Meditation: Reduce Stress and Pain, Trigger Genetic Changes, and More

myatheistlife:

The power of the mind is something science is only beginning to understand. Perhaps the best overall health advice is the simplest: slow down and sit in silence daily.

Originally posted on Tales from the Conspiratum:

Meditation: Reduce Stress and Pain, Trigger Genetic Changes, More : Natural Society .

ljf

http://naturalsociety.com

byElizabeth Renter
April 15th, 2014

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know of a way to help you relax after a long day, reduce your stress and chronic pain, help you focus better on what really matters in your life, and improve your health overall? While Big Pharma is working on that pill, there is a solution that is free and offers no side effects; it’s meditation.

A recent survey of 23,000 households in the U.S. found that about 38 percent of individuals use complementary and alternative medicine, and many of these people use meditation. The popularity of meditation is growing, and even doctors are getting in on the move—prescribing meditation to people who suffer from pain, stress, high blood pressure, and more.

The benefits of meditation have to be experienced first-hand to be fully…

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Let’s Do This

CARM has questions

It looks like research and that leads to education, so I’m in… I don’t have any thought provoking introduction. Education is always the answer, well, it is if the question is not ‘does that saber tooth tiger’s tonsils look inflamed to you?’

ED: It turns out that the questions were not as interesting as I had first thought them to be. Several seemed rather silly.

 

  1. How would you define atheism?
    The lack of belief in gods or the supernatural
  2. Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?
    There is no god to believe in so there is no reason to act with reference to that, god’s don’t enter into how I live just like the easter bunny and tooth fairy.
  3. Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist
    No, acting against harmful and dangerous ideas is not inconsistent with lack of belief in gods.
  4. How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
    As sure as the evidence will allow me to be. As sure as the lack of a god’s presence warrants. Where I am infinitely more certain that there are no gods than I am certain it’s possible for a god to exist.
  5. How sure are you that your atheism is correct?
    As certain as the facts will allow one to be. There has never been credible evidence for the existence of a god. Atheism is the right position in light of that lack of evidence.
  6. How would you define what truth is?
    That which is not shown to be false and which has high probability of being true. That said, true has several meanings. People want to give the value ‘truth’ metaphysical meaning but there is no such thing. Newtonian physics was truth until it wasn’t. It still is truth but not for all situations.
  7. Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?
    Because there has never been credible evidence for the existence of any god.
  8. Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?
    materialism
    As a theory, materialism is a form of physicalism and belongs to the class of monist ontology. As such, it is different from ontological theories based on dualism or pluralism. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to idealism, neutral monism and spiritualism.

    Monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance
    I am a monist, atheist, anti-theist, existential nihilist, mechanical atheist and so on

  9. Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview?  Why or why not?
    Atheism is not a world view. It is a single point view – relating only to the existence of gods and the supernatural
  10. Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?
    Christianity and Abrahamic monotheism is caustic to society, it is dangerous and deluded. It seeks to harm those that will not submit and assimilate.
  11. If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?
    The utter lack of evidence, starting with the way that believers act, then onto the ridiculousness of the bible and doctrine, then to how it is claimed that god intercedes – strictly through nature. Starting in Genesis we have a string of stories that are without evidence and completely unbelievable on the face of them.
  12. Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?
    Yes, see number 10
  13. Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?
    Yes, see numbers 10 and 12
  14. Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?
    I may not be qualified to diagnose a mental disorder, but if mental disorders are the temporary or permanent incapacity to think critically and interact in nominal ways with society without causing harm, then yes, it is a mental disorder.
  15. Must God be known through the scientific method?
    If a thing cannot be known via the scientific method, it cannot be known. Otherwise Christians would have to admit that Vishnu is real, the FSM exists, and so on. Christians would not accept on faith alone the existence of other non corporal beings.
  16. If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?
    If the god can interact and intercede in the physical world it can be physically verified. This is not a category mistake. If a god cannot interact with the physical world why pray to it?
  17. Do we have any purpose as human beings?
    Yes: eat, breathe, drink, procreate, sleep, repeat … any order you prefer
  18. If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
    This purpose is found in all living things. It is minimal for survival of a species.
  19. Where does morality come from?
    Morality is always subjective, it comes from our own intuition and experience.
  20. Are there moral absolutes?
    Absolutely not.
  21. If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
    See number 20.
  22. Do you believe there is such a thing as evil?  If so, what is it?
    A really good plot point. The ‘evil’ would be an absolute… evil does not exist.
  23. If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
    The same standard by which I judge everything: my own internal ethics… just as you and all believers do.
  24. What would it take for you to believe in God?
    I have a couple of posts on that. Consider what it would take for you to believe that Zeus and Thor are real? That might work for me in the case of your god.
  25. What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
    If the evidence were to convert all non-believers and all other religion believers unequivocally — that should do it.
  26. Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?
    No, YHWH can come on down to the mall on Friday night and start his campaign there. If it’s not enough to convert Muslims on the spot I’m probably not going to buy it.
  27. Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer?  Why?
    Safer for who? The answer is that theists by definition will curtail the liberties of others. It is not the safer options.
  28. Do you believe in free will?  (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion).
    Yes. I’ve written quite a bit about it
  29. If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
    I have no problem defending the brain being the source of mind and free will.
  30. If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time?  If not, why not?
    No, see number 29. Universe expansion does not mean brains will expand. There are limits to how much brain matter the body can support. There is no dieties… brains are not going to become deities.
  31. If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?
    I did not, and no it is not probable that some sort of god exists.

 

Why would God “create” us to begin with?

myatheistlife:

This is an interesting take on it… and making the point about what we can choose to believe or not believe.

Originally posted on The Iranian Atheist:

If god is all knowing then surely he knows that many people will not believe in him and he will send those people to hell, but why? Why would someone do that? Purposely create humans and then punish us for not believing in him?

The Christians would likely say something to the extent of, “God gave people free will to accept Christ as their savior and if they choose not to believe, then it’s their fault.” Meanwhile, the Muslims will say something under the lines of, “Allah gave us free will, it is up to us to accept his existence and by not believing you are destined to go to hell”, and many other religions will make similar claims.

But “believing” is not really a choice. It is not as if I chose not to believe. It’s not a choice like something physical, such as choosing not to hurt people, or…

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The Bourne Connection

Amnesia (from Greek ἀμνησία from ἀ- meaning “without” and μνήμη memory) is a deficit in memory caused by brain damage, disease, or psychological trauma.[1] Amnesia can also be caused temporarily by the use of various sedatives and hypnotic drugs. Essentially, amnesia is loss of memory. The memory can be either wholly or partially lost due to the extent of damage that was caused.[2] There are two main types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is the inability to retrieve information that was acquired before a particular date, usually the date of an accident or operation.[3] In some cases the memory loss can extend back decades, while in others the person may lose only a few months of memory. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to transfer new information from the short-term store into the long-term store. People with this type of amnesia cannot remember things for long periods of time. These two types are not mutually exclusive. Both can occur within a patient at one time.

I was going to start out with something different but I can’t remember what it was … badump pa ching

 

In the Bourne Identity we find a man suffering amnesia. He cannot remember who he is and begins to rebuild or reconstruct his life with what knowledge he does retain and any new knowledge gained. He lost only personal memories of himself. So he wakes up one day and does not have a history or identity. He is, for all intents and purposes erased. A fully trained blank.

If he were able to slowly regain his memories all would be well but as we know, that is not how it works out. He remains blank until suffering another trauma. What if he had regained his memories within days of waking up? Would he have been a blank slate during that time, or simply ‘just recovering’ for a bit? What if it only took hours to regain the memories? Would he have been considered the blank slate in that time? What if it took only a few seconds to regain his memories? Would he have had amnesia?

How long does it take you every morning to regain your memories? Are you a blank during that time? Are you sure?

If you think about it, you wake up blank but with quick easy access to your memories and full body integration your brain quickly puts everything back in place… it quickly integrates both memory and current sensory data. You go from blank to yourself, identity regained in just seconds. The process is not smooth all the time. Think about experiences you’ve had waking up which were not easy or pleasant. Did you experience instant reintegration? Did it take a few minutes for every process to come back on line?

When you are not conscious, you are not you. A blank with the amazing ability to reintegrate memories and body experience. In effect, your brain reprograms itself every time you regain consciousness.

 

 

Here’s a bit from someone that might come to exactly that conclusion. It’s a bit of a read, but I recommend it. She wonders if we are but I say we are, over and over and over again. When the simulator in our heads starts running our brains reprogram themselves to be us.

Science writer Jennifer Ouellette explores the emerging science of the self, a body of research that examines not just who we are, but also…if we are.

Does Transubstantiation Work?

Apparently not

Tip number 7 (at the link above) for gluten free communion wafers:

7. Once more: contamination is the number one concern. For me, ingesting a product with gluten in it is the same a ingesting something with poison in it. Many others suffer similarly.

So, there it is. It’s bread before it gets to the church. It’s bread when they hand it to you. It’s still bread when you eat it. Not even the glory of god almighty can neutralize the dangers of gluten.

 

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, must be criticized. Don’t let Muslims stop that with their scare tactics.

myatheistlife:

Staying silent is a form of agreement!

Originally posted on The Iranian Atheist:

Wouldn’t it be nice if the punishment for apostasy and denying Islam was just that, Nothing!? But of course that is not the case, as the Quran in numerous occasions calls for the death of non-believers. If you need passages, I will gladly share them.

I criticize Islam and Muhammad, because they deserve no respect. I criticize all religions, because I care about humanity, because I care about women, because I care about homosexuals, minorities, other atheists, people Muslims refer to as infidels, people who suffer under the hands of Islam. More importantly the ones that suffer the most are the Muslims themselves. So many people who finally come to the realization that they have been brainwashed their whole lives to believe in a religion, come to me and ask me for advice, and I am helping them all, see how beautiful the world is without the superstitions and fearful…

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Islamic Fallacies

myatheistlife:

The truth can sting … a lot!

Originally posted on The Iranian Atheist:

For those of us who have lived and grown up in Muslim countries, we are told over and over again that Islam is great in every way. They claim just because there were certain scientists many centuries ago who made contributions to the advancement of science by translating the works of other people to Arabic, this is somehow an indication that Islam is great, even though their works had nothing to do with Islamic scripture. Even if they can be credited with the greatest inventions of all time, all that means is they were regular people who lived under Muslim rule, at a time when being an atheist was unthinkable! It’s not like the Quran made these contributions. However, when millions, literally millions of people, are killed, abused, and tortured in the name of Islam precisely because of passages in the Quran and the Hadith, this is somehow not representative…

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