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Old 2007-03-28, 19:25   #4
cheesehead's Avatar
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

1E0C16 Posts


I basically agree with you about the chemistry, biology and physics. A way I'd say it is that the natural universe consists of what exists other than as ideas in human minds; there are many things, beings, and forces alleged by some people to exist, but if they cannot be shown to exist in nature, they are classified as supernatural. Part of the history of science is determining which of the many things, beings, and forces claimed to exist are natural; those which cannot be scientifically shown to be natural are supernatural. (Then there is a large category of things, beings, and forces which cannot yet be, or have not yet been, classified either way.)

An important aspect of science that is hardly ever emphasized as much as I think it deserves to be is that science includes methods of avoiding self-deception (and other-deception). This is especially important when considering things which people have a strong desire to be true regardless of scientific (non-deceptive) reality, such as "life after death".

My preceding statements are unclear as to the nature of human ideas themselves. It can be shown that human thoughts/ideas correspond to measurable physical events in human brains, and thus are natural in that regard, but the referents (that which are denoted by the thoughts/ideas) do not necessarily exist in nature.

"Life after death" really needs to be further defined in detail in order to properly classify it. In what I think is the sense Mally intended it and the usual conversational sense, it is a real (natural-world) idea, or set of ideas, that refers to something that does not exist in nature.

so we all are nothing more than just a bunch of chemistry
"Nothing more" is an enormous amount indeed! And part of that enormous amount is relevant to the topic of "life after death".

In addition to the question of whether an idea corresponds to something in nature is a separate, related question of what causes many people to think that some things exist in nature even though it has been or can be scientifically determined that those things are supernatural. This is where psychology comes in, and the second question may be more important than the first.

What causes so many people to believe in "life after death"? The idea itself is real, and is extremely influential and important because people have such a strong desire for it to refer to a real phenomenon, a desire seldom affected by presence or absence of non-deceptive proof. Indeed, that desire is so strong that it can override almost any other desire in some people. To me, that is the importance of discussing "life after death".

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2007-03-28 at 19:33
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