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Author Topic: Do you believe?  (Read 2072 times)
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Razgon
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« on: November 15, 2008, 12:26:53 PM »

So, after talking with my gf the other day, I started thinking about what people believe in, and how surprised I've been a number of times, when the supernatural, mythology, or even religion has popped up during conversations.

I distinclty remember a long time ago, when a woman I knew talked about her job at a museum, and that one special night, where her dog startd going bananas up in the attic - she told me the hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and suddenly things started flying about, falling of shelves and going crazy. she got the hell outta there, and it hasnt happened since that one time.

Now, that woman is one of the most sane and normal and NOT prone to exaggeration people I know, and had any other people told me about this, I'd have laughed, but this? I cant explain it...and before you ask , no, we dont have earthquakes here in denmark.

So, once in a while, you hear, from close people about stuff you just cant explain. Now, I dont believe in anythin like that, I'm an atheist, I dont beleive in ghosts, ufo's or anything of the kind, despite the fact that my dad once asked "Dont you sometimes think you'r god" after seeing us playing PnP Dungeons and Dragons ;-)

So, do you Belive in anything out of the ordinary?
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Huw the Poo
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2008, 02:42:06 PM »

Yeah, I believe in ghosts.  I don't think I've seen any myself, but they tie in with my overall belief that we are all more than our physical bodies.  I subscribe to the not uncommon belief that physical life on Earth is a drop in the ocean compared to what our total existence is/will be.  I believe that we will live many lives on Earth as well as elsewhere, and that the physical universe is itself only one facet of, well, everything.

I could talk all day about this.  I won't, though. smile
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2008, 02:56:43 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on November 15, 2008, 12:26:53 PM

So, do you Belive in anything out of the ordinary?

No. "Belief" is only required for things that don't exist. For example, I don't believe in the existence of Gaming Trend. I know it exists.
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2008, 03:27:25 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on November 15, 2008, 02:56:43 PM

No. "Belief" is only required for things that don't exist. For example, I don't believe in the existence of Gaming Trend. I know it exists.

I disagree.  Belief is when you are of the opinion that something is true although you don't know it for a fact.  I believe it will snow in January, but I don't know it will.
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2008, 03:45:27 PM »

I certainly believe that people see things they can't explain and have experiences that seem unnatural. I further believe that there are rational explanations for all of them -- often originating in the observer's own mind. We just don't understand them yet, or don't have all the information. Although I don't entirely rule out their existence, I never resort to gods or spirits to explain the inexplicable. I'm comfortable with leaving it as "unexplained."
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2008, 03:47:03 PM »

Wait, this topic isn't about the Mets?

On topic, no. My wife watches a ton of Ghost Hunters, but that show just makes me laugh.
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Jeff
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2008, 04:11:14 PM »

I believe Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World should be required reading.

Huw, what do you base your beliefs on, referring to the belief that we will "live many lives" on this earth and others, and that the physical universe is merely a part of a bigger picture?

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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2008, 06:42:18 PM »

I believe I can fly....
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Moliere
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2008, 06:47:55 PM »

I believe in Cher.
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Huw the Poo
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2008, 06:51:30 PM »

Jeff:

As I said earlier, I could talk all day about it; I have spent many years investigating the "problem" of what happens when we die.  I've read a mountain of books, been from one end of the internet to the other, spent hours in libraries, talked to gurus etc, all over the past ten years or so, and my work is still ongoing.

In a nutshell, after reviewing more theories than I could even count, my current set of beliefs are based on what, to me, seem the most likely explanation that I've found so far.  There's a large number of people who share the many-lives belief, some of whom are very gifted.  It has been very difficult, as you can well imagine, to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.  The real problem with "alternative" beliefs is that since they aren't easy to prove, there is an extremely high degree of charlatanism and fakery that you have to sift through when you're investigating.  It's thankfully become easier for me to spot those who know what they're talking about, though, and theories get discussed and expanded upon in certain communities.  This, coupled with undertaking various exploratory techniques, has led me to where I am today.

I won't go into it all here, but suffice to say I've experienced certain things which have provided evidence - not proof, I'll be the first to admit - that lend a lot of credence to the people and gurus who say that we are much, much more than our physical bodies.  Put simply, I think the physical body is simply a means to experience that peculiar part of reality known as the physical universe.

To finally answer your question, Jeff, I believe what I believe because unlike (arguably) religion, and certainly unlike science which pointedly ignores the afterlife discussion altogether, the leading researchers in the area I've been exploring have discovered and provided means to find out for myself about the nature of reality and existence.  Anyone can find out how to do it, really, if you look hard enough.
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« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2008, 07:06:04 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on November 15, 2008, 03:47:03 PM

Wait, this topic isn't about the Mets?

On topic, no. My wife watches a ton of Ghost Hunters, but that show just makes me laugh.

I have to admit - I do like that show.  I watch it - and about 80% of the time they have stuff that I just don't think is "supernatural" - but the other 20% really blows me away.  A lot of those types of evidence really do make me think of what else there is.  I do get the hairs in the back of my neck up when I see (or hear) something that I just cannot explain.

But belief wise - I am spiritual (yes major Christian religion, though I do not impose that on other people smile) I do believe that this is not all that there is.  Whether we come back as another individual, go to heaven (or hell), or live on in a different plane - I believe that there is something else.
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2008, 07:25:07 PM »

There's this godawful show in the UK called Most Haunted, in which the presenter takes a bunch of gullible idiots to "haunted houses" all over the country to spend the night.  It's hilarious.  The presenter always just happens to be the only person who supposedly hears bumps and noises and such, and pretends to shit herself whilst the others get progressively more frightened due to her reactions.

My first thought is always "if it's that scary, why not turn the light on?"
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2008, 07:37:15 PM »

Quote from: Huw the Poo on November 15, 2008, 07:25:07 PM

There's this godawful show in the UK called Most Haunted, in which the presenter takes a bunch of gullible idiots to "haunted houses" all over the country to spend the night.  It's hilarious.  The presenter always just happens to be the only person who supposedly hears bumps and noises and such, and pretends to shit herself whilst the others get progressively more frightened due to her reactions.

My first thought is always "if it's that scary, why not turn the light on?"

Yeah, I don't like that show either.  Too much drama with the group that go out there.  In addition, I don't like them using "mediums" all the time - which I think to me is just people's feeling/perception, which again is subject people.  I like Ghost Hunters because they do try to use equipment to capture things - and I think that appeals to my geek side.
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2008, 08:52:26 PM »

Quote from: Huw the Poo on November 15, 2008, 03:27:25 PM

I believe it will snow in January, but I don't know it will.
Depending on where you live its likely or probable that it will snow in January. This doesn't require your belief.


Quote from: Zero on November 15, 2008, 07:06:04 PM

I do believe that this is not all that there is.  Whether we come back as another individual, go to heaven (or hell), or live on in a different plane - I believe that there is something else.

Based on what? Without evidence, you might as well exchange the word "believe" with "hope".
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2008, 09:34:38 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on November 15, 2008, 08:52:26 PM


Based on what? Without evidence, you might as well exchange the word "believe" with "hope".

Precisely. I mentioned Sagan's Demon Haunted World above. In it, he makes a poignant statement:

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

Huw, thanks for sharing some of your ideas. I too am very curious about the nature of reality, existence, etc. I have settled on simply accepting what we know... and am content with being curious about the unknown, without attributing the mystical and/or supernatural to fill in the gaps in knowledge. If there is 'something more' after death, so be it. As it is, I have no evidence to suggest that is the case.
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2008, 09:53:29 PM »

Good to see some fellow skeptics.

I'm a bit farther than that in that I'm an atheist as well.

Keep in mind though, I'll be first to accept anything paranormal and support its veracity if I am presented with enough good (and extraordinary) evidence.  However, when such a case arises it wouldn't be blind belief (aka faith) but it would then be kind of an ordinary thing.

Also note that there's Occam's Razor, which states: "The hypothesis that introduces the least amount of new assumptions is most often the correct hypothesis."  Although note that it doesn't outlaw any extraordinary claims, it does provide the foundation for why skeptics like myself think the way we do about such extraordinary claims.

In the case of the first post, that could easily be explained by your friend having a dream and remembering it as truth, it happens quite a bit and you'd be surprised at how fallable human memory is after studying the brain.  Already there's a big indicator that something was odd about your friend's situations because she somehow had her dog, an animal not likely to be let into any museum where they keep priceless artifacts, in the museum's attic.  What was she doing there with a dog?

Some dogs also just go ballistic at random things.  Also, attics are scary places, same for basements, and any place where you are isolated, so feeling uneasy there is not out of place, doubly so since a museum's attic would be filled with all sorts of unusual objects.

Also if such an event happened, there would be an uproar.  Anything a museum stores is likely to have value, and people would take notice if a bunch of it started flying off the walls and probably breaking.  She would have also told her superiors about this and likely a police report filed for vandalism.  Where is the report?

So, according to Occam's razor, assuming that she had a dream, or a waking dream, and remembered it as real is less assumptions than assuming that there's an afterlife, that people can revisit Earth from that afterlife, and that people can then still affect the corporeal world from that afterlife.

It's also why we can also safely assume that the Roswell incident really was a spy balloon meant for the USSR that crashed rather than a flying saucer because assuming that we developed a balloon capable of floating in the upper atmosphere with what's basically today known as a satellite camera requires much fewer assumptions that saying there is intelligent extraterrestrial life close enough to visit us, that these beings fly in saucer shaped craft that can defy the law of gravity, and that they can travel faster than the speed of light.

The same can be said of bigfoot videos and the loch ness monster.
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2008, 10:11:45 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on November 15, 2008, 08:52:26 PM

Quote from: Huw the Poo on November 15, 2008, 03:27:25 PM

I believe it will snow in January, but I don't know it will.
Depending on where you live its likely or probable that it will snow in January. This doesn't require your belief.
It doesn't require my belief?  Whoever said it did, and moreover, what does that have to do with it?  You said that the word belief is used only when things don't exist, and you were quite clear about it.  I'm just saying I think you're wrong.

In fact, why don't I just quote the definition of 'believe' from dictionary.com:

Quote
to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so

...which is exactly what I said.
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2008, 10:15:26 PM »

Turtle, that was a nice post.  Yes, I'd agree that Occam's Razor is a useful (although not all-powerful) tool, and I employ it myself.  Hell, I have a scientific background.  This is why it has taken me a good ten years or so to arrive at my convictions today, rather than just reading about some extraordinary topic and instantly replacing curiosity with credulity because it's "cool."

There are metaphysical explanations for what Razgon described in his original post, but only a nutter would jump on them before investigating more conventional explanations.

Edit: Poor choice of word.
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2008, 10:23:17 PM »

I don't believe in anything supernatural.

Quote from: Teggy on November 15, 2008, 03:47:03 PM


On topic, no. My wife watches a ton of Ghost Hunters, but that show just makes me laugh.
I laugh too.  Every single promo is the same -- a mandatory night vision shot and someone yelling "Did you hear that?!?"
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM »

i believe there's other life out there. however, I dont think it's intelligent and I don't think we have been visited by any aliens. our universe is insanely huge, hell there are stars bigger than our freakin galaxy.

I also believe we rot in the ground after dying.
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2008, 11:45:21 PM »

Quote from: jersoc on November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM

i believe there's other life out there. however, I dont think it's intelligent ...

You don't believe there's any intelligent life out there? There are trillions of stars, and probably trillions of planets. I'll bet there's definitely highly advanced intelligence out there somewhere.

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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2008, 11:49:06 PM »

Quote from: jersoc on November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM

there are stars bigger than our freakin galaxy.

Um...whut?
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2008, 11:52:29 PM »

Quote from: Ironrod on November 15, 2008, 11:49:06 PM

Quote from: jersoc on November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM

there are stars bigger than our freakin galaxy.

Um...whut?

Heh... while there are some stars that make our sun look like a BB, I don't think they're the size of our galaxy slywink
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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2008, 12:14:20 AM »

Quote from: Moliere on November 15, 2008, 08:52:26 PM

Quote from: Zero on November 15, 2008, 07:06:04 PM

I do believe that this is not all that there is.  Whether we come back as another individual, go to heaven (or hell), or live on in a different plane - I believe that there is something else.

Based on what? Without evidence, you might as well exchange the word "believe" with "hope".

If its my beliefs, what "evidence" can I give you that you take?  Everything that I present to you, you will undoubtedly present it as false.  Everything that you present to me for your side, I will see as coming from a lack of knowledge.  There will likely be a disagreement here - and I don't want to go down that route.
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« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2008, 12:44:11 AM »

I'm an open-minded skeptic. I don't jump to the conclusion that ghosts and stuff exist, but I am open to the idea that there are phenomena that go on that we don't yet have the knowledge to explain. It is ridiculous to think that in 2008 we have reached complete understanding of the entire universe, so I think it is unreasonable to automatically discount anything that doesn't fit neatly into our preconceptions.

On the other hand, we must be very careful not to claim something as evidence just because it fits with an assumption not based on sound science. Ghost hunters are quite guilty of this. They will declare that the appearance of an EMF spike is evidence of a ghost, when we have no scientific reason to believe that A) ghosts exist or B) that their presence causes EMF flucutations. This kind of "house of cards" reasoning can lead even very reasonable people down erroneous paths.

I thoroughly enjoy watching shows like Ghost Hunters or UFO documentaries. Like Mulder, I want to believe. But I'm also very careful to not commit to beliefs that are not supported by sound scientific evidence.
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2008, 07:49:36 PM »



My ex fancied herself a witch, a system which I was happy to let her pursue on her own.  After being around her long enough, it became clear that her spells were no different than others' prayers.  They were ritualized actions to request supernatural influence that may or not work.  She believed in ghosts and fancied herself a medium.  I was more inclined to think her as possessing mild multiple personality disorder.  She certainly had enough other mental health issues that this one was not a stretch.

I leave these things to others.  My belief in something does not influence its existence.  If there are ghosts, I will certainly listen to evidence from credible sources.  If there are aliens, the same.  And, yes, that even extends to organized religion.  I guess at this point in my life, I believe in God, but do not have the egocentric nature to think that me asking really nicely will get me what I want or that He has the time or inclination to simultaneously control the spin state of every electron (election?) in the universe.  The rules that we have discovered are there for a reason.  Everything does not happen for a reason (other than causality).
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2008, 11:24:44 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 15, 2008, 11:52:29 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on November 15, 2008, 11:49:06 PM

Quote from: jersoc on November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM

there are stars bigger than our freakin galaxy.

Um...whut?

Heh... while there are some stars that make our sun look like a BB, I don't think they're the size of our galaxy slywink

yeah i meant solar system.

and yes, i highly doubt any are intelligent.
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2008, 02:23:37 AM »

Quote from: jersoc on November 16, 2008, 11:24:44 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 15, 2008, 11:52:29 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on November 15, 2008, 11:49:06 PM

Quote from: jersoc on November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM

there are stars bigger than our freakin galaxy.

Um...whut?

Heh... while there are some stars that make our sun look like a BB, I don't think they're the size of our galaxy slywink

yeah i meant solar system.

and yes, i highly doubt any are intelligent.

Why? Given the astronomical (heh) number of planets in the universe, I highly doubt that human-level or higher intelligence evolved only once. I agree that interstellar travel is enormously difficult. Even if the galaxy is full of spacefaring creatures, they're not sneaking around earth, mutilating our cattle and making crop circles.  ninja2
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2008, 03:27:24 AM »

Quote from: jersoc on November 16, 2008, 11:24:44 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 15, 2008, 11:52:29 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on November 15, 2008, 11:49:06 PM

Quote from: jersoc on November 15, 2008, 11:20:56 PM

there are stars bigger than our freakin galaxy.

Um...whut?

Heh... while there are some stars that make our sun look like a BB, I don't think they're the size of our galaxy slywink

yeah i meant solar system.

and yes, i highly doubt any are intelligent.

of course there are no intelligent stars.  I mean have you looked at Hollywood?  Tongue
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2008, 04:19:42 AM »

Erm, Natalie Portman?
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2008, 04:23:25 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on November 17, 2008, 04:19:42 AM

Erm, Natalie Portman?

ern, the Star Wars prequels?  icon_twisted
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2008, 05:14:11 AM »

I *want* to believe in ghosts, but I don't believe every haunting story I hear. Gotta take everything with a grain of salt - what other logical reason could there be for something to have happened? I watch ghost hunters a lot, but quickly lost interest in the past two seasons - it seems like everything happens to Jason and Grant while everyone else has mild to moderately interesting and peculiar things happen. Like cold spots. They bust out the K2 meter thing with the lights and it goes crazy or they hear a voice and it's like - yeah...right. And no one else gets squat?

It's difficult to buy that it's not someone off camera pressing a button to make that thing light up. Or that EVP wasn't edited to be there afterwards. Because if they caught nothing ever, the show would pretty much be boring. But I did enjoy earlier episodes where they frequently caught nothing, more often. The human brain makes things seem more familiar. You've seen videos of dogs barking which sounds like they're making words. Or images hidden within images. It's easy to say "I see a human form in that mist". Some people see a bunny rabbit in that cloud.

They have caught some interesting evidence that I can't explain.

So I want to believe in ghosts. Because it means there's something more to life than just what's here. It's difficult to believe that because life is a constant struggle to improve yourself, and I think I'd take comfort in knowing that there's more to the world. I want to go ghost hunting myself - but I hate being in the dark.

As far as aliens - yeah, I'm sure there's alien life out there. Hell - I wouldn't be surprised if there's life on Jupiter and Venus of a variety we don't understand or comprehend, simply because it makes sense. If every planet is 100% barren and earth is the only one with intelligent life - well, it just doesn't make any sense. Why would of the billions of stars, the billions of planets orbiting those stars, why would Earth be the only one that would have life on it? We have hundreds of different kinds of animal life on this planet, so to think that another planet wouldn't have any...

As far as space-faring aliens - that have visited earth? Maybe. Why not? If there's a close-by alien, and we're the closest planet, I'd say we'd be interesting to observe.

God? Yeah. I believe in God. Or many gods. Or just one true god. Or ascended beings. I don't know for sure. I don't believe something watches over us and guides us but I do believe something hopes for the good of all of us.
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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2008, 08:34:20 AM »

Quote from: CeeKay on November 17, 2008, 04:23:25 AM

Quote from: Turtle on November 17, 2008, 04:19:42 AM

Erm, Natalie Portman?

ern, the Star Wars prequels?  icon_twisted

Touche, Ceekay.  Touche.
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« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2008, 12:49:08 PM »

I believe in Chi (or Ki depending on translation).  I believe in a transcendent power that can be honed and focused to a level that raises it beyond a normal human level.  I've seen it demonstrated, and I've experienced it myself.  Before anyone gives me any chat about proper bone alignment for breaking bricks, I challenge you to smash 16" of concrete with your hands - proper bone alignment or no.

I also very deeply believe that the new Bond song from Alicia Keys and whatever emo kid latched onto her ass is absolutely and completely horrible and should be killed with fire. 
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« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2008, 01:11:33 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on November 17, 2008, 12:49:08 PM

I also very deeply believe that the new Bond song from Alicia Keys and whatever emo kid latched onto her ass is absolutely and completely horrible and should be killed with fire. 

It is utterly horrific, is it not!?
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« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2008, 01:19:39 PM »

Quote from: Lockdown on November 17, 2008, 01:11:33 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on November 17, 2008, 12:49:08 PM

I also very deeply believe that the new Bond song from Alicia Keys and whatever emo kid latched onto her ass is absolutely and completely horrible and should be killed with fire. 

It is utterly horrific, is it not!?

Wow.  I'm starting to think I'm completely unique among the human race.  I hate the direction of the new Bond (aka action hero) films.  See my posts in the Quantum thread but I LOVE the Bond song!  It is awesome.  I have it saved on my satellite radio.

You guys are weird.  icon_wink
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« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2008, 04:20:12 PM »

Quote from: jersoc on November 16, 2008, 11:24:44 PM

and yes, i highly doubt any are intelligent.

Why on earth would you think that? To me, that seems presumptuous, to think that we're  alone in the entire universe when it comes to intelligence. The mathematical odds are staggeringly in favor of their being other intelligent life out there. Probably lots and lots of it.

I'd recommend reading some Sagan slywink  Cosmos is a good place to start.

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« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2008, 04:30:25 PM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on November 17, 2008, 05:14:11 AM

As far as space-faring aliens - that have visited earth? Maybe. Why not? If there's a close-by alien, and we're the closest planet, I'd say we'd be interesting to observe.

The laws of physics, as we currently understand them, make it nearly impossible to bridge interstellar space in anything close to a tolerable travel time and energy expenditure.

Of course, sf writers have been getting around that for decades, so maybe physics will catch up someday. I agree that watching an infant civilization like ours emerge from its homeworld would be worth the effort, if it were feasible at all. It's not entirely impossible that aliens have visited earth...just extremely unlikely, based on what we know about mass and energy.   
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« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2008, 04:32:17 PM »

Quote from: Ironrod on November 17, 2008, 04:30:25 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on November 17, 2008, 05:14:11 AM

As far as space-faring aliens - that have visited earth? Maybe. Why not? If there's a close-by alien, and we're the closest planet, I'd say we'd be interesting to observe.

The laws of physics, as we currently understand them, make it nearly impossible to bridge interstellar space in anything close to a tolerable travel time and energy expenditure.

Of course, sf writers have been getting around that for decades, so maybe physics will catch up someday. I agree that watching an infant civilization like ours emerge from its homeworld would be worth the effort, if it were feasible at all. It's not entirely impossible that aliens have visited earth...just extremely unlikely, based on what we know about mass and energy.   

Yes, but compare that with what we "knew" about mass and energy 100 years ago. 

Helium was first liquefied in 1908.  The Geiger counter was invented that year.  The nucleus of the atom wasn't discovered until a year later.
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« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2008, 04:38:06 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on November 17, 2008, 04:32:17 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on November 17, 2008, 04:30:25 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on November 17, 2008, 05:14:11 AM

As far as space-faring aliens - that have visited earth? Maybe. Why not? If there's a close-by alien, and we're the closest planet, I'd say we'd be interesting to observe.

The laws of physics, as we currently understand them, make it nearly impossible to bridge interstellar space in anything close to a tolerable travel time and energy expenditure.

Of course, sf writers have been getting around that for decades, so maybe physics will catch up someday. I agree that watching an infant civilization like ours emerge from its homeworld would be worth the effort, if it were feasible at all. It's not entirely impossible that aliens have visited earth...just extremely unlikely, based on what we know about mass and energy.   

Yes, but compare that with what we "knew" about mass and energy 100 years ago. 

That's why I qualified my post as I did. There are very few things that I'll ever rule out entirely.
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