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Posted: 12 October 2010 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Posted: 29 December 2010 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Johan

. Surely when the coin must fall, between intrusion by Bronze Age idiocies or rational secular standards of knowledge and morality, it has but one side towards which it can gravitate, the side of right.


The bronze age idiocy:          God created the Universe and man in His own image and resemblance.
The rational secular standard:  The Universe and its laws sprang spontaneously out of nothing or in other words nothing = something

Take your pick.

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Posted: 29 December 2010 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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IAMWHOIAM - 29 December 2010 11:38 AM

Johan

. Surely when the coin must fall, between intrusion by Bronze Age idiocies or rational secular standards of knowledge and morality, it has but one side towards which it can gravitate, the side of right.


The bronze age idiocy:          God created the Universe and man in His own image and resemblance.
The rational secular standard:  The Universe and its laws sprang spontaneously out of nothing or in other words nothing = something

Take your pick.


Or muster the cojones (intellectual integrity) to be honest and accept when you don’t know something ... and refrain from using straw men ... or arguments from ignorance.

Of course that leaves very little territory for religious apologetics to occupy.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 29 December 2010 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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.... accept when you don’t know something ... and refrain from using straw men ... or arguments from ignorance.

Arguments instead of insulting please.

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Posted: 29 December 2010 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Johan

The illusion of the western practice of religion as a benign and amiable remnant of a misguided predecessor has sufficiently disenfranchised further intrusion by secular authorities into the places of religious worship and importantly, into the religious decisions of the individual in a private or family setting. Rightfully so, it is argued, after all, whilst it is and should never be the role of state authorities to impose religious belief or observance, there equally should be no obligation on the individual to distance themselves from a bit of Bronze Age banter should he or she wish to indulge, provided of course that such observance did not injure the rights of other citizens less impressed by the ignorant rambles of a cumulative progression of superstitious patriachs. Nevertheless, the revealed ignorance and prejudice of present day religious believers generally brings into question the degree to which any modern society should tolerate the perpetuation of not only ignorance but express misrepresentations of science and the indoctrination of the young with notions of divine oversight.

You are generalizing and show extreme prejudice toward religious people.  Is this part of your “rational secular standards of knowledge and morality” you wish to impose?

In recent weeks I have been confronted with this dilemma on two separate fronts, one involves the selective religious objection to certain scientific claims and the other the personal appeal to the divine for protection and healing. The first is a well documented and contentious selective opposition to evolution through natural selection as explanation for the emergence of complex lifeforms, whilst the other is a generally personal and private expression of wishthinking in the ardent hope of a particular set of circumstances being adjusted in one’s favour through supernatural intervention based on a bronze age myth. On both counts even the most secular of countries tolerate both the belief in magical six day creation as indeed they tolerate the individual’s baseless appeal to the heavens in the hopeful expectation of godly intervention at a time of difficulty, suffering or human frailty..

Some religious people oppose evolution but millions accept it;  myself I do not considered a theory, but a fact.  With respect to the 6 day creation, again most christians believe in a metaphorical interpretation of the bible and they do not have problem with the most accepted cosmology, the big-bang;  actually was a Belgian priest who came up with the concept of the big-bang.  And what’s your idea about the origin of the universe?.

As for prayer, there are millions of events which are very difficult to explain other than as some kind of miracle and probably a reply to somebody’s prayer.  This is difficult to argue though at this stage of this discussion.

 

But what, in the words of Helen Lovejoy, is to become of the children? Who stands guard before their unsuspecting innocence and susceptibility to the counsel of their parents, when the adults in our society surrender objectivity and reason on the altar of religious certitude, indoctrinating their children into drawing a distinction between Moby Dick and Noah, between Lucifer and Gargamel? Which authority watches over the young when they are told that they need fear no evil from the monster in the closet but ought suffer eternal submission to the Judaic dictator of ancient myth and legend, at pain of eternal punishment and torture? Is there a bounds to the degree of nonsense we allow parents to instill upon their young, a limit to our respect for the teaching of ignorance and the instilling of inferior knowledge, or is respect for religious beliefs tantamount to respect for the outrageous, the senseless and the immoral?


We can get into this issue in a very long discussion, but comparing the typical myths, such as the greek pantheon and the abrahamic cosmogony as depicted in Genesis,  are completely different categories in every sense.  We can discuss these concepts later in their full extent.

In the latter of these dilemmas, particular in the case of prayer for physical recovery, believers give expression to what Bernard Shaw pointed out when he said “most people do not pray, they only beg”. Prayer becomes an appeal for hope and salvation, health and restoration of blessings, a seemingly innocent if somewhat self serving ideal. What could be wrong with such appeals save for being a waste of time, the apologist will argue? Well the objection to such expression of faith is twofold, first it is premised on an untruth which endorses as useful and moral an appeal to unseen spirits and supernatural forces, and that to fix one’s hope on unfounded and unjustified wishthinking at the expense of an objective and reasoned response is in fact an endeavour of value. Secondly, and quite importantly in the context of a family, it breeds credulity and feeds the willingness to assume truth without evidence or challenge, not just personally but in the youthful spectators who observe such tendering of unfounded faith. Quite apart from the logical challenge to such appeals, such appeals are equally illogical from the position of biblical “logic“. As George Carlin pointed out, what good is a divine plan if every schmuck with a 2 dollar prayer-book is able to appeal for its revision? In turn one wonders who accounts for the hypocrisy of praying for recovery when a loved one is in the critical care of medical professionals, or the self serving fraud of claiming the fulfillment of prayer when medical assistance is successful and health restored. If we were to hear of a parent who obliged their child to prostrate himself every morning before an image of Poseidon, taught a Poseidon version of creation, refused their child access to a secular education because “it did not agree with the truth according to Poseidon“, or confined his spouse to a single room insisting that she remain covered in a pink oilcloth, most of us would question with some veracity the merits of such appeal and would be inclined to notify the relevant authorities to advise them that a madman was at work and that his wife and children were the victims of a delusion fuelled madness. It would then seem hypocritical to allow such limitations in the name of Yahweh or Allah, to allow parents to teach their children that there is in fact a loving shepherd and/or all-powerful creator who will allow you to be run over by a combine harvester for no other reason than to facilitate the opportunity to allow modern medicine and medical care to patch you back together, so that He claim the glory; who will gladly release the forces of nature on his minions in order that He may shield us in his pavilion.

 

Just a brief comparison between myths and the abrahamic religions.  These religions are unique given the nature of the god implicit in them. For instance Zeus was supposed to be the son of Chronos who devoured his children because of fear of being dethroned, as opposed to a god who calls himself I AM WHO I AM, this is, the god who is because of himself or cause without a cause. The gods in most mythologies were subject to fate and human like, and not so god-like, behavior, as opposed to a God that is just God.

In addition, most, if not all mythologies were polytheist as opposed to the uniqueness of the monotheism which characterizes the abrahmic religions. This is particularly interesting since this prescient idea was conceived this basic bronze age desert dwelling tribes well before more advanced cultures such as the greek were worshipping their pantheon.

Also is worth pointing out that God and Jesus are not worshipped just like Zeus was worshipped thousands of years ago. The abrahamic god had been worshipped several hundred years before Zeus was even conceived, and still is being worshipped almost 2,000 years after Zeus stopped being worshipped; and most of the descendants of those who then worshipped Zeus, along with billions others, today they worship God. This points to the fact that mythological gods originated in the lack of understanding of the natural world. As the natural world became understood, those religions became just mythologies. The processed followed by the abrahamic religions is the opposite; the concept of God is abstract and prescient, think of it, I AM WHO I AM, not every day jargon among a desert dwelling tribe 3,000 year ago; and despite the understanding we now have of the natural world,there are millions of new believers every year, despite the errors made by organized religions in the name of god.

And finally, not that there aren’t more arguments, just for the sake of brevity, and maybe more important, is necessary to point out the relationship between god and the faithful. In mythology it was mainly a relationship of fear in which human sacrifices to atoning the gods were common, as opposed to a god who declares we have been created in his own image and who loves us and expects us to love him back.

The pretense of prayer is often revealed in prayer for physical recovery from injury or disease. Rather than querying why a loving god would allow patently unnecessary human suffering, no consideration is given to the circumstances in which such events occur and no reference is made to the natural and objective explanations for why seemingly “bad” things happen, invariably to us all. Why is it that it is apparently impossible to simply accept our own fragility and mortality yet so easy to dream up angels and demons to ease our suffering and cheapen our success? Religion in a secular world, forced as it is to dilute the immorality of its claims or the authority which it by godly appointment ought to enjoy, has fallen over itself to reinvent its supposed divine authoriser from the textual definition of a capricious dictator to a loving shepherd, to such a degree that it has forgotten both the sheer callousness of the biblical definition of the concept and the logical objection to this revisionism. In the real world of pain, suffering and unavoidable mortality, appeals to an invisible immortal whose will shall be done is as justified and understandable as a prayer for the assistance of a celestial marshmallow.

The answer to this conflict is called freedom.  We can discuss this later too!

Essentially the question that requires our consideration is whether we allow lies to be taught to children, whether we tolerate the usurping of scientific truth, or secular moral values to be undermined merely because it occurs in private. cause no perceived injury to anyone . Surely when the coin must fall, between intrusion by Bronze Age idiocies or rational secular standards of knowledge and morality, it has but one side towards which it can gravitate, the side of right.

Again:

The bronze age idiocy:          God created the Universe and man in His own image and resemblance.
or
The rational secular standard: The Universe and its laws sprang spontaneously out of nothing or in other words nothing=something or 1 =0

which one we should teach to our children and why?

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Posted: 03 January 2011 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Posted: 03 January 2011 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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IAMWHOIAM - 29 December 2010 11:38 AM

Johan
The bronze age idiocy:          God created the Universe and man in His own image and resemblance.

Which bronze age text states this?

The rational secular standard:  The Universe and its laws sprang spontaneously out of nothing or in other words nothing = something

Erm, what is rational or secular about this?

The ancients could tell you of three views on how the world came into being:

1.  The world has always existed.
2.  The world made itself.
3.  Someone made it.

Take your pick, ideally without adjectives.

All the best,

Roger Pearse

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Posted: 04 January 2011 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Johan

Nevertheless, the revealed ignorance and prejudice of present day religious believers generally brings into question the degree to which any modern society should tolerate the perpetuation of not only ignorance but express misrepresentations of science and the indoctrination of the young with notions of divine oversight.

What is the above sentence other than prejudice?  Let’s turn it around.  “the revealed ignorance and prejudice of present day atheits generally brings into question the degree to which any modern society should tolerate the perpetuation of not only ignorance but express misrepresentations of science and the indoctrination of the young with notions of materialistic oversight”.

Your problem seems to be you are used to discuss with creationists, and in their case I would have to agree with you;  but there are millions of religious people which I believe science is in their side and as we can discuss in this thread, in my opinion is atheist who are prejudiced and blinded to the scientific evidence.

So you are an atheist with respect the creationist claims of the bible. That is your right, as indeed, it is you right to cherry pick the religious texts you wish to take seriously. If you see no problem with the hypocrisy of cherry picking you own selection of the divine word, that is entirely your business. Strange is it not that whilst some believers are willing to recognise the creation tale as a mere metaphor (for what one wonders) other spend their life trying to misrepresent the science in order to support the literal creation tale. Both approaches are of course wrong, but only one is remotely consistent.

I think you’ll find it was Fred Hoyle, we must of course credit Lemaître with his efforts, historical accuracy should be maintained.

The bible is a collection of inspired texts written by different people and is part of god’s revelation.  Some people believe is the exact word of god, but again millions believe is inspired and subject to the writers’ cultural and psychological background and with we have to interpret with this in mind;  you may not find it fair or whatever in your opinion, but this is the way it is.

As for Fred Hoyle, I agree, let’s keep the historical facts.  Fred Hoyle did not come up with the Big Bang theory, it was George Lemaître’s who did; Fred Hoyle just coined   the term 22 years after Lemaître’s work.  Again it is important to point out that Lemaître was a Catholic priest, this is member of the catholic church hierarchy.

Completely irrelevant. Its like claiming that one side in the debate about the length of a unicorns horn is correct because they claim that a unicorn’s hooves are solid rather than split. There are countless religions with god in the singular, although even the abrahamic traditions have a seemingly endless supply of different holy and divine figures, all of whom are claimed to have supernatural powers.

The claim that abrahamic traditions are more believeable because they are not premised on the fear and ignorance of myths fails on two counts. One: abrahmic traditions are permeated by concepts of fear, punishment, submission and obligation and two: a figment of someone’s imagination which claims a loving tyrant is still claiming a tyrant as indeed it is reliant on the figment of somebody’s imagination.

Your opinion is irrelevant;  in an age where most if not all religions had gods related to nature which were turned into myths as the natural world became understood, a group of desert tribes come up with a prescient metaphysical god who defines itself as IAMWHOIAM, and 3,000 years later about half of humanity believe in one way or another in that god.  In my opinion in makes a very big difference.

Again, we have to understand that god’s revelation has been done through people, with a less than perfect understanding of the message and that often religion has been abused by the political power of the time with the purpose to achieve domination over society. 

But the god that reveals to us is a God that creates us in his own image and that we can call him Father,  not exactly a tyrant.

The only freedom envisaged by Christianity is the “freedom” to choose between whether one is eternally a praising slave or a suffering soul.

The rest is imposed as indeed the entire heavenly charade is claimed to be imposed from the very beginning.

If we follow a logical pattern, it makes sense, it could not have been in any other way, that God created us in His own image.  God by definition is perfect and needs nothing, therefore the only reason we can understand he created us, is because of love.  Any other reason you come up with runs into the concept of god.  And to be loved by God, necessarily we must be of his own image, of his own nature.  You cannot love in the real sense something is not of your own nature.  And for love to exist, there must be freedom, we must be free to chose whether to answer God’s love or not.

We should teach our children to be critical, rational and to demand evidence and argument for every claim and allegation, we should show our children the wonder and mystery of our universe and encourage them to continue our question for answers.

I agree.  Then in the context of this thread, in light of the scientific evidence available, what is more likely?

  God created the Universe and man in His own image and resemblance.
or
The Universe and its laws sprang spontaneously out of nothing or in other words nothing=something or 1 =0
or
The universe itself is eternal.

Based on the second law of thermodynamics, the universality of causality in the natural world, the prevalence of the Big Bang theory as the most accepted cosmology theory, we must conclude the universe had a beginning, and it had a cause outside space-time.  This cause, or force, must have the characteristics of a deity, of god, and this god is the God of Abraham.  Science and logic, logic being also part of the scientific process lead to this conclusion.

Or else you can argue that the Universe and its laws sprang spontaneously out of nothing or in other words argue that nothing=something
or that 1 =0, which stands against scientific evidence;

or,

that the universe is eternal, which also goes against the scientific evidence available.

Finally you could say you do not know, despite the universality of the scientific evidence or hang to theories made up by physicists such as Stenger, Weinberg, Krauss and Hawking, who sometimes quote each other and sometimes laugh at each other, considering some of their ludicrous hypothesis such as negative time,  colliding branes and 11 dimension universes rolled in a little space, who try to come up with a cosmology without God.

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Posted: 13 January 2011 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I think it is honest and more sincere to say: ” We don’t have all the answers just yet!”
At least it stops any arguments or insults.

grin

I do not have all the answers I would like. But I am sure that how we treat others can help make our own lives a lot more rich and fulfilled. That is in my opinion.

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Posted: 15 January 2011 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Badd

I think it is honest and more sincere to say: ” We don’t have all the answers just yet!”
At least it stops any arguments or insults.

I do not have all the answers I would like. But I am sure that how we treat others can help make our own lives a lot more rich and fulfilled. That is in my opinion.

We may not have all the answers, but it seems that the scientific evidence and logic point to the fact the universe is not eternal which means it had   a beginning;  that the universe did not spring spontaneously out of nothing which means that a force previous and outside space-time caused this beginning; that this force must have the attributes of a deity; and that this deity well fits the concept of the God of Abraham who created us in His own image and resemblance because of love.

It seems though that this trend of ideas irritates some people beyond restrain.

I fully agree with you about keeping insults and irony out of the discussion but arguments are the essence in this site.

Best

H

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Posted: 16 January 2011 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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” We may not have all the answers, but it seems that the scientific evidence and logic point to the fact the universe is not eternal which means it had   a beginning;  that the universe did not spring spontaneously out of nothing which means that a force previous and outside space-time caused this beginning;”


One needs to consider the meaning of “nothing”. It surely just means what we do not know yet. One cannot explain “nothing” until “nothing can be explained. At some point in history the Sun could not be explained in the way it can be now.


(not sure how to box these quotes yet. The answer as to how one boxes quotes currently amounts to nothing in my brain. I need the understanding of another, scientifically or otherwise, to create an answer and, therefore, make a something (information as to how one boxes a quote) to fill the nothing void of my brain in the form of an answer to this question)

[ Edited: 16 January 2011 12:18 AM by gragor]
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Posted: 16 January 2011 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Gragor

One needs to consider the meaning of “nothing”. It surely just means what we do not know yet. One cannot explain “nothing” until “nothing can be explained. At some point in history the Sun could not be explained in the way it can be now.

It’s tempting to fall in the line of arguing what is nothing?, how do we know we exist?, how do we know this isn’t just a Matrix (the movie) like existence?, is really 1>0?, etc.  But we do know what nothing is,  in the same way we know 1? 0;  may be the right word in this case would be nothingness which is the absence of anything and referred to the realm of the natural world (matter, energy, information).

And again the point is that is often argued by atheists that science, and logic, are in their side when arguing about the existence of god.  This is true when the arguing is with creationists who take Genesis literally and consider   theories such as evolution and the big-bang as right out wrong. 

But for millions of religious people, the big bang and evolution, are not only theories, but fact supported and scientific evidence;  actually it was a belgian priest, George Lemaître, who came up with the big-bang theory.

Therefore when the argument comes down to cosmogony, science is definitely on the side of religion and against an atheistic view of the universe.  An atheistic cosmogony can state that either the universe is eternal or that it sprung spontaneously out of nothingness, in the absence of anything.  Both hypothesis run against the scientific evidence we have.  Saying that we don’t know is an option, but not and atheist option;  is more like an agnostic position, but it would still be a position that disregards scientific evidence and logic.

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Posted: 16 January 2011 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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We don’t know what nothingness is. But we don’t know what anything is either. We create noises for things but those noises are never what those things are. The ultimate experience is feeling. Not knowing, by making knowledge in the forms of noises (labels). Sam’s noises, in “The Moral Landscape”, will never be the truth (that ultimate “feeling” experience). Sam’s noises are signposts that maybe pointing in the direction of Truth. We don’t KNOW nothingness or somethingness, but we can experience the feeling of both nothing and somethings.

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Posted: 17 January 2011 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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We don’t know what nothingness is

Whatever you may want to say or feel about nothing and nothingness, we all know what nada, niente, rien or nichts means.  In this discussion when I say that for an atheist the universe must be either eternal or sprang spontaneously out of nothing, and nothing means the absence of anything, this is of matter,  of energy and of information.  Both alternatives are against all logic and against the scientific evidence we have.

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Posted: 17 January 2011 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Yes, against the scientific evidence that we only CURRENTLY have. So what? All you are saying is that there is no evidence, not only of what we don’t have, but also of what we don’t have YET. And while we don’t have it, we call it nothing. “Nothing” is just a word or noise. Most people are scared of this noise. Some to the point of calling it by other noises, such as “Hell” or “Limbo” (or the noises you called it). A true scientist would rather investigate nothing because to them it does matter. A true scientist will make matter from nothing because understanding nothing matters to them. A true religionist would rather not, but merely hope instead. A true religionist (which I contend is a false human being) will hope and even hedge their bets, sometimes or often at the expense of reason. A religionist does not care for inquirey. Inquirey does not matter to them while they are consumed with their fear of nothing. And it is THEIR fear. As a consequence, it would seem, a religionist wants to project THEIR fear onto all others. They have no WILL to own their own fears of their own ignorance. A true scientist will not fear ignorance. Too interested in life you see.

[ Edited: 18 January 2011 03:43 AM by gragor]
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Posted: 24 January 2011 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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gragor

A true scientist would rather investigate nothing because to them it does matter. A true scientist will make matter from nothing because understanding nothing matters to them. A true religionist would rather not, but merely hope instead. A true religionist (which I contend is a false human being) will hope and even hedge their bets, sometimes or often at the expense of reason. A religionist does not care for inquirey. Inquirey does not matter to them while they are consumed with their fear of nothing. And it is THEIR fear. As a consequence, it would seem, a religionist wants to project THEIR fear onto all others. They have no WILL to own their own fears of their own ignorance. A true scientist will not fear ignorance. Too interested in life you see.

What is very odd with your argument is that in general, if not all the time, atheists contend that science basically disproves religion and makes an atheistic view of the world the only valid one.  The arguments given in this thread point exactly to the opposite, this is that science strongly points to the need of a a deity who created the universe and disproves or makes the atheist argument very difficult to sustain.  In view of this evidence all you manage to do is ramble some linguistic convolutions that are a clear evidence about the lack of argument. 

Your opinions about religionists as opposed to scientists are prejudiced and unfounded.  The more we know about the universe, about its origins, about its grandeur, the more we know about life, about genetics, about evolution, the more unfathomable and beautiful our existence looks, and instead of running into the wall of nihilism that often atheist do as S Weinberg does, religionists can celebrate life and rejoice in the relationship with the deity, with the Creator with no fear, but with true joy and full knowledge and wisdom.

Again, the universe was created by God and we were created in God’s own image so we can sustain a relationship of true love; or the universe sprang spontaneously out of the absence of any matter, any energy, any information, that is out of nothing; and it doesn’t make any sense.  Do not chose by gut feeling, let science and the scientific evidence decide for you.

Good Night.

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