To a few of my associates, I gave the xmas present of a blog post on a topic they pick. Bryan Caplan just finally made his choice: the story of how I became an atheist. My immediate family is very religious. My dad (now dead) was a part-time pastor for decades, my mom (still alive)
Life coaching is very necessary for religion and spirituality because it is very sensitive thing.
I am aware people take comfort in believing that they are some kind of spirit/soul being which extends beyond their physical reality, however this seems to me not humility, but a lack of humility in accepting that they are biological entities, that they are so great their consciousness does not end with death. To me, spirituality is simply indulging in that fantasy. I prefer to focus on being kind to people here in reality.
My point in naming various belief systems is that having faith in one means having more disbelief in many other incompatible conceptions of the world.
There are versions of god that are internally consistent.
Science and logic are different. Each experiment (or measurement or observation) provides a probabilistic validation of the combination of assumptions involved in the experiment. All experiments taken together provide probabilistic validation of the whole scientific network of assumptions, nearly all of which are shared by many experiments. Science doesn't need a particular starting point. Confidence builds in both its individual results and in the scientific process itself as more results are seen. It validates itself to increasingly higher degrees of confidence.
Logic can't validate science. Particular systems of logic are absolutely valid within their own scope, mostly without any probability involved. But, any even slightly complex logic system has infinitely true results it can not prove true, and infinitely false results it can not prove false. Slightly complex logic systems are necessarily incomplete, and they also don't say anything about things outside themselves.
Science can say how well various systems of logic correspond to which parts of the world, and how well the logic systems it uses help it describe the world. But logic systems don't necessarily behave like the world, and scientific "proof" is probability based, while logic systems are by definition true within themselves by their own definitions.
But, neither science nor logic can answer all questions. Science has nothing to say about logic systems that don't correspond to the world, of which there are infinitely many. Neither can say what caused existence. Neither can say what happens when you die. There are many parts of science (such as universal constants) that science observes, but can't say why they are the way they are. Chaos prevents many predictions that you would otherwise think could fall within science's ability to predict.
The scientific approach for you is to carefully observe how well your reason works and trust it to the extent that it appears to. Your observations may be faulty (they are to some extent), and your deduction process may be faulty (it is to some extent), but you can't deduce by logic alone that your reason helps you in the world or is applicable to the world, nor that it doesn't work at all. It's one of the many paradoxes and limitations of logic. To conclude that it is fundamentally flawed means that that conclusion is untrustworthy, and you're left with nothing no matter which way you turn. You need to see it work for you, and then it validates itself scientifically in a probabilistic manner. I'm sure it does mostly work for you, but know that there is no absolute certainty about it.
It is completely scientific to act according to many religious traditions, - that is, look at what you see, and act in ways that have been carefully observed to work. Do you see moral challenges around you? Then act like your life is a moral challenge to do good. Look to what behaviors have in the past lead to good outcomes.
Reason, science, and religion are all as useful as you see them to be.
You do to believe they are traveling in our solar system, or even our galaxy, though maybe I've misinterpreted your takes on aliens and UFOs.
Even if it is, what is the practicality of that in my life? How are my 70+ years of existence best served? Believing my consciousness is random or viewing it as a gift?
In her book on MMT there is an assumption that it is only valid with no inflation. Inflation always has massive time delays and must be viewed in terms of dynamics over time. You print a lot of money and spend it and everyone is happy as it creates images of economic and wealth growth, but slowly you start finding that any long term economic plans that assume the "value" of the money units is constant are not adequate for planning for future cash flows such as business plan IRR calculations. You then factor inflation into the "value" in the future and you are off to the races with an inflation spiral, but this takes years to evolve as inflation steals value from the cash in everyone's pockets. Inflation stole 7.5% of the value of my retirement savings and, to add insult to injury, I have to pay tax on virtual interest incomes that are effective negative interest rates.
Once the spiral starts people try to obtain those "loans" with effective negative real interest rates, which the political and banking class provide for their friends and supporter. The object is to obtain rents on the money devaluation. Inflation is really the devaluation of money.
With the inflation assumption in MMT being observable wrong, MMT must be just magical thinking. We eat real food and live in real buildings, not virtual food and housing.
The crux seem to be that you think that Christianity required hidden forces to influence things directly, which does not seem possibly in physics and therefore must be wrong.
But have you considered Christianity with a different reading? You dont even have to go full Jordan Peterson to think of sin not as externally imposed through hidden forces, but simply as moral errors.
And prayer, at least you must admit affects your own behavior. If you pray that you will write a blogpost about your conversion to atheism, it would likely affect your chance of doing it.
It seems to me that if you just had some more accurate definitions of some of these concepts, you wouldnt have become an atheist?
Ok. I was thinking more of space aliens out there somewhere, not the idea of them dropping in and buzzing us here which I agree is hard to impossible to level with observed physics. I can't really see evolved fleshy things would handle interstellar travel very well, or would want to. I'm also not sure how long fleshy things will survive their discovery of science and speculating on the activities and preferences of whatever might replace them seems highly ungrounded.
I don't question physics. I just recognize that my trust in physics rests on my prior faith in the validity of human reason.
Isn't that the classic religious viewpoint though. The only way of knowing must be a religion. In that case, the argument is correct by definition. True, but not useful.
P.S. Isn't the joke that Jewish atheists believe that there is only one god even if god doesn't exist.
Isn't spirituality just an artifact of our neocortex? Our brains are made of chemicals and exist in a material world.
Actually, there's good solid evidence for Modern Monetary Theory. It explains all sorts of things like why interest rates have stayed low so long without causing inflation, why the US recovered so quickly from its US war debt, and why foreigners were buying US government bonds in the 1980s.
re: "without needing to simulate all particles - only the 'observable' ones"- Isn't that at the heart of quantum mechanics? This isn't an argument that we live in a simulation. It is just an aspect of the real world. One can only observe the observable and then reason with the observations.
Evolution theory was a huge advance in human knowledge, it dispelled a lot of useless, wooly ideas. However evolution only retrodicts how living organisms are culled if they are unable to gain sufficient energy. I am unaware of any predictions (future) but would like to learn of examples. Actual knowledge seems to be a continuing accumulation of specific knowns distributed over a large number of persons and time. In simpler terms: execute these steps precisely and in this exact sequence. I do not see this sort of progress in evolutionary theory but then maybe I need some education.
You need to assume that you can trust reason, as an axiom. If you don't, you can't make arguments at all, and will run into the same 'the reason for Reason' loop no matter what explanation you have.
That evolutionary psychology explains it means the "no God" scenario is at least internally consistent, which is probably the best we're ever going to get on the topic.