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Category: Cognition

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

I have recently participated in ongoing conversations online with Sandy Hook truthers. After listening to the litany of “reasons” that they have for suspecting a hoax or conspiracy of some sort (what sort varies), and hearing their questions, and reading some of their source material, a pattern began to emerge. They seemed to have little awareness of a number of things that, as a writer, I must take into account in every story I write and every plot I conceive….

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My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

Having discussed the role of science in the life of humanity, my atheist forum friend Mycroft turned to the subject of religion. The points of view were thus: Mycroft=science is a savior; Me=science is a tool for the exploration of reality Mycroft wrote: “The major organized belief systems are incoherent. Half of mosaic, christian, and muslim theology over the last millennia is devoted to the task of belatedly producing some kind of consistency—often by declaring something impossible a “mystery”, or adding afterthoughts.”…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

Echoing anti-theist spokesman Sam Harris, my forum friend Mycroft remarked that: “… a whole branch of science is devoted to the biological and societal reasons for human conditions, the balance of selfishness and altruism, greed and reciprocal behavior, dogma and tolerance, etc.” This is so. There is, indeed, a branch of science dedicated to finding a biological explanation for everything we are and do. Sam Harris has a PhD in this discipline. But the observation begs the question: In what way…

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Part 2 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 2 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Atheists Say Religion Causes Ignorance and Hatred A whole host of atheist philosophers, thinkers and commentators have written influential books and essays during the past few decades, each one saying that religion has become a force for hatred, violence and evil in the world. Writers like Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have all published popular atheist manifestoes.  Most of their books, as in this quote from Harris’ The End of Faith, contain some variation on the idea of…

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Independent Investigation 2—Colorful Word Art

Independent Investigation 2—Colorful Word Art

As a writer of fiction, my job—according to colleague and wise-woman Ursula LeGuin—is to put into words what cannot be put into words. Tall order. The tools with which I am supposed to do this are words. Words arranged in such a way that I can convey to my reader what my characters are sensing, feeling, thinking and doing. I need to be able to subtly and not-so-subtly manipulate the reader’s thoughts and feelings to get the action, atmosphere and…

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Independent Investigation—Not Just a Buzz Phrase

Independent Investigation—Not Just a Buzz Phrase

 “O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My…

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Crossing the Streams: Whither Humans?

Crossing the Streams: Whither Humans?

I was raised a Christian and embraced the Bahá’í Faith at the age of nineteen. As I deepened my understanding of the Faith, I began to realize a profound change in my worldview. The teachings of the Faith fundamentally changed my understanding of myself as a human being and my understanding of humanity as a species. The original catalyst for this change was the Faith, itself, with its insistence that I must understand how the world really works in a…

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Knowledge, Volition and Action: Heaven, Hell and Karma

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Heaven, Hell and Karma

A commenter on one of the Common Ground threads asked about the concepts of heaven and hell and what happened to people who didn’t accept the teachings of a particular Prophet. He was particularly concerned about “the destiny of the unlearned”. What happened to people who just simply refused to listen to those we Baha’is refer to as Manifestations of God? Didn’t the scriptures say they would be in manifest loss? Wasn’t that unfair?    Send article as PDF   

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Unraveling Secrets

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Unraveling Secrets

O God, O Thou Who hast cast Thy splendour over the luminous realities of men, shedding upon them the resplendent lights of knowledge and guidance, and hast chosen them out of all created things for this supernal grace, and hast caused them to encompass all things, to understand their inmost essence, and to disclose their mysteries, bringing them forth out of darkness into the visible world! “He verily showeth His special mercy to whomsoever He will.”  O Lord, help Thou…

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Knowledge, Volition and Action: Making Knowledge Sticky

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Making Knowledge Sticky

(The second of a two-on education and who is responsible for providing it.) Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.  — Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXXII   My observation, as a product of the public school system and having raised three kids who are or have been in it at least through part of their education, is that we…

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