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Old 31st July 2006, 09:20 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
Must be an independent church, 'cos it sure doesn't happen in any Catholic, Anglican, or any other denomination I've ever encountered.
Besides, does the "comments or disagreements" part refer only to the details of what was said; could I, for example, stand up and say, "There is no god", or would that be unwelcome in this "comments" section?
I don't see why it would be a problem. In fact most people I know who have religouse beliefs would be glad to discuss them with someone who didn't believe. Hell the Jehovahs Witnesses have discussed religion in depth with me even after I explained I disagreed with everything they were saying.
Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
A secular society with no persecution or hate crimes based on the religious meme.
I am quite sure you would still have the same crimes. If there were no religion, no race, no class differences I firmly belive the people on one side of the street would attack those on the other for the affront of having odd numbered houses.
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Old 31st July 2006, 10:28 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by valis View Post
I don't see why it would be a problem. In fact most people I know who have religouse beliefs would be glad to discuss them with someone who didn't believe. Hell the Jehovahs Witnesses have discussed religion in depth with me even after I explained I disagreed with everything they were saying.
You did this in a Kingdom Hall, heckling the preacher?
Originally Posted by valis View Post
I am quite sure you would still have the same crimes. If there were no religion, no race, no class differences I firmly belive the people on one side of the street would attack those on the other for the affront of having odd numbered houses.
What a dim view you have of humanity. If there were no superstition, crimes based on superstition would de facto not exist.
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Old 1st August 2006, 03:12 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
You did this in a Kingdom Hall, heckling the preacher?
No, I have never been in a kingdom hall. My point is that it is incorrect to say 'religion' doesn't allow dissent. There are a ton of religons of all flavors, even if you stick to Christian churches you can't make a blanket statement like that.
Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
What a dim view you have of humanity. If there were no superstition, crimes based on superstition would de facto not exist.
I have a realistic view of humanity. In my opinion a world without religion or superstision would be just as violent as one with it.
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Old 1st August 2006, 04:19 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by valis View Post
No, I have never been in a kingdom hall. My point is that it is incorrect to say 'religion' doesn't allow dissent. There are a ton of religons of all flavors, even if you stick to Christian churches you can't make a blanket statement like that.
Liek I said, on equal ground the superstitious are not conversing with you; they're trying to convert you. They wat science replaced with superstition in schools, and yet won't allow "equal time" in the pulpit. What hypocrites.
Originally Posted by valis View Post
I have a realistic view of humanity. In my opinion a world without religion or superstision would be just as violent as one with it.
That's not realistic. A world without superstition (all religion is superstition, BTW) would not have the religious wars or religious-fuelled murders that it has today. There would be no fatwa against Salman Rushdie, no conflict in Lebanon, and no riots in Nigeria. An altogether better scenario.
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Old 1st August 2006, 07:34 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by valis View Post
But then what would 'no religion' look like.
One possibility is the "Federation" in Star Trek. (Before Gene Roddenberry lost control and they started adding religion)

Gene Roddenberry originally designed the world of the Federation on the ideal of a secular humanitarian society.
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Old 1st August 2006, 07:38 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by politas View Post
One possibility is the "Federation" in Star Trek. (Before Gene Roddenberry lost control and they started adding religion)

Gene Roddenberry originally designed the world of the Federation on the ideal of a secular humanitarian society.
That kind of world would be marvellous. In DS9, Captain Sisko remarks how there is so little crime on Earth.
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Old 1st August 2006, 05:12 PM   #87
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If communism is a religion, it is an atheistic religion.

As for John Lennon, he is the reason I don't like to know much about the personal belief systems or lifestyle of musicians I like. His appearance on a talk show (I think it was the Mike Douglas Show) in the 70s with Yoko where they picked random names out of the phone book and then called them to say, "I love you", well, that was about it for me and my admiration of John Lennon.

What a freak!

But "A Day In The Life"...whoa. Amazing. Now THAT was a revolution!
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Old 1st August 2006, 06:54 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by politas View Post
Gene Roddenberry originally designed the world of the Federation on the ideal of a secular humanitarian society.
Gene Roddenberry also designed spaceships without seat belts.
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Old 1st August 2006, 09:21 PM   #89
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John Lennon, wrote some great songs and some not-so-great songs. I had no great expectations when he and Yoko stayed in bed for peace, nor did I expect the earth to move when I first heard "Imagine". I'ts a song that makes some people think; that maybe there is a better way to run the world.
On another note, Ringo was the most down to earth and pragmatic of the Beatles. After the group came back from India, John, Paul and George gave convulted, lame excuses for leaving the Rajha.
Ringo stated the food was too spicy.
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Old 1st August 2006, 09:32 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Mechbob View Post
Ringo stated the food was too spicy.
I have to laugh at that. Not only is it the quintessential Ringo response, it's... Well, I'm trying to imagine how Indian food tastes to the average British palate. The Brits, after all have both spices: salt and pepper.
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Old 1st August 2006, 10:42 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Luke T. View Post
If communism is a religion, it is an atheistic religion.
"Atheistic religion" is a non-sequitur. Communism is definitely a religion, as it exhibits all the phenomena of religion: it brooks no dissent from orthodoxy, worships the founder, and has its living and dead high priests. It denigrates those who are not followers, and issues fatwas against them. It elevates dogma over truth (claiming that the dogma IS the truth) and has predefined roles for all.
The only difference between Communism (Marxism), Xianity, and Islam is the name by which they call their leader, whom they all continuously praise.
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Old 1st August 2006, 10:43 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Forty-Two View Post
I have to laugh at that. Not only is it the quintessential Ringo response, it's... Well, I'm trying to imagine how Indian food tastes to the average British palate. The Brits, after all have both spices: salt and pepper.
Don't forget tomato sauce.
Or mayonnaise.
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Old 1st August 2006, 11:03 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
Liek I said, on equal ground the superstitious are not conversing with you; they're trying to convert you. They wat science replaced with superstition in schools, and yet won't allow "equal time" in the pulpit. What hypocrites.

That's not realistic. A world without superstition (all religion is superstition, BTW) would not have the religious wars or religious-fuelled murders that it has today. There would be no fatwa against Salman Rushdie, no conflict in Lebanon, and no riots in Nigeria. An altogether better scenario.
Do you really think a lack of religion will halt all violence, crime, and war? There would still be gang fights, the Germans would still have invaded Poland, Rome would have still taken over Europe. Just because religion is looming largest in today's society doesn't mean that there isn't secular violence as well.

You have your religious pacifist, and your zealous religious murderer. You have your secular pacifist, and your greedy secular murderer. The religious person kills in the name of God. The secular person kills because they have no fear of God. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Until you can take care of the basic human desires such as greed, lust for power, and desire for glory, you are never going to get rid of war, violence, or crime. Enough of using religion as a scapegoat!
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Old 1st August 2006, 11:24 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Do you really think a lack of religion will halt all violence, crime, and war? There would still be gang fights, the Germans would still have invaded Poland, Rome would have still taken over Europe. Just because religion is looming largest in today's society doesn't mean that there isn't secular violence as well.

You have your religious pacifist, and your zealous religious murderer. You have your secular pacifist, and your greedy secular murderer. The religious person kills in the name of God. The secular person kills because they have no fear of God. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Until you can take care of the basic human desires such as greed, lust for power, and desire for glory, you are never going to get rid of war, violence, or crime. Enough of using religion as a scapegoat!
You are attacking a strawman. I never said that lack of religion would halt all violence, crime, and war. Just a large amount if it.
Religious pacifists are the kind of moral cowards who make extremism possible. It is certainly not true that a "secularist" (sic) kills because they have no fear of god. They kill for motives such as greed, lust, etc., but you have missed the real point (more accurately, you are in denial because of your own religious dogma). The Holocaust, the current situation in Lebanon, 9/11, 7/7/, 3/11, the Inquisition, the Crusades, Dina Scholser, Charles Manson, Waco, Heaven's Gate, Jim Jones... I could go on, but surely that should be enough?!
Scapegoat? Far from it; I name all those genocides, murders, and more, and I point the finger at religion, and I say "J'accuse!"
Hardly scapegoats as religion was the reason for these actions.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 12:08 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
You are attacking a strawman. I never said that lack of religion would halt all violence, crime, and war. Just a large amount if it.
Religious pacifists are the kind of moral cowards who make extremism possible. It is certainly not true that a "secularist" (sic) kills because they have no fear of god. They kill for motives such as greed, lust, etc., but you have missed the real point (more accurately, you are in denial because of your own religious dogma).
Perhaps more accurately, I should have said that there are times when a religious person would kill for his own religion. These times do not exist for the secular person. Similarly, the secular man will kill for "greed, lust, etc." whereas the truly religious man will not.

Religion is a two-edged sword: it gives people hope, gives them incentive to behave nicely, and provides salvation for even the worst human being. On the other hand, these people are easily swayed by religious leaders to do terrible things in the name of their religion. You get the bad with the good.
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The Holocaust, the current situation in Lebanon, 9/11, 7/7/, 3/11, the Inquisition, the Crusades, Dina Scholser, Charles Manson, Waco, Heaven's Gate, Jim Jones... I could go on, but surely that should be enough?!
Scapegoat? Far from it; I name all those genocides, murders, and more, and I point the finger at religion, and I say "J'accuse!"
Hardly scapegoats as religion was the reason for these actions.
No, I totally agree, religion has been used as a tool for waging war and violence for just about all of mankind's existence. But I think you're attacking a strawman as well: religion is responsible for war as much as money or food is. Those are reasons for fighting, just as much as religion is a reason for fighting. Do you say "J'accuse" to oil for the problems it has caused? Wouldn't it be great if we suddenly didn't enjoy sex anymore? How many lives has sex ruined?

I guess what I'm saying is that religion doesn't kill people, people kill people. We should really be pointing the fingers at those who do kill people. The sane religious leaders do this (if everyone was like the Dali Lama I guarantee this world would be a lot nicer!).

Let me ask you: Are there any ideologies you would fight for? Kill for? If there is any, I say that you are a hypocrite. I think what is really wrong here is people blindly following an ideology. The best religious leaders encourage their followers to think.

Unrelatedly, John Lennon was a genius.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 01:29 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Perhaps more accurately, I should have said that there are times when a religious person would kill for his own religion. These times do not exist for the secular person. Similarly, the secular man will kill for "greed, lust, etc." whereas the truly religious man will not.
That is untrue. Many religious people kill for greed, lust, or other such base reasons (as if killing for their religion were somehow more noble!). The Abrahamic god is a jealous god, let's not forget. I would like you to clarify what you mean by "truly religious", though...
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Religion is a two-edged sword: it gives people hope, gives them incentive to behave nicely, and provides salvation for even the worst human being. On the other hand, these people are easily swayed by religious leaders to do terrible things in the name of their religion. You get the bad with the good.
For a start, that should read "provides the illusion of salvation. In reality, there ain't no such animal. No afterlife. No post-death redemption. Which is what makes what you do whilst alive all the more important.
Note also that the notion of giving people the incentive to behave nicely does not belong to religion alone. Further, the real message of the Abrahamics (is that a neologism?) is to do good ONLY UNTO YOUR OWN IN-GROUP. It's the Goldren Rule, but only for others who believe as you do. (This is by no means unusual; the Romans also had the Golden Rule, but only applied it to fellow Roman citizens.) Where modern Xians do "good works by all", this is because they are actually ignoring the tenets of their own religion. The Bible tells them again and again to stone and kill unbelievers. It is only by adopting a secular principle that Xians don't run out into the streets of London or Rome or Baltimore and start killing non-believers. Where Islam appears more violent, it is because its followers have not reached any such secular accommodation; hence Sharia courts and fatwas for apostates.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
No, I totally agree, religion has been used as a tool for waging war and violence for just about all of mankind's existence. But I think you're attacking a strawman as well: religion is responsible for war as much as money or food is. Those are reasons for fighting, just as much as religion is a reason for fighting. Do you say "J'accuse" to oil for the problems it has caused? Wouldn't it be great if we suddenly didn't enjoy sex anymore? How many lives has sex ruined?
We all need money and food; we'd die without them. We can do without reigion, so the comparison is invalid. And note that it's not oil thta causes problems, but the greed of oil corporations--the heads of whom all profess to be Xians!
And how many lives HAS sex ruined? I don't know of any. Meaningless guilt inculcated by religion makes people unhappy, but sex per se? I don't think so. Further, sex has a useful function: continuation of the species. Religion has no such use.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I guess what I'm saying is that religion doesn't kill people, people kill people. We should really be pointing the fingers at those who do kill people. The sane religious leaders do this (if everyone was like the Dali Lama I guarantee this world would be a lot nicer!).
Religion DOES kill people; look at the Medieval penitents who flagellated themselves to death. And there is no such thing as a sane religious leader. The Dalai Lama claims he's born a god and a king, and his utopian vision is one in which he rules the people of a medieval enslaved Tibet. What's so benevolent or enlightened about that? (I take it you missed Christopher Hitchens at TAM 3.)
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Let me ask you: Are there any ideologies you would fight for? Kill for? If there is any, I say that you are a hypocrite. I think what is really wrong here is people blindly following an ideology. The best religious leaders encourage their followers to think.
No religious leaders encourage their followers to think. Blind adherence to the creed is all. And, no, there is no ideology for which I am prepared to kill. That's the problem with ideologies; they require mistreatment of outsiders. Far better to be a freethinker.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Unrelatedly, John Lennon was a genius.
He came in 8th in a BBC poll in 2002. FYI, the top 10 were as follows:
1 Winston Churchill
2 Isambard Kingdom Brunel
3 Isaac Newton
4 William Shakespeare
5 Charles Darwin
6 Diana Princess of Wales
7 Queen Elizabeth I
8 John Lennon
9 Horatio Nelson
10 Oliver Cromwell
I don't like Liz and Diana on that list, but the rest is good.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 02:37 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
That is untrue. Many religious people kill for greed, lust, or other such base reasons (as if killing for their religion were somehow more noble!). The Abrahamic god is a jealous god, let's not forget. I would like you to clarify what you mean by "truly religious", though...
The god is jealous, but its followers should not be. By truly religious, I mean someone who follows the rules. Take a look at the 10 Commandments and tell me if you see anything in there that promotes greed or lust or murder. Now what about commandments that prohibit them? That's what I thought.
Quote:
For a start, that should read "provides the illusion of salvation. In reality, there ain't no such animal. No afterlife. No post-death redemption. Which is what makes what you do whilst alive all the more important.
By salvation, I meant something for people to use to better themselves. For some, it's psychology. For others, it's religion, and for others, it could be charity. You can bring up plenty of situations where religion has made a person worse, but I can come up with plenty where it has made them better. Same goes for atheism/agnosticism. Also, please don't assume that your thoughts about death are correct without any proof. (Let me give you a hint: proof cannot exist for either my belief or yours!)
Quote:
Note also that the notion of giving people the incentive to behave nicely does not belong to religion alone. Further, the real message of the Abrahamics (is that a neologism?) is to do good ONLY UNTO YOUR OWN IN-GROUP. It's the Goldren Rule, but only for others who believe as you do. (This is by no means unusual; the Romans also had the Golden Rule, but only applied it to fellow Roman citizens.)
But if you say that religion gives people some kind of super-fanaticism that makes them want to kill more than their secular counterparts, you must also concede that it gives them a kind of super-morality that allows them to be better at applying the Golden Rule as well. (The reasoning is the same in both cases: belief in a higher power that will punish/reward them.) Christianity at the very least does not restrict kindness and goodwill to ONLY UNTO YOUR OWN IN-GROUP. Many other religions do as well.
Quote:
Where modern Xians do "good works by all", this is because they are actually ignoring the tenets of their own religion. The Bible tells them again and again to stone and kill unbelievers. It is only by adopting a secular principle that Xians don't run out into the streets of London or Rome or Baltimore and start killing non-believers. Where Islam appears more violent, it is because its followers have not reached any such secular accommodation; hence Sharia courts and fatwas for apostates.
The passages in the Koran themselves are ambiguous; I've read them myself. An interpretation exists that allows Muslims to live without beheading every non-believer that they see, trust me. But please let us not get into an "Islam is evil" debate, though. (Or if you really want to, start another thread!)
Quote:
We all need money and food; we'd die without them. We can do without reigion, so the comparison is invalid. And note that it's not oil thta causes problems, but the greed of oil corporations--the heads of whom all profess to be Xians!
And how many lives HAS sex ruined? I don't know of any. Meaningless guilt inculcated by religion makes people unhappy, but sex per se? I don't think so. Further, sex has a useful function: continuation of the species. Religion has no such use.
And I said enjoying sex. How many people have been murdered because their lover slept with someone else? How much grief has been caused by unwanted children? All because we are addicted to sex. We've grown up as a species now, we don't need to enjoy sex anymore; let's remove that desire from our bodies medically. We know that we have to procreate, so we'll do it.

Religion does have a positive function, believe it or not.
Quote:
Religion DOES kill people; look at the Medieval penitents who flagellated themselves to death. And there is no such thing as a sane religious leader. The Dalai Lama claims he's born a god and a king, and his utopian vision is one in which he rules the people of a medieval enslaved Tibet. What's so benevolent or enlightened about that? (I take it you missed Christopher Hitchens at TAM 3.)
Okay, first of all being born a king is not a sign of insanity: oftentimes its the very definition of being king. Secondly, he says he is a Buddha (who is a person, not a god) reborn. And why is that any less sane than someone believing in an afterlife? This argument will become very frustrating (and circular!) if one of your axioms is that all religious people are insane.
Quote:
No religious leaders encourage their followers to think. Blind adherence to the creed is all. And, no, there is no ideology for which I am prepared to kill. That's the problem with ideologies; they require mistreatment of outsiders. Far better to be a freethinker.
Very, very, very untrue. The Dalai Lama insists that people search for the truth, and he's said that if there's something that beats Buddhism, he wants to hear about it. My own priest (I am Orthodox Christian) insists (and has said as much) that practitioners question the tenants of the Church. Unitarians' entire principle of functioning is questioning their own beliefs to try and find the best belief for them.

Having secular beliefs is going to lead to just as much violence as religion. All it requires is for people to be ignorant. Mankind knows no bounds for intolerance - if we get rid of religion, people would argue about race. If we got rid of race, people would fight among clans. It's human nature to do these things. If there's one man who didn't whip themselves to death for God, then there's another man who has no religion to stop him from leaping out of his 20th story office window when his career self-destructs. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

There is no logical difference in choosing between atheism and religion. Both require you to make a decision about something that you by definition cannot know or prove anything about. Arguments about which is correct are pointless - both you and I are going on faith here. We're at the point where no argument can win; you think your faith is correct, and I think mine is correct. But saying that having any faith but yours will cause people to create a larger amount of death and destruction is ridiculous.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 02:39 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by valis View Post
Gene Roddenberry also designed spaceships without seat belts.
Strictly speaking, there are perfectly good reasons that Star Trek spaceships don't need seat belts most of the time. The reasons that people get knocked about on the bridge are purely narrative, not PSG-technical.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 04:51 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by politas View Post
Strictly speaking, there are perfectly good reasons that Star Trek spaceships don't need seat belts most of the time. The reasons that people get knocked about on the bridge are purely narrative, not PSG-technical.
Yeah, the exploding consoles are also a bit of a stretch, technically.

And I think you may have used a term that isn't widely known outside our circle. For all those who don't know, the abbreviation "PSG" stands for Pseudo-Scientific Gobbledygook.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 04:22 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
The god is jealous, but its followers should not be. By truly religious, I mean someone who follows the rules. Take a look at the 10 Commandments and tell me if you see anything in there that promotes greed or lust or murder. Now what about commandments that prohibit them? That's what I thought.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Of course, that's really an admission of henotheism, but what do Yawvists care?)
Are you really saying, however, that someone who kills or steals isn't a Xian?! Tell that to all those victims of paedophile priests.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
By salvation, I meant something for people to use to better themselves. For some, it's psychology. For others, it's religion, and for others, it could be charity. You can bring up plenty of situations where religion has made a person worse, but I can come up with plenty where it has made them better. Same goes for atheism/agnosticism. Also, please don't assume that your thoughts about death are correct without any proof. (Let me give you a hint: proof cannot exist for either my belief or yours!)
This is where all the rationalists on this board are rolling their eyes and groaning. It is not up to me to disprove an afterlife (it's impossible to disprove a negative, anyway); if you beleive there's an afterlife, the onus is on you to offer evidence, and yet there isn't any, and as any fule no, the Cartesian theatre doesn't fly, so monism is the only rational understanding of the mind. (Shermer and Dennett both said this at TAM4, too.)
Please give me one example where atheism has made a person morally worse.
As to religion making people morally worse, I offer you the Crusades and 9/11.
Finally (on this segment), if you are going to and arbitrarily redefine words to suit yourself ("salvation" now means "self-enhancement"?!), then I shall call you Humpty Dumpty.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
But if you say that religion gives people some kind of super-fanaticism that makes them want to kill more than their secular counterparts, you must also concede that it gives them a kind of super-morality that allows them to be better at applying the Golden Rule as well. (The reasoning is the same in both cases: belief in a higher power that will punish/reward them.) Christianity at the very least does not restrict kindness and goodwill to ONLY UNTO YOUR OWN IN-GROUP. Many other religions do as well.
That is not true. Christianity does indeed impose such restrictions; it is only by IGNORING such restrictions that Xians are kind to others. (See Deut 17:2-7, for example.)
And give me an example of this super-morality, please.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
The passages in the Koran themselves are ambiguous; I've read them myself. An interpretation exists that allows Muslims to live without beheading every non-believer that they see, trust me. But please let us not get into an "Islam is evil" debate, though. (Or if you really want to, start another thread!)
You must have a read a very different version of the Koran from me. The Koran is anything but ambiguous (except where it tells belieivers not to "destroy themselves"). Just look at the following:
Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. - 2:191

Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. - Sura 2:193 and 8:39

Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. - 2:216
(different translation: ) Prescribed for you is fighting, though it is hateful to you.

And, yes, Islam is evil, but really no more so than Xianity. It is only the loss of power in the secularised West that has robbed Xianity of its power to kill unbelievers without criticism.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
And I said enjoying sex. How many people have been murdered because their lover slept with someone else? How much grief has been caused by unwanted children? All because we are addicted to sex. We've grown up as a species now, we don't need to enjoy sex anymore; let's remove that desire from our bodies medically. We know that we have to procreate, so we'll do it.
That's not murder because of sex; the motive there is jealousy. If you don't want children, tell the Catholic Church to get lost and use contraception.
And you can be neutered if you like, but I think I'll go on enjoying sex, thank you. We don't HAVE to procreate as individuals (we could even clone you now, thereby obviating the need for sex, but sexual recombination is good for the species). Just think of how many people die on the roads each year. Are you advocating banning cars? How many people drown? Are you going to ban swimming? Because you're surely not going to place sex in a separate category, are you?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Religion does have a positive function, believe it or not.
Such as?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Okay, first of all being born a king is not a sign of insanity: oftentimes its the very definition of being king. Secondly, he says he is a Buddha (who is a person, not a god) reborn. And why is that any less sane than someone believing in an afterlife? This argument will become very frustrating (and circular!) if one of your axioms is that all religious people are insane.
I didn't say it was any less sane; I think they're both stupid notions. The point of the Dalai Lama, however, is that he sees his rightful place as autocratic ruler over a people. That is not a good hing--and it is done in the name of religion.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Very, very, very untrue. The Dalai Lama insists that people search for the truth, and he's said that if there's something that beats Buddhism, he wants to hear about it. My own priest (I am Orthodox Christian) insists (and has said as much) that practitioners question the tenants of the Church. Unitarians' entire principle of functioning is questioning their own beliefs to try and find the best belief for them.
So if I attend your church and call out every time the preacher makes an innacuracy from the pulpit, I'll be welcome will I? Rubbish. What your priest wants is for you to find further "proofs" of what you already believe. If you were truly intellectually honest, you would acknowledge the fact that there is zero evidence for the existence of the paranormal and that religious explanations for phenomena have been supplanted by naturalistic ones. Ergo, the only rational course of action is to reject any and all nonsesne such as religion and other superstitions.
As to the DL (I get tired of typing his name in full), he's the idiot who once said to Carl Sagan that physics would never disprove reincarnation, thereby committing a major logical fallacy. He certainly can't think rationally, and you want me to accept this quasi-fascist's opinion on textual interpretation?!
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Having secular beliefs is going to lead to just as much violence as religion.
Rubbish. Show me one example of an atrocity committed in the name of secularism, and then weight that against the Crusades, the Inquisition, 9/11, 7/7, 3/11, the Holocaust...
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
All it requires is for people to be ignorant. Mankind knows no bounds for intolerance - if we get rid of religion, people would argue about race. If we got rid of race, people would fight among clans. It's human nature to do these things. If there's one man who didn't whip themselves to death for God, then there's another man who has no religion to stop him from leaping out of his 20th story office window when his career self-destructs. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
There you go again, imputing all sorts of nonsensical views to secualrists. Why would belief in god stop someone committing suicide? It hasn't in the past. Your reasoning is seriously flawed. And your dim view of humanity is unjustified. But it's typical of Xianity: the lie that you can only be good with god. (See Dennett at TAM4, again: DVDs on sale now.)
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
There is no logical difference in choosing between atheism and religion. Both require you to make a decision about something that you by definition cannot know or prove anything about.
That is untrue. It is again a lie of the Church. There is every logical reason for being an atheists, because that is the default position in the complete absence of evidence for the supernatural. Bertrand Russell already demolished your fallacy half a century ago.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Arguments about which is correct are pointless - both you and I are going on faith here. We're at the point where no argument can win; you think your faith is correct, and I think mine is correct. But saying that having any faith but yours will cause people to create a larger amount of death and destruction is ridiculous.
I'm not going on faith; I'm going on reason. Therefore, you have misunderstood this debate from the beginning; these are not two competing faith stances; that would be you and a Muslim. This is your faith versus my reason. And I will always prefer reason and the real world to Sugar Candy Mountain, thank you very much.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 04:36 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Scott Haley

In a later verse, John Lennon, millionaire, sang "Imagine no possessions." He didn't practice what he preached.
Have you noticed that in the earlier verses imagining is "easy if you try" or "not hard to do"

Then he says "Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can."

I'm not sure he made a mistake.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 06:51 PM   #102
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Yikes. I apologize if this thread has been hijacked! It seems to have gotten really long....
Well, "religion causes evil" is first, followed by "I'm right until you prove me wrong."
Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
1) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Of course, that's really an admission of henotheism, but what do Yawvists care?)
2) Are you really saying, however, that someone who kills or steals isn't a Xian?! Tell that to all those victims of paedophile priests.
1) Like I said, the God is jealous, but the followers are not allowed to be.
2) I'm saying that someone who kills or steals is not following the rules of Xianity and therefore does not represent the beliefs of Xianity. I'll also tell that to pedophile priests, along with the choice words of "repent, see a counselor, go to jail, or get the hell out of my church." You'll notice though that Orthodox Xians haven't really had many problems with pedophiles.

Quote:
1) Please give me one example where atheism has made a person morally worse.
2) Finally (on this segment), if you are going to and arbitrarily redefine words to suit yourself ("salvation" now means "self-enhancement"?!), then I shall call you Humpty Dumpty.
3) Deut 17:2-7
4) And give me an example of this super-morality, please.
1) OK, the problem is that you don't see many theist->atheist transitions. How many famous people besides thinkers have become atheists? And how much do you really know about those thinkers' lives? I also think that anyone who thinks enough to convert is probably the kind of person that is pretty moral to begin with. I have given you a list of atheistic atrocities below. (By "atheistic atrocities" I mean atrocities committed not in the name of a God.)
2) Sorry about the redefining, but in my defense the word does have a non-religious meaning. I meant that it was saving people from being bad.
3) a) This is a law for deserters, not non-believers; b) Most Xians do not follow Deuteronomy ("I am the new law" and all that).
4) Let's see, forgiving the worst of criminals and trying to lead them to repentance? Mother Theresa, maybe? I guess it's hard to see because the best Xians don't make a big deal or fuss about it.

Ugh, this is starting to look like a conservative politics board with all the Islam quotes. Let me take care of all those with just one:

2:190 Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.

Quote:
That's not murder because of sex; the motive there is jealousy. If you don't want children, tell the Catholic Church to get lost and use contraception.
And you can be neutered if you like, but I think I'll go on enjoying sex, thank you. We don't HAVE to procreate as individuals (we could even clone you now, thereby obviating the need for sex, but sexual recombination is good for the species). Just think of how many people die on the roads each year. Are you advocating banning cars? How many people drown? Are you going to ban swimming? Because you're surely not going to place sex in a separate category, are you?
And you can go on not having religion, but I'll go on enjoying mine. And that's my point: those things bring us good with bad. My claim is that religion is the same way. An aside - my church allows contraception.
Quote:
Such as?
Let's see: giving people rules, keeping people safe (e.g. kosher rules), giving people hope, giving people a source of strength, giving people a community, giving people a moral center (there are moral theists believe it or not!), and if you believe in an afterlife, that.

I think your problem is you only pay attention to the bad.
Quote:
So if I attend your church and call out every time the preacher makes an innacuracy from the pulpit, I'll be welcome will I? Rubbish. What your priest wants is for you to find further "proofs" of what you already believe. If you were truly intellectually honest, you would acknowledge the fact that there is zero evidence for the existence of the paranormal and that religious explanations for phenomena have been supplanted by naturalistic ones. Ergo, the only rational course of action is to reject any and all nonsesne such as religion and other superstitions.
Yes! My priest would gladly discuss inaccuracies in his sermon - if you at least wait until AFTER the services to talk to him. I guarantee you he would give you plenty of time and a hell of an argument. I've also never claimed anything about religious phenomena in this world. Usually those claims are made by Xians whom I don't agree with. (Hint: Xians believe in a WIDE variety of things! Please don't assume I share beliefs with the Pope/Baptists/etc!)
Quote:
Rubbish. Show me one example of an atrocity committed in the name of secularism, and then weight that against the Crusades, the Inquisition, 9/11, 7/7, 3/11, the Holocaust...
The combined crimes of Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin. The rampant destruction of the civilizations Rome conquered (e.g. Carthage). Also, if you're going to lean on the opinion of professionals, the Holocaust was motivated by race, not by religious beliefs. Any reputable historian will tell you this.
Quote:
1) Why would belief in god stop someone committing suicide? It hasn't in the past.
2) the lie that you can only be good with god.
1) Most Xians believe that suicide (that is not martyrdom) is a sin. A Xian would think twice about throwing themselves out because they fear punishment or want to behave (note: guilt does not motivate all Xians). If you can't accept that religion does motivate people to do good (but not necessarily in all cases), you're the one deluding yourself.
2) I never said it's the only way - I only said it is a way. But you're saying the opposite: you're saying that there's no way you can be good with God. Or more accurately, you've been saying God would never be a reason for you to be good.
Quote:
(onus of proof of an afterlife, some stuff about Bertrand Russell)
OK, let's look at what Mr. Russell has to say:
Originally Posted by Bertrand Russell
As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.
I think this pretty much backs my position: neither you nor I can make informed or logical decisions about the afterlife, because neither of us can prove anything. It would be a grievous logical and philosophical mistake to come out and say "there is no afterlife, period."

Assuming that any positive statement is false until proven otherwise is a really stupid way of thinking anyway. You'd be wrong about a lot of things. Tiny unseen creatures that cause disease? There's no way we can see anything that small (you see it's 1356) so let's assume they don't exist. As a mathematician, whenever I encounter a theorem, I cannot assume it is false until proven. I cannot assume it is true. I have to assume neither. Before we proved Fermat's Last Theorem, we couldn't say it was right or wrong. We couldn't say that in the absence of proof that there was no equation that satisfied x^n=y^n+z^n for n > 2. True, most mathematicians believed the theorem was true, and they turned out to be correct. But there was another theorem (it escapes me which one) which was true for all the numbers 1-10^16 or something like that - but ended up having a counterexample when you got to around 10^32 or something like that.

The difference of course between science/math and discussion of the afterlife is that you cannot prove existence or non-existence of the afterlife, EVER, any more than you could measure the exact location and speed of a quantum particle.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 07:49 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Yikes. I apologize if this thread has been hijacked! It seems to have gotten really long....
Well, "religion causes evil" is first, followed by "I'm right until you prove me wrong."
The rational default position is the supernatural does not exist until you show evidence for its existence. All these millennia, and no evidence. Hmm...
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
1) Like I said, the God is jealous, but the followers are not allowed to be.
Do what I do, not what I say? So, your god is a hypocrite.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
2) I'm saying that someone who kills or steals is not following the rules of Xianity and therefore does not represent the beliefs of Xianity. I'll also tell that to pedophile priests, along with the choice words of "repent, see a counselor, go to jail, or get the hell out of my church." You'll notice though that Orthodox Xians haven't really had many problems with pedophiles.
But if they sell their daughter into slavery or commit rape, they are cetainly following the rules of Xianity. It's right there in the Bible.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
1) OK, the problem is that you don't see many theist->atheist transitions. How many famous people besides thinkers have become atheists? And how much do you really know about those thinkers' lives? I also think that anyone who thinks enough to convert is probably the kind of person that is pretty moral to begin with. I have given you a list of atheistic atrocities below. (By "atheistic atrocities" I mean atrocities committed not in the name of a God.)
You're joking, aren't you? Darwin, Dan Barker, and Alfred Hitchcock all deconverted. of course, conversions are more likely, for the simple reason that we are all born atheists; we have to learn the dogma of religion in order to embrace it.
As to your list of atheistic atrocities, note that for the term to apply, the atrocity in question must have been committed in the name of atheism. So, let's take a look.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
2) Sorry about the redefining, but in my defense the word does have a non-religious meaning. I meant that it was saving people from being bad.
Arbitrary redefinition makes you Humpty Dumpty. Use the word in its proper context, or not at all.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
3) a) This is a law for deserters, not non-believers;
Wrong.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
b) Most Xians do not follow Deuteronomy ("I am the new law" and all that).
In other words, you merely cherry-pick those parts ofthe Bible that conform to your predispositions. If you were already repdisposed to favouring rape, you'd back Deuteronomy over the allegorical Gospels. This is self-serving of the worst order. Yo ucan't cherry-pick. Either accept all the precepts, or none at all. Ignoring the parts of Xianity that make you uncomfortable, however, is intellectually dishonest.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
4) Let's see, forgiving the worst of criminals and trying to lead them to repentance? Mother Theresa, maybe? I guess it's hard to see because the best Xians don't make a big deal or fuss about it.
Mother Theresa was a bitch who caused huge amounts of unnecessary suffering. Read "The Missionary Position" by Christopher Hitchens for details.
And who, exactly, are these "best Xians"? Mother Theresa? The worst atheists are better than that woman.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Ugh, this is starting to look like a conservative politics board with all the Islam quotes. Let me take care of all those with just one:
2:190 Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.
So, again, you ignore the major injunctions in favour of a minor one. (Of course, being able to quote opposing ideas from the same book shows just how muddled the Koran is, same as the Bible. Hardly divinely inspired.)
FYI, I'm not right-wing. I just look at the facts impartially.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
And you can go on not having religion, but I'll go on enjoying mine. And that's my point: those things bring us good with bad. My claim is that religion is the same way. An aside - my church allows contraception.
Good for your Church. Thing is, it's none of the Church's business what consenting adults get up to anyway.
As for enjoying your delusions: fine. Go right ahead. At least I have reality on my side. You must not try to foist them on anyone else, though. (Pace Shermer at TAM 4: "They can believe what they like, but they must leave us alone. Problem is, they don't.")
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Let's see: giving people rules, keeping people safe (e.g. kosher rules), giving people hope, giving people a source of strength, giving people a community, giving people a moral center (there are moral theists believe it or not!), and if you believe in an afterlife, that.
If you have evidence for an afterlife, show me. Otherwise, the rational default position is that there ain't no such animal. Giving people rules is not a good thing per se; it depends on the rules in question. Exhortations to murder unbelievers (like Jesus told his followers to do) is scarcely a good rule.
If you need a lie for hope or comfort, I suggest a therapist.
If you need someone else to tell you what moral centre to adopt, you cannot be a very moral person--IOW, that statement says everything about you, and nothing about atheists.
As to the sense of community, try walking away from the church, and then seeing how your former friends treat you.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I think your problem is you only pay attention to the bad.
That's because the bad is driven by the religion, but the good exists independently of it. If the only reason you do good is because you fear after-death consequences, you are not a good or moral person, merely one who is frightened by spiritual blackmail. I, however, do the right thing purely because it is right; no appeal to adverse consequences needed. So which of us is the more moral?
For religion to be inherently good, it will need to supply some form of "goodness" that cannot be found elsewhere, and there is none. You can be ethical and community-minded without subscribing to superstions and fantasy. And surely, perpetuating the myths of a flat Earth and geocentric universe is plain wrong? Or are you going to go into denial mode about what the Bible has to say on those issues?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Yes! My priest would gladly discuss inaccuracies in his sermon - if you at least wait until AFTER the services to talk to him.
Why? So that the rest of the congregation can't hear the truth?
In college, you call out in the lecture theatre when the lecturer makes a mistake. Even parliamentarians heckle. So why should I grant your superstitious bigwig an exception?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I guarantee you he would give you plenty of time and a hell of an argument. I've also never claimed anything about religious phenomena in this world. Usually those claims are made by Xians whom I don't agree with. (Hint: Xians believe in a WIDE variety of things! Please don't assume I share beliefs with the Pope/Baptists/etc!)
The tenets of Xianity are as follows: There is a god the Trinity who sent his only begotten Son to die for all mankind, but who rose from the dead and ascended unto Heaven. If you don't believe that to be literally true, how can you call yourself a Xian? Unless, as I increasingly suspect, you mistakenly believe that you need a god to be moral.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
The combined crimes of Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin. The rampant destruction of the civilizations Rome conquered (e.g. Carthage). Also, if you're going to lean on the opinion of professionals, the Holocaust was motivated by race, not by religious beliefs. Any reputable historian will tell you this.
For starters, Stalin learned his morals in the Seminary (Greek Orthodox).
Further, none of these crimes were committed in the name of, or to further, secularity. Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam all had moustaches. Do you think therefore that having a moustache is a motive for committing evil? The fact that Chiang and Mao were atheists is irrelevant to their motive for committing genocide. You might as well blame it on the fact that they were both Chinese.
The Romans were also religious, not atheistic (for the most part); they just had different gods.And the Holocaust was both racial and religious, as Hitler explained in Mein kampf; killing Jews was the Lord's work (he says it 74 times in such a small volume). Therefoer, your argument is incorrect and horribly muddled. The acid test is this: Would the atrocities in question still have been committed if the perpetrators had not been atheists? The answer, of course, is yes. Stalin, Chiang, and Mao would all have still committed mass murder to further their aims, for these aims and their bloodthirstiness were independent of their absence of theistic beleif. Then we ask, would the Inquisition, 9/11, etc., have happened if their perpetrators had not been religious? And the answer is clearly no, because these crimes were committed in furtherance of a religious agenda.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
1) Most Xians believe that suicide (that is not martyrdom) is a sin. A Xian would think twice about throwing themselves out because they fear punishment or want to behave (note: guilt does not motivate all Xians). If you can't accept that religion does motivate people to do good (but not necessarily in all cases), you're the one deluding yourself.
But as the motivation is an external source: fear of punishment, it's not really a moral act, only a cowardly or, at the very least, self-serving one. Compare that with an atheist, who does what is right but has no fear of divine retribution. So what, then, is the motivator? Clearly, personal goodness independent of any external pressure. Which must de facto be more moral.
And if suicide is a sin, or bad, why has it typically been lauded in so many cultures (medieval Japanese, Mayan, Celtic, etc.)
One point that occurred to me after I wrote the preceding entry was that the difference between a businessman who loses everything in a Wall Street crash and so jumps from a window, and a penitent who flagellates himself to death, is that the businessman has at least a sound reason for his action: he is ruined. The penitent is motivated by a fantasy. We can conclude that the difference between them is that the businessman is depressed, whereas the penitent is deluded.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
2) I never said it's the only way - I only said it is a way. But you're saying the opposite: you're saying that there's no way you can be good with God. Or more accurately, you've been saying God would never be a reason for you to be good.
Being motivated by fear of punishment is never being good; it's acting out of pure self-interest. For an act to be good, it must be free of coercion, which the Abrahamic religions are not. Consequently, you are right: god is never a reason to be good. Get rid of god and do good, or yield to blackmail, and do right for the wrong reasons. In what way is yielding to blackmail good?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
OK, let's look at what Mr. Russell has to say:
(SNIP)
I think this pretty much backs my position: neither you nor I can make informed or logical decisions about the afterlife, because neither of us can prove anything. It would be a grievous logical and philosophical mistake to come out and say "there is no afterlife, period.".
That is not what Russell is saying; and I can make logical decisions based on an afterlife (or, rather, the absence thereof).
The mind requires the physical organ of the brain to function. With bran death (bodily death), the mind ceases to exist. Cartesian dualism has already been debunked. Further, if you really believe there's a soul that is the mind, rather than the mind as an epiphenomenon of the brain, you must explain how something immaterial can interact with the physical organ ofthe body. Otherwise, your statement is worthless.
As to BT, he then goes on to say that nor can he disprove that there is a singing teapot in orbit around Mars, so strictly speaking, we are all agnostic on the point. You can, however, assign probability values to such a phenomenon, and the singing teapot hypothesis would rank pretty low--yet the idea of an omnipotent god must rank even lower! So, if you believe in a god, you must also believe in the teapot to be consistent. But I bet you don't believe in the teapot, do you? So you are being inconsistent.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Assuming that any positive statement is false until proven otherwise is a really stupid way of thinking anyway. You'd be wrong about a lot of things. Tiny unseen creatures that cause disease? There's no way we can see anything that small (you see it's 1356) so let's assume they don't exist. As a mathematician, whenever I encounter a theorem, I cannot assume it is false until proven. I cannot assume it is true. I have to assume neither. Before we proved Fermat's Last Theorem, we couldn't say it was right or wrong. We couldn't say that in the absence of proof that there was no equation that satisfied x^n=y^n+z^n for n > 2. True, most mathematicians believed the theorem was true, and they turned out to be correct. But there was another theorem (it escapes me which one) which was true for all the numbers 1-10^16 or something like that - but ended up having a counterexample when you got to around 10^32 or something like that.
Thank you very much for proving my assertian that you misrepresent everything I say.
I never said that because we can't see bacteria, they don't exist. If the people of the 14th century had thought rationally instead of superstitiously, they would have said, "Something is causing this disease, and although we can't see it, we know it must be there, because we can see its effects. As there are no effects that can be ascribed to the supernatural, however--everything that we thought was supernatural has turned out to have a naturalistic explanation--it is reasonable to assume god does not exist until EVIDENCE comes along." Note that a key component of science is predictability. I can predict that exposure to germs wil make you sick. What predictability does the claim of god have? How do we test your god hypothesis? See the difference? As for Fermat, we could trust that he was probably right even when his theorum was unsolved, because he had a track record of being right on such matters, and it is wise to trust an expert. He ould have been wrong, of course--the interesting thing is that eventhe solution to his theorum we have today, although proving that Fermat was correct, cannot be the solution that Fermat arrived at, because our modern proof is based upon notions that were not available to Fermat. So we still don't know how he solved his own proof.
BTW, you yourself exhibit naturalistic thinking at times. If your car breaks down, you don't assume demons did it; you look for a naturalistic cause, such as a broken fan belt. So why the double standard?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
The difference of course between science/math and discussion of the afterlife is that you cannot prove existence or non-existence of the afterlife, EVER, any more than you could measure the exact location and speed of a quantum particle.
Again, we can predict that particles will behave in certain ways. It is this very predictive power that enables your PC to work. It doesn't have to be exact; just show me some rough proof for the afterlife. But you don't even have that. So again, why believe something for which there is no evidence? Your argument is absurd. You're saying that becuase we don't know everything about a particle, then we know nothing, which simply isn't true. To believe in anythign without an evidence at all, however, is burying your head in the sand, ostrich-like. It doesn't change the nature of reality.
__________________
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"Most people, I believe, think that you need a God to explain the existence of the world, and especially the existence of life. They are wrong, but our education system is such that many people don't know it. "--Richard Dawkins
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Old 2nd August 2006, 09:14 PM   #104
illuminatedwax
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I never said anything about the supernatural - I was talking about an afterlife, which cannot be proven nor disproven.
Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
The rational default position is the supernatural does not exist until you show evidence for its existence. All these millennia, and no evidence. Hmm...

Do what I do, not what I say? So, your god is a hypocrite.
I think it's pretty fair for God to consider himself somehow above humans...after all He requests their worship, yes?
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You're joking, aren't you? Darwin, Dan Barker, and Alfred Hitchcock all deconverted. of course, conversions are more likely, for the simple reason that we are all born atheists; we have to learn the dogma of religion in order to embrace it.
As to your list of atheistic atrocities, note that for the term to apply, the atrocity in question must have been committed in the name of atheism. So, let's take a look.
I apologize; I'm not up on my convert list.
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Wrong.
Right
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In other words, you merely cherry-pick those parts ofthe Bible that conform to your predispositions. If you were already repdisposed to favouring rape, you'd back Deuteronomy over the allegorical Gospels. This is self-serving of the worst order. Yo ucan't cherry-pick. Either accept all the precepts, or none at all. Ignoring the parts of Xianity that make you uncomfortable, however, is intellectually dishonest.
Ignoring the good parts of religion like you do is intellectually dishonest. Some of the stuff that Jesus says directly contradicts stuff in the Old Testament. The whole point of the Messiah was that God was changing the rules. So pointing out all the stuff from the Old Testament makes as much sense as citing the Articles of Confederation. There's no cherry picking: the New Testament overwrites the Old. In some parts, Jesus says that some of the old law is still applicable, in other places he says it isn't.
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As for enjoying your delusions: fine. Go right ahead. At least I have reality on my side. You must not try to foist them on anyone else, though.
I'm not trying to foist. I'm not a Bible thumper - I'm saying that religion does not cause a general increase in Evil in the world. I'm saying humans do a good enough job of that themselves. If it wasn't religion people were fighting for, it would be something else. I'd like YOU to stop foisting by insisting that the position of "no afterlife" is the only rational one to take when there is no evidence either way.
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Giving people rules is not a good thing per se; it depends on the rules in question. Exhortations to murder unbelievers (like Jesus told his followers to do)
Cite, please.
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If you need a lie for hope or comfort, I suggest a therapist.
It's becoming clear to me that your position cannot be supported without the axiom that all religion is provably wrong.
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As to the sense of community, try walking away from the church, and then seeing how your former friends treat you.
They'll try to get me back, like any friend would.
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That's because the bad is driven by the religion, but the good exists independently of it. If the only reason you do good is because you fear after-death consequences, you are not a good or moral person, merely one who is frightened by spiritual blackmail. I, however, do the right thing purely because it is right; no appeal to adverse consequences needed. So which of us is the more moral?
Who said I was frightened? Religion is meant to guide you into doing the right thing. Honestly, some people are too stupid to do the right thing sometimes. Sometimes it's not as clear cut as you'd like to think it is. Also, as an atheist, you are also free to define for yourself what is right; this makes anything that you want to do right if you choose to define it that way. Who's Humpty Dumpty now?
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For religion to be inherently good, it will need to supply some form of "goodness" that cannot be found elsewhere, and there is none. You can be ethical and community-minded without subscribing to superstions and fantasy. And surely, perpetuating the myths of a flat Earth and geocentric universe is plain wrong? Or are you going to go into denial mode about what the Bible has to say on those issues?
And you can be ethical and community-minded with religion, too. It's just different ways of going about the same thing.

It's beside the point - religion doesn't care about the Earth being round, and it doesn't care about a geocentric universe. It cares about people and what lies outside of the world around us.

Also I wasn't aware the Bible ever claimed the world was flat, or a geocentric universe - those were all the folly of the Catholic Church AFAIK.
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Why? So that the rest of the congregation can't hear the truth?
In college, you call out in the lecture theatre when the lecturer makes a mistake. Even parliamentarians heckle. So why should I grant your superstitious bigwig an exception?
Seriously, please tell me that you have some common decency. Why should a priest allow some jackass to shout after every sentence he says? The congregation wants to go home. They don't necessarily want to indulge you with a 2-hour long debate. Try this: make an announcement that anyone who wants to hear "the truth" should convene later. The priest isn't scared of you taking his followers away. He just doesn't want you to act like an *******. Would you expect to be able to heckle someone giving a graduation speech?
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Unless, as I increasingly suspect, you mistakenly believe that you need a god to be moral.
No, you need to believe in a God to get into Heaven. There's a distinct difference. All it's saying is you need to believe in what we believe in to get the rewards that we believe in.
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For starters, Stalin learned his morals in the Seminary (Greek Orthodox).
Further, none of these crimes were committed in the name of, or to further, secularity. Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam all had moustaches. Do you think therefore that having a moustache is a motive for committing evil? The fact that Chiang and Mao were atheists is irrelevant to their motive for committing genocide. You might as well blame it on the fact that they were both Chinese.
The Romans were also religious, not atheistic (for the most part); they just had different gods.
Wow, Stalin was in the Seminary? The leader Stalin was an atheist and persecuted the Orthodox church. I guess that goes into the "conversion to atheism results in a bad person" column!

What I'm saying is that in the absence of religion, man will still commit atrocities. I'm also saying that if you take away religion, it will not decrease that amount. Another reason for this is those who commit atrocities in the name of religion are terrible people. It is a fair thing to assume that in the absence of religion, these people will remain terrible.

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And the Holocaust was both racial and religious, as Hitler explained in Mein kampf; killing Jews was the Lord's work (he says it 74 times in such a small volume). Therefore, your argument is incorrect and horribly muddled.
The acid test is this: Would the atrocities in question still have been committed if the perpetrators had not been atheists? The answer, of course, is yes. Stalin, Chiang, and Mao would all have still committed mass murder to further their aims, for these aims and their bloodthirstiness were independent of their absence of theistic beleif.
Then we ask, would the Inquisition, 9/11, etc., have happened if their perpetrators had not been religious? And the answer is clearly no, because these crimes were committed in furtherance of a religious agenda.
First, Hitler would still have killed Jews if he wasn't religious. No serious student of history thinks that the Holocaust was religiously inspired; the Mein Kampf quote is a red herring.
Secondly, the reason for that religious hate came from their hatred of intruders - unfortunately once you remove religion, the entire situation is destroyed. I think that if there was no religion, the peoples of the Middle East would still be as hardcore as they are now, just in a different way.
Thirdly, to suppose that Mao Zedong would have even done anything he did if he was a religious man is a logical fallacy worse than anything you have accused me of. Who knows? Maybe he would have become a monk in a Buddhist temple living his life out peacefully. Therefore your "acid test" is not worth anything.

If we can't count those as "secular evils" because they were not done in the name of atheism, then atheism has no good, either. Who has done anything good in the name of atheism? I guarantee there's a lot more people doing good in the name of religion than people doing good in the name of atheism.
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One point that occurred to me after I wrote the preceding entry was that the difference between a businessman who loses everything in a Wall Street crash and so jumps from a window, and a penitent who flagellates himself to death, is that the businessman has at least a sound reason for his action: he is ruined. The penitent is motivated by a fantasy. We can conclude that the difference between them is that the businessman is depressed, whereas the penitent is deluded.
Again, this relies on the axiom that religious people are deluded, which is one of the points of contention.
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That is not what Russell is saying; and I can make logical decisions based on an afterlife (or, rather, the absence thereof).
The mind requires the physical organ of the brain to function. With bran death (bodily death), the mind ceases to exist. Cartesian dualism has already been debunked. Further, if you really believe there's a soul that is the mind, rather than the mind as an epiphenomenon of the brain, you must explain how something immaterial can interact with the physical organ ofthe body. Otherwise, your statement is worthless.
As to BT, he then goes on to say that nor can he disprove that there is a singing teapot in orbit around Mars, so strictly speaking, we are all agnostic on the point. You can, however, assign probability values to such a phenomenon, and the singing teapot hypothesis would rank pretty low--yet the idea of an omnipotent god must rank even lower! So, if you believe in a god, you must also believe in the teapot to be consistent. But I bet you don't believe in the teapot, do you? So you are being inconsistent.
Here's a question: the Universe is finite, correct? What lies outside of it? Nothing? Something? Can you even talk about a "thing" if you are outside of the universe? It's the same as dividing by zero - it's not defined in your rules, so you just don't talk about it. I'm saying that something is acting on the brain, but it's intangible. Suppose my religion is the Matrix religion: we are all inside the Matrix and it is designed SO perfectly that no one can recognize it. Furthermore, the world the Matrix is in follows rules totally different than our own.

Sounds crazy, right? But there's no possible way to prove or disprove it because of the way it is defined - it is DEFINED to be unprovable. So therefore you must make an assumption about it. Your assumption is that Matrixworld does not exist. But you must grant that someone who assumes it does exist has as much logical sense as you - just a greater imagination. Yes, you could make anything up - and people have. But I refuse to draw judgment on those people's intelligence or capacity for logical thought.

It is what Russell is saying. I can prove the teapot since I know the rules surrounding it. I can state with a great deal of certainty that the teapot is not there since I know the rules that govern teapots. But we are totally in the dark on the existence of a God or not, and we know that such a thing can NEVER be proven. Teapots have a chance.

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Thank you very much for proving my assertian that you misrepresent everything I say.
I never said that because we can't see bacteria, they don't exist. If the people of the 14th century had thought rationally instead of superstitiously, they would have said, "Something is causing this disease, and although we can't see it, we know it must be there, because we can see its effects. As there are no effects that can be ascribed to the supernatural, however--everything that we thought was supernatural has turned out to have a naturalistic explanation--it is reasonable to assume god does not exist until EVIDENCE comes along." Note that a key component of science is predictability. I can predict that exposure to germs wil make you sick. What predictability does the claim of god have? How do we test your god hypothesis? See the difference?

(Fermat) So we still don't know how he solved his own proof.
Ah, but if I am in the year 1356 and I don't know that microscopic organisms exist (honestly they would sound pretty crazy at the time!), there is also no way I can test for these things. Instead I say, "ah ha, the weather seems to be causing this" and assume that cold air causes people to become ill. No one needs to say anything about the supernatural. If they say "well invisible demons did it" then, actually, they'd be closer to correct! People like you who reject the non-existence of something until they have evidence to the contrary would have failed. I will also note that in most cases where we assume the non-existence of something is because we have evidence that it is unlikely. The singing teapot? We're pretty sure teapots don't sing because we have evidence - we know how teapots are made. We're pretty sure you don't have a dragon in your garage because if there were dragons, we'd've seen 'em. What we fight is convoluted thinking that makes up excuses why dragons might exist despite all the evidence that points to them not existing. We suspect that a Creator does not exist because.......? All the "evidence" you have points to the fact that a Creator does not [i]affect our world in ways that are apparent[\i]. There is no shred of evidence for or against the fact that a Creator does not exist beyond our own universe.

By the way, how do we test your atheist hypothesis?
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Again, we can predict that particles will behave in certain ways. It is this very predictive power that enables your PC to work. It doesn't have to be exact; just show me some rough proof for the afterlife. But you don't even have that. So again, why believe something for which there is no evidence? Your argument is absurd. You're saying that becuase we don't know everything about a particle, then we know nothing, which simply isn't true. To believe in anythign without an evidence at all, however, is burying your head in the sand, ostrich-like. It doesn't change the nature of reality.
First, it was a metaphor. My statement about particles cannot be inferred to mean that if we don't know the exact speed and position of a quantum particle, then we can know nothing about it. I'm simply saying that there are things we cannot know.

Second, the afterlife by definition is not a part of reality. If I get anything from this conversation, it would be for you to concede that point. Why are you saying something for which you have no evidence. What I'm trying to get you to see is that we BOTH have our heads in the sand. Your position is not the default rational position. That's all.
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Old 2nd August 2006, 11:28 PM   #105
Kimpatsu
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I never said anything about the supernatural - I was talking about an afterlife, which cannot be proven nor disproven.
Are you seriously claiming that the afterlife is not supernatural? What the hell else could it be?!
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I think it's pretty fair for God to consider himself somehow above humans...after all He requests their worship, yes?
How North Korean of him: continuous praise of theleader.
If god wants my worship, firstly he can tell me himself, and secondly, he can justify all his atrocities to me.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I apologize; I'm not up on my convert list.
Evidently.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Right
Yes, it is.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Ignoring the good parts of religion like you do is intellectually dishonest. Some of the stuff that Jesus says directly contradicts stuff in the Old Testament. The whole point of the Messiah was that God was changing the rules. So pointing out all the stuff from the Old Testament makes as much sense as citing the Articles of Confederation. There's no cherry picking: the New Testament overwrites the Old. In some parts, Jesus says that some of the old law is still applicable, in other places he says it isn't.
So this omniscient being doesn't know his own mind, and arbitrarily changes the rules when he suffers a change of heart?
If the NT overwrites the OT, why do you keep the OT? That's the intellectually dishonest act. Of course, if you accept the reality: that the different books were written by different peopel to reflect changing cultural mores, there's no problem. But then you would have to abandon the fiction that there's a god.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
I'm not trying to foist. I'm not a Bible thumper - I'm saying that religion does not cause a general increase in Evil in the world. I'm saying humans do a good enough job of that themselves. If it wasn't religion people were fighting for, it would be something else. I'd like YOU to stop foisting by insisting that the position of "no afterlife" is the only rational one to take when there is no evidence either way.
For the umpteenth time, it's not up to me to supply evidence of a non-event. The onus is on YOU to supply evidence. When you admit there is no evidence, you are giving the exact argument that I give: as there's no evidence, it's foolish to believe. That you beleive despite the absence of evidence shows an inability to reason.
If you're not trying to thump, then you support the separation of church and state and believe that a woman has control over her own body. Yes or no?
[quote=illuminatedwax;1815116] Cite, please.
Willingly: In the parable of the talents, Jesus says that God takes what is not rightly his, and reaps what he didn't sow. The parable ends with the words of Jesus: "bring them [those who preferred not to be ruled by him] hither, and slay them before me." Luke 19:22-27
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
It's becoming clear to me that your position cannot be supported without the axiom that all religion is provably wrong.
Whatever. You're the one who keeps maintaining belief in the absence of evidence is a tenable position.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
They'll try to get me back, like any friend would.
In other words, they'll put pressure on you... like no true friend ever would. And what if you refuse. Will they still talk to you? Or will they snub you?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Who said I was frightened? Religion is meant to guide you into doing the right thing. Honestly, some people are too stupid to do the right thing sometimes. Sometimes it's not as clear cut as you'd like to think it is. Also, as an atheist, you are also free to define for yourself what is right; this makes anything that you want to do right if you choose to define it that way. Who's Humpty Dumpty now?
Actually, that's the godly position. If god is the source of morality, then whatever god wills is moral. Ergo, if god wills that rape and toture are good, then they become so. If, however, morality is divorced from god, then you don't need a god to define what is right... as I don't. Ethics certainly change over time. Consider that in 16th-century Europe, cat burning was considered an amusement. And these people were far more religious than the average today. Does this mean that there is a fundamental moral truth of which all 16th-century Europeans were unaware? Or are you admitting that morality is an evolving, organic thing... in which case, there is no divine will involved.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
And you can be ethical and community-minded with religion, too. It's just different ways of going about the same thing.
But why would you NEED religion to behave ethically? Are you too intellectually challenged to do the right thing without provocation?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
It's beside the point - religion doesn't care about the Earth being round, and it doesn't care about a geocentric universe. It cares about people and what lies outside of the world around us.
I quite agree that religion is at best indifferent to science, but then wallowing in ignorance is what religion is all about. Besides, if the Bible is the word of god, why is it factually incorrect on these points?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Also I wasn't aware the Bible ever claimed the world was flat, or a geocentric universe - those were all the folly of the Catholic Church AFAIK.
Wrong:
Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.” (Geocentrism)

Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm ...” (Geocentrism)

Psalm 96:10: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable ...” (Geocentrism)

Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.” (Geocentrism)

Isaiah 45:18: “...who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast...” (Geocentrism)
Daniel 4:7-8, "I saw a tree of great height at the center of the world. It was large and strong, with its top touching the heavens, and it could be seen from the ends of the earth." This was allegedly an inspired dream, yet it conveys a flat-earth concept, because no matter how tall a tree would be, people on the other side of a spherical earth could not see it.

Matthew 4:8, "The devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and displayed before him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence...." The only plausible reason for the "very high mountain" was that the altitude would make it possible to see to the ends of the earth. Only on a flat earth would this be remotely possible, so the New Testament writers were as ignorant as the Old.

In Genesis 11:4, the people wanted to build a tower up to heaven. If you look at the graphics above, you can see their concept of heavenly bodies under the dome, not all that far away. Presumably, the Lord was afraid they would be able to accomplish their plan, so he caused them to speak various languages. This, of course, is not the reason people speak different languages, but nothing is too fantastic for the ignorant to believe.
(With thanks to Skeptical Review for the crib.)
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Seriously, please tell me that you have some common decency. Why should a priest allow some jackass to shout after every sentence he says? The congregation wants to go home. They don't necessarily want to indulge you with a 2-hour long debate. Try this: make an announcement that anyone who wants to hear "the truth" should convene later. The priest isn't scared of you taking his followers away. He just doesn't want you to act like an *******. Would you expect to be able to heckle someone giving a graduation speech?
But a sermon isn't a graduation speech; it's a declaration of THE TRUTH from an ignoramus who woudln't know the facts if it bit him.
How about this: get your priest to sign up here and I'll debate him. But, every time he resorts to using a logical fallacy, he has to pay $10 to a charity of my choice. Would he still be so sure of himself?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
No, you need to believe in a God to get into Heaven. There's a distinct difference. All it's saying is you need to believe in what we believe in to get the rewards that we believe in.
Good thing that heaven doesn't exist, then, or I'd be in trouble. I can't MAKE myself beleive in anything; I go where the evidence leads. Pity the religious don't.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Wow, Stalin was in the Seminary? The leader Stalin was an atheist and persecuted the Orthodox church. I guess that goes into the "conversion to atheism results in a bad person" column!
You didn't know that Stalin learned that genocide was good whilst studying in the seminary? OK, guess you not a fan of 20th-century history. Fair enough. But I must reiterate, it wasn't his atheism that made him do bad things; it was his adherence to the religion of Communism.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
What I'm saying is that in the absence of religion, man will still commit atrocities. I'm also saying that if you take away religion, it will not decrease that amount. Another reason for this is those who commit atrocities in the name of religion are terrible people. It is a fair thing to assume that in the absence of religion, these people will remain terrible.
Then you are wrong. Take away religion, and all the religious atrocities will cease. So ther ewill de facto be an overall decrease in evil. Simple Aritotelian syllogism. It is by no means "fair to assume" that the evil religionists would have committed such evils had religion not been the vehicle. (For a start, these people would not have had the religious power to inspire mass acts of murder like the Jewish pogroms.) There will still be those who commit atrocities, granted, but their number, and the corresponding number of acts, would be fewer. The very war in Lebanon, for example, would not be happening now if there were no religion.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
First, Hitler would still have killed Jews if he wasn't religious. No serious student of history thinks that the Holocaust was religiously inspired; the Mein Kampf quote is a red herring.
On the contrary, Mein Kampf tells you exactly what Hitler had in mind all along. I grant you that he was probably mad (as a result of syphilis, no less), but that doesn't change the fact that he beleived that killing the Jews was god's work. He said so repeatedly, and not only in Mein Kampf. When did you last read it?
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Secondly, the reason for that religious hate came from their hatred of intruders - unfortunately once you remove religion, the entire situation is destroyed. I think that if there was no religion, the peoples of the Middle East would still be as hardcore as they are now, just in a different way.
Again, there is no evidence to suggest that. Rather, as Anthony Smith explained in "The Nation in History", without an overtly religious agenda, and without competition for resources (which was the start of the original Middle Eastern henotheism), peoples tend to intermarry and thus the line between them becomes increasingly blurred until it no longer exists. To return to the earlier example, there have been Jews in Europe for two millenia, and yet they were easily identifiable toy the medieval pogroms and later the Nazis. How, when there is no such thing as the "Jewish race"? Because they kept themselves culturally distinct through their religion. Have you seen "The Root of All Evil?" When Dawkins interviews rabbi Boteach, you'd think the man was an immigrant, although it turns out he's a Londoner, born and raised. However, he was raised in a closed religious enclave, and speaks with an Israeli acccent! THAT'S what marked out racially indistinguishable people for their persecutors.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Thirdly, to suppose that Mao Zedong would have even done anything he did if he was a religious man is a logical fallacy worse than anything you have accused me of. Who knows? Maybe he would have become a monk in a Buddhist temple living his life out peacefully. Therefore your "acid test" is not worth anything.
Which logical fallacy am I vioating? Be specific. Argumentum ad baculum? Agumentum ad populam? Please tell; I can't see it.
And are you aware of the numbre of Buddhist monks here in Asia who get arrested every year for sexual assault, theft, and murder? (Mostly of tourists.) To presuppose that religion makes you peaceful is an unwarranted assumption, for the facts speak otherwise. Even if I grant you that life as a monk would never have lead Mao to commit atrocities, what does that prove? That his motivator was the religion of Communism, and that his religion gave him the opportunity to indulge his megalomania. Further, remember that it wasn't his lack of belief in a deity that inspired him to commit atrocities, so I don't really see the relevance here.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
If we can't count those as "secular evils" because they were not done in the name of atheism, then atheism has no good, either. Who has done anything good in the name of atheism? I guarantee there's a lot more people doing good in the name of religion than people doing good in the name of atheism.
That's right; no one does anything in the name of atheism, because atheism is merely the absence of belief in the paranormal. You, too, are an atheist regarding 499 of the 500 gods worshipped around the world today. I just go one god further. Where you and I differ, however, is that I don't need the threats of eternal damnation to make me do good. Nor does any atheist.
Then again, keeping the political and education sectors superstition-free is a good thing, and that's an atheistic action.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Again, this relies on the axiom that religious people are deluded, which is one of the points of contention.
Belief in something without any evidence whatsoever is delusion. Something that John Lennon understood very well.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Here's a question: the Universe is finite, correct? What lies outside of it? Nothing? Something? Can you even talk about a "thing" if you are outside of the universe? It's the same as dividing by zero - it's not defined in your rules, so you just don't talk about it. I'm saying that something is acting on the brain, but it's intangible. Suppose my religion is the Matrix religion: we are all inside the Matrix and it is designed SO perfectly that no one can recognize it. Furthermore, the world the Matrix is in follows rules totally different than our own.
Are you seriously claiming that we are really all figments inside a machine? Whilst I can't falsify that hypothesis (as David Deutch said in the Fabric of Reality, we would be unable to tell the difference between the real world and a perfect artificial reality), assuming that we are all figments ithout evidence violates Occam's Razor, so again, assigning probability values tells us that we aren't in the Matrix.
Further, do you mean intangible or immaterial? Thought is intangible, but the thought process itself is an epiphenomenon of a physical medium: the brain. If, however, you mean immaterial, then you must offer an explanation as to how this immaterial thing can possibly interact with a physical medium.
Regarding the universe, I'd prefer it if you said the "multiverse", because I like the Hugh Everett interpretation; it seems symmetrical to me, offering a plausible explanation for certain particle behaviours. If we grant that this is the one and only universe, however, then the concept of being "outside" is nonsensical, as there is no "outside"; by definition, the universe is all there is. So your question is meaningless.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Sounds crazy, right? But there's no possible way to prove or disprove it because of the way it is defined - it is DEFINED to be unprovable. So therefore you must make an assumption about it. Your assumption is that Matrixworld does not exist. But you must grant that someone who assumes it does exist has as much logical sense as you - just a greater imagination. Yes, you could make anything up - and people have. But I refuse to draw judgment on those people's intelligence or capacity for logical thought.
Again, you are begging the question. As the question in the terms in which you have couched it is meaningless, there is no sensible answer, any more than there can be a sensible answer to "When is purple?" or the favourite old chestnut, "What happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object?"
I have not made any assumptions; as any fule no, you only accept hypotheses in proportion to the strength of the evidence. As there is no evidence for the sup0ernatural, belief therein is not rational. QED.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
It is what Russell is saying. I can prove the teapot since I know the rules surrounding it. I can state with a great deal of certainty that the teapot is not there since I know the rules that govern teapots. But we are totally in the dark on the existence of a God or not, and we know that such a thing can NEVER be proven. Teapots have a chance.
Go on then; prove the teapot. And then, prove the existence of god. If god really exists, of course her existence can be proven. So show me the evidence. Same for the teapot. What are the ODDS of the teapot existing? Slim. But the odds of god existing are even slimmer! So, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, why on earth do you believe in the existence of the teapot? And if you don't, then you why do you believe in god? THAT is the point that Russell was making, which you seem to have misunderstood.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Ah, but if I am in the year 1356 and I don't know that microscopic organisms exist (honestly they would sound pretty crazy at the time!), there is also no way I can test for these things. Instead I say, "ah ha, the weather seems to be causing this" and assume that cold air causes people to become ill. No one needs to say anything about the supernatural. If they say "well invisible demons did it" then, actually, they'd be closer to correct!
No, they bloody well wouldn't! Demons had nothing to do with it.
Your argument only holds water if the cause of disease were truly demons until such time as germs were discovered, and then demons took a step back and let the germs--which had hitherto infected no one--take over. That 14th-century people didn't know the cause of disease and blamed it on the stars ("influenza", remember) doesn't make their hypothesis correct. But I assure you, demons had no hand in disease at any time.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
People like you who reject the non-existence of something until they have evidence to the contrary would have failed. I will also note that in most cases where we assume the non-existence of something is because we have evidence that it is unlikely. The singing teapot? We're pretty sure teapots don't sing because we have evidence - we know how teapots are made. We're pretty sure you don't have a dragon in your garage because if there were dragons, we'd've seen 'em. What we fight is convoluted thinking that makes up excuses why dragons might exist despite all the evidence that points to them not existing. We suspect that a Creator does not exist because.......? All the "evidence" you have points to the fact that a Creator does not [i]affect our world in ways that are apparent[\i]. There is no shred of evidence for or against the fact that a Creator does not exist beyond our own universe.
There is evidence against the creator insofar as all supposed evidences given to date have been falsified by the march of science. Lightning is not an angry god thumping his table, and disease is not divine punishment. A dragon in my garage is more likely than an omnipotent, omniscient creator however (if god is infinitely powerful, then she is in fact infinitely unlikely), so if you disbelieve in one mythical creature because ofthe total absence of evidence, then you must also not believe in a far less likely god for the same reason. To disavow the former but not the latter is not reasoning; it's wishful thinking. (I.e., it must be true because it's what you WANT to believe.) That is not rational, however.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
By the way, how do we test your atheist hypothesis?
Show evidence for the paranormal. In fact, why are we wasting our time here? Why don't you just take your evidence to Randi and claim $1 million? Of course, if you don't have any evidence, then believing in god is just a delusion.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
First, it was a metaphor. My statement about particles cannot be inferred to mean that if we don't know the exact speed and position of a quantum particle, then we can know nothing about it. I'm simply saying that there are things we cannot know.
There are things we cannot know FOR CERTAIN, but we can assign good probability values to them. For example, we can know the exact POSITION of a particle, but then we lose knowledge of its exact SPEED. We can, however, make pretty good guesses as to the latter based on earlier rational experiments. You are hankering for a certainty that doesn't exist in real life. It may be that god exists, but there is zero evidence for it, so like the teapot, without evidence I am going to be an atheist on the subject. I don't acccept the near-impossible without evidence.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Second, the afterlife by definition is not a part of reality. If I get anything from this conversation, it would be for you to concede that point. Why are you saying something for which you have no evidence. What I'm trying to get you to see is that we BOTH have our heads in the sand. Your position is not the default rational position. That's all.
My position is most definitely the default rational position, so you are wrong. Cartesian dualism arises from a trick of the mind: the brain does not perceive itself. That's why we talk of "my body" and "my mind" as if they were separate entities, even though all consciousness is in fact an epiphenomenon of the brain. If the afterlife is not part of reality, then you are de facto admitting that it does not exist. For nothing unreal exists. Only reality can exist. QED.
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Old 3rd August 2006, 04:11 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Scott Haley View Post
He sang:

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

And then the guy that walked up and shot him to death did not do it because of nationalism or religion. So much for that.

In a later verse, John Lennon, millionaire, sang "Imagine no possessions." He didn't practice what he preached. Personally, I like my posessions.
Can you come up with a song that uses an acceptable amount of simplification, promotes non-violence, encourages - among other things - critical thinking, uses a very simple tune and inspires hundreds of millions?
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Old 3rd August 2006, 04:56 AM   #107
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I spent the last hours reading up on Zep's departure and this thread, therefore: My hat goes off to you, Kimpatsu.
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Old 3rd August 2006, 05:05 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
...
For all those who don't know, the abbreviation "PSG" stands for Pseudo-Scientific Gobbledygook.
I had to reroute power from the secondary energy system to the primary computer matrix to understand it.

Seeing "Gobbledygook" in writing always makes me laugh...




Make it so. (ROFL.)
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Old 3rd August 2006, 05:19 AM   #109
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Lennon Lives - still...

This thread is excellent - need to spend some more time reading through. I am a John and Beatles fan. The film is coming out this September - it's a David Leaf film. He is excellent. Trailers for the film have been put up but check this out. It will further drive this thread.

http://www.theusversusjohnlennon.com/site/

http://www.theusversusjohnlennon.com/ to read "the Grudge".

Imagine is one of my least fav songs and I usually turn it off as well. For some it's an anthem.

Code:
Originally Posted by 1984 :
Anyone tried playing Imagine backwards for hidden satanic messages?

Nope, not yet.

WD
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Old 3rd August 2006, 07:13 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by GzuzKryzt View Post
I spent the last hours reading up on Zep's departure and this thread, therefore: My hat goes off to you, Kimpatsu.
Thank you, my Celtic colleague. But do feel free to join in.
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Old 3rd August 2006, 08:19 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Scott Haley View Post
He didn't practice what he preached.
That doesn't mean his message is of any less value, though.
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1. He'd never do that. 2. Okay but he's not currently doing it. 3. Okay but he's not currently technically doing it. 4. Okay but everyone does it. 5. He's doing it, we can't stop him, no point in complaining about it. 6. We all knew he was going to do it which... makes it okay somehow. 7. It's perfectly fine that's he's doing it.
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Old 3rd August 2006, 09:58 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Second, the afterlife by definition is not a part of reality. If I get anything from this conversation, it would be for you to concede that point.
You seem to have a strange opinion about what conceding that point means. If the afterlife is not part of reality, then it doesn't exist. "Reality" by definition means "everything that exists".
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Old 3rd August 2006, 04:10 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
If god wants my worship, firstly he can tell me himself, and secondly, he can justify all his atrocities to me.
Fair enough. No one's asking you to convert.
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Yes, it is.
Cheese.
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So this omniscient being doesn't know his own mind, and arbitrarily changes the rules when he suffers a change of heart?
If the NT overwrites the OT, why do you keep the OT? That's the intellectually dishonest act. Of course, if you accept the reality: that the different books were written by different peopel to reflect changing cultural mores, there's no problem. But then you would have to abandon the fiction that there's a god.
So basically you're accusing God of being a "flip-flopper." That's a stupid statement to make, for all the reasons it was incorrect in 2004. Things change, and rules need changing.
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For the umpteenth time, it's not up to me to supply evidence of a non-event. The onus is on YOU to supply evidence. When you admit there is no evidence, you are giving the exact argument that I give: as there's no evidence, it's foolish to believe. That you beleive despite the absence of evidence shows an inability to reason.
If you're not trying to thump, then you support the separation of church and state and believe that a woman has control over her own body. Yes or no?
(Philisophical stuff is at the bottom.)
I firmly believe in the separation between church and state. I agree that a woman has control over her own body, but that doesn't mean my abortion stance is what you think it is. But the point is that my abortion stance is not religious in the least.
Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Cite, please.
Willingly: In the parable of the talents, Jesus says that God takes what is not rightly his, and reaps what he didn't sow. The parable ends with the words of Jesus: "bring them [those who preferred not to be ruled by him] hither, and slay them before me." Luke 19:22-27
Gah! Is no one allowed to be metaphorical anymore?! He doesn't mean that rich masters should beat their servants or that kings should slaughter those that do not follow him; the whole parable is a metaphor for the kingdom of heaven, and if you didn't realize that you should probably go back to basic theology studies. That's what a parable is; it's not meant to be taken literally.
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In other words, they'll put pressure on you... like no true friend ever would. And what if you refuse. Will they still talk to you? Or will they snub you?
No, if a friend of mine quit something that I thought was beneficial for him (let's say he stopped seeing a therapist), I would ask him to return. Any good friend would do that. A true Christian would not snub me; they would continue to associate with me but try to convince me to come back without judging me. That's the problem with today's Xians: they are always judging everyone.
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Actually, that's the godly position. If god is the source of morality, then whatever god wills is moral. Ergo, if god wills that rape and toture are good, then they become so. If, however, morality is divorced from god, then you don't need a god to define what is right... as I don't. Ethics certainly change over time. Consider that in 16th-century Europe, cat burning was considered an amusement. And these people were far more religious than the average today. Does this mean that there is a fundamental moral truth of which all 16th-century Europeans were unaware? Or are you admitting that morality is an evolving, organic thing... in which case, there is no divine will involved.
No, it's as simple as the fact that people don't always pay attention to all of the rules.
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But why would you NEED religion to behave ethically? Are you too intellectually challenged to do the right thing without provocation?
There are a lot of stupid people out there that don't realize what the right thing is.
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(science)
Wrong:
Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.”
Psalm 93:1: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm ...”
Psalm 96:10: “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable ...”
Psalm 104:5: “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.”
Isaiah 45:18: “...who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast..."
You've got to be kidding. Those passages can be interpreted as the promise that the planet isn't going to fly apart.
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(tall things = flat earth)
I'll agree that the writers of the bible were limited by their knowledge, and it certainly dates the books. The correct facts aren't in there because God doesn't care that we know science. We're free to learn it or not, but the point was not that you could see the entire earth from a mountain, but that they were looking at stuff.
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But a sermon isn't a graduation speech; it's a declaration of THE TRUTH from an ignoramus who woudln't know the facts if it bit him.
How about this: get your priest to sign up here and I'll debate him. But, every time he resorts to using a logical fallacy, he has to pay $10 to a charity of my choice. Would he still be so sure of himself?
A sermon ASSUMES the religion is correct and then tells you how to apply it to your life. You can't go in there and hope to win an argument by doing the "let's assume all religion is wrong" thing you've been doing here. Sermons are speeches; and they are in an environment where you would be disturbing other people if you made a scene.
But he'd be up for it. My priest prides himself on being quite logical. If you're in the NW Indiana region I might ask him to take you up on it.
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Good thing that heaven doesn't exist, then, or I'd be in trouble. I can't MAKE myself beleive in anything; I go where the evidence leads. Pity the religious don't.
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You didn't know that Stalin learned that genocide was good whilst studying in the seminary? OK, guess you not a fan of 20th-century history. Fair enough. But I must reiterate, it wasn't his atheism that made him do bad things; it was his adherence to the religion of Communism.
Communism is no ways a religion - at least, it does not carry the so-called "delusions" that other religions do. This is what I've been saying from the start: the real problem is blind ideology, not just ideology itself.
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Then you are wrong. Take away religion, and all the religious atrocities will cease. So ther ewill de facto be an overall decrease in evil. Simple Aritotelian syllogism. It is by no means "fair to assume" that the evil religionists would have committed such evils had religion not been the vehicle. (For a start, these people would not have had the religious power to inspire mass acts of murder like the Jewish pogroms.) There will still be those who commit atrocities, granted, but their number, and the corresponding number of acts, would be fewer. The very war in Lebanon, for example, would not be happening now if there were no religion.
But I claim that religion, because it did exist, has prevented bad people from doing terrible things elsewhere. I'll say it here: both our positions are untenable because they require major speculation. Yes, if we all of a sudden made everyone forget religion right now, it would decrease violence. No, it would not reduce violence in the long run. No, it would not decrease violence had it never existed.

I'll tell you this too: while the TV may make it seem like Xians are Pro-war/Iraq, nothing is further from the truth. You just hear about the crazy ones who like to scream about it.
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On the contrary, Mein Kampf tells you exactly what Hitler had in mind all along. I grant you that he was probably mad (as a result of syphilis, no less), but that doesn't change the fact that he beleived that killing the Jews was god's work. He said so repeatedly, and not only in Mein Kampf. When did you last read it?
Or maybe he was simply using this phrase to his advantage? hmm?
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Again, there is no evidence to suggest that. Rather, as Anthony Smith explained in "The Nation in History", without an overtly religious agenda, and without competition for resources (which was the start of the original Middle Eastern henotheism), peoples tend to intermarry and thus the line between them becomes increasingly blurred until it no longer exists.
It never happened with Chinese and Koreans. There's a bunch of other examples too. What about the Americans and the Native Americans? Yeah, lots of peaceful blending going on there.
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Which logical fallacy am I vioating? Be specific. Argumentum ad baculum? Agumentum ad populam? Please tell; I can't see it.
And are you aware of the numbre of Buddhist monks here in Asia who get arrested every year for sexual assault, theft, and murder? (Mostly of tourists.) To presuppose that religion makes you peaceful is an unwarranted assumption, for the facts speak otherwise. Even if I grant you that life as a monk would never have lead Mao to commit atrocities, what does that prove? That his motivator was the religion of Communism, and that his religion gave him the opportunity to indulge his megalomania. Further, remember that it wasn't his lack of belief in a deity that inspired him to commit atrocities, so I don't really see the relevance here.
I misspoke; again I guess I am not so careful with words. What you have done could be described as "pretending you know what would have happened in history given the change of one variable."
I'm saying it was his lack of belief that may have allowed him to commit atrocities. I'm saying that if he had had a belief, there's a strong chance he never would have done those things. Can you imagine? It's not hard to do.
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That's right; no one does anything in the name of atheism, because atheism is merely the absence of belief in the paranormal. You, too, are an atheist regarding 499 of the 500 gods worshipped around the world today. I just go one god further. Where you and I differ, however, is that I don't need the threats of eternal damnation to make me do good. Nor does any atheist.
Then again, keeping the political and education sectors superstition-free is a good thing, and that's an atheistic action.
Only good when you define religion as "deluded" which I wish you would stop doing when it is one of the points of contention!!

So with religion, we have people doing good things and bad things for it. With athesim we have people doing... nothing for it. I'm saying it all evens out.


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My position is most definitely the default rational position, so you are wrong. Cartesian dualism arises from a trick of the mind: the brain does not perceive itself. That's why we talk of "my body" and "my mind" as if they were separate entities, even though all consciousness is in fact an epiphenomenon of the brain. If the afterlife is not part of reality, then you are de facto admitting that it does not exist. For nothing unreal exists. Only reality can exist. QED.
Again, I used a word with a loaded meaning that wasn't interpreted as I wanted it to be (reality). Mea cupla. I've snipped all the quoting of "philosophy" above to keep it shorter.

Let's also define what we are arguing existance of. Let's say God. I define this to be the existance of a Creator that is present outside of our universe. By 'universe', I mean not that which exists, but that which we can observe.. I mean the same thing by the word 'reality'. You say that this question is meaningless, but that means that you cannot answer it, either.

So you're saying that we because have no evidence to believe in something, we must assume that it does not exist. However, I'm saying that that's a good rule of thumb only because most things that we assume not to exist have evidence for them not existing.

However, because God is by my definition, unobservable (see also: douglas adams), then you cannot have ANY evidence regarding God whatsoever.
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Belief in something without any evidence whatsoever is delusion. Something that John Lennon understood very well.
And something that you don't seem to have gotten, either. There's no information. Not a shred. Let's say that someone says to us "There exists FDSHFIWESD". Now, he hasn't told us what FDSHFIWESD is. We have zero information. Does it exist or not? By your thinking, it necessarily doesn't exist. By my thinking, it does exist, because, hey, I trust this guy.

The Bertrand Russels of the world, however, would say, "Why don't you give us more information?" Until Mr. Russell has more information, he's not going to believe it either way.

What I'm saying is that we are discussing whether God exists. We have zero information as to this fact. But the theory of existance is just as simple as non-existance - they both carry the same amount of information (0 or 1 bit). Therefore Occam's Razor does not apply.

Your assumption that he does not exist seems more logical to you, but my assumption seems more logical to me. But as far as being "deluded" or "irrational," the fact is we have both made assumptions where logically, we should not have.

Perhaps this would be simpler if I said that I believe in a God who has no direct influence over our observable universe beyond initial creation, and therefore is unobservable.

(By the way, the "demons" bit with disease - I was being cute; the only difference between demons and bacteria is that bacteria does not have intelligent thought like demons are said to have, and they do not come from Hell. Everything else is correct, though! The problem with thinking about nature in the old days is that everything was personified.)
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Old 3rd August 2006, 05:13 PM   #114
politas
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
However, because God is by my definition, unobservable (see also: douglas adams), then you cannot have ANY evidence regarding God whatsoever.

Perhaps this would be simpler if I said that I believe in a God who has no direct influence over our observable universe beyond initial creation, and therefore is unobservable.
Such a God is indeed impossible to disprove and is entirely unfalsifiable. However, it is not God as the Bible describes him. The Bible describes an interventionist God whose continuing actions and influence are easily observed.

How can you be a Christian if you don't believe in God as described by the bible?
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Old 3rd August 2006, 05:47 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by politas View Post
Such a God is indeed impossible to disprove and is entirely unfalsifiable. However, it is not God as the Bible describes him. The Bible describes an interventionist God whose continuing actions and influence are easily observed.

How can you be a Christian if you don't believe in God as described by the bible?
Simple: I think that God caused everything to happen by simple creation of the universe. Like setting up a row of dominoes and letting them fall. If you have to intervene with the dominoes while they are falling to make them all fall right, your creation is a failure!

Edit: All this is beside the point anyway. What we're arguing is if belief in a God, a Creator is an illogical position to take. We're also arguing if a belief that there is no God is a logical position to take. The point is that a belief that there is no God like I have described is just as illogical as belief that there is a God. The only logical position to take is agnosticism. I'll reiterate Kimpatsu's argument: the question is pointless. But atheists insist on answering the pointless question anyway.


Last edited by illuminatedwax; 3rd August 2006 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 3rd August 2006, 06:40 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
Simple: I think that God caused everything to happen by simple creation of the universe. Like setting up a row of dominoes and letting them fall. If you have to intervene with the dominoes while they are falling to make them all fall right, your creation is a failure!
The creation is a failure anyway. It's so pisspoor, it's like a cowboy workman.
But then again, the universe wasn't created. As any fule no, quantum fluctuations in Wheeler foam were responsible forthe Big Bang, hot a god waving his hand. (Sic.)
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Old 3rd August 2006, 06:53 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
The creation is a failure anyway. It's so pisspoor, it's like a cowboy workman.
But then again, the universe wasn't created. As any fule no, quantum fluctuations in Wheeler foam were responsible forthe Big Bang, hot a god waving his hand. (Sic.)
The first is your opinion.
Fine, then God created the Wheeler foam. If the Wheeler foam created itself, God created the rules that made the Wheeler foam create itself. We can play this game all day, but the question still comes down to the same thing: you cannot prove absence of God as I have defined it; therefore your insistence that there is no such thing is "delusion," as you have put it.

Edit: I am totally not aware of what you are referring to with the "fule" misspelling bit...
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Old 3rd August 2006, 06:59 PM   #118
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Please people, just sing along with Liel and Bill...
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Old 3rd August 2006, 07:11 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by illuminatedwax View Post
The first is your opinion.
Fine, then God created the Wheeler foam. If the Wheeler foam created itself, God created the rules that made the Wheeler foam create itself. We can play this game all day, but the question still comes down to the same thing: you cannot prove absence of God as I have defined it; therefore your insistence that there is no such thing is "delusion," as you have put it.

Edit: I am totally not aware of what you are referring to with the "fule" misspelling bit...
Show me the evidence that god(s) had any hand in the "creation" (sic) of Wheeler foam, and we can work on a testable hypothesis. Otherwise, your agument has all the validity of saying that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was responsible.
As for the "any fule no...", tha's called satire. (The great British contribution to comedy.)
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Old 3rd August 2006, 08:47 PM   #120
illuminatedwax
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Originally Posted by Kimpatsu View Post
Show me the evidence that god(s) had any hand in the "creation" (sic) of Wheeler foam, and we can work on a testable hypothesis. Otherwise, your agument has all the validity of saying that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was responsible.
As for the "any fule no...", tha's called satire. (The great British contribution to comedy.)
(I thought you might be referencing a well-known misspelling on the site or something, since you had a typo later in the sentence)

This is what I'm saying: Show me the evidence that no god(s) had any hand in the creation of "Wheeler foam" (sic), and we can work on a testable hypothesis.

This is what I'm saying. We have zero data on the question. I don't care about theories of how the universe began: every theory will give an initial state and rules for that state. We are asking the question: "did a god cause this initial state or not?" The scientific theory says we make a hypothesis and then test it. But there's no way to test this hypothesis. We don't even have any evidence to do go on (zero, please provide some if you have it!), nor is there anything in our observable universe which is even close to this, so we can't even make informed guesses! "But," you say, "Occam's Razor says that the simplest solution is the best, and my solution (no, such a thing did not occur) is the simplest!" There are some things wrong with this conclusion:

1) Occam's Razor requires that our question be predictive
2) Occam's Razor requires that we have data that our theory is shaping
3) Occam's Razor is not a philosophical rule, it is a heuristic.
4) If Occam's Razor covered the question, your solution is not the simplest; it is a yes or no question
5) If we apply Occam's Razor to the big picture, the question of whether or not there is a God is unanswerable, and therefore irrelevant to science. But you insist upon answering it anyway.

This is like Euclid's fifth postulate. I can assume it is true or that it is not true: either way leads to no contradiction.

I not only strongly and firmly believe in a separation between Church and State, I also believe, to a firmness so great that no UBB tags can express it, in a separation between Science and Religion.
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