Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My conversations with atheists (part 2)

My conversations with atheists you are reading now have developed from Richard Dawkins’ statement on Twitter (April 25, 2015) to which I responded. Someone then reacted to my response. This reaction gave birth to my other responses. I posted this short conversation on my Facebook (April 25, 2015), eventually resulting in extended comments on my Facebook from my Western FB friends to which I replied seriously. Enjoy all the following conversations. 

Richard Dawkins (on Twitter): Of course people have a right to hold whatever beliefs they want. Ridiculing those beliefs doesn’t deny that right.

My response: @RichardDawkins Yes. People ridiculing others’ beliefs are people ridiculing their own dignity.

Indygrl76: @ioanesrakhmat @RichardDawkins Absurd! Ridiculing ideas is not ridiculing the person―we must speak truth to stupid.

My response: @Indygrl76 @RichardDawkins You don’t ridicule others’ beliefs, but you ridicule your own self and your own dignity. Clear?

Indygrl76: @ioanesrakhmat @RichardDawkins Oh, I understand what you are saying—it’s just nonsense!

My response: @Indygrl76 @RichardDawkins Yes, it’s nonsense because you’ve no sense about self-esteem.

The following conversations took place on my Facebook. Here is the link to all the conversations https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=845361705500879&set=a.364534643583590.71653.100000811735527&type=1&theater. Compared to those posted on my Facebook, what you are going to read here is the edited version. Enjoy and spread it.

Mr. A: Are you not ridiculing Dawkins’s position? It seems more precise to say that PEOPLE should never be rejected, but bad IDEAS should always be rejected. If you disagree with me on this, then you do so because you reject what I say as a bad idea. Not all ideas are equal (disagreeing with that statement would be self-refuting as it would be claiming that this claim is not as valid as the claim that “all ideas are equal”).

Ioanes Rakhmat: Criticizing ideas constructively is not the same as ridiculing those ideas. Criticism requires maturity of the critics and of the ones being criticized. Ridiculing is the sign of being childish on the part of the critics. Clear?

Mr. B: Childish beliefs, if held by adults, is hard not to ridicule.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Do you think the belief that there could be no transcendent realm in the 26 dimensions in our universe and in the infinite multiverse, is not a childish belief (viewed from the scientific perspective) atheists generally hold? But I don’t want to ridicule this atheist belief.

Mr. C: Ioanes Rakhmat, are you not ridiculing RD? Lost and dignity?

Mr. D: Ridiculing is a form of ad hominem. As a mythicist I seek out knowledge of this subject. Richard Dawkins has no knowledge of this subject so I have no reason to speak to him. I have noticed the people who speak with Richard Dawkins have no knowledge either and only wish to abuse by ad hominem. Many of these so called religious debates are in fact ad hominem orgies. Richard Carrier has no new knowledge on the subject and considers debate to be an exchange of ad hominems and offers to teach people how to exchange ad homonyms in return for money. Accordingly I have no reason to speak to him. DM Murdoch had talent but slowly went insane and now claims to have aggressive fast acting breast cancer and will die soon unless you give her money. If there is anyone here who has knowledge, I am most willing to exchange knowledge with them. I do not wish to engage in ad homonyms nor do I wish to give you any of my money.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Reminding RD that he could lose his dignity due to his frequent ridiculing people of religious persuasions is not ridiculing him; but just reminding him as an old person who should be wiser and calmer. You look like make a cause an effect and the other way round.

Mr. D: In fact when one actually portrays any knowledge of the subject all goes deathly quiet. A Fascinating phenomenon first noticed by Gerald Massey.

Mr. D: Ioanes Rakhmat, why do you talk to RD? I mean what is the point of it?

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. D, what do you mean by the word “knowledge”? May I guess, you mean knowledge about the Jesus of history? I think, mythicism is totally wrong; the real fact is that mythicism has changed into myth itself.

Mr. D: Why is the dignity of RD your business?

Ioanes Rakhmat: My status above is about RD’s statement on Twitter.

Mr. D: If you have no knowledge of what knowledge means then I have no further reason to speak to you Ioanes. Goodbye.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, I don’t have the knowledge that you claim you have, because you don’t detail the content of the knowledge you say you have. I can only guess that the knowledge you mean is mythicism.

Mr. C: Your grammar is bad so I think I understand your reply. No disagree you are having a cheap shot at him for the very action you yourself undertook but somehow you feel your action escapes the very same critique and without your self-proclaimed consequences of such an action. You then almost display a religious arrogance by suggesting he should be this or that justified by an “ageist” and discriminatory premise in your statement. And who are you to remind him of anything????

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, I understood you. RD has become a pope for atheists worldwide. Because he is a pope having no faults whatsoever, he should not be criticized, but should be shrouded with divine aura. But, does RD wish to be himself divinized? I don’t think so. Then let me criticize him.

Mr. C: Sure he is no pope so criticize all you like; but if your premise is correct you are just like him suffering a dignity loss.... your premise is utter bullshit!

Ioanes Rakhmat: Don’t make a cause an effect or the other way round.
Mr. C: I am not! Cause and effect apply to you equally. You are a pseudo-intellectual barking at someone out of your league for self-promotion but you make a fool of yourself in the process.

Ioanes Rakhmat: I don’t sell anything. I am just spreading my thoughts freely to enlighten grass and insects and birds and cats and bacteria. Disseminating thought and vision is not a crime, and every scholar and scientist does it by, for instance, writing and publishing their books, as I have been doing. RD himself is continually promoting himself to the world; and I don’t see him mistaken when he is spreading his own thoughts.

Mr. C: You just confirmed my premise... thank you.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Good. Atheists disseminating their own beliefs are not doing any crime. The problem is only their moral attitude toward believers.

Mr. C: Yes any believer who says I must live a certain way and tries to make laws to force me because “their imaginary friend says so” is morally reprehensible and it is moral for an atheist to object and criticize like RD. Well said!!! And he keeps his dignity in the process.

Ioanes Rakhmat: RD is factually becoming older day to day, and I hope he can become wiser, calmer and friendlier too in the process of becoming older.

Mr. C: Maybe you will too, and stop changing the subject when your point is shown to be wrong.

Mr. E: Mr. D, you are way out of line for bringing up her breast cancer. Rakhmat, if you want to claim something is a possibility you have to have something that would demonstrate the likelihood of it. Is it plausible, or just an unfounded hypothesis?

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E, about religious beliefs compared to atheism, you can read my writing, here is the link http://ioanesrakhmat.blogspot.com/2015/02/my-conversations-with-atheists-part-1.html.

Mr. C: Why bother? Any criticisms you make will cause you a dignity loss!!!!

Mr. E: Personally I’m not concerned with what people believe. My area of research is neurotheology, which is why people evolved to believe.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. C, how can you be so unimpressive? Criticizing is not the same as ridiculing.

Mr. C: If you are just spreading your thoughts freely to enlighten grass and insects and birds and cats and bacteria, why do you need a blog and why do you lose your dignity criticizing RD to promote your own work? Thought you were not selling anything???? Why don’t you use the attached pic for your profile photo.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E, I am studying neuroscience and neurotheology extensively, added with neuro-engineering and synthetic brain.

Mr. C: So what!

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. C, the language you are using is typical of the language of most atheists all over the world.

Mr. C: Doesn’t mean you are not any less a hypocrite and a fool.

Ioanes Rakhmat: OK, Mr. C, say anything you wish to say. Bye.

Mr. C: Bye bye, self-promoting pseudo-intellectual.

Ioanes Rakhmat: There is nothing good that can come from the atheist Nazareth.

Mr. C: Blah blah blah.

Ioanes Rakhmat: I know Michael Persinger firstly via his impressive book Neuropsychological Bases of God Beliefs (1987). His helmet did not succeed when tested on Dawkins’ brain. Thanks for the link.

Mr. C: Ops you lost more dignity.

Mr. E: Actually I have uploaded the clip of Dawkins trying the Helmet on. Clearly Dawkins is lying. Something happened to him. But probably not as intense as he expected.

Mr. C: You are using the language that pseudo-intellectuals and self-promoting troll hypocrites use all over the world!!!!!!

Mr. E: Here is a well-known skeptic trying it on: https://youtu.be/nCVzz96zKA0.

Mr. E: Others have even made their own DIY God Helmets. It works on most people. Some better than others. As you probably know those with temporal lobe epilepsy often have hallucinations that are religious/spiritual in context. In fact that’s what lead to the field of neurotheology. Another brilliant point by Mathew Alper is on how entheogens cause such spiritual hallucinations:

Drug-Induced God
Chapter 10 [The God Part Of The Brain]

The sacred drink of soma used by the Vedic Hindus, the morning glory seeds and mescaline ingested by Native Americans, the sacred mints of the Greek mystery religions, the use of cannabis by the Scythians, the yaje or ayahuasca of the Amazonian jungle peoples, and the iboga of the peoples of equatorial Africa are all examples of psychedelic drugs used to evoke a spiritual experience. Because of the universal nature of this phenomenon, the word entheogens  meaning “God generated from within”—has been created to describe this class of “God-inducing” drugs. 

To the ancient Aztecs, the connection between entheogens and the spiritual realm was so clear that they referred to peyote as the “divine messenger” and psilocybin as “God’s flesh.”

It is so widely recognized that certain drugs can stimulate a spiritual experience that some secular governments, which normally forbid the use of drugs, have legalized certain entheogens when ingested as a religious sacrament.

“In 1994, the U.S. government enacted the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments, providing consistent protection across all fifty states for the traditional ceremonial use of peyote by American Indians…. In its report on the 1994 legislation, a U.S. House of Representative’s committee reported that ‘peyote is not injurious,’ and that the spiritual and social support provided by the Native American Church (NAC) has been effective in combating the tragic effects of alcoholism among the Native American population.”

From William James’s experiments with nitrous oxide to Aldous Huxley’s experiments with lysergic acid (LSD), it is widely noted that certain plants and/or chemicals can induce experiences indistinguishable from certain mystical states. Stanislov Grof, in his work Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research, cataloged the experiences of individuals who were administered experimental doses of LSD. Based on his studies, Grof found that the symptoms described by those who had taken the drug were nearly identical to those who had undergone a mystical experience.

But how is it that a drug could have the ability to rouse such feelings as these in us? How is it possible that chemicals can have the capacity to induce sensations as allegedly sacred and sublime as a spiritual or transcendental experience? What does this say about such drugs? Or, more significantly, what does this say about a spiritual/transcendental experience?

In order to answer such questions, we need take a look at the drugs themselves. As we know, all drugs, including the psychedelics, or entheogens as they are now called, are always the same in regard to their molecular structure. This is true of any drug. For example, on a molecular level, aspirin is always aspirin; penicillin is always penicillin. Accordingly, the same rule must also apply to each of the various entheogenic drugs. In other words, the chemical makeup of any entheogenic drug represents a constant. The atomic structure of an LSD molecule is the same whether ingested in Bangkok or Bolivia, at sea level or on top of the Himalayas.

The same can be said, more or less, about human physiology. Granted, though there is a certain degree of variance among individuals within our species, underlying this diversity is a distinct physiological uniformity. Since we are dealing with two constants— same drug, same physiology—it’s no surprise that entheogenic drugs should have this same particular effect on individuals from such a diverse range of cultures. This still leaves us with the crux of the problem, which is: why do these drugs have this particular effect on us? Why do they have a distinct tendency to elicit what we refer to as spiritual/mystical/transcendental/religious experiences? No drug can elicit a response to which we are not physiologically predisposed. Drugs can only enhance or suppress those capacities we already possess. They cannot create new ones. For example, the fact that we possess the capacity for sight—that we possess the physicalmechanics to “see”—means that it is within the realm of possibility that a drug would be able to either enhance or suppress one’s visual capacities.

The fact, however, that we do not possess the physical capacity to fly, for instance, means that no drug can ever enhance or suppress our nonexistent powers of flight. Again, a drug can only affect us as much as we possess some physiological mechanism that might be receptive to a drug’s particular chemistry.

The fact, for instance, that novocaine has the universal effect of desensitizing one to pain means that we must possess pain receptors that are capable of being suppressed. In the same way, the fact that psychedelic drugs have a cross-cultural tendency to stimulate experiences we define as being either spiritual, religious, mystical, or transcendental means we must possess some physiological mechanism whose function is to generate this particular type of conscious experience. If we didn't possess such a physical mechanism, there’s no way these drugs could possibly stimulate such experiences in us. In essence, the fact that there exists a certain class of drugs—molecular combinations—that can evoke a spiritual experience supports the notion that spiritual consciousness must be physiological in nature. Herein lies the basis for an ethnobotanical argument against the existence of either a spiritual reality or a soul.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, Mr. E, Dawkins only said that he felt something that made him difficult to breathe when the God Helmet installed on his head. I think you’re right that he told untrue words. Michael Shermer needed the test twice, and the second test succeeded in making him feel to go out from his body. Thanks for the links I have known about. But, I think, you should also be critical or even skeptical of all Persinger’s claims over his God Helmet. Here is the link to a skeptical analysis of the GH, published online in The Skeptics’ Dictionary (by Robert Todd Carrol), http://skepdic.com/godhelmet.html

Furthermore, I think you know too that in December 2004 a group of Swedish researchers led by the psychologist Pehr Granqvist at Uppsala University in Sweden had attempted to replicate Persinger’s experiments under double-blind conditions. In fact, they were not able to reproduce the effect claimed by Persinger himself. They concluded that the presence or absence of the magnetic field had no relationship with any religious or spiritual experience reported by the participants, but was predicted totally by their suggestibility and personality traits. This study was published in 2005 in Neuroscience Letters 379 (1): 1-6. Consequently, religious experiences could be rooted not in the neurons of the human brains themselves, but in something outside the neural processes in the brain, more precisely, in the ecology and life environments in which people grow and develop physically and mentally. Religious experiences are not something given automatically by the human brains, are not hard-wired to the natural workings of neurons, but conditioned by many social and psychological variables existing in the world.

Mr. E: My claim is that everyone is born believing in the supernatural. That death anxiety is the root of the beliefs. As we became consciously aware of ourselves and our surroundings, life. We also became aware of death, and how fragile life can be. So in order for our brains to develop as consciously aware, it also developed an area in the temporal lobes, and other areas, that give everyone born (unless they have a brain defect) a sense of a spirit/soul, a god, part of whole, an afterlife, a continuation somehow....and so on. These areas in the brain responsible for these beliefs is key to our survival as a species.

We probably wouldn’t have made it this far without them. It helps to remove the fear of death so that we are able to take risk without too much of a fear of dying. These areas in the brain also helps us to not be over stricken with grief from the loss of a loved one, to the point of being unable to function. So all people have these beliefs for the very same reason “all cats meow”, our brain developed it that way. Having the beliefs is perfectly normal, in fact it’s abnormal not to have them. A disbelief is something that one must learn. Which may or may not come later on in life when one has reason and logic in how the real world works. But as children we all feel as though magic and supernatural beings are not out of the realm of possibilities. So deep is the feeling of having a spirit/soul and the desire for a continuation of life even after death. That subconsciously even atheist still believe: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-big-questions/201105/do-atheists-implicitly-believe-in-god-and-life-after-death.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E, an ayahuasca brew can intensify the experience of entering the supernatural realm. We all know the impact on the human brains of these drugs: PCP, DMT, MDA, LSD, and atropine and alcaloid belladonna, to create spiritual experiences. But the question is: Why can our human brains produce such extraordinary experiences when they use those drugs, or use the God Helmet? Why not other experiences? Can you give me a convincing answer to this question?

Mr. E: They do. One can have such experiences via trauma, deep prayer or meditation, ritual and dance, and so on.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, but why those kinds of religious experiences? Not other experiences? I have no convincing answer to this question as yet.

Mr. E: They do. Sometimes people experience alien abductions. All kinds of things. Even ghost.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, but why those weird transcendent experiences?

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, Mr. E, atheism, for me, is an ideology that has its god(s) too. Here are my arguments so far http://ioanesrakhmat.blogspot.com/2015/02/atheism-is-ideology-that-has-its-god-too.html.

Mr. E: I just explained the theory behind why are brains evolved to have such experiences. I’ll just copy and paste that again: As we became consciously aware of ourselves and our surroundings, life, we also became aware of death, and how fragile life can be. So in order for our brains to develop as consciously aware, it also developed an area in the temporal lobes, and other areas, that give everyone born (unless they have a brain defect) a sense of a spirit/soul, a god, part of whole, an afterlife, a continuation somehow....and so on. These areas in the brain responsible for these beliefs is key to our survival as a species. We probably wouldn’t have made it this far without them. It helps to remove the fear of death so that we are able to take risk without too much of a fear of dying. These areas in the brain also helps us to not be over stricken with grief from the loss of a loved one, to the point of being unable to function. So all people have these beliefs for the very same reason “all cats meow”, our brain developed it that way. Having the beliefs is perfectly normal, in fact it’s abnormal not to have them. A disbelief is something that one must learn.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Yes, I understand perfectly what you wish to tell. But, the question is still to be answered: Why do we experience spiritual phenomena in our brains under certain circumstances?

Mr. E: I did answer it perfectly.

Ioanes Rakhmat: I mean, why are the human brains neurologically hard-wired to spiritual experiences under certain circumstances? Are those real experiences only neurological workings in our human brains related to physiological mechanism of our bodies? Or there are such things outside the human brains which help us experience spiritual phenomena? What we can monitor in the human brains is only the neural processes. But, what are the deepest roots of all these processes? The fear of death is the product of neural processes too in our human brains, not the root cause of transcendent experiences.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E, to make me clearer, let me make an analogy with the virtual world which contains all the data that come into and go from our personal computer. Without this virtual world, there will be no communication activities via the Internet and our PCs. Could there be “a virtual world” too in relation to human spiritual experiences and as the sources of those religious phenomena? Remember, our human brains are computers too.

Ioanes Rakhmat: The article whose link you refer to above, about atheists subconsciously believing in gods, is not substantive. It only tells us that atheists’ subconsciousness in which all of their experiences from childhood stay forever, can make them acknowledge gods as their life situations push them to do so, especially when they are facing death. It is logical, not shocking. It should make atheists realize that what controls their actions is not only science, but also their subconscious world.

Mr. F: Don’t use computer networking as an analogy for human ESP or whatever unless you’re someone who actually understands computer networking.

Mr. G: Yeah... RD is right. Some ideas are dumb and deserve ridicule.

Mr. H: As has been pointed out : In all of recorded human history, not once, not ever has the answer turned out to be magic, and further no psychics, no ghosts or paranormal b.s., no prophecies, no fortune tellers, no werewolves or vampires, no aliens, no gods and no devils or demons. There is not a single shred of verifiable evidence for any of this stuff and every religious experience can be reproduced in a lab. Just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean god exists.

Mr. E: Rakhmat, the god part of the brain deals with what parts of the brain are responsible for combating death anxiety. It doesn’t deal with claims outside of the brain. If you are claiming that you already know that there is a spiritual realm for absolute certain, you have the burden of proof for that claim.

Ioanes Rakhmat: String theory (or superstring theory) is currently the best candidate for the theory of everything. It predicts the existence of 26 dimensions in our universe alone; and it predicts too the existence of infinite other universes we call now the multiverse. The famous physicist Brian Greene even can state that some of the 26 dimensions (minus our own 4 dimensions, we have 22 dimensions called extra-dimensions) are comparatively immense and even infinite.

Are you atheists so certain and even so dogmatic that you can state that nothing of those 22 extra-dimension can be viewed as dimensions beyond our own 4 dimensions (of spacetime)? Are you so dogmatic that you can believe that within the infinite multiverse there is nothing we can view as something beyond our own universe? Have you gone to and touched all those dimensions and universes that are beyond our own? Don’t be dogmatic atheists friends if you are scientific as you usually mistakenly claim!

Mr. E: No, this skeptic is fully open to the possibility of a multiverse and even 26 dimensions. But since they haven’t been proven yet, I am not claiming the unknown is actually known. If I were to do that then that would be very close minded of me to insist that an unknown is already known. It would be an end to honest inquiry.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. F, it seems you don’t follow the immense progress of making computers behave like/as human brains. Here is the link to one product of IBM: Tanya Lewis, “This Computer Chip Can Think Like a Human Brain”, Live Science, 7 August 2014, at http://www.livescience.com/47240-ibm-computer-chip-simulates-brain.html.The report states a number of charming statements, inter alia:  
In contrast, IBM’s new chip architecture resembles that of a living brain. The chip is composed of computing cores that each contain 256 input lines, or “axons” (the cablelike part of a nerve cell that transmits electrical signals) and 256 output lines, or “neurons”. Much like in a real brain, the artificial neurons only send signals, or spikes, when electrical charges reach a certain threshold. 
But if these devices can function more like a human brain, they may eventually understand their environments better, he said. For example, instead of moving a camera image onto a computer to process it, “the [camera] sensor becomes the computer,” he said.

IBM created the chip as part of DARPA’s SyNAPSE program (short for Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics). The goal of this initiative is to build a computer that resembles the form and function of the mammalian brain, with intelligence similar to a cat or mouse. 
I am going to give you some other links. Wait.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E, string theorists work not with their superstitions, but with math and models. Oh, you don’t know that currently we have the first tentative proof of the existence of another universe (or other universes). All in the world of science, I think, are tentative. If you expect absolute certainty, go to churches and other holy houses. You hate God due to the believers arrogant claim that this God has absolute certainty about anything existing in the universe; but, weirdly, you need absolute certainty concerning string theory. 

Here are the 2 links to the study of multiverse: Rose Taylor, “Is our universe merely one of billions? Evidence of the existence of ‘multiverse’ revealed for the first time by cosmic map”, MailOnline, 19 May 2013, at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2326869/Is-universe-merely-billions-Evidence-existence-multiverse-revealed-time-cosmic-map.html; and Jonathan Leake, “Cosmic cold spots hint at other universes”, The Australian News, 19 May 2013, at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2326869/Is-universe-merely-billions-Evidence-existence-multiverse-revealed-time-cosmic-map.html.

Mr. F: Computers working like brains doesn’t prove that brains have a computer-like Internet. You’re just spewing nonsense.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E and Mr. F, my arguments are simple: if you currently have bad problems in your life, those problems trigger the activities of certain neurons in your brain resulting in your psychological experiences of depression. These experiences are neural that enable you to know the condition of your psyche, and have the factual sources from outside your brain, that is, your real life problems.

Similarly, if some hallucinogenic drugs and the electrical circuits of God Helmets cause you to experience religious or spiritual experiences (whatever their forms and contents are), those drugs and the electrical circuits of GHs are not the root causes of those experiences, but only the triggers or the stimulants or some variables for those spiritual experiences. You should search and find out what are the root causes in our world and in the universe for all spiritual experiences humans for centuries claim they have.

I take an analogy from the computer world in which we know about what we call the virtual world in which all the data in the Internet communication stay (for a long time or just temporarily). I don’t have any doubt to equate our human brains with computers. Many scientists have said the same thing. So, there must be the virtual world too for all the causes of spiritual experiences that exist beyond our human brains. It is the job of scientists to find out what kind of virtual worlds that exist outside the human brains that basically cause spiritual experiences.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. F, ask your pope, namely Mr. Richard Dawkins, about the memes that spread from brain to brain, from the one site on the Internet to another site, which have the neural basis in our human brains.

Mr. F: Sure, I just asked him and he told me that the only internet of brains is the actual internet; there’s definitely not a Magic Brain Internet, like you’re saying.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. F, here is RD’s words concerning a meme. I cite them from his book The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Brain (1982, 1999), p. 109.
“A meme should be regarded as a unit of information residing in a brain. It has a definite structure, realized in whatever physical medium the brain uses for storing information. If the brain stores information as a pattern of synaptic connections, a meme should in principle be visible under a miscroscope as a definite pattern of synaptic structure. If the brain stores information in ‘distributed’ form, the meme would not be localizable on a microscopic slide, but I would want to regard it as physically residing in the brain.”   
With the currently impressive progress in the neuro-imaging technology, empirical studies of the existence of a meme in the human brains now can be conducted, for instance, by Adam McNamara, especially in order to discover its neural bases. Read his article for yourselves; here it is: Adam McNamara, “Can we measure memes?”, Frontier in Evolutionary Science 3 (25 May 2011), doi: 10.3389/fnevo.2011.00001, pada http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnevo.2011.00001/full.

And, let me now emphasize that I don’t say or refer to any magic. I just state that virtual world exists, not only for the Internet memes and the computerized data, but also for everything our mind processes in our human brains behaving like/as computers. Do you know Arthur C. Clarke, the writer of several science fictions? Arthur states, as frequently quoted by the pope Richard Dawkins with acceptance, that “any sufficiently advanced technology cannot be distinguished from magic”. Understood? So, ask your master where the location of the Internet virtual world is and how big it is. Can he locate it and measure it? I hope he can.

Mr. E: Possibilities are not absolute proof beyond a doubt. The possibilities for a multiverse is something many scientist have been interested in for a very long time. New theories come up all the time. Often as a way to try and explain discrepancies in our known universe such as the links you left, which I’m actually already familiar with. They are possibilities, not absolute proof.

Death anxiety is a side effect that comes with being consciously aware of our own mortality. Drugs can only increase or decrease the capacities the brain already has. One can take certain psychedelics that affect the areas dubbed the god parts of the brain and have the so called universal mystical religious transcending experience. Or aim electromagnetic waves at those areas and induce the experiences that way. These repeatable tests clearly show the brain is responsible. The theory as to why we all evolved to have such a strange behaviors as those types of beliefs are the root cause, is death anxiety. You having such beliefs is you doing exactly what your brain evolved to do. This is why I’m never upset with what a believer believes in. It’s perfectly normal. It’s you believing what your brain psychically evolved to do.

If I get upset, it’s usually due to people like you assuming you know what I believe, or accept, when in fact you do not know at all because I haven’t said so. You assume all atheists must believe the same straw-man arguments you make when in fact that is simply not true at all.

The vast majority of the world’s population are believers. Why are you so concerned with what a small percent doesn’t believe? I would even go as far to say that you seem obsessed with atheist. To the point of devoting hours and hours of your life to atheist.  Not only that but out of the roughly 7 billion people in the world only around 5 million are active scientists. But such a small group sure as everyone’s panties in a bunch. Lol.

Mr. E: If you are serious about converting atheist, here are some tips for you: http://www.wikihow.com/Persuade-an-Atheist-to-Become-Christian.

Mr. E: Here’s what not to do:

The Quantum Physics Fallacy

Description: Using quantum physics in an attempt to support your claim, when in no way is your claim related to quantum physics. One can also use the weirdness of the principles of quantum physics to cast doubt on the well-established laws of the macro world.

Perhaps the greatest mind in quantum physics, Richard Feynman, once said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics,” and he is probably right. People recognize that this is perhaps the most bizarre, paradoxical, and incomprehensible area of study, that is also a respectable science. So, if you can manage to connect the truth of your argument to quantum physics, it would be unlikely that there would be many people who know enough about quantum physics to assert that your connection is invalid, thus your argument gains credibility out of ignorance.

The mysterious nature of quantum physics is a breeding ground for superstition, religious claims, “proof” of God, universal consciousness, and many other unfalsifiable claims.

Logical Form:

Quantum physics supports the idea that X is Y.
Therefore, X is Y.
(although quantum physics supports no such thing)

Example #1:

Depook: Quantum physics provides evidence that a cosmic consciousness exists.
Sam: ???

Explanation: Sam knows nothing about quantum physics, so really cannot respond, yet Depook did not establish an argument as to how it provides evidence, he just made the assertion.

Example #2:

Depook: Quantum physics is the language of God. It has been shown that quantum particles contain information that can instantly communicate information over any distance, anywhere in or outside the universe.
Sam: ???

Explanation: Sam knows nothing about quantum physics, so really cannot respond. Depook did expanded on his assertion here, relied on the argument by gibberish in order to make what sounded like scientific claims which, in fact, were not. According to everything we know about quantum physics, information cannot travel faster than light―otherwise it could create a time travel paradox.

Exception: Making a scientific claim about quantum physics, using the scientific method, is not fallacious.

Tip: Pick up an introductory book to quantum physics, it is not only a fascinating subject, but you will be well prepared to ask the right questions and expose this fallacy when used.

Mr. F: No, it’s any “sufficiently” advanced technology that can’t be distinguished from magic. In a science fiction story. Neither Arthur C Clarke nor any other person has ever said that all advanced technology is magic, because it isn’t. There is no “Internet virtual world”. There is the Internet, which is a physical and occasionally wireless packet-switching network to which many computers have been connected. It’s as big as it is and it’s located where it’s located, which is to say, within the perimeter defined by its most distant operating terminals.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. F, imagine, in the next two decades, we are able to build a Super Computer having Super Artificial Intelligence. Do you think, this Super AI cannot improve and make itself more and more perfect to the point where we humans cannot control it any longer, and it finally will take a decision to go out from the virtual world and live as a free entity having its own much higher intelligence, will and emotion, together with us in the real life, even predominating us humans? Stephen Hawking himself has reminded the world about this possibility.

Mr. F: I think you overestimate the value and threat of high intelligence. Why hasn’t Marilyn vos Savant taken over the world? Her tested IQ is over twice that of the average human, but she’s content to be an occasional magazine columnist. She’s smarter than Einstein― why hasn’t she superseded Einstein?

A computer may be connected to the internet, but it doesn’t follow that an intelligence running on that computer would “know” the entire internet. Architectural considerations may force a distinction between computer data and the intelligence’s actual knowledge. My individual neurons are capable of great feats of computation, but I have no ability to exploit that power when I’m trying to calculate a tip.

Fears that an AI would be “uncontrollable” strike me as on the same order as worrying your child will grow up to be Hitler. Sure, it’s a possibility―but not even a remote likelihood, and the answer is not to strangle all the infants in their cribs. 

Ioanes Rakhmat: I am speaking not about the human fear directed to the Super Computers that have Super-AIs. I am delighted if we had it now. I told you about it as an example of the virtual world trespassed by the Super-AI. Your opinion about this virtual world is outdated. That is my point. Thanks for your response, anyway. 

Mr. E: Our own universe is not infinite, it is finite. So going by what we know so far, there is no reason to suspect that if there are other universes that they should have different laws of physics. Maybe they do, but we have no way of knowing since they have not been  discovered yet. It’s possible that they do exist, but we have not found the definitive proof yet, and we may never find it. A mistake some people make is saying energy cannot be created or destroyed. That deals with the laws of thermal dynamics but in a controlled vacuum. It’s not a reality in the known universe. In reality all energy/matter dissipates over time. Nothing last forever, not even the universe.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. E, you are wrong. I am not theist, but agnostic, the position that has already been taken too by scientists such as Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan, among others. I have explained why I take agnostic position; here http://ioanesrakhmat.blogspot.com/2015/02/atheism-is-ideology-that-has-its-god-too.html. I don't have any intention to convert people to any kind of belief or ideology. I should say that opposing atheism is not my obsession. The reason why I lately put my focus on atheism, the New Atheism in particular, has been revealed by me here http://ioanesrakhmat.blogspot.com/2015/02/my-open-letter-to-supporters-of-new.html.  

I think you didn’t know about the recent study of the multiverse, given your comments above. That’s why I had to give you the two links connecting you to the study. Be humble. I made, so far, no explicit references to quantum mechanics. It is not Feynman, but Niels Bohr who first stated that none knows the quantum mechanics due to its weirdness. Sorry, I correct you.

String theory as the best candidate of the theory of everything works beyond quantum mechanics. It combines Einstein’s general relativity with quantum physics, but it also accounts for dark matter, dark energy, black holes, four natural forces (so far as we now know; that is, electromagnetic force, weak and strong nuclear forces, and gravity), extra-dimensions, the multiverse, Higgs boson, matter, energy, to say the least. It seems you don’t know the scope of string theory.

I am not Deepak Chopra who endorses his religion by using mistakenly quantum mechanics; we know, he is not a physicist. Overall, I am in harmony with Richard Dawkinsevaluation that Deepak Chopras spirituality is much worse than religions, I mean bad religions, as he states it here http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/richard-dawkins-deepak-chopras-spirituality-is-even-worse-than-religion/

But Deepak is right when he reminds atheists that in our universe there is an entity we call INFINITY. From a simple mathematical calculation, that is, one divided by zero, we get infinity. It is weird indeed that you as atheist are unaware of this simple mathematical operation! I think, you need an explanation or a demonstration that one divided by zero results in infinity. Here it is: 

1:0,1= 10
1:0,001 = 1000
1:0,0001= 10000
1:0,0000001= 10000000

Answer me, then:



1:0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000......... ad infinitum ......1=? The result is infinity. No doubt about it!

Because 0 is much smaller than 0,00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.... ad infinitum....1,
then, 1:0 = absolute infinity.

 I know, many people immediately will respond that 1:0 is not infinity, though I just demonstrated that it is, but “undefined”. OK, if you wish to say such, at the cost of denying blindly what I have just shown. But answer me, what is the “undefined”? Do the math calculation to show me how you get the undefined, please. Let me tell you. Some Eastern religions consider God as  the “undefined”, an entity far surpassing any human knowledge and understanding of everything in the universe, in such a way that this entity is always beyond any human and scientific understandings of all realities in the universe. But, put simply, the “undefined” is anything that cannot be defined, anything that cannot be limited, imprisoned, and confined in any limited categories and frames of mind, anything that has no definition. In other words, the “undefined” is something infinite, or, put in the noun, is infinity. Clear?     

Mr. E: I set up each link to take you directly to what I have read on the multiverse. I like string theory, always have. It’s very interesting. Some, of course. But as I’m sure you know others seem to act like it confirms their religious types of beliefs when it in no way does.

Mr. E: And btw the way I don’t think you had any clue about neurotheology until I mentioned it. Why would you not even know the basic premise had you been familiar with it. Be humble!

Ioanes Rakhmat: OK, you, and many others, certainly could refer to so many links. But my impression is before discussing with me, you didn’t even know the result of recent study of the multiverse. Sorry, I don’t want to talk about this tiny issue any longer.

Mr. E: I have no reason to lie to you. That’s ridiculous. You are being ridiculous. You behave like a troll. It’s quite obvious. But yeah, let’s not talk anymore. I’m cool with that. Have fun obsessing over atheist, it’s hella funny. Good luck to you in all you do. Peace out.

Ioanes Rakhmat: Here is your statement (copy-pasted here from above) that indicates that you don’t follow the recent progress of the empirical study of the multiverse.  
“No, this skeptic is fully open to the possibility of a multiverse and even 26 dimensions. But since they haven’t been proven yet, I am not claiming the unknown is actually known. If I were to do that then that would be very closed minded of me to insist that an unknown is already known. It would be an end to honest inquiry.”  
Your final words in your last comment above are typical of all atheists I have found. Not schocking. Bye.

Mr. I: Ioanes, don’t quit when losing the argument. This is an opportunity to grow and learn. People do take ridicule of their beliefs personally. As long as you humbly make it clear that we are ALL fallible and the ridicule is directed at the belief and not the individual, we can use humor to point out the inconsistency in any ‘belief’. The picture in this article is a straw-man because it’s based on a ‘belief’ that overweight people are exclusively victims of their ‘choices’. Try to understand your own resistance to ideas (biases). There are no absolutely true statements: in life or even in science, we only have the best available evidence. We all approach new information with biases, can you figure out your own? –Peace

Ioanes Rakhmat: Mr. I, who has lost the argument? I haven’t. Ridiculing is a sign of losing one’s own dignity. In conversations among scientists, they never ridicule fellow scientists. If RD is really a scientist, he should never ridicule any people, religious people especially. But, RD very often speaks as a fundamentalist atheist, not as a scientist. That’s why he likes to ridicule believers and their religious convictions. I hope, becoming much older, he will grow wiser, calmer, friendlier. I expect that RD will be courageous enough to ridicule himself, his atheism, and his arrogance as well, in order to get back his dignity. Honestly speaking, I have got some valuable benefits from RDs books that explore so many topics in evolutionary biology. He is a biologist whose views in this field should be considered seriously. So, it is my hope, that RD could show to the world of religions that he is a noble and friendly man, so that he, as is the 14th Dalai Lama, is accepted by religious believers all over the world as one of the noble humans on our planet Earth. But, honestly, I dont believe that RD will become another noble man on Earth respected by all humans in our era.   

Mr. E: Hi, string theory has been proved to be wrong. Read this writing of Troy Pearce; here is the link http://www.examiner.com/article/string-theory-disproved-what-happens-next. Sure, according to my judgment, the belief in string theory is a form of blind faith, a religion, as has been stated too by William Reville here http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/belief-in-the-multiverse-a-form-of-blind-faith-1.2153271. Furthermore, the LHC disproved string theory. You are outdated. But for sure it will linger on with some, because for them, and you, it has become a religion. 

Ioanes Rakhmat: Thanks Mr. E. I have read the two articles whose links you have given me. But, you unfortunately failed to notice the following statement of Troy Pearce: “Allow me to make myself completely understood. I am not stating that string theory is wrong, I have no proof that it is wrong. What I do have is the common sense to realize that if you base all work in physics and cosmology on a theory that has provided no proof in its own favor you are more than likely to find yourself in a fast sinking ship.” Pearce clearly has not disproved string theory yet! So far as I know, William Reville is not a physicist, but a biochemist at UCC.  

Here I copy-paste again my statement in my conversations above:  
String theory as the best candidate of the theory of everything works beyond quantum mechanics. It combines Einstein’s general relativity with quantum physics, but it also accounts for dark matter, dark energy, black holes, four natural forces (so far as we now know; that is, electromagnetic force, weak and strong nuclear forces, and gravity), extra-dimensions, the multiverse, Higgs boson, matter, energy, to say the least. It seems you don’t know the scope of string theory.
I therefore don’t believe that string theory will die. Its horizon is so wide and all-inclusive. Perhaps you are dreaming in the spring, Mr. E, if you predict it will die out. 

The LHCs prime target, Mr. E, is to simulate the big bang of our universe, not to check out the multiverse, let alone to simulate the births of infinite universes beyond our own, or to reach the farthest and the deepest dimension of extra-dimensions. Dont forget, the LHC has been constructed within the framework of the Standard Model which currently has been viewed a bit outdated. It is too early and too hasty to claim the demise of string theory, Mr. E.

Mr. E: Yes, refuse to get up to date and continue with your string theory RELIGION. Im going to block you, because you are a waste of time, and I dont like people putting my name in their blogs without my permission. Im going to look into what actions I can take to force you to remove them. 

Ioanes Rakhmat: In the end of April 2015, Stephen Hawking said, “One day there may well be proof of multiple universes. It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe” (here is the link http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/28/stephen-hawking-humanity-1000-years_n_7160870.html). If string theory is a religion, then so many famous physicists have become religious believers, Mr. E. Do you think the end of the world will soon happen? But, yes, in the world of science a certain belief works too, especially in the beginning of new researches, but this belief later or immediately should be tested, namely, be verified or be falsified, something different from religious beliefs. Uupps, do you want to block me? Why? You need not block me, Mr. E. I will do it to you. It is your will, not mine. 

Ioanes Rakhmat