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The_Chef, finding a single case (and one that the creationist community has latched onto with a vengenace) at best offers, well not very much. Its a single case of one person, in their old age changing their mind. Whatever, he is free to do so.
But that doesnt change anything. Let me ask you a question (this is to anyone). Do you believe in ghosts? Why? What evidence has been produced to support their exsistence? Do you believe in vampires? Why? What evidence has been produced to support their exsistence? Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy? Why? What evidence has been produced to support their exsistence?
Now if they are all just stories, what evidence is there to believe in a god that isnt of the exact same nature as the above? If you do believe in a god, and lets say its the Christian one, why dont you belive in say the Allah or the Hindu pantheon or maybe some Norse Paganism? If you are going to belive in 1 god why dont you belive in them all, and again, what tangible evidence have you for their exsistence.
An important point to remember, athiests propose there is no god because there is no evidence to support one. But if he showed up tomorrow or hard evidence was found they would be willing to change their tune. They are based on evidence. Faith whoever when confronted by a refutation of their claims simply switches to a different arguement.
Wow, I don’t log on for a few hours and this is what I come back to.
First of all, let me put out a bit about myself so that my “belief” becomes clear.
I grew up Roman Catholic.
I attended Catholic school for 11 years (2-12th grades)
I was baptized, confirmed, and married in the Catholic Church.
I am an agnostic (not an atheist, an agnostic).
Both the words “atheist” and “agnostic” come from the greek. Obviously, an a-theist is someone who denies any form of god exists (a as in “anti” or not and theos from the geek for god) and an a-gnostic is someone who just doesn’t know one way or the other (a as in “anti” or not and gnostos from the greek for knowledge).
I don’t claim to know what came before the big bang or if there is a god who designed everything (intelligently or not). I just don’t think there is enough evidence either way to sway my decision.
That being said, why can’t people just accept a compromise. Yes, there was a big bang and everything evolved from a single cell 4.5 billion years ago but it was all God’s plan for it to happen this way. I see no reason to deny that God (again, not that I believe in one) had a plan and it was for everything to evolve and become rather than be created a single way and then never change. To me, it just increases the grandeur of that God. I would certainly think more highly of an entity who planned it all out than of one who just snapped his fingers and everything was created the way it is now. As a matter of fact, as imperfect as our world is, it stands to explain how a perfect being didn’t create a perfect world (which is philosophically impossible since creating something imperfect would make that being not perfect). If God created it to eventually end in perfection through trials, changes, and tests, then that would give the religious people more comfort in this world.
As for “devolving,” that is nothing more than evolution. Movement doesn’t always have to be forward. It would explain the ToE much better if we were adapting to our environment, even if that meant going back to where we started.
I don’t really care if god did it or not. Science is only about observing. Religion is about tying the observable to the invisible. They’re only related if you’re trying to prove a point with bullshit.
Time frames are the only place religion and science clash. Science says “our observations show that x should take about 6 billion years”, religion says “our book says it took a couple of thousand years”. Other than that there ain’t really an argument, people just like being idiots. Science could be wrong in that the baselines we use (like the decay rate of radioactive nitrogen) might change over the span of a billion years or so (pretty freaking unlikely, but hey) and religion could be wrong in that people have this nasty habit of writing things that ain’t true.
When I did research I didn’t get to say “god decides” when trying to determine the exponent of Arrhenius’ law for icosahedral boron crystal evolution, and when I talk about a soul I don’t get to say “I can’t observe it, it doesn’t exist!” (yes, I know idiots on the ‘science’ side who use that argument, they’re as bad as the idiots on the religious side using the ‘god decides’ argument).
If god exists, he did it how the hell he wanted to and science gets to observe what’s left. If he doesn’t, science still observes what’s left. Could we please move the dumbass religion v. science debate back to the smoky room on usenet?
That’s exactly right, Sam. The problem is that some people think that because we can’t prove one thing doesn’t exist then we have proven that it does. No, all we’ve done is proven that it MIGHT exist. The same goes the other way. If you cannot observe something, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real, merely that we don’t know HOW to observe it yet. We might learn how to observe it 10, 50, or 100 years hence, but we cannot say something doesn’t exist or cannot happen merely because we cannot observe it.
However, the good thing about science is that if someone walks in with proof (and a few valid experiments) that long-held beliefs were wrong and founded on erroneous evidence, all scientists would observe the data, do some tests, and redraw their conclusions. This cannot happen in the religious world because we just don’t have definite proof. One of the great mysteries of life is that we cannot explain some of it’s mysteries.
Boyd Durkin |
December 16th, 2008 at 10:52 am
“Beliefs cannot be argued…”
Dogma is one of the most destructive characteristics of mankind. And, it is real hard to evade if you don’t have any tools between the ears.
Ron Burgundy: Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.
Veronica Corningstone: No, there’s no way that’s correct.
Burgundy: I’m sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don’t know what it means. I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
Veronica: Doesn’t it mean Saint Diego?
Burgundy: No. No.
Veronica: No, that’s – that’s what it means. Really.
Burgundy: Agree to disagree.
Ted, there are no philosophical arguments that support the idea of ghosts or vampires. There are plenty of them to support a “God”.
Jesus, first time I’ve ever gotten a few (-) votes here. I’m not going to take the time to go over the arguments pro and con. If you don’t want to believe in a god, by all means believe what you want. I simply find it impossible that the world is only matter. Materialism has some very … anti-libertarian implications anyway.
There’s no evidence for dark matter either. It’s only the actions of Matter and absence of matter in certain locations that cause scientists to assume that such “matter” must exist.
If the word “God” doesn’t have any meaning for you, then don’t use it. Don’t cry out over a lack of evidence of something, that you think is senseless to begin with. And don’t presume that someone who feels differently is referring to a Santa Clause with lazer beam eyes; you don’t have much evidence of that either. When athiests do this they are being disrespectful, not because they don’t believe in God, but because they don’t make an allowance for anyone else believing in it without being some kind of moron. Because the athiests’ conception of God is most often pretty moronic e.g., akin to vampires, ghosts, etc. Ha, negative feedback here we go!
December 16th, 2008 at 4:11 pm
Robin: Atheists probably got the conception of god from theists. Vampire? Nah, Jesus isn’t a vampire, it’s the other way around. People eat his blood. Ghost? Well, there goes trinitarian doctrine.
I would love to see a non-moronic version of God that isn’t a variation on “you don’t know either” or “turned the crank on the Rube Goldberg machine of existence”.
Well, there are mystical conceptions of God, including the neo-platonists for whom God was a re-ified conception of the nothingness, or non-being, which is all that can be outside of the entirety of Being, or the universe, all that could give rise to it. There are many different pantheistic notions of God, held by Leibnitz and others, equating it with the unchanging whole of reality, the ontological Being. God is a word that often comes up when we face the limits of what we can conceptualize, and some people use it in a thoughtful way, while acknowledging its failings. Soul and God are terms that I, at least, am tempted to use when trying to describe a sense of mystery and beauty that is in my experience pertaining to what and where I am, but can’t be quantified in such a way as to provide sound evidentiary support. Scientific materialism doesn’t have a monopoly on ideas, and its important to recognize that there are other authentic ways of thinking about the world. I recommend reading some Kierkegaard as a substitute for the circular debates you like to get into with church going religious people.
December 16th, 2008 at 5:23 pm
It seems when you define God that way, you’ve moved a good distance away from the god that a) people worship and b) interacts in any discernible way with observable reality. Perhaps that’s your point.
But an awful lot of people are worshiping that Santa-vampire-ghost and (to bring it back to Hasselbeck) trying to take steps to guarantee that children in public schools mentally search-and-replace every “We don’t know” with “God did it”. Given what we know of the ID movement (wedge document, assorted chicanery), they’re only this close to your version of God because the version they want to teach fails the establishment clause.
Agreed. Religion is made up of both superstition and belief; some people latch on to one more than the other. Sorry about the snide remark at the end of my last comment. You see, I’m in love with myself.
December 16th, 2008 at 9:25 pm
Atheist or theist is a binary choice. “Agnostic” is not some third way between the two, because it answers a completely different question- whether or not you think the existence of a deity is *knowable*. Once you answer that question, you still have to decide whether or not you *believe* in a supernatural deity. If you do not actively believe- because belief is an affirmative action- then you are an atheist, regardless of of whether or not you think it’s theoretically possible that there is a deity.
#60 | James D | December 16th, 2008 at 11:51 am
Nando, you’re wasting your time … there’s too much arrogance around here.
Huh, that’s funny. You seem to love telling people they are wasting their time. I, like Nando, am agnostic. I happen to agree with just about everything he has so far posted on this thread.
You, not so much. You started laying into your strawman of Atheists and by extension those who hold stock in the scientific method and the theory of evolution. You belittled the work of the entire scientific community by claiming that those who believe in evolution were the “magic” believing equivalent of a bible thumping fundamentalist.
Lastly, and most importantly, you stated that atheism is the antithesis of libertarianism, a charge you have yet to demonstrate because you know it to be false.
I see, based on other comments on this thread, that this is not the first time you have played the obtuse zealot card, nor do I expect it will be the last. So, enough of this. I call an end to your shenanigans. Per Radley’s request this will be my last comment directed at a fellow reader of this blog. From now on, my comments will be strictly directed to the owner of this blog and no others. I request that everyone else do the same so that we may keep these comments open in the future.
My complaint about those who try to distinguish ID from creationism is that ID doesn’t do anything except push the question back a generation.
If the complexity of human life could not have arisen spontaneously by natural processes, then it requires that there be some agency which designed it. But where did this agency come from? Either it arose spontaneously, or it was designed. If it was designed, then there’s yet another agent behind it… which either arose spontaneously or was designed. The end result of this logic chain is that the first agent arose spontaneously. Either that first agent arose through natural processes, or it is supernatural.
If the first agent arose through natural processes, then there are no religious implications: life began randomly on some other planet, via some method that the ID types won’t find “irreducibly complex”, and then seeded life on Earth. That would be interesting, but hardly worth the zealotry we see on both sides of the argument. The reason people get worked up is because they agress and assume that the first cause under discussion is supernatural… in which case ID is philosophically identical to creationism.
And, since it’s a logical certainty, given that humankind exists, that either we or some ID forbear arose spontaneously, there’s no compelling reason to believe that we could not have been the spontaneous phenomenon. If it’s impossible for human life to have arisen spontaneously, then it’s even more impossible for a god to have arisen spontaneously, since gods are more complex than people.