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I am a retired land surveyor. I grew up in Southeast Alabama, spent most of my life in Alaska, and am now back home, living on a small farm.

 For the record, like it or not, I am a member of Unity of Dothan. Some of my hobbies are walking in the woods, biking, gardening, woodworking, and taking naps.

  I have a BS degree in mathematics from Auburn.

WAR EAGLE!

I’m in a relationship. Not looking.

Comments

How many members on here are openly atheists in the bible belt? And are you treated differently?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 28, 2019:
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as the Bible Belt. Pew polls show the South to be only a few percentage points more religious than the country as a whole, and about on par with the Midwest. I live in a rural part of Alabama and no one ever bothers me about religion. None of my closest acquaintances are believers. I don’t call myself an atheist however, just not a follower of traditional religion.
Deuteronomy 20:16 New International Version (NIV) 16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 27, 2019:
The Bible makes no sense, but for some it’s interesting literature I guess. I prefer Hindu scriptures. Nothing written down is worth stewing over in hatred and disdain. Moment by moment awareness is where it’s at!
Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis, occurs when a group makes faulty ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 27, 2019:
The irony is that those caught up in groupthink don’t know they are engaged in groupthink. If it’s someone else’s group it’s very easy to make that characterization—to view them that way. But remember, from their perspective it might be you who are caught up in groupthink. Maybe it’s not absolute. Maybe there are elements of groupthink in all of us from time to time, but we also are critical thinkers in some areas.
We're on a road to destruction if we don't make changes. Some thoughts on outrage and an idea to ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 27, 2019:
I fully support the idea of a status update section where we treat each other with kindness. It happens that I just had some trauma. It would be nice to have polite exchanges so that such things can be aired. These extreme differences—liberal/conservative, religious/atheist—they are only skin deep and in no way define who a person really is. It’s sometimes stimulating to banter about politics or religion but we should try to remember that each person, no matter what their opinion, represents something dear and special, to be revered and respected.
"Atheism deserves better than the new atheists whose methodology consists of criticizing religion ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 27, 2019:
I agree fully with Jonathan Sacks. A good religion does not require belief, and it’s not about the so-called supernatural. Good religion is a way of life that fosters reverence love and awe for the miracle of every second of existence. Good religion is in no way opposed to science.
Online activists of South Asia united in London !!
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 27, 2019:
They are a hearty looking lot. What are their goals?
400-year-old Bible stolen from US found in Netherlands
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 26, 2019:
It’s an old book and very valuable. The FBI is correct to track down the 300+ artifacts that were stolen.
“The goal of a good society is to structure social relations and institutions so that cooperative ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 26, 2019:
Who gets to decide what the goal is of a good society. Who decreed that societies should have goals? What is a good society in the first place? Which are the good ones and which the bad? Humans have evolved over millions of years, and what you see is what you get. Things are as they are for reasons, and trying to impose your personal sentimental values on humanity will result in failure. Producing goods and services, and trading in those things—that is in our blood. It’s innate. Put whatever label you want on it but that doesn’t change basic human behavior.
I recently went to a religious a event with a family member at Easter time. the religious ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 26, 2019:
It’s all a line of BS, not worth fretting over. There’s no such thing as sin. How does being executed “save” anyone? Jesus would have died eventually in any event. Good question—why do people go along with that story? The supposed resurrection, even if it happened, would be nothing but an anomaly. What is miraculous is that any of us are alive and aware. Every moment of conscious awareness is an earth shattering event, worthy of the utmost awe, wonder and reverence.
I live in the Bible Belt and being open about being an unbeliever would be difficult to say the ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 26, 2019:
Just be yourself. Most people aren’t that interested in other people’s religious opinions in the first place, but if they shun you for what you think maybe you would be better off without ‘em. If they are family they’ll just have to adapt. Stay the course.
Does anyone else who's de-converted from religion struggle with logically knowing / accepting ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 26, 2019:
The whole question is moot. Time is nothing but an illusion.
This has most likely been discussed multiple times, so apologies for creating yet another ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 26, 2019:
There are various studies that indicate that religiosity tends to prevent suicide in western societies but not in the Far East. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482518/ Various reasons are offered for the discrepancy. People obviously are not rational, but from a strictly rational viewpoint you would think that a religious person would not be very concerned with the fate of his body—after all, heaven is supposedly awaiting. However, in western society suicide is looked upon with shame and horror, and Christian Churches teach that suicide is a sin. In Eastern countries suicide is often viewed as an honorable and courageous act. As for me, when the end of life is near, if I am in pain I don’t think I would hesitate to pull the plug. In the interim I consider every moment of conscious awareness to be a joyous and glorious unfathomable miracle of untold value. Maybe if I concentrate on this truth rather than wallowing in negative, untrue and judgmental thoughts I will not become angry, depressed, sick or suicidal. It is important IMO not to allow the issue to dominate us. If someone chooses to die we can not but accept that decision with love and respect, and move forward with our lives.
I wonder if there is a certain falseness when someone chooses not to identify themselves; when they ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 24, 2019:
I think using your real name lends a certain degree of credibility to your words, however I can understand why a person would chose to use an alias while on line. In my case I just don’t give a damn what anybody thinks about what I write. If they want to travel here and pester me or kill me I’ll deal with it at that time—or not. What about all the well known authors, professors, actors, etc. They seem to cope with public exposure.
Do scientific and religious explanations necessarily contradict each other?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 24, 2019:
IMO deeply religious people love science, and they readily incorporate the findings of science into their body of awareness. Their religion was never based on belief in the first place, rather it was a practice and a state of reverence and awe. Quibbling over who believes or disbelieves this or that—yuck!
Scientists starting to study God?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 24, 2019:
Wow, John Hopkins. Maybe wu is real after all. I’ve never had a life-altering experience such as those described in the article but I have no doubt at all about their reality. Thanks for the link.
Will religion vanish in future?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 24, 2019:
Religion serves an important purpose to humanity. Traditional religions have become stale and dogmatic and are in decline, but more advanced religions are already on the scene.
Are positive illusions a necessary condition for being happy?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 24, 2019:
Our reality is one big illusion IMO. Whether or not it is a happy illusion depends entirely on your habits of thought. A person can choose happiness as easily as flipping a switch. Life is inherently joyful, but by constantly dwelling on untrue, negative or judgmental thoughts a smokescreen can be created which obscures joy. Maintaining that smokescreen requires a lot of hard work, but being happy requires nothing. We have this amazing gift of life, unbelievably valuable. Underlying reality might be a deep and dark mystery but it is a dazzling darkness, full of promise and hope.
Isn’t it wonderful that the world is getting better at last. You can’t argue with Pinker’s ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 23, 2019:
Perfect! Optimism is the most rational state of mind. We can deal with whatever the future brings.
What is the difference between "makers" and "takers" in the economy?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 23, 2019:
Things are valued differently in different places and times by different people. That’s the whole rationale behind trading. Trading is beneficial to both sides. If I buy a truckload of watermelons in South Georgia in late summer when watermelons are near worthless and haul them to NYC where they are highly valued, I am providing a benefit to people, myself included, just by moving around existing resources and outputs.
Today is Shakespeare's birthday, may his works be long remembered as doing so has given him the ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 23, 2019:
Political leaders are the ones whose names are most likely to be recorded or even enshrined.
New York removes J. Marion Sims statue of surgeon who experimented on enslaved women - Vox
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 23, 2019:
Never again? I just read the Wikipedia article on Sims. There’s a lot more to this story than is being aired. There are two sides, or many sides. Sims contributed a lot to the health of women, and has been honored repeatedly for his work. Why did Sims operate on slave women? It was because Sims specialized in working with slave women. Seventy five percent of the population of Montgomery were slaves. Sims started the world’s first women’s hospital in Montgomery. The women were desperately in need of curing, and they were literally begging for the operations. Why didn’t Sims use anesthesia? Anesthesia was in its infancy. Having just been introduced, it was not in widespread use. If you are going to condemn Sims for not using anesthesia you will have to condemn surgeons all over the world from that era. Leave it to the left-wing news media to put an evil, racist slant on every situation they encounter.
What's your opinion on the burning of the Notre Dame? I believe there's more important things to ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 23, 2019:
I will not be donating. If others want to donate that’s alright with me. It’s their right.
Hadiths are the main sources of conflicts and extremism in Islam. There are many instructions in the...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 20, 2019:
I hope to see more posts from you sir.
It has been said by fururists that within less than 30 to 50 years. Science will have advanced to ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 20, 2019:
We already are immortal in one sense, but not in the way most people envision. Our sense of self as an individual in a body is just illusion IMO. It is an illusion that depends, among other things, on memory. Lose your memory and you start over as a new personality. Most of the memories of today will have no application in a thousand years, and would be a hindrance. We are constantly changing—my personal self is not the same as it was when I was young, but my core being of conscious awareness is the very same thing, and the same thing as yours, immortal by default. In my short novel, “The Staggering Implications of the Mystery of Existence”, available in the Kindle Store, I explore this very subject.
Interesting article about the possible Buddhist roots of David Hume's philosophy. [getpocket.com]
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 19, 2019:
Very interesting! I am downloading the app for finding and reading such stories. Thanks.
Human morality has acquired two faces. On one side there is the friendly face directed inward ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 19, 2019:
While it seems incongruous, I can see the benefit to mankind for that type of split morality in terms of survival. Surely a well-knit, spirited group would have a better chance of survival than a fragmented, unhappy group. Competition between groups is just a natural and healthy aspect of our natural environment, serving various survival roles. Competition seems to be an integral part of life. For that reason a soldier’s morality is a valuable thing to possess IMO. I don’t see morality in absolute terms. What is moral in some situations might be immoral in others. Being kind to strangers seems reasonable up to a point, but being a bit wary or even fearful is totally understandable also. With familiarity strangers might become friends, but in some cases they might prove to be dire threats. Our true and higher essences are united, but on the bodily level the law of the jungle prevails, and for good reasons.
Is there any way that religion can be proved to be man made?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 19, 2019:
The religious impulse is deeply embedded in the human psyche and is the source of all human creativity, science, art, etc. Individual religions were concocted by people for various reasons, some more benevolent than others, but those religions could not have been created without innate human religiosity. For evidence look at the widespread proliferation of religion throughout history. Proofs are not absolute things. Each person has to look at the evidence and form her own opinion. Anything made by humans is man-made but mankind itself is a product of nature or whatever you want to call it—higher power, etc.
Two More of Bob Dutko's Proofs for God's Existence Refuted. Bob Dutko's Third and Fourth Proof ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 18, 2019:
While I am in agreement with much of your post, the last paragraph presents a problem. <<As to the burden of proof, the proof of any pudding lies with the person or agency or institution that claims something is so, as in God exists. There is no burden of proof on anyone claiming that something is not so. In fact it is impossible to prove the negative.>> I am withholding belief in the existence of “burdens of proof(s)” I see ZERO evidence for burdens of proof. One person can not prove anything to another person in the first place. The only burden, if there is one, is for each interested person to examine all the available evidence with an open mind. Through internal cogitation it is possible that an emotional sense of accordance or discordance might arise. That emotion is the business only of the individual and need not be justified to anyone else. I can make assertions all day long and there is no requirement for me to argue for those assertions. If there is a burden it is on the other person to analyze the evidence and form their own opinions. The concept of proof does have meaning, but only within the context of logical systems such as in mathematics. Even there, every logical system is based on unproven assumptions, and there will always be meaningful assertions within a logical system that can be neither proven nor disproven. And even in mathematics, acceptance of an assertion is not mechanistic but psychological. So far as the impossibility of proving a negative assertion, that idea is nothing but myth. Mathematicians prove negative assertions all the time, and in fact, assertions can be couched in either negative or positive language at will. I agree on one point—the origin of life is a mystery. To say that God did it is to say nothing at all. Unless you can define and understand God it would be better and more honest to just say “I don’t know”. Science as I read it says that time is an illusion, Therefore if we are arguing about the origins of things we are spinning wheels. If the concept of causality is sham our entire comfortable world view is shattered, or it should be for any honest and courageous person.
Just curious. Did anyone else get pissed out when they became conscious and realize all the bullshit...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 17, 2019:
A certain amount of anger might be necessary for a while to keep from being sucked back into religious dogma. Eventually the anger fades into the background as it is not needed.
How absurd. To spend millions renovating the cathedral in Paris while some people and animals are ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 17, 2019:
Money is just an accounting system. Allocation of resources of labor and materials needed to repair the cathedral will not have much effect on agricultural production. There might be a slight effect on housing and building construction, but the cathedral will be enjoyed by billions of people over the years, making the allocation seem reasonable.
An excellent article that I thought I would post here about the relationship and necessity of both ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 17, 2019:
Great article. I especially like the next to last paragraph, about yin and yang. Our perception creates the opposites of order and disorder. Thinking in terms of opposites helps us organize information and stay alive, but from a higher perspective everything is orderly, just complex and uncontrollable maybe because of our limited perspective. We would like for our environment to be predictable, understandable and controllable for practical purposes, but our spirits love to sometimes bathe in the chaotic, the unknowable, the mysterious, the unexpected. Just as a joke can delight us to the point of laughter, a startling work of art can deliver us from the humdrum of order into the joy of a higher reality.
People Still Don't Get the Link between Meat Consumption and Climate Change - Scientific American ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 17, 2019:
That’s a lot of words telling us that we “don’t get it” and no words at all supporting the claim. I am not persuaded. https://skepticalscience.com/animal-agriculture-meat-global-warming.htm I do agree that smaller meat portions are healthier, especially of beef. I eat very little beef.
Challenging the view of science as a religion I have angered a few theists in the past. ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Many religious people do not “believe” in creationism. They are aware of the fact that the concept of creation is a shallow human mental construct and that the nature of ultimate reality is far, far over our heads. Deeply religious people don’t believe anything—they are just in awe. Arguing about God is a futile, immature activity, founded on ignorance and ego.
Alan Watts - How To Wake Up [m.youtube.com]
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Great video! Thanks.
“Just as we can’t assert that one medicine is best for everyone, because what is required will ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Astute spiritual leaders promote harmony, cooperation and unity among all people. It’s not necessarily that they are trying to accomplish good, but rather it is because of their awareness that we actually are a single entity as viewed from a higher perspective. It is logical and rational to love your neighbor and to respect his path. Many of those paths are secular in nature. I consider Dr. Maxie Maultsby Jr. to have been as effective as any spiritual leader in his psychological counseling methods.
Don't you think it is wondering and disappointing that more than 50 % of the world population ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 15, 2019:
It’s apples and oranges. The comparison should not even be made in the first place. Of course that supposes that we do not read ancient scriptures as literal truth—something to be believed. Yet there are beautiful and valuable things written in scriptures. My favorites are the Upanishads. Niels Bohr: “I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won't get us very far.”
Did Jesus of Nazareth exist?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 15, 2019:
If Jesus said what he is reported to have said, my opinion is that he was a pretty smart and tough guy. I am in agreement with a lot of his teachings. We disagree on several issues however. That business of borrowing a donkey without permission so that ancient prophecy could be fulfilled—now that was out-and-out fraud. If I had done such a thing I think I’d have kept it secret.
Just say’n 🤪😱🤣
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 15, 2019:
Might as well go with the flow. The best thing to do if it’s raining is to let it rain.
The Pretty Reckless - Going To Hell, Heaven Knows Theistic Satanism, Angry Agnosticism, or... - ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 15, 2019:
//Furthermore, she is not an atheist as she said that “she knows nothing but at the same time she doesn't have believe on anything.” [celebinvestigator.com]// She says just what I say. We know nothing and we see no reason to believe or disbelieve. That statement does not reflect apathy however IMO. Reality in its ultimate sense is almost totally mysterious, cloaked in darkness. It is however a very dazzling darkness with staggering implications.
Found this to be an interesting article that I thought might fit here. Nobel-Winning Physicist ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 14, 2019:
Very interesting. I’m trying to think of how best to read “psyche”. Could it be “self”—subjective reality as opposed to objective?
I assume that you are not interested in communicating with me, I know of no Christians who can; the ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 14, 2019:
Science can go only so far in helping us understand reality. With respect to ultimate reality the findings of science are superficial and limited. Mankind engages in religion, spirituality, metaphysics, philosophy, and speculation. All of these are noble, worthwhile endeavors as long as they don’t make false claims or require belief in dogma. It is exciting and invigorating to flirt with ideas on the edge of the unknown.
Conscience is just thinly veiled self-interest.... Take cannibalism for instance... You don't want ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 13, 2019:
Guilt is a knee-jerk fear that you will be punished. Fear is brought on by irrational and untrue thoughts. It is in our self-interest to think true thoughts only, and our actions should be guided by the light of awareness.
Are human rights universal or linked to a particular culture? -
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 13, 2019:
I think we have certain rights only because we declare that we have those rights, and if we don’t constantly defend our rights those rights will disappear. Different cultures have different values, and hence different rights—and different ideas about morality also. But our desire to have those rights has come down to us through a long evolutionary process, and in that sense our rights have been bequeathed to us by nature. For example, I had a dog that expressed his wish to run freely in the yard. That wish is perfectly understandable in that his ancestors were free to roam with their packs. His nature was to be free. If I had curtailed his right to roam freely he might still be alive. It is a sensitive subject and a case where conscious awareness has the ability to step in and overrule evolutionary instinctive behavior. Our rights are not absolute but are subject to regulation and modification.
Arguments about God? 1) When it comes down to providing arguments for the existence of God, I ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 12, 2019:
“Excuse me, but if you propose the existence of something, anything, then the burden is on you to provide at the minimum some evidence even if you can't provide proof.” And what is to happen to the person who refuses to bear this burden that you propose? There’s not much you can do to them, is there? In fact, there is no burden at all. Each person must look at the available evidence, and through contemplation and analysis it is possible that intuitions and insights might arise spontaneously within their person. It’s really no one else’s business.
Why God, why?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 12, 2019:
Better IMO to look with optimism and joy on the gift of existence as a consciously aware being. Stewing in conflicts brought on by illogical church dogma leads nowhere. Cast a sidelong glance and move on.
I just read another piece in which the author warns his readers about the "dangers" of Supreme Court...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 12, 2019:
Of course if we are reading a Shakespeare sonnet we are going to read between the lines and we are going to allow an emotional interpretation. That is different than interpreting a statute precisely crafted by lawyers. In interpreting legal language a certain degree of freedom might be necessary but the general rule is to go by what was written down, not by what someone wishes had been written, or by what someone thinks was the psychological state of mind of the lawmakers. What judges do is iron out conflicting laws, analyzing the meanings of various laws that affect the case in question. That undertaking is not a precise science but depends on judgment, which might be arbitrary or influenced by personal emotions. Despite the imprecise nature of human language, the role of courts should be to interpret existing laws—the laws enacted by our duly elected representatives. What raises alarm in my mind is when a zealous group of social reformers attempt to use the court system to have their will imposed on the public. The correct place to decide law is in the legislature, not in the courts.
Please support FFRF. it is making this world a better place by tirelessly kicking these sick and ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 11, 2019:
Trump seems to be somewhat secular, stating that he fixes his own mistakes without involving God. What Trump is is a wily politician who knows how to garner votes. I have pointed out several times that Hillary Clinton is an avowed Evangelical Christian, yet no one on this forum has ever responded. Hypocrisy and scapegoating are involved IMO.
Non believers, make your voice heard, one voice leads to millions together, it will make a ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 11, 2019:
My children and grandchildren will set their own courses, but I hope they don’t allow themselves to be ruled by either religious fanatics or fanatical atheists.
Yuval Noah Harari: What explains the rise of humans? | TED Talk
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 10, 2019:
It’s a great video which offers pertinent insights about humanity. I enjoyed the humor also. I wonder if the word “fiction” is the correct word to use in connection with mass human cooperation. Take money for example. It is true that a dollar bill has no intrinsic value, but that misses the point of money. The monetary system as a whole is an accounting system that greatly facilitates trading. Trading is not a fiction. The borders of a nation are sort of a fiction in that they exist as mind-stuff, but the nation itself is not fiction. A nation is the people who live there. It is through cooperation that those people organize themselves into a nation. Cooperation precedes the fiction. We think up labels or symbols for things like countries, corporations, religions because it’s more efficient for communication. The tail of labels does not wag the dog of substance.
There’s hope in Scandinavia as Norway turns its back on oil! [google.com.au]
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 9, 2019:
Norway holds a massive public fund, invested in securities around the world. Norway can afford to turn its back on arctic oil.
Diversity -what we need more of these days. Agree/Disagree?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 9, 2019:
I’m slightly too old to be a hippie but I joined your group temporarily just so I could give my opinion on this one post. What we need more of is the insight that diversity is skin deep and that at heart we are one. What we need is unity.
Procrastination !!. I am one of the worlds worst procrastinators, or should that be best ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 9, 2019:
There are natural reasons for laziness and procrastination. I don’t think we should be hard on ourselves if we feel like lounging around. It is entirely understandable that a person all alone would falter in anything requiring commitment. For example, I thought I should learn Spanish, but without group support that undertaking soon fell by the wayside. Joining an ashram is not practical for most people, but there is another option. Apps can be downloaded that guide your meditation and remind you every day. I am currently using Headspace, which is very beneficial in keeping me on track. I plan to use Headspace for one year only. It is sort of expensive and after a year I should be well established in the practice of meditation.
Worshipping God or the sun, what's the difference?
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 8, 2019:
The sun might “exist” but the concept of existence is vague and fraught with confusion. According to modern physics particles of matter are not things, rather they are interactions between covariant quantum fields. Our comfortable everyday reality is nothing but illusion, symbolic of ultimate reality which lies beyond our grasp. Ultimate Reality is not supernatural—it is the essence of nature, and is worthy of the utmost worship, awe and appreciation, regardless of what label you give it.
Spiritual Atheism - The Center for Spiritual Atheism (link) and Agnosticism and Apatheism and......
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 6, 2019:
To me being spiritual means having deep awareness, awe and appreciation for the beauty and mystery of existence. You are correct—science backs up spirituality in many ways, and the most creative scientists have been deeply spiritual. Spirituality is, in fact, the impetus for science, art, religion, and all areas of human creativity. You seem to be a likely person with whom to share this link. Some very deep insights come forth, insights that mirror much of my own thinking, and some startling and exciting ideas that go beyond. An intriguing YouTube video that mirrors and expands my thinking: https://youtu.be/lG3UiiceeMc On second thought, maybe you were the one who recommended that video to ME.
There's so much CO2 in the atmosphere that planting trees can no longer save us ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 6, 2019:
The article is based on misconceptions. Plants take CO2 out of the atmosphere, and along with hydrogen and water and light they manufacture food for their own use, some of which is consumed by other organisms. When that food is consumed, every last molecule of the carbon that was made returns to the atmosphere as CO2. A growing tree stores carbon in its trunk, but at some point that tree dies and is consumed, or else it is burned in a forest fire. Either way there is no net gain in oxygen. Some people envision great clouds of oxygen wafting up from rainforests but it isn’t happening. A mature forest is in equilibrium, consuming the exact amount of oxygen as is split off through photosynthesis. I understand that there are plants in the ocean that die and sink to the sea floor and are preserved for eons. Maybe that’s our salvation. Do not be surprised when new ways of making energy become available—ways that do not depend on fossil fuel. I think we are very near.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 5, 2019:
Wu wei: going with the flow. Woo is real.
Think of your favorite movie star, now lets suppose, you were at a nightclub, and he/she were there....
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 5, 2019:
No, my performance would be abysmal and I have better use for $500.
For a lot of folks today, their "identity" is the most important anchor in this confusing, messy ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 5, 2019:
I feel left out. I can’t think of an identity for myself. Well, I’m sort of an ethnic Cracker but not a very good one. I know! I’ll be a member of the class of confused, bewildered people who have no identity other than as conscious beings! I’ve already been trying hard to promote myself in that way on this forum. That’s it!
I am just curious, how many people are getting rid of their TV provider or Satellite or cable or ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 4, 2019:
I have never owned a TV and plan to never own one.
Society is divided on precisely those facts that are morally relevant because they concern the six ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 4, 2019:
I might be reading this wrongly. I don’t know anything about the Hidden Tribes study, but loyalty is only one of those basic moral principles. It is not surprising to me that conservatives are less influenced by peer pressure. Conservatives tend to be individualistic, thinking of what’s best long-term—willing to sacrifice immediate gain for future well-being. In order to advocate for their positions they almost have to be bold and blunt because they inevitably are met with wails of protest by more sentimental “progressives”. The left-leaning folks tend to view their positions as morally and intellectually superior, and yes, they vie to present themselves as extremely moral and superior, fighting amongst themselves for the honor of having the biggest ego. Of course morality is important, but true morality arises spontaneously and is not a tool for political gain. Those six basic principles of morality—they give food for thought. We all want freedom, care for each other, loyalty, etc, but we disagree as to how those things are best achieved.
I will be satisfied if my epitaph shall be written thus: "Here lies one who never rose to any ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 4, 2019:
Does it really say “striven”? Shouldn’t it be “strove”? A rather self-righteous sort of guy don’t you think? He with the ugly frown fought hard to have the evil southerners executed, stripped of their homes, disenfranchised, or driven out of the country.
I don't know the answer to this riddle. Can someone tell me? Ugh! Help me!!!!!???
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 4, 2019:
A couple was taking a bus up a mountain to a ski resort. They decided to get off a mile below the resort and walk the rest of the way. After they got off, as the bus was pulling away a large boulder came down and smashed into the bus, killing everyone on board. The man and wife looked at each other sadly, saying they wished they had stayed on the bus. Why would they say such a thing?
I don't know the answer to this riddle. Can someone tell me? Ugh! Help me!!!!!???
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 4, 2019:
My daughter’s mother is my wife. Teresa’s daughter is my wife. Teresa is my mother-in-law.
Michael Tomasello (in his excellent book "Becoming human".) describes the unique human capacity of ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 4, 2019:
What comes to mind are team sports, something uniquely human so far as I know. But don’t forget that we are bettered in social cooperation by ants and bees. It would vary, depending on the environment, but maybe there is an optimal degree of cooperation, and too much of it has a negative effect. Marching in lock step is boring and stifles creativity, but the ability to do that is valuable in time of war or disaster.
(Gnostic) Atheism and the Burden of Proof - Richard Playford As in sciences, virtually all ...
WilliamFleming comments on Apr 1, 2019:
It seems to me that with regard to the existence of God the most rational choices are either to lean toward atheism, to lean toward theism, or to be undecided. Those choices are nothing but personal value judgments or emotions and are of little importance except for those who like conflict. The question of God’s existence can not be definitely decided. No one can define or understand God, so to divide up into opposing camps and fight over the issue is nothing but blind stupidity, arrogance, ignorance, or some combination thereof. The meaning of existence can not be understood by humans—to go on about the existence of God is nothing but a farce. There are various concepts that can be given the god label, and some of them probably have a modicum of truth, but what of it? The correct state of mind for us humans is one of confusion and bewilderment IMO. Having said all this, it is important to not allow authoritarian religious organizations to dominate society. That is a different issue altogether.
I've seen through the light It's made by man And inspired by nature
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 31, 2019:
Great picture!
The reason why capitalism is evil is because capitalism allows people to amass wealth far beyond ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 31, 2019:
Wealthy people have more money because they create real wealth and provide needed goods and services. The portfolios of well-off people do not cause poor people to be poor. Beyond a few basic needs, poverty is a state of mind—a value judgment and a matter of perception. There is a limited role for government—I like the Norway model.
The Happiness Trap: Why You’re Never Satisfied and How to Break the Cycle
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 31, 2019:
It’s a great article and it resonates with me on many levels. As I was told once, you can not find happiness by searching for happiness. But through mindful awareness of each passing moment, a perpetual state of joy is inevitable. Sensual pleasure and pain come and go, and you can’t feel one without having the other for comparison. On the other hand, deep joy is the default state. You have to work hard to screen that joy. Maintain a smokescreen of untrue or negative, judgmental thoughts and you might hide from joy, but it takes effort. Thanks mordant, for that valuable link.
Creeped Out?
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 29, 2019:
While evolution might or might not have been totally mindless, we of today are not totally mindless. We can overcome our phobias or creepy feelings. For example, many of us have a dread of corpses, yet there are professionals who are totally comfortable while working with the dead. You make a good point—we should not feel guilty because of our fears. There are reasons why we have those fears. But by shining the light of conscious awareness on our feelings perhaps we can allow those feelings to slip away before we do something illegal. In the same vein, it seems irrational to yell and scream about evil racists, homophobes, etc. Demonization and condemnation will not make them change. There is a minimum standard of conduct for society—fail to meet that standard and the legal system swings into action, but individuals should not go on the attack—to do so is more of the same. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
Christian or Nothing: Buddhist Prisoner to be Executed Without Buddhist Chaplain - Rewire.News - ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 29, 2019:
Why does it matter? The chaplain is nothing but an official witness, required by law. Others may be present as well. And prisoners have access to the counselor of their choice right up to the final walk. It’s a non-issue, designed to stall for time.
If we get to know everything there is.....what then?
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 29, 2019:
We know nothing except superficially.
Banksy back on display! Just in time for Brexit. [google.com.au]
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 29, 2019:
Devolution is the wave of the future. We are already well underway with devolution here in the US, especially in politics. Prepare for a world of one-celled organisms.
I sometimes wonder how much more elevated my consciousness might be if I didn’t need to waste a ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 29, 2019:
How big a chunk of your intellectual life have you spent exploring the superstitious belief that reality consists of matter moving through space and time—that the everyday world of our perceptions is IT and there is no more? The superstition of scientism is very very prevalent.
I know there are lots of variables, but what should it cost for a single person to eat for a month ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 28, 2019:
Depends on if they have a garden and how many possums they eat. Depends also on whether they want to barely stay alive or if they want to be plump. I think I could stay healthy on $80/month if I had to, and that would be strictly store food.
I have a serious quesion. I am curious if anyone else agrees with my answer. Regardless of how we ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 27, 2019:
My response is that things aren’t the way they seem. Your sense of self as a separate person in a body is nothing but illusion. “You” are actually much more. “You” are “We”. Consciousness is what it’s about, and consciousness is a pervasive presence. Our bodies are dumb robots. Your question is ill-founded. I’ve said this before and have been met with howls of protest. So it goes.
The subconscious.
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 27, 2019:
I see no pattern, but am reminded of a dream I had two nights ago. I was visiting a large waterfront structure. A whale had come to a lower part of the building to be milked. I spoke with her and had a very intelligent conversation. She told me something of the migration route of her group. Later I expressed amazement to someone that the whale was so fluent in English. I was told there was some sort of interface that translated her thoughts. Watch the news for whale communication developments. :-)
I believe I'm not the only one to love that old time country music with the likes od Earnest Tubb, ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 27, 2019:
Count me in, I especially like ol’ Hank. Bluegrass is nice for awhile. What I really like best is classical, especially Chopin.
A new study suggests that the formation of complex societies came first and that the beliefs in such...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 27, 2019:
This is interesting. Consider that the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe were originally not complex societies and yet they had Woden, Thor, et. al. And at the same time, the Roman Empire was flourishing and they had their own parallel constellation of gods and goddesses. Apparently no “Big God” was needed for the formation of a complex society in that case. Then there was early Greek civilization where there was no “Big God”. Maybe it’s the other way around. Complex societies arise first, and later their religions evolve into something more sophisticated, enabled by specialization and the economy of scale. Perhaps with the continuing advancement of societies that we see today, ever more sophisticated religions are being developed. I’m thinking of New Thought religions and the proliferation of spirituality.
there may come a day where I'm standing by a small fire in a prison camp for liberals singing a ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I was thinking that Attu would be a great place for a prison camp. Please note however that there’s little or no firewood there.
Age & Belief I am curious to know if belief in a god changes as we age and get closer to death. I...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I can’t speak for others, but I am 76 and I’m saying the same things about religion now as I was saying at 26. For me though it’s not about belief or disbelief. I am awestruck with the mystery of reality. Belief and disbelief seem inappropriate.
On a philosophical level i was very disappointed at the response i got from my post on the teachers ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
On a basic level I agree with you, however Matias is a guy I greatly admire. Please don’t associate him with the Holocaust. We need his input IMO.
Greetings! I just joined this community and would like to introduce myself by inviting you all to ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
Welcome!
A couple of believers have lately joined and ask questions like “Why don’t people believe in ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I see the guy’s post was taken down. Was it just me or did his English seem foreign, as though he is not who he says?
Hardest part of not believing in God is living in the south. I'd say that 9 out 10 people I meet at ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
I live in the South, and I agree that there are a lot of church folks, however, most of my immediate circle of friends are not religious. I don’t pay any attention to religious people—they’re everywhere, not just in the South. Maybe since I’m sort of an old fart they don’t want to tangle with me, while they see you as low hanging fruit. My advice is to stick to your guns and be honest and open about your views. People might disagree but they’ll respect your courage and honesty.
Cop out: "Spiritual But Not Religious" [google.com] Agree or disagree?
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 26, 2019:
Disagree! The cop out is to cling to dogmatic church dogma or to the dogmatic tenets of scientism. To be spiritual is to be deeply aware of the magnificence, mystery and beauty of reality and the inexplicable enigma of consciousness. From the article: “The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.” There is no trouble. Spiritual people are honest and courageous enough to realize that positive expositions of belief are nothing but hot air. NO ONE understands ultimate reality.
Scientists rise up against statistical significance
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 25, 2019:
Very interesting—thanks.
Nobel-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on Science, Spirit, and Our Search for Meaning – Brain ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 25, 2019:
Very interesting. Thanks.
Man Eats Raw Pigs Head. Bloody hell, extreme way to make a point or what? [google.com.au]
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 25, 2019:
I thought raw pork was supposed to be dangerous because of trichinosis. I wouldn’t do it. Brits eat some strange things.
Hi my fellow freethinkers what do you think is the meaning of life? To me, The meaning of life is ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 25, 2019:
It means something, and that something is absolutely staggering in its value. The life of an individual organism is of little importance, but as a whole we are vastly important.
Sometimes realizing that I've wasted a big portion of my life depresses me and puts me in a low ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 24, 2019:
All of us are in the same boat, mucking along and doing what seems right as we go along. Your time was not wasted. Every second of conscious awareness is a miracle beyond all miracles. Forget the past.
Something got me upset a few days ago which i suppose contributed to my uncalled for rant against ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 24, 2019:
No, it’s not you who are deluded.
I was working in Pecos Tx., a few weeks ago, I'd bought a gun pouch before I left, it holds My ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 24, 2019:
I wear a string wallet like a purse because it’s handy and practical and holds my iPhone, checkbook, etc. If anybody teases me I say that I’ve decided to change into a woman. I’m told that I have some work to do in that regard.
If we realize our human life will provide great potential.
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 24, 2019:
I feel fortunate.
People Are Becoming Increasingly Skeptical of Science, Report Finds [fortune.com]
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 23, 2019:
There’s science, which is mankind’s way of learning about nature, and it is based on deep awareness, curiosity and awe. A scientist imbued with the spirit of science pounces on new evidence with greed, and leaves no stone unturned in his never-ceasing quest for knowledge and understanding. Then there’s the scientific establishment where people are motivated to establish their tenure or win grant money. Their reputation might depend on a religious-like support for current scientific paradigms.They engage in studies to fulfill their university obligations. It’s “publish or perish” or something like that. It’s no surprise that large numbers of scientific reports are flawed, and it’s no surprise that the public has grown wary.
The Physics and Philosophy of Time - with Carlo Rovelli - YouTube
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 23, 2019:
Thanks for posting this zblaze. I’m a great fan of Rovelli.
Being Agnostic and/or Apatheist is NOT a Weak Position I care to differ with anyone who'd say an ...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 23, 2019:
I really like your point about the “burden of proof”. This bit of legalese should be expelled from usage because there is no burden of proof. The only burden, if there is one, is for each person to look at all the evidence with an open mind. If they do so it is possible that insights or understanding might arise within themselves. Nobody ever really proves anything to another person.
[theguardian.com] We need to end Capitalism...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 23, 2019:
Just fear mongering IMO. Capitalism is basically nothing but trading. For those fearful of CO2 caused climate change you can rest easy. A radical new energy source is now available, and it will soon be spread world-wide through trading, or capitalism if you prefer.
Can Crows recognize faces?
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 23, 2019:
In my experience crows not only recognize people, they can read your mind, and I’m not kidding.
What do you do when religious people knock?
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 22, 2019:
I used to argue and become angry and suffer for hours or days. I’ve learned better tactics in my old age—I just smile and take their tracts and say as little as possible. If I have to respond I just say no thanks, that I’m not interested. Part of it might be that younger people are not so likely to take on an older person. If you live long enough you get status in some ways.
Did Jesus Christ commit sins? That depends on what counts as a sin, so I've used various criteria. I...
WilliamFleming comments on Mar 22, 2019:
I don’t usually participate in such discussions because I’m not interested and don’t see why it matters anyway. Still, there’s one little thing in the Bible that arouses my interest. Wasn’t Jesus said to have sent ahead for an ass to be “borrowed” without permission so that he could ride into Jerusalem upon such conveyance, thereby fulfilling prophecy? I personally don’t believe in sin, however that episode seems rather unethical if not illegal. Not that it matters at this late date.

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Skeptic, Freethinker, Spiritual
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