Sunday, January 20, 2008

An atheist in a foxhole

It's said that there are no atheists in a foxhole.  When it comes time to stare death in the face, one's thoughts are supposed to turn to the hereafter, and to God. This is all nonsense, says blogger Annie Fox.  With cancer placing her in that metaphorical foxhole for much of last year, she says there are most definitely atheists in foxholes - "and I’m one of them."

   Although I did not want to die so young, I was not afraid of dying. But my lack of fear is not why I’m an atheist--even if I was terrified at the prospect of dying, I’d still be atheist. I'm an atheist because that is the only rational possibility.
   I actually think I could turn the foxhole scenario around and say that on a sunny day at the beach all believers are atheists. The only reason I can fathom that they cling to their belief, is fear: fear of dying, or fear that life does not have that certain meaning, or fear that without religious structure life would be too chaotic, or fear that their family and friends would shun them should they not follow like sheep.
   What kind of horrible mental gymnastics must this take - to dispel all the facts around you and cling to the impossible, just because you are afraid - sounds like a quick path to mental illness.

The premise of religionists that religion provides "hope" in times of trouble is an illusion built upon sophistry and lies.  To found one's hope upon a fiction--in denial of the obvious facts around you--is the worst kind of fraud.  At such times, relentless focus upon the facts is what saves you, not shroud-waving and false hope.  As she concludes, one of the jobs of hospital security guards should be "to throw out religious vultures that prey on the scared and venerable in times of stress." 

Read the whole post at Annie Fox's.

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47 Comments:

Blogger AngloAmerican said...

It’s typical that Christians “prey on the scared and venerable in times of stress” - what about the disreputable folks, don’t they deserve to be preyed upon as well?

1/20/2008 05:39:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

With all due respect to you, Annie and foxholes - if that's the summation for believing in God, then you don't understand religion.

And on a sunny day at the beach, or a walk in the forest surrounded by nature, or looking up at the stars at night, or holding your baby when they have just been born - and you will also find believers.

Ironically therefore, Annie's thesis is built upon a false belief.

1/20/2008 06:56:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

It’s typical that Christians “prey on the scared and venerable in times of stress”

Annie has the wrong people in her sights.

Is she a friend of Al Gore by any chance?

Did she not enjoy reading Carson's Silent Spring?

Maybe she should be looking forward to a re-read of the Population Bomb (it's coming back in vogue).

1/20/2008 07:00:00 pm  
Anonymous fucka said...

Bollocks

1/20/2008 08:27:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

A man comes running down the street shouting about a huge fire breathing dragon that he claims is following him. He calls on everyone to run for their lives. Yet, nothing appears. There is no dragon to be seen. The man is either having a joke or he is not sane.

Religious believers behave in a similar fashion. Trouble is, they are not joking. Religion is indeed a serious mental illness.

As was well said, religion is not a shortcut to knowledge, it is a mental short circuit.

LGM

PS as for believers in foxholes- such trembling hysterical belief is the result of years of inculcation of myths and stories. It is the pay-off of years of abuse of the young.

1/21/2008 06:42:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no comparison between men in foxholes and a diagnosis of cancer, with cancer at least you know the worst and it has been diagnosed properly and the professionals involved will have been trained to convey the awful information.

In foxholes with shells raining down men feel terror, not knowing whether the next one will mutilate them and leave them with appalling injuries. There is nothing they can do but hope, no second opinions, no sympathetic relatives, no support groups and no carefully thought out philosophical arguments. Just terror.

1/21/2008 07:21:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Anonymous

And you have the experience to know?

What utter gibberish and monkey talk.

Foolishness.

LGM

1/21/2008 10:43:00 am  
Blogger Annie Fox! said...

Zentiger - unlike you, my thesis is not built upon a "false belief", it's not built on any "belief" at all - that's the whole point.

I have walked in the forest with nature, looked at the stars at night, & held two of my nieces when they were seconds old. They were all beautiful and uplifting experiences - so what!

Why do believers link natures beauty as some kind of evidence of god's existence - it is just evidence of natures' beauty.

BTW: Strange that no one comments directly on my blog - feel free to attack the cancer girl - I won't break.

1/21/2008 11:33:00 am  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Annie, my point was you say people that believe in God believe so out of fear. That was your thesis. You went on to "prove it" with the beach example and your personal experiences.

I disagree. Any belief in God I have is not based on fear. I am living proof of a flaw in your thesis.

Also, I am not saying that people on a beach cannot be both atheists and believers. You are saying they are undoubtedly atheists.

Also, I am not saying people in foxholes are all believers. They can be both. I've known people who lived through the foxhole experience. Some were left believers, and others convinced there could not possibly be a God.

You ask: Why do believers link natures beauty as some kind of evidence of god's existence - it is just evidence of natures' beauty.

I'll suggest one possible reason: Because, to believers they cannot see the complexity and magic of life as the result of chaotic events that require such statistically improbable conditions to self-create.

You say "So what"? Well, up until now you were saying people believe in God do so out of fear. You use that as a basis for attacking people with such beliefs. Maybe now you'll believe they may have other reasons.

I'm not saying the reason proves one or the other. I'm just saying you need to factor in this element to your theory.

Re your "BTW" - Thanks for the invitation. I just responded to angloamerican's point. Didn't think to go to your blog (just due to other circumstances). I'll get there eventually.

1/21/2008 01:12:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

LGM, I DO have the experience to know and I was never a religious person.
Most guys start praying when the crap comes in, religious or not.

1/21/2008 01:13:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

A man comes running down the street shouting about a huge fire breathing dragon that he claims is following him. He calls on everyone to run for their lives. Yet, nothing appears. There is no dragon to be seen. The man is either having a joke or he is not sane.

Not really.

A caterpillar comes running down the street and says "if we eat the right foods, our chrysalis will be strong and we will die but be raised again as the most amazing of butterflys"

All the other caterpillars laugh and say "A dead caterpillar is a dead caterpillar. It matters not what you eat, or what you do."

Now the argument could more accurately be put "Are we caterpillars"?

1/21/2008 01:15:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Zen

You need to see a shrink. Fast.

LGM

1/21/2008 04:34:00 pm  
Anonymous George said...

LGM, both my father and his uncle a generation before endured and survived artillery barrages. It was against the odds. Passchaendaele, the 3rd Somme, and Monte Cassino were not measured informed crises for those involved. I asked my father what it was like to be under shellfire for the first time. His words were "undescribably terrifying, the sheer noise and percussion were enough to send you mad, you knew it was all over and you had nowhere else to go, you saw your mates smacked and shredded to chops. Just like Uncle --- had done in France, I shit myself"

This from a man I truly never saw afraid of anything or any man to the day he died, and then he looked his own death square in the eye and passed peacefully. He was not too proud to pray and thank God for preserving his life., nor to pass on the fact that God, not man, is supreme

1/21/2008 05:29:00 pm  
Anonymous James said...

The no atheists in fox holes Christian shit has been slammed many times.Indeed soldiers have been quoted as saying that the horror of war ended their previous belief in God because they could not reconcile how a "loving ,compassionate being" could allow such evil slaughter to happen....

1/21/2008 06:46:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Which is then countered by the doctrine of free will.

We are on this planet to live and die by the decisions we make. Every-thing we need to live in harmony has been provided to us. The rest is up to us.

If God was to intervene with every action leading to death, ultimately no-one would die. No-one would be aware of the consequences of doing evil, or allowing evil to happen.

But who is to say that he doesn't intervene in some way? That things could actually be worse than they are?

In any event - God or no God - don't excuse evil on our failure to stand up to it.

You want to live in heaven - earn it.

If it turns out there isn't such a thing, then maybe you'll find we get pretty close to heaven when every-one is unified and engaged in our attempts to earn a place there.

So what's the harm in striving to be a better, more compassionate person?

God or chance gave us our lives. What we do with it is still up to us.

Raging against this is just wasting time.

You only live a finite number of days. What are you choosing to experience today?

1/21/2008 08:11:00 pm  
Anonymous George said...

James posits "how can you beleive in such a god?"

When you see what man can do, how can you beleive in man?

1/21/2008 09:02:00 pm  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

The transitory beliefs and opinions of someone experiencing something “indescribably terrifying” are hardly worth worrying about. It would be more sensible to take notice of someone in a peaceful environment and in a relaxed mood. After all would you trust investment advice from a person suffering abject terror? So who cares what someone believes when the bombs are raining down?

1/21/2008 09:34:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

I think the point is that when some-one is faced with their own mortality, they are forced to think a little harder in what they truly believe in.

But there are gentler ways for people to form new beliefs, or to work to change old habits.

A simple one that sometimes has a profound effect on people (queue mood music and soft lighting) is "What do you want people to say at your funeral?"

1/21/2008 10:10:00 pm  
Blogger Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Annie,
Have you read the Bible?
Who told you that Atheism is the 'only rational position'?
Do you equate God with the tooth fairy?...(That’s not rational!)
Do you not believe in Good and evil or even your own soul?... (Or have you a conscience?)
Do you think you are an evolved Germ?... (That’s not science but superstition!)
How is that more rational than…
“And God made man in his own image…”
“By one man sin entered into the world and death…”
“But God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”
“For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”
???
The Bible makes perfect sense and perfect justice.
How is God supposed to save you Annie if you choose to reject him?
Ought God to negate your freewill? (Materialism has no free will)
Christ says to you “ behold I stand at the door and knock…”
What stops you from openning the door?...Ask and ye shall recieve that your joy may be full!
Tim Wikiriwhi

1/21/2008 11:46:00 pm  
Anonymous George said...

"So who cares what someone believes when the bombs are raining down?.."

The people in the target zone usually--

Which is the point of this whole thread.
On the one hand Annie who faced the slow and quiet demise, championed by PC as proof that not all in foxholes are believers. On the other hand others opining that there is a difference between crisis and process. Folks faced with their own sudden mortality and who somehow survive it say it has a wonderfully clarifying and focusing effect.

I wish Annie well for a full recovery, long life and an openess in mind to accept that she is not some meaningless cypher that graced the earth for a spell, but someone loved by God.

1/22/2008 12:32:00 am  
Anonymous Mr Dennis said...

Good on all you posters, especially zentiger, that have effectively shown the flaws in Annie's theory.

The fact is, either God is real or He is not.

Whether one person believes or not, or even the proportion of people who believe or don't, makes no difference to the fact. You can argue all you like about why people might believe - fear, logic, whatever sensible or ridiculous reasons you can come up with. The question still remains:

He exists, or He doesn't.

If He does exist, you have the possibility of gaining eternal life after you die, assuming you follow Him, a proposition that is not to be sneezed at.

If He doesn't exist, it really doesn't matter what you believe as you'll just die and rot anyway.

In other words, there is no purpose being an atheist. But if God exists, there is much to be gained by finding this out.

Therefore the most important thing you can possibly do in life is to investigate God, and try to find the answer to the age-old question:

Does God exist?

And if so, what should I do about it?

I would therefore encourage anyone who is unsure to spend time investigating this, rather than just criticising and ignoring it. You have all eternity to regret it if you don't.

1/22/2008 05:47:00 am  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

The thing is Mr Dennis is that most Atheists are actually opposed to God and what he stands for and what he does and especially doesn’t do. Further investigation reveals that the God depicted in the Bible who comes across as a typical god of his times with great similarities to tyrannical and cruel kings and emperors who were often considered to be gods too. Remember that this god actually likes the smell of burning flesh. Many Atheists do set out to investigate God and come to the conclusion that he doesn’t exist and are disappointed that he cannot be opposed or reasoned with.

1/22/2008 06:22:00 am  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

The official term for your theory Mr Dennis is Pascal's Wager.

1/22/2008 06:38:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

James

That's a good point. How could a god allow such evil to occur (especially when so much of it is done in his name)?

For evil to exist then God must be the root source of evil. By a acts of commission and/or of omission he causes and allows evil to occur.

LGM

1/22/2008 06:59:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

"That's a good point. How could a god allow such evil to occur (especially when so much of it is done in his name)?"
If there's such a thing as God, then why assume He wouldn't allow such a thing as evil to exist? Perhaps evil has a purpose, who knows?
The assumption that life ought to be free of all evil and suffering seems to me to be arrogant and narrow-minded.
And to take a position that there is no God because evil exists is childish.
In any case, leaving aside the tiny minority of extremist Christians who are in no way representative of the faith as a whole, my own observation is that those families and individuals with strong Christian values appear to be happier and more ethical than those without.
A generalisation, yes but one that I find striking and obvious. Every time I make that observation I'm assailed by non-believers as a religious nut, but I'm an agnostic and have no dog in this fight.

1/22/2008 10:59:00 am  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

I'll counter your observation with my observation and that is the most trustworthy and generous people I have come across have generally been non believers. If I was sharing a foxhole with someone I'd rather it be an Atheist with his finger on the trigger - more useful than someone crouched in prayer. I'd wager that the Atheist is more likely to haul my wounded body out of there while under fire too.

1/22/2008 11:45:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

KG

The point is, assumimg a god to exist, then he would not only be evil, he would necessarily be the source of ALL evil.

Why worship evil? That WOULD be evil.


LGM

1/22/2008 12:23:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"I'd wager that the Atheist is more likely to haul my wounded body out of there while under fire too."
Unless you're going on purely statistical data (ie more atheists than religious people in the military) you have no basis for that assertion. Some of the bravest men under fire have been those who are C.O's due to their religious beliefs (often medics)and military chaplains.
lgm, I don't see any reason to believe that a God would have to be either the source of all evil or evil himself. You're going purely on faith for that claim. ;-) Perhaps the Christian claim of an "all-powerful" God assumes that we mere mortals would understand that evil exists independently of God and God expects us to battle evil?
I dunno, I'm no theologian. But the amount of energy militant atheists put into their attacks on religion seems a little odd.
I'd save that energy for the ideology that specialises in raping schoolchildren and lopping the heads from the unbeliever's shoulders.

1/22/2008 01:38:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

KG

According to believers God created the universe... Therefore unless he created everything except for that which is evil, he must be the source of all evil. Should he not have created evil, then he did not create the universe.

LGM

1/22/2008 02:00:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

Sigh...we could go round in circles all day with this and I've already said I'm neither a Christian nor a theologian.
But neither am I convinced there's no such thing as God--I simply don't know.
Anybody who claims to know with absolute certainty that there is no God is guilty of exactly what they accuse believers of--a blind leap of faith.

1/22/2008 02:46:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

KG

By that reasoning you can't deny that there are fairies and pixies living at the bottom of my garden. After all, to say there were not any there would require a "leap of faith."

LGM

1/22/2008 04:51:00 pm  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

I'm suprised you're so wishy washy KG but then you do claim to be an agnostic...snigger. Agnostic about Santa Claus too I suppose?

1/22/2008 08:00:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

You two are now coming across as a pair of pimply juvenile smartasses. If that's the level of discussion you're after, go find someone happy to play with oafs.

1/22/2008 10:51:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

"Is God the source of all evil"?

We had been talking about the doctrine of free will, but seem to have veered off it but come at it again from another angle.

First we must understand evil before we can agree or disagree that God is the "source of evil", given he is creator of the universe.

There is a tendency to see evil as a being. This is patently wrong. If evil were a being then God created it and your proposition might hold. But evil does not exist as a "being". It doesn't even exist as a created thing.

Swords may kill, but in themselves, they are not evil.

Water can kill, but is necessary also to sustain life.

Things, in themselves are not evil.

God created every thing, and none of those things are intrinsically evil.

So what is evil? I suggest there are two types of evil. Physical evil and moral evil.

Looking at the example of a sword - if it chops off your head LGM, would that be evil? Some on this blog might argue it isn't. Where is the evil? It is in the intent of the person doing the chopping. The intent, the will or the choice.

Evil is real, but it is not a real thing. It is a discordance between our will and God's will. God did not make it. We chose it.

We need to understand the difference between moral and physical evil. The first can be thought of as sin, the evil we actively do. The second can be thought of as suffering, the evil that is done to us.

There are two major strands of thinking that explain these two types of evil.

The origin of the first is Free Will. The root of the second is nature. The decision to strike with a sword or the tragedy of being drowned in a flood.

The first, sin is fairly easy to see that it is not caused by God, but chosen by us. He gave us free will, and it would not be so if we were not free to chose even evil.

The second, suffering as a form of evil is the meatier subject I think.

But is it worth pursuing this conversation further?

It seems to me the intent behind the comments is not one of genuine debate, but of opportunity to ridicule. Are people so sure they have all the answers? I don't claim to have, but I do think I've learned a lot more than I expected when I (just recently actually) started looking into this whole "God" thing.

1/22/2008 10:57:00 pm  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

We must have hit a nerve, LGM J Listen KG your comments are worthless if you “don’t have a dog in this race” yet you say we shouldn’t comment – sheesh. You’re the one who should find someone else to play with.

Anyway, it seems to me that most theists when they ponder upon the nature of God are trying to think too deeply. What they are really pondering is not a real intervening, creating type of god but an abstract, metaphorical thing, a bit like “God is love” sort of thing or God as representative of all that is good sort of concept. When God occupies this sort of position he is no longer physical but simply a term or symbol of high human aspirations. And this is exactly what he is. In that sense it is nonsense to accuse him of creating evil. But if he were a real intervening entity, a being that could be questioned as one would question an accused in a court of law, then he could surely be accused of standing by and watching innocents suffer and doing nothing even though he clearly could stop it easily. All those abducted, murdered children could have been saved effortlessly yet they were not. We would not accept this behaviour from a human and a human would surely be convicted and jailed. So God’s only excuse, only defence is….tada…that he doesn’t actually exist.

1/23/2008 06:09:00 am  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

We must have hit a nerve, LGM J Listen KG your comments are worthless if you “don’t have a dog in this race” yet you say we shouldn’t comment – sheesh.

I think KG was saying that you and LGM are being unecessarily rude. Do you not see the difference?

You guys seem to never respond directly to the counter point offered.

Let's go back a few steps.

LGM came up with a dragon story analogy. I countered with a far better analogy.

The response was "Go see a shrink".

Anyone care to defend the dragon story analogy now that I have countered it? Anyone care to tell me exactly why my analogy doesn't work for them?

1/23/2008 09:05:00 am  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

Are you referring to the caterpillar analogy? Please don't make me think about that!

Also KG is confused or disingenuous or both - that is a Christian cross symbol on his gravatar is it not?

1/23/2008 11:05:00 am  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Are you referring to the caterpillar analogy? Please don't make me think about that!

Well, as far as meaningful responses go, that's up there with "see a shrink". It might be worth an attempt to think. Care to tell me why you don't want to think? (about that)

1/23/2008 11:36:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Zentiger

There were several reasons I recommended you see a shrink.

Firstly, like a man who claims to see fire breathing dragons when there are none, you are treating make-believe, dreams and myths as though they are true. Worse, you are attempting to hide the nature of that misguided evil muck and demand other people take it seriously. In practice you ARE the man claiming to see fire breathing dragons and urging others to take the delusions seriously.

Take a look at the contempible nonsense you introduced into the discussion, caterpillars that run down the street, caterpillars that speak, caterpillars that are raised from the dead (a favourite line of bullshit of religious nutters) and so on. Utter lunacy.

Try very hard to understand. Caterpillars do not run down the street. They do not speak. Nor do they die when they form a chyrsalis.

In case you hadn't realised, a caterpillar is alive and well inside its chyrsalis, not dead. Were it not alive, then the biological processes that alter its attributes such that it changes into a moth or butterfly would cease. It would fail to emerge. Further, it is not "raised" from the dead when it emerges from its chyrsalis. It emerges exactly according to the natural processes that occurred within its cocoon and according to its own attributes. It was alive the entire time. That's what caterpillars do. They are what they are.

The evidence to prove all this exists in reality. On the other hand, there are no talking caterpillars that run down the street, that die when they form a cocoon and that are "raised" (presumably from the dead) when they emerge again.

Second point, and indeed an important point to well note, is how you evaded putting your obnoxious and obscene case directly. You avoided stating that some supernatural entity (a spirit monster god ghost thing) "raised" the caterpillar from the dead. The implication was present, even though you weren't game enough to come out and state it up front.

I guess even you realised, at some level, the insanity of the position you were promoting. At some level you were ashamed to openly state the fundamental idiocy that is your premise. Fool! Moron! Imbecile!

Thirdly, I was expressing contempt for the pathetic argument you were attempting to peddle. It really isn't worth the time taken to rebut. So, I simply suggested you get timely assistance, just as I have suggested the same to people (two so far) who I've come across claiming fire breathing dragons and such like are chasing them.

Forth, you really have no argument. Your so-called analogy is hardly that. It is a red herring, an off-topic story. Even if one assumes for a moment that caterpillars do "rise again" from the dead and that they do speak to each other when they run down the street, then that still does absolutely bluudddy NOTHING to defend your position that a supernatural God exists. You have provided absolutely nothing of value or intelligence. Not a thing. Not a skerrick. And that leads to the final point for the moment...

I sugested you see a shrink as the position you are taking is mentally incompetant. You need to get help before your mind collapses irretrievably into superstition, self-delusion and bullshit.

LGM

1/23/2008 06:37:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Anyone considered the nature of the faith of the religious god-fearing men who crew the artillery pieces and fire the shells at the fox holes?

"Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition..."

Now that's what the faith is really about!

LGM

1/23/2008 07:37:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/23/2008 07:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Zen said...
We have people relating 'near death experiences' and 'out of body experiences' and 'died and resuscitated' experiences that hint of a mystery beyond the mortal coil to consider.

Zen, here is a good reading on NDE (near death experience). From what I have read and seen documentaries about its (NDE) rebuttal is there is nothing extra-ordinary about it. It is just a physiological process that causes it and not friends from the other side, who are showing these NDE people the door to them (other side).

Near-Death Experiences: In or out of the body

1/23/2008 10:09:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

The author for that article which I quoted in my previous message, Dr. Susan Blackmore, her original paper was published in 1991 and I am not able to find any free PDF downloadable copy on the net, however I found only the abstract of her paper: The physiology of the tunnel.

Here is the abstract:

Abstract: Several theories to account for the origin of tunnel hallucinations and tunnel experiences near death are considered: (1) the idea of a ldquorealrdquo tunnel; (2) representations of transition; (3) reliving birth memories; (4) imagination; and (5) physiological origins. Three different physiological theories are considered that related the tunnel form to the structure of the visual cortex. All can account for much of the phenomenology of the tunnel experience, and all lead to testable predictions. It is argued that the tunnel experience involves a change in the mental model of the self in the world. Because of this, an experience of purely physiological origin, with no implications for other worlds or for survival, can nevertheless produce lasting changes in the sense of self and reduce the fear of death.

1/23/2008 10:24:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

On re-reading my previous comment, it may be hard to follow my points. I hope this one is better! I'll try again here: (LGM's text is in italics)

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to comment LGM.

..In practice you ARE the man claiming to see fire breathing dragons and urging others to take the delusions seriously.

Because you think you know what happens after death, you claim I am deluded. From our perspective, it is likely death is absolute, but not certain.

..Try very hard to understand. Caterpillars do not run down the street. They do not speak. Nor do they die when they form a chyrsalis.

You must surely realise I was joking when I mentioned the caterpillar running down the street. Because your analogy went: A man comes running down the street shouting about a huge fire breathing dragon…, I simply started my analogy with “A caterpillar comes running down the street and says…” as a humorous device to lead in with my analogy. But I suspect you realise this.

In case you hadn't realised, a caterpillar is alive and well inside its chyrsalis, not dead. Were it not alive, then the biological processes that alter its attributes such that it changes into a moth or butterfly would cease. It would fail to emerge. Further, it is not "raised" from the dead when it emerges from its chyrsalis...

The thing about analogies is that they are stories or ideas to parallel another concept. The “caterpillar” analogy, which is fairly well known goes more simply like this: What a caterpillar calls the end of life, the master calls a butterfly.

The concept is that, like a caterpillar arguably does not know and understand the transformation it is about to undergo, so may it possibly be for us.

If I used an analogy to liken a pump to a heart, you can't declare me insane when you discover a pump is an inorganic, mechanical object instead of a thing of muscle tissue and blood. In this instance, it is the function of the pump we consider, not its construction materials.

This analogy, and my point, doesn’t rely on the point the caterpillar doesn’t actually die. I am not asking you to believe in being raised from the dead in this life. Just the possibility that we cannot definitely know if death of our physical body in this world means some aspect of our being moves to another world.

The evidence to prove all this exists in reality. On the other hand, there are no talking caterpillars that run down the street, that die when they form a cocoon and that are "raised" (presumably from the dead) when they emerge again.

You are deliberately misreading my point. You must realise that I was not suggesting I believe caterpillars talk.

I agree the difficulty is always going to be looking for a way to prove the existence of something outside of our objective reality. But that is a later conversation I think.

It may be we have a very limited understanding of death. Just as we know about this universe, but we don’t know about any others. It hasn't stopped people advancing theories on why there may be other universes. Are they crazy?

Second point, and indeed an important point to well note, is how you evaded putting your obnoxious and obscene case directly. You avoided stating that some supernatural entity (a spirit monster god ghost thing) "raised" the caterpillar from the dead. The implication was present, even though you weren't game enough to come out and state it up front.

I guess even you realised, at some level, the insanity of the position you were promoting. At some level you were ashamed to openly state the fundamental idiocy that is your premise. Fool! Moron! Imbecile!


No, my point does not require that God raises a dead person back to life in this world. Just as God isn’t required to take direct intervention for each caterpillar transformation. The essence of the spirit moving to other existence may be built into a greater “natural order” that we are currently ignorant about. You have made an erroneous assumption here.

Thirdly, I was expressing contempt for the pathetic argument you were attempting to peddle.

Yes, I can see that.

It really isn't worth the time taken to rebut. So, I simply suggested you get timely assistance, just as I have suggested the same to people (two so far) who I've come across claiming fire breathing dragons and such like are chasing them.

No, your dragon analogy is barely worth taking the time to rebut. It is flawed, more so than the caterpillar analogy (and please take out the talking bits if they confuse you).

Forth, you really have no argument. Your so-called analogy is hardly that. It is a red herring, an off-topic story. Even if one assumes for a moment that caterpillars do "rise again" from the dead and that they do speak to each other when they run down the street, then that still does absolutely bluudddy NOTHING to defend your position that a supernatural God exists. You have provided absolutely nothing of value or intelligence...

My analogy was on-topic because it spoke to your dragon story comment.

You harping on about the obvious humor I injected about a talking caterpillar makes you look a little desperate (as far as I can see).
My point was not to prove that God exists, it was to debate your own analogy, that some-how is supposed to prove God doesn't exist. I wasn't convinced.

Maybe if you have the dragon talk :-)

1/23/2008 10:45:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Yikes, I should have refreshed before cleaning up my old comment and posting a (hopefully) more understandable one.

Ironically, one of the points I decided was unimportant was the one you quoted back to me, Falafulu Fisi.

Thanks for the link anyway. Did it also cover out of body experiences too? I haven't read much about these, but a couple of accounts make interesting reading.

I find the discussion around miracles is more fascinating though. If miraculous events happen (and as rare as genuine miracles are, I think they do happen) it leads to yet more gaps in our understanding of life, death and the universe.

1/23/2008 10:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Here is a cut & paste from the following article : Near-Death Experience - NDE.


However, researchers have been unsuccessful in running proactive experiments to establish out-of-body consciousness. There have been numerous experiments in which a random message was placed in a hospital in a manner that it would be invisible to patients or staff yet visible to a floating being, but so far, according to Blackmore (1991), these experiments have only provided equivocal results and no clear signs of ESP.


I recalled an episode of CBS 60 Minutes from the late 1990s (I think it was 1998), where the show host was interviewing a researcher who was part of the team that conducted this experiment (it must have been Dr. Blackmore or her colleague) where neon lights were used in emergency room (critical care unit) for the test. These neon signs had specific written texts which was placed above on top of a wall-mounted cupboard in the room. The height at where the neon lights were placed (top of the wall-mounted cupboard ) was well above the tallest person in the room. That means that an emergency physician or a nurse had to use a stool or a chair to stand on in order to peek and find out what the written texts on the neon lights were. They found out that almost all the patients that they interviewed who went thru emergency surgical operations in that unit described out-of-body experience and NDE. They described that they were floating above and had been watching the doctors and nurses operating on them. The amazing thing was, when they were asked by the researching team if any of them also saw the neon texts above on top of the wall-mounted cupboard. And if they did, then what the written texts were and no single person to have reported seeing any text. This clearly shows that they were not floating at all. They were just experiencing a pure physiological process or mechanism in the brain perhaps due to lack of oxygen as frequently reported.

1/23/2008 11:00:00 pm  
Blogger AngloAmerican said...

ZenTiger, it’s interesting that kg identifies himself with an image of a Christian holy warrior yet he is agnostic and your identification has elements of the occult and Buddhism along with Animism ….it looks like you believe in most things!

Thanks, LGM, for the detailed analysis of the caterpillar pseudo analogy, now I need not perform this onerous task.

1/24/2008 07:02:00 am  

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