Atheists who believe in some supernatural concepts. Help me out here.

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Cognostic's picture
"complexity of neurons that

"complexity of neurons that gives rise to consciousness then how does it happen?"
Just as hearing is an emergent property of ears, smelling is an emergent property of the nose and speaking is an emergent property of the mouth, thinking is an emergent property of the brain. There is no thinking without a brain.

lou's picture
As far as I can tell, it's

As far as I can tell, it's nearly all nonsense. The one exception I can think of is he possibility extraterrestrial life, if that qualifies as supernatural.

Algebe's picture
@Iou: "extraterrestrial life,

@Iou: "extraterrestrial life, if that qualifies as supernatural."

Extraterrestrial life isn't supernatural. Like us, it would be the product of universal natural laws.

The discovery of extraterrestrial life would be another nail in the coffin of theism. The existence of life on two or more different planets prove conclusively that life that life can arise spontaneously through natural processes.

Sushisnake's picture

True. There's nothing supernatural about the idea of extraterrestrial life per se, but the idea of these aliens from distant galaxies breaking tbe laws of time and space to come visit us and try out their new probe is a whole new kettle of fish.

Algebe's picture
@Sushisnake: "the idea of

@Sushisnake: "the idea of these aliens from distant galaxies breaking tbe laws of time and space to come visit us"

Given the depth of time, the chances of two intelligent races coexisting at the same time in the same part of the galaxy is remote. However, given the number of planets that are being discovered, there are good odds that we'll discover traces of extraterrestrial life in through telescopes the next few years.

JohnLFrazer's picture
The existence of life on two

The existence of life on two or more different planets prove conclusively that life that life can arise spontaneously through natural processes.
- - - - -

Not true, it just kicks the can up the road. The first abiogenesis is still a "gap" for them to slip their gods in.
Panspermia is another apparent monkey-wrench in the works, but even doesn't end intelligent design; they can praise their gods for the foresight of having this way to spread life throughout the Galaxy, and you'll never hear th end of it.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Right, it's unfalsifiable.

Right, it's unfalsifiable.

Koukla's picture
Aren't buddhist and new age

Aren't buddhist and new age philosophies based on religion and/or spirituality? You also mention "supernatural concepts". I can't be an atheist and believe in such "concepts". It just doesn't come naturally and it doesn't fit in my way of thinking. Having said that, I have had weird things happen to me, from coincidence based "premonitions" to biologically explained hallucinations. I'm ok with not having the answers yet but I'm not prepared to accept any type of philosophy.

Sushisnake's picture

It depends on the buddhist and/or New Age philosophy. Some are theist- the idea of retributive Karma is theist, so's the idea of The Universe giving you what you need/deserve, though people who believe in those things might not realise it: they've rejected Christianity or Judaism or Islam entirely and see themselves as deists or atheists. Some of the philosophies are deist - the idea of random reincarnation and (I think) Chopra's woo is deist.

If anyone knows about quantum metaphysics, can they get back to me? I can't get past the grand, sciencey sounding catch phrases believers come out with like a laundry list to explain their deity's nature.It makes me go cross eyed. And some of the nastiest debate opponents I have had have been men who believe in the "science" of quantum metaphysics which is, of course, far too "scientific" for my little female brain to grasp. I hear it's the second officially recognised religion of MRA groups.

I can't be an atheist and believe in the supernatural either, because I'm a sceptic first and foremost. But many atheists can. Atheism is a broad not-church.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Gauthama Buddha based his

@ Koukla

Hope you are having a good start to the year!

Gauthama Buddha based his thoughts around developing the 4 Noble Truths, the 5 Precepts and the Eightfold path. He didn't like monks much at all and was noted as saying he knew they would make a religion of his example, and if it made the common people happy they would do it, but he did not approve, They did anyway. Although Buddhism has all the trappings of religion, really it aint. But walks like a duck etc...

In my culture those few being "long sighted" ( translation from the Gaelic) or "clairvoyant" was an accepted part of day to day life. We knew of them and if they had something to say we listened, mostly ignored and sometimes were shocked at the outcomes they predicted. The Clan Farquar were noted for producing the long sighted folk according to my Granny.
Most clan/tribal based systems accepted the existence of clairvoyance/premonitions/visions of the future as part of existence. Of course that was literally put to the sword/stake/burning when Western values and Christianity were introduced. The problem with it is that although anecdotal and personal evidence can be produced, lab condition proof is not forthcoming. The incidence of the experience is so universal that it is part of the fabric of the human condition. So I put it in that famous Scottish legal basket of "not proven" and leave it for another day.

Fishy1's picture
Hey Dale, first find my first

Hey Dale, first find my first post here like 10 days ago, and read it.
I experienced something a few thousand X's over a period of 8 yrs, which could absolutely be called "a ghost" or "spirit"... or at the very least, supernatural.

But I still believe their can be a scientific explanation for things like this, even if we don't know what that explanation is ? Such as, a time warp, simulations of reality, etc, etc.

Don Wall's picture
Wow, site crashed on my last

Wow, site crashed on my last comment...must have been God LOL.

Don't sweat the labels as they aren't precise and they change over time. You can be an atheist and still believe in supernatural. You just are rejecting theistic claims. Even on that, you could believe in God but feel all religions have it wrong. So you are talking two different concepts. I like Buddhism as it has some good principles but I don't believe in it's dogma. I don't believe in God but I don't say 100% that God can't I wear the atheist label. Doesn't mean that label encapsulates everything. It's only a label to explain some concepts in my head.

The supernatural part is a different matter. I tend to be very science based so I don't believe in anything supernatural. More than that, I don't believe supernatural is even possible...something is either natural or not possible. We use the word to be the midpoint between what seems possible and what doesn't. But if ghosts are real, then they are natural by definition. And how do you differentiate between something innovative and natural? 500 years ago, computers were impossible. If you saw a tablet then you would insist it was supernatural because it didn't exist then. Our whole frame of categorizing things is based on what is modern knowledge. So what may seem impossible or supernatural today might be commonplace in 500 years.

I would caution though, some ideas are delusional. If you believe in some concept just from belief when evidence against it is are likely being delusional. Then it begs the question, "is it bad for you?". Maybe you believe in some supernatural concept because you don't think evidence against it is enough, or maybe you envision a possibility that will occur but hasn't yet. Those seem ok. But if you accept something that clearly goes against reality and will probably always go against reality...that can be a problem. Since most religious people believe this, it isn't all that uncommon though.

I'd have to know more specifics to really address details of what you think. In the end though, it isn't my place to judge you. I haven't walked in your shoes. I haven't seen what you have. I tend to favor scientific explanations over metaphysical ones but how can I say I've experienced everything there is to experience?

Fishy1's picture
Dale, Zaphod, Can-Dice, Mike.

Dale, Zaphod, Can-Dice, Mike.... And anyone who I might have missed...

I too am a straight up Atheist. I think that a belief in any God, without any kind of factual, undeniable evidence is just ludicrous. Huge claims require huge proof !

But I also experienced "something" which seemed like ghost almost daily, for 8 years !

Now I'm not asking anyone to believe this without actually having experienced it themselves. If your as much of a skeptic as I am, I wouldn't expect you to believe me either :)

In any case, I have to believe that what "seemed like" a ghost, or spirit, or entity, or whatever, was more likely something like a time or space warp.... Or a glitch in our 100% simulated world.... or any other of a thousand scientifically possible things, of which we have no clue about as of yet. And probably never will in our short existence here on Earth.

In other words, I still wouldn't call all of my more than 1 thousand occurrences supernatural" but rather, just not explained by science "yet" :)

SUPERNOVA's picture
You are not an atheist you

You are not an atheist you are agnostic. You still believe of the supernatural concepts which there's NOT.

Here's an article with evidence of 6 scientific explanations for ghosts

Fishy1's picture
Supernova, if you are talking

Supernova, if you are talking to me, or at least a few of the other guys here, NO. You are not correct.

In spite of all the occurrences I have experienced, I do not call any of it super natural, but rather, just not explainable by science "yet", although maybe it will be explained at some point down the road.

SUPERNOVA's picture
@Fishy1 I was talking to

@Fishy1 I was talking to @Dale Floyd French! This has nothing to do with you.

And yes what i said and what the article says is correct. If you think it's not correct and you believe in supernatural concepts. PLEASE DO enlighten us with the information you have before you decided to push disagree button without having any proof to support your claims!

Fishy1's picture
Hey Supernova, okay, I'm

Hey Supernova, okay, I'm sorry, maybe we are on the same page.
As in spite of all the 1000+ unexplainable occurrences I experienced, I still wouldn't call them supernatural, but rather, something which maybe could be explained with logic / science, but just hasn't been.... Yet. And maybe not in my lifetime.

I totally think it's silly to just fill in the blanks with superstitious crap.... Or fairy tales.... Which of course it what religion attempts to do.

Tin-Man's picture
@Supernova and Fishy

@Supernova and Fishy

Hey, guys. Just on the outside looking in, but it would seem there has been a slight misunderstanding between you two. No biggie, though. Hope you don't mind my stepping in, Fishy, but I would hate to see this escalate unnecessarily. Supernova, you can rest assured Fishy is not supersticious, nor does he claim to have supersticious beliefs relating to his incident. Fishy is cool, man. No worries. (*whispering* just to be on the safe side, though, i have a garlic necklace around my neck and a bottle of holy water handy in case he changes his mind. don't tell him that, though. shhhh...)

Fishy1's picture
TY Tin Man, totally ! I

TY Tin Man, totally ! I definitely don't believe in any kind of superstitious BS....

Like i say, "totally in spite" of the fact that I repeatedly experienced things that many would call supernatural over a period of 8 years, I just have no idea what that was. about.... But I'm not going to make shit up to fill in the blanks.

Easier to believe their is a logical natural answer that I'm just not aware of, than any kind of make believe crap.

SUPERNOVA's picture
All good fellows, Sometimes i

All good fellows, Sometimes i can be really difficult to deal with and stubborn when it comes to evidences to support my claim and the other party doesn't have anything but a word from someone else's watch.

@Fishy1 Science has proved religions and any supernatural concepts wrong. They have strong evidences which you can try in real time. For instance "GHOST" concept where people feel like their hunted and their chest get tight and wake up horrified. It was proven that it was just an electromagnetic field around you such as light or computer or anything that have a strong electromagnetic, it was also proven that it would be due to the lack of oxygen in the room or the area you are in.

Cheers to you all.

Fishy1's picture
Yes... and I know those are

Yes... and I know those are just random examples. But our situation would have had to be crazier than that.... Like I have said, maybe something to do with time and space warps (allowing a future being to toy with us) or a glitch in our '100% simulated reality' {which btw, I put more weight on, than I do any kind of religions}

Science fiction of today, could be science fact in the future.

Atheopagan's picture
I disagree vigorously, but

I disagree vigorously, but the definition of an atheist is simply someone who does not believe in gods, so you certainly belong here. That said, there is no credible evidence for so-called supernatural phenomena and I do not believe in them personally.

JoshieGibby's picture
I suppose anyone could just

I suppose anyone could just mix any word with another word to create something. I would try using less common words than basic modern English ones. Honestly most of the current words that are synonyms with ghosts are rather random in relation to their real root terminology. Ghost coming from the word 'rage' and spirit coming from 'breath or blast'. As far as root terminology goes it apparently doesn't matter at all the real meaning behind whatever word you generate. Only the meaning that you assign to the jumbled mistranslated mess of letters. So basically all that is need to create something unique is to pick a word or two. Even if it's not entirely relevant. Find the earliest old ancient version of it recorded in history. Then try mixing it together with another outdated piece of junk that hasn't been used in centuries. Until you are satisfied enough with the end result of your newly created mutant word offspring. The hardest part really is getting people to use the word that you have made. It's definitely time though that we coin an official term for this. We should be able to vote in a poll on this issue. A top liked word attributing to the belief in a possible afterlife without any Gods. Obviously there would have to be content filtering though for inappropriate terms before a final decision is made. I believe this is a very important issue to redefining history. People throughout history who have struggled deserve finally to have a terminology for this.

JoshieGibby's picture
The only requirement to be an

The only requirement to be an atheist, simply put by it's true definition is that you don't believe any God's exist. That's all the word means. In a newer sense of Atheism though people tend to just throw out all of theology and anything associated with it. To me this is basically a New Atheist Definition Movement. Honestly I believe the subject of an afterlife has no direct correlation to God. Other than what we have originally programed it to ultimately mean throughout history. However, we have the option to change this current viewpoint towards a better future. To officially make it acceptable in modern society, would in return grant extremely high turnouts towards getting people away from organized religion. As long as there are no scriptures, prophets, clergy, churches, sacrifices, oracles, magic, tarots, leaders, seance, charlatans, donations, scams, angels, demons, sins, judgements, brainwashing, or deities involved there is absolutely no harm in letting people believe in an afterlife.

LogicFTW's picture


Hi there, welcome to AR Joshie!

I mostly agree with your post, but I would like to add on your last statement: "...or deities involved there is absolutely no harm in letting people believe in an afterlife."

I think there is some harm. Going through life thinking there is an afterlife, (especially if you strongly believe this,) can be dangerous and detrimental. Because it devalues you current life. Especially if you think you will go to "heaven" it sort of makes this life a temporary stop, a perhaps necessary step to eternal "paradise" in the afterlife. Some folks might even be compelled if they feel their current life is not agreeable to them to try and take a shortcut to this paradise. Especially absent the usual religious frame work of: "sin" and suicide being a "no no" that possibly bars you entry to heaven.

But I will agree that the idea of an afterlife also can have some positive benefits. I an uncle who is very religious in his 80's, he has lost his wife decades ago, and even tragically lost a son to suicide about 5 years ago, he believes he will see them in "heaven" or afterlife. I wont take that away from him. At his age, and all the difficulties he had, I let him believe that, as tearing away that idea from him I feel would do more harm than good. But I also realize while I indulge him on this, I am allowing another insidious tool of religion put it's hooks into this guys mind. I am well aware there are many religious devout, that will not truly hear any argument or fact etc because to them, it is losing their perceived chance to be reunited to their lost loved ones.



I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.

Dark One's picture
I think what you would have

I think what you would have is a non-theistic belief system like Buddhism as you mentioned and Taoism would be another example, Jainism may be another example but I know less about it other than their practice of total non-harm to anything, even plants if they can possibly avoid it. Atheism while also obviously non-theistic can be considered a naturalistic or materialist (akin to 'atomism' or Epicureanism from ancient Greece) philosophy where there are no invisible supernatural beings, spirits, souls, energies of any kind unless such a thing can be objectively demonstrated to exist via observable data. I think it's a bit more than saying there isn't a God or gods when you have different religions that share this element in common. An atheist would still agree/disagree about the supernatural stuff you believe in but they're not really going to be as bothered by you as they would be by a Mormon, Scientologist or a Jehovah's Witness. You just don't quite have the full strength of mind to accept not knowing what you don't really know or you still need a supernatural crutch to get you by day by day.

noreason's picture
That's it for me. I don't

That's it for me. I don't believe in a god but I see some of the traits they give their god do line up to observations. Its just not an overseer type thing waiting to scare the crap out of us when we die.

Most atheist most definitely believe in something.

NeverHappened's picture
I've long noticed that much

I've long noticed that much science fiction stories are just tales of magic with a thin veneer of (largely made-up) scientific sounding explanations. Atheism is specifically disbelief in gods (powerful entities who created, controlled and judged humans)

I don't believe in 'supernatural' but consider how easily people with modern technology could appear to have supernatural powers to civilizations that had never encountered them.

NeverHappened's picture
Here's a thought experiment:

Here's a thought experiment:

Start with the question 'how long is NOW'. Is it a second, a millisecond, a nanosecond? It seems to be purely experiential, where our consciousness perceives itself. There is a wall between 'future' which we don't perceive, and 'past' which we do. But how real is that wall? Physicists argue whether time is reversible, under some interpretations there is no logical difference between past and future except what we can perceive.

To most peoples' perception, 'now' is a few seconds to minutes even though mathematically it would seem to actually be time on the quantum scale which would be truely 'now'. Yet our consciousness finds itself on that time line, stretching things out to a convenient scale, and that's the only 'now' we know.

What happens, however, if information (as perceived by our consciousness) can leak to some degree, what if the wall between past and future is not absolutely impermeable? What if some people's consciousness 'blurs' now to a longer degree?

This is *absolute* speculation. But the more I think of it, the more I wonder...

Cognostic's picture
@NeverHappened: Perception

@NeverHappened: Perception of NOW.
If you notice it, you are in the past. My thoughts are that the closest one can get to "now" is the Buddhist idea of "No Mind." This is as best I can describe it, seeing the world without words, without this or that, without connection to anything. It is like having the eyes of an infant, not knowing anything and experiencing it all for the first time without awareness of what you are experiencing. You experience it all but remember it afterwards. Well conditioned athletes are capable of achieving this sort of NOW awareness. Some can do it naturally and some are so burdened with words that they will never understand.


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