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  1. #1171

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_P View Post
    and you have never met a smug atheist?
    Not picking up a fight, but I would like to know whom you consider a smug atheist (even among ourselves).
    Again, just curious.
    50 ways to leave your (non) lover: "I hope you understand me when I say it was torture having met you"

  2. #1172
    Slam Watcher rabbit's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    An interesting episode from Isaac Asimov's autobiography I, Asimov:

    ... the story unfolds one afternoon in 1990. Asimov was lying asleep in a private hospital room (where he was being treated for serious heart problems). His wife Janet had returned home to take care of chores, leaving Asimov alone in his locked room.

    Then something strange occurred. Asimov recalled, “I was sleeping, and a finger jabbed at me. I woke, of course, and looked blearily about to see who had awakened me and for what purpose.”

    He inspected the bright, sunlit room. It was empty. The door was locked and chained. The bathroom was empty. There was no one in the closet. It was a genuine, spine-tingling, locked room mystery, much like the ones he often wrote. His mind leapt of its own accord to a solution:
    Rationalist though I am, there was no way in which I could refrain from thinking that some supernatural influence had interfered to tell me that something had happened to Janet (naturally, my ultimate fear). I hesitated for a moment, trying to fight it off, and for anyone but Janet I would have. So I phoned her at home.

    Thankfully, his wife answered right away. She was fine.
    Relieved, I hung up the phone and settled down to consider the problem of who or what had poked me. Was it simply a sensory dream, a hallucination? Perhaps, but it had seemed absolutely real.

    Eventually he worked out what had happened: wrapped in his own arms, Asimov had managed to jab himself in the shoulder. Mystery solved.

    But suppose, he reflected, that things had gone a little differently.
    Now suppose that at the precise moment I had poked myself, Janet, through some utterly meaningless coincidence, had tripped and skinned her knee. And suppose I had called and she had groaned and said, “I just hurt myself.”

    Would I have been able to resist the thought of supernatural interference? I hope so. However, I can’t be sure. It’s the world we live in. It would corrupt the strongest, and I don’t imagine I’m the strongest.
    http://skepticblog.org/2011/06/07/yo...-poked-by-god/

    I've never had an experience yet that I haven't been able to explain in non-supernatural terms or ascribe to pure coincidence. And like Asimov, I also hope that I can continue doing so. Otherwise... I honestly don't know what I'd do. I mean you could equally imagine waking up tomorrow and finding all your life so far to have been a dream. It's possible, and it would be pretty horrific (or fantastic) were it to occur, but you sincerely expect and hope it won't based on your previous experiences of waking up.
    Last edited by rabbit; 06-13-2011 at 07:33 PM.

  3. #1173

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Isaac Asimov was a brilliant man.

    Any time someone claims to have experienced some sort of supernatural event, it is a good idea to stop and think about ALL the possible natural events that could have taken place instead.

    There is NO supernatural or paranormal activity in this world as we know it.
    Otherwise, if someone was specially gifted or new something special, I am sure they would gladly claim 1 Million dollars from James Randi foundation.

    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

    "Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd." Baruch Spinoza

  4. #1174

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    My three "paranormal" events in my life.

    1. I had a terrible dream. These demons were at the bottom of my bed. They were like polyhedrons, and oozed pure evil. They just stood there, ready to take me with them.
    The GF woke me up out of the nightmare. It was pretty intense.
    Next day, my grandma called me. She had had a terrible dream that something bad had happened to me overnight. Just wanted to know if I was fine. When I told her my dream she agreed it was very much like what she had dreamed. So kind of spooky.
    2. I was with a GF at the beach. We were all alone in this huge complex because it was low season. Somehow, I started feeling fear. terrible fear. I felt "convinced" that something really bad was going to happen, even though I "knew" this was insane. I started shaking, and found myself in the strange situation of being almost crying and "knowing" this was insane. The GF helped (you can see why I get dumped like, a lot). Next morning, we woke up to an spectacular day.
    3. On at least two occasions, shortly after my dad died, I was at my mom's place (I have the key) by myself. On those two occasions I heard my dad's voice. Again weird.
    ---

    Am I going to believe in supernatural stuff? No. A little thinking explains everything.
    1. I broke rule number 1. I TOLD MY GRANDMA, still stressed, about my dream. I planted the "scene" in her head. Although the coincidence of our dreams is strange, it is not impossible. But I primed her. The proper thing would have been to ask her to write down what she dreamed, for me to write it down too, and have somebody else compare.
    2. So? I am a diagnosed light Paranoid. So that day I went a bit deeper into my mental disorder. Now, assume something had happened that day (not even to me, but to other people). Somebody a bit more gullible would perhaps swallow that whole line and sinker.
    3. I was at my recently-diseased-father's house. How many memories do I have of him there? Too many. So am I going to believe that he was trying to contact me, or that I miss him a lot and therefore had a mild hallucination?
    Because Dad, contact me and let me know if there is really an afterlife, because I know this two guys at TAT that are going straight to hell with me!
    ----
    Why am I wasting my time? I am talking to Woody, rabbit and Vlad. As If we are going to disagree...
    50 ways to leave your (non) lover: "I hope you understand me when I say it was torture having met you"

  5. #1175
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Okay. Fine. I really only have one that has always had me wondering and I'd actually be willing to share. It could be fairly easily explained. I'll confess that up front. But it has always made me wonder: What if?

    Back in 1985, my brother was a drunk. (Technically he is still an alcoholic but in recovery. Barely.) He was driving down a street (drunk, of course) very fast. Slammed his Datsun Z car into a telephone poll. Wrapped the car around the pole like a Xmas bow.

    There was one witness--an elderly woman who was sitting on her porch reading a book--about 50 feet away from the poll. She didn't see him drive into a telephone poll. But she heard it, looked up, saw the carnage, and called the police.

    What happened next, according to her, is my "what if" moment.

    According to her, a man driving a van saw that my brother's car was on fire. He stopped. He had a fire extinguisher in his van. He retrieved it and put the fire out.

    And drove away. Just drove away.

    The elderly woman said there was no question in her mind that the man who put the fire out was an angel. After all, who would possibly save someone's life and drive away? Even back in 1985, most everyone wanted to be a hero.

    (This is where I'll obviously confess that this could have been a person who just didn't want any attention. Perhaps he was running from the law. Maybe there was a warrant for his arrest and he wanted to do the right thing without getting caught for another crime. Lots of potential scenarios. And we'll never know.)

    In any case, the fact that this person (or whatever) put the fire out saved my brother's life. I'll spare you the gory details about his injuries. But he was essentially dead a few times. But the doctors brought him back. And he lives today. Barely.

    ::

    Was the elderly lady right? Was this an angel? There's value in the suggestion that most people would hang around, hoping to get some credit for saving another person's life. And there's also merit to the argument that perhaps this was a good deed done by an individual who was not at that time in a position to be recognized for being a hero. Or someone who just didn't want any spotlight. All very plausible.

    I just tell the story to ask the question: What if? And that's the only question I'm asking, and I do not expect anyone to subscribe to any point of view. I know what I think is likely. But to my dying day, I shall always ask the question: What if?
    Gender should never be a death sentence. http://www.facebook.com/The.Worldwide.War.on.Girls. A civilized nation doesn't tolerate violence against women. http://www.facebook.com/TheSilenceStopsNow?ref=hl. Microlending harbors tremendous potential to improve the economic, social, political, and educational empowerment of women and children. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Globa...417742?fref=ts

  6. #1176

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Okay. Fine. I really only have one that has always had me wondering and I'd actually be willing to share. It could be fairly easily explained. I'll confess that up front. But it has always made me wonder: What if?

    Back in 1985, my brother was a drunk. (Technically he is still an alcoholic but in recovery. Barely.) He was driving down a street (drunk, of course) very fast. Slammed his Datsun Z car into a telephone poll. Wrapped the car around the pole like a Xmas bow.

    There was one witness--an elderly woman who was sitting on her porch reading a book--about 50 feet away from the poll. She didn't see him drive into a telephone poll. But she heard it, looked up, saw the carnage, and called the police.

    What happened next, according to her, is my "what if" moment.

    According to her, a man driving a van saw that my brother's car was on fire. He stopped. He had a fire extinguisher in his van. He retrieved it and put the fire out.

    And drove away. Just drove away.

    The elderly woman said there was no question in her mind that the man who put the fire out was an angel. After all, who would possibly save someone's life and drive away? Even back in 1985, most everyone wanted to be a hero.

    (This is where I'll obviously confess that this could have been a person who just didn't want any attention. Perhaps he was running from the law. Maybe there was a warrant for his arrest and he wanted to do the right thing without getting caught for another crime. Lots of potential scenarios. And we'll never know.)

    In any case, the fact that this person (or whatever) put the fire out saved my brother's life. I'll spare you the gory details about his injuries. But he was essentially dead a few times. But the doctors brought him back. And he lives today. Barely.

    ::

    Was the elderly lady right? Was this an angel? There's value in the suggestion that most people would hang around, hoping to get some credit for saving another person's life. And there's also merit to the argument that perhaps this was a good deed done by an individual who was not at that time in a position to be recognized for being a hero. Or someone who just didn't want any spotlight. All very plausible.

    I just tell the story to ask the question: What if? And that's the only question I'm asking, and I do not expect anyone to subscribe to any point of view. I know what I think is likely. But to my dying day, I shall always ask the question: What if?

    My first question would be: Was your brother's car really on fire at some point after an accident? The whole thing could just be old lady's imagination. Did the accident report clearly proved that the car was on fire?

    Now, if it was confirmed that the car was on fire at some time, I think all your natural explanations make more sense than that he was an "angel". The supernatural explanation would be by far on the bottom of my list (if it even makes the list) of all plausible and reasonable explanations. Maybe he was just in a rush and once he saw that the fire was out, he went and mind his own business? Maybe he was afraid to stick around and witness your brother's bad injuries? Maybe he drove away to actually call for help?
    "Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd." Baruch Spinoza

  7. #1177
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
    My first question would be: Was your brother's car really on fire at some point after an accident? The whole thing could just be old lady's imagination. Did the accident report clearly proved that the car was on fire?

    Now, if it was confirmed that the car was on fire at some time, I think all your natural explanations make more sense than that he was an "angel". The supernatural explanation would be by far on the bottom of my list (if it even makes the list) of all plausible and reasonable explanations. Maybe he was just in a rush and once he saw that the fire was out, he went and mind his own business? Maybe he was afraid to stick around and witness your brother's bad injuries? Maybe he drove away to actually call for help?
    The car was definitely on fire. It didn't explode like in a movie. But the engine was on fire. Saw the burnt engine myself.

    And I agree. There are plenty of explanations. But there's no harm in asking: What if?
    Gender should never be a death sentence. http://www.facebook.com/The.Worldwide.War.on.Girls. A civilized nation doesn't tolerate violence against women. http://www.facebook.com/TheSilenceStopsNow?ref=hl. Microlending harbors tremendous potential to improve the economic, social, political, and educational empowerment of women and children. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Globa...417742?fref=ts

  8. #1178

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    The car was definitely on fire. It didn't explode like in a movie. But the engine was on fire. Saw the burnt engine myself.

    And I agree. There are plenty of explanations. But there's no harm in asking: What if?
    No, there is no harm, but there is not much point of asking that question either. It's like when you hear a noise in your garage at times, do you think you have an invisible fire breathing dragon living in there or could it be just mice? You gotta think about the likelihood of each event. How often people do irrational things? All the time! How often people leave scene of an accident? Pretty often! Is there any evidence that is showing that angels could drive a van and help out to extinguish fire once in a while? Not really.
    Also, the fact that old lady said that he/she saw an angel means very little. Eyewitness account from just 1 person is very very weak evidence.


    btw, the invisible dragon creature, I borrowed from Carl Sagan.. it doesn't fit this story entirely, but in some way it does.
    here is excerpt from the book

    http://www.users.qwest.net/~jcosta3/article_dragon.htm
    Last edited by Vlad; 06-14-2011 at 06:39 PM.
    "Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd." Baruch Spinoza

  9. #1179
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
    No, there is no harm, but there is not much point of asking that question either. It's like when you hear a noise in your garage at times, do you think you have an invisible fire breathing dragon living in there or could it be just mice? You gotta think about the likelihood of each event. How often people do irrational things? All the time! How often people leave scene of an accident? Pretty often! Is there any evidence that is showing that angels could drive a van and help out to extinguish fire once in a while? Not really.
    Also, the fact that old lady said that he/she saw an angel means very little. Eyewitness account from just 1 person is very very weak evidence.


    btw, the invisible dragon creature, I borrowed from Carl Sagan.. it doesn't fit this story entirely, but in some way it does.
    here is excerpt from the book

    http://www.users.qwest.net/~jcosta3/article_dragon.htm
    I figured it would end up being a joke.

    Just forget I said anything.

    But I'll finish by saying this: There has to be room in our lives for imagination and wondering if existence is bigger than that which we can comprehend. I'm not an advocate of stating emphatically that something exists just because I want it to or because it fills some compelling need in my life. But my concern is that, by limiting ourselves to that which can only be seen and heard and documented, we're limiting our imaginations and access to potential realities that are today outside of our current frame of reference but 200-500-1000 years from now will be common knowledge. And people will look at us and say: I can't believe they never imagined that?

    "What if?" has been arguably the most important question biological, social, and other scientists have ever asked. And it has yielded tremendous progress and discovery. Why stop asking the question there?
    Gender should never be a death sentence. http://www.facebook.com/The.Worldwide.War.on.Girls. A civilized nation doesn't tolerate violence against women. http://www.facebook.com/TheSilenceStopsNow?ref=hl. Microlending harbors tremendous potential to improve the economic, social, political, and educational empowerment of women and children. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Globa...417742?fref=ts

  10. #1180

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    I figured it would end up being a joke.

    Just forget I said anything.

    But I'll finish by saying this: There has to be room in our lives for imagination and wondering if existence is bigger than that which we can comprehend. I'm not an advocate of stating emphatically that something exists just because I want it to or because it fills some compelling need in my life. But my concern is that, by limiting ourselves to that which can only be seen and heard and documented, we're limiting our imaginations and access to potential realities that are today outside of our current frame of reference but 200-500-1000 years from now will be common knowledge. And people will look at us and say: I can't believe they never imagined that?

    "What if?" has been arguably the most important question biological, social, and other scientists have ever asked. And it has yielded tremendous progress and discovery. Why stop asking the question there?
    Dry, my point wasn't meant to be a joke. I am just saying that if we can't document something, have no evidence of it whatsoever then what is the difference between it being paranormal (supernatural) or it not being there at all?
    Also, you are mistaken if you think that we are limiting our minds to only what we see or hear or can document. There is a reason scientists build $10 Billion particle collider to discover new particles and perhaps even re-created Big Bang. There is ongoing search for dark matter deep underneath earth surface in many locations. We can't directly see dark matter, but the scientists can indirectly infer that it is there. Now, there is no such thing for paranormal. They do not show any influence on gravity or glow in infrared or emit gamma or radio waves. No evidence whatsoever. So, again what is the difference between something like that and nothing at all?
    "Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd." Baruch Spinoza

  11. #1181
    Slam Watcher rabbit's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    But I'll finish by saying this: There has to be room in our lives for imagination and wondering if existence is bigger than that which we can comprehend. I'm not an advocate of stating emphatically that something exists just because I want it to or because it fills some compelling need in my life. But my concern is that, by limiting ourselves to that which can only be seen and heard and documented, we're limiting our imaginations and access to potential realities that are today outside of our current frame of reference but 200-500-1000 years from now will be common knowledge. And people will look at us and say: I can't believe they never imagined that?

    "What if?" has been arguably the most important question biological, social, and other scientists have ever asked. And it has yielded tremendous progress and discovery. Why stop asking the question there?
    Sure, you can ask such questions. As you can ask about invisible dragons in your garage (btw, I don't think Vlad meant it as a joke but just to illustrate a point) or that you're in a dream right now. Also, like I've said before in this thread, the very basis of science rests on an unprovable belief that there exists a consistent description of nature: who's to say it's not the case that the "laws" of physics are totally different in different parts of the universe?

    But what's the point of asking such questions? Everyone knows that these questions can be asked and that they have no good answers. Sure, lots of things may become known thousand years from now that we don't know now. But I don't think that justifies imagining things to be true for which there's no real evidence.
    Last edited by rabbit; 06-14-2011 at 07:52 PM.

  12. #1182
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    I'm an advocate of imagining. Whether it's likely to be true or not.

    Even if it seems preposterous to traditional thought or practice. This is the mindset by which artists have produced some of the most stunning works of their time. Or composers have produces some of the most incredible music of their period.

    And incidentally, some of these artists and musicians produced their masterpieces by thinking absurd things about God or other completely nonsensical things.

    I'm all for imagining the absurd and the unthinkable. And asking the question "What if?" No matter how illogical or stupid it may be. Because I refuse to let myself be limited by the confines of science, or what our puny minds or puny scientific constructs aren't able to fathom or accommodate.
    Gender should never be a death sentence. http://www.facebook.com/The.Worldwide.War.on.Girls. A civilized nation doesn't tolerate violence against women. http://www.facebook.com/TheSilenceStopsNow?ref=hl. Microlending harbors tremendous potential to improve the economic, social, political, and educational empowerment of women and children. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Globa...417742?fref=ts

  13. #1183
    Slam Watcher rabbit's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    I'm an advocate of imagining. Whether it's likely to be true or not.

    Even if it seems preposterous to traditional thought or practice. This is the mindset by which artists have produced some of the most stunning works of their time. Or composers have produces some of the most incredible music of their period.

    And incidentally, some of these artists and musicians produced their masterpieces by thinking absurd things about God or other completely nonsensical things.

    I'm all for imagining the absurd and the unthinkable. And asking the question "What if?" No matter how illogical or stupid it may be. Because I refuse to let myself be limited by the confines of science, or what our puny minds or puny scientific constructs aren't able to fathom or accommodate.
    OK I'm backing off from what I said. Yeah, it's always fun to think about "what if?" questions. But only to that extent, I think. Not to the extent that you wage wars or forcibly convert people to your point of view.

  14. #1184
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    OK I'm backing off from what I said. Yeah, it's always fun to think about "what if?" questions. But only to that extent, I think. Not to the extent that you wage wars or forcibly convert people to your point of view.
    We lose so many possibilities by restricting ourselves from long lists of things that CANNOT be possible. By closing ourselves down to possibilities, the only people we're really limiting are ourselves while doing absolutely nothing to make that which we despise any less possible.
    Gender should never be a death sentence. http://www.facebook.com/The.Worldwide.War.on.Girls. A civilized nation doesn't tolerate violence against women. http://www.facebook.com/TheSilenceStopsNow?ref=hl. Microlending harbors tremendous potential to improve the economic, social, political, and educational empowerment of women and children. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Globa...417742?fref=ts

  15. #1185

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    I'm an advocate of imagining. Whether it's likely to be true or not.

    Even if it seems preposterous to traditional thought or practice. This is the mindset by which artists have produced some of the most stunning works of their time. Or composers have produces some of the most incredible music of their period.

    And incidentally, some of these artists and musicians produced their masterpieces by thinking absurd things about God or other completely nonsensical things. Do you agree with that?

    I'm all for imagining the absurd and the unthinkable. And asking the question "What if?" No matter how illogical or stupid it may be. Because I refuse to let myself be limited by the confines of science, or what our puny minds or puny scientific constructs aren't able to fathom or accommodate.

    Ok, but we still need to establish some boundaries. Otherwise, everyone will be asking, what is the smell of yellow? Or something like that.. questions that make little or no sense.

    So, going back to old lady that claims that she saw angel putting out fire. Now, do you think in her mind where does the concept of angel comes from? In fact, where was the very first notion of "angel" mentioned? I am asking this, because if she claims it was angel, then she must have some sort of grasp of what angel look like. For example, If you ask me to draw a angel, I wouldn't be able to... why? because I have never seen one and I only seen few in pictures, but then again it was someone else's vision, not mine.

    Now, as far as limiting confines of science.. If you look at the theories that people are working on right now, then you would agree that not only they are NOT limited, they are so abstract, it boggles the greatest minds. In fact, the theories are so abstract, there is no available mathematics to solve those issues! How is that for imaginary? Do you really think that the greatest theoretical physicists should stop at what they are doing and think of angels... the ones from Old Testament, the greatest collection of myths and rumors?
    Last edited by Vlad; 06-14-2011 at 08:15 PM.
    "Whatsoever is contrary to nature is contrary to reason, and whatsoever is contrary to reason is absurd." Baruch Spinoza

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