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Old 08-05-2013, 03:59 PM   #61
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Even among the third who are atheists, many consider themselves "spiritual." One describes this spiritual atheism as being rooted in "wonder about the complexity and the majesty of existence," a sentiment many nonscientists -- religious or not -- would recognize.
The phrasing here is odd, as if it should be surprising that many atheists are "rooted in wonder about the complexity and the majesty of existence." I don't know why it would be. Maybe because for some who do have faith in a higher power, that wonder leads to thoughts of a higher power's plan, whereas that wonder in atheists maybe just leads to a deeper appreciation of our natural world and the laws that govern it (though believers can certainly come to that conclusion as well)?
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:06 PM   #62
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The phrasing here is odd, as if it should be surprising that many atheists are "rooted in wonder about the complexity and the majesty of existence." I don't know why it would be. Maybe because for some who do have faith in a higher power, that wonder leads to thoughts of a higher power's plan, whereas that wonder in atheists maybe just leads to a deeper appreciation of our natural world and the laws that govern it (though believers can certainly come to that conclusion as well)?


It's as if, in order to be considered atheist, you must be devoid of passion, wonder, awe, reflectiveness, etc. Religion doesn't get to claim these under their umbrella
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:11 PM   #63
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I don't know -- in Ecklund's follow-up book, SCIENCE VS. RELIGION, she apparently discounts that conventional wisdom.

"Science vs. Religion" discovers what scientists really think about religion



I think it's probably accurate to say that more scientists may be religious/spiritual than they may be given credit for -- though you and I can probably agree that dogma is a different category.

(I'm also not sure that charging Ecklund's study with bias since it was funded by the Templeton Foundation makes a lot of sense -- particularly given that the Templeton Foundation awards lots of grants related to scientific exploration, including Professor Martin Nowak, Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University.)
You just used the same study cited in the first link as further proof. I stand by by original post.
And if she's claiming 'spiritual' as a hint of religion, I wonder what other liberal definitions she's using
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:15 PM   #64
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You just used the same study cited in the first link as further proof. I stand by by original post
No, I quoted from a review of her book, which apparently greatly expands on the points in her initial study.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:16 PM   #65
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Thank you for explaining this AEON
You're welcome, Cactus Annie
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:19 PM   #66
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No, I quoted from a review of her book, which apparently greatly expands on the points in her initial study.
But it's using the same numbers from her original study
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:21 PM   #67
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It's as if, in order to be considered atheist, you must be devoid of passion, wonder, awe, reflectiveness, etc. Religion doesn't get to claim these under their umbrella
I thought you did an excellent job of describing Carl Sagan's spiritual experience and that of your own earlier in the thread. I have a better understanding how many scientist use the term "god"...

I was just hoping there were more quantum physicists attending Mass - contemplating Transubstantiation in terms of String Theory...
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:24 PM   #68
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But it's using the same numbers from her original study
...and from the 275 questions she posed as follow-ups. I'm not sure what your issue with that is. She ran a study that challenges conventional wisdom. Based on her follow up, she wrote a book that further explored the fascinating question of the intersection of science and spirituality/religion, and found that there are more scientists who are spiritual/religious than one might first guess. This is supported by other studies that show doctors are also apparently much more spiritual/religious than might first seem.

Interesting stuff, regardless of whether you subscribe to a spiritual belief system or not.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:35 PM   #69
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I thought you did an excellent job of describing Carl Sagan's spiritual experience and that of your own earlier in the thread. I have a better understanding how many scientist use the term "god"...

I was just hoping there were more quantum physicists attending Mass - contemplating Transubstantiation in terms of String Theory...
Thanks man

And I laughed at your second bit
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:37 PM   #70
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I figured that I'd throw in my thoughts on this issue, since it's something about which I think a lot.

I can relate very strongly to the feeling of wanting to find God in the universe, because that's a feeling that I've felt extraordinarily strongly. But my (god-given?) senses give me little reason to. I am about as far as one can get from being an expert on physics, but my limited knowledge gives me no forward reason to believe in a god, and I am quite certain that most experts in the field would feel the same way.
I would agree that few come to know God through the study of Science. But I would say that many come to know God simply contemplating the same question Dr. Susskind asked, "Why all this stuff?"

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Why do red's wavelengths produce a particular sensation? It's easy to talk about biology and evolution and the like, but all that talk skirts around a fundamental issue: the experiential seemingly having a property of radical emergence from the physically objective. That's primarily where I've tried to insert God, and still occasionally do. And although I do believe that the mind/body problem is still an issue, God seems like a solution only in the sense that His existence would provide a neat and tidy explanation for everything. That's hardly strong grounds to warrant my belief.
I would agree that this is not strong grounds to warrant belief in God - but I would disagree that it is a neat and tidy explanation.


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The type of religious faith that I respect most greatly is that which throws out all pretense of being based on reasonable science, and that which does not pin its hopes to future scientific discoveries. I believe very strongly that science will never find real evidence of a god.
I agree very much with this.

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I also believe that it will always leave questions. But, if a question cannot be reached via science, then a certain answer can, by definition, never be reached for it.
Science is well suited for an Either/Or world and system. Perhaps - the rise of quantum computing will expand the discussion as we move away from an Either/Or toward a Both/And world and system.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:38 PM   #71
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...and from the 275 questions she posed as follow-ups. I'm not sure what your issue with that is. She ran a study that challenges conventional wisdom. Based on her follow up, she wrote a book that further explored the fascinating question of the intersection of science and spirituality/religion, and found that there are more scientists who are spiritual/religious than one might first guess. This is supported by other studies that show doctors are also apparently much more spiritual/religious than might first seem.

Interesting stuff, regardless of whether you subscribe to a spiritual belief system or not.
My issue is the wishy washiness of the sources and definitions. Whereas the 1998 survey was quite clear who they were surveying and at what tier. The 98 survey is of the country's 'top' scientists. This newer survey dilutes the field quite a bit.

I do agree with you in that it is interesting none the less
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:39 PM   #72
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My issue is the wishy washiness of the sources and definitions. Whereas the 1998 survey was quite clear who they were surveying and at what tier. The 98 survey is of the country's 'top' scientists. This newer survey dilutes the field quite a bit
Maybe we should read her book and get to the bottom of it! :-)
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:40 PM   #73
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I'd rather read something more substantial. You read it!
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #74
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I'd rather read something more substantial. You read it!
And I shall post a book report for all to read!

Actually that's not a bad idea. My bedside reading is stacked high with scripts. The book would certainly be more substantial than that...
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:12 PM   #75
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The mind/body problem doesn't seem like such a problem to me. I see no reason to support dualism as a required phenomenon. It would seem to me that consciousness, and thus the 'mind', is more a byproduct of memory than anything intangible . I'm sure we've all (maybe not all) experienced a night or two in college when our conscious brain has taken the night off, yet we're still able to 'function' more or less as a sentient being (reading through Dennet's Intuition Pumps it struck me as a bit odd that nobody has really approached consciousness in this way... or maybe they have. I'm not that well read on the subject). Why do red wavelengths of light produce a given qualia within us? Because in order for us to reacted differently to different wavelengths of light, they must produce a different sensation. It's a bit of a non question as to why we see red as red. We must see it as something different; it could be completely arbitrary.
I read this article a few months back and it seems to relate. It seems to be stating that the consciousness is comprised from quantum activity in brain.

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Calcium ions that trigger exocytosis needs to cross a barrier to the synaptic vesicle and the Calcium ions can not classically cross this barrier. As a result quantum tunneling is needed fore the Calcium ions to cross this barrier but the odds of this occurring are 1 in 10,000,000.
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- from article Synaptic Quantum Tunnelling
in Brain Activity


In view of these new and important
concepts for elevating consciousness finally
up to a scientific basis, we present evidence
for a realistic implementation of quantum
events into brain dynamics. It is based on our
present knowledge of cortical structure and
the synaptic regulation of neural impulses.
Basic assumptions and results are:
· Quantum processes in the wet and hot
surroundings of the brain are only possible at
the microscopic level of (electron) transitions
in the pico- to femtosecond time scale.
· Spine synapses are important regulators in
brain activity, filtering the ever present firings
of nerve impulses.
· Exocytosis, the release of transmitter
substance across the presynaptic membrane,
is an all-or-nothing event which occurs with
probabilities much smaller than one.
· A model, based on electron transfer,
relates exocytosis with a two-state quantum
trigger, leading by quantum tunnelling to the
superposition of two states, followed by state
reduction (collapse into one definite final
state).
· The coherent coupling of synapses via
microtubular connections is still an open
problem. Quantum coherence ('macroscopic
quantum state') is not needed to couple
microsites, which exhibit quantum transitions
with their definite phase relations, to
produce spatio-temporal patterns. The
quantum trigger can, however, initialize
transitions between different macroscopic
modes (stochastic limit cycles, Grifoni and
Hänggi, 1996).
The quantum trigger opens a
doorway for a better understanding of the
relation between brain dynamics and
consciousness.
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