticated programmes are in no way more aware. The awareness is zero.

"Finally, you are the one claiming that such a thing as Spirit exists while scientists humbly say no such thing is found and all evidence points to physicalism."

Many scientists believe that there is Spirit. Many great beings who have contemplated consciousness and the universe etc know for a fact that there is Spirit. It is only the materialistic scientists who claim that there is no Spirit. They have no evidence that there is no Spirit and they have no evidence that awareness arises due to the interaction of insentient atoms.

"You also have an experienced meditator in our midst denying it."

Who? All the great spiritual masters and true meditators confirm that there is Spirit in one way or another. You have not studied such beings because you already dismiss their world view. At present you have a very distorted view of meditation.

"Nothing is observed or measured entering or leaving bodies. "

This is entirely wrong. Not only do people experience out of body experiences but other seers actually see the nonphysical aspects leaving the physical body etc. You have tunnel vision on this and are ignoring all such evidence.

" you can then explain to us what makes it conscious (I've mentioned this before but it went unnoticed). "

Well first, to be fair you cannot explain how insentient atoms supposedly produce awareness can you? And so if I cannot explain the hows of awareness then we are in the same boat.

What I would say is that Awareness is not a mechanism it is a first principle. Your true nature is the finest and purest possible state in the universe. We should keep in mind that the eternal and infinite laws of mathematics are all pervading. I believe that our true nature is actually omniscient in that it is completely free from ignorance in regards to the laws of nature. I want to make clear that I have my own ideas and I am not speaking for any particular doctrine set. Like you and Stuart I am not an enlightened being. If you really want to know these things then you should find a genuine enlightened being and ask them. They may or may not tell you but they will share the means to attain the realization for yourself.

September 11 at 10:46pm · Like..


James Barton: Hi Stuart,

"James you can't list hearsay about supposed out of body this or rabbits in submarines that and expect us to be impressed.

And you definitely can't ask me to concede an obviously false assertion like 'awareness is unchanging' to help you prove that 'eternal unchanging awareness is the only possible source of human consciousness'!

That's pretty cheeky lol."

Regarding those hearsay type stories I made clear that I am not presenting it as proof just trying to give you a rough idea of where I am coming from. You may blindly dismiss such stories as hearsay where as other people may blindly accept them as fact. Both approaches are errors. Some of these situations have been investigated fairly by various people over the years and they are not without substance. You will not really know either way until you investigate for yourself.

That awareness is unchanging seems so self evident to me that it is hard for me to understand now how people believe otherwise. I have given some clear explanations and examples about this and I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you now understood this.

It is just like talking about a projection on a screen of an airplane moving across a cloudy sky. I try and tell the person that the screen is not moving only that which is projected onto it. They disagree because they mistake the clouds for the background screen. I explain that I realize that both the plane and the clouds are moving but I am referring to the screen which *is* actually unchanging. If they persist in saying that I am wrong because the clouds are clearly moving then what can I do? lol. I can clearly see their mistake but for some reason the communication of the simple truth is running into difficulties.

September 12 at 12:16am · Edited · Like..


Keith Marten: My goodness chaps. Very interesting posts but I am having to read some books to even warrant my point on this subject.

September 11 at 11:34pm · Unlike · 1..


James Barton: Stuart, you say:
"Again - circular. "Energy is not awareness - therefore, awareness cannot emerge from energy"."

I disagree that what I actually said is circular logic. First of all fact number 1 is that everyone knows that energy is not aware don't they? Are you believing that fire is aware or sunlight? Or magnetism? Or gamma rays etc etc? So I started off with a self evident and uncontroversial well known fact that energy is not aware. I said that all atoms etc are only patterns of energy, they are only events. Do you agree with this or not? As far as I can see I have said 2 facts. Therefore my conclusion is that as energy is completely unconscious then any particular pattern of energy is equally unconscious.

This is not circular logic. As far as I understand it circular logic is saying that one statement is true because another statement based on the first is true. What I have said is not like that.

"There is an observed phenomenon called awareness." I wouldn't say that awareness is an observed phenomenon strictly speaking. It is not something that is actually observed rather it is the root of observation itself. It has no substance to be observed. Anything that you are aware of is not actually awareness itself.

"This has never been observed to be eternal and unchanging, as it is impossible to have an eternal experience of anything - we are not immortal."

Your true nature is eternal but I get your point. To know that awareness is eternal we do not have to experience it for all eternity just understand various principles.

Look, 2+2=4 is an eternal truth. It was never created and can never be destroyed. We do not have to experience this truth for all eternity to know that it is eternal. It is enough to realize that the truth has always been so, that it has never been created by any god or by any big bang etc. Also that it can never be changed or destroyed.

The Buddha said that decay is inherent in all compounded things ie no thing is permanent. All created things will eventually meet with destruction.

Now regarding our true nature we do not have to go through an eternity of time to realize that it is eternal. Rather we just need to understand that our true nature was never created it is beginningless and it can never be destroyed it is endless. It is not a compounded thing. It is transcendent of time and so we call it eternal. To make it clear awareness is *not* a compounded thing. It is not a "thing" at all. All things change and are subject to destruction. When you realize that awareness is unchanging/deathless then you realize that it is eternal/transcendent of time. When I say 'realize' I do not just mean the shallow intellectual understanding that I and others have about it. I mean the direct Realization of it as realized by liberated beings.

"There is no objective proof of anything existing in the universe that is not either matter or energy (which are the same thing ultimately). So any claim that awareness is partially/fully dependent on things outside this is assuming that there IS something outside this - with no evidence."

Awareness itself is not matter or energy and so it is it's own proof. Our true nature is beyond both existence and non-existence. It is not reliant on anything, that is why it is freedom and bliss to realize it.

"Awareness operates on matter and energy (neurons fire, bodies move - all material processes). There is no objective evidence at all of awareness of any kind operating on anything other than matter/energy."

All those things that are happening are according to you illusions-didn't you say? Is the pure awareness actually 'operating' on them in the way you think? It is debatable. In any case what do you mean by matter and energy? I believe there is a lot of evidence for subtle spiritual 'bodies'. They are still matter and energy but of a much more refined substance than can be picked up by any physical atom based detector. Still they have been detected and studied via the awakened subtle bodies of spiritual masters.

"When the matter/energy construct called the brain is interfered with, awareness can be objectively destroyed - there ceases to be any objective evidence that the awareness exists any more. Therefore awareness at least partly depends (a strict dependence) on matter/energy."

Or does it retreat back to higher levels? Does a radio signal cease transmitting just because the receiving radio is destroyed? No the signal is still there and is in no way dependent on the radio. Look at it another way. If a radio is tuned into one radio station does that mean that the other radio stations are not transmitting? If one radio station is being tuned into and then the radio tunes into another radio station does that mean that the original radio station has been destroyed? Think these illustrations over and see how they may apply to the awareness during sleep or death.

"Given the lack of anything observed outside matter/energy, there is no reason to suppose that awareness is anything more than a phenomenon that emerges from matter/energy, i.e it is not a partial dependence, it is a total dependence."

You have already been side tracked believing that awareness is a *thing* thus your later reasoning will also be flawed. Furthermore matter and energy *do not* observe: they are insentient. If there is any observation going on it must be that there is awareness as something other than matter and energy.

"The fact that we haven't yet identified precisely HOW awareness emerges in this way is not proof that it isn't happening. Just as being unable to explain how precisely life on earth first started is not evidence that life could only have started if God did it."

The fact is that not only don't you know HOW awareness emerges from matter you also don't know IF it does. The situation is that you (I mean material scientists in general) are ignorant about the subject and have no basis for certainty that there is no Spirit or that awareness is not independent from matter. However real scientists (you may call them spiritual, holistic or esoteric etc) have known and understood these subjects for thousands and thousands of years. They even teach methods whereby anyone sincere and pure enough can also know and understand for themselves.

September 12 at 12:29am · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Stuart, your point number "2" beautifully highlighted for Barton where the burden of proof lies. Barton, your arguments are circular and without substance. I did recount one of my experiences with meditation where awareness happened to remain. But I am sure there are periods when I am unconscious and not aware. I can only account for periods of awareness because there is where "I" resides. If there is no awareness, me, the self, the illusion, cannot be. I'd also like to point out that that was just an experience, it was different, it doesn't mean it was the peak of prufundity that a human can experience. Perhaps Stuart has gone beyond that with a lot more insight. I might have retained some awareness at the time but such awareness would not survive if my brain had suddenly been crushed by a heavy chunk of ceiling.

September 12 at 12:28am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Also, Barton, all the things you claim that we are aware whilst drunk, that don't change, all of them can change in a dream state and you wouldn't even realise it. Only upon awakening would you look back and see how apparently brain damaged you appeared to be. Awareness changes in detail and intensity. Awareness can also be, and cease to be.

September 12 at 12:35am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: On the brain... There are a lot of things that a brain does which a computer doesn't. For starters, a computer has a RAM. Brains don't. A computer has files with unchanging data (unless the user changes it). A brain has none of those things. A memory is not a video stored in the brain that we can watch when we want. A memory is always different to the actual event that created it in the first place. And it will be different every time you access it. By the way, you have used the electronic devices analogy to support your deductive reasoning that the brain is a biological receiver of consciousness (something external and independent of matter according to you.) There is only one problem. We can empirically verify that man-made devices receive signals (duh, we designed them to do just that) and that electricity and electromagnetic waves can be observed, measured and thus part of the physical world. So, you see, your analogy doesn't pan out. You are merely deducing. What you have is a weak hypothesis and the question remains: where is the Spirit? The same cannot be observed in the brain. There is no evidence that it's receiving or transmitting something of a supernatural nature. You see why you have the burden of proof?

September 12 at 12:54am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: By the way, if you don't know this already, the majority of scientists are nonbelievers of spirits, ghosts and gods. Why? Because their craft does not make it reasonable to believe in such things since they are nowhere to be found. If there is anything to be found, trust me, they would not lack the zeal to advertise it, demonstrate it, and win the Nobel prize. The minority who say they believe...hard to understand them when they forget such ideas the minute they enter the lab. Many say it to please their pious families. On Sundays they may even attend the Mass, and during the week they may attend to and study some real mass with UNDENIABLE and OBSERVABLE properties. Modest hypocrisy.

September 12 at 1:05am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Once again, we do not believe, Barton. We may,however, change our minds if you can provide some undeniable evidence that what you claim is absolutely true. I find this scenario highly unlikely given the existent evidence against. At the moment, as explained to you before, we see the primacy of matter around us, and, subjectivity arising epiphenomenally and with a good chance of being part of a very elaborate illusion. But awareness being the quintessence of objective reality? Nonsense. You seem to be confused in your argument as you claim a non-materialistic monism whilst asserting a Descartes-like dualism with the brain receiver. Let me point out that Descartes failed with the pineal gland.

September 12 at 1:24am via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Ok, good night, guys. I'm getting tired of this boring debate. I'm off to bed. Next time I'm gonna check the other topics...

September 12 at 1:26am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Especially when it goes round in circles and when individuals make weak oxymoronic statements like: "Regarding those hearsay type stories I made clear that I am not presenting it as proof just trying to give you a rough idea of where I am coming from." Such hearsay, anecdotal accounts, interesting tales, is where you are coming from? From the realm of alleged miracles, or the stuff that does not conform with natural laws? The unverifiable, the unproven? This is where I recomend logical positivism. Even the debunked! Like science hasn't even given such claims the benefit of the doubt. Like James Randi is less real than a ghost! I rest my case.

September 12 at 1:42am via mobile · Like..


James Barton: Everything conforms to natural laws Arlindo, it is just that you are not knowing of or understanding all natural laws.

September 12 at 2:42am · Like..


Stuart Valentine: James:

"Therefore my conclusion is that as energy is completely unconscious then any particular pattern of energy is equally unconscious."

Let me make a simple analogy that reveals what terrible logic this is.

"One person is totally unable to lift a 10 tonne truck. Therefore many people also cannot lift a 10 tonne truck together".

etc.

If you have simple components that combine in complex ways you can absolutely have emergent phenomena where the group has properties that the individual components do not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

http://www.evolutionofcomputing.org/Multicellular/Emergence.html

September 12 at 10:17am · Edited · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: James,

First you said:

"This is not circular logic. As far as I understand it circular logic is saying that one statement is true because another statement based on the first is true. What I have said is not like that."

And THEN you said:

"Awareness itself is not matter or energy and so it is it's own proof."

So either you don't understand circular logic, or circular logic is something you don't understand.

September 12 at 9:53am · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: James,

Finally: "The fact is that not only don't you know HOW awareness emerges from matter you also don't know IF it does. The situation is that you (I mean material scientists in general) are ignorant about the subject and have no basis for certainty that there is no Spirit or that awareness is not independent from matter."

But we do know that it does - because of the 6 point argument I outlined above. This is essentially the rational evidence based basis for being confident that awareness MUST emerge from matter - there is no alternative plausible explanation that fits the available evidence (including the evidence of the total lack of detection of anything being "received" by the brain from "the Universe").

Note: Rational, and Evidence Based. Your views however are totally evidence free, and circular in their rationality.

So all that about material scientists having no basis for certainty (i prefer "confidence") that there is no Eternal Spirit/Awareness is total horseshit - we can be extremely confident because NO SUCH THING HAS EVER BEEN OBJECTIVELY PROVEN TO HAVE BEEN DETECTED, EVER.

September 12 at 10:02am · Edited · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: Basically, the argument Barton makes is no different to the God of the gaps illogicality. Science has not covered those gaps yet therefore my concept must reside there blah blah blah. Same old bullshit.

September 12 at 12:46pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: We don't believe in ghosts for the exact same reason that we don't believe in God, magic, or miracles. All of these are so improbable as to the point where we can safely say that they don't happen. Why? Not because we fully understand how the universe works (because we do not), but because there are some laws and some truisms that we have established through verification and all of the aforementioned improbabilities defy them.

September 12 at 1:04pm via mobile · Like..


James Barton: good work guys, I will have a think about what you have said and try and reply later on this evening or tomorrow.

September 12 at 4:56pm · Like · 1..


James Barton: Hi Stuart,
Regarding circular logic, I will repeat what I said before and please answer the questions therein so that we can make some progress: 'First of all fact number 1 is that everyone knows that energy is not aware don't they? Are you believing that fire is aware or sunlight? Or magnetism? Or gamma rays etc etc? So I started off with a self evident and uncontroversial well known fact that energy is not aware. I said that all atoms etc are only patterns of energy, they are only events. Do you agree with this or not? As far as I can see I have said 2 facts. Therefore my conclusion is that as energy is completely unconscious then any particular pattern of energy is equally unconscious.'

Now, please consider the full spectrum of energies known to science. The full spectrum of frequencies. Any particular frequency within that spectrum is non-sentient is it not? Can the brain generate other frequencies that unlike every other known frequency are somehow conscious? So what about patterns of particular energies at particular frequencies? Every single pattern of energy found by science so far is completely insentient, true or false? Including any patterns that have emerged from other patterns.

Regarding emergence, it is not a new term to me but I have not looked into it that deeply before. Now you have presented a reason to do so which is great.

Emergence is a genuine phenomena I agree. There are many cases of emergence known to science. If we examine these examples we can see that they relate to patterns. For example complex and/or transforming patterns arising out of simpler patterns. It is a mistake then to lump in awareness with this as awareness is not any kind of pattern: it is completely patternless and structureless.

Emergence is not magick it does have limitations. I can see the interest in trying to link it with awareness but not the justification. Perhaps if we examine the subject more deeply it will become clearer either way.

Here you tried to paraphrase my argument: "One person is totally unable to lift a 10 tonne truck. Therefore many people also cannot lift a 10 tonne truck together".

That is not my argument. The example you gave is accepted. lots of small forces can add up to a larger force. That is trivial and I am not sure it is even classed as emergence.

That is not the emergence of a different property is it?

All known and confirmed cases of emergence are related to non-sentient energy patterns from which other non-sentient energy patterns emerge.

Has any conscious or aware energy ever being found by science? Awareness is That which is perceiving patterns. What justification is there that it is a pattern itself?

Materialistic science has restricted itself from the possibility that awareness is Spirit ie not reliant on matter. Therefore it is already side tracked. Materialistic science is therefore looking around for some kind of mechanism where by awareness arises.

Apart from emergence are there any other scientific theories on the table? If not then we can focus on emergence and define it's limitations.
------
As an aside then let us say hypothetically that consciousness can indeed arise from matter. Isn't it the case that practically there is no such thing as an empty space? What we thought of as vacuum is actually like a quantum foam etc? In that case then hypothetically, according to science and emergence etc: consciousness can arise from that quantum foam without the interaction of atoms being necessary. And so there is a way according to emergence that there are non-physical consciousnesses floating out there! Furthermore what are your thoughts on the multiple universes theory postulated by some scientists? The interaction between these possibly infinite multiple universes may according to emergence theory cause other properties to arise such as a vast awareness. An awareness that some people may choose to call God! haha

Or lets go down a slightly different path. The human brain is a bio electric structure with magnetic properties from which consciousness arises. From the much larger electric/magnetic system of the Sun a consciousness also emerges.
------
You quote me here:
"Awareness itself is not matter or energy and so it is it's own proof." and say:
"So either you don't understand circular logic, or circular logic is something you don't understand."

Well what if I said: Apples are not cars or bicycles. It is a self evident fact. Furthermore from no combination of cars or motorcycles will apples ever arise.

That is basically one of the explanations that I am offering to you showing that awareness is as completely different from matter and energy as is an apple from a car.

Yet actually and importantly the difference is much greater and more profound. Both apples and cars are atom based, they are patterns of insentient energy and so similar in that way. They are both subject to change. Awareness is patternless and unchanging. By definition it is sentient/aware.

I think it is key point which you have not yet acknowledged or proven otherwise. Please give me an example in your life where you were aware and that awareness changed into another form of awareness. If we look deeply we will see that perceived 'objects' changed within awareness but not the awareness itself. Look, whatever change you claimed that you perceived is not the perception itself is it? Once you have understood this key point then some of your beliefs will automatically modify/fall away from you revealing a deeper understanding that was actually there within you all the time but merely hidden just as clouds may temporarily obscure the sun.

September 14 at 12:06pm · Edited · Like · 1..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo,

"Once again, we do not believe, Barton. We may, however, change our minds if you can provide some undeniable evidence that what you claim is absolutely true. I find this scenario highly unlikely given the existent evidence against."

The ideal is that we are not irrationally attached to beliefs and so that with new evidence, with new understanding, we can give up false beliefs even if we had believed them for a long time. So that is great you are claiming loyalty to the truth over and above any of your present convictions. However I am not convinced that you are completely unbiased at this stage.

Unlike the majority of people you have had some extra and unusual experiences with lucid dreaming and even what some people would call spiritual experiences. Possibly you have experienced these things with the use of drugs and without mental purification and without being taught the basic spiritual doctrines.

Possibly your ego is not liking some of the implications of spirituality and may have been repulsed/frightened on some level by your nothingness type experience.

I would suggest that your ego like every ego has defence mechanisms. Your ego wants you to enjoy material things, feel important, feel intellectually superior etc etc. Atheism is a belief system that can take away some responsibility from the person. For example you said above that one shouldn't worry about any afterlife and just do what one enjoys for example eating meat. (by the way the meat industry is morally wrong and causes a lot of suffering via it's cruel practices). So I would say that apart from your rational and truth seeking aspects you also have a motive for supporting the atheist position. Such motives can distort incoming evidence etc. You may, to some degree be deceiving yourself.

I have spoken to many religious people for example jehovah's witnesses and Mormons etc. They are so certain and convinced that they are right and yet they are not right are they? Many of their doctrines are completely false. When evidence is presented to them they don't seem to hear it or they dismiss it for various reasons. So many tactics and distraction techniques are seen and I wonder to myself if they are employed consciously or whether they are only a semiconscious ego reaction.

From an outsiders viewpoint, as someone not attached to a particular religion or belief system I have noticed just the same tricks employed by materialistic atheists also. Each religion has it's own differences and its own justifications. Materialistic atheism is little different-as practiced by most of it's followers.

Why must arguments go round and round in circles? Why must people conveniently ignore various difficult questions and use distraction techniques and other tactics?

My solution is 2fold. Firstly the logical fallacies should be studied deeply so that we can stop falling into them ourselves and also so that we can recognise and point them out in others: http://www.virtuescience.com/logicalfallacies.html Secondly the character and the virtues should be studied and improved. Character flaws must be recognized and given up. Then only can we gain a clear undistorted understanding.

Some people are not appreciating the truth because they are afraid of the implications, they are suffering from a kind of cowardice which acts as a resistance point to truth.

Other problems are arrogance, laziness, lack of curiosity, inferiority complex and stubbornness etc. These are at the roots of misunderstanding and until they are dealt with we may be debating in vain because whatever nice and intellectual posturing that the other person projects nevertheless they will always find some excuse to stick with their current beliefs.

Many years ago I wrote a short book called "Inner Medicine" http://www.virtuescience.com/v-intro.html which details my discoveries about the virtues along with practical exercises enabling anyone to reclaim their natural virtue. I wrote the book specifically so that people of various religions can follow it without conflicting with their dogmas. I tried to deliberately avoid controversial and unproven metaphysical speculations. It is designed to be compatible with the atheist viewpoint also. I would appreciate you reading this book if you get the time and let me know if it is compatible or not.

Regarding our discussion on awareness I am still ignorant on what happens when someone wakes up from deep delta sleep for example due to a loud noise.

You said initially:
"you have failed to mention the peak of delta sleep, where we are truly unconscious and there is absolutely nothing to remember."

So my question is how if we are truly unconscious is the noise heard?

My other question still remains unsatisfied. I want to understand a time in your life when you say that you experienced your awareness changing. Can you detail it please and explain to me why it is the awareness that has changed and not merely 'objects' within it?

You perceived a change but the perception itself remained unchanged. That is my position and I am still waiting for a valid counter-argument or..." We may, however, change our minds if you can provide some undeniable evidence"...an acknowledgement that this part of my position is solid.

Logical Fallacies
www.virtuescience.com
Logical Fallacies.

September 14 at 11:54am · Edited · Like · Remove Preview..


Nigel Gray: Wow ! someone's got a lot of time on their hands.

September 14 at 4:14pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Atheism is not a belief. It's a disbelief. My reasons for supporting it? Evidence and reason. I've already given you examples of how awareness can change. The fact that I'm aware of a lot more now than I was as a child is an example of a change. Change in intensity. I already explained to you that technically your present self, i.e. you now, was never that child. You merely hold memories of that time that give you the illusion that you were. Now you say "perception." Well, whatever term you use it is pretty obvious how perception can also change. A child may perceive the police to be good (black and white view), as an adult, not necessarily, as this one understands that they are capable of corruption or that criminals may infiltrate the police force. The self is an iLlusion and so is its continuity. Im getting bored, Barton. And getting dizzy for going round in circles.

September 15 at 1:12am via mobile · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Let me summarise your position for you James.

"I've never been aware of not being aware, and I suffer from the delusion that the awareness I have now is the same awareness I've always had, ever. Therefore awareness is outside of me, outside of time and space, unchanging and eternal."

Possibly the biggest, most nonsensical non sequitur ever, and a deluded premise, but there you go.

September 15 at 1:34am via mobile · Like · 1..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, you are trying to make out that your position is only unbelief but this is not so. You cannot sincerely hide there. You are believing for example that awareness arises from matter and also that awareness changes. You keep talking about all the 'evidence and reason' supporting your views. Just saying that over and over is not actually proving anything.

We have already stripped away all your posts that are call to authority logical fallacies and attacking the other person logical fallacies. We are equally justified in stripping away all your empty statements which are merely claiming that there is so much evidence and reason and that your position is only unbelief and that you are getting bored.

If all of these things are stripped away from your position you have little left.

You are still missing the point as to awareness being unchanging.

Try and understand your example of the child thinking that the police are good and then later thinking otherwise.

At the time someone has the idea something is good, that is a thought arising in awareness. That thought is not the awareness itself. That thought is *content*. Later on someone's thoughts change due to extra information. So, due to new *content* appearing before awareness eg information about police corruption then other new *content* arises in awareness ie thoughts that they may actually not be as good as previously thought.

During both cases of thoughts arising in awareness those thoughts are merely *content* and in both cases other *content* will also be arising. For example feelings, memories and sensual input. All of those arising phenomena are perceived *content* and not the awareness itself.

How is what you have said different from this?: I listen to one note of music and then another different note of music. Because the 2 notes were different that means that my listening has changed. No the listening is silent and unchanging, it is the content that is varying. Awareness itself is 'prior' to any particular sense.

Now you claim to be getting bored and going round in circles but that is your own fault not mine. It is like a child getting a sum wrong over and over again. The teacher patiently explains the correct sum each time in various ways but the child is still getting bored. It is not the teachers' fault that such a simple sum and explanation are having to be repeated over and over again. If only the child would pay attention then it would only have had to be explained once.

Listen, in my last lecture to you I focused on people ignoring and dodging difficult questions. Then I asked you 2 simple questions that I had already asked you several times.

You answered one incorrectly and yet again ignored the other one! lol.

Here it is again:
***Regarding our discussion on awareness I am still ignorant on what happens when someone wakes up from deep delta sleep for example due to a loud noise.

You said initially:
"you have failed to mention the peak of delta sleep, where we are truly unconscious and there is absolutely nothing to remember."

So my question is how if we are truly unconscious is the noise heard?***

Whether it is a pivotal question or not I do not know. All I do know is that it seems difficult for you to answer and it seems to indicate that you were wrong in your earlier statement. If you cannot answer the question or if the answer is proving your earlier statement wrong then the humble and sincere thing to do is admit it clearly and openly, then progress can be made. By making little honest admissions like this then your boring circle will become a more interesting upward spiral towards greater understanding.

September 15 at 5:11am · Edited · Like..


James Barton: There is a bit more for you here Arlindo. You earlier said:

" I did recount one of my experiences with meditation where awareness happened to remain. But I am sure there are periods when I am unconscious and not aware."

Can you tell me please how you are sure that there are periods when you were unconscious and not aware? When thinking about this please remember that people often believed that they had been unconscious all night but had actually been dreaming during some of the night-and so the apparent unconsciousness was actually an illusion caused by lack of memory.

Here is another quote from you:
"Watch your own mind deteriorate as you age, or even that of those around you who are ill or senile."

Look at what you have put! "watch your own mind deteriorate as you age". Can't you see that as you are watching the mind deteriorate with age you are not actually the mind but the *watcher*? The very watching of something deteriorating is showing you that the watching awareness is still the same, simply watching. All that is deteriorating is not the awareness but other faculties that appear as objects within the field of awareness. Think about it man.

September 15 at 4:21am · Like..


James Barton: Hi Stuart,

Your summary of my position:
"I've never been aware of not being aware, and I suffer from the delusion that the awareness I have now is the same awareness I've always had, ever. Therefore awareness is outside of me, outside of time and space, unchanging and eternal." is not accurate. Awareness is not outside of me it is me. You are awareness also. That awareness is itself desireless. Desires are caused by the feeling of lack which is caused by our natural completeness as beings becoming obscured/forgotten. When the false feelings of lack are given up then desires are no longer arising. Bliss and aware desirelessness are the same. True bliss, complete bliss, means to be free from desires. In real bliss there are no feelings of lack and so no desires. You are pure awareness the nature of which is bliss.

Happiness can be categorized into 2 kinds: independent happiness and dependent happiness. Dependent happiness is depending on various circumstances and fluctuates with suffering as the circumstances change. Independent happiness is not dependent on anything and so is real and solid, unchanging.

Here are 3 ways to realize your true nature:
Neti Neti means 'not this, not this'. The practitioner examines the various phenomena that he has been identifying with such as his name, physical body, the emotions, memories and thoughts etc etc and realizes that he is not those things. All the things that come and go before him as a 'central'(or centerless?) point of unchanging awareness he cannot be.

The conceptual opposite technique of neti neti is: I am Brahman ie affirming that one is the pure spirit. As one continually contemplates this the false identifications begin to fall away.

In between these 2 methods is the self enquiry method as taught by Ramana Maharshi. Rather than denying or affirming as with the first 2 methods self enquiry simply asks the question: who am I?. When the false I thought which is at the root of ego and all the other false identifications is continually sought it vanishes at last thus revealing one's true nature.

A being who has attained self realization may be called accomplished, others are still seekers under the sway of delusion. Arlindo has described you as an accomplished meditator and you have not explained to him otherwise. In fact you have stated elsewhere on here of your thousands of hours of meditation.

Please feel free to explain more about your experiences and accomplishments regarding meditation. I do admire people such as yourself yet I feel that due to a few misunderstandings you are wasting much of your efforts.

Regarding awareness I have asked you both for an example of how you have experienced awareness changing. If you look at the example that Arlindo gave above and my analysis of it then surely you can see his elementary error??

Just like in my posts to Arlindo I have asked you various questions and you have studiously ignored them. In that way you will accomplish the preservation of your house of cards world view.

Perhaps you are enjoying your dream of being an accomplished meditator and a sharp intellectual atheist. Apologies for disturbing your sleep .

September 15 at 5:43am · Edited · Like..


James Barton: Friends, due to our conversation here I looked for some related material via youtube. This is a good video: http://youtu.be/-d4ugppcRUE

The Primacy of Consciousness - Peter Russell - Full Version
www.youtube.com

Peter Russell proposes that mind is more fundamental than matter. He explores th...See More.

September 15 at 5:09am · Like · Remove Preview..


James Barton: Another thing Stuart, you have put your faith in emergence as the mechanism whereby awareness arises from matter. I went into some detail investigating this, asking you questions about it and offering you illustrations explaining the limitations of it. I also shared an aside describing some of the implications that follow from the hypothetical arising of awareness from matter. For the sake of clarification I even asked if apart from emergence there were any other theories on the scientific table that contributed to the materialists' belief in the material basis of awareness. Instead of responding to all this in your reply you remained silent about the subject and instead chose to inaccurately summarize my overall position.

Look objectively and self honestly at your motives which influence such an approach.

September 15 at 5:24am · Like · 1..


Paul Morton: James, your input above has been very interesting reading. Ive been on here before, arguing for the independent existence of conciousness from matter, but didn't convey myself anywhere near as well as you have. Good stuff!

September 15 at 2:27pm · Unlike · 1..


James Barton: Thanks Paul, I am finding the discussion useful myself, it is helping me define and test my own viewpoints on the subject. I would value any of your own insights/approaches on the nature of awareness etc. We can eventually compile and purify all the arguments into a clear system.

September 15 at 4:14pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: James Barton, the noise is heard because sound waves reach your ears and excite cells. No consciousness is needed. As the sounds excite the biological and unconscious system, it animates it and consciousness emerges. Consciousness is the last thing and a result of interactig matter. This has been proved beyond all doubt. Use logic and wake up. There is your answer. I thought i answered it ages ago but obviously you weren't paying attention.

September 16 at 11:41am via mobile · Like · 2..


Arlindo Batista: Oh, and again, to repeat myself about people remembering and not remembering stuff: wake someone in REM phase and they will remember vivid dreams. Wake someone in delta sleep and nothing is remember (plus the individual wakes up confused and irritated - often not even being able to speak properly or think clearly right away.) It might take a few seconds or even a few minutes before they can muster a polite "let me gather my thoughts" or "let me compose myself." The latter being the most accurate. Consciousness, awareness, the self, in 150 of neuroscience, have been established to not be continuous and very much dependent on brain activity. The body can even perform tasks based on repetition and memory without the requirement of consciousness (i.e. You being aware of the action) - a perfect example is the autopilot phenomena when driving which can lead to questions such as, "How did I get here?" or even when you automatically turn the bathroom light off after having used the toilet and wonder if you did it later. Consciousness is the last thing to emergeand sometimes not even required. Hence why you doubt your own self and actions. The self has no control, only the illusion of it and is an illusion in itself. Now who is impeding progress here by foolishly insisting that there is such a thing as eternal unchanging awareness? Where is your evidence for it. Once the brain is destroyed at death there is definitely nothing. Ta-ta, Barton. Come back with more substance and stop ignoring scientific evidence.

September 16 at 12:53pm via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: "Science has been effective at furthering our understanding of nature because the scientific ethos is based on three key principles:(1) follow the evidence wherever it leads; (2) if one has a theory, one needs to be willing to try to prove it wrong as much as one tries to prove that it is right; (3) the ultimate arbiter of truth is experiment, not the comfort one derives from one's a priori beliefs, nor the beauty or elegance one ascribes to one's theoretical models." - Lawrence Krauss

September 16 at 4:20pm via mobile · Like..


Paul Morton: Non of that proves that consciousness is a product of matter. It's more theory. Consciousness can't be disected or tested in the lab such for you to be able to make such claims. The idea of it being seperate really isn't that bizarre. A tv set doesn't produce electricity. Electricity runs the tv set. Consciousness runs matter.

September 16 at 9:17pm · Unlike · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: Ok Paul point out how it is possible to separate consciousness from the brain which after all is said and done is the physical repository of our every waking moment and all of our memories all of our emotions and our accumulated knowledge. Or are you heading down a familiar road e.g consciousness is separate from the brain thus paving the way for claims about the existence of the soul ?

September 17 at 12:28am · Edited · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Not the TV analogy again! Where were you when I refuted that earlier in this thread, Paul? Electricity can be observed and measured and is thus part of the physical world. No such thing as the soul is observed or measured in the brain. The analogy is weak and quite irrelevant.

September 16 at 11:20pm · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: Ok can I just throw in a very cheap remark here (even though the first time I saw it I thought it was hilarious) If any of you that are arguing that consciousness can be separated from the physical restraints placed upon it by the brain are so sure that this position is correct, can I ask you to try this. If at anytime you happen to attend a funeral try striking up a conversation with the fucking corpse and see how far that get's you.

September 17 at 12:48am · Edited · Like · 1..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, you said:
"James Barton, the noise is heard because sound waves reach your ears and excite cells. No consciousness is needed. As the sounds excite the biological and unconscious system, it animates it and consciousness emerges. Consciousness is the last thing and a result of interactig matter. This has been proved beyond all doubt. Use logic and wake up. There is your answer. I thought i answered it ages ago but obviously you weren't paying attention."

I have been reading your replies fairly carefully and I don't think that you have relied to this before. Anyway, the first parts of your chain of causation are agreed. It is the last *magick* and unproven step that I question ie consciousness emerging from matter due to the excitation of the cells. An alternate theory is that the physical body sends out a warning signal to the consciousness which then returns.

You say of your version "This has been proved beyond all doubt." but look carefully, it is only the first and agreed part which is proven. The last and crucial step could have at least 2 explanations.

Regarding emergence, I agree that it is a recognized phenomenon and yet it does have limitations. Did you read my exploration of this in my reply to Stuart?

May I ask if you watched the video I posted above? It would be helpful.

September 17 at 6:17am · Like..


James Barton: Arlindo, you have mentioned a few times about the automatic functions of the human body. I do not see these as proof that consciousness is emerging from matter, why do you?

It is acknowledged and provable that sensors, computation and robotics etc can be made from matter. That is not the same as saying that awareness can arise from matter.

"not even required. Hence why you doubt your own self and actions. The self has no control, only the illusion of it and is an illusion in itself. "

This is a position held by many spiritual people for thousands of years ie that the ego self is illusion and that we are not actually 'doers'. That is completely different from saying that we are not awareness. Awareness is required to any illusion being perceived. That is surely undeniable.

You gave me an example of *awareness* changing which I refuted. You have not gone into this and challenged my refutation.

September 17 at 6:24am · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Round and round in circles we go. I will say this one last time: there cannot be awareness without consciousness. I would also look at Libet's experiments regarding how consciousness and awareness of decision making are delayed and spend less time looking at youtube videos that promote pseudo-science and mystical crap. You have no idea what you are talking about and I cannot take someone who uses kirlean photography at face value, for goodness sakes. I also gave you a perfectly good explanation for why noise sets off arousal and your idea of refutation is, "...but there is another theory..." No there isn't. What you proposed is nonsense and not viable. It is a dead end hypothesis. The body does not give any warnings to consciousness as this one isn't there in the first place and there is no awareness of sound. Do you know how long it takes for us to become aware of sound after it's reached us? When you do know realise how excessively it lags behind in terms of brain activity. Learn about brain potentials and have a look at auditory continuity illusions while you're at it. It's like I'm talking to my nine year old here...

September 17 at 9:36am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: All it takes is a good blow to the head to render someone unconscious (not to mention the numerous brain deficits arising from damage or malfunction which fragment or impair mental faculties). And the TV analogy does not apply here for reasons I have already pointed out. Bottom line: no spirit or soul is found in bodies because there is no such thing and ghosts are not real and there is no need to fear them like children. Once again, consciousness does arise from matter. No other alternative and enough evidence pretty much staring you in the face. Wake up, Barton. This is the 21st century. You don't get to say, "I saw Elvis, I can't prove it but you can't disprove it either." It doesn't work in science and it does not work in a court of law either. Any judicial system that takes such statements at face value would be a derisory one. Digest some logical positivism. It'll be good for you. You're worse than Rama...

September 17 at 9:49am via mobile · Like · 1..


Paul Morton: You still can't demonstrate in the lab that consciousness is a product of matter. If so, create life in the lab. If science is so advanced then in needs to demonstate by arranging chemistry so that consciousness will arise out of it.Create a living thing, create a seed that will grow into a plant if scientific knowledge is so advanced.

September 17 at 12:04pm · Unlike · 2..


Jeremy Belcher: "Paul Morton....... If so, create life in the lab......" Already done over 50 years ago or at least the recognised building blocks of life were created in the lab during the Miller/Urey amino acid experiments. And you have not demonstrated how consciousness can exist independently of the brain. Until you can I suggest you stop asking for evidence that you yourself can not supply.......The Miller / Urey experiments.......http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/03/21/scientists-finish-a-53-year-old-classic-experiment-on-the-origins-of-life/... Scientists finish a 53-year-old classic experiment on the origins of life : Not Exactly Rocket... blogs.discovermagazine.com

In 1958, a young scientist called Stanley Miller electrified a mixture of simple...See More.

September 17 at 3:31pm · Edited · Like · 2..


Paul Morton: Biological building blocks Jeremy, that is all. Not life. No consciousness there. As for evidence of consciousness being independent, there are numerous accounts of people dying on the operating table and observing from an external perspective things not visible from their supine position. Doctors present were able to verify what the patient had witnessed.

September 17 at 4:06pm · Unlike · 3..


Jeremy Belcher: I see so produce the evidence here and then explain how that determines that consciousness is independent of the brain. And do not try any strawman crap here I made no claim that consciousness was present during the amino acid experiments.

September 17 at 4:56pm · Like..


James Barton: " Round and round in circles we go. I will say this one last time: there cannot be awareness without consciousness. ."

You are arguing against something I have not said. I think one of the problems here is that we may be using different terminology. You are making statements about awareness and consciousness without understanding the difference. Not that I have a perfect understanding either of course

Each being is a center of awareness. That awareness being pure is the same in every being. Yet each being has differing levels of consciousness from say a plant, to insects, to small animals, to more complex animals to humankind. Within humankind there are varying degrees of consciousness yet behind each varying state of consciousness is an eternal and simple awareness.

Your example of a child believing police to be good and then later on believing them to be bad has to do with the content of awareness and differing states of consciousness. Believe it or not the awareness itself is exactly the same. You can prove this to yourself thousands of times a day within your own experience.

Mainly because you are confusing awareness and consciousness are we having to re-go over this part of the debate. When it becomes clear to you other pieces of the jigsaw will also begin to make more sense.

Within my cosmology there are other higher frequency bodies interpenetrating the physical body. In some Hindu traditions they are known as the five sheaths. In the western esoteric tradition they talk of the seven bodies. These ideas may seem crazy to you but you cannot deny that there is a limit to the frequencies that science can currently detect and also just because there is a limit to current detection it in no way means that there are no higher frequencies. In fact theoretically at least those higher frequencies definitely do exist. You need only to draw a diagram of the currently known material frequencies/wavelengths and carry the graph onwards.

All the thousands of years of testimonies and explanations of these higher realms has been (in a block) dismissed by you. Any evidences and insight inducing occurences that have been documented that support such testimonies has all been swept away because they contradict the materialist paradigm that you have faith in.

I read this book years ago and cannot now remember the details very well but it would probably be useful for you to read: The Ghost of 29 Megacycles

I have another line of enquiry for you here. Can you tell me if there is a difference in brainwaves between a lucid dream and a regular dream? Let us say hypothetically just for now that there is no such difference. You and others claim that you have has lucid dreams and other experiences. How could you convince a sceptic that you had experienced these things? Is it right that a sceptic should completely dismiss your experiences without even properly investigating the subject? In a similar way as I have said before there are a few beings who claim to remain aware even during deep delta sleep. Now have you ever investigated the lives and teachings of such people or not?

The Ghost of 29 Megacycles
www.amazon.com
The Ghost of 29 Megacycles.

September 17 at 8:48pm · Edited · Like · Remove Preview..


James Barton: Does materialistic science understand the nature and origin of consciousness in the confident way that you present? It is known as the *Hard Problem* because consciousness/awareness are not fitting into the materialistic only world view.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_hard_problem "Several questions about consciousness must be resolved in order to acquire a full understanding of it. These questions include, but are not limited to, whether being conscious could be wholly described in physical terms, such as the aggregation of neural processes in the brain. It follows that if consciousness cannot be explained exclusively by physical events in the brain, *it must transcend* the capabilities of physical systems and require an explanation of *nonphysical means.* "

..and currently it cannot be explained and thus the view that consciousness has a nonphysical basis is perfectly viable.

From what I have gathered you here are banking on the mechanism of 'emergence' to save the materialist only belief system.

Yet if we investigate carefully:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence
we see that emergence has to do with patterns of insentient matter emerging from other patterns of non-sentient matter.

Awareness is not a pattern and by definition it is not insentient.

It is not scientific to just pick a word such as 'emergence' and use it as some kind of magic word to plug the massive hole in your theory. Emergence seems to be the foundation of your theory and yet it turns out to be a mirage. Emergence has limitations.

Hypothetically: Furthermore even if consciousness could arise from matter then why must it be atom based matter only? What was once thought to be empty vacuum is said now to actually be a seething quantum froth isn't it? Therefore according to your own theory there could be nonphysical ie non atomic/biological consciousnesses in apparently empty space.

Hard problem of consciousness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org

The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we ha...See More.

September 17 at 6:10pm · Like · 1 · Remove Preview..


Arlindo Batista: Barton, I've already explained to you why these realms in esoteric cosmology are infeasible. Also, you seem to have a problem with the burden of proof, or you don't seem to understand it. By the way, look at Dennett's and Blackmore's. Many scientists will argue that there is no hard problem. This comes from a Cartesian theatre assumption about consciousness. Chalmers is unnecessarily aggravating the puzzle.

September 18 at 11:48am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Btw, would you say water being wet is only a belief? None of its atoms or molecules are 'wet' and yet that illusory property arises. Do me a favour and present something that evidences the independence of consciousness from the human brain that scientists may have overlooked. Otherwise, just shut up about Hindu neverlands already. Subjective experience is not proof of anything btw as people can dream, hallucinate and suffer delusions.

September 18 at 11:58am via mobile · Like..


Paul Morton: Arlindo, i've told you before that you can't rely on what is gathered through the five senses. They are imperfect and process only a fraction of what is really out there. Snap out of it.

September 18 at 12:53pm · Unlike · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: Paul we actually have far more than 5 senses. However let's cut to the chase here what you actually want is not debate and free enquiry what you want is some form of compromise or acceptance from us that consciousness can exist independently of the brain (for which you have not produced a shred of evidence) Then you get to make claims about the soul and thus continue with your fantasy of an infinite existence. So if you wish to be taken more seriously stop coming up with nonsense like this....."Arlindo, i've told you before that you can't rely on what is gathered through the five senses. They are imperfect and process only a fraction of what is really out there."..... Unless you have some testable physical evidence that there is something else out there (where is "out there" BTW ? ) Please refrain from pretending that you do know that there is.........http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/question242.htm

HowStuffWorks "How many senses does a human being have?"
science.howstuffworks.com
How many senses does a human being have?.

September 18 at 1:55pm · Edited · Like..


Paul Morton: So i would assume then, that before infra red radiation was discovered for example, that you would have flatly denied it's existence because non of the human senses perceived it?

September 18 at 3:42pm · Unlike · 2..


Jeremy Belcher: No I would have waited to see what evidence the experiments produced and then they went ahead and produced it. You see science does not give a toss what you believe as it only deals with what can be proved. And I think you will find that the science deniers historically have been the religious. And you have still not produced any evidence for your claim. So why don't you do that ? instead of trying diversionary tactics, and again where exactly is "out there" ? Oh and BTW my senses still don't perceive infra red except it's thermal qualities in the form of heat which I would have been aware of even if I did'nt understand it was infra red prior to conclusive proof of it's existence was produced by science........http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html

Infrared Waves
science.hq.nasa.gov
These original EMS pages will be available until May 31, 2011 at which point you'll automatically be redirected to the new pages..

September 18 at 8:32pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Paul Morton: No, your senses still don't perceive infra red, but we now have equipment that detects it. So to claim there is absolutely no chance of a spiritual frequency is plain ignorant just because it hasn't yet been detected scientifically. As for me producing evidence for my claim- well i can't. And you cannot produce any for claiming that spirit does not exist. Where is your proof. Surely it would be more sensible for you to keep an open mind until it is PROVEN one way or the other.

September 18 at 6:48pm · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: I already said that all I could detect would be the residual heat because of the thermal qualities without understanding it was infra red try to read what I have written. As for the rest you are making the assertive claim not me I have nothing to prove. You people already make that stupid bloody argument over the existence of your god and it has not worked so please give it a rest. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of "spirit" that is why I can dismiss it. BTW I thought you were interested in establishing in a scientific manner that consciousness was independent of the brain. So I was right all you want is some form of compromise for your life everlasting fantasy.

September 18 at 8:07pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Paul Morton: You've got your head in the clouds. Go and take some magic mushrooms a few times.

September 18 at 8:41pm · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
? Christopher Hitchens

September 18 at 8:44pm · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: "Paul Morton You've got your head in the clouds. Go and take some magic mushrooms a few times"......Ah yes childlike insults just what I have come to expect from you people when you can't force an agreement..

September 18 at 8:56pm · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Have you heard of the lurker Paul they are a group of people that just like to sit and watch these threads develop and they are probably watching you resort to the tactics of the playground. Thanks for that......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lurker

Lurker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org

In Internet culture, a lurker is typically a member of an online community who o...See More.

September 18 at 9:04pm · Edited · Like · 1..


Paul Morton: I wasn't insulting you. I was being serious.

September 18 at 9:08pm · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Then I suggest you try getting yourself an education because they are simply insults and the lurkers are still watching.

September 18 at 9:11pm · Like · 1..


Paul Morton: Ok Jezzer.

September 18 at 9:18pm · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: And it's Jeremy BTW

September 18 at 9:29pm · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Paul if you are attempting to get a rise out of me so that I retaliate in a like manner, it's really not going to work.

September 18 at 9:32pm · Like..


James Barton: Hi Jeremy,
Your quote from Christopher Hitchens: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” could be applied to the belief that awareness emerges from the interaction between insentient atoms.

This theory of emergence is being applied without any evidence. All other known cases of emergence are to do with patterns of insentient energy/matter emerging from other patterns of insentient energy/matter.

Awareness is not a pattern and neither is it insentient. From the debate above it seems that the 'materialist only view' of awareness is dependent on this principle of emergence yet it is very flimsy.

The logic seems to be that because there supposedly cant be Spirit then emergence must be true. This is then used to support the belief that there is no Spirit. So it is a kind of circular logic, it is invalid reasoning.

The undeniable evidence is that you are aware. Whatever passes before your awareness is now apparently said to be illusion by some scientists according to Arlindo etc. This idea is only a copy of what many mystics/spiritual people have being explaining for thousands of years.

Yet the materialists are also saying that awareness itself is an illusion, in contradiction to common sense. An illusion is needing awareness to ever appear. There cannot be illusion without awareness to perceive it. So awareness must be prior to illusion.

Materialists cannot measure or understand awareness in the bounds of their belief system and so they are forced to claim that it does not even exist, that it is merely an illusion.

Jeremy, throughout everything that you have ever experienced there is an unchanging awareness perceiving it. You are that pure awareness which is illuminating all of your experiences.

September 18 at 11:35pm · Edited · Like..


Jeremy Belcher: Hi James it's late and I am tired so I have only skimmed through your post. So in order to reply and do justice to your opinions I'm afraid you will have to wait until tomorrow. But I will reply.

September 18 at 11:50pm · Unlike · 1..


Rama Nrsimha Das: Thanks for the contributions of all on this thread. After reading the various comments however I remain resolutly unchanged in my opinion that consciousness is absolutely 'not' something only happening in the hardware of the brain due to the swishing of chemical interactions therein There is a vast body of evidence both anecdotal and scientific, showing abilities of consciousness to exert it's influences beyond the gross body. Consciousness uses the brain as we use a computer. Or a computer uses electricity as our brains use consciousness. We could even say that one's computer is like having a second brain... and the question will remain "Who is operating the machine or the brain? Who is desiring to do anything? The essential difference between consciousness and matter is that consciousness desires, machines do not, consciousness is self aware in a way that machines aren't. In a nutshell, the body/mind are not the living entity. The self orspirit is distinct from material elements and confusing the two leads to all kinds of misunderstandings and bad choices in life.

September 19 at 6:32am via mobile · Edited · Unlike · 1..


Stuart Valentine: Can you at least admit that it helps your view that no one has detected awareness separate from a physical brain, ever?

Because you know, that's kind of cheating.

I could just say that it's not awareness running our brains but giant Space Rodents, and I would have a competing theory with just as much evidence as yours.

September 19 at 9:02am via mobile · Edited · Like · 1..


Stuart Valentine: You are espousing a religious faith position, nothing more.

You have given us your apologetics so thanks.

But seriously. RELIGION.

September 19 at 8:21am via mobile · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Paul, you are a moron who doesn't even understand the burden of proof and you clearly have no concept of how scientific methodology works. The onus is on you to prove your claims and so far nothing. We have already covered this earlier. Btw, we don't just rely on our five senses, as you are well aware, we have technology thathat detects electromagnetic frequencies well beyond the range of human perception. We even have hadron colliders that detected the Higgs field, and yet, no sign of friggin ghOsts and spirit realms. If there is no proof of something, there is no reason to believe. Simple. As I pointed out before, you don't get to say, in a court of law, "I can't prove that happened but you can't disprove it either, your highness." That's a statement with no grounds. By the way, Paul, I can grow wings and fly like David Copperfield. I can't prove it but you cant disprove it either. Doofus.

September 19 at 2:10pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Jeremy Belcher: Somehow Arlindo I think that will fall on deaf ears and a brain dulled by belief in unsubstantiated fairy stories from a magic book.

September 19 at 2:29pm · Like · 1..


:Arlindo Batista As for Barton, I'm going to start ignoring him as he brings nothing new to the table. And along comes Rama with a weak analogy that has long been exposed as invalid in this debate. If you check our earlier posts you'll find out with the TV and computer analogy is weak. For starts, electricity is something observable/measurable and physical. No such substance as spirit is found in the brain. It does not exist. and the funny thing is, even if the soul was real it still wouldn't explain consciousness. One could ask: how is the soul conscious? And I can just hear those individuals who want the fantasy to be true at all costs saying: "It's divine magic!" LOL! This malarkey is laughable, contimptable and ridiculous - even more so when its passed off as an explanation.

September 19 at 2:29pm via mobile · Like · 1..


Arlindo Batista: I know, Jeremy. Ignorance on all levels. No surprise that some people on Earth believe prince Phillip is some sort of deity and he laughs it off. Y'know, they can't prove he is but we can't disprove it either! By the way, Paul, I'm the reincarnation of Christ. You can't disprove it. Talk about village idiots...

September 19 at 2:37pm via mobile · Like · 1..


James Barton: Hi Arlindo, I have already commented earlier on Dennett but got no response to those comments as of yet. Anyway I will investigate the work of Dennett and Blackmore more deeply before I reply properly to your last few posts, cheers.

September 19 at 5:00pm · Like..


Arlindo Batista: Don't bother. I'm not coming back to this thread. I don't think you have the capacity to bring anything good or new to the table regarding this subject. You can look at Dennett all you like. Or even Tonomi, Cristof Koch, and others. I think you should anyway.Some of the work by those scientists regarding the information integration theory carry many examples of why consciousness is a by-product of matter. Bye and good luck proving your spiritualist views.

September 19 at 6:57pm · Like..


James Barton: OK, thanks Arlindo, goodbye and best wishes.

September 19 at 7:08pm · Like..


James Barton: Hi Jeremy,

You said: "Hi James it's late and I am tired so I have only skimmed through your post. So in order to reply and do justice to your opinions I'm afraid you will have to wait until tomorrow. But I will reply."

I see that you have still not yet replied. Possibly you cannot answer some of my points? Don't be misled by people like Stuart or Arlindo. If you read carefully this thread you can see that they were avoiding my points and questions and have retreated in defeat.




My opinion is that those I was debating with could not answer some of the points and questions that I was raising and so they felt a pressure to leave the debate. Their belief systems were being shaken and threatened. Perhaps you hold a different view of the debate. Although my opponents were unable and unwilling to answer some of my points they carried on posting comments in the group attacking/challenging some of the religious people in the group-maybe they prefered an easier target?

In any case the debate provides some interesting food for thought to those interested in the nature of reality.

You are here: Index location Scientific Theories location The Limitations of Materialistic Atheism
In Association with Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca. Please shop through these convenient advertising links to show your support for VirtueScience Social


In Association with Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca. Please shop through these convenient advertising links to show your support for VirtueScience Social
Today's Deals on Amazon




Home | Privacy Policy | About | Contact | Top
Established 2002. Copyright © 2017 - All Rights Reserved.
VirtueScience Home