The original thread is gone. That would be my bad.

Here's what happened, told in my usual verbose parenthetical style. If you just want to get on with it, skip past the italics.

I originally registered for Atheist Nexus last Sunday after listening to a Chariots of Iron podcast where AN was mentioned, while on a bus from Wilmington NC to Washington DC following the Christmas holiday. Since I was using my Motorola Droid (which is cooler than shit, by the way) I actually registered on the bus using this hand-held computer, browser and Twittering system with GPS cabability with which, I'm told, you can also make phone calls with.

I have two Gmail accounts, one using my given name which syncs directly with Google Calendar and Google Docs and I use mostly for work, family and my capacity as director of the National Association of Hen Teasers (I can get a chicken from head-under-wing asleep to apoplectic in 30 seconds, but anyway...) and the other is associated with my site and the nom de guerre "Mykeru" (which is a story in itself). Being too lazy to switch accounts, I registered using the email for my given name and thought that I could fill in the pseudonym later. Which I did. What I didn't realize was that the underlying architecture of Atheist Nexus was a tool of Satan and used my initial registration to create a URL using my given name.

Now, keep in mind that I'm an atheist, a recovered alcoholic and an incorrigible asshole who tends to overshare anyway, so although I can't keep everything separate, I try not to make things easy for fuck nozzles who use Google as the groundwork for being complete assholes. Seriously, once I had right-wing nutbags get my name from the domain information on my site, when it was poorly protected by RCN and cause all sorts of mischief. I since changed from HTML to WordPress and moved the whole operation to Laughing Squid, who not only protect anonymity better, but just love a good bogus DMCA notice that they can chew up and spit back into some lawyers face.

Plus, and this is important, by using the Mykeru brand name, I can be even more of a pain in the ass than I already am.

I'm about to reboot my site and I would like to have the ability to link to my page on AN without giving the whole game away. I tried to change the URL in the settings, no good. I changed the email, but still the URL held my name. I sent a couple "issue" reports to AN, but no response.

I was spending more time trying to deal with this dumb quirk "through channels" than it really deserved in terms of redoing my profile. So before I added too much content I decided to just delete my registration and re-register making sure that the mark of quality that is "Mykeru" was used. I figured I would have to redo my profile, add my picture again and make friends all over again.
I didn't. Miraculously, when the re-register was approved, the page came back with all settings, links and what have you intact.

However, and I didn't expect this: The fucking thread "Religion vs. Spirituality" was gone. Just gone. I thought maybe, if anything, my remarks might disappear, making it sort of one-sided, but the entire thing was gone.

So, for everyone who contributed to that thread, offered their thoughts and opinions, whether they were really stupid or not, I apologize profusely. Although I don't have a problem with my writing in that thread being deleted, there is no way that I intended the same for everyone else who contributed.

I fully accept whatever punishment is coming to me, especially if you are anything from a 20-something girl to a cougar in the metro Washington DC area with an extensive latex wardrobe and really like horned guys with creepy lemur eyes.

So, where were we? The thread began relating religion to spirituality and degenerated into an exercise in lexicography and Howard's fuck-all worthless opinion.

So, taking it from there:

1. Does the term "spiritual" necessarily involve the supernatural? I claim it does and people who use it in any other way are just too lazy to use a dictionary. Is using the term for the non-supernatural just sloppy language? Is using it aiding and abetting the religious by at the very least seeming to be fellow travellers?

2. Can one be an atheist and not be a skeptic towards the supernatural? This is the reverse of the case I hear reported at the last The Amazing Meeting (TAM) where Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience recounts that the "skeptics" in attendance were told to lay off those skeptics who were also theists. I can't disagree more with that, and think those kid gloves represents another example of religion getting a pass. But is the reverse true: Can one be a critical atheist, whose lack of belief is derived from rational grounds and not also be a skeptic when it comes to the "spiritual"?

3. Is Atheist Nexus' underlying architecture a tool of Satan?

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I'm an epiphenomenalist: "The mind is what the brain does", mind being an emergent property of the function of the brain.

It sometimes makes me crazy when people talk about "mind" as a separate entity from the physicality of the body, until I catch myself doing it too. Just as it's almost impossible to avoid anthropomorphizing inanimate objects, talk about mechanistic processes like Evolution as though it has volition, it's hard not to talk about "mind" as some incorporeal, free-floating thing.

Which is fine, when using figures of speech. It's when you think they mind is not part of the physicality of the brain and you have to explain how trauma to the occipital lobe causes blindness, that you have a problem. Funny things happen to people's minds when you literally scramble their brains.
This is what I believe too. The brain can actually "project" an idea of the mind as separate from the body, which is why it seems so hard for folks to let go of the idea of life after death.

And sadly, the limits of language make this hard to talk about unless we all share the same understanding of words etc...and it gets so fuzzy.
JstN Earthling,

I agree with your intent, but I can't let this slip: "we already know we function as well as we do with the use of only about 20% of our brains potential as it is. "

Is it up to 20% now? I always heard 10%, which is, in any case, Urban Legend.

Barry L. Beyerstein of the Brain Behavior Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver explains:

"Whenever I venture out of the Ivory Tower to deliver public lectures about the brain, by far the most likely question I can expect as the talk winds up is, "Do we really only use 10 percent of our brains?" The look of disappointment that usually follows when I say it isn't so strongly suggests that the 10-percent myth is one of those hopeful shibboleths that refuses to die simply because it would be so darn nice if it were true."

"So nice if it were true" seems to be the motivation behind woo. Well, except for things that suck, like the Bermuda Triangle.

And according to Snopes, one reason this bit of myth persists is because it is frequently used by psychics and woo purveyors to explain psychic power.

I'm not being nitpicky, really. I looked this claim up a long time ago when I kept running into it as something tossed off without any provenance given. And with Google, it's even easier to check. It's interesting, because it's another example of the often awesome memetic power of woo.
...who knows but you're the first person I've ever heard say that... Ans as a matter of fact you didn't really "say" anything of substance that gave me any different evidence to the contrary, only the statement made by one man, whatever......

The 10% Myth (Snopes)

10% of brain myth (Wiki)

Do People Only Use 10 Percent Of Their Brains? (Scientific American)

The Ten-Percent Myth (Skeptical Inquirer)

Humans use 100 percent of their brains--despite the popular myth (Cornell University)
Dude, relax. You got caught spreading a little woo. We've all done it, like waking up the morning after a party in bed with a dead fat chick, a plucked live duck and a flaming can of Crisco.

We've all done that, right?

Mykeru - It's interesting, because it's another example of the often awesome memetic power of woo.

Ask him about alien bodies in secret government bunkers. Go on, I dare you.
Ask him about alien bodies in secret government bunkers. Go on, I dare you.

A word about "energies" (to encompass, literally, different forms of energies utilized by the body and inherent in all life forms, even inert objects etc: protons/neutrons, what have you).. what I was referring to in my earlier post was the fact that we know that neurons firing are actually electrical impulses. Yes, we use glucose as fuel. And things get complex when you consider the effects of hormones which kick off all kinds of other chemicals and substances being released in response to different stimuli. The effects of testosterone on the the brain are actually quite hilarious and easily seen on this board. Same as estro.. progesterone's a bitch tho. LOL
"As far as intuition and the like, who knows what kind of energies our brain s can utilize, we already know we function as well as we do with the use of only about 20% of our brains potential as it is. I've even had some interesting experiences that one would call "psychic" but I've always assumed they were real functions of the brain that we just don't understand yet. Just because we don't have the answers we can not assume they are religious either or even "spiritual". But then we come back to semantics again because everyone has a different definition of spiritualism."

That's fantastic, JustNEarthling.. this is just what I was trying to illustrate in my long-winded post earlier re: there being no "supernatural," just all-natural, as someone else had previously also stated. It's a question of definition. We just don't know everything about how the brain works and a lot of this stuff can or will be explained scientifically. Tie in what Fred was saying about buddhist "spiritual" experiences etc being replicable by everyone who tries it, and bingo- we have what I see as the agreement overlap between these different "camps."

Normally, I stay out of this kind of conversation but a couple of things: the 10%, 20% or whatever number is yet another reassuring myth (although I'm not exactly sure what is so reassuring about it.) But we're learning much about how the brain never rests. For example, a recent article from Scientific American: Idle Minds and What They May Say about Intelligence

re intuition: I still like the definition that intuition is inarticulate knowledge. We can know things and not know why or how we know them. Or cannot even put them into words. The old bugaboo of "women's intuition" makes sense if we take it to mean that women (in general) are more concerned and perceptive of emotions and emotion-based activities. It follows, then, they would be better able to pick up cues and clues that would trigger the knowledge they have learned (encoded). That doesn't mean it's not real knowledge (just because it can't be explained in words) nor that there is something spooky (supernatural) going on.
Thanks for the article...sounds likes something right up my alley!


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