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Hang With Friends

Location: Earth
Members: 870
Latest Activity: 20 hours ago

Come on in, pull up a chair!

Picture yourself spending some time with congenial friends, sharing your lives and pictures from your cell phones." They're curious about that cool game, song, movie, camping trip, art show, or other event that fascinated you. You talk about all kinds of stuff, poetry, styles, personal achievements, relationships, and bad days. You can share your inner child, and laugh together. They sympathetically listen to your feelings about serious topics like politics or climate change, even when they don't agree.

Personal validation comes from paying attention to one another, giving more than you get. Everyone respects you and themselves, despite our amazing range of personal tastes and interests. They'll tell you they don't agree with an idea or behavior without implying you're a bad person or somehow deficient. It's an "I'm OK, You're OK" kind of fellowship, where nobody tries to make himself look better by picking on somebody else.

Nobody here is into mind games. A discussion started with a loaded guilt-throwing question will be deleted.

This group is not intended to compete with other groups on topics they cover but to "fill in the cracks." Whenever a discussion dwells at length on a topic for which there's an existing group, we urge you to provide members a link to that group to continue along their tangent.

A comment is a shout-out, which will get lost in a few days, because the comment wall is just a random stack.

Please start a discussion to share stories, photos, and videos. Replies will pop up in your "latest activity" and a conversation can develop from the feelings and thoughts you contributed. Groups are built on discussions.

Discussion Forum

bending truth, or "We Can All Be Manipulated" (TheraminTrees)

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Compelledunbeliever 20 hours ago. 37 Replies

The following is one of TheraminTrees' most thorough-going pieces, wherein he looks at the process and techniques whereby a "religious" organization (which will sound VERY familiar to most of us, once introductions are made!) takes a person who…Continue

Tags: indoctrination, truth, manipulation, TheraminTrees

punishing doubt (TheraminTrees)

Started by Loren Miller Sep 6. 0 Replies

If you are associated with religion and especially a fundamentalist religion, doubt is intolerable.  Certainty, however it may be achieved or imposed, becomes a necessary element, especially considering the utter dearth of any form of evidence or…Continue

Tags: religion, TheraminTrees, punish, doubt

We Don't Want Your (Atheist) Money! (The Thinking Atheist)

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Idaho Spud Sep 2. 17 Replies

I suppose I've heard stories like this before:Conscientious atheist donates money to worthy cause.Worthy cause initially accepts money.Worthy cause discovers source of donation.Worthy cause rejects donation.Swell, eh?  Well Matt Willbourne of…Continue

Tags: American Baptist Churches Association, Murrow Indian Children's Home, The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews

The Whole Bible in 30 Seconds (Betty Bowers)

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Randy Hatly Sep 2. 3 Replies

Ever decide that you wanted to read the whole bible, cover to cover, only to realize half-way through Deuteronomy that the darn thing is industrial-strength BORING?!?  Well, never fear!  America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers, has done the Cliff's…Continue

Tags: bible, America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers

Are You a Patriot? (Betty Bowers)

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Chris G Aug 29. 22 Replies

You might think that Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian, would be stepping outside of her comfort zone in tackling the concept of patriotism.  As it turns out, not only does she have a proper handle on the term and its implications, she also…Continue

Tags: patriot, America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers

Comment Wall

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Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 5, 2013 at 10:17pm

Thanks, Joan and booklover.

Here's a picture I had to share.

Comment by Joan Denoo on April 5, 2013 at 4:47pm

I like your comments, especially "I integrate our role as knowers into my concept of “blind indifferent forces of nature”. This means I see meaning in the interplay of natural forces, not as something imposed by an external god but an emergent outcome of complex systems."

"I don’t need religion to find meaning and order in chaos, only observation and the understanding flowing from science and philosophy."

"There are patterns, from evolution of genes and of memes. Everything isn’t just random, even at the atomic level."

The kitty illustrates your description so well. 

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 5, 2013 at 1:28pm

Joan, I can see how rats would beat humans in responding to random stimuli. Quite bright people can be gambling addicts. We’re wired to “see” patterns and intent where they don’t exist. Such as alleged signs from alleged gods.


Of course we have to forge our own sense of meaning. But don’t forget that we are part of the universe and the known universe exists only insofar as we know it (at least for us). I integrate our role as knowers into my concept of “blind indifferent forces of nature”. This means I see meaning in the interplay of natural forces, not as something imposed by an external god but an emergent outcome of complex systems.


There are patterns, from evolution of genes and of memes. Everything isn’t just random, even at the atomic level. Yes atoms far outside of living things behave randomly, but atoms inside of living things and moved by them have their position and momentum constrained because they’re caught up in our complexity. The molecules in my fingertips and the keys of my computer keyboard are moving in a very systematic way correlated with the English language and the molecules in my brain. Those deviations far exceed the influence of their thermal vibrations. Even the size of those random vibrations is correlated with my electric bill.
So I don’t need religion to find meaning and order in chaos, only observation and the understanding flowing from science and philosophy.

Comment by Joan Denoo on April 5, 2013 at 12:00pm
The idea of living or dying by chance alone is hard to accept. If you look at the misfortune and fortune in human life, in the universe generally, there is no pattern that relates to people, any patterns are entirely related to physics. The universe has exactly the properties we'd expect if there were no plan, no design, no aim, just blind indifferent forces of nature.

The Homo sapiens brain insists on seeing order, meaning and pattern even where there is none. It's a very human characteristic to fool ourselves that we are in control. In today's world, it seems that we make more mistakes seeing patterns that aren't there rather than missing patterns that are there.

In fact, there's a great experiment; researchers put a rat in front of a red light and a green light. The red light and the green light flash without any pattern, at random. However, the green light flashes 75% of the time, and the red light flashes 25% of the time. The rat, if it guesses correctly which is going to flash, it gets a little sugar water. So when rats do this experiment, they see after a while that the green light is flashing more than the red light, and they just start guessing green, green, green, green, green every time. They get it right 75% of the time and are happy with that.

However, people think we know better. So when humans do the experiment, they won't do what the rat does. They've seen that it's 75% green and they'll guess a pattern. They'll go, green, green, red, green, green, green, red. They'll start spewing out these red and greens in some weird pattern that's tailored to be 75% green and 25% red, thinking that they can beat the system. When they do that, they end up about 60% of the time getting it right, instead of 75%. Rats out perform humans. That's because humans see patterns where there aren't any. That's just the way our minds work. That is called The Gambler's Fallacy.

Perhaps this is part of the explanation why religion evolved in the first place, it satisfies our desire to find meaning and order in the chaos.

In fact, there is no meaning, design, aim, purpose or plan, just blind indifferent forces of nature.

"In the face of what appears to be a blindly indifferent universe, Dawkins argues that we each have to forge our own sense of meaning."

~ Richard Dawkins, Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB4uoi02B2hPwxZsIP3yPmBGKxwHZ...
Comment by Steph S. on April 5, 2013 at 7:07am
Love the cat photo Ruth!
Also Joan that chipmunk is so cute.
Well it's cold here this morning, and I feel like it's Fall weather instead of Spring. Low temperatures around mid 30's!! Sometimes even goes to freezing at night.
I hope everyone is doing well. It's Friday!
Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 5, 2013 at 12:14am

So much good stuff today. Thanks everyone.

Joan, that "Internet Animals Can’t Believe Fossil Fools" made my day. Thanks for all of the pictures and posts. Was there a weird association between your desert flower and Steph’s yoga cat that followed it? Its bursting pistils reminded me of the jazz hands, and they were similarly bent. Maybe I have too much imagination.

Good point Patricia, with your Tracie Harris quote. “If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.”

We got up to 54° degrees today. I hope your weather was as lovely.

Comment by The Flying Atheist on April 4, 2013 at 11:59pm

Love the chipmunk and the corn, Joan. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on April 4, 2013 at 11:21pm

Chipmunk with expanding cheeks. 

Comment by Steph S. on April 4, 2013 at 10:20pm

Love it Patricia and Booklover and thanks for the link Joan.

Comment by Steph S. on April 4, 2013 at 10:19pm

Love the posts Joan!

 

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