BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

"I Heard It Through The Ape Vine"

Actually, this is referenced from a post at Pharyngula, so I suppose "I Heard It Through The Cephalopod Line." This has to do with a lecture by Ken Ham from "Answers In Genesis" which can be viewed here.

A little way into the lecture, Ken Ham asks the children in the audience a variety of questions. Most of these questions deal with evolution, common descent and dinosaurs. He asks the children the question, "Does Your Grandfather Look Like This?" and then a slide is displayed behind him of a "humanized" looking ape. The children all laugh as do their parents, because of course, they don't believe that their beloved grandfather looks like the rather strange and funny representation they are being shown.


Personally, I was struck by how much the slide resembled Ken Ham. It doesn't look a lot like my grandfather, neither like the grandfather of the children in the audience perhaps, but I can see quite a resemblance between Ken and the image. This could all just be my imagination of course, but if I was going to preach how we are not related in any way to apes, I would choose an ape-like picture which looked less like myself. So what do you think? Does it look like Ken Ham or not?

That's all for now, I am busy composing the hymn, "What A Friend We Have In Rhesus."




"Our Grandparents"

, , , , , ,



PS: This is for anyone who is interested in comparing MY grandfather with the slide.

Link

130 Comments:

Blogger BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Your grandfather doesn't look like Ken Ham at all.

1/2/07 2:05 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Hahaha. Very funny. :)

1/2/07 2:12 pm  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

I missed the Pharyngula so initially thought the apester was just a morphed pic of Hammy. Wow! They've the same eyes!

Regardless, it's probably a fairly decent rendition of how our homo ancestors did appear. THAT's the thing old Ham just can't wrap his noggin' around cuz he's too vain and small-minded.

1/2/07 9:26 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE michael

The "ape picture" is the one he used in the lecture. Maybe he just morphed a picture of himself? I dunno. Looks like him I reckon.

Seems counter-productive to do such a thing though.

1/2/07 11:53 pm  
Blogger BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Maybe Ham is the missing link he claims doesn't exist.

2/2/07 9:06 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE BEAJ:

I hadn't thought of it that way. lol

2/2/07 9:20 am  
Blogger Mark Cote said...

By the way Albinoni's adagio in G makes me cry.

Hey a bit off topic, but check this Frank Walton post.

http://hgissufficient.blogspot.com/2007/02/frank-waltons-dishonesty_4982.html

2/2/07 10:48 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Re mark

Albinoni's adagio in G reminds me of sexual climax. (Not to put too finer a point on it.)

2/2/07 11:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear unbelievable sorrow expressed in that piece.

2/2/07 4:53 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

It was unbelievable, it couldn't be sorrowful ;)

2/2/07 4:58 pm  
Blogger Mark Cote said...

You should check out Cavatina, from the deer hunter. Here's a great version on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcV2UIGFu60

2/2/07 5:15 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Nup. I had to go check the family photos, but my grandad was totally bald and looked a bit like Alf Garnet. I think BEAJ may be closer to the mark with Ken himself being the missing link...

2/2/07 9:04 pm  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/2/07 7:20 am  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

I saw that clip a few days ago and was feeling something should be done about this.

alas, the zealots seem to have control over these poor kids until they get older, and then must be deprogrammed, if they accept it. ; (

3/2/07 7:23 am  
Anonymous Thee Twelfth Monkey said...

The Dawkins Delusion

By Alister McGrath, AlterNet. Posted January 26, 2007.

An Oxford theologian contends that the aggressive rhetoric of Richard Dawkins' books masks a deep insecurity about the public credibility of atheism.

Alister McGrath, a biochemist and Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, may be Richard Dawkins' most prominent critic. As the author of "Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life," he was interviewed extensively for Dawkins' recent documentary, "The Root of All Evil." Not a frame of these interviews made it into the final edit. Below is a slightly modified version of remarks delivered by McGrath in response to Dawkins' latest book, "The God Delusion."

The God Delusion has established Dawkins as the world's most high-profile atheist polemicist, who directs a withering criticism against every form of religion. He is out to convert his readers. "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." Not that he thinks that this is particularly likely; after all, he suggests, "dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads are immune to argument." Along with Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, Dawkins directs a ferocious trade of criticism against religion in general and Christianity in particular. In this article, I propose to explore two major questions. First, why this sudden outburst of aggression? Second, how reliable are Dawkins' criticisms of religion?

Let's begin by looking at the first question. Every worldview, whether religious or not, has its point of vulnerability. There is a tension between theory and experience, raising questions over the coherence and trustworthiness of the worldview itself. In the case of Christianity, many locate that point of weakness in the existence of suffering within the world. In the case of atheism, it is the persistence of belief in God, when there is supposedly no God in which to believe.

Until recently, western atheism had waited patiently, believing that belief in God would simply die out. But now, a whiff of panic is evident. Far from dying out, belief in God has rebounded, and seems set to exercise still greater influence in both the public and private spheres. The God Delusion expresses this deep anxiety, partly reflecting an intense distaste for religion. Yet there is something deeper here, often overlooked in the heat of debate. The anxiety is that the coherence of atheism itself is at stake. Might the unexpected resurgence of religion persuade many that atheism itself is fatally flawed as a worldview?

That's what Dawkins is worried about. The shrill, aggressive rhetoric of his God Delusion masks a deep insecurity about the public credibility of atheism. The God Delusion seems more designed to reassure atheists whose faith is faltering than to engage fairly or rigorously with religious believers, and others seeking for truth. (Might this be because the writer is himself an atheist whose faith is faltering?) Religious believers will be dismayed by its ritual stereotyping of religion, and will find its manifest lack of fairness a significant disincentive to take its arguments and concerns seriously. Seekers after truth who would not consider themselves religious may also find themselves shocked by Dawkins' aggressive rhetoric, his substitution of personal creedal statements for objective engagement with evidence, his hectoring and bullying tone towards "dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads," and his utter determination to find nothing but fault with religion of any kind.

It is this deep, unsettling anxiety about the future of atheism which explains the high degree of dogmatism and aggressive rhetorical style of this new secular fundamentalism. The dogmatism of the work has been the subject of intense criticism in the secular press, reflecting growing alarm within the secularist community about the damage that Dawkins is doing to their public reputation. Many of those who might be expected to support Dawkins are running for cover, trying to distance themselves from this embarrassment.

To give an example: The God Delusion trumpets the fact that its author was recently voted one of the world's three leading intellectuals. This survey took place among the readers of Prospect magazine in November 2005. So what did this same Prospect magazine make of the book? Its reviewer was shocked at this "incurious, dogmatic, rambling, and self-contradictory" book. The title of the review? "Dawkins the dogmatist."

But what of the arguments themselves? The God Delusion is often little more than an aggregation of convenient factoids, suitably overstated to achieve maximum impact, and loosely arranged to suggest that they constitute an argument. This makes dealing with its "arguments" a little problematical, in that the work frequently substitutes aggressive, bullying rhetoric for serious evidence-based argument. Dawkins often treats evidence as something to shoehorn into his preconceived theoretical framework. Religion is persistently and consistently portrayed in the worst possible way, mimicking the worst features of religious fundamentalism's portrayal of atheism.

Space is limited, so let's look his two core arguments -- that religion can be explained away on scientific grounds, and that religion leads to violence. Dawkins dogmatically insists that religious belief is "blind trust," which refuses to take due account of evidence, or subject itself to examination. So why do people believe in God, when there is no God to believe in? For Dawkins, religion is simply the accidental and unnecessary outcome of biological or psychological processes. His arguments for this bold assertion are actually quite weak, and rest on an astonishingly superficial engagement with scientific studies.

For example, consider this important argument in The God Delusion. Since belief in God is utterly irrational (one of Dawkins' core beliefs, by the way), there has to be some biological or psychological way of explaining why so many people -- in fact, by far the greater part of the world's population -- fall victim to such a delusion. One of the explanations that Dawkins offers is that believing in God is like being infected with a contagious virus, which spreads throughout entire populations. Yet the analogy -- belief in God is like a virus -- seems to then assume ontological substance. Belief in God is a virus of the mind. Yet biological viruses are not merely hypothesized; they can be identified, observed, and their structure and mode of operation determined. Yet this hypothetical "virus of the mind" is an essentially polemical construction, devised to discredit ideas that Dawkins does not like.

So are all ideas viruses of the mind? Dawkins draws an absolute distinction between rational, scientific and evidence-based ideas, and spurious, irrational notions -- such as religious beliefs. The latter, not the former, count as mental viruses. But who decides what is "rational" and "scientific"? Dawkins does not see this as a problem, believing that he can easily categorize such ideas, separating the sheep from the goats.

Except it all turns out to be horribly complicated, losing the simplicity and elegance that marks a great idea. For instance, every worldview -- religious or secular -- ends up falling into the category of "belief systems," precisely because it cannot be proved. That is simply the nature of worldviews, and everyone knows it. It prevents nobody from holding a worldview in the first place, and doing so with complete intellectual integrity in the second. In the end, Dawkins' idea simply implodes, falling victim to his own subjective judgement of what is rational and true. It's not an idea that is taken seriously within the scientific community, and can safely be disregarded.

The main argument of The God Delusion, however, is that religion leads to violence and oppression. Dawkins treats this as defining characteristic of religion, airbrushing out of his somewhat skimpy account of the roots of violence any suggestion that it might be the result of political fanaticism -- or even atheism. He is adamant that he himself, as a good atheist, would never, ever fly airplanes into skyscrapers, or commit any other outrageous act of violence or oppression. Good for him. Neither would I. Yet the harsh reality is that religious and anti-religious violence has happened, and is likely to continue to do so.

As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland, I know about religious violence only too well. There is no doubt that religion can generate violence. But it's not alone in this. The history of the twentieth century has given us a frightening awareness of how political extremism can equally cause violence. In Latin America, millions of people seem to have "disappeared" as a result of ruthless campaigns of violence by right wing politicians and their militias. In Cambodia, Pol Pot eliminated his millions in the name of socialism.

The rise of the Soviet Union was of particular significance. Lenin regarded the elimination of religion as central to the socialist revolution, and put in place measures designed to eradicate religious beliefs through the "protracted use of violence." One of the greatest tragedies of this dark era in human history was that those who sought to eliminate religious belief through violence and oppression believed they were justified in doing so. They were accountable to no higher authority than the state.

In one of his more bizarre creedal statements as an atheist, Dawkins insists that there is "not the smallest evidence" that atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. It's an astonishing, naïve, and somewhat sad statement. The facts are otherwise. In their efforts to enforce their atheist ideology, the Soviet authorities systematically destroyed and eliminated the vast majority of churches and priests during the period 1918-41. The statistics make for dreadful reading. This violence and repression was undertaken in pursuit of an atheist agenda -- the elimination of religion. This doesn't fit with Dawkins' highly sanitized, idealized picture of atheism. Dawkins is clearly an ivory tower atheist, disconnected from the real and brutal world of the twentieth century.

Dawkins develops a criticism that is often directed against religion in works of atheist apologetics -- namely, that it encourages the formation and maintenance of "in-groups" and "out-groups." For Dawkins, removing religion is essential if this form of social demarcation and discrimination is to be defeated. But what, many will wonder, about Jesus of Nazareth? Wasn't this a core theme of his teaching -- that the love of God transcends, and subsequently abrogates, such social divisions?

Dawkins' analysis here is unacceptable. There are points at which his ignorance of religion ceases to be amusing, and simply becomes risible. In dealing with this question he draws extensively on a paper published in Skeptic magazine in 1995 by John Hartung, which asserts that -- and here I cite Dawkin's summary: Jesus was a devotee of the same in-group morality -- coupled with out-group hostility -- that was taken for granted in the Old Testament. Jesus was a loyal Jew. It was Paul who invented the idea of taking the Jewish God to the Gentiles. Hartung puts it more bluntly than I dare: "Jesus would have turned over in his grave if he had known that Paul would be taking his plan to the pigs." Many Christian readers of this will be astonished at this bizarre misrepresentation of things being presented as if it were gospel truth. Yet, I regret to say, it is representative of Dawkins' method: ridicule, distort, belittle, and demonize. Still, at least it will give Christian readers an idea of the lack of any scholarly objectivity or basic human sense of fairness which now pervades atheist fundamentalism.

There is little point in arguing with such fundamentalist nonsense. It's about as worthwhile as trying to persuade a flat-earther that the world is actually round. Dawkins seems to be so deeply trapped within his own worldview that he cannot assess alternatives. Yet many readers would value a more reliable and informed response, rather than accepting Dawkins' increasingly tedious antireligious tirades. Let's look at things as they actually stand.

In the first place, Jesus explicitly extends the Old Testament command to "love your neighbour" to "love your enemy" (Matthew 5.44). Far from endorsing "out-group hostility," Jesus both commended and commanded an ethic of "out-group affirmation." As this feature of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth is so well-known and distinctive, it is inexcusable that Dawkins should make no mention of it. Christians may certainly be accused of failing to live up to this demand. But it is there, right at the heart of the Christian ethic.

In the second place, many readers would point out that the familiar story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) makes it clear that the command to "love your neighbour" extends far beyond Judaism. (Indeed, this aspect of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth seems to have resulted in people suspecting Jesus of actually being a Samaritan: see John 8.48). It is certainly true that Jesus, a Palestinian Jew, gave priority to the Jews as God's chosen people, but his definition of who was a "true Jew" was radically broad. It included those who had excluded themselves from Judaism by intimate collaborators with Roman occupying forces. One of the main charges levelled against Jesus by his critics within Judaism was his open acceptance of these out-groups. Indeed a substantial part of his teaching can be seen as a defence of his behaviour towards them. Jesus' welcome of marginalized groups, who inhabited an ambiguous position between "in" and "out" is also well attested in accounts of his willingness to touch those considered by his culture to be ritually unclean (for instance Matthew 8.3, Matthew 9.20-25).

So what are we to make of this shrill and petulant manifesto of atheist fundamentalism? Aware of the moral obligation of a critic of religion to deal with this phenomenon at its best and most persuasive, many atheists have been disturbed by Dawkins' crude stereotypes, vastly over-simplified binary oppositions ("science is good, religion is bad"), straw men, and seemingly pathological hostility towards religion. Might The God Delusion actually backfire, and end up persuading people that atheism is just as intolerant, doctrinaire and disagreeable as the worst that religion can offer? As the atheist philosopher Michael Ruse commented recently: "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."

Dawkins seems to think that saying something more loudly and confidently, while ignoring or trivializing counter-evidence, will persuade the open-minded that religious belief is a type of delusion. For the gullible and credulous, it is the confidence with which something is said that persuades, rather than the evidence offered in its support. Dawkins' astonishingly superficial and inaccurate portrayal of Christianity will simply lead Christians to conclude that he does not know what he is talking about -- and that his atheism may therefore rest on a series of errors and misunderstandings. Ironically the ultimate achievement of The God Delusion for modern atheism may be to suggest that it is actually atheism itself may be a delusion about God.

4/2/07 7:20 am  
Blogger Starrider said...

Good show M12. I think McGrath is onto something vital.

4/2/07 7:24 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE starrider

And what is that? What is the something vita; that he is onto?

4/2/07 4:34 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "The God Delusion for modern atheism may be to suggest that it is actually atheism itself may be a delusion about God."


"Tu quoque" she screams as she waves her wooden leg.

Come on, ya gotta do better than that hoary old chestnut.

4/2/07 4:38 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

I believe that he is correct in assessing that atheism is a closed, strict fundamentalist belief system just like the one in use by those with whom they disagree. I do not condone intolerance by any group whether on the side of theology or atheism. Atheism is no more objective than any other religion and is in itself a religion.

5/2/07 2:19 pm  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

Ms. BBIM,

Since you've asked.

Something "vital", that Mr. McGrath is on to, could be the simple issue of non-belief requiring belief.

Theism and atheism require faith. “Vital”

The issue of non-belief being a real formalized “belief”, with irrational dogmatism, prejudiced bias, and all other faults of humankind is shocking to many adherents of fundamentalist secular humanism. “Vital”

This simple fundamental fact is crucial for “non-believers” to understand. “Vital”

Just saying that one is an atheist, cannot avoid the fact that that non-belief requires, at the minimum, an equal amount of faith.
It is “Vital.”

But, it appears that Starrider noticed the obvious, that you may have missed.

God bless,
DSM

5/2/07 3:19 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE martin:

The lack of something is not a quantity of something else. In other words, a lack of belief in gods is no more a belief than NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

5/2/07 8:03 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

d.s. martin: From the Austrlian Consise Oxford Dictionary:

"non - prefix giving the negative sense of words with which it is combined.

non-believer - n. a person who does not believe or has no (esp. religious) faith."

Beep already waved her wooden leg, so I doubt it will do me any good. But if you wish to change the meaning of an established term, then you'll need to try harder than that.

5/2/07 9:06 pm  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/2/07 4:26 am  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

To Ted and Beep:

I understand that this discussion may be better posted under hundreds of other blog posts on this site. And that, may in-fact, be why Ms. BBIM waved her wooden leg at Starrider for commenting on Thee Monkey Man.
Nevertheless, Monkey posted, Star commented, and BBIM queried.

So, let me say that I understand, unequivocally, what each of you are stating.
But, perhaps, it is, that my point is far too nuanced to be readily perceived by true believers.

I do not say that any atheist/secular humanist is want for belief.
But rather, I say that all reasoning humans do believe something. ( I am speaking in the context of the Created Cosmos.)

Secular Humanists are very religious in their beliefs.
Pocket Oxford English Dictionary 1994 (I know its old, but I am poor.)
· {religion n. 1 belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 expression of this in worship. 3 particular system of faith and worship. 4 life under monastic vows. 5 thing that one is devoted to. [Latin religio bond]}

Please note # 5. It appears that “non-believers” (Ted, this term was placed in quotes for a reason.) are indeed devoted to their “thing”. Note further, that the Latin root shown for "religio" means, “bond”, as in enslaved to.

Are not “non-believers” equally bound to their dogmata? i.e. secular humanists are religiously bound to the doctrine of Secular Humanism.

You see Ted; I have not the need to change the meaning of non-belief.
All that is required is that I simply apply the term “believer” to all, for whom it is truly applicable.

“Non-belief”, in an ontological sense, is utterly impossible.
1)We either worship at the alter of the "god" of random chance, while throwing out the 2nd Law of thermodynamics.
2)Or we worship at the altar of a personal god/God, while holding fast to the 2nd Law of thermodynamics.

(Please note that admitted believers, of a personal god/God, are not in the precarious position of abandoning Science, e.g. the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, in order to hold to a personal God, while the fundamentalist secular humanists, i.e. atheists, however must abandon Science in order to avoid the full implications of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.)

In the end, both demand religious faith, which is, after all in perfect harmony with the Oxford definition of a believer, even if it leaves the "non-believer" in an existential state of non-existence.
[non-believer - n. a person who does not believe or has no (esp. religious) faith."]

'Non-believers..., Humbug! If someone may reveal one of these fabled breed of humanity..., then you shall, surely, make a believer of me.'

The content from a post on my on blog, may help you to better understand my point. (http://theologyofnuance.blogspot.com/2006/12/part-two-to-ds-martin-tells-who-he.html)

God bless,
DSM

6/2/07 8:12 am  
Anonymous ted said...

d.s. martin: 2nd Law of thermodynamic? Are you serious? Beep, I can't get links for your individual posts, so could you please point d.s. to some of the previous discussions we've had here about this? It really isn't worth starting on...again...

secular humanists are religiously bound to the doctrine of Secular Humanism

Sorry to sound ignorant, but I've never actually read or heard exactly what the doctrine of Secular Humanism is. If you could outline it for me, just in point form, then perhaps we could have a discussion. Is there a book I can read?

6/2/07 11:38 am  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

Ted: The derisive nature of your comment does not answer the points that I made above, perhaps you should address my points seriatim.

Nevertheless, in my opening sentence above, I did concede, that my comments that were to follow should likely go elsewhere in Ms. BBIM’s blog, but for the digression that the discussion had taken into Dawkins’ book.

I have not made a claim of following her comments or your’s, sufficiently, to give an answer/comment/counter-point on most or even many of the posts found here.

However, what I read, under this thread, was a series of posts, followed by Ms. BBIM’s query.
Thus, it was to that specific query, by Beep, that I responded.

I am not being belligerent in my comments, so yes; I believe that it was evident that my post should have been received as “Serious”.

My understanding of "Entropy", which was at the heart of your incredulity of my previous posting, is probably not as nuanced as yours.
But, the following link and the subsequent links within it, should provide you with enough knowledge of my understanding.
Please feel free to give me some authoritative links that might enlighten me on how I have misunderstood "Entropy."

(http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/seclaw2.html#c2)
Or you might just simply direct me to the answer of how,
1) Entropy has been eliminated from the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
2) Or how a personal god/God would not qualify as an “external influence” to the “system” of our Cosmos.
3) Or what/who the “external influence” is under the godless “system” of our Cosmos.

From your post above, it appears that you’ve answered one of these three questions in an "Entropicly Explosive" response, at some time in the past.
Please, just direct me.

As to your question, about “the doctrine of Secular Humanism” and where to go for this information, I did give a/an URL.
So, your apology concerning your ignorance, appears sardonic, since you obviously neglected to go to the link that I had included.
Nevertheless, here is the link again, (http://theologyofnuance.blogspot.com/2006/12/part-two-to-ds-martin-tells-who-he.html.)
This link is to my personal blog, where, I give 5 tenets that I found endemic to atheism (a.k.a secular humanism) when I gave up faith and followed my own path to understanding.
It may have been that you noticed it was my blog, and were therefore, unwilling to follow the link.
Nonetheless, when I originally posted my essay, at the URL, I asked for input from anyone who believed that I had created “strawmen”. The request remains included within the text.

I enjoy knowing other's views, even when those views are opposite my own.
I have, in the distant past, had views opposite my current philosophy, as stated above.
But, so long as people are not fearful of opposing views and are willing to read and to genuinely consider those views with integrity, we may all advance.

But, if you need "non-believing" and ‘approved’ secular links about Secular Humanism and the doctrine that has evolved from it (to use a ‘little’ monkey humor), here they are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kurtz
http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=declaration

God bless,
DSM

6/2/07 4:30 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp

6/2/07 10:20 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

Well then,...about the not stamp collecting being a hobby comment;
its a rather cute little gambit, but the analogy simply doesn't work here. I offer this very blog as evidence. It appears that your proselytizing for atheism is something of a hobby.

It takes a tremendous amount of faith to believe in the god of random chance as the force that has brought forth life from nothingness.

If one can look at the order, complexity and elegant beauty of the cosmos and rule out the possibility of a creating hand...then one must come up with something really unbelievable.

7/2/07 12:32 am  
Blogger Shaun Lee said...

No it's not simply a "cute gambit" as you put it but something definition. What you're attempting to do is a form of the fallacy of equivocation primarily by redefining what the lack of belief means.

Further, there is a difference between a lack of belief and advocacy of that lack of belief. That does not elevate a non-belief into a belief, which makes as much sense as calling baldness a hair colour.

It takes no more faith to believe in naturalistic answers than it does in a supernatural one because we have evidence of naturalistic forces while still waiting for suoernatural ones. Postulating or hypothesizing a greater unknown to explain any given unknown is no explanation.

Lastly, snow flakes exhibit order and beauty but we know with an absolute certainty that it's entirely due to natural forces. To claim that it is more probable for some more complex supernatural force to explain the cosmos is simply an assertion of a claim of self-evident and a claim from personal incredulity.

Sorry, old claims based on fallacious reasoning don't persuade any of us.

7/2/07 4:52 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Whether or not an atheist believes something seems kind of irrelevant when discussing theistic beliefs.

This isn't a competition to see who believes the wackiest stuff.

But I will remind people that the word "atheist" describes what a person does NOT believe in, not what they do. Whereas the word "theist" descibes what a person believes in, NOT what they don't.

So the word atheist does not define what, if anything, that the person believes in. So to say "well, all people have some beliefs" is kind of irrelevant to the discussion.

Unless you want to play the game of tu quoque.

7/2/07 8:33 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

And let's not confuse atheists with secular humanists. The word "atheist" does not present a set of beliefs. The descriptor, "secular humanist" does. Not all atheists are secular humanists and not all humanists are atheists. So let's not muddy the waters.

7/2/07 8:36 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Re starrider:

"I offer this very blog as evidence. It appears that your proselytizing for atheism is something of a hobby."

Well, I can't proselytize as an atheist as to proselytize means to convert to another faith or religion. Being an atheist isn't a faith, but a lack of faith in a specific dogma, that of god dogma.

Basically you wish to play equivocation. The reality is that "atheism" isn't a religion, though atheists may blog "religiously."

An atheist can't proselytise because the word, atheist, does not describe one who wishes to convert anyone to a faith they don't have.

Let's say for a moment, for the sake of argument, that I agreed and I said that atheists have beliefs, that "atheism" is a religion and that atheists try to convert people to a lack of belief in gods.

I don't agree with this, as it is just the usual game of equivocation, but let's pretend that it is all true.

So what?

7/2/07 8:50 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

The second law of thermodynamics applies to a closed system. The universe isn't a closed system.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#thermo

7/2/07 9:05 am  
Blogger Starrider said...

I will stand by the comment I made about the GAMBIT. Labeling something as a "fallacy of equivocation" neither dismisses anything or takes away the basic failure of the analogy. In this case "promoting"(the word proselytizing done away with for your convenience)atheism is quite evidently a hobby for some.

There is a banner on the blog here that states unequivocally that evolution is a fact and God is a theory. When did evolution's transition from theory to fact occur? On what basis? No- one could possibly claim that every possible fact concerning the origins of the cosmos and life is known and understood with a straight face. To do so is not only comically arrogant- but fallacy.

I would dare say that I also believe that evolution is a real principle. However, even if the entire process of the evolution as it is represented by some scientists is completely true- it still does not answer the basic questions of where did the building blocks come from...the water... the chemicals... the organizing principles and "naturalistic answers or forces" (as Shaun penned them). It is an absolute wonder that anything exists at all. So where did it all come from? If one can unequivocally state what was once regarded as a theory as fact- then these questions must have been resolved - no?
As I said- I myself believe in the basic principles of adaptation, survival of the fittest and evolution. However, this does not mean that I will swallow the entire proposition that all life evolved first from nothingness to single cell creatures to the rest- or even if it did- that it did so without an "intelligence" to drive it.

Nature is self organizing, nurturing to life, it has balance, order, harmony, intelligence and with the presence of humanity (including secular humanists) it also contains reason morality and a drive toward maturity and fulfillment that some would argue is the essence of science and thus "evolution" itself. This principle of growth, maturity and fulfillment (with the hallmarks of intelligence, reason and morality)
which is evident throughout the "naturalistic" world cannot have sprung from a void. Something, especially intelligence and morality, does not come from nothingness.

I did not pipe in on this discussion to debate creationism vs. evolution, to match wits or to trade barbs. The debate between the "creationists" as in the fundamentalists who believe in the literal "newspaper like" translation of the Biblical account and the scientific
"school of evolution" is basically a debate within the Western system and mindset.
Both are essentially fundamentalist, exclusionary of data that does not support their own belief system and both dissemble in the face of anomalies that simply do not fit into either category of belief. Both of them insist "HERE is truth- it happened THIS way" and those who believe otherwise are considered fools. Those are pretty bold words when the only thing that any of us could possibly agree on is that we do not have all the data all the answers or even the right questions.
Having said that- science and religion are not adversaries and/or natural enemies for they both are struggling to answer these questions. For science and religion to consider each other as natural enemies is again a phantom battle within the western mind. This approach is absolutely counterproductive,unnecessary and restrictive to human intelligence and potential.

That's what.

7/2/07 11:38 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "When did evolution's transition from theory to fact occur?"

In biology, evolution is the change in the frequency of heritable traits of a population over successive generations. This can be observed, thus making it a fact.

Evolution is a Fact and a Theory
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

RE: "I would dare say that I also believe that evolution is a real principle. However, even if the entire process of the evolution as it is represented by some scientists is completely true- it still does not answer the basic questions of where did the building blocks come from...the water... the chemicals... the organizing principles and "naturalistic answers or forces""

I don't know where everything came from. If it came from something or if it came at all. Not knowing something isn't the reason people are atheists. They are atheists because they don't BELIEVE that a god or gods exist.

RE: "Having said that- science and religion are not adversaries and/or natural enemies for they both are struggling to answer these questions. For science and religion to consider each other as natural enemies is again a phantom battle within the western mind. This approach is absolutely counterproductive,unnecessary and restrictive to human intelligence and potential."

You only believe this if you believe that knowledge can be attained through religious faith. I don't.

It is basically the argument about "what is knowledge.?"

Scenario:
The earth is sitting on the back of a giant invisible turtle, and that giant invisible turtle is sitting on the back of another giant but slightly smaller invisible turtle, and so on ad infinitum.

Is this knowledge?

In order for there to be knowledge according to epistemology, at least three crtieria must be fulfilled. A thought must be justified, true and believed.

Is it justified to claim that the earth is sitting on the back of a giant invisible turtle?

Is it demonstrably true to claim that the earth is sitting on the back of a giant invisible turtle?

Is it believable that the earth is sitting on the back of a giant invisible turtle?

If these criteria cannot be met, I would suggest that the argument for the existence of giant invisible turtles probably survives because of special pleading and shifting the burden of proof.

7/2/07 12:25 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"They are atheists because they don't BELIEVE that a god or gods exist."

Isn't the fact that one ponders the existence of God somewhat self-evidentiary proof of his existence? I'd submit, nary a man has walked this earth who did not ponder his purpose. It seems both sides of this discussion seem to be doing just that. So why do you ponder the concept of God when his existence is self-evident in your thought?

Theories evolve, philosophies evolve, etc. and so on .... but the the question of man's purpose and the existence of God comes from all men without any prompting at all.

Hence the thing speaks for itself.... Res ipsa loquitur.

7/2/07 12:56 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "Isn't the fact that one ponders the existence of God somewhat self-evidentiary proof of his existence?"

No.

Unless the fact that I can imagine a case for 2 headed invisible trapezoidal lizard hybrids from Betelgeuze is also evidence of the existence of such beings.

Certainly these invisible lizard-like beings exist as concepts, but the ability to intellectually construct such a concept is not evidence of the existence of said hypothetical outside that of being a concept.

RE: "Theories evolve, philosophies evolve, etc. and so on .... but the the question of man's purpose and the existence of God comes from all men without any prompting at all."

So, all the gods would exist without men to construct the concepts of them?

And how do you know this? You don't. What you have religious faith that a god exists, and specifically, the god that YOU have faith in.

7/2/07 1:13 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Because you are capable of believing something is true, it IS true? Not on my planet it isn't.

7/2/07 1:21 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

The existence of God and one's faith or lack of faith are different topics.

You clearly, believe in God, as you have spent so much silly effort trying to dis-prove his existence. Which you certainly cannot do. If you were able to actually accomplish this task you would have of course, proved...nothing at all. And certainly YOU would not waste so much effort with the end goal of proving nothing at all...lol. Kind of pointless.

The subject of how much faith YOU have, or how disenfranchised you may feel in regarding your faith may indeed be subject for fodder, but ....

you definitely believe in God.

7/2/07 1:37 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

Good question Max. This is kindof where I was leading. To put a fine point on it;
Reason dictates that the cosmos simply can't have order, harmony, balance, intelligence, reason or morality without purpose. If you have purpose... direction- you have what, at the least, could be deduced and defined as authorship- no? Purpose... design- growth, maturity and fulfillment which are all qualities evident in every life form, ecosystem and symbiotic relationship do not occur by accident and random happenstance. Even if we don't understand the concept of God or the origin of God
these are perfectly reasonable conclusions. Even mathematics- by which the odds are calculated for the probabilities that science uses to calculate the odds for evolution have and underlying symmetry, rhythm and meaning in themselves. Mathematics speak of an inherent, purposeful reality.

I remember reading a book atheism long ago where the author insisted that the odds against life, even something as relatively simple as single celled life, occurring by chance anywhere or anytime in the universe were something 1 with 19 phone book sized volumes of zeros after it to 1. "And yet", he continues, "This is precisely what has happened!"

Now I ask you, what requires the most fundamentalist faith- belief that the kinds of odds against the diversity of life we have on this planet have been beaten and intelligence has come from nowhere with no purpose- or belief in an underlying purpose and hence an Intelligence behind our reality at the very least?

7/2/07 1:40 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

Concerning the Giant turtle analogy;

I think it is safe to say that we all know that the giant turtle scenario is not true. To me this example points up the movement of growth, maturity, fulfillment and evolution towards a shared understanding and purpose.... call it knowledge or wisdom. So, the turtle analogy does not work in the way you intend.

7/2/07 1:47 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"Not on my planet it isn't. "

Where were you when the foundation of the earth were laid? Tell me, if you have understanding.

How did you determine it's measurements? surely you must know!

How is it that you provide prey for the raven, when it's young cry out and wander for lack of food?

7/2/07 2:02 pm  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

DSM:

Something "vital", that Mr. McGrath is on to, could be the simple issue of non-belief requiring belief.

You seem to be referring to "belief" as a thing, without really going into what constitutes belief.

Pure belief is the opposite of pure knowledge; the two exist at opposite ends of a spectrum.

So belief, or knowledge, or a mixture of the two, consists of a set of statements that may, to varying degrees, whose truth value may be distinguished from contradictory statements.

Religious statements qualify as pure belief: it is impossible to distinguish the truth value of, say, the statements of Islam against those of Christianity. Many of those statements cannot both be true at the same time (ignoring for the moment whether either is true). At least one must be wrong, but there is absolutely no way to tell which.

Jesus was a gifted prophet, but not divine.

Jesus is a manifestation of God who was resurrected from the dead.

Both are pure belief statements: mutually contradictory, without any means of resolving the conflict.

In contrast, a statement qualifies as a knowledge statement to the extent its truth value may be assessed against a competing statement.

For instance, it is possible to assign relative truth values to to these statements:

atheists ... must abandon Science in order to avoid the full implications of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

against

atheism is completely consistent with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

by noting that the 2nd Law applies to closed systems, and the Earth system, thanks to the energy pouring onto it from the Sun, is far from a closed system.

Rejecting all belief statements in favor of "dunno" means one is a non-believer in all religious claims, without substituting anything in its place (I'm all in favor of replacing the term "atheist" with "dunnoist". In part, because it is more accurate, and in part because, so far as I know, I made it up).

The insistence that atheism, a statement about the existence of a god, demands religious faith makes a correlation that does not exist. In other words, DSM, contrary to the point of view you must have in order for your argument to immediately veer into the ditch,

God != religion

It is perfectly possible to conclude there may well be a supreme being, while also concluding Its characteristics, if It exists, are completely obscure to humans. Consequently, one could be a theist, while simultaneously rejecting all statements of revelatory religions as baseless nonsense.

That constitutes a complete absence of religious belief; to turn around and term such a viewpoint "religious faith" succeeds only in draining the concept of all explanatory power.

When faced with the recent death of 300 apocalyptic Shiites hoping to kill enough Shiite mullahs so as to bring about the return of the 12th Imam, advocating atheism in the face of the kind of insanity that should leave most people's flabber totally gasted is an act of human generosity.

Remember, DSM, there is absolutely no way to adjudicate between their claims and yours.

7/2/07 2:24 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Hey max, Can we possibly stay on point for a monent without spiralling off into what raven's eat for dinner?

We were discussing belief, and whether one's belief in something makes it true.

I made the point that just because someone believes something, it does not automatically make it true.

People have believed in the turtle analogy, and possibly there are still people who do. But their belief that it is true, doesn't make it so.

7/2/07 2:43 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "I think it is safe to say that we all know that the giant turtle scenario is not true."

I don't believe that the giant turtle story is true, but there have been people who have believed it or something similar.

This version may be a reference to various Hindu beliefs, including the myth that Vishnu's second avatar was Kurma, a tortoise on whose back the Mandara mountain rested, or that the tortoise Chukwa supports the elephant Maha-pudma who upholds the world.

I don't believe it is true AND I don't believe that your god version is true.

The question is: - Why do YOU believe it is true?

7/2/07 2:48 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Sure thing Beep. But maybe you could let me in on the Raven feeding later, since it's your planet and all...

I did ask you this before but, why Sir/Madam do you ponder the concept of God when his existence is evidenced by his pervasive presence, so demonstatively self-evident in your thought?" (If not your logic)

It seems to me a true athiest ... would have nothing to say on the topic of God.

7/2/07 3:03 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE max:

You acknowledge that belief is not evidence that something is true, as you accept that you don't believe in the "turtle analogy" - Now, apply what you have learned from the turtle analogy and express why YOUR belief is true just because you believe it is.

7/2/07 3:09 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

Speaking of staying on point...
Why are we here?

This is perhaps the most important question of all. Atheism cannot even begin to answer this question.

Beep, using your own logic just because you don't believe in something, as in a God, doesn't mean that it isn't so.

Also, I would strongly contest the idea that knowledge and pure belief are at opposite ends of the spectrum. In fact I know this NOT to be true. Again this insistence stems from a certain restrictive inside the box way of categorizing human experience as either- or. Nothing in our reality is that simple and defined.

What if I were to say to you that I have had real experiences with the spirit world that have graduated me from mere belief or faith to real, practical working knowledge of spiritual reality? Lay aside the urge to roll your eyes and conclude that I am a crackpot. Ask yourself, "what if this bloke is both honest and correct...is it possible? What would the implications be? How can I possibly know if someone has had an experience that if I had the same experience I would conclude that there is indeed a spiritual reality?

Some of you may say that there is no evidence for spiritual reality. I say that I have experienced life in such a way that I KNOW that there is. Laying aside the things I have in my experience... the very existence of order, nurture, intelligence, harmony, balance, reason, morality and/or purpose is all the evidence that will ever be needed for the existence of spiritual reality or what we call God. Perhaps you yourself could have such understanding if you would allow for the possibility of such instead of going about insisting that there is no such thing as a spiritual reality and staying grounded in seeking ways to prove it. You cannot possibly be 100 percent certain that you know what you think you know- nor can you prove that something does not exist simply because you have not personally experienced what you ascertain as proof or because the process cannot be reproduced in a laboratory.

Concerning the analogy of Islam...
just because men behave badly in the name of God or religion proves nothing concerning whether or not God in fact exists.

7/2/07 3:25 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Bleep,

I am quite sure I have not mentioned any giant turtles to you. I don't ponder flying lizards either. I admit the raven causes me to think sometimes when I ponder God. I do know a "DUCK" when I see one though. Why are you ducking my question? Moreover, why would an athiest ponder God?

Res ipsa loquitur

7/2/07 3:27 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

p.s. Beep, if you click on the question "Why are we here?" above there is a link that suggests an answer to that question as well as the one you have asked about why I believe as I do.

7/2/07 3:30 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Because he is not an athiest at all.

Res ipsa loquitur

7/2/07 3:30 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE max

People question the existence of all sorts of concepts, don't they? Or do you believe in allah, amon ra and apollo as well?

7/2/07 4:48 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE max,

Provide evidence for the existence of god without human beings providing the concept or books about god.

No humans to contemplate the existence of a god, means that the concept is unknown

7/2/07 4:50 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Star: If the link requires me to have religious faith that something is true, it isn't an answer as far as I am concerned. Religious answers are platitudes, not knowledge.

7/2/07 4:53 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Just following your own logic earlier... an athiest would not be an athiest at all .... with out God. lol

7/2/07 4:56 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE maxx:

The position that an atheist takes, that is, they don't believe in gods, is only possible because there are those who make the case for gods. That is completely true.

That is why the word "atheist" derives from the word "theist."

Without theists there are no a-theists.

7/2/07 6:08 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

So, while there are theists, there will always be a-theists, or people who do NOT believe the claims that theists make.

7/2/07 6:13 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

beep, why do you ponder a God you claim not to believe in? It's rather self defeatest ..... Do you wish to believe?

7/2/07 6:23 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"The position the athiest takes....." Didn't you say athiest had no position on God because they don't believe he exists? You can't have a position on something that is non-existent or void of reality. Pick a side please.

7/2/07 6:30 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Maxx: It's pretty simple really. No-one, least of all god, has managed to prove god's existance. So what we ponder tends to lean more towards the how and why of your belief. God himself is only an incidental.

To me, the god and the dogma that surounds him/her/it, that christianty has invented for itself seems a rather silly notion. There is no factual, provable historical basis for it, so why would anyone of intelligence bother with it?

7/2/07 8:23 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Maxx:
I question the existence of RA because I don't believe that RA exists except as a hypothesis to attempt to explain that which is presently unknown.

I see people demanding that we all worship RA. I see people who believe that RA will take them on a sunbeam up into the sky when they die.

I see people who think that RA wants them to invade other countries and I see people who believe that RA wants them to fly planes into buildings.

And mostly I see people who are terribly threatened if one questions the existence of RA.

They are afraid. They are alone and they don't want to die. They desperately want to believe that their life will have a fairytale ending. The baddies will get what they deserve and the goodies will live happily ever after.

But mostly they want a recipe book that allows them to attempt to make sense of all the things they don't understand. So, they wrote "RA books" and it assurged their existential angst for a little while.

But soon it wasn't enough. It wasn't good enough that they had convinced themselves that they had "the answer" - they decided that everyone must comply with their worldview and those who doubted the existence of RA were evil. And that their RA would want these dissenters tortured, burnt at the stake, or killed.

Afterall, the worship of RA and total obedience to RA is what their life is about so it must be compulsory for all to worship RA.

What they don't find about RA in their holy RA books they make up to fit their own sense of morality.

But it hardly matters anymore as they canot distinguish themselves anymore from the RA cult in which they have absolute faith. And those who do not have absolute faith in their RA cult must be purged.

Totalitarian regimes all have this in mind whether they are religious ones or non-religious ones.

Religions are a form of totalitarianism. They are human created dictatorships with a man-god as dictator. The man-god is then assumed to have certain qualities and attributes which can under NO circumstance be questioned.

I oppose totalitarian ideologies and I oppose dictatorships whether they are of RA gods or the humans which create the RA gods.

7/2/07 11:23 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Simply put, I don't believe in the existence of either the christian, the jewish or the islamic god, for the same reasons that I don't believe in the existence of RA.

You are an atheist to all the other gods throughout history, except the one that you have chosen to believe in. I just go one god further.

In other words, I am an atheist in respect to ALL the gods, you are an atheist to all the gods except one.

The interesting question is why you are not an atheist towards ALL of them.

7/2/07 11:33 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

RE:
"No-one, least of all god, has managed to prove god's existance."

"...so why would anyone of intelligence bother with it?"

I believe that I have given some at least thought provoking answers that address these questions or statements. I believe the burden of proof is actually on you to explain how the organizing principles of the universe came into being without first cause intelligence. The intelligence you refer to is in itself evidence or "basis". You are completely surrounded and suffused with proof by the simple fact that anything at all exists and we "intelligent" beings are having this conversation..
Then there is the "hoary old chestnut"; Where is your proof that there is no God? And again how do you explain the existence of the cosmos and the principles I have spoken about? Since your atheism is considered fact- speak upon these things... lest my suspicion that you are dodging be confirmed.

Again, the fact that there are false religions, men behaving badly in the name of religion or that people are lonely, confused and afraid and seeking answers is not any sort of confirmation that there is no God.

8/2/07 12:32 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

It shouldn't interest you or concern you what I believe about God. The fact you are interested in my belief in one on the surface could be explained by human nature or jealousy or boredom, but we all know the question is coming from within. The concept of God didn't come from a book as you stated earlier. Indians in the jungle of South America, or many other people who have had little to no contact with civilization and certainly not books have a belief in God or a higher being. Their drive for him comes from within because it is inate within man. You quote Richard Dawkins in trying to explain your claim you don't believe in a higher being. Certainly his "books" or human influence has gone into your arrival at your place of understanding or lack thereof. The fact you don't understand something certainly does not make you superior to it, by definition you would be inferior so drop the pompous attitude and be real. You can't explain your being doesn't place you in a higher or more intelligent place than those who can't define their higher being to your satisfaction. The most you could ever hope for with the negative arguement of prove to me............... is someone who through their own humanity would get so frustrated that they may not realize you had proved NOTHING at all.

I said it earlier and you ducked it ... disprove God or a Higher being without insulting those who believe one. You can't. Or continue to try to disprove him in an insulting manner you still can't do it.

The fallacy of claiming to be an athiest is furthered greatly by ill based shifting of burdens attempt by those who do not believe. To set oneself apart from a belief or a set of concepts the burden is on you to prove that the belief or set of concepts is not true or simply stated that there is not a higher being.

You (pl) spend endless hours trying to convince yourself that you are a being unto yourself. (haha) To reinforce the ego you joining societies of those like yourself, reading books defining yourself, and listening to preachers supporting your belief....(like Dawkins whom you quoted with out crediting)parroting their mantra, hence you are no different than those you make fun of, or have contempt for, except of course your religion attempts to make you believe yourself God in your own mind.

The problem with it all is you can't explain why it is you are compelled to seek the higher being weather he be called God, RA, Allah, Yahweh Saboath, or any of the other names attributed to him who is as mysterious to man as his name. "I am" Shakespear was wrong ... the question was not "to be or not to be".....

The question that has plagued mankind since the beginning of time is why "I am"?

You may indeed be very intelligent but only apparently to the point your reason supports your premise, which places you squarely in the dead center of all humanity, making you no different than the rest of all humanity. (sobering I know) You really are no different than anyone else my dear. I feel your pain...lol... so does the rest of the world.

Time for work here so I'm off to fight for truth and justice! Have a wonderful day or evening as it may be.

8/2/07 1:21 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "It shouldn't interest you or concern you what I believe about God."

All beliefs interest and concern me especially if I think they are misguided ones or that they may lead to actions which are harmful to myself or to others.

If your religious faith is the determining factor for your political ideology, your religious beliefs concern and interest me a great deal.

RE: "Their drive for him comes from within because it is inate within man."

It is innate in humankind to seek answers. That some people settle for RA, Amun, Jesus, Mithras or Krishna as the answer, is just intellectual laziness coupled with a psychological desire to have an answer. Any answer - even that of an incorporeal mind which is male.

RE: "The fact you don't understand something certainly does not make you superior to it, by definition you would be inferior so drop the pompous attitude and be real."

Oh dear. I wondered how long it would be before you resorted to an attack on my character. Not long it seems. I apologize that I am not a shrinking violet who agrees with you just to make you happy. Perhaps this is why you feel threatened by my thoughts and wish to disparage me by asserting that I consider myself to be superior.

The reality is that I am superior in some ways. And at least one of these ways is testable. But, I did not prior to this discourse make an appeal concerning my own intelligence. That you may be threatened by people of intellect, may be an issue you need to deal with. I suggest psychoanalysis.

I am not pompous about having a lack of belief in gods, to the contrary, I find those who believe they have absolute truth to be the most pompus of all.

RE: "The problem with it all is you can't explain why it is you are compelled to seek the higher being"

Oh, I can explain why I think you seek the idea of a god, but you won't like it.

RE: "You may indeed be very intelligent but only apparently to the point your reason supports your premise, which places you squarely in the dead center of all humanity, making you no different than the rest of all humanity. (sobering I know) You really are no different than anyone else my dear. I feel your pain...lol... so does the rest of the world."

RE : premise

Well, I didn't start with a premise of "no god" and then work from there. Like amny atheists, I have been a god believer. The journey from theist to atheist is usally a long one because, like most people, I started with the premise that a god existed and then I just shoehorned everything to fit my belief.

Eventually you get to the stage where it is impossible to reconcile the existence of a god with the internal inconsistences apparent in the characteristics and attributes of said god.

A little knowledge may be a dangerous thing, but a lot of knowledge leads people away from god belief.

This is essentially why religious people are taught to value faith over reason as it is only through faith that one can preserve religious belief.

The use of reason will inexorably lead you away fron belief in the supernatural, gods, cheribins, angels, demons and ghosts.

I also consider your comment to be a very pompous statement on your part as I don't claim to know everything. You claim to be the purveyor and disseminator of all knowledge and absolute truth through your faith in the existence of an incorporeal mind.

Let's not forget who is making the claims for having extraordinary knowledge and it isn't me. Those claims are made by you as a result of your god belief.

Pain is a part of all beings which have a highly developed nervous system. I don't consider myself exempt from it. But truly, I know that you wish to avoid pain by your belief in a god. And for this reason I think you project your own inadequacies and fears onto others. it is a way for you to cope. I accept that. I don't like it, but perhaps your psychology is such that you have no choice. I just accept that pain is part of life and I get on with it.

8/2/07 2:12 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE starrider:

" I believe the burden of proof is actually on you to explain how the organizing principles of the universe came into being without first cause intelligence."

Actually no. The burden of proof is with the one making the positive claim, If you make the claim for a god which is omniscient and the first cause, the onus is on you to provide an argument for the claim.

I then get to refute it at my leisure.

Let me just say this though, as a matter of interest. If, the existence of intelligent life requires the existence of a superior intelligent life, then there is an infinte regress with each intelligent life requiring a more intelligent life in order to explain the existence of the previous intelligent life.

RE: "Since your atheism is considered fact- speak upon these things... lest my suspicion that you are dodging be confirmed."

My "atheism" is a state of being. The state of being without belief in the existence of gods.

A lack of something is not a quantity of something else.

RE: "Again, the fact that there are false religions, men behaving badly in the name of religion or that people are lonely, confused and afraid and seeking answers is not any sort of confirmation that there is no God."

All religions are false if you don't believe in them. I don't believe in any of them and hence they are all false to me. You, on the other hand, assume that only one religion is right and that you have chosen the right one. (So, does everyone else by the way.)

I agree that people "acting badly" is not confirmation that there is no god. Neither is people "acting nicely" confirmation that there IS a god or gods.

There are many things we could believe in or have faith in the existence of. But what are the probability that any of these things actually exist?

To me, the probability that any of the gods have existed is low.

For instance, it is possible that there is an invisible teapot circling mars, but I consider this to be highly improbable. So I don't waste my time having faith in its existence, or worrying that I might offend its sensibilities.

8/2/07 2:36 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"A lack of something is not a quantity of something else." Apply this to your position.

Sure it is, it is used in courtrooms everyday as evidence. Indeed you argue the very same to support your position.

What is your case for your position there is not a higher being? Do you offer anything of substance to support this idea?

"A lack of something is not a quantity of something else." Apply this to your position that God doesn't exist because you are unhappy and in fear of religions on "your" planet. It is an illogical conclusion. If God doesn't exist then the religious faiths you fear have nothing to do with God at all, but instead ignorance and intollerance in humanity. The later of which oddly enough you seem to be advocating. Whatever their failings are they do little to further the arguement that God doesn't exist.

Stating there is no God is a positive statement. You cannot disprove God, and the fact you have yet to prove his existence
is not evidence one doesn't exist. The world was once widely believed to be flat.

My comments were not intended to be an attack on your character. The attitude just seemed to have origin in insecurities which I'd rather set aside for a polite discussion. I didn't mean to offend you, and will move on if you wish.

"Eventually you get to the stage where it is impossible to reconcile the existence of a god with the internal inconsistences apparent in the characteristics and attributes of said god."

Would you expand on what you mean by this? What are these characteristics and attributes you refer to? The statement seems to be delving in to religion. Because man follows a religion seems to have little to do with whether or not he exists.

"A little knowledge may be a dangerous thing, but a lot of knowledge leads people away from god belief." ---Do you think that is why he forbade Adam from eating fruit from the tree of knowledge? (Recognizing you don't subscribe to the story of course.)

8/2/07 6:43 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/2/07 9:37 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/2/07 9:38 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx8it:
Stating there is no God is a positive statement. You cannot disprove God, and the fact you have yet to prove his existence
is not evidence one doesn't exist. The world was once widely believed to be flat.

Wait: what?
Until the positive is proven, the negative is given.
Really, unseemly semantic gymnastics isn't a very good argument.
'absence of evidence doesn't imply the evidence is absent' is simply sophistry.
If it ain't there, it ain't there.
Why does BBIM (or anyone else for that matter) have to disprove something you can't prove - there's a real disconnect there.
No, onus is squarely on the believer's shoulders.
Otherwise, it's the slippery slope of sophistry - I have to prove that astrology is bunk, or that UFOs don't create crop circles.
Lack of evidence speaks for itself - you can't bring in a lack of evidence for that lack of evidence.
Do better.

8/2/07 9:39 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE max:

"A lack of something is not a quantity of something else." Apply this to your position. Sure it is, it is used in courtrooms everyday as evidence. Indeed you argue the very same to support your position."

Maybe you didn't comprehend what I said. Zero is not a quantity of something else.

RE: "What is your case for your position there is not a higher being? Do you offer anything of substance to support this idea?"

This is called shifting the burden of proof. In this case, you want me to prove that a god, any god, or every god doesn't exist.

Let's get this in perspective. We agree that the atheist position exists because theists make claims which atheists do not believe in. with. So, theists make multitudinous claims which atheists don't believe in. Atheists remain unconvinced. They remain unconvinced and remain atheists if the theistic arguments are not convincing.

So, the position of the atheist is always a response to a theistic claim. If you want atheists to melt back into the background, all you have to do is to stop making theistic claims.

If you want us to continue being obvious and active in our lack of belief in gods, or if you want us to be converted, then you need to come up with the goods. If, on the otherhand, you don't care if atheists exist or that other theists who disagree with you exist, then - I have no idea why you are here. If you are here to defend your theistic beliefs as absolute truth, it is time for you to do so.

This is your opportunity, via theistic argument, to convert me to theism. Why should I believe that your claims are true?

RE; "Stating there is no God is a positive statement. You cannot disprove God, and the fact you have yet to prove his existence
is not evidence one doesn't exist."

I don't state that there is no god. I state that I don't believe in the existence of a god or gods. I cannot definitively know if gods exist but I DON'T BELIEVE that they do. (I want you to reread this section carefully, so that you comprehend what I am saying.)

If, on the otherhand, you claim TO KNOW that there is a god, you need to share this knowledge with me.

Also, even if an atheist states that there is no god, which I haven't - it is not a positive claim. It is a negative response to a positive claim. The positive claim is the claim that a god exists.

I agree, I can't disprove the existence of gods, nor can I disprove the existence of invisible teapots circling mars, but I see no point in belieiving in either of them. If the invisible teapot gets its invisible panties in a bunch because of my lack of belief in its existence, then it isn't much of a "superior teapot." Rather, it is a petty, dictatorial megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur.

Consequently I would request that it place its incorporeal spout on my corporeal index finger and rotate.

Which reminds me, if you cannot disprove the existence of gods either, according to your own logic, you should believe in the existence of ALL of them. As there have been thousands of gods throughout recorded history, if you cannot prove the non-existence of those gods, why don't you believe in all of them? According to yourlogic, you should be compelled to believe in the existence of all of them if you cannot prove their non-existence.

RE: "My comments were not intended to be an attack on your character. The attitude just seemed to have origin in insecurities which I'd rather set aside for a polite discussion. I didn't mean to offend you, and will move on if you wish."

Yes, they were meant to be an attack on my character. You even laughed about one of the attacks you made.

Example : - "You really are no different than anyone else my dear. I feel your pain...lol... so does the rest of the world." << I consider this to be a pompous, assinine comment intended to be a snide and cowardly attack.

Not only did you assume that atheists are in pain because they don't believe in the existence of a god, but you assumed that the rest of the world thought the same thing.

I am actually pretty happy with the way I am. I don't have any more or any less insecurities than the next person. But this is not a forum for us to discuss any possible emotional or psychological issues, unless you wish to claim that atheists have more of these issues than any other demographic and that the reason they have these issues is BECAUSE they are atheists. Then, you would need to provide evidence to support this claim.

RE: "Eventually you get to the stage where it is impossible to reconcile the existence of a god with the internal inconsistences apparent in the characteristics and attributes of said god." Would you expand on what you mean by this? What are these characteristics and attributes you refer to?

I could list supposed characteristics and attributes of gods, but the list could be quite large and time consuming and at the end of it, you may not agree that these are the characteristics and attributes of the god which you espouse. So, it is better if you list what you believe to be the characteristics and attributes of the god you believe in and we can see if they hold muster.

RE: "Do you think that is why he forbade Adam from eating fruit from the tree of knowledge? (Recognizing you don't subscribe to the story of course.)"

Well, obviously, because I am an atheist, I don't believe that the adam and eve story is the word of a god, but the word of men. It may be the word of men who claimed that a god spoke to them. But, from my position, it is the word of men.

As I think any book is the word of mankind, what would be the purpose of the adam and eve story and the tree of knowledge?

Firstly, as I consider that books are composed and written by humans who have human intentions why did some humans claim to have access to information which was outside the purvue of other humans?

To undertsand why this may have occurred, we need to examine what information human beings had and what information they did NOT have, which may have led them to believe that they were communing with a mysterious power outside themselves.

I think that human beings thousands of years ago had very little understanding of what their thoughts were, what their consciousness was, where their thoughts originated and why they were having them.

They certainly had very little understanding of the physiology or biology of the human brain. Even today, a few thousand years on, we don't know everything there is to know about the human brain and the expression of the human brain, the mind. But I consider it a given that ancient man knew even less.

Now, I consider the thoughts I have to be specific to, and originating from my own brain. How my brain works is dependent upon brain structure and the neural connections which have been developed in my brain through the influence of genetics, environment, nutrition, intellectual stimulation etc.

I don't assume that when I think, and when I am aware of my thinking, that the source of my thoughts originates from any other source except my brain. I don't assume that there is a source external to myself that is teleporting information in there through some sort of incorporeal osmosis.

Did ancient man understand the origin of their thoughts? Did they realize that their thoughts, (the expressions of their brains), originated from themselves?

I am not convinced that they did. Nor am I convinced that all people today recognize that their thoughts originate from their own brains. So, I think they tried to understand their thoughts as best they could considering the lack of information they had concerning human biology. I think they attributed their thoughts to an external source and those external sources were sources which they couldn't see, which had no form, which were incorporeal, invisible. Just like their thoughts were to them. So they believed that their thoughts were invisible beings speaking to them. Their thoughts became evidence of these external beings which they called gods, and with these thoughts, they created their gods.

Even today I will hear people say - you may have said it previously, that being able to contemplate the existence of a god is evidence for the existence of a god and I think that ancient man would have thought something similar.

That I can contemplate or imagine the existence 2 headed invisible fire breathing dragons which live in my underwear is NOT evidence of their existence. And that I can imagine an all powerful humanlike being which exists outside of time and space who was born of a virgin, doesn't mean that it exists either.

So, back to the adam and eve story and why would ancient men, who considered their thoughts to have a source external to themselves, come up with stories about a man being made from clay or dust and a woman being made from a rib, and a snake tempting a woman to do a "naughty thing."?

Well, there is always a fall guy in most stories, and the female became the fallwoman in this one. As it was man who made up the stories under the assumption that his thoughts emanated from a god, he wasn't going to wear the blame for the existence of hardship, sorrow or pain and suffering in the world. He might have been stupid, but he wasn't that stupid. Better to deflect the blame to an "evil source" which acted upon a "weaker, inferior being" such as a woman. (Sorry, I need giggle time.)

They came up with these ideas because they were working within the parameters of their existing knowledge. Over thousands of years mankind would have observed that living things, animals and humans returned to dust. That is, that when they died, over a period of time and depending on the circumstances of burial or the environment in which the body was left or placed, that the body decomposed to an extent that it was unrecognisable as a human body. The leap of logic they probably made was that as the body became dust, clay, dirt when it no longer was living, that the origin of the body must have been dirt, clay or dust. They assumed that the body went back to where it originated from. But who or what could have been responsible for the existence of the first body arising from the dust? It would have to be something more powerful than the most powerful human male to make such a thing possible. So, a superhuman, or being more powerful than humans must have done this. That they were capable of having this thought, they considered to be evidence of the existence of said being.

Ancient humans also considered that man held the "spark of life" in his seed. That man's seed was responsible for the creation of living things. Afterall, they had evidence that humans and animals gave birth to new life as a result of the sowing of this seed. So males had a dominant position in ancient times as the initiators of life. (The existence of the female ovum was not known until the 1800s.) As males were the initiators of life, the next leap they probably made was that the ultimate initiator of life must also be male. If men were powerful initiators of life, then the most powerful initiator of all life must also be male. So powerful that he could impregnate a virgin with his incorporeal seed. ( I promise not to laugh audibly at this point. But you can umagine the laughter if you want and consider that your ability to imagine my laughter is evidence OF laughter.) ;)

So, when ancient man needed to expain the existence of women, they came up with the idea that woman was created FROM man. (From one of his ribs to be precise.) Woman was created FROM man BY A MALE BEING. This MAN is represented as the superpowerful male who is responsible for the creation of all life as he, also, must have the "spark of life" within him just as human males do.

So basically people considered their thoughts to originate from a source external to themselves and called that source RA, Amun, Mithras - whatever took their fancy or fitted in with their cultural predilections.

These "thoughts" - what some religions call revelations, (as they attribute their origin to an external source), are examples of human beings trying to make sense of their existence and sense of the natural world in which they found themselves. (A natural world which wasn't necessarily kind, caring, peaceful or controllable.)

They believed that because they were capable of imagining such a being that that being must exist. Basically the same lack of logic that many believers use today in order to explain their thoughts and the expressions of their brains.

The process contiues like this: - If they are capable of thinking it, it must be true, and if they are capable of believing that it is true, then it must be absolutely true.

So, not much has changed. people still create gods in their own minds and demand that other people bow down to them. For every believer there is a god, not one believer has the identical god belief of another believer. Why is this? Perhaps it is because each believer construsts with their thoughts, their own god.

8/2/07 11:38 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Nice response, BBIM.

However, I think you came up short of the 500 word minimum answer most theists require, but won't listen to anyways.

Dialogue's sorta like this:
Atheist: 'I don't believe.'
Theist: 'You don't believe? But EVERYONE believes!'
Atheist: 'I don't believe.'
Theist: 'Why not?'
Atheist: 'There's not enough evidence.'
Theist: 'Like what?'
[atheist goes into long involved logical explanation]
Theist: 'Oh, that's not good enough. You need to give me evidence that there's a lack of evidence which I don't have.'
[atheist goes into another long involved logical explanation]
Theist: 'Oh, that's still not good enough. Prove the non-existence of something I can't prove exists'.
And on and on and on and on...
Said dialogue then devolves into the theist playing different variations on the Tu quoque fallacy, until the atheist becomes disgusted w/circular reasoning & abandons said discussion, upon which theist pats themself on the back.

8/2/07 11:53 am  
Blogger Starrider said...

"This is called shifting the burden of proof. In this case, you want me to prove that a god, any god, or every god doesn't exist."

Well some of you keep insisting that there is no evidence for God and that the burden of proof exists with believers. I have offered clear evidence, or at least logic, which you all seem to be flatly ignoring.

I state again, if you offer evolution as fact and atheism as fact the the onus is indeed on YOU to offer proof for this "fact". So, where are your explanations for the origins of life? In my view THERE is your lack of evidence. again I offer the existence of order and equilibrium as evidence.

If you are an "unbeliever" to use the colloquial term- then the onus is on you to explain how order and intelligence has occurred with such dazzling diversity and equilibrium from disorder, chaos and void. Even if one subscribes wholly to the evolution theorem, doctrine, belief...whatever you would like to call it... it still is lacking in explanation of the origin of anthropic principles I have cited.
Considering this, I would simply ask that one at least consider it possible that there is a God. And so you apparently have. I really do not understand your teapot analogy and will re-read it. My initial reaction is that since you are not a theist... you are not clear on the concept how theists generally understand or believe hoe God interfaces with us. I will ponder this more.

To respond to another line of thinking:
Indeed bad people don't disprove God or good people prove him. Again I inquire however, how do you quantify good, evil or morality without the concept of God? Without God there is no purpose, no morality, no good or evil to contrast one another. Nothing matters including this discussion or any other thing. It all becomes a big biochemical accident and totally irrelevant. Are you prepared to deny the existence of evil? Of good? Of relevance or purpose?

Let me add that I am not here to convert anyone to anything or to preach. You are responsible for your self. I am simply discussing a topic that we all seem interested in from different perspectives. I feel as you apparently do- that it an important subject. The truth, if one is intellectually honest enough to actually be seeking- will take care of itself.

Beep, I do appreciate your candor, politeness and explanations. I will re-read your last offering and comment as time allows.

One more thing- the link I offered does not require "religious" faith at all- just the pondering of a single question- I encourage you to check it out if you have not done so.

8/2/07 12:22 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE star

This isn't an either or discussion. It isn't an either evolutionary biology is right or theology is. I want to make this perfectly clear from the beginning, as to go down this road is the road of the false dilemma. So, to repeat this - It isn't an either or scenario.

Whether I accept evolutionary theory or not has nothing to do with whether or not I have a god belief.

I know this is terribly difficult for some americans to understand, as many americans are either literal creationists or fundamentalist christians, but thousands upon thousands of people who believe in a god, also accept the theory of evolution.

How do they do this? Well, they do the most obvious, they believe that natural selection as the engine of evolution is the tool of their god.

Not all theists believe this, but large %s of them do. So, biological evolution does not necessitate a disbelief in a god.

If, however, you are a bible literalist and you believe that a god created the heavens and the earth in "6 human days", then you may have a problem reconciling science with your biblical literalism. But many god believers do NOT have this problem.

Consequently, whether or not I accept the theory of biological evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on this planet is irrelevant to whether I believe that a god exists or doesn't exist.

So, the acceptance of evolution is not automatically a deterent to belieivng in a god.

RE: " I state again, if you offer evolution as fact and atheism as fact the the onus is indeed on YOU to offer proof for this "fact". So, where are your explanations for the origins of life? In my view THERE is your lack of evidence. again I offer the existence of order and equilibrium as evidence."

I don't offer "atheism" as a fact or as a dogma. An atheist has no dogma as the word "atheist" merely describes what someone does not believe in. The word "atheist" merely describes a person who does NOT believe in the existence of a god or gods. It does not describe what they DO believe in, or whether they believe in something, nothing or everything.

Evolution IS a fact and a theory.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

But whether I believe that it is a fact or a theory or both, does not preclude me from believing in the existence of a god. I don't believe in the existence of a god because in order to believe in one, I would need to make one up in my own mind, just as I think every theist on the planet does.

Why do I think that believers create their gods in their minds?

I think this because no one's god belief is identical, and this is because no one's thoughts or brain processes are identical. The god you believe in is NOT identical to the one that maxx believes in, even if you want to imagine that it is. The god you believe in is the result of your OWN thought processes and maxx's is the result of his.

Every theist creates their own version of a god with their own thoughts and then goes on to claim that their god is the same one that other people of the same religion, or sect, have also created in their own mind.

Order and equilibrium are evidence of order and equilibrium. If you want to claim that they are the creations of your god, firstly you would need to provide evidence of the existence of your god which doesn't involve religious faith. And then we can discuss what your god is responsible for and how he did it.

RE: "Considering this, I would simply ask that one at least consider it possible that there is a God. And so you apparently have."

It is possible that RA exists, It is possible that Mithras exists. It is possible that fairies exist. I am not omniscient so I cannot know definitively that all the concepts which human beings are capable of creating in their minds do not exist.

But, and it is a big BUT, I don't believe that they do. I consider the probability, (consider the use of the word "probability" as used instead of "possibility", that these things exist outside the fertile grounds of our imaginations to be EXTREMELY LOW.

In fact, I consider the probability of the existence of these supernatural things, (things which exist outside the natural world), to be SO LOW that I spend no energy in believing in their existence. In the same way that I spend no energy in believing that there is an invisible dragon lurking in my garage.

RE: "God interfaces with us. I will ponder this more."

I don't believe that a god interfaces with you or anyone else. I think that what happens is that you, like every other theist on the planet, shoehorn your own thoughts, emotions, and psychological charateristics into the concept of a god, and then claim that this god speaks to you in your thoughts. (More commonly, theists claim that a god speaks to them in their heart, which basically means that they have an emotional response to a pleasurable concept.)

I think that it is the processes of your own mind that you consider to be the thoughts of a god, so in reality, I think that god believers worship their own thoughts, but they imagine their own thoughts as the words of a superior incorporeal being.

8/2/07 2:25 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Starrider:
Well some of you keep insisting that there is no evidence for God and that the burden of proof exists with believers. I have offered clear evidence, or at least logic, which you all seem to be flatly ignoring.
Sorry, but this has been offered a million times in the past. Anecdotal evidence is almost always a mistake to accept.
I state again, if you offer evolution as fact and atheism as fact the the onus is indeed on YOU to offer proof for this "fact".
No & no. The onus is right back to you. Atheism is a lack of belief. Evolution has accrued well over 130 years of evidence, go visit talkorigins.org. Your lack of education isn’t my problem.
So, where are your explanations for the origins of life? In my view THERE is your lack of evidence. again I offer the existence of order and equilibrium as evidence.
Mixing and matching. Abiogenesis is a different field of research. This ploy has been tried as well, to no effect.
If you are an "unbeliever" to use the colloquial term- then the onus is on you to explain how order and intelligence has occurred with such dazzling diversity and equilibrium from disorder, chaos and void. Even if one subscribes wholly to the evolution theorem, doctrine, belief...whatever you would like to call it... it still is lacking in explanation of the origin of anthropic principles I have cited.
The teleological argument – I’d advise you get out more often. Here – define actual CHAOS, if you would be so kind. Apparently, said chaos has never really existed.
Considering this, I would simply ask that one at least consider it possible that there is a God. And so you apparently have. I really do not understand your teapot analogy and will re-read it. My initial reaction is that since you are not a theist... you are not clear on the concept how theists generally understand or believe hoe God interfaces with us. I will ponder this more.
The teapot analogy is Bertrand Russel’s – it’s a powerful argument against blind belief.
I’d like to add – that both BBIM & myself understand full well how theists understand or believe such things. A large majority of atheists USED TO BE BELIEVERS. For more research, I’d advise you also hit infidels.org.
Atheism is a reasoned choice, based on a great deal of research & thought into the matter. Few of us came by it lightly. To choose atheism is a big step – the world is against us & it as a rule - & the bigotry is astounding, once you make a decision that will turn many people against you.

8/2/07 5:56 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Those damned americans! lol I love how it is so easy for you to know us all. Fantastic really.

8/2/07 5:58 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

You really are a hoot! I don't feel the need to convert you at all. I have always been curious about what made someone that began as a Quote believer as yourself... caused them to disbelieve. You can skip the diatribe of insults as you have never queried my beliefs but instead assessed them with your telepathic powers. You have convinced yourself you know better than me what I think and damned if I think I'll convince you otherwise. Nonetheless, you know nothing of me. re: why I was here.... I simply came here because I was curious about you. (I recieved a link to your discussion) After reading some of what you have written I was curious what caused you to lose your belief. You have hinted at it pretty well. It is your belief or lack of belief and it bothers me not. Because you believe differently than me bothers me little. Though you are correct in your belief that there are many fundamentalist in my country who choose or can't help but be so consumed with being right that everyone else must be wrong. That is not a trait exclusive to the filthy americans though. lol

You are a wonderfully long winded writer. It is too bad your opinion of americans is so poor, but it is your opinion and I'm okay with letting you own it. We speak the same language but it seems much is lost in the translation. I did enjoy the Eva Cassidy song so there may be a tiny sliver of common ground but I won't tell if you don't.

8/2/07 6:54 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Maxx:
Oh dear, what possesses you to suppose that I hate americans? You do leap to conclusions based on flimsy, or in this case, unsubstantiated feelings.

Was it because I mentioned that most americans are either creationists or fundamentalist christians? My mentioning this fact has to do with why many americans as opposed to a lot of other christians in other parts of the world, have a major problem with reconciling the theory of evolution with their religious beliefs.

It is obvious that if you are a bible literalist, you are going to have a massive problem with accomadating the theory of biological evolution into your religious beliefs. As far as I can see, that is the only reference I made to americans. But specifically the type of christianity which most americans embrace.

So I am wondering as what this is in reference to -

RE: " Those damned americans! lol I love how it is so easy for you to know us all. Fantastic really."

As I have no idea what possessed you to feel that americans were being specifically disparaged.

I have abslutely no idea what you are talking about when you also state this. -

"You are a wonderfully long winded writer. It is too bad your opinion of americans is so poor, but it is your opinion and I'm okay with letting you own it."

Why have you decided that it is specifically americans that we are discussing? I thought we were discussing god belief or the lack of it?

RE: "You can skip the diatribe of insults as you have never queried my beliefs but instead assessed them with your telepathic powers."

What diatribe of insults? I mere ly told you what I think god belief is, and how I think that theists create the concept of a god in their own thoughts. Perhaps this reasoning of mine is close to the bone, and hence you found it insulting. Perhaps it is accurate and you don't like it.

RE: "That is not a trait exclusive to the filthy americans though. lol"

And then off you go again with your anti-american rhetoric. I am becoming concerned that you might have a comprehension problem. (I don't mean that as an insult, just an observation.)

What I have realized over the period of time that I have been blogging, is that many religious people feel insulted just because someone doesn't believe as they do. Perhaps this is inherently the problem, I don't know.

Every theist has an opportunity to make a case for their god belief, but frankly, most atheists have heard most of them.

And most atheists have a pretty good idea why people remain believers. This is the advantage of having been a believer oneself.

8/2/07 11:27 pm  
Blogger Starrider said...

Biology and theology are incompatible? ...and one says I should get out more often...

Anecdotal evidence?

130 years of evidence...wow.


The last thing I will offer in this futile conversation is that the vast majority of human beings throughout history have reasoned that the idea that the cosmos are an accident is not a logical idea at all. They may have come up with all kinds of illogical or insufficient explanations and beliefs to explain existence- but the one that atheists adhere to is chief among them.

In my own humble opinion you have rather clearly demonstrated every mechanism that Mr. McGrath and Mr. 12th Monkey offered in the article "The Dawkins Delusion"

Cheers.

9/2/07 12:32 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE starrider:

RE: "Biology and theology are incompatible? ...and one says I should get out more often..."

I can only assume that like maxx you also have a comprehension problem.

Biological evolution IS incompatible with the belief of bible literalists.

RE: " The last thing I will offer in this futile conversation is that the vast majority of human beings throughout history have reasoned that the idea that the cosmos are an accident is not a logical idea at all."

Oh, the parting attempt at the hoary old strawman argument. Which is: "You believe that the universe is an accident." Really, you have to do better than this. This type of argumentation is appalling.

Firstly there is the equivocation (logical fallacy) associated with the use of the word, "accident" and then you finish it off with a strawman argument. Logic is not your forte. I am no expert either, but you are obviously inept at it if I see the logical flaws.

RE: "In my own humble opinion you have rather clearly demonstrated every mechanism that Mr. McGrath and Mr. 12th Monkey offered in the article "The Dawkins Delusion"

Mr 12th monkey offered a copy and paste fo the criticism made by McGrath. I can also copy and past huge swathes of other people's criticisms of theism. Though I choose not to do so. MR McGrath's criticisms have been refuted on various websites quite adequately, I see no need to continue the rout.

McGrath on Dawkins
http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2007/02/mcgrath_on_dawkins.php

9/2/07 1:01 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

starrider:
In my own humble opinion you have rather clearly demonstrated every mechanism that Mr. McGrath and Mr. 12th Monkey offered in the article "The Dawkins Delusion"
I'd say that's a humble opinion alrighty -
A. You should read the book before you take someone else's opinion on it,
B. Arguments from tradition are a weak response.
130 years of evidence...wow.
Note that people have been predicting the downfall of evolution since 1871 - still going strong.
maxx8it:
Those damned americans! lol I love how it is so easy for you to know us all. Fantastic really.
I'm an American, doofus. Born 'n bred - BBIM's right, a (far too) large % of US citizenry are creationists - which goes to the appalling state of education in our country. It's a disgrace.
I don't know if any of you noodleheads realize this - evolution is the backbone of biology. It impacts your respective lives on multiple levels.
& no, I don't feel obliged to prove that - anyone doing any amount of actual research should be able to figure that out on their own. You're both able to read, aren't you?
Lessee - 1 or both of you demand some sort of 'proof' - & yet Maxie starts spouting off about being 'long-winded'.
Sorry if I'm being brusque. But there's only so much of the same uninformed garbage I can stomach. Especially when the blogosphere abounds w/such nonsense.
Evolution is here, it's a hypothesis composed of facts culled from nature, & if you want to learn about it, either read up at the links provided, or take a class, rather than some unsubstantiated crap from some creationist grudge site.
& I still refuse to disprove something that you can't provide evidence for.

9/2/07 7:09 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

I happen to enjoy the long winded nature of beep's writing style. If that offends you, so what. If it upsets your stomach, I suggest sticking your finger down your throat... you'll feel better.

Lumping all or most christians as literal creationists is I guess where the fallacy of your rational begins.

Since you like research, lets do the most basic to examine your support of bleep's theory that "that most americans are either creationists or fundamentalist christians".

From Wipikedia:
"Today, it is estimated that there are around 2.1 billion Christians in the world making up 33% of the world population, with the largest Christian denomination being Roman Catholicism." That is roughly 1,098,366,000 as of 2004, or about one in six of the world's population.

According to Wipikedia about 30% of americans in the U.S. are catholic and that number increases to like 80% as one looks to Mexico and Central America.

Since the largest is Catholicism one only has to look at what that Church has to say on the subject to disspell the fallacy. Pope John Paul II's address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences,... "Pope Says Evolution Compatible with Faith".

There's not much "news" there. Fifty years ago Pope Pius XII said almost the same thing in the encyclical Humani generis: "The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, insofar as it inquiries into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter."

While not exactly canonizing Darwin, Pius XII did imply that the theory of evolution isn't necessarily inimical to Christianity. Certainly he didn't reject evolution altogether. How then do we explain the big headlines when John Paul II says basically the same thing in 1996?


One answer: the alleged war between science and religion is good copy. http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/0102-97/Article3.html

While it is true the catholic church does not speak for all christians in the america's understanding what it teaches does much to dispell the idea that most american christians are fundamental literal creationists.

Historians of science, including non-Catholics such as J.L. Heilbron,[96] Alistair Cameron Crombie, David C Lindberg,[97] Edward Grant, Thomas Goldstein,[98] and Ted Davis, have argued that the Church had a significant, positive influence on the development of civilization. They hold that, not only did monks save and cultivate the remnants of ancient civilization during the barbarian invasions, but that the Church promoted learning and science through its sponsorship of many universities which, under its leadership, grew rapidly in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries. St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian," not only argued that reason is in harmony with faith, he even recognized that reason can contribute to understanding revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development. [99] The Church's priest-scientists, many of whom were Jesuits, were the leading lights in astronomy, genetics, geomagnetism, meteorology, seismology, and solar physics, becoming the "fathers" of these sciences. It is important to remark names of important churchmen such as the Augustinian abbot Gregor Mendel (pioneer in the study of genetics), Roger Bacon a Franciscan monk who was one of the early advocates of the scientific method, and Belgian priest Georges Lemaître (the first to propose the Big Bang theory).


A map of medieval universities shows the universities established by the Catholic Church in Europe.

This position is a reverse of the view, held by some enlightenment philosophers, that the Church's doctrines were superstitious and hindered the progress of civilization. (Wipikedia)


Sounds to me like science actually owes much of it's advancement, to christiandom. But heck why look at facts?

I suppose the canned "Galileo" response will be next...... yawn.

9/2/07 12:13 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE maxx:

The issue of christian creationists, bible literalists and fundamentalist christians, was brought up to demonstrate that those sections of christianity are the ones which have the most difficulty in reconciling their religious faith with the theory of biological evolution. And it was brought up, by myself, in that context, for that reason, as I was trying to demonstrate that for many god believers there is NO conflict of faith with evolutionary theory.

The issue of religion VS science and its historical context. What has basically happened is that "the church" (this is generic for whichever religion you wish to insert), has supported scientific endeavour as long as the results don't conflict with its articles of faith. The church supports and has supported scientific endeavour, and scientific information which does not conflict with its teachings.

It is well known that various religious bodies, the catholic church being one of them, have throughout their history, supported scientific efforts, but it must also be remembered that those scientific efforts were only supported within the context of their faith.

So, the science which religions have supported, sometimes financially, have adopted a creed through which scientific information is viewed. That which conflicts with religious faith, is summarily dismissed and that which does not, is accepted.

During the time when astrology and the study of the ancient cosmos as the representation of mystical beings was evolving into astronomy, that is when there was a swing away from mysticism and superstition and the beginning of the scientific method; early thinkers and researchers were supported by the church.

The catholic church at this time funded various research projects, as did rich patrons, but always with the view that mankind was exploring and understanding what was taken as absolute truth from their holy books.

It reminds me of the quote from Huxley - "Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed."

Whether or not I like Huxley, or you like Huxley is irrelevant. What is relevant is that this is what religious organizations have done for centuries. They support science through the absolute faith that they have that their religion is absolutely right. If, the science conflicts with the "absolute truth" of their religion, they wage war against those who have dared to suggest that 2 thousand year old books have got it wrong.

It is true that we saw this with Galileo and Bruno. Giordano Bruno was a famous italian cosmologist and also a priest. He was burnt at the stake for being a heretic by the catholic church. Bruno advocated the Copernican view that the Earth was not the center of the universe. Bruno not only considered a heliocentric worldview, (which was heresy), but he went beyond the heliocentric model to envision a universe which had its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere.

Religions have adopted a creed through which science must provide answers which do not conflict with the said creed.

This is why, even though science strongly shows through repeatable, retestable evidence that condom use can dramatically cut the transference of HIV, the catholic church and many other religious organizations WILL NOT support their use because their use conflicts with their articles of faith.

This has condemned thousands of people who have tried to be good catholics to a life of disease and death. Under many circumstances, according to religious belief, one can sin and be forgiven through absolution, so sin is an expected part of religion. It is accepted (but christianity at least), that all people will sin at some time, that people cannot be completely without sin. The "cure for sin" is to seek forgiveness or absolution of sin perhaps through confession.

So a person who may have sinned according to his/her faith and who can be forgiven according to the tenets of the church, cannot be cured if they have contracted HIV in the process.

So absolving them of sin does nothing for the person who has contracted HIV when the acquisition of HIV could have been avoided through condom use.

The fact is, that people can contract HIV through sexual activity which is not outside the rules and regulation of the church.

There are probably thousands of men and women who have contracted HIV because their partner has not remained in a monogamous relationship but THEY have. What is the response of religious groups to this situation? "It is god's will."

No, it bloody well isn't. It is the will of church leaders who have decided that even though we know through science that condom use will lessen dramatically sexually trasmitted HIV, that as this information conflicts with their religious creed, the people who contract HIV deserve to die.

That's right. They believe that people who don't comply with the religious creed deserve to die even though science has a means to prevent this suffering.

So it basically comes down to again that science is only accepted if it complies with the religious creed. As condom use does not comply with the religious creed, many people, not only catholics, are left to suffer from a disease which they may not have contracted if condom use was not in confliction with religious faith.

It gets worse than this, however, as when health organizations have the contracts for promoting and allocating money to other countries and their health agenda is driven by their religious beliefs, they not only condemn to death catholics who contract HIV, but also any other person who does not share the same religious faith. This person, or people, may, however be reliant upon the health information and resources which are provided by these organizations.

It is all very well for people to have a religious belief in abstinence, it is not ok if this religious belief becomes the agenda and dictates which health information, resources and moneys go where.

Of course the most pertinent and comptemporaneous example in the head butting between science and religion is the example of evolutionary theory. This has been discussed to some extent previously, so I won't reiterate at this time.

Let's look at another example. The issue of stem cell technology. Do religious organizations support cell technology? No. Why not? Because it conflicts with their religious faith. Personally, I have no problem with people believing that stem cell technology conflicts with their religious faith. The problem is that I don't share that religious faith, but they want THEIR religious faith to be supreme arbiter for everyone. In other words, everyone is expected to comply with the religious beliefs even if they don't hold them.

Personally, if you believe that the "soul" inhabits a cell at conception, that is entirely up to you. Don't partake in any medical advances or scientific advances which may occur as the result of stem cell research. But this is never enough for religionists. I know it and you know it.

The right to practice a religion essentially means the right to impose the tenets of that religion upon others whether they believe in the tenets or not. So religions are opposed to stem cell research on the grounds that it conflicts with their religious faith. Once again, science is only approved of if it complies with the religious model.

Let's consider the issue of masturbation which has for a long time been considered a sin and worthy of hell and damnation. Scientific research suggests that masturabtion may actually lessen a male's chances of developing prostate cancer. Have the churches come out and said - "What wonderful news, millions of men may not develop prostate cancer if they tug the todger regularly."

No, they haven't. Do I expect them to? No, because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. If you start removing things from the list which are deemded to be sinful, pretty soon it will be a very short list. Ashort list of sins means less power held by religious organizations as religions require the concept of sin to remain in order for them to retain political and economic power. Without sin, there is nothing to be saved from - and religion goes out of business.

Masturbation 'cuts cancer risk'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3072021.stm

So, though it is true that religions have supported science with money and grants, it has always had a vested interest in the results. Religions require science to be conducted through the filter of religious faith or it is condemned.

Science provides the best information when it is not shackled by preconceived religious belief systems. Science cannot act as science if the results must always be in favour of religious beliefs. It ceases to be science if it is research which can only occur within the parameters of religious faith.

In essence, if we have concerns about what scientific information we should use, and for what purposes, that decision needs to be made through reasoned argument. It is not enough for religionists to say, "I don't approve of it because it conflicts with my religious belief."

That is insufficient as I don't share your religious faith and neither do millions of other people.

9/2/07 2:32 pm  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

To Shaun Lee:
And then To Hey Skipper:
Shaun,
I’ve not equivocated anything.

I am asserting quite clearly, and without revising definitions, that:
1. For one to believe a personal god/God created the cosmos by intent of will, requires faith/belief.
2. For one to believe that “Naturalistic Forces”, popped matter into existence from a void, requires faith/belief.
Mine, is not an equivocation.
Again, I am simply applying the term “believer” to all, for whom it is truly applicable.
Equivocation appears to be on the opposite side of this debate.

Next, is the issue of the color of bald men’s hair? I am not speaking about skin and hair pigmentation or male pattern baldness, yet!
First we should deal with the basic understanding of matter & energy. (http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/conser.html#coneng)
Let me briefly elaborate for you, it is not negotiable for the physical sciences, it’s called “Conservation of Energy.”
· One way to state this principle is "Energy can neither be created nor destroyed".
· And as we know E=MC2. Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved that, via “Naturalistic” means, unfortunately for humankind.
· The conservation of energy principle is one of the foundation principles of all science disciplines. In varied areas of science there will be primary equations, which can be seen to be just an appropriate reformulation of the principle of conservation of energy. (I am quoting heavily from the URL above. I am not a physicist, although I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.)

It is illogical to jump past the elementary principles of our cosmos as if they are not worth discussing and take up ‘the beauty of random snowflakes.’
Yet, you state:
· It takes no more faith to believe in naturalistic answers than it does in a supernatural one because we have evidence of naturalistic forces while still waiting for suoernatural ones. Postulating or hypothesizing a greater unknown to explain any given unknown is no explanation.

We are obliged to address the order of Hydrogen Atoms, Protons, Quarks, Nutrinos etc. spontaneously appearing from an infinite void, before we talk about the random snowflakes.

Has science seen and reported on “Naturalistic” occurrences of the conservation of energy principle being set-aside, to have physical matter popping into existence out of whole cloth…, excuse me, there wasn’t even “whole cloth” prior to the great big bang.

It takes a lot of faith to believe that. SL, I am not being critical of your faith, as much as I am stating that it is such.

Here again, I am simply applying the term “believer” to all, for whom it is truly applicable.

At which point, I am able to segue to Hey Skipper.
First, I want to say, WOW!
A lot has happened here since I last visited, which is when I read and started writing to Shaun Lee.
Nonetheless, I appreciate your response Hey Skipper.
And, you are very much on the same wave with me.
However, I am truly saying, that which you are attempting to show as being inconsistent, or as you termed it “in the ditch.”
The difference is I maintain that it is utterly consistent and it is rather, the “atheist’s” claim that has veered over the precipice.

I am stating, once again to Shaun Lee, unequivocally that the “atheist” does indeed have a ‘god != religion’.

A “god” is nothing more, nor anything less, than the thing that we worship.

Atheist’s worship the god of supernatural random luck, who pops matter/energy into existence from, not even as much as a hat, but rather the absence of anything that could be shaped into a rudimentary hat.
This is a true believer!
· What does the atheist honor if it is not non-“Naturalistic” or supernatural random chance of matter/energy popping into a primordial void of sheer nothingness?
· What does the atheist require as evidence, that the god of nothingness did such an amazing feat. Nothing!
Yes, that is a believer if ever I saw one!

This is my contention to all who are disputing with the “theory of god.”

To SL:
It is not natural to have matter popping up in thin air in our living room.

When this happens, the story usually makes the newspapers, because it is SUPERNATURAL.

But, groupthink is dangerous, when we are unwilling to admit as much.

God bless,
DSM
p.s. This all amounts to a very hip religion.
It is fun and exciting.
And it is in an interesting position of denying the ritualistic and religious "nature" of Secular Humanism, all to maintain the chic non-belief status. Very trendy!

9/2/07 3:59 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE : ds martin

It would be nice if you could claim that an atheist, by definition has faith. The reality is that they don't have a faith or a belief which is part of the definition of being an atheist.

Certainly if someone defines themselves as a secular humanist, a materialist, a naturalist, a humanist, or a religious humanist, these decriptors do by definition make certain positive claims. Or, they have accepted certain conditions as being true which are attached to those terms.

The word, atheist, however, does not come with any positive claims attached and this is probably where the various arguments get confused.

As an atheist, I am only responding to the claims made by theists. If I decide to use the concept of naturalism when I respond as an atheist, I am not asserting that naturalism is a belief of atheists as atheists or "atheism" if you like, does not have a common set of beliefs or dogma.

If I respond to a claim made by a theist and I use a materialistic argument, that does not mean that all atheists accept the tenets of materialism, as once again the word atheist does not define what someone believes in, but what they don't believe in.

In other words, the word "atheist" does not define their beliefs, whether they have beliefs, or whether they don't.

Then of course we get to the issue of what constitutes belief. An atheist might say " I don't have beliefs," and technically they are right, as if they are speaking as an atheist, the word atheist does not define what they believe in, if they believe in something, nothing or anything.

As previously mentioned there is also the issue of equivocation. I think that the word "belief" and the word "faith" used outside a religious context, used in a secular context, does not mean the same thing.

Just a quick example. "Faith" used in a religious context usually means something like this, that regardless of whatever information is available, the person of religious faith has an unshakeable, unwavering position on a particular topic or issue from which they will do their utmost to never depart from.

However, the word "faith" used outside of a religious context rarely means this. For example, I might say, (as a non-religious person), in a conversation with my friends when they ask me whether I think my boyfriend is monogamous or not, that " I have faith that he isn't cheating on me." I am certainly not referring to any kind of religious faith I have in him as we would both most likely be non-believers.

I am making a statement of confidence in his character based on the knowledge I have accumulated about him. This "faith" is not unwavering. It is subject to reassessment if information which contradicts my opinion of him, comes to light.

In other words, "my faith" in him is always being revised in the light of new evidence, some of which may be contradictory. Compare this with "religious faith" where religious believers are taught that it is wrong to doubt, or to question one's faith, and you can see that there is a marked difference in the way the term is used outside a religious context.

(I need to state at this point that as a non-religious person, as an atheist who doesn't believe in the existence of gods, that I am most unlikely to even use the word "faith" in the context mentioned above. But cultural habits are not the same for all people and there may be non-religious people who would use it in this way. I am much more likely to say that I trust him and when having stated that I trusted him, it would be understood that the level of trust would be under revision and assessment. It is quite possible that there could come a time when, because of his actions, I no longer had any level of trust in him.

So, there always has been a major problem with semantics when atheists and theists attempt to debate, as inevitably, we find that we are not defining the terms the same way or we are not debating on common ground. Define the terms and you define the argument.

9/2/07 5:27 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx8it:
I happen to enjoy the long winded nature of beep's writing style. If that offends you, so what. If it upsets your stomach, I suggest sticking your finger down your throat... you'll feel better.
Oh hey, that's real cute. You want to trade witty remarks? You should go out & buy some. The ones you have are past the expiration date.
Who said 'literal' creationists? Not I. Old earthers are a different breed - they're not thoroughly in denial. Only partially.

Sounds to me like science actually owes much of it's advancement, to christiandom. But heck why look at facts?

That's actually not true. Averroes, a Muslim Arab, managed to keep the Hellenistic tradition alive, & influenced Augustine (or was it Aquinas?).
They hold that, not only did monks save and cultivate the remnants of ancient civilization during the barbarian invasions, but that the Church promoted learning and science through its sponsorship of many universities which, under its leadership, grew rapidly in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Was that in between the burning of heretical documents?
The fact is, that outside of the monkhood, most Europeans had a distinct anti-intellectual bent that lasts unto this day.
"When science was born, religion tried to strangle it in the cradle." - Ingersoll.
I'm willing to give xtianity a little credit - but not the whole shebang, sorry.

9/2/07 5:28 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

d.s martin:
I find your repartee neither witty nor intelligent.
I'd advise you go run out, & look up the terms naturalism & atheism.
I have confidence in scientific facts, thanks much.
Demanding eyewitnesses when humans weren't alive, is simply stupid.
Atheist’s worship the god of supernatural random luck, who pops matter/energy into existence from, not even as much as a hat, but rather the absence of anything that could be shaped into a rudimentary hat.
You're an idiot. Nobody says 'random luck', except flatlines w/a brainfart.
Energy's always existed, physicists have found there was a rapidly contracting universe PRIOR to the big bang, & it's the RELIGIOUS person who posits ex nihilo. Energy's always existed as far anyone knows, unless YOU know someone who can 'eyewitness' otherwise.
And it is in an interesting position of denying the ritualistic and religious "nature" of Secular Humanism, all to maintain the chic non-belief status. Very trendy!
Strange, how I lose all vestige of courtesy when ANOTHER one of you bozos parrot the same old party line.
You can take that tu quoque, & stick it right up your ass.

9/2/07 5:35 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Bleep, re: HIV - condoms

First let me say that I recognize the compassionate analogy you have made in this regard. I agree that science may or not be supported by religious organizations to the extent that they are in comport with a particular religions tenets. This is well stated.

Ironically, at least in some cases science may have the same ultimate goal as religion in this regard, the well being of man. The difference may be in scale and ultimate effect. For instance, I may take a heart medication that helps my heart beat but creates just as grave consequences to my body by shutting something else down. Hence, in the medical field what initially seems to be a good quick fix, may ultimately do more harm. In the U.S. they pimp pills all day long on TV touting the instant cure for the headache, coughing, sneezing, weight etc. Every few years there is a glut of law suits because over time they may learn the medication causes harm.

I don't know if that was very clear so I will attempt to explain what I mean by applying Newton's Third Law of Motion which in part states: To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. Sometimes that reaction is not good. Sometimes the damage of the reaction is not noticed until it is seen in the grand scale.

This is not unlike the principles of sin. Religious dogma opposes sin not just because it is offensive to God and separates man from communion with him but also because with sin as with any action there is a consequence. Often that consequence effects many others. (Recognizing no human is perfect, and I don't claim to have all the answers in this regard)

Condom use. Condoms have been around for some 3000 or so years. But in reality condom use on a grand scale can be traced to the industrial revolution and equated with the sexual revolution along with the use of other forms of contraceptives. Initially, they seemed to prevent the spread of STD's and the "unwanted pregnancy". The misunderstood idea that man can have sex without consequence. On the surface this seemed to be true, but over time many societal consequences have occured.

Today over 56% of men have had more than five sex partners and over one-third have had more than 11 sex partners. Approximately 75% of all 18-19 year olds have had sexual intercourse. In a study completed by the U.S. government, only 11% of the women married between 1990 and 1995 were virgins at the time of their marriage. Is this a bad thing?

Obviously, many catholics use various forms of contraceptives despite the teaching of the church. The temptation is sex without consequence. A very powerful force to say the least. But look at some of the consequences as applied to just catholics since the sexual revolution in the U.S.

Disharmony in the Home
In the past generation divorce has skyrocketed in the United States. The divorce rate among Catholics has increased from 8% in the late 1950's to almost 50% today.

Conflict in Society
Within the United States all measures of crime have increased dramatically since the onset of the sexual revolution in the 1960's. The violent crime rate has more than tripled since 1965. Today, almost 25% of all women will experience a rape or physical assault at some point in their lifetime. A study by the Russian sociologist Pitirim Sorokin indicated that war in what was once "Christendom" has exploded in the 20th Century beyond anything known in recorded history. Despite the technological advances there is more famine in the world now then ever before. It's as if there is a devaluation of life on a grand scale.

Suffering of Children
Today one-third of all American children, 70% of American black children and 40% of American Hispanic children are born illegitimate. Children are always the first to suffer when the spousal union is disrupted.

I believe every life is important even those with HIV. I don't have the answer to this but the question of is the fix really a fix has some validity.

I don't know about where you live but the focus in the U.S. is more on obtaining material possessions and instant gratification than on the family or the individual needs of people. The value of life seems to be greatly diminished here over the past 50 or so years.

re: masturbation see section 2352: http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect2chpt2art6.htm

9/2/07 6:26 pm  
Anonymous Thee Twelfth Monkey said...

I see that the gloves are off here now.

I encourage those of you with reason and intelligence to leave these bile spewing, pseudo intellectual atheists alone. You are clearly wastinbg your time and energy.

The assertion that life and intelligence is anecdotal evidence should as, Star rider noted, be plenty oif evidence that you are dealing with fundamentalists who are the blindest of the blind because they refuse to see.

p.s.

10/2/07 1:30 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Kristi,

old earther...lol... wouldn't it be nice for you if everyone fit in some box that you could catagorize and file. Keep typing, you're painting a perfect picture of your self for me.

You'd be better off simply typing something more intelligent like ..."Yea! or "What she said!"

re: vestige of courtesy
I think you meant to say that you lose all "vestige of courtesy" when you don't know what to say.

re: shebang ...I know that tune. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiLGcI-ISHQ

10/2/07 3:18 am  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

KA said:

I find your repartee neither witty nor intelligent.
Demanding eyewitnesses when humans weren't alive, is simply stupid.
You're an idiot. Nobody says 'random luck', except flatlines w/a brainfart.
Strange, how I lose all vestige of courtesy when ANOTHER one of you bozos parrot the same old party line.
You can take that tu quoque, & stick it right up your ass.


Thanks so much for defining 'wit and intelligence' for me.
Things are much clearer now!

To TTM:
We are in agreement!

God bless,
DSM

10/2/07 5:39 am  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

Upon further consideration, I have changed my mind about "agreement" with TTM's assessment and plan.

I have read Ms. BBIM's response above, and she is well reasoned and respectful in her address of the points, which I had made.

Also, she has correctly stated;
So, there always has been a major problem with semantics when atheists and theists attempt to debate, as inevitably, we find that we are not defining the terms the same way or we are not debating on common ground. Define the terms and you define the argument.

And such is the case here.

This blog belongs to Ms. BBIM, and so far as I can tell she has not granted KA the authority, to define the terms of "Wit and Intelligence" via his words and example.

Furthermore, there are some in this discussion, who do indeed appear to be giving due consideration to the points being made on each side of the debate, e.g. Hey Skipper et. al.

Therefore, so long as Ms. BBIM doesn't request my departure I will continue to read and respond, as the Spirit moves me.

God bless,
DSM

10/2/07 6:29 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Okay, let's straighten out a few things.
This blog belongs to Ms. BBIM, and so far as I can tell she has not granted KA the authority, to define the terms of "Wit and Intelligence" via his words and example.
I was doing no such thing: that was a personal opinion, & if I overstep my bounds, then Ms. BBIM should step in & correct me.
2nd, I'm a man, ergo, my monicker is not my name.
old earther...lol... wouldn't it be nice for you if everyone fit in some box that you could catagorize and file. Keep typing, you're painting a perfect picture of your self for me.
Since you're incapable of telling I'm male, that's not a worry.
I bear the 'label' atheist. I also bear the 'label' of being a middle-aged man. I also bear the 'label' of many, many other things.
Labels are structures. Structures are premises upon which we build communication.
If someone says, 'I believe the bible is correct, AND that the earth is 4.5 billion years old', that, mein freund, is an Old Earth creationist.
If a person says, "I don't believe in gawd", that is the definition of atheist.
If a person says "I am uncertain, & cannot say either way", that is an agnostic.
If you do away w/labels & definitions, you do away w/any sort of structure. Thereby, communication becomes a hopeless mess of free association.

Demanding an eyewitness to an event when no humans existed, thereby inferring that said event never came about, & that it's an example of faith is...silly.

Claiming that it takes 'faith' to NOT believe in the supernatural is likewise addled. Sorry.

The assertion that life and intelligence is anecdotal evidence should as, Star rider noted, be plenty of evidence that you are dealing with fundamentalists who are the blindest of the blind because they refuse to see.
Perfect example. I didn't say that at all.
Starrider started in w/his 'I've had experiences', which is anecdotal in nature. There are rational explanations for everything.
The definition of anecdotal evidence is as follows:
"Anecdotal evidence is an informal account of evidence in the form of an anecdote, or hearsay. The term is often used in contrast to scientific evidence, especially evidence-based medicine, which are types of formal accounts. Anecdotal evidence is often unscientific because it cannot be investigated using the scientific method. Misuse of anecdotal evidence is a logical fallacy and is sometimes informally referred to as the "person who" fallacy ("I know a person who..."; "I know of a case where..." etc. Compare with hasty generalization). The problem with arguing based on anecdotal evidence is that anecdotal evidence is not necessarily typical; only statistical evidence can determine how typical something is."
I've had similar experiences. I can chalk them up to biochemical responses.
I'm all up for interesting dialogues, but for the most part, it seems like none of you has actually gone out & investigated both sides of the coin before chipping in. So, sorry if I got a tad frustrated, but for the most part, these are observations that have been done to death, nor are they novel. Not to mention, easily refuted.

As to the charge of 'fundamentalist', I plead not guilty.

10/2/07 7:12 am  
Blogger D.S. Martin said...

KA:
Thank you for the clarification.
But, I am intrigued.
Your opinion is that, you find my "repartee neither witty nor intelligent."

Yet, am I, to understand that your comments were both witty and intelligent?

It is not my intent to insult you or Shaun Lee, to whom my response was specifically addressed.

I responded in the manner that I did, and with the selected words, because of his implication that there are current day, observable, natural processes, which are able to answer how our universe came to be.
Shaun Lee said:
"It takes no more faith to believe in naturalistic answers than it does in a supernatural one because we have evidence of naturalistic forces while still waiting for suoernatural ones. Postulating or hypothesizing a greater unknown to explain any given unknown is no explanation.

Lastly, snow flakes exhibit order and beauty but we know with an absolute certainty that it's entirely due to natural forces. To claim that it is more probable for some more complex supernatural force to explain the cosmos is simply an assertion of a claim of self-evident and a claim from personal incredulity."


He invoked faith in "naturalistic answers."

Do you see my point? Perhaps, you will continue to maintain that you lack faith. That is fair enough. And I shall continue to attempt persuade you otherwise.

But, once Shaun Lee invoked an admitted faith in nature, for his ontological answers, I see that statement as fair game. He stated, in his own terms, that his faith is equal to that of a professing theist. "It takes no more faith to believe in naturalistic answers than it does in a supernatural one…”

His, was certainly, an important statement to our discussion.

Nevertheless, my point is that there is not a single, observable natural phenomenon that can support his claim. Randomly occurring, pretty snowflakes are not the starting point of matter.

And perhaps, my sarcasm was too sharp, and for that I offer a sincere apology to Shaun Lee.

But, the fact that no one was around to get recordings of the big bang was not, intended to be in dispute.

However, because it happened once means it could happen again. Yet, we will have to wait until that happens. Maybe the Hubble telescope will get some good photos and data of the event as it occurs. But, until that day, atheists must, simply, plod on ahead, with no more than their "faith" that it did happen, but we have no natural evidence of the event.

Down at the bottom of this post, I am including the definitions that you wanted me to look up.

But, the definition is, as BBIM stated, truly the issue in all of this.
Because, I simply won't accept the given definition of "atheist" as being non-belief or an absence of faith, as a passively negative assertion.
"Atheism" makes a positive declaration that deities do not exist.
The two meanings are not the same and only one of the definitions can exist in reality.

Many here are attempting to "correct" me on my use of terms. I suspect that was your intent also, in requesting me to look at the definitions.
However, my goal in this debate is not to "convert" anyone to Allah, Taoism, Shintoism, Jainism, or even to the Jesus, for that matter.

Whether or not that actually happens is dependent upon only two individuals. (I am not, one of the two.)
I recognize, that this is not within my power, and I have not accepted that as my purpose.

I could probably rile most of the “admitted believers” in this thread, by debating the intrinsic value of all of the faiths mentioned above, but that is not the goal now, either.

The goal that I have in this debate is an assault at the very meaning of the terms that are employed by all who claim belief and non-belief as their label of choice.
I do this because I think it is useful for all people to address contradictions in their “weltanschauung.”
I dispute with fellow disciples of Jesus more than I do with non-believers. You could ask Starrider.
Starrider knows me well and he knows that I am "an odd bird", and that I don't follow standard conventions. He could also attest to the fact, that when I am shown to be in error philosophically, I will modify my lifestyle to match the, newly discovered, philosophical truth.

I am unusual, in that I investigate issues before asserting knowledge. Some people will read a few paragraphs from a writer and claim intimate knowledge of the individual. You might find reflexive judgments asserting “personal opinions” about the writer, while in point of fact the casual reader is utterly devoid of knowledge.

Not to make a spectacle of the individual, but there was a comment earlier in this discussion, which I pointed out at the time.
I wrote, The content from a post on my on blog, may help you to better understand my point. (http://theologyofnuance.blogspot.com/2006/12/part-two-to-ds-martin-tells-who-he.html), and directed all who would read, to the salient URL.
Therefore, knowledge of understanding was made available, and yet I received derisive comments and sardonic apologies about the commentator’s self-imposed ignorance.

I was derided, not because I was ignorant, but rather because the respective reader refused to look-up the essay, which I had referenced.

Furthermore, to my kooky nature of being a seeker: The first thing I did when your harsh response came up was to read your profile.
I looked at your words about yourself. How does KA see himself? What is he like? I went to your blog and read a post about Chuck Norris and some of the follow-up comments to get an understanding of who you are.
I know that you are a self-described middle-aged man. I see similarities between you and me. I too, see myself as a renaissance man.
However, unless you have stopped by my “profile” or read some of my essays on my Theology of Nuance blog, or ventured into my philosophy blog, you are ill equipped to make judgments about me being “neither witty nor intelligent” , or my being “simply stupid”, or my being “an idiot”, or one of the “flatlines w/a brainfart”, or even “ANOTHER one of you bozos.
My kids seem to think that I “hung the moon.” Okay, they are probably a little biased. But, my wife, at the very least, has respect for me. You’re saying she’s probably a fool too. Well, there again, I would say seek knowledge, before asserting the same.
I suspect that of all of you believers and “non-believers” alike only one has looked at my profile. And she is the reason I am here in this discussion.

I see that BBIM is thoughtful and rational. I also see that she has a little bit of a warped sense of humor, not unlike myself. While, I may disagree with much of what she writes, I also, agree with much of her criticisms of religion, interestingly enough.

MSN Encarta®
Naturalism:
nat·u·ral·ism [ náchərə lìzzəm, náchrə lìzzəm ]

noun
Definition:
1. artistic movement advocating realistic description: in art or literature, a movement or school advocating factual or realistic description of life, including its less pleasant aspects. In literature, it is applied especially to Zola, Maupassant, and other 19th-century French writers. In the visual arts, it refers to the practice of faithfully representing subjects.
2. belief in religious truth from nature: a belief that all religious truth is derived from nature and natural causes, and not from revelation
3. doctrine rejecting spiritual explanations of world: a system of thought that rejects all spiritual and supernatural explanations of the world and holds that science is the sole basis of what can be known
Atheism:
From Pocket Oxford Dictionary March 1994:
atheism n. belief that there is no God.  atheist n. atheistic adj. [Greek a- not, theos god]
From Wikipedia on atheism @ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism)
Some dictionary definitions:
"1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. 2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings." (Random House 2006)
"1. a. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. b. The doctrine that there is no God or gods. 2. Godlessness; immorality." (American Heritage Dictionary 2000)
"1 archaic : UNGODLINESS, WICKEDNESS 2 a : a disbelief in the existence of a deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 2003)
It should be noted that at least one atheist philosopher distinguishes "deity" from "God," where "deity" refers to "personal, superhuman active and powerful intelligence, while "God" refers to"infinite Being--infinite in the respects of knowledge and wisdom, power and goodness." See Wallace I. Matson, The Existence of God (1965), pp. xv - xvii}}

10/2/07 12:48 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

D.S
Do you see my point? Perhaps, you will continue to maintain that you lack faith. That is fair enough. And I shall continue to attempt persuade you otherwise.
Okay, I lack religious faith, which is a quantitatively different animal.
Hmmm...you want to play the dictionary game, ey? Okay:
http://www.answers.com/faith
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.

As you can see, it's not a matter of eenie-meenie-miny-moe.
The religious person uses 2,4 and 5.
The atheist uses the rest of them.
So, if you want to apply Occam's razor to the word 'faith', thereby circumventing the tortures of circumlocutory semantical quibbling (no offense) - is it all right for me to use the word, or am I bound and beholden to substitute the phrase 'confidence'.

As an aspiring author, I love the language. However, I do on occasion, get told that there are certain words I am not ALLOWED to say. The word 'faith' is one: 'design' is another.
I'm not large on labels: they're usually 1 facet in the gem of a person - but the use of allegory dents the dialogue, and when I get told that I mean 1 thing, and I disagree, only to be told that I meant that ONE thing over and over and over again, against all protestations - sorry, I see a little red.
I am unusual, in that I investigate issues before asserting knowledge.
Well, upon that we have some simpatico.
I look up words, concepts, ideas, even if they're intaglioed on my brain - because I'm not of the school of 'when I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean..."
As to the whole eyewitness thing...
By following that logic, in a court of law, there'd be no 'corpus delicti' (literally translated, 'body of the crime'). This isn't in re: to the actual corpse itself. The concept applies that no 1 looked into the person's eyes as they died, or the 'smoking gun' unseen.
Do we actually need to have an eyewitness to a crime? Would be wunnerful, but that's not the only avenue. Tracing the purchase of the weapon, examining motive, detecting patterns, are all modes of logic.

Science needs to trace evidence backwards. To say that there is no eyewitness is to only address a single point of entrance into a house w/many doors. Saying that door is locked, & crying "Ah-HAH! Ergo, there's no way to get in!" w/out trying any of the other doorknobs, is...well, I think you catch the gist of it.

10/2/07 4:09 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Well, read your essay, D.S. Surprisingly (not), it misrepresents a few items, mostly the 2nd law of thermodynamics. We can get into that here or over there, if you so please, sirrah.

10/2/07 4:30 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: Whatever I have missed.

Oh dear, we haven't been fighting have we? Have naughty words been siad. I am totally shocked. (not really, but I felt the need to feign surprise)

I have been entertaining some family and haven't had the time to peruse the comments in any great detail, though I am sure they are interedting.;)

As long as people are not threatening to poke out each other's eyes with a burnt stick, I don't have any real issues with how people express themselves.

10/2/07 10:42 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Damn, I need to spell check before I post. That's what happens after 2 glasses of wine with dinner.

10/2/07 10:44 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Hey, where'd everyone go? Did they all pick up their toys & go home?
Damn, theists are so freakin' fragile sometimes, I swear.
Oh, all right, I'll play nice (rumble, grumble, sassafras).

11/2/07 7:20 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

BTW: KA can define "wit and intelligence" in the manner he deems fit. This does not mean that it is compulsory or manadtory for others to agree with the definitions. But, of those, those who do not agree, need to make a reasoned case as to why they don't agree. Failing to do so, means they have not made a case and no one is therefore compelled through a lack of reasoned argument to agree with the plaintiff's position.

It works the same with all arguments. If one doesn't make a reasoned argument for the existence of invisible tu tu fairies, no one is compelled to believe in their existence.

11/2/07 8:52 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE maxx

RE: "Ironically, at least in some cases science may have the same ultimate goal as religion in this regard, the well being of man."

I agree that primarily both seek to serve the needs of mankind, or more correctly put, humankind. The difference for you and I is that I have no faith that religion, in the long term, can serve the well being of human kind.

I think that any problems that humans have, need to be solved by humans and human intelligence. I see appeals to supernatural beings as fruitless and divisive. This is because I think that the responsibility for what happens on our little planet is OUR responsibility and that we abrogate much of that responsibility when we choose to believe in supernatural beings who exist outside ourselves who will make everything alright if we just worship them in the appropriate manner.

Human beings throughout the centuries, whether they are hindus, muslims, christians or jews have used as their catchcry, regardless of what happens - "It is god's will." I find this most unsatisfactory, because I think that it is OUR will if we allow millions of people to die in Africa because we don't condone condom useage. I think it is OUR will if we allow thousands of young girls to die of cervical cancer, rather than promote vaccination against the human papilloma virus.

It isn't, in my opinion, ANY god's will - it is OUR will and our inability to accept that we hold the reins. Letting go of the reins and believing that a god is guiding a bolting horse requires faith. I don't have that faith. In fact, I consider the action to be reckless and unreasonable.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is NOT in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings."

RE: science/medication/ consumerism

There is no guarantee that medical science will provide a "perfect world." It doesn't claim to be able to do so. Science provides models which best explain the natural world. The models, whether they are models for disease control, models which plot the progression of disease, or models which provide a plan of medication to combat disease; are models of scientific knowledge and the application thereof, and they do not promise utopia. What are the options concerning medical science? One can either be part of the western thinking concerning human biology and pharmacology, or one can take one's chances without it.

If it is the concept of consumerism that you have a problem with, don't conflate that with science, as everything is a commodity in a capitalistic culture, no product is more obvious in this sense than religion.

RE: The world is going to hell in a hand basket

According to many people throughout history, the world is always going to hell in a hand basket. (My description, not yours - but this best describes your %s associated with sex etc) It's a bit of a myth that people have always been sexually responsible and it is only in these "hedonistic days" that people have all given themselves over to licentious deeds and sin.

"Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. Bribery and corruption are common. Children no longer obey their parents. . . . The end of the world is evidently approaching." Sound familiar? It is, in fact, the lament of a scribe in one of the earliest inscriptions to be unearthed in Mesopotamia, where Western civilization was born.

So a few thousand years ago people were complaining about the same things. The reality is that the world has never been a "moral haven". Religion has been head butting against the natural world to try and make it fit into the parameters that it believes complies with its god. The natural world has always been unwilling and unable to comply with these parameters.

Now, if you are religious, you put it down to people's wilful opposition to the "word of god". I have a much simpler take on it. Religions fail to make people comply with the "will of their gods", because the gods themselves have feet of clay. What exists are human constructs about gods. Basically, I don't see religions as the solution to any of mankind's problems, as if we have problems, we create them. It is therefore up to us to solve them. Placing the problems at the feet of a mysterious, supernatural being that I think our own minds dreamt up in the first place, seems quite counter-productive. Counter-productive, as one of the problems I think that we have created is the concept of gods.

Religion has had thousands of years to make its case and to provide a moral, ethical and responsible human society. It has failed. That the US is the most overtly religious western nation, and has its own share of social, moral and ethical problems, suggests that religion and god belief, do very little to alleviate human problems and human suffering.

You probably see religion, but specifically, your religion, to be the model which can provide a safe, happy, fulfilled society. I see that it hasn't and I don't believe that it will. You see religion as the solution, I see it as part of the problem. Do I think religion should be banned? Of course not. Do I think that religion should gain political power and attempt to dictate its standards through law? No, I don't. Religious societies eventually become repressive, brutal and violent societies. History has shown this quite well. (This includes islam too, by the way, in case you were wondering.)

Like many people of my persuasion, I see the concept of a personal religious belief as being something entirely different to the state demanding a religious belief which is sanctioned by the state. When religion has its way, totalitarianism results. When religion is banned, totalitarianism results. Neither is an attractive prospect as both involve huge amounts of human pain and suffering.

Suffice it to say, I certainly don't see religion as the solution. I see understanding through reason as a better solution. An understanding that this is the planet we have and that we can "make it or break it". That is OUR responsibility. Appeals to supernatural father figures to make it all better, haven't worked, don't work and are unlikely to work in the future.

So how do we encourage personal responsibility for one's actions? I don't have all the answers. The use of reason to decide human activity would be a good start.

I just don't believe that religion IS the answer. One more thing I will say though, is that I was always encouraged to hold the reins. It was my responsibility if the horse bolted. Putting my faith in the idea that "something else" would guide the horse if I let go of the reins wasn't considered a sensible, rational, logical or reasonable option.

In my opinion, religious people are like those who have dropped the reins when the horse bolts, and hope that through some miraculous event, that they won't end up with a broken neck. If they survive, after colliding into 4 other people and breaking 2 of those people's necks in the process, they put this event down to "god's will" favouring them over the people who were injured. They manage to do this mental gymnastics all the time oblivious to the fact that it was their own irresponsible action which caused the problem in the first place.

11/2/07 10:45 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Oh, I forgot to mention. After colliding with 4 people and breaking the necks of 2 of them, they will then go on to claim that their actions saved the other 2 of them. When it was their irresponsible action which caused the collision in the first place.

11/2/07 11:00 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Oh, D.S?
1994 is way old in dictionary years.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
[Origin: 1580–90; < Gk áthe(os) godless + -ism]
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

12/2/07 6:23 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"a mysterious, supernatural being that I think our own minds dreamt up in the first place"

How did you come to the conclusion that mankind somehow invented God?

Its my understanding that "religion" has been been present in the earliest recorded history of civilization. To my knowledge there is NO evidence of it being a developed concept at all in the earliest written records of humanity. So I find it hard to believe that there is a point in time you are privy to that this "invention" occurred.

Is there any historical or archaeological data could you advance for your position?

I can't identify in historical sources a point of invention, how about you? Can you trace a line of development of the invention either? Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia are the earliest religious practices on record that I know of, but they already had well developed theologies, rituals, ethical systems, and even institutions. There is even a universal tradition of the flood in all the ancient cultures, that maintains until today.

Of course, if God created us with the pre-built notion of a disembodied consiousness with virtually unlimited abilities, it would be expected of us to come up with an idea of God, as a means for Him/her/it/they to initiate personal communication with our species, so any argument that we "learned" the concept of God from a culture or we externalize parental roles/powers to an abstract Thou would support both theories.

"Abstraction" alone, cannot disqualify the concept of God, as the same level of abstraction applies to a wide range of related terms that obviously 'exist'.....agent, consciousness, minds, justice, love, truth, etc.

I am curious, therefore, how you would support your position God was invented with real data. Is this a concept you invented? Or is it just a matter of your faith?

HIV/HPV/Darfur
I disagree with the concept that if millions die in Africa due to HIV that it is because some christian argued it was the will of God. That is garbage. No one is stopping you from flying there to pass out condoms but yourself. The truth is the people who are doing something for the dying in Africa are religious charities mostly tied to Christianity. When is the next society of athiest packing up their ship of supplies and medicine to distribute among the poor dying and destitute? Is there a list of athiestic hospitals throughout the continient I could refer to? Baloney! If you don't like the help Christians provide take your "personal responsibility" and do something about it yourself.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt "Citizenship in a Republic," Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


Texas just passed legislation mandating the HPV vaccine here. Which sounds fantastic, and I support it! But it only addresses the symptoms not the cause. Do you understand the difference? I ask this because you later actually argue personal responsibility.

"So how do we encourage personal responsibility for one's actions? I don't have all the answers. The use of reason to decide human activity would be a good start."

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian," not only argued that reason is in harmony with faith, he even recognized that reason can contribute to understanding revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development. hmmm


"That the US is the most overtly religious western nation, and has its own share of social, moral and ethical problems, suggests that religion and god belief, do very little to alleviate human problems and human suffering."

Damned American's! Overtly religious western nation? How do you support this concept? In the US the Protestants and Catholics aren't car bombing eachother as in recent history in Europe. To the contrary the church attendance is down. According to Wikipedia, Iran, England, Andorra, Norway, Saudi Arabia, The Vatican, Athos Greece are states with theocratic aspects.

In the US you can worship the slickness of your cats ass, if you so wish, and it is protected by the constitution. Are you going to argue the absence of a theocratic policies is in fact, evidence religion has run amok in the US? Or did you fall back on the previously debunked theory that the Christian right was the majority in the US and trying to rule the world? The later of which is basically fear mongering, which I would have expected from someone far less intelligent as you.

But then again, you just discounted the sexual revolution's effect on civilization as a myth.

12/2/07 4:54 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

max:
But then again, you just discounted the sexual revolution's effect on civilization as a myth.
Wait: who did that when?
Are you going to argue the absence of a theocratic policies is in fact, evidence religion has run amok in the US?
Say WHAT?!?!? I live out here too, friend.
Faith-based initiatives? Gawd told Shrubbie-boy to invade? Dobson has a line to the WH? Bible studies in the WH? WTF? What, you live in a Red State, or something? Or maybe a bubble?
Or did you fall back on the previously debunked theory that the Christian right was the majority in the US and trying to rule the world?
& people wonder why I get pissed off.
The Religious Right (read: the xtian right) is a minority, but it's a powerful, vocal minority.
The later of which is basically fear mongering, which I would have expected from someone far less intelligent as you.
Hey, I honestly wish you were right. But you aren't.
In the US the Protestants and Catholics aren't car bombing each other as in recent history in Europe.
Oh, no, we just have the Christian Coalition, the Army of God, militia groups, etc.
I disagree with the concept that if millions die in Africa due to HIV that it is because some christian argued it was the will of God. That is garbage. No one is stopping you from flying there to pass out condoms but yourself. The truth is the people who are doing something for the dying in Africa are religious charities mostly tied to Christianity. When is the next society of athiest packing up their ship of supplies and medicine to distribute among the poor dying and destitute? Is there a list of athiestic hospitals throughout the continient I could refer to? Baloney! If you don't like the help Christians provide take your "personal responsibility" and do something about it yourself.
Oh, here we go again.
Sure, religious people do some wonderful work, but your crap about 'spreading condoms out there yourself' is a bit much. Are xtians passing out condoms? I'd bet not. As I understand it, they're preaching 'abstinence' - & I defy you to provide me w/ an xtian org. that actually teaches sexual education & responsibility in 3rd world nations.
As to charities - http://www.plan-uk.org/ Plan International is a humanistic charity.
How did you come to the conclusion that mankind somehow invented God?
I think it's fairly obvious: peruse the works of Bullfinch, or Campbell.
It's also obvious that each tribe/nation had some sort of deity. & that deity echoed the needs & concerns of said tribe. Said deity also was a mirror image of the populace.
There is even a universal tradition of the flood in all the ancient cultures, that maintains until today.
That's obviously a transmitted meme, as there's absolutely no proof of a deluge that swallowed the world.
I can't identify in historical sources a point of invention, how about you?
What would qualify a point of invention, in your POV? What would be acceptable, exactly?
While it's true that there were some developed rituals & whatnot in the ancient ME (NTM Greece, China, etc.), I think you overestimate a large $ of them. Egyptian, i.e., was in constant flux. Witness how some 'gods' would 'absorb others, for instance.

Of course, if God created us with the pre-built notion of a disembodied consiousness with virtually unlimited abilities, it would be expected of us to come up with an idea of God, as a means for Him/her/it/they to initiate personal communication with our species, so any argument that we "learned" the concept of God from a culture or we externalize parental roles/powers to an abstract Thou would support both theories.

Both theories? Which ones, exactly?
I think you give our ancestors way too much credit. Between inexplicable events, & the grief of a lost loved one, it's easy to see how the concept of the 'geist' developed.
I say it's simple egocentricity: as we are the only(?) animal to develop ego, we seek to cast our shadow upon the universe, & say that the universe is ours, made for us.
"Man, in his ignorance, supposed all phenomenon to be created in direct relation to him." - Ingersoll.

12/2/07 6:30 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Max:
As to your quote from Roosevelt:
"A lively, disinterested, persistent looking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism or doubt."
- Henri-Frédéric Amiel

12/2/07 6:46 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Oh, and a minor analysis of 1 of McGrath's talking points is up, case anyone's interested.

12/2/07 6:53 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Kristi,

None of the above was directed to you. It is part of a conversation with Beep. Which explains greatly your complete lack of context in your commentary.

re: "I defy you to provide me w/ an xtian org. that actually teaches sexual education & responsibility in 3rd world nations."

Since when do you have an opinion on what Christian worker's should do as they care for the poor and dying? If your schtick is you think they need sex ed taught by an athiest... swim on over and preach away. But you won't. You will sit on your ass and criticize someone who actually does something. Christian organizations that don't adhear to your vision of what they should do what they do, have little to do with why you are sitting on your ass doing nothing. What a joke. Are you from Detroit or NY?


re: your powerful vocal minority

Reminds me of an article I read called Dr. Strangelove referring to Mr. Hagee and his alleged influence. Total BS

"but it's a powerful, vocal minority." Fear mongering propaganda not based in fact.


Some of the other commentary like "Gawd told Shrubbie-boy to invade" is a little hard to decipher without the requisite bong. In other words, .....dude don't type when you're high.

12/2/07 7:36 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"That's obviously a transmitted meme, as there's absolutely no proof of a deluge that swallowed the world."

Except of course the inexplicable common story through all the ancient cultures.
- an Ark provided
- humans and animals saved
- landing on a mountain
- birds sent out

For instance: "In the Minds of Men" by Ian Taylor, TFE Publishing, Toronto, 1991 (3rd ed), p. 391-392):
When the Christian missionaries entered China and began to learn the written language in order to produce the Bible for the Chinese, it was discovered that the Chinese ideographs for many ideas specific to creation and the flood accounts already existed. Moreover, these ideographs contained a recognizable 'picture' of the Genesis meaning. For example, the ideograph for the word "ark", as in Noah's ark, consisted of a symbol for a boat plus symbols for eight mouths or people (Kang and Nelson, 1979,p.95)

There is plenty of evidence that a major meteor/impacted the earth in the Yucatan. The timing of this event has been tied to possible explanations for the extinction of dinosaurs, etc.

There are many other possible theories that don't necessarily exclude a both scientific explanation that coincides with the consistent story of the flood, ark,landing, and birds found around the world.

12/2/07 8:16 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx:
None of the above was directed to you. It is part of a conversation with Beep. Which explains greatly your complete lack of context in your commentary.
Hey, I asked you some freakin' questions. Of course, you wiggle out of answering any of them.
Since when do you have an opinion on what Christian worker's should do as they care for the poor and dying?
You mentioned the sexual revolution, did you not?
This was in re: you're little 'schtick' about this:
No one is stopping you from flying there to pass out condoms but yourself.
Seeing as good honest xtians aren't doing so, guess I'll go mail some off myself.
Last I checked, the 1st amendment gave me every RIGHT to have an opinion. So GFY.
If your schtick is you think they need sex ed taught by an athiest... swim on over and preach away.
Not what I said. Education is a key to fixing the problem.
But you won't. You will sit on your ass and criticize someone who actually does something. Christian organizations that don't adhear to your vision of what they should do what they do, have little to do with why you are sitting on your ass doing nothing. What a joke. Are you from Detroit or NY?
I'm from California, & I'm guessing you'd be little less of a fucking asshole if you were w/in arms reach.
Sitting on my ass criticizing is ALSO a mode of action. I’m STILL waiting for an example of an xtian organization that’s teaching sex ed & handing out any sorta contraception.
re: your powerful vocal minority
Reminds me of an article I read called Dr. Strangelove referring to Mr. Hagee and his alleged influence. Total BS

Go on & live in your little bubble then, fantasy boy.
We've got all kinds of shit going on in this country. Turn a blind eye if you will.
"but it's a powerful, vocal minority." Fear mongering propaganda not based in fact.
Heard of Theocracy watch?
Some of the other commentary like "Gawd told Shrubbie-boy to invade" is a little hard to decipher without the requisite bong. In other words, .....dude don't type when you're high.
I'm not some hippie stoner.
If your minuscule little brain can't salvage any content, I'd suggest you go read a few more books, & stop watching Faux news.
You don't like what I say? Then don't respond.
But don't give me your little wussy replies like 'oh, I wasn't talking to you.'
Except of course the inexplicable common story through all the ancient cultures.
- an Ark provided
- humans and animals saved
- landing on a mountain
- birds sent out

Wow, are you naïve. Obviously the Israelites borrowed that, as they did a # of other mythologies.
The Hindis had Manu talking to a fish. The Greeks had Deucalion.
There are many other possible theories that don't necessarily exclude a both scientific explanation that coincides with the consistent story of the flood, ark,landing, and birds found around the world.
But no evidence. Such as major league disruptions in major civilizations of the times. No archeological proof.
Having a few stories here & there that might be synchronous (most of them aren’t: Deucalion stated that mountain folk survived by climbing, for instance). Can you prove it? No? It’s still just a story, no matter how many folks shared it.

12/2/07 8:35 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Kristi, I have responded to your quips out of courtesy because you seem desperately to want to be apart of the discussion. But responding to remarks that clearly evidence you haven't even bothered to read the discussion is a waste of time.

"Education is a key to fixing the problem."

But you don't want to do it, you seem to want someone who doesn't hold your beliefs to preach your agenda which explains much of your dribble.

"Obviously the Israelites borrowed that..." Yeah, they must have picked it up in the desert, when they got their clothes cleaned at that chinese laundry.

If your education as a carny has left you without the skills to communicate to my minuscule little brain then why are you so intent on discussing anything with me? Each time you chime in with insults and attacks. Are you really so insecure in your position in life that you need to throw insults at me?

I've been reading your posts and their never is a thought out response it's always a me too position. Like read the works of xxxx or oooo.

"I’m STILL waiting for an example of an xtian organization that’s teaching sex ed & handing out any sorta contraception." And we're still waiting for you to do something, really anything. You don't seem to get that it is because you do nothing that you have no credibility in your criticizm of those who do.

"I'm from California, & I'm guessing you'd be little less of a fucking asshole if you were w/in arms reach." Dammit I knew it, I shouldn't have erased California. Yeah you'd probably like me. Besides with all your charity work, I'm sure your arms are full of condoms and medicine for the poor in Africa.

"Heard of Theocracy watch?" You are a riot. Sure, I have seen the website before tonight. Fear mongering. If you would have just mentioned it before I wouldn't have left off California. This isn't the first time I have discussed the manufacturing of consent. That is what is so funny. If you hadn't been such a prick, one of the people to whom you were so rude, would have had much to say on the topic. You know what they say... Ignorance breeds contempt.

Take another toke and tell us all what you'd do if you could just get off your ass/ and why we should instead do it for you even if we don't agree with it.

12/2/07 9:59 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "How did you come to the conclusion that mankind somehow invented God?"

There have been thousands of gods worshipped at one time or another. Just counting the hindu gods makes for a few hundred, depending on sect and interpretation. Unless all of these gods are real and exist, it is safe to say that they are constructs of the human mind. Most religious people, however, decide that the specific god which they worship is real and that all the others don't or have never existed. They manage to do this with out having any more evidence for the existence of allah or jesus than there is for Ra, Set, Osirus or Horus. Taking this into consideration, it is reasonable to assume that either all the gods that human beings have ever worshipped are all true and exist, or none of them are.

I consider that there is a very low probability that any of the gods of which we are aware, exist. I also consider that gods become a reflection of the society or culture in which they are created. The god concepts shape-shift to fit the culture in which they are worshipped.

Mankind continues to invent religions and gods. The "cargo cult religions" are one of the examples of this. Where there is a gap in mankind's knowledge or understanding of the natural world, mankind has created a god to fill that gap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

The history of mankind is riddled with examples of religions which evolve from one society to another. They take on the gods of the previous societies and mould them to fit the cultural predilections of their own cultural dynamics.

For example, one of the first known instances of monotheism can be evidenced in Egypt with the worship of the man/god Akhenaten.

http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/countries/bl_EgyptAkhentaten.htm

One of the first recorded instances of baptism also can be found in Egypt.

http://www.theosophical.ca/AncientEgyptAppendix.htm

Not much is new in any religion when you begin to look at them closely, as powerful cultures borrow religious ideas, icons and rituals from the ones they have either defeated in war, or came in contact with via trade or commerce.

If you look at the invention of all the religions and gods that have preceeded christianity and the ones which have come after them, they have followed similar patterns. Human beings as they have attempted to understand the natural world, have been very intellectually creative in order to provide meaning and purpose in a world which was for all observable knowledge, dangerous, uncontrollable, and uncaring.

Religious beliefs, or what I would consider to be examples of superstitious thinking, have evolved as our human cultures have evolved. The creation of gods and religions follows some anticipated patterns. These are not presciptive but they are evidenced in the development of many a god concept and subequently a religious belief.

1. animism 2. animatism 3. fetishism 4. totemism 4. zoomorphism 5. theriomorphism 6. personification 7. anthropomorphism.

An exploration of these terms indicates how the human mind attempts to process the inexplicable and comes up with the concepts of unseen, incorporeal, mysterious and powerful forces which exist outside the natural world. In other words, how they create gods and religious beliefs.

"Based on the evidence that there are over 3400 different Gods that have been worshipped by various cultures and religions (all having slightly different or extremely different WORDS OF GOD), we can safely conclude that at least every God, except for possibly one, does NOT exist and therefore they were created by man. And there is absolutely no evidence that any of the over 3400 Gods exist.

In fact, there is as much evidence that the Tooth Fairy exists as there is that any of the Gods exist. If someone states the Tooth Fairy exists, it is up to the person making the statement to give proof that he or she exists...the same goes for God.

There is evidence that MAN makes up Gods. All Gods can't be right. Is Thor the right God?, the Sun?, the Hebrew God, where Jesus was just another guy? The Christian God? The Muslim God, where Mohammed was a prophet?, Jim Jones God?, Joe Smith's God?, how about the Buddhist God?, or Hubbard's God? The Jehovah Witness God? The Zoroastrian God?

It is logical that they all can't be right. And it is logical that every God, except for possibly one of them, do not have the story right. Almost certainly, all of them are made up, since there is no evidence that any God has ever existed. But there is lots of evidence that man has made up, and continues to make up Gods.

So the only rational conclusion to make here is that since we know at least 3400 Gods were created by man, if you state God exists, you must prove he or she exists. An Atheist is simply a person who concludes that no evidence for any God exists, just like no evidence for the Tooth Fairy exists so why should one even consider the Tooth Fairy or any God exists? Especially with the knowledge that man invented the Tooth Fairy and has invented at least all but one of the possible Gods."

http://www.baconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com/

RE: " There is even a universal tradition of the flood in all the ancient cultures, that maintains until today."

There are many flood stories from many different cultures which existed in many different places in different time periods in history. Why is this? Probably because floods have been a part of the natural world prior to and during recorded history. So, that is no surpirse that people wrote about natural disasters, and the type of natural disaster which would have been the most devastating for human beings would have been flooding.

Of course one flood story which predates the biblical account of a flood is that of the The Chaldean Account of the Deluge. It is quite possible that the biblical story of the flood is related to this earlier account of a flood which occurred in what is now known as Iraq.

http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/search?q=flood+older+bible


Another interesting flood story which predates a biblical account is the Babylonian Creation Story, or the "Enuma Elish." The similarities between the babylonian creation story and the flood story in the christian bible are quite interesting. In fact, one could almost assume that the later religion, plagiarized parts of previous cultures myths when they created their own religious stories.

http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/search?q=Babylonian+Creation+Story

RE : "Abstraction" alone, cannot disqualify the concept of God, as the same level of abstraction applies to a wide range of related terms that obviously 'exist'.....agent, consciousness, minds, justice, love, truth, etc."

No one has said that an abstract concept by its nature of being abstract need be false, so that is an interesting and fruitless strawman. What you basically want me to do is to prove the non-existence of your deity. I know that concepts of all sorts of things exist. They exist as concepts. Whether they exist in any other fashion is what we are discussing, not whether someone has thought of them. And I don't agree that because we are capable of imagining a god, that that somehow is evidence of the existence of a god.

We have been through this before. I can imagine all sorts of things that I am pretty sure are not happening now, that don't exist now, and will most probably NOT exist in the near future. Their existence is not dependent upon my ability to dream them up. Nor is their existence dependent upon my inability to dream them up. So instead of us going through the circuitous rigmarole of you trying to shift the burden of proof to me, how about you lay your evidence for a god on the table and we can discuss that.

RE: "The truth is the people who are doing something for the dying in Africa are religious charities mostly tied to Christianity."

The religious charities that are tied to christianity are also tied to spreading the concept of christian morality. What is the predominant feature of this aid? The desire to honestly help people, or to help people as long as the help promotes the idea of christianity? There is no such thing as a free lunch in religious america. Christian charities are more concerned with their christian agenda, than with providing real help.

If they wanted to really help, they wouldn't be telling people not to have sex while they are starving away waiting for the annual rain. You might have a TV to pass the time and some air-conditioning. The only pleasure and distraction that many african people have is the joy of sex before they starve to death or die from some other poverty related illness. In other words, you want to impose your christian morality on them and pretend that this is aid. It isn't. I would prefer all the religious aid organizations to pack up shop and go home. I don't appreciate their idea of help. In fact, I think their idea of help is nothing more than evangelism masquerading as aid.

RE: "St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian," not only argued that reason is in harmony with faith, he even recognized that reason can contribute to understanding revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development. hmmm"

There is nothing reasonable about a supernatural being having sex with a virgin. There is nothing reasonable about a person being dead on a stick for 3 days and then coming back to life. There is nothing reasonable about a god giving birth to himself so he can kill himself so he can save the people he allowed to sin in the first place. There is nothing reasonable about supernatural claims.

RE" Damned American's! Overtly religious western nation? How do you support this concept? In the US the Protestants and Catholics aren't car bombing eachother as in recent history in Europe. To the contrary the church attendance is down. According to Wikipedia, Iran, England, Andorra, Norway, Saudi Arabia, The Vatican, Athos Greece are states with theocratic aspects. "

I see you have a problem with me stating the obvious. America is an overtly religious nation. What's your problem? It is obvious that this is a factual statement.

RE: " In the US the Protestants and Catholics aren't car bombing each other as in recent history in Europe. "

This is true. It is probably because americans are too busy bombing everyone else. Or because they are too busy blowing up abortion clinics, I am not sure. It might be both. And you make my point. Religions, are always finding reasons to kill each other. They seem to be depraved by nature.

"In the US you can worship the slickness of your cats ass, if you so wish, and it is protected by the constitution. Are you going to argue the absence of a theocratic policies is in fact, evidence religion has run amok in the US? Or did you fall back on the previously debunked theory that the Christian right was the majority in the US and trying to rule the world? The later of which is basically fear mongering, which I would have expected from someone far less intelligent as you."

Thsi is an interesting point. You can worship your cat's ass as long as you believe that your cat's ass is god. If you don't believe that your cat's ass is god, just a magnificient, perhaps mysteriously powerful ass, you will be discriminated against. There are many states where it is illegal for a person who doesn't believe in a god, to hold a public office. Of course when they say, believe in god, they do mean specifically, the christian god, not just any old god. There may be the odd case where there is person who holds public office and is a hindu or a muslim, but basically when americans talk about god, they mean "the christian version" and no one elses.

As far as I can see, religion has run amok in US politics. Pretty soon we will have an american politician thanking god for giving him fingers so he can scratch his ass on television. The christian rightwing have been politically motivated. They believe that they are on a divine mission from god to spread americanism across the globe. They believe it is their divine destiny. I believe they are full of crap.

12/2/07 11:32 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"slickness of your cats ass"

13/2/07 12:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Whether or it is the "slickness of a cat's ass" or the magnificence of a cat's ass, is irrelevant. Unless you believe that the cat's ass is a manisfestation of a god, you will be discriminated against.

It is the worshipping of a god that is at least culturally compulsory. If you see a god in a cat's ass, or a god on a potato that is ok, but if you are the one to say that neither of those instances involve a god, then, in overtly and religiously obsessed america, somehow the person who sees jesus' face in a regurgitated piece of pizza, is more credible than the person who tells them that they are full of shit.

13/2/07 1:18 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx:
Kristi, I have responded to your quips out of courtesy because you seem desperately to want to be apart of the discussion. But responding to remarks that clearly evidence you haven't even bothered to read the discussion is a waste of time.
I’ll take that as a “I can’t answer any of those questions.” Name’s not Kristi. I keep re-reading the posts: I see no statement of the sexual revolution not having an impact on Western civilization. Point me to it, if you’d please.
I thought you gave a fairly reasonable answer on the religious viewpoint about it, BTW.
But you don't want to do it, you seem to want someone who doesn't hold your beliefs to preach your agenda which explains much of your dribble.
Got it wrong in 1. I’d be happy if anyone would do it. No agenda would be nice.
Yeah, they must have picked it up in the desert, when they got their clothes cleaned at that chinese laundry.
??? Don’t take my word on it. Go find out for yourself. The Israelites borrowed a lotta things. Most people do.
If your education as a carny has left you without the skills to communicate to my minuscule little brain then why are you so intent on discussing anything with me? Each time you chime in with insults and attacks. Are you really so insecure in your position in life that you need to throw insults at me?
Nah. I’m just bored. I have on occasion addressed you w/o insulting you. The carny thing was 24 yrs. ago. Just about another life, anyways.
I've been reading your posts and their never is a thought out response it's always a me too position. Like read the works of xxxx or oooo.
Ahem. They’re all my own opinions, thanks much.
And we're still waiting for you to do something, really anything. You don't seem to get that it is because you do nothing that you have no credibility in your criticizm of those who do.
Translation: there are zero xtian organizations that do that. Thanks. Hmmm…I guess I should just STFU? Not bloody likely. Did I not say religious people do some wonderful things? I think I did, didn’t I? Credit where credit is due, all that.
Dammit I knew it, I shouldn't have erased California. Yeah you'd probably like me. Besides with all your charity work, I'm sure your arms are full of condoms and medicine for the poor in Africa.
Hey, the Peace Corps won’t take me.
You are a riot. Sure, I have seen the website before tonight. Fear mongering. If you would have just mentioned it before I wouldn't have left off California. This isn't the first time I have discussed the manufacturing of consent. That is what is so funny. If you hadn't been such a prick, one of the people to whom you were so rude, would have had much to say on the topic. You know what they say... Ignorance breeds contempt.
Actually, the phrase is ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’
You keep repeating the phrase, ‘fear mongering’. I actually hate fear. It’s a lousy motivator; it’s no way to live.
I read a lot of your remarks as ‘if you aren’t doing something, then just STFU.’ Sorry, this sort of thing gets my dander up, as most folks who use this tactic are simply trying to squelch dissent.
Shrubbie-boy is a reference to Iraq. Sorry, didn’t qualify that. & no, I don’t do drugs.
Let’s encapsulate:
Who’s against stem cell research? Gay marriage? Abortion? Who wants to insert creationism into science class? Religious people. Who told Bush (aka Shrubbie-boy) to invade Iraq?
& yes, the dominionists do want to take over the govt. They’ve been working at that (under the radar) since 1973.
“Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you.”
I’ll try to tone down the rude thing. It’ll be tough going, but I’ll try.

13/2/07 5:05 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

max:
When the Christian missionaries entered China and began to learn the written language in order to produce the Bible for the Chinese, it was discovered that the Chinese ideographs for many ideas specific to creation and the flood accounts already existed. Moreover, these ideographs contained a recognizable 'picture' of the Genesis meaning. For example, the ideograph for the word "ark", as in Noah's ark, consisted of a symbol for a boat plus symbols for eight mouths or people
Let's broach this, shall we?
http://www.answers.com/topic/deluge-mythology
"Shanhaijing, "Classic of the Mountain & Seas", ends with the Chinese ruler Da Yu spending ten years to control a deluge whose "floodwaters overflowed [to] heaven". (see: Shanhaijing, chapter 18, second to last paragraph; Anne Birrells translation. note: Nuwa is not mentioned in this translation in the context of a flood)

There are many sources of flood myths in ancient Chinese literature. Some appear to refer to a worldwide deluge:

Shujing, or "Book of History", probably written around 700 BC or earlier, states in the opening chapters that Emperor Yao is facing the problem of flood waters that reach to the Heavens. This is the backdrop for the intervention of the famous Da Yu, who succeeded in controlling the floods. He went on to found the first Chinese dynasty. (see: Shujing, Part 1 Tang Document, Yao Canon; James Legges translation)

Shiji, Chuci, Liezi, Huainanzi, Shuowen Jiezi, Siku Quanshu, Songsi Dashu, and others, as well as many folk myths, all contain references to a personage named Nuwa. Nuwa is generally represented as a female who repairs the broken heavens after a great flood or calamity, and repopulates the world with people. There are many versions of this myth. (see Nuwa article for additional detail)

The ancient Chinese civilization concentrated at the bank of Yellow River near present day Xian also believed that the severe flooding along the river bank was caused by dragons (representing gods) living in the river being angered by the mistakes of the people"
I find the background of Nu-wa fascinating. Female creator deity, repopulated the earth, molded humanity out of the clay.
Commonalities abound, but it's not hard to figure out. Not really.
There were trade routes from Mesopotamia to the Indus Valley. It's not hard to understand that people carry their stories back & forth.
The stories spread to China from India, undergoing cosmetic changes as they were transmitted.
Parallelism is a 2-way street, y'know.
Guess the Chinese weren't too fond of Manu talking to a fish, ey?

Of course, as to the translation of ideograms - I'd say it's just a case of pareidolia.

13/2/07 11:54 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13/2/07 9:56 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Evidence for God

"how about you lay your evidence for a god on the table and we can discuss that."

First let me confess that I consider myself I'll prepared to make my case to an agnostic or an athiest. I have never met anyone who I can recall that had no belief in a higher being or was willing to admit it. I know they exist. I have read some information on Dawkins and occasionally listened to a documentary but I am NOT a Christian apologist and I am not sure from which angle to approach this subject with you. So I did a little brief search for information to make my case and not waste too much of your time.

Hence this is not all from me but I agree with the logic and it may be more in tune with your mode of understanding, which is new to me. That being said here are some relevant points :

What is existence?
In passing, one should also remark on the word existence. In its Latin origins, this word means "to stand out proud from", as an embossed pattern stands out from the smoothness of the bronze shield which it decorates.

Descartes' metaphysical argument: Consider total perfection. If it did not exist it would not be totally perfect. Therefore it must exist. This is God. God Exists.

The essential flaw in this argument (which can be made much more convincing by being decorated and extended in various ways) is that it tacitly assumes that it is impossible to conceive of something that is not. As many a theoretical physicist will sorrowfully tell you, this is simply not true: hence Descartes' ingenuity was in this regard misplaced.

The argument from Design
This proposes that God must exist because the world (and in particular life) is simply too complicated to have come about of itself. Finding a watch on the beach is tantamount to knowing that somewhere and when there is or was a watchmaker. Before it became clear that Darwinian Natural Selection could effectively favour the growth of complexity and diversity over geological time, this argument was a powerful one. Nowadays it is generally out of favour; though in a more abstract form it is re-emerging as "The Anthropic Principle", which will be discussed below.
The Five Ways of Aquinas
St. Thomas proposed five arguments for the being of God. To modern ears they are all variations on the same argument, but no less forceful for that. This single argument can be named "The Cosmological Argument from Contingency". I believe this argument to be valid. Before spending some time on it, I wish to give a brief account of the relevant Catholic Dogma.

The teaching of the Oecumenical Council of the Vatican
In brief, it is defined Catholic Dogma that "the fact that God is" can be known with certainty as a result of the consideration of the nature of physical reality. Naturally, the use of the word certainty should not be taken to indicate that this knowledge is more certain than any other! As a Platonist, I can only aspire to ortho-doxa (right belief) in this life, and all belief is provisional and subject to unexpected variation. I take the Vatican Council to mean by its use of the word certainty that the kind of knowledge that one can reasonably have of God's being is every bit as good and respectable as the best of any other kind of knowledge. In other words, we are not talking about "religious faith" here; though faith of a sort enters into any knowledge, even that possessed by the most atheistical scientist. It should be immediately obvious that this conciliar definition implicitly questions whether any purely metaphysical argument (along the lines of Descartes' fancy) is possible; though, just as obviously, it does not exclude this as a possibility.

A physicist's view of contingency
It is a fundamental expectation of physics, based on unvarying experience of physical reality, that every thing and phenomenon that one encounters, experiences or interacts (exchanges energy and momentum) with is contingent. This means that it makes sense to ask of this thing or phenomenon: "Why is it what it is?", or "How does it come to be what it is?" or "What gave (or gives) rise to this?" In other words, the physicist presumes that everything that he experiences or observes requires explanation. It is never good enough to say that "It is what it is because it is so." Physics does not deal with "Just So" stories. Now, once one clearly understands this, it would seem to follow that the whole Cosmos must, on the same basis, be contingent: I shall return to this point. In which case, the Cosmos itself requires explanation. Note that the expectation of physics that all things are contingent only relates to that category of being called "things": with which an observer can exchange energy and momentum. Of being other than things (if indeed there is any being other than things) physics knows, still less expects, nothing!

So, the Cosmos requires explanation: or "cause", speaking metaphysically. Why is it the Cosmos that in fact it is? Why does it have the dynamics that it has? Why is it governed by the Laws of Physics that it is governed by and not by others? Why do the fundamental constants that feature in these Laws have the values that they do have? Why does space-time happen to have the dimensionality that in fact it has? Why is the Cosmos in the particular state now that we find it to be in?

Why is the Cosmos at all?

One can label the required explanation for all this "God: the UnCaused First Cause; the UnMoving First Mover; the UnGoverned Law Giver, etc. etc."

All things that are so, are equally removed from being nothing; and whatsoever hath any being is by that being a glass in which we see God, who is the root and the fountain of all being. The whole frame of nature is the theatre; the whole volume of creatures in the glass; and the light of nature, Reason, is our light. [John Donne]
What Causes God?
The immediate howl of derision from the less astute observer (excuse my humour) to the effect that: This is silly! All you have done is to replace the problem "Who made the World?" with the problem "What caused God?" is easily answered. The objector may be referred to the observation already made: that the expectation that all things are contingent does not relate in any way to "God". This is because there is no expectation that God is any kind of thing: that any observer within the Cosmos (such as you or I) could ever exchange energy and momentum with God. God is entirely outside space-time.
God is not part of the Cosmos. God does not interact with physical reality in the sense of exchanging energy and momentum. After all, this would contradict the law of energy and momentum conservation. Although God is the foundation of all that physically is, God is not physically at all! While God underwrites the Laws of Physics, God is not governed by them: God is no thing and they simply do not apply to God. It is improper to conflate God with the Cosmos as some larger whole (perhaps on the basis that God acts miraculously within the Cosmos) and then ask what is its cause?

We can have no expectations of God: except, it would appear, that God is. Unlike all physical things, one can presume that God is noncontingent; that God is necessary being: God is what God is because God is unavoidably so. God who is no thing is so, just as nothing else is so!

Of God himself can no man think. And therefore I would leave all that thing that I can think, and choose to my love that thing that I cannot think. For why: he may well be loved, but not thought. By love may he be gotten and holden, but by thought never. And therefore, though it be good sometime to think of the kindness and the worthiness of God in special, and although it be a light and a part of contemplation, nevertheless yet in this work it shall be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting. And thou shalt step above it stalwartly, but listily, with a devout and a pleasing stirring of love, and try for to pierce that darkness above thee. And smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love; and go not thence for (any)thing that befalleth.
[Anon "The Cloud of Unknowing"]
Every being that exists either exists by itself, by its own essence or nature, or it does not exist by itself. If it exists by its own essence, then it exists necessarily and eternally, and explains itself. It cannot not exist, as a triangle cannot not have three sides. If, on the other hand, a being exists but not by its own essence, then it needs a cause, a reason outside itself for its existence. Because it does not explain itself, something else must explain it. Beings whose essence does not contain the reason for their existence, beings that need causes, are called contingent, or dependent, beings. A being whose essence is to exist is called a necessary being... God would be the only necessary being - if God existed. [Peter Kreeft: "The First Cause Argument"]

Some logical alternatives
It seems to me that there are a number of logical alternatives to this conclusion, however all strike me as less congenial or more contrived than the simple conclusion that God is. The alternatives that I can think of are:
The Cosmos as a whole is (somehow) noncontingent, even though its parts are contingent. This theory is identifiable as Pantheism. It does not explain why the Laws of Physics are what they are, and more importantly why there are any Laws of Physics at all.
Many modern physicists pursue this possibility further, conceiving of an infinity of parallel universes each having its own arbitrary set of laws. In such a plethora of possibilities, everything is certain and nothing unlikely - let alone impossible!
It seems to me that this way lies madness, as there is no possibility of explaining or understanding anything: everything is what it is just because it is so, in this arbitrary world in which we happen to live, which is indefinitely similar to an infinity of other worlds only destinguished from it by vanishingly small discrepancies.
I suppose that it might just about be possible that everything has a Platonic "participation in being", and that the "larger" something is, the more fully it "participates in being": requires less external explanation. On the Microscopic scale of Quantum Mechanics, existence is fragile: hence all the problems that physicists have with "the collapse of the wave packet" and "wave-particle duality"; on the Macroscopic scale of normal human experience existence is experienced as robust but contingent; and on the Cosmic scale existence is necessary. Personally, I like this theory as a poetic sequence of pleasant words, but don't think that it could be made to mean anything!
The fundamental presumption of Physics is wrong. In fact, there is one or more noncontingent things (rather like inverse Black Holes) within the Cosmos: sources of being (the metric itself, space-time and the Laws of Physics) which are the uncaused causes of everything else. In effect this is Polytheism. Rather than postulating one transcendent omnipotent and omniscient God, one postulates an indeterminate number of local deities. This is, it strikes me, much less tidy; restrained, economical and generally satisfactory than the

Monotheistic hypothesis.
The Cosmos is an illusion and does not really exist. All that exists is my mind. I am therefore God. This is an extreme form of the Philosophical system called "Idealism" (named in contrast to "Materialism"). Although irrefutable, the fact that it implies that I can imagine geniuses such as Bach and Einstein who are capable of work that is utterly beyond my own competence makes it implausible, in my view.
The Argument from Design revisited.
Given that I exist, I must of necessity do so in a Cosmos that is suitable for my existence: hence it inevitably follows that I must observe that the Cosmos is suitable for me. Moreover, it would seem possible that if the Laws of Physics were different, then although I would not exist, some other life form based on a different chemistry (or other non-linear complexity) might be asking questions like "why is the Cosmos just right for me?" in my place. However, I shall shortly argue that that if any of the Laws of Physics were to be changed, even slightly, then no life of any kind could have come into being. If this is true, it is quite remarkable, that the Cosmos is suitable for me is in such a baroque manner as seems to be the case. My friend, Dr. Paul Miller puts the case as follows:
Although the specifics of carbon chemistry ..... may not be necessary for life .... a living being must contain organized complexity, or information. The minimum requirements for information content can be determined by fundamental mathematical theory, and it is clear that it requires .... a local decrease in entropy. Entropy is .... the disorder in a system, and for a closed system .... entropy always increases ..... cups fall and shatter, they do not coalesce and jump back onto their saucers. More importantly, without sustenance and breath, bodies die and decay, while corpses do not come back to life. A living being with the ability to ask the question "why am I here?" must contain an incredible amount of order to be able to frame such a deep, information filled thought, whatever kind of chemistry or physics underlies the being. So the question is, "what kinds of universe could allow such order to arise?" If the answer is "just about any" then we should not be so surprised about our universe - the right, well suited type of order would arise to fit the environment in any universe. However, if the answer is "almost none," then we do need to question why the universe is so special.
Of course, if there are an infinite number of Universes, with different Laws of Physics: then there is nothing to explain. No matter how weird it is that a Universe is life friendly, those few that are so will give rise to life; and whenever that life achieves self-consciousness it will start writing articles like this one. This is the "MultiVerse" hypothesis. Of course, one avoids invoking an infinite and impassible "God" as an explanation for the World, at the cost of invoking an infinite set of Worlds. Arguably, these are "God" under another name. It is possible to make the argument somewhat more palatable, as Dr Miller describes:
Many cosmologists are attempting to find what explanation they can within science, in preference to invoking a Creator .... the ripples left on the cosmic background radiation .... provide strong evidence for a period of ..... exponential expansion .... in the first 10-33 seconds of the universe's existence. If such an era existed, there is no reason that the universe we observe is all that condensed .... There could be a plethora of .... sub-universes, that are completely unobservable to us ..... it is not so surprising that one of a multitude of sub-universes happens to have the right conditions for life.
As someone deeply suspicious of "probability", I cannot resist pointing out that this argument is all about how "unlikely" it is that the Cosmos should be how it is. Given that the Cosmos is what it is, we know the exact probability (in one sense of the word) that it is so. It is unity! Only if one legitimately conceives of a set of "equally likely" alternatives (as far as I am aware this necessarily invokes a symmetry property of some, in this case unfathomable, system) can one start to ask questions such as: "What proportion of all possible Universes are compatible with life?" If both the Laws of Physics and the values of the fundamental constants were to be the same in all condensation neighbourhoods (as seems most plausible to me), then the notion of sub-universes does not help to explain anything. Dr Miller continues:
It is well known that all life on Earth (barring the strange sulphurous life arising around deep-sea volcanic vents) is ultimately dependent on the inflowing energy from the sun. The sun is an average star, and, like all stars, can provide the power for life, by providing vast amounts of energy (as heat and light) at very low entropy (from a small region much hotter than the rest of the universe). Hot spots, such as stars, are necessary to allow any form of organized complexity to arise. Living things must all take in low entropy (hot or organized) energy and release it at high entropy (useless waste heat) in order to increase or at least maintain their internal information. The "hot spots" which allow any living being to survive, must also be there for it to evolve, so must remain stable over a large period of time, compared to typical physical processes in the life cycle of the being. Now, in our universe there is a specific resonance in the nuclear reaction process, which enables stars to burn at all, and endure for the billions of years that have been necessary for life to develop. In a universe almost the same as ours, but perhaps with a slightly different electron mass, the resonance would not occur, stars would not shine, and the universe would be dark, dead and dull.

There is a multitude of similarly finely tuned properties of our universe .... The delicate balance between the original expansion of the universe and the gravitational attraction, which tends to pull everything back together, ensures that the explosive debris from one star can arrive in the vicinity of another star which forms separately. All life on Earth is made from atoms of debris from the first star, and relies on heat and light from the second star, namely our sun. In a gravitationally stronger universe, the first star would swallow the second, while in a .... more spread out universe, the debris would never reach another star.

This is quite telling. Darwinianism can't help here. Even if the Laws of the Universe could change, it is difficult to see how the idea of "survival of the fittest" could apply here. Of course, it may just be that the Cosmos is a self-consistent solution. This idea I call "The Vorlon Hypothesis" (apologies to Babylon V.) The idea is that the Cosmos was created (or the Laws of Physics at least massaged) by gods that evolve within the Cosmos and then "time travel" back to the beginning of time to ensure that the Cosmos starts off just right. Dr Miller expresses a related idea, more prosaically:
A similarly untestable possibility put forth by scientific sceptics is that the universe is really infinite in time, and just bounces in and out of big crunches and big bangs. There is supposedly a new set of laws of physics each time round (though, this is rather implausible in my view, as the new mashed up fundamental laws must always lead to another bouncing universe, without being specifically tuned!).
This is a sequential version of the "MultiVerse" hypothesis.
In contradiction with any form of the MultiVerse hypothesis, it is the hope of many physicists that only one consistent set of Laws of Physics is possible. Finding this unique set together with the principle that gives rise to it would complete Einstein's programme of reducing dynamics and gravity to generalized geometry or the principle of continuity: "No Action at a Distance", known to the Ancient Greeks. It would require extending the treatment somehow to all the forces of Physics withn the aim of unifying General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

If, in addition, these Laws featured no arbitrary parameters, then everything would be explained (except for the fundamental question: "why is anything?") It would be astounding (though not "improbable"), if the only possible set of laws and fundamental constants is exactly the one that gives rise to life in such a delicately balanced and baroque manner! This would mean that logic itself indirectly and obscurely necessitates life! Of course, the prologues of Genesis and John's Gospel could be taken as suggesting exactly this doctrine.

The Weak Anthropic Principle

This states the obvious fact that because we are here, conditions must be right for our existence. Those aspects of Cosmic Order that appear tuned to allow for our specific kind of life provide no reason to go beyond this proposition. Perhaps if these were different, then another kind of life would arise: values of the fundamental constants incompatible with the formation of carbon based macro-molecules would only rule out our form of life, not all life in general.

The Strong Anthropic Principle

This is the proposal that because the Cosmos is special, in that almost any alternative would not give rise to stable "hot spots" (stars) that are absolutely necessary to provide the flux of energy on which life can feed and in which its order can persist, it requires further explanation. The suggestion is that the universe was carefully engineered to produce life. As Dr Miller says:
While scientific sceptics deny the strong anthropic principle, many theologians and religious scientists embrace it, as it points to a Creator who stimulates life and enables us to flourish. The uncovering of such a fertile universe, which is so clearly conducive to beauty, encourages process theologians, as it appears that the universe follows a very thin line between rigid order and incoherent chaos. Other religious thinkers remain wary of the whole argument, and following the "contrast" viewpoint, are loathe to incorporate any scientific evidence, which may be later reinterpreted, in their vision of God. As the "many universe" theories are not completely outside the realms of falsifiable evidence, it is perhaps right to be patient before hailing the fine-tuning as proof of God. Nevertheless, I for one do not cease to be amazed by the transcendent beauty inherent within the laws of nature. These will always speak to me of the Nature of God.

Personally, I am on the side of the "other religious thinkers" referred to by Dr Miller. I am suspicious of any version of the argument from Design, and find the Thomistic argument from Contingency much more satisfactory and less problematic.



Lets acknowlege there is a difference between certainty and proof.

Some use this type of argument as evidence for God's existence. If WE (the universe) exist (or 'began to exist'--the Kalam argument), then ABSOLUTELY there must be an ultimate 'ground' from which we came. Although there may be some subtle differences between the two arguments, they are similar enough to gain ready assent from the vast majority of people. What this would amount to is an absolute epistemic certainty (almost self-refuting to deny: "the ground of my existence has never existed"!).

The Kalam argument goes like this:

A. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
B. The Universe began to exist.
C. Therefore, the Universe has a cause (outside of itself).

There is a REALLY strong probability that this argument is air-tight, but how much psychological certainty does it give you? For those that have studied this argument inside and out, it probably carries a higher PSYCHOLOGICAL certainty for them than it does for ME. But, regardless of that, it has the EXACT SAME level of epistemic certainty.

If 'proof' itself is simply a FORM OF EVIDENCE, then God has provided a number of such supports. The Kalam-type arguments are probably premise-based proofs, the 2nd version of Anselm's ontological proof (or Platinga's modification of it) are probably premise-based proofs, the "appeal to design" are ostensibly-based proofs, and the vast amount of high-psycho-certain data about the resurrection of Christ would have AT LEAST AS much persuasive power as the premise-based arguments. [Indeed, in the history of skeptics-turned-believers, the dominant persuader has been the historical arguments.]

And then when you couple these 'external' or 'public' types of arguments with the 'internal' or 'intersubjective' types of arguments, one might be amazed at the extent of 'argument' God has given us. The arguments from moral notions, from regularity in nature, from the dominance of natural good over natural evil (cf. Acts 14.17: Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."), from some 'inner sense' of God that responds infallibly to the witness of a created universe (Rom 1.19f: since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.), etc.--these are 'proofs' that 'work' because there is an IMAGE of GOD still within humanity. One might train skeptical arguments on each of these, but between the inner-contradiction of skepticism (e.g. "how can you be SURE you have ever been mistaken?!") and the 'stubbornness' of our inner responses to external reality, these 'proofs' stay with us. This range of arguments, proofs, evidences are strangely comprehensive: there are arguments for the "rationalists" among us (e.g. Anselm, Kalam), for the empiricists (e.g. the resurrection of Christ, the fulfillment of prophecy), for the mystical (e.g. inner religious experience, when correlated to external factors), for the idealists (e.g. appeals to design, teleology, and patterns), for the existentialists (e.g. God as the ONLY meaning-authenticator, URP-type arguments), for the pragmatists (e.g. anthropological arguments, the importance of absolute moral structures)...God has reached down into EVERY apparent area of discourse and investigation--to meet with us...

Strangely enough, the one area that is MOST ambiguous--personal appearances of the numinous--He has used only sparingly! A divine appearance would NOT do the trick--it is TOO susceptible to counterfeiting. The NT, for example, is very aware of this--cf. 2 Cor 11.14: And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.. If, as may well be the case, malignant, super-human intelligences exist in the universe (e.g. evil angels), which could appear in similar 'convincing' forms--these experiences (in many ways having the same ambiguity as that of numinous experience-events), would be of limited revelatory usefulness.

Indeed, even 'miracle' (approximating a divine manifestation in epistemic vividness!) is not 'compelling'. The parable told by Jesus in Luke 16.19ff makes the point that if the people in the story did not believe the writings of Moses, then they would not believe on the basis of a resurrection either. This can also be seen in the miracle of the raising of Laz from the dead in John 11&12--some of the bystanders believed in Jesus on the basis of the miracle, while OTHERs went and told the rulers, who plotted to kill Laz again.


Lets start with is the agnostic position. I believe that starting blank, nature and creation and existence as we know it today is just TOO AMBIGUOUS to use as a basis for 'deriving' some notion of God. The data of the world is TOO contradictory--e.g. if we look at a beautiful sunrise, we decide god is 'good'; if we look at a hurricane, we decide god is 'cruel'...the agnostic position is essentially the stronger position--WHEN STARTING WITH NATURE.


By the same token, the agnostic position cannot even speculate (must less 'decide') on the existence or non-existence of some transcendent, invisible, and generally silent Deity...IF a God exists, we could NEVER 'figure it out' starting from where we stand!


THE ONLY WAY we could know would be IF this god-thing 'broke into' history somehow, made the outrageous (to us) claim that He/she/it/they was/were a 'GOD' and gave some strong evidence as to 1) what a 'deity' WAS and 2) that he/she/it/they WERE such a 'deity'...without a direct, visible, 'weird', outlandish communication from a deity--we would be forever simply guessing, with our puny 'he exists' or 'he doesnt exist' or 'he/she/it cannot exist' etc...


So when I look out across history to see if we had any people making such 'ridiculous' claims (i.e. "I am god from the other side") and to see if there were any records of data supporting that claim (e.g. miracles stories, abnormal events, confrontation with religious authorities, maybe a strong 'exclusivity'), and finally if any contemporaries seemed to buy-in to these claims WITH TOTAL CONVICTION... i see one obvious candidate--Jesus of Nazareth...


Most of the other religious DONT MAKE the outlandish claims of Jesus/NT writers...and as such, look like 'just another man-made philosophy' and therefore open to criticism of agnosticism...


So then, i have to drill down on this Jesus-thing...we have these documents (which have to be checked for basic honesty of the writers, general historical fidelity to words said, event recorded, places mentioned, etc.; opportunity/motivation/ability of writers to 'legendize' the leaders claims into something as bizarre as a man claiming to be god, etc.)...

MY HISTORICAL research and analysis says that this Jesus person actually DID claim to be such a 'God', demonstrated extraordinary abilities (beyond those of even the best of the 'prophets' of his nations heritage and history; including rising from the dead!), and DID somehow convince his followers that such a heretical notion as a God-man dying/rising from the dead was TRUE ENOUGH to give up careers, fortunes, and eventually...to be executed for.

So, from a basic standpoint, i would offer the person and actions of Jesus Christ (as best we have access and understanding of) as evidence that a 'god' exists...He broke into history and 'showed Himself'...

I am not sure if this is the type of answer you were looking for considering you don't believe in God in the first place. No doubt you will dismiss this evidence as unpersuasive, or less than credible, but nonetheless it is "evidence". Something more than arguement.

Since I answered your question, how about you lay out your "evidence" there is no God? Something more than arguement.

credits: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm#3; http://www.christian-thinktank.com/lproof.html (yes he takes questions); http://www.geocities.com/Pharsea/2BorNot.html#Proof;

13/2/07 11:43 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Well, maxx, you seem to have multiplied entities needlessly.
A. Argument from design.
Paley's watchmaker theorem is easily debunked: demonstrate a designer that isn't bound by the same physical laws as the designed.
B. Kalam's argument.
By positing a first cause, & stipulating that a first cause is absolutely necessary, you fall prey to infinite regression i.e., what caused the 1st cause itself?
C. Anselm/Descartes.
By imposing the rule of perfection, you isolate the perfect. If something is perfect, it is incapable of change. Ergo, it would be unable to interact w/imperfection, which would always be in flux.
D. 2nd law of thermodynamics.
This is always misrepresented & misconstrued. Like evolution, it's perceived as linear, culminating in 1 place/destination. It's anything but. Entropy can change: it can go forward, backwards, or stay on a plateau.
E. Chance or design.
This is a false dichotomy. Chance infers randomicity, which down on the quantum level, doesn't really exist. Most theists approach the 'design' modality as if it were inferred that there's a designer.
Natural selection designs itself.
F. Historicity.
No, I'm sorry, but Jesus' veracity is so ambiguous, I'm fairly convinced no such person existed. Back when I considered joining the 'club', I did a lotta intense research (my error, apparently, was doing the homework BEFORE I decided to 'believe'). There's just way too many gaps. Archeology is constantly disproving the bible in toto. I recommend the 'God Who Wasn't There' video (it can be had cheaply if you buy it used at Amazon) for more info. Infidels.org examines the minutiae of the bible far more thoroughly than I can elaborate on here.
G. Other religions.
I'm sorry, but mythology ABOUNDS w/extravagant claims made by other religions. The Pentateuch authors obviously borrowed the Sumerian/Babylonian concept of En-Lil breathing life into clay for Genesis.
For that matter, how extravagant is the claim that Zeus metamorphed into varied beasties to seduce mortal women?
H. Executed for.
You only have 2 people in the NT that were executed: Stephen (who sprang from nowhere as a literary device) & Paul. In both cases, no recanting of belief would've spared either. The argument from martyrdom is a slim premiss at best: Mani was martyred, as were the 19 terrorists in NYC.
I. The Goldilocks effect.
If we were the only planet in the universe, & an isolated system at best, this would be a killer argument. However, we aren't & we aren't. As far as we know, we are the only planet capable of sustaining life. Upon the trillions of planets extant, do we know for any certainty, we're the only ones? No, we don't.
In fact, dystheism is a valid counterpoint.
There's just so much WRONG w/the way things are designed. From putting a sewer in an entertainment center (reproductive), to the way the eye is 'designed' (squid's eyes are BETTER CONSTRUCTED), it's just...let's just say I could do a better job, & I'm no engineer.

I'd say it can be summed up like so:
You need the universe to have a face & a mind, & I do not.

14/2/07 8:27 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

KA,

If I understood Beep correctly, she takes the position that there may be a God but she is just not convinced. (or something close to that)

You, if I understood you correctly, advocate the position of the athiest. There is no God.

The mantra of this blog so far has been that the lack of evidence to support a position does not make it in itself evidence. Hence the circular arguement of who has the evidentiary burden of proof. You (or bleep) have heretofore taken the position that believers had no proof of God and until there was proof you had no burden.

PROOF itself is simply a FORM OF EVIDENCE. There is all types of evidence: Authenticated, Witnesses, Hearsay, Circumstantial evidence, Direct evidence, and even Res ipsa loquitur. I have presented you with some of my evidence. I assume by your critique of my evidence that you don't like my evidence or are not convinced of its veracity. As with most evidence, reasonable minds can differ as to the quality of the evidence, or what it really means, yet....Still, I did cite you plenty of evidence to support my position. Since you cite no evidence that there is no God, are we to assume that you have none?

The ball is now in your court.

Here is the question again if you'd like to cite some evidence for your position, there is no God:

"Since I answered your question, how about you lay out your "evidence" there is no God? Something more than arguement."

While, I appreciate your critique of my evidence. Where is yours? or are we to assume you have no case?

14/2/07 10:51 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx:
Since you cite no evidence that there is no God, are we to assume that you have none?
Wait: I have to have evidence of something no 1 can prove exists? I'm sorry, I just began laughing at that sentence.
Proof & evidence are synonyms, BTW.
Hence the circular arguement of who has the evidentiary burden of proof.
It's not a circular argument. What you propose is the negative proof fallacy:
"This is a fallacy whereby the normal burden of proof is reversed. It is asserted that a hypothesis must be true, solely on the grounds that it has not been proven false. For example, in argument, it could occur:
* "How come you think the loch ness monster exists?"
* "Well, how come you think it doesn't exist?"
Another form of this kind of fallacious argument is, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!"
http://www.answers.com/topic/negative-proof
I don't need to have a case.
You don't have any of the 6 items you've outlined. You don't have authenticated. Your 'witnesses' are all 3rd hand anonymous hearsay (read: bible). Circumstantial? Nope. Direct? Nope.
The 'thing speaks for itself'? Not even close.
100% of what you've presented thus far has been refuted many times in the past.
Fact is, there are perfectly rational explanations for everything you've given here. I've noted how you seem to be ducking any of the responses I've presented.
Simply subtract the supernatural equation, & try approaching it from that angle.
I'm in the position of: I'm fairly positive there's no god, but hey, you got proof? I'm up for it.
Ball's back to you, mein freund.

14/2/07 12:49 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

It basically goes like this.

A dragon believer says that there is the possibility that there is an invisible dragon living in his garage. Because the dragon believer has faith that the invisible dragon exists in the garage and because no one can prove that it doesn't, he/she takes this as EVIDENCE that the invisible dragon EXISTS.

They then goes on to demand that everyone believe that they have an invisible dragon living in their garage and that the invisible dragon has special messages for them which it wants followed to the letter.

The person who walks into their garage every day and never thinks about an invisible dragon using the garage as a hideout, sees no point in imagining that an invisible dragon lives there.

The person who doesn't believe in invisible dragons knows that they can't prove the non-existence of invisible dragons which live in everyone's garage, but they also know that this ISN'T evidence that the invisible dragon exists.

In fact, though they might agree that there is a possibility that invisible dragons exist in everyone's garage, this is simply because they cannot definitively prove their non-existence.

They consider the PROBABILITY of the existence of invisible dragons to be so low that they see no point in believing in their existence, worshipping them, obeying them or pretending to speak to the invisible dragon with their thoughts.

And they see no reason to demand that others worship and obey the invisible dragon either.

Dragon believers then get in a bit of a huff and go on to claim that you wouldn't be able to build garages and dream about invisible dragons if it wasn't for the invisible dragon allowing you to do this and that garages are, therefore, evidence of the existence of invisible dragons.

The person who doesn't believe in the existence of invisible dragons in the garage then asks, " How do you know that invisible dragons exist?" The dragon believer, without missing an illogical beat, replies - "Well, garages exist, don't they? That is evidence that invisible dragons exist."

At which point, the person who doesn't believe in the existence of invisible dragons, puts "Invisible Dragon Free Zone" in large letters above their garage.

14/2/07 1:20 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

Well I didn't think so....

"Presumption of Atheism"

I find it somewhat odd that both of you have advocated the "Presumption of Atheism" argument in support of your positions that their isn't a God and you don't have to prove there is not a God positions. (opting for the "all to safe role" of being only a critic of anything someone may pose as their reasoned belief there was a God)

The reason I find it odd is that both of you have indicated your supposed superior position of intelligence whether it be by reference to a supposed testable method of proof or by the mere fact my brain was "minuscule".

I would note that I have never been the best test taker and I haven't ever analyzed my brain to see if it was normally developed.

I did mention that I may have been ill prepared to make my case to an agnostic or an atheist as both areas were somewhat new to me.

Those areas are not new to either of you as evidenced by the wealth of subject matter on each of your blogs. Neither of you referred to it by name (that I recall) yet both of you argue the premise rather adeptly. Evidencing your proficiency and practiced knowledge of this argument. Given this practiced knowledge I find it intellectually dishonest that neither of you mentioned Anthony Flew.

Which brings me back to the why that I find it somewhat odd that both of you have advocated the "Presumption of Atheism". Prof. Antony Flew, 81 years old, is a legendary British philosopher and atheist and has been an icon and champion for unbelievers for decades. No doubt both of you knew Mr. Flew was the father of the argument that "one should presuppose atheism until evidence of God surfaces". I find it odd because Mr. Flew has now acknowledged that there is evidence of God and is now a theist. See below:

Renowned atheist says he believes in God http://www.faithandthecity.org/issues/social/articles/Renowned-Atheist-Says.shtml

Associated Press
Dec. 9, 2005 NEW YORK - A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/index.cfm
In December 2004, an interview with Flew conducted by Flew's friend and philosophical adversary Gary Habermas was published in Biola University's Philosophia Christi, with the title Atheist Becomes Theist - Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew. Flew agreed to this title.

"FLEW: Absolutely. It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."

Among the things the article revealed to me was that even as an atheist Flew maintained:

Rational and reasonable?

"What it is rational for any individual to believe about some matter which is fresh to that individual’s consideration depends on what he or she rationally believed before they were confronted with this fresh situation. For suppose they rationally believed in the existence of a God of any revelation, then it would be entirely reasonable for them to see the fine tuning argument as providing substantial confirmation of their belief in the existence of that God."

http://www.philosophynow.org/issue47/47flew.htm
Flew's Recommended reading:

The first book is Roy Abraham Varghese’s The Wonderful World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God (Fountain Hills, Arizona;Tyr Publishing 2003). The second book is Gerald L Schroeder’s The Hidden Face of God: Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth (Touchstone; New York 2001)

20/2/07 12:18 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx:
I find it somewhat odd that both of you have advocated the "Presumption of Atheism" argument in support of your positions that their isn't a God and you don't have to prove there is not a God positions. (opting for the "all to safe role" of being only a critic of anything someone may pose as their reasoned belief there was a God)
I argue from the same presumption of Shermer in his recent debate w/Dembski: we should look to the natural world 1st, not outside of it. Thus far, score is supernatural world, ZERO.
The reason I find it odd is that both of you have indicated your supposed superior position of intelligence whether it be by reference to a supposed testable method of proof or by the mere fact my brain was "minuscule".
Sorry, that was in the heat of the moment. ‘Supposed’? No, I’ve made this point before. The followed itself. Your deity would know what I would require, true? 1 of my latest posts is about items that make me doubt my atheism.
I would note that I have never been the best test taker and I haven't ever analyzed my brain to see if it was normally developed.
Don’t feel bad. I do lousy at tests too. I’m an autodidact.
I did mention that I may have been ill prepared to make my case to an agnostic or an atheist as both areas were somewhat new to me.
You are forgiven, my son. Do 10 hail maries, call me in the morning.
Those areas are not new to either of you as evidenced by the wealth of subject matter on each of your blogs. Neither of you referred to it by name (that I recall) yet both of you argue the premise rather adeptly. Evidencing your proficiency and practiced knowledge of this argument. Given this practiced knowledge I find it intellectually dishonest that neither of you mentioned Anthony Flew.
Ahem, definition is as follows:
”Intellectual dishonesty is the advocacy of a position known to be false. Rhetoric is misused to advance an agenda or to reinforce one's deeply held beliefs in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.
The terms intellectually dishonest and intellectual dishonesty are often used as rhetorical devices in a debate; the label invariably frames an opponent in a negative light. It is an obfuscatory way to say "you're lying".”
I’d get pissed at this point, but I’ll let it go for the nonce.
Which brings me back to the why that I find it somewhat odd that both of you have advocated the "Presumption of Atheism". Prof. Antony Flew, 81 years old, is a legendary British philosopher and atheist and has been an icon and champion for unbelievers for decades. No doubt both of you knew Mr. Flew was the father of the argument that "one should presuppose atheism until evidence of God surfaces". I find it odd because Mr. Flew has now acknowledged that there is evidence of God and is now a theist. See below:
I was aware of the fellow, but really, he didn’t have any influence on me whatsoever. I knew he changed his mind: why that should have an immense impact on me is somewhat obscure.
"FLEW: Absolutely. It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."
& again, no: evolution is concerned primarily w/the development of man, how he came to be, not the why of it. Abiogenesis, again, is a different set of theories.
"What it is rational for any individual to believe about some matter which is fresh to that individual’s consideration depends on what he or she rationally believed before they were confronted with this fresh situation. For suppose they rationally believed in the existence of a God of any revelation, then it would be entirely reasonable for them to see the fine tuning argument as providing substantial confirmation of their belief in the existence of that God."
Fine-tuning? I refer you to the term, ‘dystheism’.
Evolution is neither dogma nor doctrine, faith nor philosophy. It is a simple set of observations, upon which hypotheses are either drawn from or formulated upon.
As to Flew, H.L Mencken’s aphorism comes to mind: “As the arteries harden, the heart softens.” If you had a whole SLEW of atheists who’d changed their minds that might be more of a talking point.
Since I don’t base ANY of my thoughts on Flew’s work, that’s really not a haymaker or an uppercut: it’s a jab that doesn’t land.

20/2/07 12:58 pm  
Blogger maxx8it said...

KA,

"Since I don’t base ANY of my thoughts on Flew’s work......" (denial)

Despite your denial of him, I submit Flew was nonetheless an influence on your "thoughts" even if you didn't know it. (proof) A quick review of this page indicates 8 of 13 of your posts or arguments on this page alone parrot Flew's argument that "one should presuppose atheism until evidence of God surfaces". Considering you heretofore refused to provide any evidence to support your claim their is no God your thoughts on the subject remain a mystery.

Obviously, there are "slews" of atheists who have changed their minds. I found many. I only posted Flew because he is the father of your argument and coincidentally the most famous atheist of our time to change his position. Most importantly he found scientific evidence as his basis for change of position.

Since the most prolific atheist of our time found credibility in metaphysical and first cause arguments evidencing the existence of a God, I submit he would also concede that the burden has now shifted to those who would refute this claim to come forward with their evidence.

I wasn't really looking for a knock out punch. I don't expect you to make a concession. After reading about him I was surprised at his absence in this discussion considering the reliance on his argument for a presumtion of atheism by yourself and beep.

I didn't post the whole articles some of which include much dialogue with Flew for bandwith purposes. I was a little surprised at his opinion of Dawkins who is also very famous thanks to Ted Haggard and the bodybuilding prostitute meth dealer. (that is how I first learned of Dawkins)

Anyway, the links are a good place to start. I understand you may have not yet read up on the debates he participated in in Dallas and possibly you haven't yet read his lastest work "God and Philosophy". It may also take awhile for you to read the suggested reading he references. So I don't expect a thoughtful response yet. (I have to do a little reading myself.)

Flew is undeniably a important figure in this type of discussion. Flew's change of position made news worldwide. (Despite my own lack of knowledge of who he was prior to this discussion. lol)

20/2/07 9:04 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx:
Despite your denial of him, I submit Flew was nonetheless an influence on your "thoughts" even if you didn't know it. (proof) A quick review of this page indicates 8 of 13 of your posts or arguments on this page alone parrot Flew's argument that "one should presuppose atheism until evidence of God surfaces". Considering you heretofore refused to provide any evidence to support your claim their is no God your thoughts on the subject remain a mystery.
??? My influences are for the most part from the 19th CE. I thought Freud was the 1 who fronted this.
I say that atheism is the default not because of Flew, but that we are all born tabula rasa, which is about as non-theistic as 1 gets.
Which, BTW, demanding that Flew was the influence, ergo trying to refute it because the originator changed his/her mind, is a variant on the ad hominem, aka, poisoning the well.
Which, IMHO, is a LOT more 'intellectually dishonest', nothing personal.
As to my 'providing proof of the unprovable', that's the negative proof fallacy.
Let's put forth the analogy: you're a car salesman, I'm the prospective buyer. It's up to you to convince me to buy the car. I am NOT under any obligation to purchase said car, nor am I beholden to explain why. I can just say, 'not good enough', & walk away.
I'm fairly sure that Flew WASN'T the originator of said concept, but it's a terribly moot point at best.

21/2/07 7:53 am  
Blogger maxx8it said...

"I'm fairly sure that Flew WASN'T the originator of said concept, but it's a terribly moot point at best."

You'd be fairly WRONG. Of course, you'd have to look it up to know that, which is kinda hard with your head in the sand. That is okay though. Until your ready to look openly at the otherside it is kind of a waste of time anyway.

"Let's put forth the analogy: you're a car salesman, I'm the prospective buyer. It's up to you to convince me to buy the car."

I have been in car sales before. I learned a few things... the salesman should not try to sell the future customer who is not yet ready to buy. Why? because both parties will lose. The customer who may have needed the car might be alienated and the salesman will likely either lose the sale or create an unhappy customer. The customer never is happy if you force him/her into the car. All you can do is show him the car until he/she decides they are willing to buy. I saw many people who needed a car but weren't WILLING to buy one yet (for any number of reasons). It was usually a waste of time to attempt to close the customer who wasn't willing to buy.

So, much to the chagrin of my sales managers, I rarely tried to sell this customer a car that day. (they wanted you to try to close everyone based of a #'s theory) I maintained the salesman will know when to close, because the customer will demonstrate a buying signal when he was willing to buy. (Consequently, I sold fewer cars but for far more profit than someone who sold three times the cars I sold. Oddly enough, my customers were happier and came back because they willingly bought from me something they decided THEY were willing to buy. ....but that's a whole different science!)

Anyway, I didn't come here to sell you a car, God, or a religion. I came here to learn about what an atheist thinks and to be honest haven't learned much except that you can't get one to tell you virtually anything and a intense distaste for religion.

I learned they are perfectly willing to criticize you or your beliefs but demonstratively terrified of sharing anything about their own beliefs or why they came to them. Due possibly because of anxiety based in the perception the coherence of atheism itself is at stake if you state anything. This could explain the outrage and anger expressed towards much of my otherwise innocuous commentary. (I do appreciate your restraint of late KA)

After I got here and read beep mention that she once believed and now didn't. So, I also became interested as to why it was someone who once believed now no longer did. I learned little. The vague comments and hints of disenchantment with personal religious experiences gave some insight as to your opinions of religions, but offered little of how you(both) arrived at that opinion.

I also learned little about your opinions about the existence of God or your lack of belief in one, possibly that is out of fear of criticism. I really can't judge.

(I did notice on KA's blog a reference to the question of why God would allow bad things to happen? This could speak volumes but it also could just be a commentary on something you read and not personal to you.)

My experience here has been strangely identical to the discription described by McGrath that atheism is just as intolerant, doctrinaire and disagreeable as the worst that religion has to offer. It seems to me Michael Ruse's embarrassment is well founded.

Anyway I appreciate you sharing what you have.

21/2/07 11:54 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

maxx:
You'd be fairly WRONG. Of course, you'd have to look it up to know that, which is kinda hard with your head in the sand. That is okay though. Until your ready to look openly at the otherside it is kind of a waste of time anyway.
You're fairly WRONG to boot: I have actually looked openly at the other side. So again, you have no idea what you're talking about.
Lucretius wasn't the 1st to have this concept: "The soul is itself material and so closely associated with the body that whatever affects one affects the other. Consciousness ends with death. There is no immortality of the soul."
I learned they are perfectly willing to criticize you or your beliefs but demonstratively terrified of sharing anything about their own beliefs or why they came to them.
WRONG again. I have actually a 3 part set of posts that extensively goes into why I adopted my present set of non 'beliefs'.
'Terrified'. Sheesh. I'd advise you get a refund on the armchair psychology degree you got from Sears 'N Roebuck. You were ripped off.
Due possibly because of anxiety based in the perception the coherence of atheism itself is at stake if you state anything.
You just don't have a clue, do you? NOTHING TO STATE. I'd draw you a map, but you'd still get lost.
After I got here and read beep mention that she once believed and now didn't. So, I also became interested as to why it was someone who once believed now no longer did. I learned little. The vague comments and hints of disenchantment with personal religious experiences gave some insight as to your opinions of religions, but offered little of how you(both) arrived at that opinion.
A little research would've amended that. I can't speak for BBIM, but I've re-invented the wheel at least a 100 times before I realized I was repeating myself endlessly.
I also learned little about your opinions about the existence of God or your lack of belief in one, possibly that is out of fear of criticism. I really can't judge.
FEAR OF CRITICISM? Really. Having a blog & putting your beliefs out in the public eye hardly qualifies as 'fear of criticism'. Who's smoking what now? That's just an idiotic statement.

My experience here has been strangely identical to the discription described by McGrath that atheism is just as intolerant, doctrinaire and disagreeable as the worst that religion has to offer. It seems to me Michael Ruse's embarrassment is well founded.

McGrath is suffering from more than a little confirmation bias, as are you.
We're not a belief system: we don't have a hierarchy, a book of rules, or anything else. We don't follow a 'shepherd' of any sort.
I say religion's full of bullshit. That's not intolerance. Intolerance is when I go out of my way to physical stifle, harm, or squelch any & all dissent, & impose my ideas & thoughts on others against all moral inclinations.
Oh, wait, that's RELIGION'S job.
(I did notice on KA's blog a reference to the question of why God would allow bad things to happen? This could speak volumes but it also could just be a commentary on something you read and not personal to you.)
I think you lifted that 1 outta context, hard to say.
Another 'believer' maneuver.
Anyway I appreciate you sharing what you have.
De nada.

21/2/07 1:05 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: maxx

I think it would be an inaccurate representation of atheists to suggest that atheists are people who longer believe because their experiences in a church or as part of a religion has hurt them in some way.

Certainly for myself that was and is not the case. I wasn't brought up in what I would consider to be a "religiously damaging household."

I wasn't threatened with hell, or eternal suffering if I didn't obey my parents or god or any of that sort of stuff that seems to happen way too often, in my opinion, in many other households.

I went to sunday school and I was then confirmed as an adult in the Church of England. (For Church of England read protestant religion which closely resembles catholicism with some variations.)

I went to at least one religious camp, but I must admit, that was a requirement for confirmation. I certainly didn't want to go, even at that stage of my indoctrination. (Ooops, I mean instruction.)

So, I can honestly say that I had no personal negative experiences with my religious faith. I just found it very difficult to accept the claims that were made by not only my religion, but by any other religion I came across.

I probably knew more about greek mythology at the age of 10 than I knew about the bible, even though I could recite various prayers and psalms off by heart. (Also a requirement of confirmation.)

But knowing about previous ancient religions and the stories associated with them provides a context which is not conducive to accepting a religious faith.

One begins, even at an early age to see the similarities between religious claims, and of the chronology associated with said claims.

Eventually, in my case, one begins to get an overview of religion as a political, economic, social and ethnical doctrine which is particular to its geo-political location and its time period. The religion is based on what is known of the world at the time in which it develops. So, it is always hampered by a lack of knowledge, which is displayed its dogma and is then used as a tool to perpetuate said dogma.

Couple this with supernaturalists having no methodology with which to test the veracity of their supernatural claims and one quickly realizes that religion requires faith. Faith that something is true, regardless of the evidence or the lack of it.

Supernaturalists are essentially in the position where they either have to accept all supernatural claims as being true, or they choose to accept specific supernatural claims based on their individual predelictions.

So, what leads people away from religious faith? An historical overview concerning religion and the lack of methodology to test the veracity of supernatural claims.

22/2/07 1:47 pm  
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5/10/13 8:12 am  

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