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Hdier
12-10-2007, 11:59 AM
I was watching the news when the had a discussion about the new movie 'The Golden Compass'. They had two people, one was an atheist and the other one was, if memory serves, a catholic. The atheist was saying that atheism promotes science and not superstition, implying that religion promotes superstition over science. I thought this was ridiculous, but wondering what more rational people thought (the person seemed very emotional to me), and was also wondering if that belief is widespread among atheists.

Also, do you think that The Golden Compass promotes atheism? I saw (didn't like it, but loved the books) and read the first two books, but I didn't really see anything that would promote atheism. I think that the people are grasping at straws here.


BTW, if I offended anyone then I am sorry, as I did not want to, and that was not the purpose of this thread.

blueback
12-10-2007, 12:12 PM
Probably. Religion inhibits logical thought, which is a prerequisite for science. Religious explanations have been losing ground to science for thousands of years and the pace of change is increasing. In response, religious types are fighting back against science. They feel threatened, so they are responding accordingly, which makes religion anti-science. Of course, most religious people are open-minded enough to accept, and even embrace, many of the fruits of science. . .but not all of them.

There aren't many people who think that a scientific explanation for why it rains is un-Godly, but there are a lot who think that a scientific explanation for why gays are attracted to members of the same sex is un-Godly. So, they push back against the advancing boarders of science.

It's okay with me. I don't care what atheists or theists believe. The truth exists independant of our interpretation of it, so maybe a time will come when humans set aside their fear of the unknown and think for themselves.

stasis
12-10-2007, 12:20 PM
Do atheists believe that non-atheists are against science?
I think they tend to be, to the degree that they hold to their theism. A theistic means of understanding the world is a mystical one. And while conflicting duality in belief is both possible and common, such that a person could be a devout mystic and simultaneously a scientist, it is my opinion that the perpetuation of mystical means of understanding the world is an effort contrary to scientific empiricism. They have conflicted, they do conflict, and I imagine that they will continue to conflict.

logan235711
12-10-2007, 12:59 PM
Science promotes a different criteria that must be satisfied than general religions require so they will conflict in certain areas on the surface. More indepth analysis shows a great deal of flexibility in both systems to allow each to co-exist. Not necessarily useful to this point, but a nice little tidbit I always found interesting is that Isaac Newton actually devoted most of his research to religious and theological inquiry--more than 60%, and only 20% of his work was actually in his natural philosophy. Anyways, I can't speak for atheists, I think they might be just as, if not more, susceptible to jumping the gun as non-atheists in these issues.

Hdier
12-10-2007, 02:07 PM
I have a strong belief in my religion, however I also believe in science. I chase after scientific answers for things, even if religion already explains it, because I believe that there is always a scientific answer, and learning it will benefit us. Just because I believe in Jesus doesn't mean that I'll believe in superstitions, simply that I believe in a religion. I believe that we need to learn scientific explanations for things, in order to learn how our universe works. In me, science and religion are side-by-side, not clashing at all, because I can accept both, even if they are contradictory. Not only do I accept science, but I am going to be a Neurologist, even though I have such a strong belief in my religion.

How many of you are atheists? I assume that all of you are, from the way you talk, however I just want to make sure.

banzai
12-10-2007, 02:08 PM
Some understand that either side could never be truly proven. Under this, you can believe whatever you want as far as toss-ups go, but don't ignore the facts we have. Although science often goes against religion, it is incorrect to conclude that science goes against the concept of God and that it is any bastion of atheism.

Frankly I don't think any other understanding besides this is right, whether that's religious who feel slighted by science or refuse to believe what we know so far, or atheists who think that science holds anything or will ever hold anything against the existence of God.

I don't know about the Golden Compass, I thought it was pretty good but I wasn't really looking for some sort of thiestic or atheistic agenda, it's a fantasy movie that's meant to be enjoyed.

Charlie Mc.
12-10-2007, 07:14 PM
I see nothing contradictory about believing in religion and science. In fact I think that the more I understand about science, the more I have my faith confirmed. Science explains the mechanism of the universe (or at least attempts to) but it doesn't say much about why that mechanism exists. For me that is where religion comes in. I don't see what the big deal about saying sure God created man, and evolution was his tool for doing so is. The Creationist vs Evolutionist debate has always kind of amused me. I see no conflict there. Of course I don't hold to a literal interpretation of everything in the bible either. To quote a filk song I like, "the profoundest act of worship is to try to understand."

blueback
12-11-2007, 01:07 AM
In me, science and religion are side-by-side, not clashing at all, because I can accept both, even if they are contradictory.

Now, I have a hard time telling anyone they're wrong, especially about things which are possibly still open to debate. That being said, if you meant what you said to be taken literally, I think you're wrong.

There is no such thing as a contradiction. Contradictions cannot exist in nature, so if you think you've found one you should check your assumptions again because at least one of them is wrong.

A rational person cannot happily accept two contradictory philosophies at the same time. Therefore, either you are not rational, or you are using the terms "science" and "religion" very loosly. I think it's more likely to be the latter, so could you please explain why you think that science and religion contradict each other and why you can still accept both at the same time.

I see nothing contradictory about believing in religion and science. In fact I think that the more I understand about science, the more I have my faith confirmed. Science explains the mechanism of the universe (or at least attempts to) but it doesn't say much about why that mechanism exists.

How can science confirm faith? Science is pure logic and faith is trust without logic. The two are mutually exclusive because scientific explanations are always more useful than religious ones.

The biggest difference between science and religion, after the one I just mentioned of course, is that science is always in agreement with itself while relgion is always in disagreement with itself. Two scientists from opposite hemispheres, who both study electricity in their region, will arrive at the same explanation of electricity. Two theologists, who both study religion in their region, will arrive at different explanations of religion. No matter where you are the "how" is always the same. The "why" depends directly on where you happen to be when you ask it. That is because the "how" is derived from nature and the "why" is derived from people.

If religion really did describe an actual natural phenomenon then it would be consistent just like science is. However, religion is not consistent, in fact even people who claim to practice the same religion can easily find points they disagree on. No one in the world is going to disagree on whether or not plants need water, but a lot of people disagree on whether or not God came to Earth in the form of Jesus, or whether or not Jesus existed at all, or whether or not there is one God or many Gods, or how the Earth/Universe was created, etc. . .

Hdier
12-11-2007, 01:18 AM
I was using the terms in my own definitions, which I forgot to clarify (I use them this way so often in my head that I forget other people don't). This may be a bit confusing, after the simpler definitions, but I'll try my best.

Religion: Faith in some higher power, weather it be a pantheon, god, or collective thoughts of peoples' subconscious minds'. Cannot be proven.

Science: A logical way to describe things that almost always uses a method. Can be proven

These might match up with your definitions, and they might not, but accept these for my posts on this thread (or don't read them). Now, I will use an example that was used earlier: creationism v. evolution. The bible says that God simply created man, while science says that we evolved from monkeys. In my mind, God crated humans, but 'inserted' us on Earth when monkeys had sufficiently evolved. That is what I mean by a contradiction existing. It is a lot more complex than that (I guess I was able to do a better job at simplifying it than I expected), however that is the version that should work for now.

Hypomanic
12-11-2007, 01:20 AM
No but I think atheists know that religion is contradictory to the principles of science. I.e. making a hypothesis and testing it, over, and over, and reproducing the results before accepting the conclusion.

That said, I'm not an atheist, but I'm a science advocate.

Tsuru
12-11-2007, 01:33 AM
Belief in the supernatural pretty much clashes with the scientific approach on a fundamental level.

What does it say for physics, in example, if you believe that a supreme being that can and does "overturn" the laws of nature according to their will? It radically shifts the entire basis of what your understanding of reality is and how it works.

It isn't that much of a problem if you're a deist or pantheist, but believing in monotheistic gods that pay attention to us and interact with us really can't peacefully coexist with science, in my opinion.

blueback
12-11-2007, 01:46 AM
The bible says that God simply created man, while science says that we evolved from monkeys. In my mind, God crated humans, but 'inserted' us on Earth when monkeys had sufficiently evolved.

Why would you accept a literal interpretation of one story in the Bible that requires you to interpret almost everything else in the Bible non-literally?

Your belief seems to imply that everything science has to say about the world is correct, except for the part about humans evolving from monkeys. Your belief implies that the Big Bang happened billions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the planet for a while, the moon is a chunk of sheered off Earth, the Flood never happened, all life on Earth (except humans) evolved from lower organisms. . .but most of all, that Humans COULD have evolved from apes but God created them spontaneously so that they would LOOK like they'd evolved from apes, but really they didn't.

Please point out where I'm interpreting your beliefs badly, I've never heard of your interpretation of the Bible before and I'm interested in hearing more.

Tarrick
12-11-2007, 02:49 AM
Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.

As for the Genesis story, it's rather nonspecific as it was written to Stone Age/Copper Age farmers and shepherds, not physicists and biologists.

And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.

stasis
12-11-2007, 03:33 AM
Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.
This is untrue. Why would I need to harbor a belief in the specificity of something I don't know about? Rejecting somebody else's belief on total absence of proof only requires an appeal to logic; it certainly doesn't require postulating my own alternative in its place. That "place" is itself a postulate of the belief.

Tarrick
12-11-2007, 03:44 AM
This is untrue. Why would I need to harbor a belief in the specificity of something I don't know about? Rejecting somebody else's belief on total absence of proof only requires an appeal to logic; it certainly doesn't require postulating my own alternative in its place. That "place" is itself a postulate of the belief.

So, you are choose to "know" that we are here now, but are absolutely refusing to have anything to do with the question of where we come from because there is no proof involved. Okay. Then you are essentially benching yourself on the topic of how the universe came to be. I have no objections to that.

I would just ask that you not catcall the players on the field.

stasis
12-11-2007, 03:58 AM
So, you are choose to "know" that we are here now, but are absolutely refusing to have anything to do with the question of where we come from because there is no proof involved. Okay. Then you are essentially benching yourself on the topic of how the universe came to be. I have no objections to that.
What I "essentially" said is that I have no means of answering the question at this point in time. I would go on to essentially say that the 'god question' itself doesn't appear meaningful in the first place. But the point of making this observation is to respond to your assertion that atheism need be some kind of reverse theism. That's false. When somebody brings up an unsubstantiated idea about the general unknown, that idea can be rejected on appeal to logic without the necessity of replacing the idea with something else. I mean, would you say that people who don't believe in astrology are forwarding some belief in an anti-astrology to explain the claims astrologers make about the stars? I'd think it clear that those claims can simply be ignored where they're baseless. It's just that astrology isn't culturally significant enough for there to be a term for people who don't believe in it, like "atheism".


I would just ask that you not catcall the players on the field.
If only it were contained to a field.

INTeJer
12-11-2007, 05:55 AM
The atheist was saying that atheism promotes science and not superstition, implying that religion promotes superstition over science.

Religion IS superstition. More precisely, someone else's religion is viewed as a superstition. Wouldn't you, as a Christian (I presume) call "superstition" the belief in gnomes, roman deities (Apollo etc.), kidnapping aliens, etc.? we atheists, lacking belief, are 100% honest and straightforward: they are all superstition, and it is impossible to differentiate.

Clearly, you have total freedom in believing what makes you feel good. So, if you feel like believing in the almighty, omni-present, all-knowing, father-like figure of a creator who "loves" us and walks on water to expound its power, please do. However, don't ask rational and intelligent people to refrain from calling it "superstition", because that's the plain simple truth.

And it's also true that atheism promotes science. The metodology (skepticism, need for evidence, verification, falsification, etc.) is identical, and no faith whatsoever is required either in science or in atheism.

I want to stress this last remark to prevent objections: no, you don't need faith to "believe" in scientific postulates, because although they cannot be demonstrated and they have to be taken as a foundation of theories describing nature, you can (and you should) always verify their validity according to the scientific method itself. So, please don't say (like one of the posters above) that also science requires faith. You don't have to believe in the equality between inertial and gravitational mass. You can't demonstrate it, and yes you have to take it as a postulate, but you can verify that it is true with experiments. Different is a religious dogma or axiom, which you can't demonstrate, AND you can't verify by any conceivable means. This, and this only, takes faith.

Mechanical Messiah
12-11-2007, 08:20 AM
Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.

As for the Genesis story, it's rather nonspecific as it was written to Stone Age/Copper Age farmers and shepherds, not physicists and biologists.

And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.

It's funny how religious people always claim to know what atheists believe.

Personally, I disagree with the statement in the OP where they guy said that "atheism promotes science". Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a big magical skydaddy or anything of the sort... it is NOT a cohesive belief system that "promotes" anything.

That said- religion has been steadily losing ground to science for millenia. At one time, God controlled the motion of the heavens... now we know better. At one time he controlled the weather- now MOST of us know better. At one time he controlled disease- now we know better. This "Incredible Shrinking God" will continue to shrink as we highly evolved primates pull ourselves out of blinding ignorance. But there'll always be an asymptotally shrinking list of questions that science simply can't answer... and superstition will fill that void for some people. Of course, superstitious answers are not real or verifiable in any sense... but they make people feel good.

So, yes, religion is inherently anti-science. Some religious folks are overt about this- like the creationists here in Kansas. Some just fill in the scientific gaps (or gaps in their own knowledge) with Gawd. But those gaps are constantly closing (in science)... God is getting squeezed out- and religion, by its nature, resists this... theists resist new ideas because they don't want to lose their invisible friend.

Personally, I'm comfortable not knowing exactly how the universe came into being. Theists don't know either... they just THINK they do. And even if one accepts that a big magic-man-in-the-sky made all this... who made HIM? Even though theists are essentially making things up... they still aren't answering the question.

But I reckon I have "faith" in some sense. I definitely have "faith" that science will one day explain trivial matters like bees and kangaroos. I have my doubts about a definitive explanation of the origin of the universe, though.

Antares
12-11-2007, 10:32 AM
"Personally, I disagree with the statement in the OP where they guy said that "atheism promotes science". Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a big magical skydaddy or anything of the sort... it is NOT a cohesive belief system that "promotes" anything."

True. Atheists may be simply ignorant to religion. There exists a name/classification for these types of atheists (who just don't think about religion and are therefore non-religious/atheists), but I believe it to be implicit atheists, but I'm not real sure ;) Search on wikipedia. This doesn't mean that they have scientific knowledge or support science at all. In fact, most of my atheist friends haven't a clue as to what Quantum Theory might be, or the slightest understanding of the Chaos Theory. Many of them believe in "mystical connections" (at this point I might say that they are a little agnostic. They believe in fate).

I don't think that all non-atheists are against science, coming from an atheist's point of view. Sure, some might be, but I think that most never really thought about it, just like implicit atheists never really thought about religion. I do agree though, religion itself is anti-science.

"Personally, I'm comfortable not knowing exactly how the universe came into being. Theists don't know either... they just THINK they do. And even if one accepts that a big magic-man-in-the-sky made all this... who made HIM? Even though theists are essentially making things up... they still aren't answering the question."

I've developed a set conclusions to challenge his existence, but everyone, of course, is welcome to challenge it.

God, if he exists, is NOTHING like the one depicted in the Bible and he did NOT create the world as we know it, at least in my logic. Using a college professor's argument: If you see a terminally ill individual and you have the power to cure him, would you? (I'm hoping the answer would be yes) But would God?

To Defeat Omnipotency: Can he create a rock so heavy that he himself cannot lift?
To Defeat Omniscience: He knows everything (here specifically I'm talking about the future), therefore he is powerless to intervene, which also defeats his omnipotency
To Defeat Omnibenevolence: How can one be omnibenevolent if he/she allows the killing of innocent individuals, spear-heads a massacre of first born children and accept human sacrifices?
To Defeat Perfection: He cannot be perfect as he created an imperfect world. If the Bible is truly inspired by God, then it also defeats His perfection because the Bible is imperfect (for an example, take a few moments to read the self-contradictions within)

My Conclusion?
Either he doesn't exist
OR he simply sat there and let everything happen and only intervenes when it's 'time' for him to (in other words his powers are very much limited and all of the 'omni' descriptions of him are false)

The latter is very unrealistic to me.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways." This argument is vague and gives me the sense that the theist is trying to avoid the question because in stating that we humans cannot understand the said subject, the statement requires no justification.

I have a hard time understanding how God would have the power to create the world when he cannot even interfere to change the course of the future, but that, of course, is my humblest opinion.

So... Answering your question, who made HIM, I would say that he had never existed in the first place.

Rei
12-11-2007, 10:44 AM
I don't think atheists think non-atheists are against science. Religion indeed, doesn't promote science, in fact, it tries to reject it.

I just think non-atheists can't study science in the truest sense. How can you be motivated to know how/what/why when you think at the bottom of everything is God's work? On the other hand, how can you trust/have faith in your religion if you believe science keeps explaining things differently from what your religion says?

I think (no offense) that non-atheists are a closed-minded bunch. They restrict their thinking to God. They have strong sense of what is "right" and what is "wrong" when the study of science requires one to look at everything with a neutral point of view. Like Thomas Aquinas, they accept what science supports God and reject what doesn't despite proof; and bend science to work with religion.

I guess there are exceptions, but I really can't understand where they stand... essentially they're sitting on the fence and will fall on one side or the other eventually.

Agh, I'm going to go off topic from here so this is where I stop.

Antares
12-11-2007, 10:51 AM
"I just think non-atheists can't study science in the truest sense. How can you be motivated to know how/what/why when you think at the bottom of everything is God's work? On the other hand, how can you trust/have faith in your religion if you believe science keeps explaining things differently from what your religion says?"

I'm inclined to think that logic is easily twisted (just take a look at all those pointless debates all over the world wide web. Reason is being horribly distorted). I've had theists ask me (should we call them theists? It's shorter :)) why would I not believe in God for life so complex cannot evolve from random chance. Life IS the evidence of God, says he. This is a fairly easy-to-spot fallacy (I believe it to be non-sequitur), but others are much more subtle and I sometimes find myself at loss of what to say. Besides, to theists, atheists or those who question God are sinners. Just look what happened to them in the Bible.

Hdier
12-11-2007, 11:11 AM
Why would you accept a literal interpretation of one story in the Bible that requires you to interpret almost everything else in the Bible non-literally?

Your belief seems to imply that everything science has to say about the world is correct, except for the part about humans evolving from monkeys. Your belief implies that the Big Bang happened billions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the planet for a while, the moon is a chunk of sheered off Earth, the Flood never happened, all life on Earth (except humans) evolved from lower organisms. . .but most of all, that Humans COULD have evolved from apes but God created them spontaneously so that they would LOOK like they'd evolved from apes, but really they didn't.

Please point out where I'm interpreting your beliefs badly, I've never heard of your interpretation of the Bible before and I'm interested in hearing more.

Now I see where I explained myslef badly!

OK, first you need to understand that I believe in the existance of alternate dimensions. You also need to understand that I am only working with one example here, and that it is universal for the majority of science-religious contradictions.

What I was saying is that on this world we evolved from apes. However, we started out in a different dimension (I am talking about our souls), and were put into our earthly physical bodies at a certain point in time.

Antares
12-11-2007, 11:15 AM
"What I was saying is that on this world we evolved from apes. However, we started out in a different dimension (I am talking about our souls), and were put into our earthly physical bodies at a certain point in time."

I have a hard time understanding the concept of souls. Can you brief me? I apologize for my lack of knowledge.

Hdier
12-11-2007, 11:29 AM
By soul, I mean the 'essence' of a person. This includes things such as morals, personality, etc.

And Blueback, before you start telling me that those things can be found in your brain, just because it is in your brain doesn't mean that it can't be in your soul as well.

By The Way, if you were wondering, Camelopardalis, you can click on the 'Quote' button in the bottom left-hand corner of the post to make it look like this:

I have a hard time understanding the concept of souls. Can you brief me? I apologize for my lack of knowledge.

Except that it will incude your name.

PS: Why are you apologizing for a lack of knowledge? I hate it when people call others stupid simply because they haven't run across a piece of knowledge.

rwyatt365
12-11-2007, 11:36 AM
Interesting debate. How about trying this thought on for size; Science uses theory to explain the operation of the universe and all of its components whereas Religion uses faith to explain the same. Reduced to its simplest level "theory" is just a guess to explain what happens (albeit, sometimes a complicated guess, and one backed up by repeatable observations often accompanied with mathematic calculations, or "proofs"). Reduced to its simplest level "faith" is just another guess about how things happens, but a guess that is not required to be proven by any rigorous methodology. As such, religion is not antithetical to science – one is simply an extension of the "vision" of the other (i.e. what I cannot explain by science can be explained by religion and vice versa).

So, one can "scientifically" explain the formation of the cosmos from the Big Bang, but the math breaks down trying to describe what came before, and why the Bang occurred in the first place. At that point, religion can (but not necessarily should) step in and ascribe those things to some deity. On the other hand, one can "religiously" explain the creation of the earth from the void, but that breaks down in the face of geologic evidence. At that point all manner of science can step in and ascribe those processes to plate tectonics, geology, etc…

At some point, both break down and members of each camp are left with questions that their discipline cannot completely answer. Leaving them each to ponder the validity of the other.

As far as "The Golden Compass" is concerned…people need to stop trippin'!! This is a fantasy movie and nothing more. Just because the words "demon" and "spirit" are used, religious zealots have labeled the movie as demonic, heretical, ??? C'mon! How many of those people balked at Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Narnia? Some people really need to get a life!

Hdier
12-11-2007, 12:00 PM
Actually, it's Daemon (sorry; couldn't resist the correction).

However, one thing that you didn't recognize in your post is that religion can't be proved; science. Also, where could a diety come from, scientifically speaking? (this is a question to everyone)

Nomad
12-11-2007, 12:06 PM
Bang on. Very good. Again, as stated before, I find it interesting that this atheist, non atheist debate always seems to operate within an Abrahamic religious context. As for the Golden Compass thing, the writer is an atheist, and has stated publicly it is an anti Christian work. This is far more obvious in the books, but even his statement is open to question. No spoilers, but the series shows an arc of faith, and does not seem to deny deity, but it is virulently anti religious authority. I see it as a profoundly spiritual work, All this has been toned down in the movie in order to soften protests by religious objectors.

-Nomad

rwyatt365
12-11-2007, 01:02 PM
Actually, it's Daemon (sorry; couldn't resist the correction).

However, one thing that you didn't recognize in your post is that religion can't be proved; science. Also, where could a diety come from, scientifically speaking? (this is a question to everyone)
...and that's my point exactly, that religion is faith-based and cannot be proven. It's existence does not depend on proof so, to speak of proof in a religious context is irrelevant.

And, as to where any diety might come from...religions generally don't give that explanation - the diety simply is, and always was. Science might try to disclaim a religion by asking that question, but again, that argument is meaningless in the context of religion - which is faith.





rwyatt365 added to this post, 5 minutes and 37 seconds later...

Bang on. Very good. Again, as stated before, I find it interesting that this atheist, non atheist debate always seems to operate within an Abrahamic religious context. As for the Golden Compass thing, the writer is an atheist, and has stated publicly it is an anti Christian work. This is far more obvious in the books, but even his statement is open to question. No spoilers, but the series shows an arc of faith, and does not seem to deny deity, but it is virulently anti religious authority. I see it as a profoundly spiritual work, All this has been toned down in the movie in order to soften protests by religious objectors.

-Nomad
I was unaware of the books, so I saw the movie with zero background (I had some free movie passes and it was either "The Golden Compass", or "Hitman"! I chose fantasy over foolishness ;) )! I caught the anti-authority tone of the movie and didn't specifically think of it as against religious authority per-se, more about authoritarian regimes in general. I guess they did a good job of hiding the author's intent because I saw little spirituality in it at all - or at least, not enough to get riled up about.

blueback
12-11-2007, 02:26 PM
Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.

And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.

Hey, Tarrick, you're back. Of course, you're contributing just as much as you always do.

One of the simplest errors in judgement that children grow out of is projecting their own values onto other people. You, apparently, haven't grown out of that. You've ignored the lengthy posts in which I've laid out a logical framework which supports my conclusions and insted assume that I must be making leaps of faith just like you. Go back, reread them, and answer each point that you can find a problem with.

You can't simplify the world into atheists and monotheists. You are leaving out agnostics, polytheists, pagans, those who follow philosophies that aren't religion, etc.

And, about your second "point". . .wow. You managed to contradict yourself in only 22 words and then went on to use even more. By saying that bees building hexagons is "inexplicable" you are inhibiting science, and by extension rational thought. Did you know that there are birds that build nests out of twigs? Some of their nests are actually quite structurally complex, do you find that "inexplicable" too? Ants are known to dig networks of tunnels that are quite practical, and termites can build structures that act as natural air conditioners. All these have scientific explanations which are available for you to study, if you cared too. But, if you'd rather assume they are "inexplicable" and say that God-did-it then go ahead, but at least do it with enough honesty to not claim you're doing the opposite.

Gavisi
12-11-2007, 05:47 PM
Both sides make leaps of faith at one point or another. We religious people are simply honest about it. Atheists believe everything either always was or spawned from nothing, and the rest of us believe God was involved in the process.
I am willing to admit that I don't know what started the universe. But I'll also say that no one else does either.
And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.
Why use religion's explanations when you could make up your own? Whether it's Christianity saying that God created humans or me saying that Flying Purple Space Goats created all animal life, both explanations are just as valid.

Antares
12-11-2007, 07:05 PM
By The Way, if you were wondering, Camelopardalis, you can click on the 'Quote' button in the bottom left-hand corner of the post to make it look like this:

Ah, I've done this before, but I'm more used to manually quoting now. As for the bit about lack of information, if you frequent some other forums, you will discover that they are quite hostile upon the knowledge of your lack lack of it. Some people are nowhere as civil as those I find here.





Camelopardalis added to this post, 6 minutes and 45 seconds later...


Why use religion's explanations when you could make up your own? Whether it's Christianity saying that God created humans or me saying that Flying Purple Space Goats created all animal life, both explanations are just as valid.

I like to think that our ancestors were being quite serious when they started the religion. It's of course more plausible that a wise old man with flowing white beard created us all than the Flying Spaghetti Monster. After all, a man like that is the epitome of wisdom. I find the Invisible Pink Unicorn absurd and immature, and I think many believers will agree. Just to clear everything up, I'm an atheist.





Camelopardalis added to this post, 6 minutes and 21 seconds later...

Actually, it's Daemon (sorry; couldn't resist the correction).

However, one thing that you didn't recognize in your post is that religion can't be proved; science. Also, where could a diety come from, scientifically speaking? (this is a question to everyone)

Based on what I know of science, it does not support the supernatural, so I'd say that under science a deity can't exist. However, I'm willing to accept the possibility (extremely slim, at that) that a deity might have created all the sciences. In that case, laws of science dont apply to him. Laws of Physics break down in front of him, like they do in singularities or a speed past light (hm... possible parallels or connections?).

banzai
12-11-2007, 08:31 PM
As far as I understand it, science neither supports or confutes the supernatural, it's just null since there is no information to determine anything either way.

Is this really such a hard concept to grasp? I just don't see how anyone can argue either way when the bottom line is that neither side has any real evidence. To me, that is the real mystery!

blueback
12-11-2007, 09:40 PM
Grayscale, you are correct. Science has nothing to say about the supernatural specifically because there is no evidence one way or another.

However, that's not the problem.

The problem is when irrational people interpret a lack of disconfirming evidence that something exists as proof that it does exist.

If the believers just left it at:
"Noone can say for sure. I'm going to base my life on it. You can join me if you want."
there would never be any issue. However, believers don't leave it at that. Instead they say:
"I know for sure. Yes I have proof. No, I can't show you the proof, you have to experience it for yourself. Just stop doubting me and do what I say. If you don't you will suffer for all eternity. And stop doing all those things I told you not to do. And, while you're at it, give me some money. Yes, God told me to tell you to give me money. Stop thinking about it you dirty sinner and just do what God says. You don't want to do what God says? Then you are responsible for everything that is bad in the world."

Believers just can't leave other people alone. The simple fact that their belief is unquestionable impells them to seek other people who agree with themselves. After all, if their belief is so obvious to themselves, then it should be obvious to anyone else who hears it, right?

If I told you that you were going to win the lottery next month would you believe me? You might ask for proof, but I would simply tell you that the lottery comission doesn't release the results that early so there is no proof. If you told me that you weren't going to spend money you don't have yet I would tell you that I KNOW you will win, and since you can't prove you won't win, you should take it on faith. After all, if you can't prove something doesn't exist, that proves that faith in it still makes perfect sense.

banzai
12-11-2007, 09:47 PM
Or that the lack of confirming evidence as proof that it doesn't, to be fair. I agree with what you're saying about believers, but atheists often make inverse suggestions that believe in God is invalid, which, to me, is just as bad (even if not as lengthy) a thing to say as your example. Some people take it too far and I do not think that is a behavior native to either viewpoint.

The problem is that there aren't enough people who understand that there is no way to know either way. I don't see many theists or atheists making that admission, there just happens to be more of the former.

Hdier
12-12-2007, 01:42 AM
Blueback: How many people have you met that actually do that? Not one person I have met would try to do that, though I admit that I don't get out much, to use extreme understatement. However, I know that I would never try to impose my beliefs on someone else, because although I partially believe that you will go to Hell if you don't believe in Jesus, I still believe that it should be your own choice weather or not to believe it. Otherwise, why would God have allowed us to have free will?

ambient
12-12-2007, 02:00 AM
The atheist claims to be intellectually superior.
The Christian claims to be morally superior.
Neither side can agree on what the argument is truly about, so each repeat the same points, but in a louder voice.
See a pattern here?

Antares
12-12-2007, 02:51 AM
Blueback: How many people have you met that actually do that? Not one person I have met would try to do that, though I admit that I don't get out much, to use extreme understatement. However, I know that I would never try to impose my beliefs on someone else, because although I partially believe that you will go to Hell if you don't believe in Jesus, I still believe that it should be your own choice weather or not to believe it. Otherwise, why would God have allowed us to have free will?

I've met theists like that though. Maybe not so direct or demanding. I do agree that they're not entirely logical and that they only preach 'have faith' and they offer no logical explanations (or at least, to me it didn't sound logical). One tried force that idea on me by repeating endlessly: Life IS the evidence of God since life so complex cannot start from random chance. (But the mathematics of Chaos theory supports random chance and chaos) While life CAN be the evidence of God, life can also be the evidence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn or the FSM. Just because they're much more absurd (more like a parody) than the idea of God, his idea generally applies to all three of them. Life can be the evidence of ANYTHING. God, random chance, unicorns, spaghetti alike. I've had many try to convert me and scare me into it by telling me I'll go to hell (If I'm essentially a good and fair person, is it just for God to condemn me to hell? Is God omni benevolent if he does?). Theists are not entirely passive as previously stated. Perhaps you're one of the more decent ones who doesn't try to influence/convince/scare others into sharing your belief, but trust me, they exist.

TruorTupnm
12-12-2007, 05:03 AM
Most atheists that I have bumped into don't necessarily believe that theists are anti-science. They mostly just believe that they are crazy, stupid, or evil. I've bumped into atheists and theists, some who were pro-science, some who were anti-science. But mayhaps towards general trends, I would just go with the supposition that most atheists have faith that most theists are anti-science to various degrees. For myself, I am paranoid about everything unless I have done all of my own research on everything. Reading some article about some great discovery, I would murmur, "Hm! Cool! But wait! It could all be a hoax!" Same reaction towards religions. Yay for the people who thought some stuff up towards the beginning of human thought. They probably got some great results out of their confident-sounding conclusions!

Towards that The Golden Compass movie, no, I didn't see much promoting atheism or bashing theism. Towards the books, well, I read them a while ago and am attempting to remember. Was there a god in there, but some people were just trying to off him? Sounds like it promotes theism, to myself. "Look! There's a god! Let's get him, 'cuz he's creepy!"

Antares
12-12-2007, 07:26 AM
I've actually met theists who would like nothing more than to see the merging of science and religion. The Christians I know aren't anti-science. Not sure about others. The only anti-science Christian I know is my cousin. "How can you believe such crap as evolution?" Says he. I dunno... Maybe it makes sense in my ultra eccentric and haywire logic?

rwyatt365
12-12-2007, 08:40 AM
Grayscale, you are correct. Science has nothing to say about the supernatural specifically because there is no evidence one way or another.
The first definition that I find for "supernatural" is simply something that cannot be explained by natural law, or phenomena. Given that, science cannot have anything to say about a (so-called) supernatural event except that it is unexplained, just as you say blueback.

Believers just can't leave other people alone. The simple fact that their belief is unquestionable impells them to seek other people who agree with themselves. After all, if their belief is so obvious to themselves, then it should be obvious to anyone else who hears it, right?
Christians are mandated to "spread the Gospel" and so feel compelled to force everyone to adhere to the Christian paradigm – no other way is possible in their eyes. It's either Christianity, or Hell. I don't know that other religions have that same prerogative.

The problem is that there aren't enough people who understand that there is no way to know either way. I don't see many theists or atheists making that admission, there just happens to be more of the former.
It seems simple enough to me that there is a "grey area" where both science and religion fall short, into the "unexplained", where each individual has to determine how to reconcile that with their own world-view.
Blueback: How many people have you met that actually do that? Not one person I have met would try to do that, though I admit that I don't get out much, to use extreme understatement. However, I know that I would never try to impose my beliefs on someone else, because although I partially believe that you will go to Hell if you don't believe in Jesus, I still believe that it should be your own choice weather or not to believe it. Otherwise, why would God have allowed us to have free will?
If you have not met anyone like that Hdier, you are fortunate – I have, even within my own family. There are many people that I know personally that have no problem with trampling over the beliefs of anyone that does not agree with them in order to force their religious agenda on others. I find it amusing that those people – who preach kindness, wisdom and tolerance – are the very ones that are so vehemently against those that do not adhere to their religious views.

Hdier
12-12-2007, 10:59 AM
Camoparaldalis (sorry if I misspelled): Yes, I agree that there are people like that out there, but Blueback was saying that the majority of theists were like that. My point was that no, most people are not like that.

I think that many people are making generalizations right now, ones that I don't think are true. For example TruorTumpr (again, sorry if I misspelled), you say that theists are anti-science to one degree or another. Why do you make that assumption? Everyone with a religion that I know of (8) are either pro-science or neutral on the matter. (I am not trying to pick on you, but I work better with examples, and you got unlucky).

Also, just to clear up any confusion, I want to make sure that we are using the word 'theist' as someone who has a religion. If it actually has a different meaning, will someone please inform me?

Nomad
12-12-2007, 11:10 AM
"Towards that The Golden Compass movie, no, I didn't see much promoting atheism or bashing theism. Towards the books, well, I read them a while ago and am attempting to remember. Was there a god in there, but some people were just trying to off him? Sounds like it promotes theism, to myself. "Look! There's a god! Let's get him, 'cuz he's creepy!""


The premise was that the deity referred to as God was an angel/scam artist attempting to divert worship from God to itself. Basically, if you go with the implication, Satan Co opted the whole show and humans have been worshiping Satan instead of God this whole time. That would explain a great deal.

The true God is all advertisements say,an expression of true spirituality. The entire gist of the series is that humans were endowed with free will, critical thinking, and it is your responsibility to come to your own conclusions based on your own experiences. No one can force feed you, it's on you, and whatever conclusion you come to is fine, and lond as you do the work, and rely on no other to make your decisions for you.

-Nomad

TruorTupnm
12-12-2007, 11:27 AM
*Gasp!* I happen to be pretty achingly horrified at your misspellage, Hdler person! <--- written sarcastically with an intentional misspellage, of course. :rolleyes:

Anyways, I didn't write that I figure that most theists are anti-science. I wrote what most atheists I know think, then I wrote what I think most other atheists might be thinking. I never mentioned what I thought most theists think about science. I wouldn't know. I prefer to work on an individual basis unless necessary to do otherwise.

But as to why I figure most atheists would think that most theists are anti-science ---> Eh. The loudest and most annoying (usually what I think of as the majority, unfortunately) atheists seem to be the sort who think that theists are the dangerously crazy sorts that actually do what voices in their heads tell them to do, the sorts who are so headache-inducingly unintelligent that they are happy to cling to all kinds of obvious inconsistencies, as well as the sorts who are so terrifyingly evil that they crafted the torture of Christmas carolling. It is merely an impression, though. Whoops.

Ah. Also, towards the clarification about that His Dark Materials trilogy, I thank you muchly. So the book doesn't sound anti-religious. There is totally a god in there. It's just saying ---> Have an open mind. You could be worshiping someone other than the deity you're a fan of! :shocked:

blueback
12-12-2007, 12:19 PM
I think that many people are making generalizations right now, ones that I don't think are true. For example TruorTumpr (again, sorry if I misspelled), you say that theists are anti-science to one degree or another. Why do you make that assumption?

Do you ever look for evidence to support your conclusions? That at least would be better than not looking at any evidence at all, although not as good as drawing conclusions from the evidence.

I've never seen a poll that supported your implication that religious people like science.

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Results of a Gallup poll in Nov '97

Creationist View (CV): God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.
Theistic Evolution (TE): Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation.
Naturalistic Evolution (NE): Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process.

>>>>>>>>>> CV / TE / NE
Everyone 44% / 39% / 10%
Scientists 5% / 40% / 55%

In fact "According to Newsweek in 1987, 'By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science...'"

All the evidence ever collected (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) supports the idea that people who are bible literate and attend church frequently don't accept scientific explanations which conflict with religious ones. There are varying degrees, some people are so religious they refuse to let their children see a doctor.



I think you might be confusing two seperate ideas.
"science" is a broad term which can encompass both a certain process and the products of that process. The products, things like cars, power plants, and hamburgers are tangible itesm. The process, the scientific method, logic, rationality are intangible things.

People who don't think rationally are much more likely to not understand the process of science. They don't "get it." However, they are perfectly capable of understanding the products of the process. Nearly anyone can be taught how to repair an air conditioner and can spend the rest of their life happily fixing air conditioners without ever understanding how it was invented. The AC repairman views the air conditioner as a thing that just exists, much like a tree or a rock, because he has just as much understanding of how each came to be.

People who think rationally are much more likely to understand the process. It take s rational mind to invent something practical. Rational people "get" science because it is easy for them to apply the process they use conciously everyday to anything else. They are more likely to have produced something new at some point in their life so they can connect the process to the product. Not only can they be taught how to fix an air conditioner they can be taught how to invent a new air conditioner. They think of the air conditioner as a tool invented by a concious mind for a specific purpose, and therefore very different from a tree or rock.

It isn't much of a stretch for somone who believes everything just popped into existence at the whim of God to believe that humans are incapable of creating anything. They will tend to believe that, even if the inventor really thinks it was his idea, he was really inspired by God. On the other hand, it isn't much of a stretch for someone who has ever invented anything to think that God isn't necessary to explain why everything exists.

So, when theists are "anti-science" they don't have any problem with the products (at least not most of them). They have a problem with the process because it is the process that keeps producing products that contradict their beliefs. The process is one of rational inquiry and application, which keeps leading to things like evolution theory, stem cell research, cloning, a natural explanation for homosexuality, proof that prayer doesn't work, etc. They like the cars, they don't like the thought process that led to them. They would be much happier if rational people confined themselves to inventing new tools and stopped questioning their beliefs. That is why they are "anti-science".

Hdier
12-12-2007, 05:21 PM
Anyways, I didn't write that I figure that most theists are anti-science. I wrote what most atheists I know think, then I wrote what I think most other atheists might be thinking. I never mentioned what I thought most theists think about science. I wouldn't know. I prefer to work on an individual basis unless necessary to do otherwise.

Sorry, I misunderstood your post, then.

Do you ever look for evidence to support your conclusions? That at least would be better than not looking at any evidence at all, although not as good as drawing conclusions from the evidence.

I've never seen a poll that supported your implication that religious people like science.

I am sorry, I communicated my point badly. I wasn't saying that theists like science, just that they aren't against it. They don't necessarily enjoy, or support science, but they aren't actively against it. Also, the evidence I was using is what I have observed in Pheonix, Arizona and Omaha, Nebraska.

In fact "According to Newsweek in 1987, 'By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science...'"

All the evidence ever collected (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) supports the idea that people who are bible literate and attend church frequently don't accept scientific explanations which conflict with religious ones. There are varying degrees, some people are so religious they refuse to let their children see a doctor.

And some people will kill someone for being black, or gay. Saying that 'some people' do something doesn't prove anything. As to the other part, I have already stated that I communicated my point badly. I don't feel that taking religion over science is being against science, but if you think of it that way then I won't argue that point.

I think you might be confusing two seperate ideas.
"science" is a broad term which can encompass both a certain process and the products of that process. The products, things like cars, power plants, and hamburgers are tangible itesm. The process, the scientific method, logic, rationality are intangible things.

People who don't think rationally are much more likely to not understand the process of science. They don't "get it." However, they are perfectly capable of understanding the products of the process. Nearly anyone can be taught how to repair an air conditioner and can spend the rest of their life happily fixing air conditioners without ever understanding how it was invented. The AC repairman views the air conditioner as a thing that just exists, much like a tree or a rock, because he has just as much understanding of how each came to be.

People who think rationally are much more likely to understand the process. It take s rational mind to invent something practical. Rational people "get" science because it is easy for them to apply the process they use conciously everyday to anything else. They are more likely to have produced something new at some point in their life so they can connect the process to the product. Not only can they be taught how to fix an air conditioner they can be taught how to invent a new air conditioner. They think of the air conditioner as a tool invented by a concious mind for a specific purpose, and therefore very different from a tree or rock.

It isn't much of a stretch for somone who believes everything just popped into existence at the whim of God to believe that humans are incapable of creating anything. They will tend to believe that, even if the inventor really thinks it was his idea, he was really inspired by God. On the other hand, it isn't much of a stretch for someone who has ever invented anything to think that God isn't necessary to explain why everything exists.

So, when theists are "anti-science" they don't have any problem with the products (at least not most of them). They have a problem with the process because it is the process that keeps producing products that contradict their beliefs. The process is one of rational inquiry and application, which keeps leading to things like evolution theory, stem cell research, cloning, a natural explanation for homosexuality, proof that prayer doesn't work, etc. They like the cars, they don't like the thought process that led to them. They would be much happier if rational people confined themselves to inventing new tools and stopped questioning their beliefs. That is why they are "anti-science".

I wish to make an objection: You have implied that theists are irrational, while atheists are rational. There are both rational and irrational people in each group.

INTeJer
12-12-2007, 06:23 PM
I wish to make an objection: You have implied that theists are irrational, while atheists are rational. There are both rational and irrational people in each group.

Faith is irrational. If it was rational, it wouldn't be faith but logic. Hence, theists (here defined as those who have faith), are irrational.

Your objection is overruled.

Hdier
12-12-2007, 08:48 PM
So having faith automatically makes you irrational? If someone were to listen to a trusted friend who doesn't have any evidence, but you trust him/her and take his/her word on faith then would that would make this person irrational?

blueback
12-12-2007, 10:25 PM
See, this is exactly why I keep refering to the difinitions of the words we are using.

The American Heritage Dictionary has this to say about Irrational:
* Not endowed with reason
* Affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity; incoherent, as from shock
* Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment

and about Faith:

* Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence

So, yes, faith makes you irrational. I'll break it down into little pieces

1) you have faith in something
2) the definition of faith requires a lack of logic and evidence
3) therefore, you have confidence without reason
4) no reason means you are irrational

Now, that is why I am right. You are wrong because you mistakenly use the word "faith" when you mean "think." If you have previous evidence that your friend is reliable, trustworthy, then you are not drawing a conclusion from a lack of evidence.

Because you are basing your trust on a history of trustworthiness you are using logic and evidence, which means you don't "have faith" in them. You "think" they are worthy of your confidence. You are taking an informed risk on them. Maybe you have the same feelings about trusting them as you do about trusting God, but you still don't have faith in the friend because you have evidence to support your conclusion.

So, in your example, it is not irrational to trust a friend who has given you evidence of their trustworthiness. You are simply using the word "faith" inappropriately.

rwyatt365
12-13-2007, 09:23 AM
So, yes, faith makes you irrational. I'll break it down into little pieces

1) you have faith in something
2) the definition of faith requires a lack of logic and evidence
3) therefore, you have confidence without reason
4) no reason means you are irrational

One has faith in something, or about something (faith in God, faith that the government will always do the right thing, etc.). Therefore, one's faith in, or about something can be called irrational (by your logic) but the person themself cannot be called irrational in a blanket statement because your logical premise #1 explicitly says "in something".

Hdier
12-13-2007, 10:48 AM
Good point, blueback. However, I would like to point something out: you are working under the assumption that if someone has an irrational aspect, they must be irrational (when you say that someone is irrational, I assume that you mean generally irrational in the majority of their life; please correct me if I am wrong). This would be kin to saying that if I lie to my dad then I am automatically a bad person! Someone can have an aspect associated with a specific attribute without having the actual attribute itself!

Edit: Is that what the above poster was trying to say? If it was, sorry for repeating him/her.

Tarrick
12-13-2007, 12:33 PM
Hey, Tarrick, you're back. Of course, you're contributing just as much as you always do.

One of the simplest errors in judgement that children grow out of is projecting their own values onto other people. You, apparently, haven't grown out of that. You've ignored the lengthy posts in which I've laid out a logical framework which supports my conclusions and insted assume that I must be making leaps of faith just like you. Go back, reread them, and answer each point that you can find a problem with.


Considering how well you speak of some people, apparently I'm not the only one that can be accused of some of this.



You can't simplify the world into atheists and monotheists. You are leaving out agnostics, polytheists, pagans, those who follow philosophies that aren't religion, etc.


I never said anything about my faith, just religious belief in general. Even Vikings that believe in Yggdrassil can be included in that.


And, about your second "point". . .wow. You managed to contradict yourself in only 22 words and then went on to use even more. By saying that bees building hexagons is "inexplicable" you are inhibiting science, and by extension rational thought. Did you know that there are birds that build nests out of twigs? Some of their nests are actually quite structurally complex, do you find that "inexplicable" too? Ants are known to dig networks of tunnels that are quite practical, and termites can build structures that act as natural air conditioners. All these have scientific explanations which are available for you to study, if you cared too. But, if you'd rather assume they are "inexplicable" and say that God-did-it then go ahead, but at least do it with enough honesty to not claim you're doing the opposite.

And you still haven't given me any scientific reasoning as to how such complex and exact learned behavior got integrated into their genetic memory that allows them to live. When did the first bird learn that making a nest would be beneficial? How did that carry over to the hatchlings? When did they learn it would be to their advantage to migrate? Who taught them to fly in the first place? All these things are necessary to a bird, but there had to be first time and that is something that could not have been in their genes at that point in your opinion (from my understanding) and so it would have to be expressed as a conscious act.

Now, some conscious acts can become procedure after a while so they can be done without thinking. But when/how can it become integrated into genetic memory to become instinct? And how many generations does it take? Considering that we are coming up on the fourth or fifth generation of generation of drivers, shouldn't some people be able to work a manual-drive through instinct, considering that is one of the most predominate procedure memories that people have. Will that get ingrained in our genetic code as instinct?

You accuse religious people of being irrational for saying that things like instinct and the survival of baby kangaroos is most likely possible because a god had a hand in the creation of the universe. So can you give me a better answer, or are you content to rant that I'm irrational because I believe in a higher power?

brewmaster
12-13-2007, 01:27 PM
And you still haven't given me any scientific reasoning as to how such complex and exact learned behavior got integrated into their genetic memory that allows them to live. When did the first bird learn that making a nest would be beneficial? How did that carry over to the hatchlings? When did they learn it would be to their advantage to migrate? Who taught them to fly in the first place? All these things are necessary to a bird, but there had to be first time and that is something that could not have been in their genes at that point in your opinion (from my understanding) and so it would have to be expressed as a conscious act.

I can address the bee and the hexagon phenomenon. It has been mathematically proven that the hexagon design allows for the least amount of material to surround a given space. It wasn't exactly that, I am paraphrasing, but the general point is that it is a conservation of energy tactic. You find the conservation phenomenon all throughout biology since energy is expensive.

I should also add that getting to the genetics part of this, that there is fantastic research out there right now that is showing that memory may be controlled epigenetically (not the coding sequence itself, but its expression patterns etc. through methylation, ubiquination etc). Epigenetic data, although not sequence dependent, may also be transmitted to progeny. This would explain instinct. (This research is in its infancy, I am not saying it is law, just providing a theory)

An interesting side note to the bees is that you can actually get them to make other designs as well, by showing them, its simple mimickry. So possibly in early evolution of bees there were multiple types of honeycomb structures. Those that made the hexagon expended less energy, and therefore became dominant, leading to nearly all modern bees to do the same. They have not lost the ability to make the other kinds as has been shown in research.

I know nothing about birds, but I would suspect that the reasons are likely to be along the same lines.

INTeJer
12-13-2007, 02:48 PM
Who taught them to fly in the first place?

In almost all your posts I have seen, you seriously mischaracterize evolution, biology, and the scientific method. Your questions may even be considered fair (for a 6 year old child that is). The thing is, there are plenty of reasonable, evidence-based, rational, scientific answers out there for you. Just read some books (other than your bible) please. Your posts are quickly becoming offensive to science, scientists (INTJ or not), and, frankly, to our intelligence.

Ederico
12-13-2007, 05:24 PM
I was watching the news when the had a discussion about the new movie 'The Golden Compass'. They had two people, one was an atheist and the other one was, if memory serves, a catholic. The atheist was saying that atheism promotes science and not superstition, implying that religion promotes superstition over science. I thought this was ridiculous, but wondering what more rational people thought (the person seemed very emotional to me), and was also wondering if that belief is widespread among atheists.

If the other person was a Catholic, he certainly shouldn't have an aversion towards science. Most theistic repudiation of science come from Christian Protestant quarters, as eventually do most of those holding to a literal interpretation of the Bible or arguments starting with "God said..." to counter an atheist. I've never seen such and similar arguments being made by an educated Catholic, and by educated Catholic I mean someone educated in Catholic theology. I'm no expert theologian, but I study theology as a subsidiary area of study at my University.

The Catholic is happy with science when it is truly so, when it is not scientism (dogmatic faith in science itself), and when it is not contrary to ethics which in Catholicism is based on natural law doctrine, a doctrine that is exclusively rational and does not need religious faith whatsover.

In relation to this question perhaps, it would be good to read the book To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts. Read it, even if just to "scandalize" your own thought and think on diverse grounds.

Danisty
12-13-2007, 07:19 PM
It's funny how religious people always claim to know what atheists believe.It's not any funnier than atheists claiming to know what theists believe.

Grayscale, you are correct. Science has nothing to say about the supernatural specifically because there is no evidence one way or another.

However, that's not the problem.

The problem is when irrational people interpret a lack of disconfirming evidence that something exists as proof that it does exist.

If the believers just left it at:
"Noone can say for sure. I'm going to base my life on it. You can join me if you want."
there would never be any issue. However, believers don't leave it at that. Instead they say:
"I know for sure. Yes I have proof. No, I can't show you the proof, you have to experience it for yourself. Just stop doubting me and do what I say. If you don't you will suffer for all eternity. And stop doing all those things I told you not to do. And, while you're at it, give me some money. Yes, God told me to tell you to give me money. Stop thinking about it you dirty sinner and just do what God says. You don't want to do what God says? Then you are responsible for everything that is bad in the world."

Believers just can't leave other people alone. The simple fact that their belief is unquestionable impells them to seek other people who agree with themselves. After all, if their belief is so obvious to themselves, then it should be obvious to anyone else who hears it, right?

If I told you that you were going to win the lottery next month would you believe me? You might ask for proof, but I would simply tell you that the lottery comission doesn't release the results that early so there is no proof. If you told me that you weren't going to spend money you don't have yet I would tell you that I KNOW you will win, and since you can't prove you won't win, you should take it on faith. After all, if you can't prove something doesn't exist, that proves that faith in it still makes perfect sense.You're painting with an extremely broad brush here. Not all theists are Christian.

One has faith in something, or about something (faith in God, faith that the government will always do the right thing, etc.). Therefore, one's faith in, or about something can be called irrational (by your logic) but the person themself cannot be called irrational in a blanket statement because your logical premise #1 explicitly says "in something".Thank you. I was going to point this out. Just because one aspect of a person is irrational doesn't mean they are completely irrational. Personally, I have no problem admitting that my beliefs cannot be proven and I really don't see the point in trying to prove them. If I were to prove my beliefs, they wouldn't be faith. It could just be me. But that seems like a pretty rational approach.

Mechanical Messiah
12-14-2007, 12:02 AM
It's not any funnier than atheists claiming to know what theists believe.

Lots of theists have bibles and doctrines that spell out exactly what they believe. I reckon I'm quite justified in ridiculing explicitly stated absurdities.

Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a particular concept for which there is no objective supporting evidence. Atheism entails NOTHING except the lack of belief in a "god". Of course, "god" has been defined in a number of ways... but suffice to say, Atheists don't believe in an anthropomorphic creator/overseer with supernatural abilities- or anything of the sort. This is a pretty narrow target; it's no wonder that theists (usually Christians in the here & now) choose to ascribe some universal belief system to Atheists so that they'll have something to criticize. They've got to set up a straw man so's they have something to knock down.

blueback
12-14-2007, 01:00 AM
Considering how well you speak of some people, apparently I'm not the only one that can be accused of some of this.


Did you have a point in mind when you wrote this?
I'm starting to enjoy having you around. You make me feel like an excellent communicator.


I never said anything about my faith, just religious belief in general. Even Vikings that believe in Yggdrassil can be included in that.


I never said anything about your faith either. I said that you are making a psychological error common to irrational people. I tried to help you out by pointing it out to you. I didn't really expect you to accept the help, but it's the hope that you will some day that keeps me going.


And you still haven't given me any scientific reasoning as to how such complex and exact learned behavior got integrated into their genetic memory that allows them to live.


Oh, I haven't? That's true.
Of course, that would be because the burden of proof is on you to produce some evidence that the behaviors you mentioned are "inexplicable." I know that they aren't because I've seen the explanations, I've never seen a source say they are unexplained. So, if you can point me towards a single reputable person who says that science can't explain why bees make honeycombs I will debate that point. Until then I'm just going to point out that you don't know what you're talking about, instead.


Now, some conscious acts can become procedure after a while so they can be done without thinking. But when/how can it become integrated into genetic memory to become instinct? And how many generations does it take?


I dunno, I'm not a biologist, it's too squishy.
That leaves me with two possibilities:
1) God did it
2) Evolution did it

Number 1) would require me to ignore every single scientific theory and explanation in existence. Number 2) simply requires me to be patient until someone who's interested figures it out in detail. That's the great thing about science, all it takes is time. Instead of throwing up one's hands and claiming that it doesn't require any thought because God did it with magic, one can investigate it and find an answer.


Considering that we are coming up on the fourth or fifth generation of generation of drivers, shouldn't some people be able to work a manual-drive through instinct, considering that is one of the most predominate procedure memories that people have. Will that get ingrained in our genetic code as instinct?


There you go pretending you are an expert again. Do you really think that you're qualified to say that it takes a half dozen generations for a skill to be recorded in genetic memory? Do you have any idea how long a time scale you should be talking about when you address theories of evolution? No, you don't, because that is science and you don't think that science matters. You think that reality should alter itself to fit your whims.


You accuse religious people of being irrational for saying that things like instinct and the survival of baby kangaroos is most likely possible because a god had a hand in the creation of the universe. So can you give me a better answer, or are you content to rant that I'm irrational because I believe in a higher power?

First, you are irrational because you believe. It doesn't matter what you believe in, belief is irrational. I proved that a few posts ago.

Second, the burden of proof isn't on me. Scientists have already explained why that stuff happens and have discredited the idea that anything happens because of magic. The point really comes down to whether or not you think the laws of nature are set or there is something supernatural that can break them at will. I'm going with the former.





blueback added to this post, 15 minutes and 22 seconds later...


The Catholic is happy with science when it is truly so, when it is not scientism (dogmatic faith in science itself), and when it is not contrary to ethics which in Catholicism is based on natural law doctrine, a doctrine that is exclusively rational and does not need religious faith whatsover.


I've never heard of "catholic natural law" before, but I did some quick reading on it here. To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

I found this right at the beginning: "According to St. Thomas, the natural law is 'nothing else than the rational creature's participation in the eternal law' (I-II, Q. xciv). The eternal law is God's wisdom..."

So, if the eternal law is God's wisdom, and natural law follows eternal law, then how exactly does natural law not require belief in God?

Any set of standards which starts with "God created the universe." must require a belief in God. Can you start from the observable and logically build to proof, or even probability, of God? If you can, then your philosophy doesn't require belief.





blueback added to this post, 5 minutes and 47 seconds later...


You're painting with an extremely broad brush here. Not all theists are Christian.


Well, yes that is true. Of course, I never said anything about Christians. That dialogue could be a person from any number of religions. Do you assume it was a Christian because it sounds really familiar?


Just because one aspect of a person is irrational doesn't mean they are completely irrational.


Sure, but you had to add the modifiers "one aspect" and "completely" to what I said. I just said irrational. I figure that belief in God is pretty central to how a person approaches existence and therefore influences everything they think about, say, and do. After all, according to the belief itself, it should.

I wrote earlier about the difference between thinking about the process of science and the products of science. Just scroll back and read it because it addresses your question.


Personally, I have no problem admitting that my beliefs cannot be proven and I really don't see the point in trying to prove them. If I were to prove my beliefs, they wouldn't be faith. It could just be me. But that seems like a pretty rational approach.

Good. That is exactly consistent with the definitions of the words which means you are further along then a lot of other people who have faith. Now read about objectivism.

ShaiGar
12-14-2007, 01:15 AM
And religion does not "inhibit" scientific thought. Rather it provides explanations to inexplicable things, like how bees having been making perfect hexagons in their hives for some millions of years and how baby kangaroos know to head for the pouch as soon as their born.
Providing an explanation without proof is just making up a story to my mind.

I can make up stories too. I cannot make up proof. One day these "inexplicable" things will be explained, by SCIENCE.

Hdier
12-14-2007, 09:50 AM
I agree with ShaiGar, because I think that God creates scientific explanations for everything. I also agree that with his point about making up explanations, which, in my mind at least, partially explains why there are so many religions.

blueback
12-14-2007, 01:03 PM
If God "creates" a scientific explanation for something then it is supernatural and not scientific.

Danisty
12-14-2007, 01:06 PM
Well, yes that is true. Of course, I never said anything about Christians. That dialogue could be a person from any number of religions. Do you assume it was a Christian because it sounds really familiar?Sorry, I must have confused you with another member then. Many, many people here are using the term religious as if it was synonymous with Christian. What you wrote could apply to religions other than Christianity, but capitalizing God and using the singular does rule out some religions.

Sure, but you had to add the modifiers "one aspect" and "completely" to what I said. I just said irrational. I figure that belief in God is pretty central to how a person approaches existence and therefore influences everything they think about, say, and do. After all, according to the belief itself, it should.I don't think it's unreasonable at all to think that when you call someone irrational that you mean they are overall irrational. You weren't specific and I had no particular reason to read any of these details into what you wrote.

Hdier
12-14-2007, 02:15 PM
If God "creates" a scientific explanation for something then it is supernatural and not scientific.

But we would not know that it is supernatural, and thus perceive it as scientific, would we not?

blueback
12-14-2007, 02:47 PM
Which is exactly why the word "supernatural" was invented. Sure, God could have created the universe 6000 years ago and just faked all the evidence that it was billions of years old. He could have created the universe 6 seconds ago and faked all the evidence that it was older. However, those explanations violate the chain of cause and effect by pretending that a wish is enough of a cause to create an effect.

Describing the supernatural is complicated because simply talking about it implies that it exists. It doesn't. The supernatural doesn't exist. We can talk about it in the hypothetical only.

The reason it HYPOTHETICALLY wouldn't be scientific is because magic is the will of God. We can't experiment with the will of God. We can't observe it, we can't measure it, we can't predict it. The idea that God can interrupt the chain of cause and effect at a whim is supernatural.

Lucid
12-14-2007, 03:56 PM
But we would not know that it is supernatural, and thus perceive it as scientific, would we not?

He's misusing his terms. There's no such thing as a supernatural scientific explanation. Supernatural actually means that it can't be explained by the natural sciences. If god has faked the evidence of, say, the dinosaurs or carbon dating, then our science is wrong.

Describing the supernatural is complicated because simply talking about it implies that it exists. It doesn't. The supernatural doesn't exist. We can talk about it in the hypothetical only.

When I talk to my friends about how excited my nephews are to write letters to Santa Clause, am I implying that Santa Clause exists?

I think we can do better than this kind of banging-our-heads-against-a-wall logic. Also, if I wish for new socks it would be the cause of going out and buying new socks.

Anyway, aside from the obvious shortcomings mentioned above, there's nothing about faith that precludes the belief in science. And nothing about science that precludes faith.
The problem seems to come when groups go about insisting that the story of Adam and Eve or Noah's Ark are to-the-letter-true, which is just silly. Some religious people are against science. But then, some religious people also blow up abortion clinics, stone people to death, and play with poisonous snakes. There's crazies in every group, but I don't think it's fair to judge an entire demographic by its lowest common denominator.

Booko
12-14-2007, 04:02 PM
I was watching the news when the had a discussion about the new movie 'The Golden Compass'. They had two people, one was an atheist and the other one was, if memory serves, a catholic. The atheist was saying that atheism promotes science and not superstition, implying that religion promotes superstition over science. I thought this was ridiculous, but wondering what more rational people thought (the person seemed very emotional to me), and was also wondering if that belief is widespread among atheists.

It's patently ridiculous. I'm religious and I promote science. Oh, and my religion is not big on superstition. Yes, sometimes religions incorporate superstitions, especially as they age. But baseball is full of superstitions too, and no one rails against baseball for it. Funny how that works.

The Catholic who has a problem with The Golden Compass is probably reacting to the use of "Magisterium" in reference to an entity that tries to control everyone's lives. Magisterium in a wider religious context is meaningless.

Also, do you think that The Golden Compass promotes atheism? I saw (didn't like it, but loved the books) and read the first two books, but I didn't really see anything that would promote atheism. I think that the people are grasping at straws here.


Religious extremists with microphones are pretty good at whipping up people who work primarily out of their emotions. Small wonder I don't care much for making decisions based on how I "feel." Ah, to be an INTJ. ;)

Hdier
12-14-2007, 04:03 PM
Yes, but at point in your life it is considered assumed that Santa Clause does not exist, while the majority of people do not know that Supernaturality does not exist. Therefore, people will assume that it exists, especially when we talk about something as if it was real hypothetically.

Lucid
12-14-2007, 04:10 PM
Yes, but at point in your life it is considered assumed that Santa Clause does not exist, while the majority of people do not know that Supernaturality does not exist. Therefore, people will assume that it exists, especially when we talk about something as if it was real hypothetically.

.... you're saying that people will assume that it exists because we talk about it?
If that were the case then a lot more adults would believe in Santa Clause. Or think that Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes are real people.
People believe in the supernatural for a variety of reasons, other than the fact that it is talked about. I think you're making a faulty causal argument.

anul
12-14-2007, 04:19 PM
I don't think all religions are against science. Except those religious people who are against science and claim it's evil shouldn't use modern medicine or technology. Those people should be Amish and go live in the country and build barns.

Booko
12-14-2007, 04:30 PM
If the believers just left it at:
"Noone can say for sure. I'm going to base my life on it. You can join me if you want."
there would never be any issue.

You might want to ask Danisty about the religion discussion forum she frequents. You can go meet quite a number of religious people who leave it exactly like that.

Not all religion is exclusivist. Not by a long shot.

Seriously, have you ever met any religious Jews and gotten to know them? Unless you were born to Jewish parents, they won't say doodles about what your beliefs are, and even if you were born to Jewish parents, they are still unlikely to say much.

I have never, ever had my Jewish neighbors even remotely imply that my beliefs were wrong or I had to believe like they do. Heck, they don't even ask me to "join if I want." It's not a proselytizing religion in any way.

Why some people seem to view one portion of one religion as if it represented all forms beats me. *shrug*





Booko added to this post, 1 minutes and 49 seconds later...

I don't think all religions are against science. Except those religious people who are against science and claim it's evil shouldn't use modern medicine or technology. Those people should be Amish and go live in the country and build barns.

Since one of the principles of my religion is that science should be left alone to do its work without interference from religious so-called leaders who make the mistake of thinking religious texts are science texts, I should think all religions are not against science. ;)

Also, the Eastern religions (and that includes Orthodox Christianity) haven't had the same anti-science history Western Europe had.

Hdier
12-14-2007, 04:39 PM
.... you're saying that people will assume that it exists because we talk about it?
If that were the case then a lot more adults would believe in Santa Clause. Or think that Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes are real people.
People believe in the supernatural for a variety of reasons, other than the fact that it is talked about. I think you're making a faulty causal argument.

No, I am saying that if their is we start talking about something that someone doesn't realize doesn't exist, then people would tend to believe it's true, unless it sounds totally and absolutely uncredible.

The reason that we don't have people believing in Harry Potter and Santa Clause is because:

A)Harry is a work of fiction-it is widely enough known that people know that you are referring to a fictious book.

B) If, by some chance, you have never heard of it, people are familiar with the terms 'witch', 'wizard', 'wand', so on and so forth. They recognize these, and can make a reasonable assumption.

C) Actually, I thought that Holmes was a real person, thought the books weren't true. I though that the books were based on a real person without being true themselves.

Lucid
12-14-2007, 04:44 PM
No, I am saying that if their is we start talking about something that someone doesn't realize doesn't exist, then people would tend to believe it's true, unless it sounds totally and absolutely uncredible.

The reason that we don't have people believing in Harry Potter and Santa Clause is because:

A)Harry is a work of fiction-it is widely enough known that people know that you are referring to a fictious book.

B) If, by some chance, you have never heard of it, people are familiar with the terms 'witch', 'wizard', 'wand', so on and so forth. They recognize these, and can make a reasonable assumption.

C) Actually, I thought that Holmes was a real person, thought the books weren't true. I though that the books were based on a real person without being true themselves.

You're saying that most people don't think Harry Potter or Sherlock Holmes are real people because most people know that they aren't true or would be able to infer that from the context of the discussion or the artifacts and terms associated with the fictional characters.
This may be true, but it doesn't refute my point. Talking about something doesn't imply that it's true. If people misunderstand the discussion and assume that something being talked about is a reality, it is their bad. The problem lies with them and their credulity and lack of critical thinking skills, not with my discussion.

Hdier
12-14-2007, 04:58 PM
I wasn't saying that it was your fault! I was simply saying that generally, people don't talk about things that exist!

Even with HP and SH, they are in books, they are stories that exist in the real world. If you talk about something that only exists in your head, such as a new book idea or something that can only exist in theory (as far as we know), such as supernaturaliy, if people can't infer it from the contents and aren't already familiar with it, of course they'll assume it exists. It only makes sense(to them)!

Disclaimer: I am not saying that anyone here does this, just people in general. Please do not be insulted by this.

Lucid
12-14-2007, 05:01 PM
I wasn't saying that it was your fault! I was simply saying that generally, people don't talk about things that exist!

Even with HP and SH, they are in books, they are stories that exist in the real world. If you talk about something that only exists in your head, such as a new book idea or something that can only exist in theory (as far as we know), such as supernaturaliy, if people can't infer it from the contents and aren't already familiar with it, of course they'll assume it exists. It only makes sense(to them)!

Disclaimer: I am not saying that anyone here does this, just people in general. Please do not be insulted by this.

Oh.. I didn't think it was my fault personally. I was using the term "my" as a manner of speaking. Sorry.

I wasn't insulted. But I think you give humans less credit that they (probably) deserve. Assuming something exists just because we're talking about it is a mistake. There are many people who do it, but I don't think most would.

Hdier
12-14-2007, 05:34 PM
Maybe you're right, and it is 'many' rather than 'most'. I am basing my opinion of the human races overall intllegence level subjectively off of my personal experiances, which aren't very long. However, I still maintain my standpoint, as I have not recieved a good enough reason to change it.

Booko
12-14-2007, 07:17 PM
Determining who is the best guitarist alive is a subjective matter of opinion (I prefer Slash to Eric Clapton). Whereas science is a matter of objective observation. :)

Hm, *much* of science is a matter of objective observation.

In practice, the scientific community has its own form of politics, and what is "true" is sometimes more tied to methods that are anything but objective.

Science as a discipline does have a means to adjust, and over time invariably does.

It's going off into a subject that's more suited to the religious topic forum where Danisty and I hang out otherwise, but in my view religion has its own means of adjustment.

My gripe, which many non-theists would likely share, is that religion takes too damned long to adjust for my tastes. Science usually takes maybe a generation. For religion it seems to me more on the order of centuries. :(

Jezebel
12-15-2007, 10:42 AM
Split the "greatest guitarist" posts to this thread (To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.).

Booko
12-15-2007, 11:10 AM
Which is exactly why the word "supernatural" was invented. Sure, God could have created the universe 6000 years ago and just faked all the evidence that it was billions of years old. He could have created the universe 6 seconds ago and faked all the evidence that it was older. However, those explanations violate the chain of cause and effect by pretending that a wish is enough of a cause to create an effect.

Describing the supernatural is complicated because simply talking about it implies that it exists. It doesn't. The supernatural doesn't exist. We can talk about it in the hypothetical only.

No, I'd say your first paragraph demonstrates that discussing "religion" is difficult if one abuses logic and takes one small slice of lunatic religion and builds an argument from that basis that supposedly applies to religion qua religion.

Again, as you do here:

The reason it HYPOTHETICALLY wouldn't be scientific is because magic is the will of God. We can't experiment with the will of God. We can't observe it, we can't measure it, we can't predict it. The idea that God can interrupt the chain of cause and effect at a whim is supernatural.

You make a lot of assumptions here such as "magic" and "whim" having anything to do with religion.

Your point that religion isn't science and should not pretend to be I view as not just valid, but of great importance.

When religion tries to be something is not, it becomes dangerous. Religion needs to understand its boundaries. So does science.

blueback
12-15-2007, 02:09 PM
You make a lot of assumptions here such as "magic" and "whim" having anything to do with religion.


Look, man, are you really serious? I don't know if maybe I'm coming across as an arrogant prick but at least when I tell someone they're wrong I explain why I think they're wrong and what I think is right.

It's easy to tell someone they are way off base if they put their ideas out there for you to consider.

It's hard to put your own ideas out there and have them shot down.

MAGIC (American Heritage Dictionary): The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural

WHIM (American Heritage Dictionary): A sudden or capricious idea; a fancy.
Arbitrary thought or impulse

Now, read those definitions and try to imagine them NOT applying to the things God does in the Bible. They are, in fact, spot on. Everything God does is magic. God is supernatural and actually CAN'T interact with the wrold in any other way. Pretty much everything he does do in the world is a whim. No one can even agree on why he created humans, or why he created the universe, or why he choose to do most of the things in the Bible. If you think otherwise you should sack up and put your own ideas down in text.

Mechanical Messiah
12-15-2007, 03:46 PM
Perhaps he isn't talking about the standard Judeo/Islam/Christian style of God. There are lots of diverse concepts out there as to what exactly constitutes a "god".

For me, though, the further such a concept gets from the common Christian notion of an omnipotent/anthropomorphic skydaddy... then the less relevent it becomes to me. That may be a byproduct of my early Christian indoctrination, or just personal preference.

For example- some cultures include "gods" who essentially roam the forest and randomly mess with whomever walks by and neglects some obscure ritual... others have 'gods' who are in charge of some afterlife which happens to be conveniently tailored to that particular culture. Even if such unlikely dieties were real- they just ain't relevent to my life.

And as far at that goes... there are religions out there that don't involve any diety. So I reckon that throws "magic" and "whim" right out the window.

But if that's the case, then I'd suggest that folks adhering to such non-theistic religions spell this out a bit... rather than just getting pissed at us atheists and our unfounded assumptions. I'm sure I make plenty of those (we all do whether we realize it or not)... but these assumptions aren't likely to change if not directly pointed out.

blueback
12-15-2007, 08:01 PM
Yeah, I use Christianity for most of my examples, but I have yet to hear about a religion that isn't founded on magic.
Major religions ranked by size To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Christianity: 2.1 billion (God)
Islam: 1.5 billion (God)
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 900 million (diverse beliefs, God, deities, karma)
Chinese traditional religion: 394 million (ancestor worship, deities)
Buddhism: 376 million (reincarnation, deities, Nirvana)
primal-indigenous: 300 million (deiteis)
African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million (deities)
Sikhism: 23 million (reincarnation)
Juche: 19 million (not really a religion)
Spiritism: 15 million (spirits, God, reincarnation)
Judaism: 14 million (God)

This list is more all-inclusive then I would have made it since it is more a list of belief systems then strict religions. Also, I ignored the "religions" with fewer then 10 million adherents. Anywho, there you have it. The major "religions" of the world are all founded on magic, it is integral to their belief systems.

Now, if you want to argue the point, it should be easy for you to be as specific as I have been.

Mechanical Messiah
12-15-2007, 08:16 PM
I know that there are certain sects of Buddhism that are entirely non-theistic. No diety, no reincarnation, and nirvana only as a theoretical goal. It strikes me as more of a philosophy than a religion... but it's on your list.

blueback
12-15-2007, 10:59 PM
Yeah, I mentioned that I didn't agree with it as a list of religions but thought it was more accurate to say a list of belief systems.

Besides, things like Hinduism and Buddhism are too diverse to really classify as a single anything.

INTJgal
12-16-2007, 12:24 AM
Now, I have a hard time telling anyone they're wrong, especially about things which are possibly still open to debate. That being said, if you meant what you said to be taken literally, I think you're wrong.

There is no such thing as a contradiction. Contradictions cannot exist in nature, so if you think you've found one you should check your assumptions again because at least one of them is wrong.

A rational person cannot happily accept two contradictory philosophies at the same time. Therefore, either you are not rational, or you are using the terms "science" and "religion" very loosly. I think it's more likely to be the latter, so could you please explain why you think that science and religion contradict each other and why you can still accept both at the same time.



How can science confirm faith? Science is pure logic and faith is trust without logic. The two are mutually exclusive because scientific explanations are always more useful than religious ones.

The biggest difference between science and religion, after the one I just mentioned of course, is that science is always in agreement with itself while relgion is always in disagreement with itself. Two scientists from opposite hemispheres, who both study electricity in their region, will arrive at the same explanation of electricity. Two theologists, who both study religion in their region, will arrive at different explanations of religion. No matter where you are the "how" is always the same. The "why" depends directly on where you happen to be when you ask it. That is because the "how" is derived from nature and the "why" is derived from people.

If religion really did describe an actual natural phenomenon then it would be consistent just like science is. However, religion is not consistent, in fact even people who claim to practice the same religion can easily find points they disagree on. No one in the world is going to disagree on whether or not plants need water, but a lot of people disagree on whether or not God came to Earth in the form of Jesus, or whether or not Jesus existed at all, or whether or not there is one God or many Gods, or how the Earth/Universe was created, etc. . .
(Focusing on Christianity b/c I'm most educated on this religion.)
Science and religion don't contradict at all. You're making an assumption. This is not a valid assumption.
I can find more evidence when I have time some other day, but for now i reference you to MIT's head of Nuclear Physics and Engineering, Dr. Ian Hutchinson. He's a Christian who doesn't see the two as conflicting at all.

Btw, you're claiming science is always consistent. That's bullshit, actually. It's just got a very high rate of consistency. Seriously. I'll expand more if I remember. PM me if someone reads this in a few days and I haven't replied. (I have notes on this at home.)

INTeJer
12-16-2007, 04:07 AM
I can find more evidence when I have time some other day, but for now i reference you to MIT's head of Nuclear Physics and Engineering, Dr. Ian Hutchinson. He's a Christian who doesn't see the two as conflicting at all.

Are you sure you're INTJ? this is relying on authority, and you're not supposed to give a damn. Besides, do you really think that if A says B, independenly on who's A and whatever B is, anyone with brain would blindly follow and start believing B just because A said so or thinks so?

Btw, you're claiming science is always consistent. That's bullshit, actually. It's just got a very high rate of consistency. Seriously.

Lol, sure. Seriously. Come on...

Danellian
12-16-2007, 07:56 PM
What some of you guys are missing is that it doesn't matter if atheists don't place faith in science and reason. Perhaps they do, but that's not the point I am arguing. From the stance of the atheist, the scientific method, including the method of most probable conclusions, has absolutely nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of God. The scientific method begins only with empirical observation, and as such, has nothing to say about the unobserveable. Since God is unsobservealbe, His existence is not a testable hypothesis. Therefore, according to the scientific atheist, there is not the possibility of believing in God, since that hypothesis cannot be tested. But, neither does the scientific atheist have any grounds to say there is not a God. It's just a proposition floating out there with no verifiability in the positive or negative. In this way, the scientific atheist truly does take a stance that there is nothing greater out there, no God, since that hypothesis cannot be tested, it cannot be considered. He locks himself into the conundrum of not believing in God because he has constructed a way to avoid the question altogether. There is a nothingness beleived in not because of the positive asserion that it exists, but rather due to the negative assertion that there is no possibility of scientifically believing otherwise. In this case, there is faith held that science, which involves reason, is the only reliable arbitor for propositions about what is and is not, and hence, an indirect faith in reason.

For those of you who are atheists but don't constrict yourselves to the scientific method, we have yet another conundrum. Here, we have the introduction of rationalstic methodologies into our inquiry, which are used as a basis for the assertion that it is not logically consistent to believe in God. The beginning of the problem is that this type of person, the non-scientific atheist, commits himself to a methodology that accepts evidence beyond that which is observeable. The argument that God is not observeable, or that God is not the most likely hypothesis given observeable phenomena, becomes a contradiction. Here, the grounds for not believing in God move from the claim of not being scientifically verifiable to the claim that it is not logically consistent. But, in this case, there must be a positive assertion that there is no God, a positive believe in nothingness. In this case, in a direct sense, there is a faith held in reason. This very faith becomes self-contradictory to the rationalistic nature that supposedly espoused it.

Booko
12-16-2007, 08:48 PM
Look, man, are you really serious? I don't know if maybe I'm coming across as an arrogant prick but at least when I tell someone they're wrong I explain why I think they're wrong and what I think is right.

Since you brought it up, yes actually you were coming across as an arrogant prick.

That's of little importance to me compared to whether you're taking one slice of a subject and pawning it off as representative of the whole, however.

I don't care if you do come across as an arrogant prick -- if you happen to be right.

The problem, and the reason I responded as I did, is that your reasoning falls far far short. Now, I have no way of knowing if it's because you don't know how to reason (I expect you do), but what I can see is that you are working from some bad premises and amazingly insufficient information.

MAGIC (American Heritage Dictionary): The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural

WHIM (American Heritage Dictionary): A sudden or capricious idea; a fancy.
Arbitrary thought or impulse

Now, read those definitions and try to imagine them NOT applying to the things God does in the Bible. They are, in fact, spot on. Everything God does is magic. God is supernatural and actually CAN'T interact with the wrold in any other way. Pretty much everything he does do in the world is a whim. No one can even agree on why he created humans, or why he created the universe, or why he choose to do most of the things in the Bible. If you think otherwise you should sack up and put your own ideas down in text.

What the hell are you talking about, blueback?

How much more explicit to I have to be than "there's more to religion than Christianity"?

You make a comment about religion and then extend as proof just one possible understanding of "the God of the Bible." Do I really have to specify exactly which logical fallacy that is?

You can continue to babble about the Bible all you want but it doesn't have doodles to do with religions that look to other sources, and most particularly ones that denigrate superstition as something that has only served to hold back humanity.

It's your unwarranted assumption that religion is based on "whim" and "magic."

You said it. YOU prove it.

For all of them and not just one segment of one of them.

Have fun with that.

At least in the process you'll get a better command of the subject, which is rather large, as it extends throughout human history.





Booko added to this post, 4 minutes and 27 seconds later...

Perhaps he isn't talking about the standard Judeo/Islam/Christian style of God. There are lots of diverse concepts out there as to what exactly constitutes a "god".

Even within Abrahamic religions you find God-concepts differ considerably. In each strain there seems to be a particular balance between immanent vs. transcendent. Heck, in Mahayana Buddhism there's such a leaning toward transcendent that it's often referred to as "atheistic."

And as far at that goes... there are religions out there that don't involve any diety. So I reckon that throws "magic" and "whim" right out the window.


I dispute that the existence of "deity" in some form means that any religion can be accurately described using terms like "magic" and "whim."





Booko added to this post, 3 minutes and 36 seconds later...

Yeah, I use Christianity for most of my examples, but I have yet to hear about a religion that isn't founded on magic.

To pursue this further, it would be helpful if you described what you meant by "founded on magic." And please don't quote a dictionary.

Religion surely isn't founded on science. Neither is literature, music or history, so that doesn't particularly concern me.

Now, if you want to argue the point, it should be easy for you to be as specific as I have been.

Giving a list of religions is not what I would call specific.

Your beef with religion from what I"ve read so far (and obviously I haven't read everything you've written here) is that it isn't science.

BFD. The only thing that is science is science. If you had other expectations, I would suggest they are unrealistic.

Mechanical Messiah
12-16-2007, 08:52 PM
I dispute that the existence of "deity" in some form means that any religion can be accurately described using terms like "magic" and "whim."

Why?

blueback
12-16-2007, 09:03 PM
What some of you guys are missing is that it doesn't matter if atheists don't place faith in science and reason. Perhaps they do, but that's not the point I am arguing.


That doesn't make any sense. The words are there, but they don't mean anything. Could you expand on this point? Unless the rest of the post was expandind on this, then never mind.


From the stance of the atheist, the scientific method, including the method of most probable conclusions, has absolutely nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of God.


True. Science is a method of dealing with the measurable. We can't see the wind, but we can measure its effect on other things and thereby prove its existence. We can't see God, and we can't measure "his" effect on anything, so we can't prove whether or not "he" exists.


Therefore, according to the scientific atheist, there is not the possibility of believing in God, since that hypothesis cannot be tested. But, neither does the scientific atheist have any grounds to say there is not a God.


Well, since we just established that science has nothing to say about God's existence, doesn't this go without saying? Besides, an atheist believes that God doesn't exist. That is the definition. It is a title earned by believing in something, not through adherence to the scientific method. Therefore, calling someone a "scientific atheist" is like calling someone a "christian scientist."


It's just a proposition floating out there with no verifiability in the positive or negative. In this way, the scientific atheist truly does take a stance that there is nothing greater out there, no God, since that hypothesis cannot be tested, it cannot be considered.


It's got nothing to do with the scientific method. It is impossible to build a logical conclusion out of a belief. Since an atheist first believes that God doesn't exist it doesn't matter if they try to rationalize their belief with science. That is no different then a theist who first believes that God does exist trying to rationalize their belief with science. They are both equally irrational and invalid.


He locks himself into the conundrum of not believing in God because he has constructed a way to avoid the question altogether.


I can't believe I'm going to write this, but you might be putting too much thought into this specific idea.

Just look at the definitions of the words. That is all the thought it takes to figure this "conundrum" out. Just because someone makes up a philosophy or a title doesn't mean they have thought of something you haven't, it usually just means they are thinking unclearly. Atheists believe that God doesn't exist. The science is immaterial, it doesn't apply.


There is a nothingness beleived in not because of the positive asserion that it exists, but rather due to the negative assertion that there is no possibility of scientifically believing otherwise.


"Scientifically believing". . . .
Maybe you should reaquaint yourself with the english language.


In this case, there is faith held that science, which involves reason, is the only reliable arbitor for propositions about what is and is not, and hence, an indirect faith in reason.


No, you are confusing rationality with irrationality. The two exist at the same time, but they are always mutually exclusive.

Science doesn't "involve" reason, it is rational. Irrational science doesn't work, rational science works wonders. It is a system of action and thought which allows men to predict and harness the workings of the universe. As such, it is reliable when used properly.

Anyone who believes science can be an "arbiter for propositions about what is and is not" is being irrational. Science only deals in the measurable. Since it is impossible to measure the boundary between "is and is not" science can approach it but never cross over. Therefore, you are describing faith. It's not a "faith in reason" it's just faith. What it is "in" doesn't matter, faith is faith.


For those of you who are atheists but don't constrict yourselves to the scientific method, we have yet another conundrum. [...] The beginning of the problem is that this type of person, the non-scientific atheist, commits himself to a methodology that accepts evidence beyond that which is observeable.


Actually, simply being an atheist does that.
Atheists believe. Just the act of believing "commits one to a methodology that accepts evidence beyond that which is observable." Anyone who believes anything, but especially anything as big as God, is accepting evidence that is unobservable.


The argument that God is not observeable, or that God is not the most likely hypothesis given observeable phenomena, becomes a contradiction. [...] This very faith becomes self-contradictory to the rationalistic nature that supposedly espoused it.


As opposed to all the faiths that aren't self contradictory?

Well, it sounds like the only option you've left, since you've ruled out pure rationality and a mix between rationality and irrationality, is pure irrationality. Since you didn't take the obvious step of talking about pure irrationality I infer your meaning is that it is superior by default.

By way of proving it isn't, pure irrationality is useless and destructive. Man's prime tool of survival is his mind, and denying the mind is the surest path to death. If irrationality "worked" then we would be able to wish ourselves full bellies any time we were hungry.

blueback
12-16-2007, 09:51 PM
Wow. . .

I actually had to read this post a couple times to convince myself it said what I thought it said at first glance. I don't know whether you consider rationality an ideal that you might never reach, or you just think that rationality is overrated, but luckily for you I am patient enough to help you out.


Since you brought it up, yes actually you were coming across as an arrogant prick.


Sure, fine, you're not the first person to say it.
However, I then proceeded to lay out my thoughts on the subject. So, if I'm an arrogant prick, at least I'm an arrogant prick who is ballsy enough to present his own ideas for you to get upset about. What I mean is, you're getting upset because I keep supporting my conclusions, not because I call you names.


That's of little importance to me compared to whether you're taking one slice of a subject and pawning it off as representative of the whole, however.


What is wrong with using a sample to draw conclusions about the population? Have you ever taken a statistics class? Have you gotten a college degree?

There are such things as "outlyers" in every population. Those things are so far removed from what is normal that they exist, but they represent a tiny fraction of the population.

Now, if you refer to the list I was enough of a prick to post you will see that Christianity and Islam alone account for half of the world's population. Christianity by itself is a third of the world population. When you subtract the portion of the world that isn't religious, the Christian population is around 2/5ths of the religious people in the world. That is more than enough to draw conclusions from. If you ever study anything (it's something that you do in college) you will be happy to get a sample that is 1/100th of the population you are studying.

So, do you still want to cling to the idea that Christianity doesn't represent "religion" in the world? Sure, there are outlyers, but they make up a small percentage of the population. If you add up the religions which are obviously similar to Christianity the outlyers become insignificant.


I don't care if you do come across as an arrogant prick -- if you happen to be right.


At least we agree on that.


The problem, and the reason I responded as I did, is that your reasoning falls far far short. Now, I have no way of knowing if it's because you don't know how to reason (I expect you do), but what I can see is that you are working from some bad premises and amazingly insufficient information.


This, right here, is why I am not taking you seriously. You just responded to a post in which I pointed out that I am providing support for my conclusions, while you are not. . . .and you are still throwing up conclusions without any support.

Maybve it's my fault. Maybe I haven't explained it to you in sufficent detail.
GOOD
1) State your evidence
2) Interpret the evidence
3) Draw conclusion from interpretation

BAD
1) State conclusion
2) Remark on how obvious it is

If you have a problem with my evidence, it is there for you to address specifically. If you have a problem with my interpretation, it is right there for you to quote. If you have a problem with my conclusion, well, never mind, you've been having problems with my concluions for a while. You don't need any help with that.


What the hell are you talking about, blueback?


Oh, I'm sorry. I guess "Everything God does is magic." wasn't clear enough for you.


How much more explicit to I have to be than "there's more to religion than Christianity"?


You don't have to worry about that. I posted a list of the major religions so that you would have something to refer to.

Unless you mean that a religion with 14 million followers is as important as a religion with 2 billion. . .in which case you are a nice person but not cut out for science. The scientific method leads anyone who follows it to a conclusion. If you are happier not reaching any conclusions then feel free to not think. But don't shoot down the people who are busy trying to get some work done.

Sure, there are religions that are different from Christianity, but they aren't anywhere near as influential. Also, since you are so unlikely to ever run into anyone who practices them, you would have to educate your audience before you could have a discussion. Then you'd just get distracted by the intricasies and would forget about why you brought up the subject in the first place.

blueback
12-16-2007, 09:52 PM
The site wouldn't let me post this all at once.


You make a comment about religion and then extend as proof just one possible understanding of "the God of the Bible." Do I really have to specify exactly which logical fallacy that is?


Yes, yes you do. Didn't I make that clear earlier? If you don't put it into words it doesn't exist for the rest of us. If you want your conclusions to be taken seriously you have to be willing to expose the reasoning that got you there.


You can continue to babble about the Bible all you want but it doesn't have doodles to do with religions that look to other sources, and most particularly ones that denigrate superstition as something that has only served to hold back humanity.


Oh, oh noooo! You're mentioning religions besides Christianity! Please, anything but that. My carefully constructed web of deceptive reasoning can't cope with that. (that was sarcasm)

I'd truly be interested in hearing about a religion that "denigrates superstition." That would be interesting. But even if you find one I doubt it's got over 10 million followers.


It's your unwarranted assumption that religion is based on "whim" and "magic."


By "unwarranted assumption" I infer that you mean "well supported reasoning" otherwise it wouldn't fit into that sentence. I already supported the idea that religion is based on magic and whim, if you don't like my reasoning then address piece by piece. . .as I'm doing to your "reasoning."


You said it. YOU prove it.
For all of them and not just one segment of one of them.


I did. Did you miss that post with the list of the major religions? If you did, don't worry, I'm sure it's still there. Just use the little box at the far right of the screen (it's called a scroll bar). Push up on it and the text should move until you can see the post I mean. It's pretty obvious.

Next to each religion I put a few words about what that religion believes that is magical or "whimish" (I don't know if that's a real word). If you don't understand, just google them, you will. If you do that, and find evidence that I'm wrong, feel free to present it.


At least in the process you'll get a better command of the subject, which is rather large, as it extends throughout human history.


Yes, yes you have established yourself as an expert on the subject. I am in awe of how vast your understanding is. It's so vast that you can't possibly simplify it to the level where you could write about it. . .that's pretty good understanding right there. Thank you for taking the time to impart just the smalles fruit of the tree that is your wisdom. If you ever feel like getting more specific, I'll try to keep up. (more sarcasm)


To pursue this further, it would be helpful if you described what you meant by "founded on magic." And please don't quote a dictionary.


Oh I don't have too. I mean, I already did, but I can just quote myself.
"God is supernatural and actually CAN'T interact with the wrold in any other way. Pretty much everything he does do in the world is a whim. "


Religion surely isn't founded on science. Neither is literature, music or history, so that doesn't particularly concern me.


Hmmmm. . .once again, your reasoning astounds me. Well, not your reasoning, because you didn't include that, but something you are doing is astounding.

Do you think literature would exist without books? What about without language? What about the written word? Do you think that those things just spring out of the ground?

Would music exist without instruments? Would it prosper without technology? Would it ever produce anything new without understanding harmonic oscillations?

History, is a bit harder to define. Are you talking about the study of history, or just the recording of it? Still, either one requires science.


Giving a list of religions is not what I would call specific.


I noticed that. Tell me, what would you call specific? Or, even better, why not go to the trouble of giving me an example?


Your beef with religion from what I"ve read so far (and obviously I haven't read everything you've written here) is that it isn't science.


Actually, that's one of the most accurate things in this post so far. It's not right, but it is closer to the mark then anything else.

Religion inhibits, and even actively discourages rational thought. That is my "beef" with relgion. Science encourages, and actually requires rational thought. So, in a sense, my problem with religion is that it's not science, but only in a sense.


BFD. The only thing that is science is science. If you had other expectations, I would suggest they are unrealistic.
[/quote]

Congratulations!
After all that nonsense you managed to arrive at the key to life! Science is science. A thing is itself. A is A. 1 is 1. 1 + 1 = 2.

A thing's existence is independent of our interpretation of it. Things exist in reality despite what our imagination tells us. We exist. It is our perception of our own existence from which all other understanding comes.

Danellian
12-17-2007, 12:35 AM
Blueback, you have a way of projecting your own way of seeing things into my posts, thereby misconstruing my meaning. Not that you do this completely, but you do it in enough points that I don't think your response is really aimed at what I had to say. It's too late and I'm too tired to give a detailed explanation right now, but your talk about rationality and irrationality, and how you think I'm against rationality by what I'm saying, and how you think I'm trying to remove the dichotomy between the two, well, I really don't think this has anything to do with the point I'm making. You also took my usage of words, in at least two parts of my post, imposed your interpretations on them, and missed my point altogether. I'm not trying to be insulting here, but it really gets tiresome debating with you when it doesn't matter what I have to say because you will not get my meaning. I really don't think I'm being that unclear.

AgentofGaming
12-17-2007, 12:51 AM
I think you should to build your arguments on a point by point basis like Blueback does to be more clear. After all the best way to send a message is to have it simple and explicit.

Long paragraphs aren't a good thing, as they tend to be long-winded. Also when you get philosophical about the interpretation it it detracts from the original message.

That's my opinion though, I just like Blueback's way of presenting arguments. Simple and explicit, I find them quite elegant.

blueback
12-17-2007, 01:53 AM
Danellian: Yes. How else am I to see your post then in my own way?

Maybe I can explain it this way:
Words have specific meanings. Sure, some words are flexible, but in the interests of making them useful, you have to restrict the definition. If you want a word that fits a certain definition, go find it. Don't force the definition onto a related word and thereby weaken its meaning.

That is how I use words, I don't use them perfectly yet, but I put a lot of effort into making sure the things I say are specific and consistent. It helps me to keep my thoughts rational and it ensures that I never say anything I can't support.

Because I spend a lot of time making sure I understand words as collectively exhaustive and mutually exclusive I also understand how people use them incorrectly. I know what people "probably" mean when they use a word of phrase badly, but I don't condone their action. In fact, I encourage them to fix their shoddy thinking and speaking habits by pointing out all the ways their own language contradicts itself.

If someone can't be bothered to ensure that they are using the language properly then why would I expect them to be bothered to use the ideas they are talking about properly? And if they aren't using either properly, then why would I pretend that their conclusions are as valid as mine?

It seems like most of the semantical problems in these discussion center around two problems 1) stretching a word to cover things it could apply to, but there are already better words to use and 2) evaluating the meaning of a word based on its positive or negative connotation rather then its definition. People get upset when I say that God does magic. But the definition of magic is uniquely suited to describing what God does. They just don't like the connontation the word carries with it.

In my experience, and I can't pretend I said this first, "a conclusion is the point at which someone gets tired of thinking." People want the credit for coming up with their own ideas, but they aren't clear enough on what their ideas are to write them down. They want to respect of reasoning their way from evidence to a conclusion, but they are afraid to present their reasoning for public scrutiny. They desire to command a wealth of useful evidence, but they aren't even clear on what the evidence should support, or whether or not they really want to see the evidence.

So, when it comes down to it, who has a better point of view? The person who never presents a conclusion without also presenting their evidence and reasoning, or the person who states that their conclusions speak for themselves and then complain that everyone misunderstands them.

If I misinterpreted the words you wrote, then I also left behind a well marked path of evidence and reasoning for you to follow to correct me. Don't ignore everything I wrote (that took a while) and dismiss it with a single phrase. Quote me, correct me, give me something to respond to. Help me maintain a dialogue so that I can marvel at the incredible wisdom you have to offer that is hiding behind unclear language.

AgentofGaming: Thanks! I appreciate that :-) But I would prefer it if you pointed out something I got wrong.

AgentofGaming
12-17-2007, 02:50 AM
AgentofGaming: Thanks! I appreciate that :-) But I would prefer it if you pointed out something I got wrong.

I probably would point them out. However I admit I might let things slip if they aren't major, the "I" in "INTJ" produces this effect. I don't hold at anyone's words aggressively.

However maybe it's biased but I comprehend what you have to say and agree with it.

In terms of the way I think and perceive: your arguments are very clear and meaningful and I would not be able to argue it better if I had to.

Lastly I also tend to read every post as, a reader out of context, makes posts out of context. I have read all of the posts and don't see anything necessary to point out (I tend to be a passive audience anyways).
So really there's really not much for me to point out, you've said what I would have said and more.

Danellian
12-17-2007, 11:45 AM
Blueback, part of the problem is this: It is more efficient to write a couple of paragraphs stating what I think that it is to quote every aspect of your argument and give specific replies to each part, based on the linguistic usage in each post. I see your point about the words I used, and about a couple of them, you are right. But, looking at my post as a whole, it simply is not that unclear.

Now, when I have about thirty minutes to actually sit down and reply to your argument point by point, I will do that, and I can do that, but please understand that it may be a couple of days before I have time to do that.

Perhaps in the mean time, we should deal with smaller arguments in each post, because given your communication style, I simply do not have the time to communicate with you on a regular basis. I'm not saying your communication style is wrong or mine is right (which IS what you are doing) but I'm just stating what is the case and what I see as the best possible solution.

One quick point I can make is that it is possible to go on speculating and considering for too long, when we could have arrived at a conclusion long ago. There is also such a thing as having the confidence to have convictions in things you believe in and base your life upon. By the same token, we ought to do enough consideration ands speculation to reach a conclusion. But that does not mean we should never reach a conclusion, or, at least, it does not mean that we should place more emphasis on the process of inquiry that the solution itself. Honestly, they are equally important.

Anyhow, consider the possibility that you are an INTP. I don't think that needs any more clarification.





Danellian added to this post, 18 minutes and 55 seconds later...

For starters:

The term "scientific atheist" is not a misnomer, if you take the later points in my post into account. I state that a scientific atheist has no positive belief in the existence or non-existence of God, but the DO have the negative believe that God does not exist due to the nothingess that takes His place when the possibility of His existence is excluded from inquiry. This is something you never understood, given your replies. And just like your first rebuttal to my post, you didn't read the entire post before deciding what I said didn't make sense or wasn't supported.





Danellian added to this post, 4 minutes and 23 seconds later...

Given this, it does matter if a scientific atheist tries to justify their negative believe with science. They are creating a self-contradiction, claiming their methodology to be restricted to science but holding negative belief in something that science has nothing to say about.

The point is this: If you don't consider the possibility that God exists, that is the equivalent to not believing in Him, because rather you positively don't believe in God or negatively don't believe in God, He is not present in your life unless you positively DO believe in Him. And the scientific atheist CANNOT rebutt this because it is a claim beyond empirical verifiability.





Danellian added to this post, 4 minutes and 32 seconds later...

There is such a thing as scientific belief. This is not a misnomer. There reason for this is as previously stated: A lack of belief in God is a negative belief, which is a form of belief. Further, the scientist believes in an empirical methodoloy. He has no choice but to place faith in his methodology and to "believe" in it, unless he chooses to introduce rationalistic inquiries into his methodology, which is not something the true scientist, including the scientific atheist, is willing to do. Therefore, there is another self-contradition because this type of person claims not to believe in anything, yet this very assertion is based on a belief that is beyond empirical verifiability.





Danellian added to this post, 7 minutes and 21 seconds later...

Science does involve reason and science is not reason. Adhere to your own methods and grab a dictionary before you post. The definitions of science and reason are not identical. They simply are NOT the same thing. This being said, someone who is being truly scientific is being rational, at least about their field of inquiry. But this does not make reason the same as science!

This DOES make the scientific atheist the arbitor of propositions about what is and is not, due to my aforementioned argument about negative belief. This is a central thesis of mine that you have yet to see, yet alone rebutt.





Danellian added to this post, 4 minutes and 48 seconds later...

The scientific atheist does not explicitly believe is anything beyond that which is observeable, but, you are right, the do so implicitly. I could have elaborated a bit more on this one, but then again, if you understood my argument in the first place, this would not have been necessary.





Danellian added to this post, 2 minutes and 30 seconds later...

I said nothing that trapped me into a belief in irrationality. You threw this into the end of your rebuttal, but there is no support for it, though I suppose it somehow follows from your fallacious understanding of my argument.

Hdier
12-17-2007, 11:59 AM
An idea just struck me (please excuse me if this has already been brought up; I don't have the time/patience to sift through the whole thread):

Could science be considered a religion? Sure, you obviously don't worship science, but religions have been historically used to explain unexplained phenomena. The only (in my opinion) major difference is the fact that science can be tested.

Any thoughts?

AgentofGaming
12-17-2007, 01:34 PM
But that does not mean we should never reach a conclusion, or, at least, it does not mean that we should place more emphasis on the process of inquiry that the solution itself. Honestly, they are equally important.

Anyhow, consider the possibility that you are an INTP. I don't think that needs any more clarification.

INTJs do seek closure, but isn't admitting that a question is open-ended a sign of closure in itself?

Given this, it does matter if a scientific atheist tries to justify their negative believe with science. They are creating a self-contradiction, claiming their methodology to be restricted to science but holding negative belief in something that science has nothing to say about.

I would say the goal of science is to use proof and verifiable means to confirm.
If the goal of science was to disprove than there would be a lot of disproving to do as anyone can make a claim.
That's why the burden of proof is the one on claims of existence.

Then wouldn't atheism argue along the same lines, that say: since deities are not proved therefore they should not be believed?

An idea just struck me (please excuse me if this has already been brought up; I don't have the time/patience to sift through the whole thread):

Could science be considered a religion? Sure, you obviously don't worship science, but religions have been historically used to explain unexplained phenomena. The only (in my opinion) major difference is the fact that science can be tested.

Any thoughts?

Would this be to Scientology? (I'm not sure myself, I haven't looked into scientology)



My friend made a jest, that all the energy in the universe is what is actually God. As it's everywhere, it's in everything and makes everything happen. Any comments on that?

Hdier
12-17-2007, 02:07 PM
I read the article on the Wiki, and it doesn't appear that way; could be wrong, though.

Define 'energy'. For example, the cognitive energy that we use to...um...cognate. Would that be included as 'energy', or would it only include energy such as electrical and kinetic?

rwyatt365
12-17-2007, 02:12 PM
My friend made a jest, that all the energy in the universe is what is actually God. As it's everywhere, it's in everything and makes everything happen. Any comments on that?
An interesting postulate, although some (most?) people would question use of "makes" in the statement. Those that believe in a deity might be more inclined to adopt this concept, while those that don't might argue that the universal energy doesn't necessarily "make" anything happen.

Danellian
12-17-2007, 02:19 PM
AgentOfGaming, you too are missing the part of my argument that states there is a negative belief that exists due to the reality of God's presence or lack of presence in our lives, which is a propostion science in not equipped to handle, which creates a contradiction. My argument has nothing to do with who the burden of proof falls on. In fact, it is implicit in my argument that there is no proof for the existence or non-existence of God, since that proposition is outside the realm of observation-based verifiability.

AgentofGaming
12-17-2007, 02:52 PM
I think we're using the same argument with different terms. If I quote it's not necessarily a rebuttal, sometimes it's a rephrasing or extension. Perhaps you're using too many arguable points as one, or I'm not on the same lines of your ordering.

I didn't say science was equipped to handle the reality of god's existence. I'm agreeing with what you're saying that: it's outside the scope.
However I didn't see the contradiction because as I was saying science is negative by default, which led to the remark of the burden of proof. In other words I was trying to say that the status quo of science is nothing/don't know, not assumed existence. I don't believe that using the same basis of to criticize the existence of deities leads to a contradiction, as anything outside of verification can be rejected as baseless.
Thereby giving us the status quo.

Implicit meanings are a bit difficult to comprehend, so we're somewhat on the same lines but in different interpretations.

EDIT: sorry, I can't find the exact words I'm looking for.

blueback
12-17-2007, 03:11 PM
Theism: conscious belief in God specifically, and deities generally
Implicit Atheism: “the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it” George H. Smith
Explicit Atheism: conscious disbelief in theism
Agnostic: Rejection of theism and atheism on the grounds that they require an equal leap of faith


The term "scientific atheist" is not a misnomer, if you take the later points in my post into account. I state that a scientific atheist has no positive belief in the existence or non-existence of God, but the DO have the negative believe that God does not exist due to the nothingess that takes His place when the possibility of His existence is excluded from inquiry.


From you:
scientific atheist 1: no explicit belief regarding God
Scientific atheist 2: implicit belief God doesn’t exist because the “nothingness” is taking up too much space.

It sounds like you are just talking about the difference between implicit and explicit. On the other hand, for someone to BELIEVE something they have to first acknowledge it. If ‘scientific atheists’ don’t even acknowledge that the debate about whether or not God exists is valid, and therefore can’t draw a conclusion one way or another. . .then they can’t believe in one of the conclusions. It sounds like you are applying the phrase “negative belief” to a situation it has never covered before. Negative beliefs usually refers to beliefs which are negative (pessimistic, depressing, angry) in nature, not beliefs which don’t exist.

By this “logic” I can tell you that you have a “negative belief that unicorns do not exits due to the nothingess that takes [their] place when the possibility of [their] existence is excluded from inquiry.” Just because you don’t think about unicorns doesn’t mean you default to belief in their non-existence. The same thing applies here. Just because someone doesn’t think about God doesn’t mean they believe in his non-existence.

I found a reference to ‘scientific atheism’ in google books and it looks like it was invented in the Soviet Union to “free the workers from religious prejudices.” It looks like scientific atheism is not so much a philosophy as it is an activism focused on discrediting religion. That being said it seems to attack on three fronts: 1) philosophical, 2) natural science, 3) historical explanation. So, you know, the term appears to be real in the sense that someone used it before you.
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Given this, it does matter if a scientific atheist tries to justify their negative believe with science. They are creating a self-contradiction, claiming their methodology to be restricted to science but holding negative belief in something that science has nothing to say about.


Sure, IF a person claims that science has nothing to say about God, but then says that science proves God’s non-existence, then they are being irrational. On the other hand, if you are forcing the mantle of a belief onto their agnosticism then you are the one making an error.


The point is this: If you don't consider the possibility that God exists, that is the equivalent to not believing in Him, because rather you positively don't believe in God or negatively don't believe in God, He is not present in your life unless you positively DO believe in Him. And the scientific atheist CANNOT rebutt this because it is a claim beyond empirical verifiability.


Ah! A point! An absence of belief in a thing is not a belief in the absence of that thing. A lack of belief is not a belief of lack. So, you’re wrong. You can’t tell a person what their beliefs are when they state that they don’t have any beliefs. Well, I suppose you can, but you lose credibility when you go around declaring that people believe things when all they said was that they don’t have a belief regarding the subject.


There is such a thing as scientific belief. This is not a misnomer. There reason for this is as previously stated: A lack of belief in God is a negative belief, which is a form of belief.


This is what you said “A lack of belief […] is a form of belief.” So, basically, you are saying that , rather then A = A, in fact A = Z. You are saying that a thing is its opposite. When you claim that a thing is its opposite you undermine the very foundation of rationality. Doing so is pretty much as irrational as you can get. In fact, if you are going to use this point to support the rest of your points you need to do a lot more explaining.

I found an article by Michael Polanyi which talks about the beliefs that are present in scientific endevours. He seems to think that scientists are just as irrational as religious types, but scientists pretend they are being rational by hiding behind a lot of fancy words and graphs. It’s hard to argue with the possibility that individuals who practice science also harbor beliefs that are not supported by observable evidence. Maybe they are, in fact they probably do (they’re human after all), but at least they’re trying harder to be rational then the people who cling to their beliefs and try to justify them by positing that reality doesn’t exist.
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Science does involve reason and science is not reason. Adhere to your own methods and grab a dictionary before you post. The definitions of science and reason are not identical. They simply are NOT the same thing. This being said, someone who is being truly scientific is being rational, at least about their field of inquiry. But this does not make reason the same as science!


No. You grab a dictionary. I am tired of doing all the work to reference the definitions of words I use only to have the definitions ignored.

If the definitions of science and reason were identical then we wouldn’t need two separate words. Seriously, think about what you’re typing before you waste space on it. Science is founded on reason. In the sense that a house is part of a home, reason is part of science. A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square. Science is reason but reason is not science.


This DOES make the scientific atheist the arbitor of propositions about what is and is not, due to my aforementioned argument about negative belief. This is a central thesis of mine that you have yet to see, yet alone rebutt.


You’re right. I failed to see your thesis because I was giving you too much credit. If your thesis really is that a lack of belief is a belief of lack then it is wrong and everything founded on it is wrong.


I said nothing that trapped me into a belief in irrationality. You threw this into the end of your rebuttal, but there is no support for it, though I suppose it somehow follows from your fallacious understanding of my argument.


Actually, I just proved that you are being irrational based on a better understanding of your position. Feel free to try again.

Danellian
12-17-2007, 07:24 PM
Blueback, you are again missing my point. I can rebutt everything you just said with one statement: Lack of assent to a belief in the existence or non-existence of God is not the same as lack of assent to a belief in the existence or non-existence of a unicorn, or anything else, for that matter. I am not making a statement about the psychological nature of belief with that assertion. I am making a statement about the nature of God, and the fact that there will always be a resultant emptiness inside the human soul without the presence of God to fill it. If we not positively believe in God's existence, then He will not fill that emptiness. But, from a purely scientific standpoint, this proposition is entirely out of the realm of inquiry. Also, we can have beliefs without conscoiusly assenting to them. Aren't you at all familiar with psychoanalytic and cognitive psyhology. Both fields demonstrate that human beings hold all kinds of unconscious beliefs that influence our behavior without our conscious awareness of it. So, once again, your attempt to dismantle my argument has failed miserably.

In summation: If we do not positively believe in God, then He will not fill the inner emptiness, which means we will have the subconscious belief that He does not exist, because, on a subconscious level, we will be aware of this emptiness.

Gavisi
12-17-2007, 08:10 PM
In summation: If we do not positively believe in God, then He will not fill the inner emptiness, which means we will have the subconscious belief that He does not exist, because, on a subconscious level, we will be aware of this emptiness.
I've only felt better after becoming an atheist, so I must have filled that emptiness with something good. Probably steak.

Danellian
12-17-2007, 09:07 PM
Gavisi, why don't you tell us more about that?

AgentofGaming
12-17-2007, 09:50 PM
I don't think he believes in this emptiness like you do.
Either that or belief in god fills his stomach.

Mechanical Messiah
12-17-2007, 10:05 PM
In summation: If we do not positively believe in God, then He will not fill the inner emptiness, which means we will have the subconscious belief that He does not exist, because, on a subconscious level, we will be aware of this emptiness.

So, in summation... one must first believe in god before they can believe in god?

I've been trying to understand the nature of 'belief' from a christian point of view. Check out the post that I made here- post number 112:

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Would you care to adress my Clone's bigfoot analogy? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

I've posed the question at the end of said analogy to LOTS of christians... and rarely got any reply. Nobody here has been willing so far.

Danellian
12-17-2007, 10:36 PM
MechanicalMessiah, I don't see that there is a problem presented by our analogy. It's not that there is no evidence, it's that there is no observeable evidence. Anyone who has felt the presence of the Holy Spirit can attest that they know God exists, even if it's something they can't prove to someone else. This might seem like I'm pulling something out of the air that doesn't exist, but it demonstrates that it doesn't match onto your analogy because there is no Spirit of the Sasquatch to indwell within said person. As there is no observeable evidence, science has nothing to say about it. So, if we restrict ourselves to observeable evidence in order to believe in something greater, then we never will believe in something greater.

The free will/determinism debate is very complicated and not easily hashed out. If you want to discuss it, we can, but it will pretty much be another discussion entirely from the one we are having.

That said, I don't see that having experiences that result in our belief in something means we cannot choose to believe it. The reason is that the experience is not the only factor involved. The experience is mediated through the mind, which is another factor in itself. The mind is the medium where the choice is made. I would add that we make more of a choice the more consciously we integrate said experience into our belief system, and make less of a choice the more we subconsciously integrate it into our belief system. This is simply social psychology. Anyhow, the same is true of any experience. You can't tell me that if you say an orangutan standing on your living room table, that you would not believe such was the case. But it's another logical step to claim you didn't choose to believe it. Without more logical backup on your part, your making an assuption based on leaving out a logical step in your argument. Again, if you want to get into this, we can, but it may sidetrack the purpose of this thread. Which could be interesting, or distracting, that remains to be seen.

Mechanical Messiah
12-18-2007, 06:33 PM
About free will- I'll think on it. It could make for an interesting thread of its own.

Bossy Mom
12-19-2007, 11:13 PM
I just want to post on the original question. I go to church with my daughter (who urges me to go with her), and I am sometimes somewhat put-off by the minister(s) who will not give an inch on the immensity or origins of the universe, the age of the earth and the universe, or evolution! I can easily see how a religious person could believe that God created the universe with the big bang and that one day in the Bible couldn't possibly mean a 24-hour period. Life continues to evolve, change and adapt - it isn't incompatible at all with religion.

Gavisi
12-20-2007, 05:16 PM
Gavisi, why don't you tell us more about that?
I don't know what you mean by an inner emptiness. A feeling that life isn't worth it? Yeah, I've had that at times. But it had nothing to do with religion - it was me overexaggerating a bad situation (Besides, I was a devout Christian during those times). I've grown out of those feelings, and now think that life is good. Even if there are some bad moments.

So what do you mean by an inner emptiness, and why is God the only thing that can fill it?

P.S. The statement about being filled with steak was a bad joke. I'm prone to those.

Danellian
12-21-2007, 10:55 PM
Gavisi, I think there is a part of us that always hungers for meaning greater than this world alone can provide. If you look at history, people are always trying to find a way to find meaning, and to fill the emptiness that presents in its absence. So, I think it boils down to all humans wanting to have meaning in their lives. I don't see how we can have that without there being something objective outside this universe to impart meaning to life.

Gavisi
12-22-2007, 11:31 PM
What's this "meaning" the world provides, and why is it not good enough? I can't address any of your other points without understanding what "meaning" means.

Antares
12-24-2007, 07:24 AM
Gavisi, I think there is a part of us that always hungers for meaning greater than this world alone can provide. If you look at history, people are always trying to find a way to find meaning, and to fill the emptiness that presents in its absence. So, I think it boils down to all humans wanting to have meaning in their lives. I don't see how we can have that without there being something objective outside this universe to impart meaning to life.

I agree. I think that humans do tend to want a higher purpose in life. Some find it in religion, and some find it in other places. Although I don't necessarily agree that my need for meaning is satisfied by God, apparently many think so. We all (or most, anyway) have the emotionally need for meaning and purpose, and some people (I'm not insinuating whether this is good or bad) just aren't satisfied with the atheist belief that the world is just 'like that', no hidden meanings, higher purposes etc. I think that people tend to read more to things than there are sometimes.





Camelopardalis added to this post, 1 minutes and 31 seconds later...

What's this "meaning" the world provides, and why is it not good enough? I can't address any of your other points without understanding what "meaning" means.

I don't think there's any 'meaning', but as I have said before, people aren't satisfied. Those like you and I think that it is good enough, but not everybody works like that.

AgentofGaming
12-24-2007, 01:00 PM
I think purpose as far as it ever meant for life, was life itself (otherwise the planet would be empty and species would make themselves extinct).
Unlike other creatures we're not struggling to fill our stomachs anymore.
That's why I think that meaning would be something we create for ourselves (or not necessary at all) and not something we have to seek or have given to us.

Danellian
12-24-2007, 04:06 PM
I do understand where you guys are coming from, but I think there has to be a point of balance. On the one hand, we can't have any meaning unless we find a way to it ourselves. If we rely on churches or some outside source for meaning, then it isn't really meaning, it's just a social construct. On the other hand, if our meaning is entirely personal, then it is rendered subjective, devoid of any objectivity, which means it is equally artificial, not real.

Gavisi
12-24-2007, 05:53 PM
So if you find meaning by yourself, it's artificial, and if you find meaning through what other people tell you, it's artificial.

Is it right then to conclude that the idea of life having "meaning" is artificial? Seems like the desire for "meaning" is really just a dissatisfaction with life.

Danellian
12-24-2007, 07:19 PM
I'm saying it has to be both subjective and objective not to be artificial. It's the principle of balance in all things. Just because something needs balance to be optimized doesn't make it hopelessly artificial. If so, then pretty much everything is artificial.

Just think about it. If meaning is entirely subjective, as you are advocating, then there is no objectivity to it. Without objectivity, what you are saying, by my interpretation, when you say "we make our own meaning" is the logical equivalent to "there really is no meaning, but we can make ourselves feel that our lives are meaningful", which is ultimately saying that objectively speaking, there is no meaning.

Where I'm coming from is this. There is meaning our there. Objectivity matters. But we can't go directly to it, we have no direct link with this something "out there". I think you would agree with me on this much. That's why we have to go through a personal level to get there. That's the subjective element. However, if there is never any objective correlate that we are moving toward, then there is no objectivity, hence meaning is an illusion, and in my opinion, we really shouldn't even be using the word.

I find the perspective of atheistic meaing very interesting, and I don't mean to immediately discount it as though it has no value. I think it does have value, because of the truth it contains that we cannot contact that objective domain directly. I just disagree when said proposition gets to the point of stating there never is any objectivity whatsoever.

I've long been attracted to Buddhism. The reason for this is because I understand that we cling to external things and ideas for happiness, when in reality we are merely trapping ourselves within a prison of suffering that is of our own making. We have to fight our way out of that prison by stripping ourselves of all the illusions and false things we cling to, or else there will be no happiness. But, in the end, if there is nothing objective at the end of the journey, it didn't matter anyway.

I admit that I have problems with being dissatisfied with life. Sometimes it just feels like "what's the point?" and "is this all there is?", and I imagine how I could be happy with what I've got, or how I could have all the things I've dreamed of or be the person I dream of being. I'm not denying any of this. There is a subjective element if me that will always be there, just as there will be in all of us. But that doesn't mean that objectivity is false, just because there are psychological reasons why I really want objectivity in my life.

Your perspective is very humanistic, which is charactaristic of our times. You have to realize, though, that humanism is a relatively recent development. Until fairly recently, the starting point of inquiry was not the self, but rather that objective correlate of which I speak. While the past has it's flaws, with masses being mired in superstition and chained to socially constructed institutions and dogmas, so too, does the present have it's flaws. Now, we have a society where people are increasingly unable to anchor themselves to anything greater than themselves. We have a lot of great technology and material comfort when compared to the past, but we also have much less meaning and connection to the natural environment. Humans, as a collective race, are losing touch with their true place in the greater scheme of things. We are moving from stewardship of our environment toward exploitation of it (not that we were ever perfect stewards, either) and we are moving into a globalistic, technological system that has nothing to say about what our place should be within the greater scheme of things, but doesn't hesitate to give us a place according to it's own terms.

xhaan
12-25-2007, 06:36 PM
Interesting debate. How about trying this thought on for size; Science uses theory to explain the operation of the universe and all of its components whereas Religion uses faith to explain the same. Reduced to its simplest level "theory" is just a guess to explain what happens (albeit, sometimes a complicated guess, and one backed up by repeatable observations often accompanied with mathematic calculations, or "proofs"). Reduced to its simplest level "faith" is just another guess about how things happens, but a guess that is not required to be proven by any rigorous methodology. As such, religion is not antithetical to science – one is simply an extension of the "vision" of the other (i.e. what I cannot explain by science can be explained by religion and vice versa).

Well, yes. Theories should be testable, with defined expectations, and therefore you can arrive at a level of probability. Faith, IMO, explains nothing, there is no probability.. not the same as a probability of zero, there simply isn't one, it doesn't apply. Perhaps it once was used to explain things, like how the Earth came into being. The nature of my faith is, that in spite of all insensitive mechanics of the universe, there is somthing else I can *believe* in. Not just something I can know from proofs or statistics, but something that allows me to feel something, i.e. that God loves me, even though I am not perfect, and that believing in the sacrfice of Jesus purifies me before God. It doesn't have to do with fundamentalism or so many predefined morals for me, except coincidentally or by what I feel that the bible truly teaches, that your faith is of utmost importance because nobody is righteous by their own work. As the bible says, in Romans 14:

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

That's only the beginning of the chapter, but the basic point of it is, if you feel something is wrong but in dispute, then to you it is wrong, and you should not do it, but you should not judge the other person whos faith allows it. Feeling in your heart that something is wrong, and then intentionally doing it anyway, or being tempted to, is where sin ultimately comes from I believe. It is the knowledge of wrongdoing, corruption.

Anyways... I'm going to cut this off here because I've been up for like 40 or so hours straight and am not quite coherent.

Gavisi
12-26-2007, 05:18 PM
Where I'm coming from is this. There is meaning our there. Objectivity matters. But we can't go directly to it, we have no direct link with this something "out there". I think you would agree with me on this much.
I don't agree. Unless you have some proof of whatever's out there?

I know that you can't have proof of the supernatural. So why should I ever think about the supernatural? If you've had a personal experience with the supernatural, that's great. But unless you can come up with proof that others can verify, there's no objectivity to your claim. (And hence, no reason for me or anyone else to consider it)

What is it that gives life its "meaning"? How do you know this?

Danellian
12-26-2007, 07:28 PM
There is no objectivity to anything you claim about the world, since you, admittedly, lock yourself into your own perpsective and nothing more than that. From an subjective standpoint, there might or might not be something supernatural. The proposition remains a possibility that there is something supernatural, we just have nothing to say about it. This means that we need to use a different methodology to address this question, not merely the pragmatist framework espoused by Pierce, James, Ayers, and others, who adapted philosophy to fit the framework of an empirical age, and who dictate how our culture thinks.

blueback
12-26-2007, 11:55 PM
There is no objectivity to anything you claim about the world, since you, admittedly, lock yourself into your own perpsective and nothing more than that.


So. . .what you're saying is that no one can be sure of anything since, after all, they have only their own opinion to go on. That means that no one can be sure of anything anyone else says, because they have only their own opinion.

You are wrong, and I can explain why very simply. You are sure that you exist.

You can't be unsure of your own existence, since the simple act of wondering whether or not you exist requires that you be aware of your own existence. It is, in fact, something you are absolutely sure of. BTW, that is the beginning of objectivism. I suggest you read up on it. I read into several of the ideas you put forward.


From an subjective standpoint, there might or might not be something supernatural. The proposition remains a possibility that there is something supernatural, we just have nothing to say about it.


Exactly. This is the point at which rational people go find something productive to do with their time.


This means that we need to use a different methodology to address this question, not merely the pragmatist framework espoused by Pierce, James, Ayers, and others, ...



There might be a pot of gold in my backyard. I have no way of knowing unless I get up and look.

According to your philosophy, I should stop what I'm doing, and go check my backyard for a pot of gold that I don't know for sure isn't there. Then, when I don't find it there, I should go check my neighbor's backyard. . .and then his neighbor. . .and then his neighbor, etc.

My philosophy says that I shouldn't waste my time chasing after things I have never seen any evidence of. I should get some work done, and maybe accumulate my own pot of gold over time.

Danellian
12-28-2007, 01:09 AM
Blueback, a pot of gold is something tangible. As I've already said, I'm talking about the intangible. The scientific method is great for dealing with the physical universe. Why do I have to keep repeating things? Let's just not open that can of worms, I don't want to get into an argument about posting styles. Just leave it at this: I have said this before.

Regarding finding something productive to do with your time, I find your philosophy to be impractical because there are no real conclusions about how we need to live our lives, only hypotheses. I don't view ethical reliablism as practical, but rather, a rationale to not have to live up to a higher standard.

Antares
12-29-2007, 11:35 PM
Blueback, a pot of gold is something tangible. As I've already said, I'm talking about the intangible. The scientific method is great for dealing with the physical universe. Why do I have to keep repeating things? Let's just not open that can of worms, I don't want to get into an argument about posting styles. Just leave it at this: I have said this before.


Yes, religion is talking about untangible things, but the logic works similarily. Think Russell's teapot. Or better yet, if you want intangible, the Invisible Pink Unicorn (You can't touch her, smell her, see her, taste her or hear her. In fact, she's in every way undetectable). The very idea of her is quite absurd and I'm sure no one here would hesitate to dismiss the possibility of her existence. If she's invisible, how do we know that she's pink? But we can't prove otherwise, but it's called a belief after all. If we've never seen God, how do we know that he's the Christian God, the Greek Olympians, Baal, Osiris or someone else? It's equally unable to be proven as the IPU, but it is for the believer to prove to the non-believers that she does in fact exist, but notice, hardly anything tangible or logical can come from the 'proof'. Isn't that the case with religions today? The same concept goes for God. I think that's what Blueback was trying to say, except with a different example. Correct me if I'm wrong.

terencec
12-30-2007, 12:59 PM
I just think non-atheists can't study science in the truest sense. How can you be motivated to know how/what/why when you think at the bottom of everything is God's work? On the other hand, how can you trust/have faith in your religion if you believe science keeps explaining things differently from what your religion says?

I think (no offense) that non-atheists are a closed-minded bunch. They restrict their thinking to God. They have strong sense of what is "right" and what is "wrong" when the study of science requires one to look at everything with a neutral point of view. Like Thomas Aquinas, they accept what science supports God and reject what doesn't despite proof; and bend science to work with religion.

I guess there are exceptions, but I really can't understand where they stand... essentially they're sitting on the fence and will fall on one side or the other eventually.

Agh, I'm going to go off topic from here so this is where I stop.

I think to study science, one should not prefer God exists to God does not exist. He/she should be open mind.

However, non-atheists tends to explain everything by religion because of their (strong) belief. They may not be "neutral". They tend to be bias. So "in general" I do agree that non-atheists (even atheists who do not believe God exists) have a difficulty studying science in the truest sense. Ideally, one should be "neutral" when he/she studies science before they can find evidences or arguments that suggest one way or the way.


Science and religion don't contradict at all. You're making an assumption. This is not a valid assumption.
I can find more evidence when I have time some other day, but for now i reference you to MIT's head of Nuclear Physics and Engineering, Dr. Ian Hutchinson. He's a Christian who doesn't see the two as conflicting at all.

Btw, you're claiming science is always consistent. That's bullshit, actually. It's just got a very high rate of consistency. Seriously. I'll expand more if I remember. PM me if someone reads this in a few days and I haven't replied. (I have notes on this at home.)

I know the Einstein did not believe in God for sure. He used the word "God" in many of his papers. However, God just means "physical laws" for him. He used to be "very" religious when he was young, later he did not believe any personal God. I won't say he was right or not. Even Einstein was not always right, he also made some mistakes in physics (e.g. he claimed black hole could not exist)

Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965)
"Although both of my parents were raised Jewish, they did not raise me to be religious. Later in life I became, and remain, a devout atheist. All of those religions teach blind faith and I see too many holes in their arguments. I might believe a religion if its argument logically connected to me, but the only system of thinking that leaves no doubt in my mind is the system of scientific analysis. So you could say that I am an adherent to the religion of science."

I don't understand why science is not always consistent. What does it mean? Are you talking some physics theories are based on possibility? If so, The possibility is already "built into" the theories. So they are still consistent.

arnsworth1026
01-03-2008, 03:29 PM
It has been my experience that theists may or may not be anti-science. It has also been my experience that atheists blow their top when a theists does believe in science saying "you believe in God, therefore you can't believe in science" because of their own dogmatic beliefs (yes, atheism requires as much, if not more faith, than theism). If everything is a result of random chance, why doesn't gravity randomly stop working at times? why is everything so structured and designed, especially to support life as we know it (anthropic principle)?

Any set of standards which starts with "God created the universe." must require a belief in God. Can you start from the observable and logically build to proof, or even probability, of God? If you can, then your philosophy doesn't require belief.


yes, I can actually. DNA and the genetic code. we all know that the information in DNA and the genetic code governs how we form, the process that go on in our body; all kinds of nifty things. Certain sequences of DNA produce certain results, if a part of that sequence is mis-ordered, the result is different.

Here's the kicker: information can not happen on its own, it must be programmed. The physical structure of DNA may or may not have happened randomly, but even if it did, it would be useless without the coding behind it. The easiest analogy is the alphabet. Take this sentence:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

If you had never learned english, this sentence is just a meaningless jumble of symbols. It is only because, at some pre-existing point, you learned the meaning behind each letter, that this sentence makes sense.

none of this proves who God is, only that God exists.




as for the golden compass, I'd rather read the books. I've never encountered a movie based on a book that did even half as well as could should have (including the LOTR trilogy. man did peter jackson butcher that)

brewmaster
01-03-2008, 04:03 PM
Iyes, I can actually. DNA and the genetic code. we all know that the information in DNA and the genetic code governs how we form, the process that go on in our body; all kinds of nifty things. Certain sequences of DNA produce certain results, if a part of that sequence is mis-ordered, the result is different.

Here's the kicker: information can not happen on its own, it must be programmed. The physical structure of DNA may or may not have happened randomly, but even if it did, it would be useless without the coding behind it.

DNA is a very poor argument for the existence of a god, DNAs existence and function is only proof that organisms are highly organized. If you want to call that god, well thats your trip I won't stand in your way.

Structure and the coding data contained within DNA can easily happen randomly.

One of the current theories on DNA and life in general is the RNA world theory, one that I believe is the best current explanation, that I will paraphrase here. Note that I am leaving out details which creates large holes for this to be attacked and that is not the point of this post, the point is just to point out that the random nature of chemistry can work to create information for the sake of its own information. I have brought this down to level someone not in the field can easily understand.

RNA is known to catalyze certain reactions that have in modern evolutionary times been taken over by enzymes (proteins). RNA can randomly polymerize and form elaborate structures, to perform all sorts of reactions currently performed by proteins. Over time, RNA 'learned' to create proteins from itself through concerted action of multiple RNA molecules to perform beneficial tasks for the community. However, the problem with RNA is that it is unstable in the sense that it will perform its own biochemical cleavage and therefore degradation. At some point in the evolutionary history, RNA began to synthesize DNA copies of itself, because DNA is extremely stable. Therefore leading to the current system of DNA leads to mRNA leads to protein, aka the central dogma.

I do not have a problem when people presented with the scientific data then say, well that's god, or gods hand(s) started the process. That belief is fine. I do have a problem when it is used to justify or prove gods existence, or when the facts or data are completely ignored in favor of a faith-based belief system.

arnsworth1026
01-03-2008, 05:11 PM
why is it poor? every definition of DNA I've ever encountered uses the word "information" at some point. the vast majority use the word "code" too.

explain to me how information may develop randomly, on its own

(my above argument doesn't preclude evolution btw. it merely means that at the original source was a creator. it didn't happen on accident, even if it may have been designed that to appear that way)

Oica
01-03-2008, 05:12 PM
Don't know if anyone has asked yet but...

If evolution is true, and the formation of the universe is how science dictates...

If science is 100% right...

Why couldnt God have facilitated it?

Rei
01-03-2008, 05:56 PM
why is it poor? every definition of DNA I've ever encountered uses the word "information" at some point. the vast majority use the word "code" too.

explain to me how information may develop randomly, on its own

(my above argument doesn't preclude evolution btw. it merely means that at the original source was a creator. it didn't happen on accident, even if it may have been designed that to appear that way)

Random trial and error over an extended period of time. If it works, it stays, if it doesn't, it is destroyed.

Don't know if anyone has asked yet but...

If evolution is true, and the formation of the universe is how science dictates...

If science is 100% right...

Why couldnt God have facilitated it?

Since when has science ever been 100% right?
If you read any formal lab write up, you'd find that scientists never claim that they are right (or they shouldn't). They set up an experiment to test a hypothesis and then they only state what they found and whether it supports the hypothesis, they do not automatically conclude that their hypothesis is right.

Oica
01-03-2008, 05:59 PM
it was a theoretical question :/

brewmaster
01-03-2008, 06:03 PM
why is it poor? every definition of DNA I've ever encountered uses the word "information" at some point. the vast majority use the word "code" too.

explain to me how information may develop randomly, on its own

(my above argument doesn't preclude evolution btw. it merely means that at the original source was a creator. it didn't happen on accident, even if it may have been designed that to appear that way)

It was poor because you were using it to "start from the observable and logically build to proof, or even probability, of God"

If you adhere to the RNA world theory, which has a lot of data in support, RNA is a self polymerizing, functional molecule, which can randomly form. The first two statements are facts, the last statement is the theory. They may have proven that possible by now, but I haven't looked into this in a long time. This is where information can develop randomly.

To your last statement, I figured that was your angle. :)




Don't know if anyone has asked yet but...

If evolution is true, and the formation of the universe is how science dictates...

If science is 100% right...

Why couldnt God have facilitated it?

If I were to believe in god, this would be my justification. I know many scientists that are religious who use this exact line of reasoning to deal with their knowledge and beliefs in one system.

But I have to give you the broken record atheist viewpoint. I have no data in support of gods existence, and therefore, even though I cannot disagree that what you say is possible, I don't believe it because there is no proof. I wish all religious people would accept a viewpoint like this, if so religion would become a non-issue to me.

Rei
01-03-2008, 06:04 PM
it was a theoretical question :/

I couldn't theoretically answer the question correctly when the facts stated weren't theoretically correct.
=/

Oica
01-03-2008, 06:09 PM
I couldn't theoretically answer the question correctly when the facts stated weren't theoretically correct.
=/

Theoretically, almost anything can be factual. The facts that aren't factual can only be factual in the theoretical.

Very few people like to answer that question.

Brewmaster, that is the basis of faith. You have potentially factual information given to you about the existence of a god. You cannot accept the information as complete fact, so you cannot believe completely that said existence is fact. Religion is not 'knowledge' per se. Religion would only be knowledge if or when it is already 'too late.'

Rei
01-03-2008, 06:25 PM
Theoretically, almost anything can be factual. The facts that aren't factual can only be factual in the theoretical.

Very few people like to answer that question.

Not so much that I didn't like to. I just thought an answer wasn't necessary, given that the conditions under which the question was asked were not factual.

Now if I must answer the question, it would be that:
1. I don't think that it's not possible that God facilitated it. Merely that I won't believe it until there is proof that it is impossible for it to happen without such facilitation.
2. Reasoning behind number one: things occur in the 'easiest' way possible (aka it takes the path that requires the least resources). If it were possible for such things to occur without the facilitation of God, sticking the factor of God into the mix would defy the laws of nature.
3. Of course you could always argue that God is a superior being and can stick his nose into whatever he wants. However, that does not prove to me that he exists. In conclusion... ditto brewmaster.

Oica
01-03-2008, 06:41 PM
If you cannot rule out the possibility of a deity or the lack thereof, im pretty sure that is almost definitive agnosticism (Agnostic literally meaning without knowledge).

I'd think that logic would not lead to atheism, but rather to agnosticism.

arnsworth1026
01-03-2008, 07:05 PM
Random trial and error over an extended period of time. If it works, it stays, if it doesn't, it is destroyed.

that still only explains the physical structure of DNA. not where the coding came from. the symbols don't mean anything in and of themselves until they are given meaning by an outside influence.

brewmaster
01-04-2008, 03:48 PM
RNA structure came first, then the catalytic function of RNA. Next, proteins were formed from a necessity to discriminate between 'parent and copy.' (and a few other things) Finally, proteins made DNA so that the information was stable. The coding did not come from outside influence, rather from a necessity to ensure the catalytic function of molecules that had, as Rei put it developed by trial and error over an extended period of time.

The symbols and coding of nucleic acids are just the nomenclature scientists have put on them, they mean nothing other than the representation of the chemical residues. The 'code' of nucleic acid that makes proteins in modern organisms did NOT precede the function of the molecules they 'make' or are comprised of. This is not a chicken and egg argument, it is backed by an enormous amount of data.

See:
Biology and Philosophy (2005) 20:633-671, David Penny, An Interpretive Review of the Origin of Life Research.

A little light reading, if you can get your hands on it :)

1OFMANY
01-04-2008, 04:05 PM
Why do people care so much how God made us? I care more about why.

Rei
01-04-2008, 04:17 PM
Why do people care so much how God made us? I care more about why.

I think we're more concerned about whether God made us or not.

AgentofGaming
01-10-2008, 11:43 PM
I find the perspective of atheistic meaing very interesting, and I don't mean to immediately discount it as though it has no value. I think it does have value, because of the truth it contains that we cannot contact that objective domain directly. I just disagree when said proposition gets to the point of stating there never is any objectivity whatsoever.

Humans, as a collective race, are losing touch with their true place in the greater scheme of things. We are moving from stewardship of our environment toward exploitation of it (not that we were ever perfect stewards, either) and we are moving into a globalistic, technological system that has nothing to say about what our place should be within the greater scheme of things, but doesn't hesitate to give us a place according to it's own terms.
Well whether there is meaning or not, contemplating meaning that is not physical is a waste of time.
True that humans are out of the natural environment but that's a consequence of human innovation that and the other creatures did not possess or were able to use that kind of biological advantage before us.

It's odd but wanting a meaning is and everything about the humans damaging the environment sounds like Agent Smith.
As well who says we are we steward our environment? I think we grew too powerful for it so it gets overconsumed

I don't know, but my argument always leads back to, why bother to give/accept meaning.


Regarding finding something productive to do with your time, I find your philosophy to be impractical because there are no real conclusions about how we need to live our lives, only hypotheses. I don't view ethical reliablism as practical, but rather, a rationale to not have to live up to a higher standard.

I think like all creatures, the first thing we should do survive. That's it.
Actually well not quite, humans got awfully good at that, such that they got bored.
Now if you're bored you can do something else , but you always do the first thing, survive. If people are really bored and surviving or looking for a way to survive better they create civilization. Perhaps if we're bored beyond a certain threshold of boredom we talk about this.

I think to study science, one should not prefer God exists to God does not exist. He/she should be open mind.


Agreed, bias only damages the search for the truth.


explain to me how information may develop randomly, on its own

It doesn't; humans interpret it as information

Antares
01-11-2008, 05:10 AM
Don't know if anyone has asked yet but...

If evolution is true, and the formation of the universe is how science dictates...

If science is 100% right...

Why couldnt God have facilitated it?

God could have, but then so could the IPU.

Why do people care so much how God made us? I care more about why.

I don't care how or why he made us. I don't care why we exist, only how we exist, but, in reality, even that is unimportant to me, because it wouldn't matter to my future whether I was created or evolved from apes. As for the meaning of our existence, to me, doesn't exist; only how we see it.

blueback
01-11-2008, 04:53 PM
that still only explains the physical structure of DNA. not where the coding came from. the symbols don't mean anything in and of themselves until they are given meaning by an outside influence.

You're right, except that protiens don't have to be interpreted like a language does.

Protiens bond with other protiens and they fold into predictable shapes, start off with the same protiens, build them up in the same order, you will get the same shape. That means that if you have a string of specific chemicals tied together they can create the same protien over and over again automatically, simply by exposing one to the other.

That is how the "information" in DNA is translated into physical structures. Everything else in the body operates the same way. When a particular chemical is exposed to another chemical, they react in exatly the same way every time. So, if you start with DNA, a "signal" can be sent through the body and something physical will change, but it's all automatic. That is why the body is so complicated, because it is a balancing act between automatic processes. If you insert a new chemical you can't avoid side-effects because just its presence is enough to alter nearby systems in unexpected ways.

By way of example, have you ever whacked your knee on a table and had pain shoot up your leg? That is because you managed to hit a main nerve directly. The nerve is supposed to signal the brain when the body suffers damage, but it is an automatic process. If you just tap the nerve you send a signal shooting up it that the nerve wasn't supposed to generate. Therefore, you feel pain that is much greater then the damage suffered by your body. The reverse can also happen if you're cut with a sharp enough knife. You won't feel it because it happens so fast & smoothly that the nerve doesn't register a change, so it doesn't send a signal.

So, DNA arose naturally because evolution needed a way to record solutions to problems. As long as the physical structure of the organism is based on DNA the species can respond to environmental pressure over time. If the organism has no particular basis for its structure the species will never be able to remember which structures work better then others. Therefore, things that don't have DNA (or RNA) barely exist because they have no way of adapting. DNA is an evolutionary advantage which arose natuarlly.