Sunday School

Sunday School March 1st 2020

This topic contains 60 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  _Robert_ 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Paula White claims she had a heavenly experience with God in His toilet.

    In India, religion allows good people to do terrible things in the name of their imaginary gods.

    After Brexit a school in England is to allow a foreign state, the Vatican, to indoctrinate children. The Cuddly One wants Catholics to give up trolling for Lent.

    The Satanic Temple has appealed a discriminatory ruling on giving a council invocation.

    I think that the School Voucher proposal is one of the worst things about Project Blitz.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez understands that Project Blitz is all about discrimination and bigotry.

    A more serious look at the 3 “symptoms” of atheism from last week.

    If only religion was as easy to take up as colonic irrigation…….

    These bikers were born to be mild.

    The saga of Ken Ham and the lark of the ark in the park continues.

    This weeks’ Woo: Conspiracy theories about the Coronavirus are spreading rapidly.

    Climate Crisis: Broadcast news networks paid more attention to climate change in 2019.

    New research suggests Earth was created in a fraction of the time scientists previously thought it formed.

    Physicists may have accidentally discovered a new state of matter.

    The jellyfish that lives its life completely free of oxygen dependency.

    Peter Singer and the narrowing of discourse.

    Is it our sense of self that leads to the idea of having a soul? Is the mind more than the brain? What happens when scientists make artificial and biological neurons communicate over the internet.

    How did Belief evolve?

    If you are going to be a Nihilist, be an active one. (They believe in nothing!) So don’t be worried if supernaturalism is in decline.

    Long Read: Why your brain is not a computer.

    We pause to remember: Freeman Dyson.

    This week I am reading this book: The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.

    Some photographs taken last week. 2.8 million public domain photos from the Smithsonian.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video: The Origins of Morality: How Biology and Culture Shape Us. The Big Bang is probably not what we think it is.


    Have a great week everyone!

    The prophet or seer is a man of strong imaginative powers, which have not been calmed by education. The ideas which occur to his mind often present themselves to his eyes and ears in corresponding sights and sounds…. Prophets have existed in all countries and at all times; but the gift becomes rare in the same proportion as people learn to read and write.

    – Winwood Reade


    Simon Paynton

    Peter Singer and the narrowing of discourse.

    If people have a problem with Peter Singer’s views, they should debate him rather than shutting him down.  At least they are somewhat thought through: he has some reasons for believing what he believes.


    I agree. I have disagreed with him in the past. But I have no problem reading what he has to say. Reading and listening to opinions you don’t always agree with is the best way to challenge your own views. I am not interested in the cancel culture that has crept into society. I can handle debate and commentary without whinging that nobody is setting up a safe space for me.


    Simon Paynton

    I’m interested in what he has to say, because he’s our most prominent living moral philosopher.  I have to say, I find some of it to be junk.  But hey.  I’m a liberal.  I defend to the death his right to his wrong opinion.

    For example.  He can’t work out why kids on the other side of the world should not be as important to us as our own children.  Apparently he’s never heard of “inclusive fitness”.



    That podcast was a little painful to listen to. After that description of the soul…the only meaningful interpretation you could give is “animacy”. That is something is “animate” if it is an active organism that isn’t dead. Yes…that’s a quality that non-living things don’t have. Is that because of a ghost in the machine or is that simply because we are turned on and have the potential to keep functioning? I could go along with them if this was what they meant by the soul (animacy). But they really mean ghost in the machine. once you use the term “soul” or “spirit” you add a whole slew of unfalsifiable nonsense whether you want to do that or not.

    The fact that there were neuro-surgeons that became dualists doesn’t help at all in convincing me about dualism. “Penfield noted that in probably hundreds of thousands of stimulations he never stimulated the intellect”. As though he had the ability to stimulate every part of the brain (he didn’t) or that the only way to access this  was through the method of stimulation he used. His conclusion is “a lack of evidence is evidence that…”. Yuck.

    The second: that a seizure only stimulates the body as opposed to the intellect doesn’t prove anything. Why are there no intellectual seizures? Because seizures don’t work that way. There are all sorts of brain defects that DO hinder the intellect.

    The argument about about tricking the patient also doesn’t make sense because when you move the arm you use multiple parts of the brain which you cannot all stimulate at once. And if you cannot stimulate the inner parts of the brain you cannot conclude there is no where in the brain where the intellect could be stimulated. That’s assuming that just stimulating one area could stimulate the intellect which isn’t a given.

    Three terrible horrible arguments.

    The argument that becoming an atheist is unlikley if you are a dualist. Very strange argument. There are billions of dualist who don’t believe in a bearded man in the sky.

    Take Raymond Tallis a neuro-surgeon who was at the top of his field is a prominent atheists who has written two books which deals with the ridiculousness of dualism.

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Davis.

    For over 2000 years the theistic interpretation of the reality of the natural (material) world has held sway, even at the heart of academia. But it has always offered the wrong answers because the natural world does not require supernatural explanations. It requires natural explanations. Who would have thought that! 🙂

    Nerve energy in the brain is electrical energy. The brain is part of the material world. It is matter and the mind is the manifestation of this highly evolved and specialized matter at work. There is no duality because the mind and matter are one. They are not separate entities and when the brain dies it stops using energy so the mind is no longer “broadcasting” (my term). It just ceases to be.

    It is that simple. There is no duality.

    It is just that because the theistic idea has held such sway for so long that is difficult for many to step away from it. All supernatural explanations come from egotists. Atheism emancipates the mind from mysticism and fables and teaches us to stand on our own feet. Atheism is the final step to becoming a mature person. The theist still thinks in terms of childish fancies. Atheists rely on facts while theists debase themselves before imaginary supernatural entities, just as they did when we once, as a species, worshiped rocks.

    Some more here.



    I think these dualists are just rather poor scientists. Calculus come to us from the ether because when a guy touches a brain with his finger nobody integrates?….wow !!!!


    Simon Paynton

    the natural world does not require supernatural explanations. It requires natural explanations.

    The natural world also is factual, and what is factual or true has the convenient property that it makes sense.  So, when the rubber hits the road, does the explanation makes sense?  WWJJD?  What would Judge Judy do?

    If it doesn’t make sense, it’s probably not true.

    On the other hand, what does “make sense” mean?  Is it just what we expect to be true?  If so, it’s limited in its predictory scope.



    Thanks, Reg!


    You are welcome Strega, as always.

    You are just in time for this:

    @robert –  I think these dualists are just rather poor scientists.

    Yes, they are on a slippery slope of double-think but at least with calculus we can measure that slope for them 🙂

    Sorry, went on a bit of a tangent there.




    You are welcome Strega, as always. You are just in time for this: @robertI think these dualists are just rather poor scientists. Yes, they are on a slippery slope of double-think but at least with calculus we can measure that slope for them 🙂 Sorry, went on a bit of a tangent there.

    Yes one has to know their limits. It is what differentiates us all.


    OK, I have no angles left….



    I’m studiously licking my pencil tip and removing you all from my Christmas card list.


    Yesterday I was pestered again by a work colleague who I know to be a devout Catholic. I heard her tell others on various occasions over the last few days (oh, the piety) that she was praying that she would survive without chocolate for 40 days (and I assume 40 nights).

    She asked me if I “had given up anything for Lent”, just to give me a dig in front of everyone because they know I am not a Christian. I replied that I found it more positive to take on something challenging instead.

    Oh yes, that is a great idea, what is your challenge?

    I am going to see if I can eat one Easter egg each day for 40 days. To make it a real challenge I will eat the treats inside too each evening.

    No, she was not slow to angry at my “insulting” her faith but I told her I forgave her outburst anyway.


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