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Old 10-24-2013, 06:48 PM
 
71 posts, read 103,833 times
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First of all I want to say that I am not a Bible thumping, hellfire threatening religious fanatic. I am also not a big fan of and have found many problems and inconsistencies with many forms of organized religion. I have also discovered contradictions in a couple of holy books.

On the other hand, I have consistently had many experiences during my lifetime that would indicate that there is a higher power than myself or a GOD.

For the atheists who consider themselves serious and open-minded thinkers, have you ever experienced intuitions that are hard to explain? And how do you scientifically explain these things?

I have experienced so many. You just happen to notice something just in time, you happen to learn about something just before it happens to you, or something tells you not to do this or that and there is some kind of tragedy or disaster that you are able to avoid because of this.

If you have lived long enough you have had to have these kinds of experiences. Are these just major coincidences or are they instinct that is built into humans from evolution? Or is this something else?
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Southwestern, USA
19,469 posts, read 15,012,320 times
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Good question.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,533,720 times
Reputation: 14048
I've had those kind of experiences, and I'm a heathen. I don't know the answer but there is a good "scientific" explanation...

Our conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the things going on in our heads, nor are we necessarily 1 personality in our subconscious and our conscious minds are also extremely loud and very bad at collecting and storing all the information you run across in your waking life.

I only came to this realization after playing around with lucid dreaming; I "confronted myself" in lucid dreams on several occasions and realized "I" would be more accurately described as a "we" with my conscious self being the "loudest" one and therefore (mostly) in control. The subconscious mind doesn't just shut down when we are awake either; it's simply drowned out by the conscious mind and it's getting everything that comes through your senses too... probably far more than your smaller conscious mind can possibly sort through.

Perhaps intuition happens when the "other you(s)" in the subconscious pick up on something the "conscious you" missed or failed to "connect the dots" to, and was just loud enough catch the conscious mind's attention at the right time.

Of course, the conscious reaction to that would be that someone else got in your head and saved your bacon... a miracle! And who could get into your head except god... or your deceased loved one, or aliens, or the Federal Government, or Lady Gaga... depending on how far you've fallen into mental illness.

Does that make any sense?
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:02 PM
 
535 posts, read 858,799 times
Reputation: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by TENNYOOPER View Post
First of all I want to say that I am not a Bible thumping, hellfire threatening religious fanatic. I am also not a big fan of and have found many problems and inconsistencies with many forms of organized religion. I have also discovered contradictions in a couple of holy books.

On the other hand, I have consistently had many experiences during my lifetime that would indicate that there is a higher power than myself or a GOD.

For the atheists who consider themselves serious and open-minded thinkers, have you ever experienced intuitions that are hard to explain? And how do you scientifically explain these things?

I have experienced so many. You just happen to notice something just in time, you happen to learn about something just before it happens to you, or something tells you not to do this or that and there is some kind of tragedy or disaster that you are able to avoid because of this.

If you have lived long enough you have had to have these kinds of experiences. Are these just major coincidences or are they instinct that is built into humans from evolution? Or is this something else?
Two stories from my long 71 year life.
1. My dad died young of a heart attack. He was 39. My mom said two days before he died he was reading the obits and said, "You'll be reading my name in here within a month."
2. One of my brothers was a devout atheist. He fought bladder cancer for nearly a year before dying. A year after his death, his widow finally was able to clean his office. In his desk drawer she found four business cards from three pastors and one priest. I called each and they each said the same thing. My brother had spent hours on the phone and in person talking to each. From what I could gather, his questions and concerns were the same for each minister. Each said he progressed from panic to peace in the months of conversations they had with him. He went from not wanting to pray, to listening to them pray, to actually praying himself.

Now that I reread the OP question I guess #2 is kind of off topic. If the moderators cut it I'll understand.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,309 posts, read 9,983,264 times
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I have not personally had such experiences of intuitions or subjective personal experiences. I have even, for the sake of experimentation, tried to have them induced, to no avail. Some of us are not wired that way. I'm sure this influences my thinking, but I do acknowledge that most people have at least some such experiences and some have many, very intense experiences that seem very real to them.

I have to say, though, what you appear to be describing is not so much strong intuition or altered states of consciousness or "peak experiences" so much as inferring patterns and making connections in ways that are subjectively satisfying to you. Whether they are warranted empirically is another matter. Part of this is an issue of how you approach these kinds of situations ... are you willing to draw conclusions without evidence? What are your evidentiary standards? In my experience, people tend to draw conclusions that feel positive or exciting or fascinating or superficially plausible but never with evidence that would hold up in a court of law or in peer reviewed science. When we are attempting to draw conclusions about things like god, creation, (im)mortality, or some unseen realm of spirit, it seems like we need to set the bar pretty high -- and this fits the principle that the person making extraordinary claims has the burden of proof.

To your point that anyone who has lived long enough HAVE HAD to have these kinds of experiences, this is exactly the kind of fallacy I am talking about. There is no "had to" that follows; that sounds like a reflection of a desire for shared experiences with others, not any kind of principle that says people "must" have such experiences during a lifetime. There are a WIDE variety of personality types and configurations of mind. I would venture to guess that a small but not insignificant percentage of people NEVER have such intuitive experiences, even while acknowledging, based on people's testimonies, that most have them at least occasionally. And I have certainly met people who seem to almost inhabit a highly subjective "alternate reality".

I would also caution against assuming that the mere presence and/or common nature of some experiences validates anything. We'v all seen "brain teasers" and drawings that use perspective tricks such that some people will see one thing, some another -- or they look like one thing initially and then someone points out a "hidden" image and it suddenly becomes apparent to you. These work with most anyone but all they prove is that the brain is an imperfect pattern matching engine and some of those imperfections can be revealed in most any brain.

I would in fact suggest that all the ghost hunting / haunting TV shows, all the hunches and intuitions and "deja vu" experiences are likely to be products of wishful thinking and pattern mis-recognition combined with a desire for something more exotic than mundane reality.

Is it likely that a few such experiences must be filed under "unexplained" but we also have to decide what we do with those. Do we draw conclusions from them or let them be as they are? Do we try to reproduce them under controlled conditions or at least as close to those as we can come?

It's fine (and often fun) to speculate about the meaning of ambiguous, corner-of-the-eye experiences but it's devilishly hard to construct falsifiable hypotheses from them. That in itself should tell us something.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:29 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 42,417,011 times
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OP - can you be specific about one of these "happenings"? Exactly what was it you experienced? Its kind of hard to comment when there topic is so vague.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:38 PM
 
49,017 posts, read 30,539,524 times
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Default What about intuition or premonitions?

A little known scientific truth about our consciousness is that it is really like a "time-delayed broadcast." Our real consciousness does the actual experiencing and we "replay it after the fact" . . . as if it is just happening. Our real consciousness is what we experience as our subconscious or our intuition. Some of us get what could be described as "bleed-through" from our real consciousness which . . . as far as we are concerned . . . is always in the future.
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:29 PM
 
3,124 posts, read 4,500,482 times
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How does a school of fish all swim in exactly the same directions at exactly the same time? Is THAT supernatural, or just something natural we can't yet explain?
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Florida
21,134 posts, read 22,218,794 times
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To keep it simple can we just paraphrase a well known and much overused explanation for events like this ?

"Life works in mysterious ways"
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:34 AM
 
5,460 posts, read 6,215,206 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TENNYOOPER View Post
First of all I want to say that I am not a Bible thumping, hellfire threatening religious fanatic. I am also not a big fan of and have found many problems and inconsistencies with many forms of organized religion. I have also discovered contradictions in a couple of holy books.

On the other hand, I have consistently had many experiences during my lifetime that would indicate that there is a higher power than myself or a GOD.

For the atheists who consider themselves serious and open-minded thinkers, have you ever experienced intuitions that are hard to explain? And how do you scientifically explain these things?
A more important question : what in the world does an unexplained bit of brain function have to do with god(s) or religion?
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