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Part II: Evolution takes a beating, live coast to coast!
Posted: 20 April 2005 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Can it be called “truth” when it denies reason?
(This should be rhetorical.)

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Posted: 20 April 2005 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Nah, I think it is more that the faithful have found the truth and are comfortably settled in it. You folks are still trying to find enough facts to prove your theories.

I’d say results count for something. You sit back in your comfy chair, secure in the knowledge that you know everything about the world because you read it in a book. The rest of us will keep exploring, in spite of our imperfections and acknowledging the limitations of what knowledge we have. Then we’ll see who finds treatments and cures for disease, who will make space travel a reality, who will develop better and faster computers. We’ll see who gets real results.

“The truth” is that your emporor has no clothes.

[ Edited: 20 April 2005 12:27 PM by ]
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Posted: 20 April 2005 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Let’s consider this notion that Evolution, as a theory, has no more validity than any religious dogma.
As a theory, it suggests that we grow, learn, change, adapt.  You know, Evolve.
Isn’t that a nice idea?  We are not stuck in our rut of ignorance.  We can develop and become more functional.
Dogma, and I use the word with all due spite, insists upon its own truth without proof.  The lesson:  Don’t question.  Don’t think.  Don’t adapt.  Don’t grow.
Then you may as well factor in all the implied tenets of science, since, hopefully, they make a stronger case to the Believer in this framework.
I know.  The reasoning is circular, but it often strikes me that that’s what most people grasp best.

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Posted: 20 April 2005 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Hey bulldog, don’t get me wrong. I think everyone appreciates the work that scientists do. We are not concerned that you folks will actually prove the theories that conflict with the bible. I don’t think that will happen. But I do get excited at the technological progress that has occurred in the past century. It is enriching our lives. We just want to keep tabs on certain scientific activities that are unethical (stem cell research, cloning, abortion pills, etc.), if we can.

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Posted: 20 April 2005 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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I’m touched by your ethical concerns and I, too, support upholding high ethical standards of professional conduct in scientific research, as I’m sure everyone here does. I thank you for all the kind words about science (at long last) and for acknowledging the accomplishments of scientists (at long last). But as always, TC, thou givest with one hand but takest with the other.

[quote author=“TheChampion”]We are not concerned that you folks will actually prove the theories that conflict with the bible. I don’t think that will happen.

Then why give evolutionists such a hard time? Your beef with evolution is that it appears to contradict one tangential christian belief, i.e. that the world was created a mere 6000 years ago. Yet, you (christian fundamentalists) have demonstrated an astounding amount of concern about this from the beginning. You fought desperately to keep it out of schools and failed. Since then, you have never ceased fighting to have it removed. Now, you try to pretend that creationism and ID are “viable science”, but the demonstrated purpose of the “scientists” who claim to study creationism and ID is solely to devise a way to disprove evolution. Is your faith so fragile that it cannot coexist with the theory of evolution? It is obvious that the discovery of irrefutible proof of the theory of evolution is your worst nightmare!

[quote author=“TheChampion”]We just want to keep tabs on certain scientific activities that are unethical (stem cell research, cloning, abortion pills, etc.), if we can.

I couldn’t help but notice, the theory of evolution is notably absent from your list. Can I take this as an implicit concession that there is nothing unethical about the theory of evolution or related research?

There is nothing professionally unethical about any of the areas of research that you named. If you want an example of poor professional ethics, I direct your attention to the “science” of creationism (and ID, as well). Science is the application of the scientific method. True scientific researchers of creationism and ID would be trying to make testable predictions based on the theory and then perform experiments that test the validity of the prediction. (In short, they would have to come up with tests that could potentially invalidate the theory.) Instead, they spend all of their time and resources finding ever more duplicitous arguments attempting to refute the theory of evolution. They are among the most unethical “scientists” around. They aren’t interested in studying creationism or ID. The foundation of these ideas is the untestable assumption of the existence of a creator-superbeing. If it can’t be tested, it isn’t science and they aren’t scientists.

But I suspect that by “unethical” you were implying “immoral” scientific research (and I will again note the absence of evolution from your list). The problem with morality is that too often it depends entirely on what name you give to your invisible friends.

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Posted: 20 April 2005 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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My most sincere apologies if I gave you the impression that I do not appreciate the work that scientists perform. I most certainly do. I guess I have omitted their praise, and yes, I think they should be praised.

My problem with the THEORY of evolution is that it omits God from the equation and contradicts the Torah. Hence, it raises my ire. However, I do not rank it in the same category as the unethical disiplines I mentioned in my last post. You say, “Science is the application of the scientific method.” This is man’s logic, which conflicts with God’s logic. Let me tell you about God’s logic.

For the holy book says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. 1st Cor 1:18…(maybe that is why some scientific theories are constantly refuted and updated?)

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching (salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him), to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him). For while Jews ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, we preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, which to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block, and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense.

But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.

There you have it Bulldog. Let me conclude with: For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

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Posted: 20 April 2005 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]My problem with the THEORY of evolution is that it omits God from the equation and contradicts the Torah. Hence, it raises my ire.

TC, I hate to tell you but, ALL scientific theories omit God from the equation.

Yes, the theory of evolution contradicts the torah and here is a short list of other things that contradict the torah (called the pentateuch where I’m from):
-  Withholding animal sacrifices.
-  Outlawing slavery.
-  Failure to stone people to death for any violation of the 10 commandments.

[quote author=“TheChampion”]This is man’s logic, which conflicts with God’s logic. Let me tell you about God’s logic.

God’s logic vs. man’s logic you say? Take a look at this post.
  http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=345

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Posted: 20 April 2005 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Hello Champ,

I’m assuming you’ve already read Sam’s book.  Can I also assume you’ve read the entire Bible, cover to cover?  (And live by its every command?)  As well as the texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, etc, etc, before making up your mind?

I am curious to know how you went about ascertaining the validity of the Christian bible over all the rest.  What methodology did you use?  Your certainty about the existence and traits of the eternal omnipotent omniscient infallible creator of the universe seems to be based on the assumption that your bible, which starts with a talking snake and ends with a 7-headed dragon, is valid—and all the others are merely mythology.  How did you confirm this?

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read an essay I discovered last year, written by a former Presbyterian minister in the earty 1900s:  http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/m_m_mangasarian/truth_about_jesus.html

I would like to hear your opinions on this essay.

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Posted: 21 April 2005 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Cody, you state the obvious in a way that will make a lot of people kick themselves for not having said it before.  One of the most obvious failures of dogma is that is works best in the absence of “competition.”  By force-feeding newborns, we successfully indoctrinate them into whatever belief system we’ve got—which we likely received in the same way.
This is no simple family tradition; this is a deliberate limitation of the ability to think.  If everyone was simply taught the essentials for living—including logic, etc.—then, when intellectually capable, each person could peruse all these texts and try to come to conclusions of his or her own.
As that would decimate every major religion, we won’t see the dogmatists embracing the idea any time soon.

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Posted: 21 April 2005 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“Cody”]Hello Champ,

...
I am curious to know how you went about ascertaining the validity of the Christian bible over all the rest.  What methodology did you use?  Your certainty about the existence and traits of the eternal omnipotent omniscient infallible creator of the universe seems to be based on the assumption that your bible, which starts with a talking snake and ends with a 7-headed dragon, is valid—and all the others are merely mythology.  How did you confirm this?

Champ, allow me to enlighten these heathens.  Folks, the truly religious don’t need to ascertain, or examine, or compare or reason over the contents of any text.  The TRUTH is simply revealed to them (in Champ’s case via the holy spirit, I imagine).  Asking someone who believes that truth has been revealed to them by god directly how they figured out that their brand of religion is the right one is nonsensical.  Its like asking a dog how it knows its hungry.  It doesn’t have a clue what you are saying and even if it did, it wouldn’t understand the meaning - just put the food in the damn bowl human.

Those of you who continue to ask Champ why he believes as he does continue to make the error of believing you are dealing with a rational being.  I think the extent of Champ’s post here are ample evidence that this is not the case.  So my question is: When are you all going to stop engaging this guy and get on with talking about useful ideas?  Most of you have either explicitly or implicitly made a claim of self-rational thinking.  Yet so many of you continue to irrationally ask this guy questions.

Oh well, at least it beats watching Desperate Housewives.

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Posted: 21 April 2005 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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well since many posters here are people that have previously suscribed to one or another dogma and been freed of it, there is always hope that the bricks will crack after you slam your head against them long enough

LOL

more importantly, religious fundamentalists tend to dehumanize non-religious people, its good that they know we are just as human as they are

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Posted: 21 April 2005 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Upsetting that the “taste of their own medicine” approach is generally so ineffectual.
My idea is this:  A bunch of us “free-thinkers” (or call yourself what you will) go into churches every Sunday and spend a few minutes not telling people how they should think, but explaining how we think and giving an alternative to the dogma they imbibe every week.
This would have as likely a chance of “converting” people as the rude and presumptuous proselytizing we see from various groups all the time—right on our streets and in our public places—which is a very small chance indeed.  But at least then someone might consider what it is to live in this dogmatic world as an aspiring Rational person.

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Posted: 21 April 2005 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Guest #1, thanks for the kind words. #2, I guess the reason I bother is that as long as folks like Champ keep trying so hard to “prove” their beliefs, there is hope for reason and rationality.  As Harris points out, no one truly relies on faith, not even Champ—that he is trying so hard to build arguments and gather evidence (though I would hardly consider Michael Medved to be a biology expert) shows that he is not really content with “faith”.  He wants to prove his beliefs about the nature of the universe are true, just like any scientist.

Well, maybe not just like a scientist.  And there’s the problem.  Because Champ’s reasoning is antithetical to rationality, at least when it comes to his religious convictions (as Harris illustrates).  He starts with a conclusion (“the Bible is the word of God”) and then looks for evidence to prove it.  The rational approach would be to look at ALL the evidence, and then draw your conclusion.

ANY belief can be “proven true” if you deliberately set out to do so.  But this is not only bad science, but bad faith also.  If you have faith that your wife isn’t cheating on you… that’s faith.  If you hire a detective to confirm this as a fact, that’s not faith.  And when you will only hire detectives that tell you what you want to hear, that’s not truth.

Champ, it’s fine and good to challenge scientific theories… but you must be willing to put your Bible to the same standards of skepticism and scrutiny that you apply to Darwin. 

Who, by the way, had a very religious upbringing, and it wasn’t until after his death that Mendel discovered genetics; so it’s perfectly understandable that Darwin would be inclined to doubt his own findings.  He was not a reformer or crusader, at least not by nature or intent—just a biology researcher reporting what he found.

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Posted: 21 April 2005 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Cody,

Thanks for the name. I assume you meant me.

Ok. Well put.  There is always hope I guess.

Someone on a different thread had pointed out that there are actually two issues here.  One is that all human beings, regardless of their beliefs, are rational by nature.  That is they try to think things through.  Even evangelical christians have bible study where they try to understand the meaning of bible passages.  There are biblical “scholars” who reason out the nuances of biblical passages.  So the point is that even “belivers” are rational. 

The other issue, and as I understood it this is the critical one, is the knowledge base that people use to rationalize with.  People who routinely question assumptions and dig for factual knowledge (and can recognize it when they see it) will tend to build a “rational” knowledge base and have legitimate knowledge to reason with.  Others tend to be lazy and simply accept what the nearest (dearest) “expert” or authority says is true and then do their reasoning with that.  They never question the starting assumptions.

Folks who have overcome early religious training are not only rational, they are not lazy and have asked questions.  They are the ones that CAN free themselves of religious convictions and go on to lead normal lives.  There are a number of folks in that category participating on this forum.  Currently, if I had to bet on the likelihood of conversion to freedom, I would pick someone like ordinary who seems to be genuinely trying to understand the secularist viewpoint.  Fencesitter is another (easier ;^) candidate.  But Champion is far off.

I’m glad that Champ reads stuff.  I hope he continues to read stuff here.  But I just don’t think pandering to his motivations will help him.  Now I realize I should not try to psychoanalyze from a distance or through this incredibly poor bandwidth, but I have known no small number of people who say the same kinds of things Champ says and I have come to the conclusion they are not going to listen to reason.  My best hope is that someone will say something here, someday, that will truly puzzle young Champ (I bet he’s young) and he will start to wonder.  They won’t say it to him.  They won’t challenge him. They won’t respond to him.  They will just say the right words that will make him ponder.  Maybe then, a light will go off in his brain and he will sincerely ask an insightful question.

When you see that happen, if I’m around, I will be the first to congratulate him on taking the first steps away from lazy thinking.

Damn. If I were a religious person, I’d pray for Champ’s salvation!!!!!

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Posted: 21 April 2005 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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I think the other piece of this puzzle besides the rational one and the natural programming of the human brain to try to make connections, is the “spiritual” part.

Other posters here have also asked the question about spirituality.

So let’s say Champ “feels” a spiritual emotion, and his “rational” explanation for this emotion leads him to “God”. 

Where the problem comes in is not so much that we accept that some people have “spiritual” feelings, but that the “answer” to why we have this feeling is IMO corrupted into a 1000 methods of “control”, that we call dogma.

So, in some people this emotional life seems more real than the rational life, and because of it they cease to be rational, and we lose a common ground for discussion.

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