Epicurus and the atheist's guide to happiness

Seek pleasure and avoid pain. Why make it more complicated?

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  • The Epicureans were some of the world's first materialists and argued that there is neither God, nor gods, nor spirits, but only atoms and the physical world.
  • They believed that life was about finding pleasure and avoiding pain and that both were achieved by minimizing our desires for things.
  • The Epicurean Four Step Remedy is advice on how we can face the world, achieve happiness, and not worry as much as we do.
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Can you be scientific and spiritual?

Spirituality can be an uncomfortable word for atheists. But does it deserve the antagonism that it gets?

  • While the anti-scientific bias of religious fundamentalism requires condemnation, if we take a broader view, does the human inclination towards spiritual practice still require the same antagonism? The answer, I think, is a definitive "No."
  • Rather than ontological claims about what exists in the universe, the terms spiritual and sacred can describe the character of an experience. Instead of a "thing" they can refer to an attitude or an approach.
  • One can be entirely faithful to the path of inquiry and honesty that is science while making it one aspect of a broader practice embracing the totality of your experience as a human being in this more-than-human world.
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Thinking thresholds: Is science the only source of truth in the world?

Adam Frank, a card-carrying atheist and physics professor, wonders if there might be more to life than pure science.

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  • With all due respect to Copernicus, writes Adam Frank, humans are at the center of it all.
  • Science is just one of many sources of truth in the world. The lived, subjective experience of humans creates reality, and when science excludes subjective experience, we end up with a less useful kind of science.
  • Can science and philosophy form a union that gets us to a far richer account of the world and a far richer science?
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Is there life after death?

Is death the final frontier? We ask scientists, philosophers, and spiritual leaders about life after death.

  • Death is inevitable for all known living things. However on the question of what, if anything, comes after life, the most honest answer is that no one knows.
  • So far, there is no scientific evidence to prove or disprove what happens after we die. In this video, astronomer Michelle Thaller, neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, science educator Bill Nye, and others consider what an afterlife would look like, what the biblical concepts of 'eternal life' and 'hell' really mean, why so many people around the world choose to believe that death is not the end, and whether or not that belief is ultimately detrimental or beneficial to one's life.
  • Life after death is also not relegated to discussions of religion. "Digital and genetic immortality are within reach," says theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. Kaku shares how, in the future, we may be able to physically talk to the dead thanks to hologram technology and the digitization of our online lives, memories, and connectome.
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Study: Viewing religion, science as incompatible is uniquely American

In some countries, religiosity and pro-science attitudes are actually positively correlated, according to the results of a recent study.

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  • Americans have longed seemed to view science and religion as competing forces.
  • A new study examined views on science and religion among roughly 70,000 people across 60 countries.
  • The results showed that while many countries show a negative correlation between religiosity and science views, the correlation is far more consistent in the U.S.
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