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Why Atheism?

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But if someone comes here and spouts 100 posts of rapid fire nonsense, it will still take quite a while and they'd probably be banned anyways. If they actually had thoughtful and relevant comments, then we might as well hear what they have to say on the touchier topics as well.

 

They need not only 100 posts but 3 weeks of membership and 10 reputation points. Everyone starts off with ten points, and negative points can't be issued by members, but the staff could ding someone with negative points and they'd have to earn their rights to P&R slowly, gaining a few rep points at a time.

 

 

Also: perhaps you guys should open a new thread on the secularity of science instead of taking this one off-topic.

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@Dak:

 

See, now that's an actual answer. Saying that you're an atheist "because gods don't exist" is just saying that you're an atheist because you are.

 

At least I tautologied without summarising anyone's views in a moderately demeaning way.

 

Point taken tho :) (although it still somewhat boils down to 'I don't believe in god because I don't believe in god'?)

 


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

 

Also: perhaps you guys should open a new thread on the secularity of science instead of taking this one off-topic.

 

New thread here

Edited by Dak
point to other new thread

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I'm a weak atheist. I don't believe in any god because there is no evidence showing them to exist. By evidence I mean objective, consistent, repeatable evidence, same as I would require for any other scientific question. Belief in god, on the other hand, is quite real and can have interesting effects, either positive or negative.

 

I'm a Christian and an atheist, a realist and a humanist, and I like this answer. :)

 

Bee

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An atheist is declared non-believing-in-god(s). He is persuated that God(s) do not exist.

An agnostic simply declares "I don't know"

 

Most people are a mixture of both. I am agnostic in regards to abstract god concepts, but become more atheistic as the ideas become more specific.

 

Is the universe intelligent? "I don't know" fits OK for me.

 

Does Zeus control lightning? "I don't know" doesn't work well in this case.

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What are your views on atheism? And if you are an atheist, please let us know why you feel it's the right conclusion for you.

 

I'm in Ignostic Agnostic Weak Atheist. Now, let's break that down a bit.

 

Atheism is an umbrella term that encompasses a gradient of positions. Atheism is just a response to theism. Theists say "One or more deities exist". And atheism is just people saying "I don't believe you." This can take on varying degrees of forcefulness(ranging from Weak Atheism: "I don't believe deities exist" to Strong Atheism:"I believe that no deities exist.") Weak Atheism(the core of atheism) obviously requires no faith and as such is often blatantly ignored by theists. Strong Atheism, on the other hand, requires just as much faith as theism. All that defines an atheist is that they do not answer "yes" when asked "Do you believe in the existence of one or more deities?".

 

"Agnostic" is a term that is misused as nausium. I suspect that it is mostly due to the social stigma(which is thankfully somewhat receding) of the term Atheist. Agnostic is a modifier of the terms Theist and Atheist, and as such cannot stand on it's own. You either believe in the existence of one or more deities, or you don't; there is no middle ground. Atheism and Theism are the only options. Agnosticism is merely one flavour of the choices. "Agnostic" merely means that one believe that one cannot know whether or not deities exist. Thus, one can be an Agnostic Theist(believe one or more deities exist, but it is impossible to know for a fact that this is the truth) or one can be an Agnostic Atheist(lack a belief in deities, but also believe it is impossible to know whether or not deities exist), but one cannot JUST be an Agnostic. There is no middle ground between belief and disbelief; you either believe or you lack belief.

 

Much of the previous, for me at least, hinges on the Ignostic part. Ignosticism basically means that the question of whether or not deities exist is irrelevant until we can come to an agreement on a coherent concept of what a deity is. How can I know if something exists if I don't know what it is supposed to be?

 

There is nothing scientific about arguing for or against the existence of Gods.
I don't think that's necessarily true. The discussion on whether or not deities exist is a discussion about the nature of the universe and should fall into the realm of science. Many religions make claims that can be investigated using science(as it should be). Was there a global flood 4000 years ago? I don't know, let's make predictions and test them.

 

A god whose existence is indistinguishable from nonexistence isn't very godlike at all, imo.

 

This still does not address the main concern that Science should be secular.
And what if science clearly points to the existence of a creator? Science should be atheistic(weak variety) as long as it must; if evidence comes along, it would be intellectually dishonest to ignore it in your model.

 

I think if one wants to discuss religion they can go to various religious forums.
Science forums isn't just a place talk about science(if it was, we'd send people to GD forums instead of having our own); it's a community. What if people want to discuss religion with these people in this community?

 

I'm a Christian and an atheist, a realist and a humanist, and I like this answer. :)

 

Bee

For some definitions of Christian, I am one as well.

Edited by ydoaPs

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I consider myself atheist in terms of God being an omniscient, conscious, sentient entity.

 

The Bible and many other religious texts state God as being perfect. Yet God though of Lucifer as his favorite. In my mind, if one was perfect, one wouldn't have preferences and that affects ones actions.

 

Also, I really don't like the concept of 'just believe' as I see that as merely bowing down to someone and not thinking for yourself. It makes you a lamb and the one in charge (whether Pope, priest, or Rabbi) the Shepard.

 

On top of that, every major religion states that if you don't believe in their deity, you are eternally punished.

 

I don't care what you've done, nothing equals eternity. To me these are not the acts of our 'lord and savior' but the acts of a tyrant.

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i definitely agree with toastywombel, i like scienceforums without religion better, people DO come to science forums for science.

 

however, as yodaPs pointed out, if religion was really scientific or could be inspected scientifically (which is the case), then what's stopping it from being posted in its respective subforas? do we need a religion subfora to make predictions about a global flood and test them?

 

if religion is scientific, it can be discussed in the science sections.

 

opening a religion section opens the door for unscientific religious debates to take place.

 

all IMHO.

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i definitely agree with toastywombel, i like scienceforums without religion better, people DO come to science forums for science.

 

however, as yodaPs pointed out, if religion was really scientific or could be inspected scientifically (which is the case), then what's stopping it from being posted in its respective subforas? do we need a religion subfora to make predictions about a global flood and test them?

 

if religion is scientific, it can be discussed in the science sections.

 

opening a religion section opens the door for unscientific religious debates to take place.

 

all IMHO.

 

It is good to point out that there was somewhat of a compromise on this, and the moderators of SFN should be credited with being open to ideas/feedback and implementing promptly and in a correct fashion.

 

If you notice, threads in religion do not appear on the front page of the site anymore.

 

The specific forum (Religion), helps separate the hard science from the religion.

 

There are many users who want to talk about Religion, and I think it is better they can do it in an appropriate environment, as opposed to discussing Religion in the Physics Section or Science News Section.

 

Also after reading many threads in the Religion Section, and posting some of my own thoughts, I have concluded that the conversation has been much more productive and civil than I expected.

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atheism is a couple of things for me..

 

-it's a reaction stemming from the feeling of deception upon one's discovery of some contradictions in a religion he may even not have chosen, and so disbelieves in theisms altogether, or god.

so instead of looking for different answers that may fit his troubling questions, he escapes by denying the question altogether.

 

-in the face of the harsh "realities" atheism forces it's adherents to accept, it drugs them with a large dose of ego to cope with them, and believe they are mentally more capable than the commoners and sheeple of the human race, enough to live "happily" with such realities.

an example would be the fact that all what we do according to atheism is, quite simply, for naught.

 

-in the spirit of the saying "when your only tool is a hammer, every problem seems like a nail"...

..."when your only tool is science, some nails seem like they do not exist" :P

science by definition deals only with what can be demonstrated and repeatedly[plus other criteria].

when one cannot think but by the scientific method, he is rejecting all aspects of reality which don't fit the scientific criteria, this of course is done only on hand picked subjects like god, but unless all atheists don't believe in history, they are accepting in their lives many things which fail the scientific test. then they proceed to worship the "how" they've studied so much instead of the "who", and assign to science the characteristics of god, from being behind the existence of the universe to being the most beautiful and amazing thing in our lives, as many admit publicly...a-theists indeed.. :rolleyes:

 

i believe agnosticism is the way to be, not only can you not prove god's non-existence, but the journey in search for god considering its importance is not one to end in an indifferent state(at best) such as atheism, agnosticism is the state between atheism and religion... which religion, that's yet to be determined. :)

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A great article about some of these common arguments and fallacies:

 

 

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2010/07/answering-right-questions.html

 

"What proof and evidence can you provide that atheism is accurate and correct?"

 

Atheism is not a world view or a philosophy, it does not assert claims that could be viewed as accurate and correct - it is the rejection of theistic claims. It is disbelief of the claim "some god exists" - there is no requirement that one believe that no gods exist in order to be an atheist.

 

The question, as phrased, represents a misunderstanding of both atheism and the burden of proof. It's an attempt to frame atheism as if it is asserting that no gods exist and it does so in order to shift the burden of proof. It's not only hand waving...there's a big, rotten, fallacy-ridden, red herring in that hand. Why phrase the question that way? Because, to those who don't understand the burden of proof or the subjects at hand, it sounds so much more clever than "can you prove that there are no gods?"

 

In my case, I reject theistic claims because they have not met their burden of proof. That's it. I'm an atheist because no one has been able to provide sufficient evidence to support their theistic claims. They've failed to answer a question similar to the one the aim at me...and after being called on that failure they're desperately trying to point the finger in any direction except where it belongs.

 

If you believe you can read minds, why would you ask a non-believer if they can provide proof and evidence that you can't - instead of simply demonstrating the truth of your claims? The simple answer is that you can't, and you know you can't.

 

Consider the following:

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I don't like to put myself in political categories. However I do believe in a better afterlife for all people, regardless of religious affiliations. As such I believe in the afterlife much more than I believe in God.

 

The concept of an external God which lies beyond humans and operates beyond human control is a turn-off for many people. The concept is a bit scary and I can understand why.

Edited by Uri

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I chose atheism for a very simple reason: the evidence weighs heavily in favor of it.

 

I believe absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If we look for something, and we find no evidence of it anywhere, that is evidence that it is not there. If I told someone to go look in my freezer for a fish, and try as they might, while going through my freezer they neither saw, smelt, or felt any fish, that would be evidence, and compelling evidence at that, in favor of the fish not being there.

 

Gods can be held to the same standard. The fact that there is not one confirmed instance of something supernatural breaking the natural order of the world at any time in history is compelling evidence of a lack of not just gods, but anything supernatural.

 

No, it is not proof. Evidence is not the same thing as proof. Evidence merely has to increase the probability of something being true; proof has to make said probability 100%. I acknowledge that the atheistic position may turn out to be wrong, but the weight of the evidence makes it much more statistically likely that it won't, and therefore, as a rational person, to me there is only one logical choice.

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I chose atheism for a very simple reason: the evidence weighs heavily in favor of it.

 

I believe absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If we look for something, and we find no evidence of it anywhere, that is evidence that it is not there. If I told someone to go look in my freezer for a fish, and try as they might, while going through my freezer they neither saw, smelt, or felt any fish, that would be evidence, and compelling evidence at that, in favor of the fish not being there.

 

Here is the fallacy of your logic. when you send someone to your freezer for fish, the freezer is a very rational place to be looking for it especially since you implied there would be fish there and the person looking logically reasons it should be there and if it is there they should see it, smell it and touch it. Since they don't, it is rational to conclude it is not there. However if you send them to find fish in your freezer and having looked in the shower they return declaring you have no fish, they have made a logical error.

 

The more likely reason you have not found evidence for a creator is because you have not or cannot look in the proper places.

 

Gods can be held to the same standard. The fact that there is not one confirmed instance of something supernatural breaking the natural order of the world at any time in history is compelling evidence of a lack of not just gods, but anything supernatural.

 

Why should you expect this of a creator? You are looking in the shower for frozen fish.

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The more likely reason you have not found evidence for a creator is because you have not or cannot look in the proper places.

 

I on the other hand, have looked in the proper place, albeit only for one god and only the one described by a Bible taken to be historically accurate. Under those circumstances, the God of the Bible doesn't exist.

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I chose atheism for a very simple reason: the evidence weighs heavily in favor of it.

You have to be cautious with this approach. Atheism does not require evidence. It is the rejection of someone else's claim, not the making of their own. The reason we tend to choose atheism is not because evidence suggests atheism is the correct approach... It's because the absence of evidence for theistic claims causes those claims to be wholly uncompelling.

 

While people like cypress will tell you that you're simply looking in the wrong place, it's somewhat telling that they cannot even tell you where that place is. It's one big circular argument they make full of little more than bald assertions and obfuscation.

 

Regardless, it's not about evidence. I don't need evidence that santa claus doesn't exist. I don't need evidence that there are not leprechauns dancing at the end of rainbows with a pot of gold. I don't need evidence that there are no such thing a purple unicorns. All I need is to reject them as something I don't find compelling since there is no evidence in their favor.

 

Leave it at that, ya know? Show me evidence, I'll change my mind. However, my mind is made up the way it is due solely to the lack of evidence on the other side. I think this is basically what you were trying to say, but your choice of words opened you to rhetorical argument from monkeys who are blinded in the god fog.

 

 

 

I believe absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If we look for something, and we find no evidence of it anywhere, that is evidence that it is not there.

Actually, no. This is definitely false. You could be using a flawed search mechanism, or there could be other variables at play. Regardless, absence of evidence is most certainly not evidence of lack.

 

 

If I told someone to go look in my freezer for a fish, and try as they might, while going through my freezer they neither saw, smelt, or felt any fish, that would be evidence, and compelling evidence at that, in favor of the fish not being there.

 

Gods can be held to the same standard.

I agree that god is an unlikely entity to exist, however, your analogy breaks down. For one thing, we have a very clear measurable definition of a "freezer" and we have a very clear measurable definition of a "fish." We also have very clear exploration parameters when looking in that freezer... a few fee this way, a few feet that way, and a few feet deep. When we don't find the fish, we can be confident there is not one in there.

 

However, the god concept is painfully lacking in those clear parameters and definitions, hence a similar search cannot be conducted.

 

If a theist could possibly tell us that we are looking for a one foot look oval shaped object with two eyes, fins, and scales within a cold 2x2x2 cube, then we could search for god. However, they can't even say what god is in a tangible way, and rely on woo language, hand waving, and non-descript terms. For that reason, I think your comparison breaks down.

 

 

I acknowledge that the atheistic position may turn out to be wrong, but the weight of the evidence makes it much more statistically likely that it won't, and therefore, as a rational person, to me there is only one logical choice.

I tend to agree whole heartedly with this sentiment. Sure, I may be wrong, but it's highly unlikely that I am. :)

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You have to be cautious with this approach. Atheism does not require evidence. It is the rejection of someone else's claim, not the making of their own. The reason we tend to choose atheism is not because evidence suggests atheism is the correct approach... It's because the absence of evidence for theistic claims causes those claims to be wholly uncompelling.

 

And I would claim that something that makes an argument uncompelling, thus making the opposing argument more compelling, is "evidence".

 

While people like cypress will tell you that you're simply looking in the wrong place, it's somewhat telling that they cannot even tell you where that place is. It's one big circular argument they make full of little more than bald assertions and obfuscation.

 

Yes I'm well aware of that :)

 

Cypress, if you could please direct me to the "freezer", so I can search for evidence of "fish". Apparently everything known in existence is the "shower".

 

Regardless, it's not about evidence. I don't need evidence that santa claus doesn't exist. I don't need evidence that there are not leprechauns dancing at the end of rainbows with a pot of gold. I don't need evidence that there are no such thing a purple unicorns. All I need is to reject them as something I don't find compelling since there is no evidence in their favor.

 

Leave it at that, ya know? Show me evidence, I'll change my mind. However, my mind is made up the way it is due solely to the lack of evidence on the other side. I think this is basically what you were trying to say, but your choice of words opened you to rhetorical argument from monkeys who are blinded in the god fog.

 

 

 

 

Actually, no. This is definitely false. You could be using a flawed search mechanism, or there could be other variables at play. Regardless, absence of evidence is most certainly not evidence of lack.

 

I think you are conflating the terms "proof" and "evidence". While proof is certainly evidence, evidence is not always proof. Proof is evidence so compelling that it establishes certainty. Evidence is merely something that supports a claim more than the counter-claim. Do you really mean to argue that the complete lack of evidence for a supernatural god does not support the claim that there is no god more than the claim that there is? I acknowledge that the search mechanism may be flawed or there are variables unknown at play, this is why I do not consider an absence of evidence proof, and it never will be. But it IS evidence.

 

I agree that god is an unlikely entity to exist, however, your analogy breaks down. For one thing, we have a very clear measurable definition of a "freezer" and we have a very clear measurable definition of a "fish." We also have very clear exploration parameters when looking in that freezer... a few fee this way, a few feet that way, and a few feet deep. When we don't find the fish, we can be confident there is not one in there.

 

And I would agree that the lack of evidence of fish in the freezer is more compelling than the lack of evidence of god in reality is that there are no fish in the freezer and no god in reality, respectively. But that doesn't mean the lack of evidence of god in reality isn't compelling to a lesser degree, and doesn't support the claim that there is no god in reality.

 

However, the god concept is painfully lacking in those clear parameters and definitions, hence a similar search cannot be conducted.

 

If a theist could possibly tell us that we are looking for a one foot look oval shaped object with two eyes, fins, and scales within a cold 2x2x2 cube, then we could search for god. However, they can't even say what god is in a tangible way, and rely on woo language, hand waving, and non-descript terms. For that reason, I think your comparison breaks down.

 

I didn't really intend for my analogy to conform precisely to the search for god, sorry for not making that more clear. I would contend that we have a decent enough definition of our "freezer": objective reality known to humanity, to conduct a search. However you are correct that there is no concise clear definition of god because whenever observation or logic seems to rule out a given definition, the opposing side always changes the goalposts. Because of this, I would say that the lack of evidence of supernatural intervention is more compelling evidence against the Christian god or Zeus than it is against the Deist god, but one thing I've noticed is that every time a theist changes the definition of god to skirt an argument, "god" becomes something less and less like what they want him to be, and more and more like nothing at all.

 

 

I tend to agree whole heartedly with this sentiment. Sure, I may be wrong, but it's highly unlikely that I am. :)

 

Exactly :) And you know that it's highly unlikely because of the evidence in favor of your position! How else could you?

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The Yale philosopher Norwood Russell Hanson wrote an excellent article in 1967 entitled "Why I am not an Agnostic" which sheds some light on the discussion above. He pointed out that if someone says "It's raining outside" and there is no good evidence for it, since I am inside and I cannot see out a window, and if there is no particular reason to suspect the person is lying, I would probably just shrug and take his word for it. It is fairly usual for it to rain, so I don't need very good evidence to accept someone's claim that it is raining.

 

But if someone asserts the existence of something truly remarkable, such as the fact that the Abominable Snowman lives in his desk drawer, I don't even need to bother checking the drawer, since I would require remarkably strong evidence to make me even seriously entertain the possibility that something truly remarkable existed. A mere assertion is not remarkably strong evidence, so I don't give the assertion even enough credence to bother checking.

 

So being an agnostic is senseless, for just as I don't seriously doubt whether the Abominable Snowman actually lives in someone's desk drawer just because he says so, I also don't seriously doubt whether a supernatural, eternal, mind-reading, universe-creating, dead-soul-judging, magical being exists in some intangible space just because some Bronze Age nomads said so. I would need extremely good evidence before I would even begin to bother entertaining the possibility that such an extraordinary thing could exist, and that evidence has never been presented.

 

To say that such a being is so mysterious and mind-transcending it is difficult for our poor, limited minds to comprehend him or his existence would only be a reason to give the hypothesis some slack if I already had some very good reason to believe that something of this sort which was also mysterious and mind-transcending existed, and again, there is no evidence to support that abdication of my reason before the existence of something whose existence I cannot comprehend.

 

This is the type of boot-strapping argument which bothered St. Anselm and St. Thomas in the Middle Ages when they worried whether 'a perfect island' would necessarily have to exist, since if it did not exist, it would be defective and not perfect, and we just defined it as perfect, so it must exist. The same is true of the God who is so mysterious and transcendent we cannot comprehend his existence. We define something as having an existence beyond our capacity to comprehend, so the fact that it seems ridiculous and unreal to us cannot impeach its claim to exist, because its mysterious inaccessibility to our intellects protects it from any attempt of our intellects to challenge it. No mere definition can make something exist, since the question always remains, does the definition actually refer to anything outside of itself which qualifies it as the definition of something which actually exists.

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And I would claim that something that makes an argument uncompelling, thus making the opposing argument more compelling, is "evidence".

We're getting too far into semantics for this to be interesting to me any longer. We're pretty much aligned, but I would use the word "opinion" over the word "evidence" in this case. It's rather possible that I'm just being pedantic right now due to my own personal work in research, though.

 

 

 

 

I think you are conflating the terms "proof" and "evidence".

And I think you meant to suggest I was equating terms, not conflating them.

Again, we're pretty much aligned, so I'm not going to drive any further wedges between us. Enjoy. B)

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We're getting too far into semantics for this to be interesting to me any longer. We're pretty much aligned, but I would use the word "opinion" over the word "evidence" in this case. It's rather possible that I'm just being pedantic right now due to my own personal work in research, though.

 

 

 

 

 

And I think you meant to suggest I was equating terms, not conflating them.

Again, we're pretty much aligned, so I'm not going to drive any further wedges between us. Enjoy. B)

 

 

Fair enough, I will from this point consider our differences resolved :)

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or he could be looking for love, and since he can't see or smell or touch love, then love doesn't exist.

more importantly, there is no scientific evidence for it, so it doesn't exist. heh, i'm not sure there's even a scientific definition for it, so yup, it definitly doesn't exist.

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or he could be looking for love, and since he can't see or smell or touch love, then love doesn't exist.

more importantly, there is no scientific evidence for it, so it doesn't exist. heh, i'm not sure there's even a scientific definition for it, so yup, it definitly doesn't exist.

There's plenty of research on love, particularly related to oxytocin.

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There's plenty of research on love, particularly related to oxytocin.

i'm aware of that :)

i wonder how dumb you people think i am :huh:

but there's plenty of scientific research on religion and religous phenomena as well, surely you know that? ;)

 

then again, i'm not sure if love would be considered to be "hijacking" anything when researched :rolleyes:

 

my point was clear.

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i'm aware of that :)

i wonder how dumb you people think i am :huh:

Ok, so you're aware that love is studied under some definition and seems to be the result of some biochemical processes?

 

I can't see how that's consistent with post #47.

 

but there's plenty of scientific research on religion and religous phenomena as well, surely you know that? ;)

 

then again, i'm not sure if love would be considered to be "hijacking" anything when researched :rolleyes:

 

my point was clear.

Well I'm aware of religion, like love, being studied a neurological process, but that simply supports religion as a neurological process not religion as a philosophical position.

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