Effect Measure

There are times when God should be properly acknowledged:


  1. #1 tony
    July 6, 2008

    Too painful to comment on, I’ll pass.

  2. #2 K
    July 6, 2008

    Thank you Revere, yeah………
    Brains – what strange purposes we use their awesome powers

  3. #3 Crudely Wrott
    July 6, 2008

    A friend once drove his pick up over my leg. Much later I thanked him for not stopping on top of me. You have already assumed that I was joking, most likely. You’re right.

    This dear old soul is a clear example of the compartmentalization of reality required in order to actually base one’s life on an irrational, artificial reverence for the numinous imposed by arbitrary authority figures. This happens frequently to followers of religion, political philosophies and literary trends.

    At least she has survived and appears to be in fair humor. And I’ll bet she is very, very careful with candles any more.

  4. #4 Sili
    July 6, 2008


  5. #5 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 6, 2008

    So, was Allah sending her a warning of what Hell will be like if she doesn’t convert to Islam? There is still time, Lady!

  6. #6 Jessa
    July 6, 2008

    I’d bet good money that if the smoke detector hadn’t gone off and the woman had died, her family would blame the manufacturer of the smoke detector, not God.

  7. #7 K
    July 6, 2008

    As extreme as this case is, it represents business as usual in the religious world. God can cure cancer, but apparently cannot or will not prevent cancer. To solve this theologians from Paul onward have to work hard – one thing they come up with is “god’s strength is made perfect in our human weakness”. Ah ha, this god is so insecure that he has to make weak beings, let them suffer and then show what a big good guy he is by helping out. When a parent likes their children to stay weak and dependent we think they are a bad parent. Imagine such a parent who further lets bad things befall their child just so they can come to the rescue. Hmm case for welfare methinks….get that kid out of the home.

    Amazing how different things look when you describe theology without all the holy crap. God can’t exist – if he did he would be the devil.

  8. #8 Rigor
    July 6, 2008

    How about the poor priest who tied himself to helium balloons to raise money for children, got blown off course and now they have found his body…

  9. #9 paiwan
    July 7, 2008

    The religious faith is built on personal maturity. A person before six years old basically doesn’t have scientific reasoning, though he/she was treated partly by some scientific products, but only partly.

    According to psychological report, a person only survived and continued to grow by the love given to him/her. The insufficient love for a person in the early stage would lead to much mental illness. So, we human beings survive on the foundation which is much more than science.

    What a pity in the United States, the main atheism inherited from Dawkins has developed the militantly antireligious theory and actions which is very detrimental to the society.

    Remember the atheists who had accused religious wrongdoings, themselves had caused more than 100 millions killings in the last century.

    Having said that, I don’t imply the perfect religious image; in fact the fundamentalism is as worse as scientism.

    The true scientific spirit as far as I have learned is something like when the new discovery unfolds; the scientists always feel they have touched unknown area more than before. A true reverence and humility have gone along with the presentation of new knowledge. This kind of spirit is perfectly reflecting the true religious spirit of repentance with hope.

    The public health blog, her owner who can express non-linearity and paradoxical reality, for me is not a man of scientism.

    The healing process is not only scientific domain; ethic and serendipity always happen in the process. Therefore we need be very careful for the speaking; in fact I have placed the high expectation which should lead the science blogs to be healed. The public health definitely can not be labeled with anti-religion. I see the dialogue of this thread is somehow helpful. Judeo-Christian tradition always care our impact generated by our involvements for five generations. We should leave something that our grandchildren will be proud of our contributions today.

    Furthermore I hope that theme and the tone would be inclusive enough for humble believers, agnostic and decent atheist. I just thought of Library Lady who is a recovering patient; nevertheless her spiritual love for all is so wonderful. I hope that she will come back someday. And so many others who have experienced exclusive treatments before.

  10. #10 lincoln
    July 7, 2008

    Once when I was younger I caught fire when I was holding a candle and praying/singing. That was the last time I closed my eyes around fire 😛

  11. #11 Mystyk
    July 7, 2008

    <RANT type=”reply to comment”>

    paiwan: umm, what?
    Let me see if I can sum up that mental excretion, using roughly the same level of mastery over the English language:
    “I can haz godd?”

    Religious faith is not based on personal maturity, but rather the opposite. Holding on to “invisible friends” well into adulthood means that a part of your brain has been tricked into never letting go of a childish element of the feeling of security.

    The psychology of loving and being loved by one’s parents is irrelevant to the belief in a sky fairy. Plus, such psychology is itself a “scientific” matter of brain chemistry.

    Atheism is not inherited from Dawkins. He is but one proponent among legion. The “militantly antireligious”, as you see them, are nothing more than “passionately pro-reality” or “passionately pro-reason”. No “detriment to society” claim has ever withstood the scrutiny of a small child, let alone a learned scholar.

    The only mass-murder that was not religiously tied in the past several millenia is that of the communists, which itself was a political issue, not a “religion vs. atheism” issue. Even then, 100 million is getting a bit ahead of yourself. You’d be lucky if you can find enough killings that were “deliberately anti-religious” to count on one hand in all of recorded history.

    “Scientism” is an attempt to conflate scientific evidence with religious fairy-tales. Reality is not a matter of whether you believe it. Congratulations on just failing to understand science at even a high-school level.

    You want the “True scientific spirit”? Go watch the first few minutes of “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out” on YouTube. It’s an interview with a real scientist, Richard Feynman. Listen to the part about the flower (only 3-5 minutes long) and then we’ll talk about scientific spirit.

    The rest of that comment I’m not even going to attempt to parse. When you want to talk about so serious a topic, make sure you understand the language well enough to actually form a cohesive sentence.


  12. #12 Niobe
    July 7, 2008

    When a parent likes their children to stay weak and dependent we think they are a bad parent. Imagine such a parent who further lets bad things befall their child just so they can come to the rescue.

    So basically, God has Münchhausen by proxy syndrome.

  13. #13 paiwan
    July 7, 2008

    Mystyk said: “paiwan: umm, what?
    Let me see if I can sum up that mental excretion, using roughly the same level of mastery over the English language:
    “I can haz godd?”

    Please bear my English a bit; everyone knows that it is not my first language. I guess everyone here reading your post can tell your English is excellent. Maybe you are not an educated American or not an American. Fairly rude for the first time based on this blog style.

    Since you mentioned Richard Feynman, who has happened to be one of my respected scientists,-a Nobel laureate in 1965 Physics. He did say something which I thought is good advice, “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degree of certainty- some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.”

    As a practiced scientific person myself and have been immersed in evolutionary biology for three decades, I thought everyone has different version of scientific spirit. It is debatable and could be shared.

    My main point was to point out to my friends here that to be an excellent scientist doesn’t need to be antireligious like Dr. Dawkins. I could tell that many terms used here have been coined by Dr. Dawkins. Maybe I am wrong in my judgment; Dr. Dawkins has not been so popular in EM? I don’t think that because of he is a scholar in natural science and subsequently makes him a qualified spokesman to say that atheism is the only legitimate worldview for scientists.

    I have posted several reminding that the true religious experiences are conducive to mental health. The people who have grown more mature tend to find God more dearly. An excellent example was Sigma Freud. My personal experience: in 2002 my college classmates 30th year reunion, 90 % became religious. They are now mostly executives, scientists. Life will teach. This is my sincere post.

    Again, sorry to let you bear my English a bit.

  14. #14 Mystyk
    July 7, 2008

    paiwan, my apologies. I was a bit agitated from an earlier engagement (something that happened where I am) and I took it out on you. I still stand by the relevance of the points I made, but my tone was inappropriate.

  15. #15 K
    July 8, 2008

    Niobe “So basically, God has Münchhausen by proxy syndrome.”

    Oh that is good.

  16. #16 K
    July 8, 2008

    Paiwan, I doubt that Jesus Christ (you know the one who said forsake all and follow me) would consider most executives religious. He would consider them hypocrites and he hated hypocrites. He would have noted their riches and said “you didn’t feed me” off to hell. But most Christians spend a lot of energy ignoring Jesus and the poor he championed.

    Wealth is not consistent with the ethics of Jesus – service is.

  17. #17 paiwan
    July 8, 2008

    Mystyk: No problem.

    K: How are you? Recently I have back pain, a friend told me to practice Chi-kung, my wife told me to pray more, and my doctor prescribed me Amitriptyline/Celebrex. Pain to wake you up in the night, the thoughts in the brain suddenly turns grey. Do you have experience? Oh, you are young.

    I thought that God is just. He uses pain as signal to remind me and to modify my living pattern. He is also merciful to give the chance to learn. I admire the people who have physical pain and yet dedicate to help others. You remember the Apostle Paul who worked so hard to heal others in spite of his own shortcomings- also back pain. Our Revere is a good example also.:-)

    K, when you are adding age and putting the shoes of other’s like the executives’ you would not judge them so easily. Everyone has different calling. Collin Powell said that he had no calling to be the national leader.

    Do you mind I mention Martin Buber again ( Revere doesn’t mind any more),” When you have stretched yourself into the world, you will touch the hand of God.”

    I’ve noticed that your tone is softer now; I feel it is a lovely transformation. Anyway God loves you so much, and He will not judge you too quick. He is lovely.

    I agree with you, “Wealth is not consistent with the ethics of Jesus – service is.”

  18. #18 K
    July 8, 2008

    Oh my Paiwan, so condescending to youth who know little but when they get old and wise like you will understand. Hmmm – I am 60 Paiwan and have many aches and pains.

    God is not lovely, he is a bastard. As you will recall, he choses not to intervene when a child is sold into sex slavery. Is the pain they feel when first penetrated by an adult to remind them to modify their living?

    I don’t think Jesus thought anyone who followed him was called to be an executive – they were called to be fishers of men is my recollection.

    BTW Collin Powell is a bastard too. He helped deceive us into the war in Iraq which may have caused over a million civilian deaths in Iraq. Interesting that you write about him along with God – lets see that would be the God of Joshua – do read Joshua again and see if you can stomach such a god.

    So much for my lovely transformation. I am a cranky old 60 year old – once was a Christian. Worked it out in my mind that God could not be both powerful and good. I am happier as a non-Christian atheist than I was as a Christian.I don’t care how many fancy theologians you quote – they are just apologists for God, who certainly needs apologists.

    Look at it this way. God created man fallible. Man failed. God blamed man not his faulty creating. God being a narrow minded sort of god couldn’t think of any way to correct the situation but to imitate pagan human sacrifice and sacrifice his own son. Now you humans be grateful or you go to eternal burning. Nice theology. See how different it sounds when not prettied up by a theologian. Theologians are word masters but that is all. They weave webs of words that end up meaning nothing.

  19. #19 revere
    July 8, 2008

    palwan: I’m with K. I’m also older (66) and think that if there were a God he/she/it/they would have to be charged with crimes against humanity. I just reread Boswell’s account of David Hume’s last days. That’s the way to go out.

  20. #20 victoria
    July 9, 2008

    Paiwan, I do not envy the world you live in, it appears to be so complicated, and prejudiced. Religious people seem to spend an inordinate amount of their time labelling people and events.

    K, Revere, I too embrace atheism, it is such a simple and uncomplicated way of living. We are born, we live and die.

    Knock, Knock
    Whose there?
    Death HUUH!

    There is nothing there. It is just that simple.

  21. #21 Lea
    July 9, 2008

    With all due respect paiwan, Jesus the Christ left over 200 years ago and he ain’t coming back, his mission is over, done, finished, kaput ……. .
    With that said, God does exist, just not the way religions teach.

    Gads, I leave on a mini vacation for five days and miss all the fun!

  22. #22 K
    July 9, 2008

    Victoria, you have that right
    Lea you have that right, except that there is a good liklihood that a person named Jesus never lived – was just invented probably based on the Mitras myths. Perhaps invented in the seizured mind of Paul. There are certain types of seizures that create religious experiences that seem quite real and profound to the person having them (see V Ramachandran Phantoms of the Brain http://books.google.com/books?id=mJFtAAAACAAJ&dq=Vilayanur+S+Ramachandran&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result

    Hard to think of such a big religion springing out of the fevered imagination of one man, but then think Mormonism and its not so hard.

  23. #23 K
    July 9, 2008

    Revere is that Bowell on Hume available on the web = if not what book? sounds quite interesting.

    I keep wondering – with you an avowed atheist, why does Paiwan post here. Out to convert you and the rest of us?

  24. #24 revere
    July 9, 2008

    K: Hitchens has it in his anthology of atheist writings, which is where I read it (I have it on my Kindle!). Not sure if it is on the web or not. BTW, it’s Boswell (James), the biographer of Samuel Johnson.

  25. #25 K
    July 9, 2008

    Thanks revere – I figured it was the same Boswell asn the Sam Johnson biographer, just can’t type perfectly sometimes. I have Hitchens book on my Amazon wish list so will catch it when the used price gets a bit lower

  26. #26 paiwan
    July 9, 2008

    Revere: “if there were a God he/she/it/they would have to be charged with crimes against humanity.”

    Is this the one point that you are with K?

    Sometimes I read your posts which have been full of logical acumen and imaginative capacity, I thought that you would often experience that the inspirations come to you were unexpected, something that is beyond yourself or bigger than yourself. And some other time I could tell your reasoning restrained also is relating to your religious viewpoint- I mean atheism.

    Just like the analog of hatred is not the opposite of love; indifference is. Atheism is not the opposite of religious faith; numbing is. Perhaps there are two polarities ( biased system) of faith somehow.

    Another point is that God can not and no need to be proven, there is no meaning to prove God�s existence. Because He is not an object; nevertheless He can be experienced. In my definition, you are the people who have experienced God often; also by Martin Buber’s definition, just have not surrendered merrily.

    K: “why does Paiwan post here. Out to convert you and the rest of us?”

    I post here basically is to learn for myself and as a staunch independent commenter. I agree with Library Lady that Revere is a thinking person. You worry that he will be converted by my broken and often not spell-out English? Aii, don’t worry too much, he is staunch indpendent also. The rest of us? Maybe you worry about yourself :-) If you upset something, there must be some reason. I don’t think you upset me because I guessed wrong about your age. I did make mis-judgement, you did not have lovely transformation, still cranky as you versed.

    I just feel that you have transference problem and hate the scapegoat-God and His believers, Why? People after 40 should not do that- that was the reason that I guessed you were under the number. Sorry.

  27. #27 rself privilegedevere
    July 9, 2008

    palwan: I don’t hate believers in God any more than I hate believers in the toothfairy or elves or Leprechauns. I don’t believe in God nor do I agree with your views (although I don’t always understand them; they are incomprehensible to me). I don’t consider myself privileged in logical or ontological status over other things in the world. Once I didn’t exist and someday I will stop existing, just like my 1965 VW beetle. That seems quite obvious to me, even if it isn’t obvious to you.

    Is that a religious view? Not in my book, but you free to use language however you wish (chimps and dogs use language, too, so that doesn’t make us special). Notice that I said if there were a God he/she/it/they would have to be charged with crimes against humanity, since a God with any power over events would be an evil criminal considering what has transpired and continues to transpire in this world. But ther is no God to charge with this crime so rest easy.

    As far as coming here, you are of course welcome to come and say what you wish to say. That’s always been the policy here.

  28. #28 K
    July 9, 2008

    Paiwan I am certainly not worried about being converted. My decision to reject belief in God was not made hastily. I was about 45 when I made the final plunge away from religion after having been quite serious about religion up until that point. As a result I have read your theologians. Buber, Bonhoeffer, etc etc etc. I read them because I wanted a loving God and I couldn’t figure out how God could be both loving and powerful. Unfortunately the theologians did not have good answers. I felt so strongly positive about the ethics of Jesus that I really wanted to stay a believer. But finally I just had to give it up. Based on the reality of the world a good god is inconsistent with a powerful god. Simple as that. I thought I would be lost without God, but in fact I was freed and have never had the slightest urge to look at a god belief again.

    Once you get free of religious beliefs and look back, frankly those beliefs look so incredibly stupid – it is hard for me sometimes to understand how I ever believed some of that stuff. I was brainwashed by my family and church I suppose. Perhaps if you live a bit longer you too will get free from religion.

  29. #29 Lea
    July 9, 2008

    It is difficult to understand paiwan revere, with you on that one.
    Don’t want a religious zealot here trying to convert anyone either but it’s not my blog. On the flip side of that, you did put up with me in the past. My comments were taken as religious though when in fact I’m against organized religion. If I make it to the age of 70 perhaps I’ll know by then how to effectively and properly share my viewpoint and beliefs.

    K: You are a strong and wise woman, love it.

  30. #30 K
    July 10, 2008

    Thanks Lea. I am not against people having religious beliefs, but I am against them trying to proselytize and I deplore the evil some religious beliefs (particularly the Jehovah God ones) have caused and still cause.

    I think you share your views just fine. And they are yours, not some theologian’s.

  31. #31 Oliver
    July 11, 2008

    Of course, God/Adi Purusha/Hephaestus/Odin/Bill Gates/The Flying Spaghetti Monster let this happen to remind us of the importance of properly working smoke alarms.

  32. #32 Dylan
    July 12, 2008

    Just imagine how grateful Maria would be, if “He” had fried sixty percent of her body.

  33. #33 Dylan
    July 12, 2008

    The “self” is a highly persuasive, constantly reconstructed, re-imagined, and re-encountered illusion. A very ancient, entirely recursive phenomenon. When you are sufficiently sophisticated, in terms of neural structure and function, to perceive “yourself,” that is, to have an apprehension of a being that is separate from other beings, and from its surroundings, then, you are in the position where the “illusion” has matured completely. “Who” experiences the illusion? The current instantiation of all previous beings, all of whom were also subject to the illusion. The “illusion” experiences “itself,” so to speak.

    The present “you” is not, fundamentally, any different than all previous editions, or material expressions of the illusion; if you prefer that method of attempting to confine, and articulate the function of the neural substrate that is the basis, and the progenitor of that “single” illusion (“I” am), that is you (now; at this very moment), and the “composite” set of illusions that constitute the entire body of human and proto-human beings (the biological you; it is real…or you are not here). There is no “separate” being, here. That is not possible. Nothing that can be part of this process — from any point along its disjointed progression, ’til its final, irreversible condition of universal entropy — can be abstracted out, and separated off from the rest of it. There is not sufficient energy, in the entire universe, for this universe to extract so much as a single quark, and “isolate” it from the remaining “body” of the existing universe. There is no difference, in principal, between the structure, presentation, and “configuration” of a single quark, and that of the entire universe. The “self” is subject to the same set of laws, that determine its nature.

    And nothing that ever failed to enter into the process, at some point along the way of its natural progression, can ever later establish itself as part of the process. There are no “gods;” they are not part of the process, and there is not the slightest evidence that such superstitious myths could ever factor in to the pre-figuration of the process. Setting yourself out, as somehow more “significant,” or different from all other instantiations of “self,” that this strange place has ever entertained, is to invite a very pernicious, self-flagellating mockery of what you might otherwise be. We are here; if you dispute that, then there is no longer any reason for discourse; in fact, that dispute is not even available to you, simply because discourse itself would necessarily be impossible, without those various attributes that precede it, and firmly establish our presence (corporeal embodiment, and language, for example). There is no “why” issue here, either; that is not a legitimate question, in a discussion of this nature. We “are” here, is the only echo that will ever acknowledge the fundamental nature of our condition, in this “place;” whether you passively whisper, or aggressively shout: “Why?”

    In my opinion, the illusion of self co-evolved with the development of intelligence; intelligence itself is an emergent phenomenon, found exclusively (in the configuration that we are familiar with, at least) among “highly” evolved species. The illusion of “self” helps to ensure the protection and continuation of the more useful (in the pragmatic sense of being of greater collective, practical utility) attribute of “intelligence.” In other words, the illusion of “self” acts as a force for the perpetuation of intelligence; and is so tightly woven into the fabric of the creature that possesses these attributes, that the two are nearly inextricably bound together (but not in all cases; “not self” experiences are not at all uncommon; I have personally experienced this phenomenon, very spontaneously, on many occasions). Though they obviously are not also co-equal. Nature blindly attempted an experiment; the outcome has been a success (to the extent that this conclusion can reasonably be allowed), on several different levels. An extra dimension, or an order of magnitude (at least) is added to the bare biological principal of survival, when these two facets are combined: “Intelligence,” and the illusion of “self.” Hence, “religions.”

    Since every culture, or form of society, going back as far as we can possibly document, has been the source of at least one religion, then it’s probably reasonable to assume that religion is an inescapable product of the biological continuation of the “illusion.” You cannot reverse this situation, however, and insist that “a” religion is the source of biological origins. There are too many organisms here that do not exhibit a propensity toward the establishment of any religion to suggest that this would be a viable argument. Only organisms that participate, fully, in the “illusion” are capable of establishing religions.

    “We” are “here.”

    “We” are “real.”

    But, we are just not quite what we “think” we are.

  34. #34 Lea
    July 12, 2008

    to perceive “yourself,” that is, to have an apprehension of a being that is separate from other beings, and from its surroundings,…

    Whom would you change places with Dylan?

    “single” illusion (“I” am),…

    The “I” is the mind talking, not the soul which is the I am that I am.

    So what one does with the imagination determines everything.

  35. #35 paiwan
    July 13, 2008

    Revere: “As far as coming here, you are of course welcome to come and say what you wish to say. That’s always been the policy here.”

    In fact I never have the doubt about the safety in posting here, because of your consistent style. Anyway, thank you for affirming this policy again. Best wishes to all who genuinely to come to share.

  36. #36 K
    July 13, 2008

    Wow Paiwan, amazing you find such fine values in an atheist like Revere – God must have touched his soul when his guard was down. If God is supposed to be the source of all goodness, all morals, it creates a problem for the relgious folks when an atheist acts well. But no problem really, call in a theologian and they will turn out some explanation. That is what they are paid for – to keep the theology from being discredited by reality.

  37. #37 paiwan
    July 15, 2008

    “Wow Paiwan, amazing you find such fine values in an atheist like Revere – God must have touched his soul when his guard was down.”

    K: I think that he passed the criteria of Maureen Dowd’s first criteria: having good friends for instance both of atheists and Christians like Melanie Mattson, etc. His style is much better than Dawkins and PZ for sure (IMO).
    The area to improve is to develop his individuality, therefore to have the soft quality such as spontainity, wit, ability to relinguish his assertiveness. :-) Because you sincerely ask me, I have to respond genuinely, not pushover.

    I always greet you with peace and love. And you suggested to let me sabatical by Revere. You must love truth more than friends. :-(

    As your theological version, I wish that I can help you out a bit. :-) Take time and walk slowly.