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  • Word of God - Unreal Blog
    insightful and well educated man or group of men wrote it But why did they present it as though God was uttering those words Naturally I have a theory otherwise I wouldn t be harping on this question I think the reason is that the writer of the scripture had complete faith in the veracity of what he was writing and wanted people to accept it with the same level of certainty and conviction What better way to convey his conviction than to present it as the word of God The writer is using a tried and tested technique to lend credence to his beliefs authority Let me illustrate it with an example Suppose I make a statement like Schrodinger s cat Quantum Mechanics Nah I don t believe in all that Your response is likely to be Whatever floats your boat man But suppose I phrase it this way Einstein didn t believe in Quantum Mechanics He said and I quote God does not play dice with the universe You would then take it a bit more seriously The authority comes from Einstein and even God Why do you think all the new age spiritual movements want to enroll as many world leaders and celebrities as they can They are trying the same trick of using authority to push their brand of divinity or whatever it is that they are pushing The problem with invoking divine authority is that in time the philosophical insights degenerate into fanatic mumbo jumbo It suppresses genuine enquiry and prompts experts to make statements like Read the Bhagavad Gita everyday Even if you don t understand it it will cleanse your soul You are not supposed to ask irritating questions like what if you don t understand the language Will it still cleanse my soul Do all souls speak Sanskrit What is this soul anyway Why would I want it laundered I do believe that there is great pearls of wisdom in all scriptures After all our basic questions haven t changed over thousands of years Where did we come from What are we doing here Where are we headed What is the purpose and meaning of it all And our ability to answer these questions hasn t changed much either despite our intellectual and scientific achievements That could be the reason why these questions are often bundled together as spiritual quests and entrusted with less than capable pretenders Why we at least some of us still believe in something bigger than ourselves What I certainly do not believe is the pretense that only a select few are privy to the wisdom contained in the scriptures and it is the job of everybody else to shut up and listen and never ever doubt Sure some people may know more just like some people know more geography or algebra But it doesn t mean that they are infallible in their knowledge Only through skepticism and constant inquiry can true wisdom be generated and imparted That

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/word-of-god/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Atheism - Is There a God? - Unreal Blog
    that everything in nature and the universe obeys natural physical laws possibly unknown laws but not supernatural laws The supernatural as the name implies does not exist in nature for if it did it would be natural This definition has certain advantages For one thing the burden of proof is not on the atheist to demonstrate that there is no God Just because an atheist cannot or does not want to prove that there is no God doesn t mean that there is one Just because I don t prove that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairies doesn t mean that they exist So it is with God those who proclaim their belief need to justify it It is in principle impossible to disprove the non existence of anything Therefore the atheist has a much smaller remit he just needs to show that there is no reason to believe that God exists The belief in God comes in different flavors There are those who believe simply in a power greater than and separate from themselves a supreme being that created the universe This level of faith is called deism Although deists believe in God they don t insist that God takes any special interest in our day to day conduct A deeper level of belief called theism insists just that that God intervenes and directs our actions gives us morality answers to our prayers and gets upset when we sin The God of the theist is a personal God and we can expect the theist to be a religious person Most people fall somewhere in between these two levels of faith Then to the right of them we have the fundamentalists who take their scriptures literally at least when it is convenient The debates I listened to featured both deist and theist arguments although called Hitchens vs theists But each kind of theism has to be taken on in its own right Some of the milder theists might argue that there is no proof either way you cannot prove that there is a God or there isn t and so we should leave the question alone I find that an insidious kind of argument imputing the same level of credence to both sides of the argument which is like saying that creationism and evolution are competing theories while one is faith and the other is a scientific theory One is accepted as mystic wisdom while the other meets certain standards of verifiability and more importantly falsifiability Assigning equal weights to them or to the question of the existence of God Santa Claus tooth fairies ghosts or superman is to play fast and loose with the concept of a debate In fact no debate is possible when one side argues from the position of mystical revelation that precludes logical negation by definition That reservation notwithstanding the theist camp seemed to have won many of the debates I watched mainly because Hitchens didn t take on their arguments in a

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/atheism-is-there-a-god/ (2016-02-16)
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  • atheism Archives - Unreal Blog
    manoj I have a reason for delaying this post on the fifth and last argument for God by Dr William Lane Craig It holds more potency than immediately obvious While it is easy to write it off because it is a subjective experiential argument the lack of credence we attribute to subjectivity is in itself a result of our similarly subjective acceptance of what we consider objective reason and rationality I hope that this point will become clearer as you read this post and the next one Continue reading atheism craig Debates god hitchens Debates Philosophy Physics Atheism and the Morality of the Godless April 27 2015 manoj In the previous post we considered the cosmological argument that the Big Bang theory is an affirmation of a God and a teleological argument that the highly improbable fine tuning of the universe proves the existence of intelligent creation We saw that the cosmological argument is nothing more than an admission of our ignorance although it may be presented in any number of fancy forms such as the cause of the universe is an uncaused cause which is God for instance The teleological argument comes from a potentially wilful distortion of the anthropic principle The next one that Dr Craig puts forward is the origin of morality which has no grounding if you assume that atheism is true Continue reading atheism craig Debates god hitchens Debates Philosophy Physics Atheism Christian God or Lack Thereof April 21 2015 manoj Prof William Lane Craig is way more than a deist he is certainly a theist In fact he is more than that he believes that God is as described in the scriptures of his flavor of Christianity I am not an expert in that field so I don t know exactly what that flavor is But the arguments he gave do not go much farther than the deism He gave five arguments to prove that God exists and he invited Hitchens to refute them Hitchens did not at least not in an enumerated and sequential fashion I plan to do here Continue reading atheism craig Debates god hitchens Philosophy Atheism Is There a God April 13 2015 manoj Recently I have been listening to some debates on atheism by Christopher Hitchens as recommended by a friend Although I agree with almost everything Hitchens says said rather because he is no longer with us I find his tone bit too flippant and derisive for my taste much like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins I am an atheist as those who have been following my writings may know Given that an overwhelming majority of people do believe in some sort of a supreme being at times I feel kind of compelled to answer the question why I don t believe in one Continue reading atheism Debates god hitchens tony blair Philosophy Science Work and Life Do You Believe in God April 5 2013 manoj I got in trouble for asking this question once The person

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/atheism/ (2016-02-16)
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  • bhagavad gita Archives - Unreal Blog
    Life and Death Work Money Principles of Quantitative Development Quantitative Finance The Wilmott Magazine Funny Humor Malayalam Debates Anti Relativity Email Debates SFN Science Forums Physics Philosophy The Unreal Universe Physics Philosophy Science Creative Books French Quotes Other Topics Environment WordPress Computers About About Unreal Blog About Me CV About My First Book About My Second Book About Supporting Me Contact Advertising Professional PHP Services Tag Archives bhagavad gita Philosophy Science Topical Word of God February 2 2016 manoj Scriptures are considered the word of God If you are atheist like me you know that all words come from men Gods have no words This raises an interesting question about the men who wrote down these words Why did they imply or flat out say that they were uttering God s words Continue reading atheism bhagavad gita god scriptures Advertisement Subscribe to Unreal Blog Email address Translations Most Popular Posts Blank Screen after Hibernate or Sleep 20 948 views Stinker Emails A Primer 8 490 views Quant Life in Singapore 3 304 views Perception Physics and the Role of Light in Philosophy 3 008 views Missing Events and Photos in iPhoto 2 929 views How to Avoid Duplicate Imports in

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/bhagavad-gita/ (2016-02-16)
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  • god Archives - Unreal Blog
    God I was very young then about five years old I had lost a pencil It had just slipped out of my schoolbag which was nothing more than a plastic basket with open weaves and a handle When I realized that I had lost the pencil I was quite upset I think I was worried that I would get a scolding for my carelessness You see my family wasn t rich We were slightly better off than the households in our neighborhood but quite poor by any global standards The new pencil was to me a prized possession Continue reading atheism Debates god Debates Philosophy Physics Atheism and Unreal God May 17 2015 manoj The only recourse an atheist can have against this argument based on personal experience is that the believer is either is misrepresenting his experience or is mistaken about it I am not willing to pursue that line of argument I know that I am undermining my own stance here but I would like to give the theist camp some more ammunition for this particular argument and make it more formal Continue reading atheism craig Debates god hitchens Debates Philosophy Physics Atheism vs God Experience May 6 2015 manoj I have a reason for delaying this post on the fifth and last argument for God by Dr William Lane Craig It holds more potency than immediately obvious While it is easy to write it off because it is a subjective experiential argument the lack of credence we attribute to subjectivity is in itself a result of our similarly subjective acceptance of what we consider objective reason and rationality I hope that this point will become clearer as you read this post and the next one Continue reading atheism craig Debates god hitchens Debates Philosophy Physics Atheism and the Morality of the Godless April 27 2015 manoj In the previous post we considered the cosmological argument that the Big Bang theory is an affirmation of a God and a teleological argument that the highly improbable fine tuning of the universe proves the existence of intelligent creation We saw that the cosmological argument is nothing more than an admission of our ignorance although it may be presented in any number of fancy forms such as the cause of the universe is an uncaused cause which is God for instance The teleological argument comes from a potentially wilful distortion of the anthropic principle The next one that Dr Craig puts forward is the origin of morality which has no grounding if you assume that atheism is true Continue reading atheism craig Debates god hitchens Debates Philosophy Physics Atheism Christian God or Lack Thereof April 21 2015 manoj Prof William Lane Craig is way more than a deist he is certainly a theist In fact he is more than that he believes that God is as described in the scriptures of his flavor of Christianity I am not an expert in that field so I don t know exactly what that

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/god/ (2016-02-16)
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  • scriptures Archives - Unreal Blog
    contrast remains beyond our cognitive reach The ramifications of the two different philosophical stances described above are tremendous Since modern physics seems to embrace a non phenomenalistic view of space and time it finds itself at odds with that branch of philosophy This chasm between philosophy and physics has grown to such a degree that the Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg wondered in his book Dreams of a Final Theory why the contribution from philosophy to physics have been so surprisingly small It also prompts philosophers to make statements like Whether noumenal reality causes phenomenal reality or whether noumenal reality is independent of our sensing it or whether we sense noumenal reality the problem remains that the concept of noumenal reality is a totally redundant concept for the analysis of science One almost accidental difficulty in redefining the effects of the finite speed of light as the properties of space and time is that any effect that we do understand gets instantly relegated to the realm of optical illusions For instance the eight minute delay in seeing the sun because we readily understand it and disassociate from our perception using simple arithmetic is considered a mere optical illusion However the distortions in our perception of fast moving objects although originating from the same source are considered a property of space and time because they are more complex We have to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to seeing the universe there is no such thing as an optical illusion which is probably what Goethe pointed out when he said Optical illusion is optical truth The distinction or lack thereof between optical illusion and truth is one of the oldest debates in philosophy After all it is about the distinction between knowledge and reality Knowledge is considered our view about something that in reality is actually the case In other words knowledge is a reflection or a mental image of something external as shown in the figure below In this picture the black arrow represents the process of creating knowledge which includes perception cognitive activities and the exercise of pure reason This is the picture that physics has come to accept While acknowledging that our perception may be imperfect physics assumes that we can get closer and closer to the external reality through increasingly finer experimentation and more importantly through better theorization The Special and General Theories of Relativity are examples of brilliant applications of this view of reality where simple physical principles are relentlessly pursued using formidable machine of pure reason to their logically inevitable conclusions But there is another alternative view of knowledge and reality that has been around for a long time This is the view that regards perceived reality as an internal cognitive representation of our sensory inputs as illustrated below In this view knowledge and perceived reality are both internal cognitive constructs although we have come to think of them as separate What is external is not the reality as we perceive it but an unknowable entity giving rise to the physical causes behind sensory inputs In the illustration the first arrow represents the process of sensing and the second arrow represents the cognitive and logical reasoning steps In order to apply this view of reality and knowledge we have to guess the nature of the absolute reality unknowable as it is One possible candidate for the absolute reality is Newtonian mechanics which gives a reasonable prediction for our perceived reality To summarize when we try to handle the distortions due to perception we have two options or two possible philosophical stances One is to accept the distortions as part of our space and time as SR does The other option is to assume that there is a higher reality distinct from our sensed reality whose properties we can only conjecture In other words one option is to live with the distortion while the other is to propose educated guesses for the higher reality Neither of these options is particularly attractive But the guessing path is similar to the view accepted in phenomenalism It also leads naturally to how reality is viewed in cognitive neuroscience which studies the biological mechanisms behind cognition In my view the two options are not inherently distinct The philosophical stance of SR can be thought of as coming from a deep understanding that space is merely a phenomenal construct If the sense modality introduces distortions in the phenomenal picture we may argue that one sensible way of handling it is to redefine the properties of the phenomenal reality Role of Light in Our Reality From the perspective of cognitive neuroscience everything we see sense feel and think is the result of the neuronal interconnections in our brain and the tiny electrical signals in them This view must be right What else is there All our thoughts and worries knowledge and beliefs ego and reality life and death everything is merely neuronal firings in the one and half kilograms of gooey grey material that we call our brain There is nothing else Nothing In fact this view of reality in neuroscience is an exact echo of phenomenalism which considers everything a bundle of perception or mental constructs Space and time are also cognitive constructs in our brain like everything else They are mental pictures our brains concoct out of the sensory inputs that our senses receive Generated from our sensory perception and fabricated by our cognitive process the space time continuum is the arena of physics Of all our senses sight is by far the dominant one The sensory input to sight is light In a space created by the brain out of the light falling on our retinas or on the photo sensors of the Hubble telescope is it a surprise that nothing can travel faster than light This philosophical stance is the basis of my book The Unreal Universe which explores the common threads binding physics and philosophy Such philosophical musings usually get a bad

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/tag/scriptures/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Most Likely Wealth Distribution - Unreal Blog
    and is so much more likely which is the statement I made in the first paragraph But there should be a particular distribution in between these two extremes that is most likely So I sat down in front of my trusted iMac trying to figure it out Answering this question boils down to figuring out the number of ways of dividing n objects into k groups the so called stars and bars problem and then sorting and counting the number of points in the phase space over and over Not a very hard problem except that n and k are quite large and the combinatorics involves factorials of large numbers So you have to use Stirling s approximation Well I will spare you the mathematical details and get straight to what I found What I found was quite surprising The most likely situation seems to be the one in which the wealth distribution is highly skewed The richest person would own more than 60 of the wealth and the top 50 people would own practically everything So any wealth redistribution effort will have to fight the tremendous stochastic pressure in addition to our innate reluctance to part with the green stuff Does this constitute a mathematical proof that socialism cannot work I guess the right wingers might take it that way To me it shows a couple of other things As the total wealth grows the inequality will grow faster Secondly those who find themselves on the right side of the income divide should thank their stars more than their so called talent hard work etc Sure it takes all that to burrow your way to the right side unless you were born there which is statistically quite unlikely but talent proclivity for hard work soft skills hard skills etc

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/most-likely-wealth-distribution/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Income Inequality - Unreal Blog
    small labor input I remember meeting a lady a couple of years ago who told me that her Louis Vuitton purse costing 40k if I remember right was so exclusive that only two of them were ever manufactured I am glad that she was rich enough to pay for that kind of exclusivity but this kind of spending is very different from a normal family spending the same amount on a couple of years worth of groceries The latter has an army of workers from the checkout clerks in local supermarkets to farmers in some third world countries that stand to benefit from it Secondly wealth disparity legitimizes indecent practices Money translates to political power and hence policies that are skewed toward the elite and hence even more wealth polarization Why do you think 95 of the recovery money after the 2008 financial meltdown went to the top 1 Why is it that none of the top bank executives and other corporate dons never ended up facing criminal charges for crimes such as money laundering or tax evasion etc Sure HSBC may pay a couple of billion dollars in fines which will eventually be collected from you in terms of fees finance charges commissions etc but nobody is ever held accountable Nor will they ever be as they have money and power What will happen is that the laws regarding these crimes will morph themselves over time to make them look like legitimate business practices We are beginning to see affluenza defences even for criminal offences We need a new ideology Not capitalism because of how it diminishes human values Not socialism or communism because they failed Nor corporatism which is nothing more than capitalism on steroids Something else I m not smart enough to come up with one So

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/income-equality/ (2016-02-16)
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