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Old 16th August 2006, 04:26 AM   #1
Aepervius
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Nice Cartoon

religion. I am not sure if I should put that in general scepticism, (bad) humour or religion, but it certainly go for the punch in the stomach .
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Old 16th August 2006, 04:51 AM   #2
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a bit aggresive eh?
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Old 16th August 2006, 06:12 AM   #3
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Not when you’re stopped on the street and preached at, or have flyers stuck on your windshield, or you have door-to-door missionaries stop by, or have free bibles handed out at school (they used to do it in class – now they have to wait till the kid steps off school grounds), or…, well there are hundreds of examples, just pick your favorite.
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Old 16th August 2006, 06:31 AM   #4
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Pokey the Penguin!!!

May be a bit agressive, but it can be so hard beating ideas into people's heads otherwise.
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Old 16th August 2006, 07:10 AM   #5
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I'll bet fundies don't get past the title before they condemn it so it's unlikely that any will be swayed by it's content as it won't be read, not that they could be swayed, that is.
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Old 16th August 2006, 09:01 AM   #6
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See, the thing is that none of these arguments are likely to be new to a religious person reading this. So they've already come up with their own responses or rationalizations or apologies or whatever and will continue believing. At the same time, they're being told that, because they believe these things, they are stupid and wrong and bad and evil and not worthy of respect.

So you now have a situation where the author is (ostensibly) trying to persuade people to agree with him while at the same time calling them utterly worthless for not agreeing with him. So he's established himself as an adversary, or at least as something of an ass, and then said "be like me!"

It might be cathartic to read if you've just been accosted by JWs, Mormons, Joel Osteen and several hundred raving Hare Kirishnas, but it's not going to get anybody to change their minds. It ends up being so much anti-religious masturbation.

Plus, the art sucks.
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Old 16th August 2006, 09:08 AM   #7
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I thought it was funny and spot on. But then I'm also certain that cartoon was never intended to target the religious people it is ostensibly attacking. I'm sure its actual target is atheists like me. So we can laugh together and bond a little.
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Old 16th August 2006, 09:15 AM   #8
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Yes, it is aggressive.

It's also true.

The failure to apply simple fairness to one's reasoning is a moral crime.
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Old 16th August 2006, 10:25 AM   #9
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Aggressive, yes, not likely to win converts, of course, but I have not heard one argument worded exactly this way, and I liked it:

Quote:
The idea that a being with immense power exists, but never tampers with the world in a noticable way is an absurdly childish hypothetical scenario. It's "I'm not touching you" on a cosmic scale.
MOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!! God keeps bothering me!
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Old 16th August 2006, 10:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Loon View Post
It ends up being so much anti-religious masturbation.
Which is 1000% better than religious masturbation..........

Every piece of anti-religious propaganda is good. Clever, funny and hard-hitting ones more so.

Thanks for that, Aepervius, I've used the link myself - much funnier than the Muslim cartoons, and I bet nobody sets fire to any embassies as a result!
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Old 16th August 2006, 11:29 AM   #11
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I liked it.

And it had the cel-shaded Link from Wind Waker in it.
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Old 16th August 2006, 12:10 PM   #12
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I didn't like it much... it condemns people for succumbing to human nature, something religion is carefully designed and evolved to do. To call people that don't break out of that mindset "idiots" to me is overly harsh, and doesn't give enough credit to those that succeed in that mental leap. It isn't easy, especially if you were raised to it.
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Old 16th August 2006, 05:27 PM   #13
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I only have one thing to contribute to this conversation. The comic uses images from the Commander Keen series of video games. Commander Keen is the coolest series of games to ever come out on planet Earth. All of you people, myself included, will never be half as cool as Commander Keen.

...okay, I got one more. I agree; religion is dumb and pathetic. Most people here do. But you're not going to convince anyone by yelling at them. They're not gonna go "Oh, this guy on the internet thinks I'm an idiot for believing in god! I better rectify that immediately!" No, most people believe in religion because it fulfills an emotional need for them. Therefore, facts aren't going to convince them, and neither is yelling those facts through the use of a comic. Even if it IS Commander Keen delivering the message, although I myself would believe anything the little scamp would tell me. Whatever you say, Commander, just let me take the Beans With Bacon Megarocket for a spin around the galaxy first!

...ahem...

As a one-time believer in religion and all things woo, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the best way to convince religious nuts and woo alike is to simply put the facts out there. That's all you really can do. Just be understanding but firm; yes, you understand why they believe in what they believe, but they are still, regrettably, wrong. The changeover from irrationality to rationality has to come from within, as corny as that sounds. All you can do is be patient, and either they'll make the jump themselves...or they'll, eventually, die, in which case you won't really have to put up with them.
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Last edited by Nihilanth; 16th August 2006 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Spelling error. I'm an idiot.
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Old 16th August 2006, 08:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nihilanth View Post
The changeover from irrationality to rationality has to come from within, as corny as that sounds. All you can do is be patient, and either they'll make the jump themselves...or they'll, eventually, die, in which case you won't really have to put up with them.
Or, to quote Daniel Rutter:
You can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into.
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Old 17th August 2006, 01:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
Yes, it is aggressive.
It's also true.
Aggressive, yes. True, no.
The cartoon makes assumptions about what, how and why people believe, and it's wrong.
I'm not a believer myself, but a catholic friend of mine could rip this cartoon to shreds in 2.4 seconds.
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Old 17th August 2006, 09:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
a catholic friend of mine could rip this cartoon to shreds in 2.4 seconds.
Actually, he can't.

What he could do is toss out a mountain of bullflop and try to bury the points the cartoon makes. A mountain, I might add, that has taken 1,700 years to build.

But with logic as your shovel, and a little patience, you can dig through all that manure in a few hours, at most.

And then you're right back to square one.

Given that the questions about religion are so plain and simple, why haven't religious people asked them?

All religious people make a special exemption. They treat their religious belief differently than every thing else they believe (and differently than they treat other's beliefs). That is not the point of the cartoon, just one of the obvious facts. The point of the cartoon is doing so is a moral crime.

While I grant that various people have put various levels of effort into thinking about their beliefs, the fact remains that after all the waffling and misdirection, the same problem lays on the table at the end of every argument.

It is necessary to the enterprise of fooling yourself, and that is what all religion is about.

If your Catholic friend would care to have this demonstrated, I would be happy to debate him. But he won't thank you for it later.
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Old 17th August 2006, 09:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nihilanth View Post
Even if it IS Commander Keen delivering the message, although I myself would believe anything the little scamp would tell me. Whatever you say, Commander, just let me take the Beans With Bacon Megarocket for a spin around the galaxy first!
Perhaps you'd be interested in this other screenshot I found:




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Old 17th August 2006, 10:21 AM   #18
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I see in that cartoon a lot of the same tactics CTers use.

"I can destroy your entire belief system with a simple question! And I prejudge your answer to be pathetic!"

"There are multiple interpretations, therefore none of them can be right!"

"You're an idiot!"


Actually, now that I think about it, the CTers have better tactics.

If this is the level of discourse that gets applause here, I despair.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of intelligently thought-out, reasonable ways to discredit religion. But the points in this cartoon aren't them.
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Old 17th August 2006, 01:59 PM   #19
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*In the process of sending Senor Pointy all his money.* YOU FIERY BASTARD!
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Old 17th August 2006, 02:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
I see in that cartoon a lot of the same tactics CTers use.

"I can destroy your entire belief system with a simple question! And I prejudge your answer to be pathetic!"

"There are multiple interpretations, therefore none of them can be right!"

"You're an idiot!"
The difference would seem to be that the CTists put questions that can be answered fully and satisfactorily--they just choose not to listen to the answers. Theists, on the other hand, can only answer these questions in one of two ways, either they give a circular argument: "If you believe in the God described in our sacred books, you'll see quite clearly that the sacred books account for his odd-seeming behavior (e.g. God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform)." Or they mount a reasonably self-consistent "god of the gaps" argument (first cause...strong anthropic principle etc--anything we can't otherwise explain "could" be caused by God) and then quietly ignore the fact that a) there's no evidence FOR such a "God" any more than there is evidence against it, and b) there's no rational way to get from that sort of "God" to any of the loving, caring, angry, and otherwise anthropomorphic Gods of anybody's actual religious belief.

Or perhaps you'd care to demonstrate what devastating replies there are to these questions which I've failed to imagine?
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Old 18th August 2006, 12:09 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
What he could do is toss out a mountain of bullflop and try to bury the points the cartoon makes. A mountain, I might add, that has taken 1,700 years to build.
Bullflop to you, truth to my friend (who is a she, by the way).

I did not say she could give an answer to the questions in the cartoon, but she can show that the questions a wrong because they are based on assumptions that are wrong.

Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
Given that the questions about religion are so plain and simple, why haven't religious people asked them?
You are doing the same thing as the cartoon. Your 'why' question is meaningless, because the assumption that they don't ask those questions is wrong.
She does. Constantly.

Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
It is necessary to the enterprise of fooling yourself, and that is what all religion is about.
You are incredibly condescending.
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Old 18th August 2006, 12:57 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
You are doing the same thing as the cartoon. Your 'why' question is meaningless, because the assumption that they don't ask those questions is wrong.
She does. Constantly.
So you're suggesting she's just so inept that she can't figure out the answers, even though they are obvious?

And you complain about my condenscension...

Quote:
You are incredibly condescending.
It's not condescending. People fool themselves, all the time. In fact, it is the natural state of human beings to fool themselves. There is strong evidence that if we did not regularly fool ourselves, we would die.

But that doesn't mean all self-delusion is equal. You have to eat to live, but if all you eat is Krispy Kremes, you won't live very long.
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Old 18th August 2006, 01:59 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
So you're suggesting she's just so inept that she can't figure out the answers, even though they are obvious?
And you complain about my condenscension...
No, I'm not suggesting that. You find the answers that are obvious to you, she finds the answers that are obvious to her.

Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
It's not condescending. People fool themselves, all the time.
If you are saying that believing in God is equally self-fooling as not believing, then I might agree.
If you are saying believers fool themselves and non-believers don't, you're being condescending.
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Old 18th August 2006, 06:24 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
If you are saying that believing in God is equally self-fooling as not believing, then I might agree.
Not to step on Yahzi's toes here, but, how can rationally not believing in something for which there is no evidence be as self-fooling as irrational faith in the supernatural?


Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
If you are saying believers fool themselves and non-believers don't, you're being condescending.
It is not patronising to suggest that those who believe without evidence may be fooling themselves.
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Old 18th August 2006, 06:35 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
Pokey the Penguin!!!

May be a bit agressive, but it can be so hard beating ideas into people's heads otherwise.
I would guess that beating people over the head is probably the least efficent way of changing people's minds.
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Old 18th August 2006, 07:41 AM   #26
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It's poorly thought out.
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Old 18th August 2006, 07:49 AM   #27
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I agree with Beleth.

There are questions about the Universe that science simply is not equipped to answer. Maybe not yet, maybe never.

To ridicule the solace that some in the world find from religion or spirituality is a loathsome form of bullying reserved for people who need to step on someone else to feel better about themselves.

If a religious person has a problem respectfully disagreeing with your world view based on that religion, then perhaps they merit a statement like: "Perhaps you have a vague awareness that religion is retarded..."

Until then, I would hope that an intelligent person would be capable of reserving judgment.
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Old 18th August 2006, 07:56 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Paul View Post
Not to step on Yahzi's toes here, but, how can rationally not believing in something for which there is no evidence be as self-fooling as irrational faith in the supernatural?
Assumption again. For my friend, it is perfectly rational to believe.

And suppose that God exists, who has been fooling himself? The rational unbeliever or the irrational believer?

Originally Posted by Paul View Post
It is not patronising to suggest that those who believe without evidence may be fooling themselves.
True. But Yahzi didn't say 'may be'.
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Old 18th August 2006, 08:36 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by valis View Post
I would guess that beating people over the head is probably the least efficent way of changing people's minds.
Why is religion so popular then?
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Old 18th August 2006, 08:39 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by tkingdoll View Post
Why is religion so popular then?
I think that spirituality is a human trait. The idea that something is bigger than us (the individual) is part of what makes us human.

If I were to speculate further, I would say that this idea of a need for something larger trends social creatures towards society. Our intelligence helps us rationalize or describe it to eachother.
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Old 18th August 2006, 08:45 AM   #31
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And suppose that God exists, who has been fooling himself? The rational unbeliever or the irrational believer?
Ah yes--begging the question: the necessary first step of all defenses of theism. First "suppose that God exists" and THEN tell my why belief in God is unwarranted! I think I predicted this up above, didn't I?
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Old 18th August 2006, 09:01 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by c0rbin View Post
I think that spirituality is a human trait. The idea that something is bigger than us (the individual) is part of what makes us human.

If I were to speculate further, I would say that this idea of a need for something larger trends social creatures towards society. Our intelligence helps us rationalize or describe it to eachother.
I guess I meant 'why are organised religions able to recruit' - I've certainly encountered beat-em-over-the-head tactics.
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Old 18th August 2006, 09:04 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Yoink View Post
I think I predicted this up above, didn't I?
I don't know, and I don't care.

eta: And I'm not defending theism. I'm defending theists who are called retarded for no good reason.
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Old 18th August 2006, 09:22 AM   #34
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I'm not defending theism. I'm defending theists who are called retarded for no good reason.
I agree entirely that calling anybody "retarded" is rude and uncalled for. But if the language of the cartoon is deliberately provocative and insulting, that doesn't mean that its argument is unsound. You seem to say in the sentences quoted above that theism is indefensible (at least, that you see no defense for it), but that there is no "reason" to call theist belief "retarded." Now, if your objection is solely to the offensive word, I agree. But if you'd still object even if we tidied up our language--say, if you'd object to the claim "theism is fundamentally irrational" or "there is no fundamental difference between a belief in Santa Claus and a belief in God" then I would say you are defending theism and I'd also say that you're wrong.

People tip toe around religious faith because it is so important to people and because we have thousands of years of dazzlingly brilliant theological fancy-footwork trying to rationalize the irrational. But the fundamental arguments for and against a belief in any particular religion are actually childishly simple; those advanced in this cartoon are actually surprisingly telling (I note, again, that no one has advanced a simple refutation, only the claim that "it could easily be done").

Arguments for Theism that start from the position that "belief" and "unbelief" are epistemologically equal starting points and that it is in any sense reasonable to BEGIN by saying "suppose that God exists" or even "suppose that there was an omniscient, omnipotent, loving being" are so transparently invalid they would be laughed out of court immediately if they weren't so hallowed by tradition.
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Old 18th August 2006, 10:15 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
No, I'm not suggesting that. You find the answers that are obvious to you, she finds the answers that are obvious to her.
But there are only one set of answers that are "obvious." Just as there are only one set of answers that are "true."

In fact, five minutes with Catholic theology makes it clear that the entire enterprise is designed to obscure the obvious. Just look into the "transubstituition of the host," and the absurdities of "accidental" and "essential" natures.

Quote:
If you are saying believers fool themselves and non-believers don't, you're being condescending.
I am saying non-believers are not fooling themselves in this matter. They often fool themselves elsewhere, since they are human beings.

However, I am also suggesting that not fooling yourself about important things is a good idea. So yes, I am suggesting that fooling yourself by watching TV, thinking your a godking in the sack, or that you can logically presume cause follows effect (aka Hume), are all superior ways of fooling yourself than religion is. I do make a value judgement on various kinds of self-delusion.

But I don't think that's condescending.
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Old 18th August 2006, 10:21 AM   #36
Yahzi
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
Assumption again. For my friend, it is perfectly rational to believe.
This can only be true if she has recieved an severely inadequate education.

For any literate person raised in a first-world nation, religion is irrational.


Quote:
And suppose that God exists, who has been fooling himself? The rational unbeliever or the irrational believer?
The irrational believer. If there is no evidence for God, then believing you have evidence for God makes you delusional.

If there is evidence for God, then it would be a rationally demonstratable case.

Please note that the actual existance of God is irrelevant. One is declared rational based on how one responds to evidence. One is not declared rational by guessing the right answer. This is why your teacher made you "show your work" in math class.

Quote:
True. But Yahzi didn't say 'may be'.
Correct. It is a demonstrable fact that they are fooling themselves. The demonstration of this fact lies in showing how their alleged beliefs contradict other, equally fervently held beliefs.

The only way a man can believe both sides of a contradiction is by fooling himself somewhere in the middle.

Which brings us to the point: the theists addresssed in the cartoon are being called retarded for a perfectly good reason. We know this, because it is the same reason you would consider adequate for calling them retarded, if we were discussing any other topic.
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Old 18th August 2006, 10:35 AM   #37
c0rbin
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
This can only be true if she has recieved an severely inadequate education.

For any literate person raised in a first-world nation, religion is irrational.
Yikers! There are questions science is not geared to answer. To say that those who are creative enough to speculate on them "recieved an[sic] severely inadequate education" is arrogance.

I think you would do better with a little patience and tolerance. The progress of homo sapiens is not stifled by such conjecture, contrarily it is likely a socializing mechanism like religion (organized spirituality) that helped us out of the bush and into agraria.

ETA: I do not like the first sentence I wrote "There are questions science is not geared to answer." as I do not think it communicates what I mean exactly. Please allow me to restate:

There are questions the answers to which only can be speculated upon for lack of any evidence.
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Old 18th August 2006, 11:05 AM   #38
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Quote:
There are questions the answers to which only can be speculated upon for lack of any evidence.
Well, that's only half-true. That is, there are questions about which we have insufficient evidence--true. In these cases we are free to speculate--true. To say that we can "only speculate" is false, however; we can always search for more evidence--as cosmologists do all the time, for example, when it comes to the big "why is there anything rather than nothing" questions. Religious people--with some honorable exceptions--prefer to cling to ignorance: they don't want pesky old science crowding out their space for "speculation." All gods are, in the end, gods of the gaps: when we run out of knowledge, we substitute "belief."

But there is a vast yawning gulf between this statement: "There is nothing to disprove my speculative postulate that an old man with a big white beard sitting on a cloud made the world" and the notion that believing in that old man with a big white beard is in any sense "rational." (Substitute "glowy ball of energy" "Blue faced woman with seven pairs of arms" "Giant Hoover Vacuum Cleaner" for "Old Man with a Big White Beard" as you see fit).
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Old 18th August 2006, 04:07 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Yoink View Post
The difference would seem to be that the CTists put questions that can be answered fully and satisfactorily--they just choose not to listen to the answers. Theists, on the other hand, can only answer these questions in one of two ways,
Actually, the CTists sometimes do put forth questions which cannot be answered to satisfaction. The current brouhaha about the mushroom cloud of Flight 93 is a great example. All we rational people can say is "I'm no expert, neither are you, and even the experts can't tell from the evidence provided." I don't consider that a very good answer, but I dont seem to have much of a choice.

And it depends on what sort of evidence you are looking for. I have found no other atheist besides myself who has any idea what sort of evidence would convince them that the God of the Bible exists. (Unfortunately, I can't tell you; the scenario requires that only God and I know what the scenario is.) To that woman in the chocolate factory, finding a chocolate glob shaped like the Virgin of Guadalupe was enough evidence, and I defy anyone to convince her otherwise. It wouldn't convince me, but it convinces her.

Maybe God really is just a God of the Gaps. There are still an awful lot of gaps, after all...
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Old 18th August 2006, 04:22 PM   #40
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Quote:
Actually, the CTists sometimes do put forth questions which cannot be answered to satisfaction.
Sorry, I obviously didn't phrase that well. In both cases (CT/GOD) there is a postulate that seems incredibly unlikely (9/11 was a conspiracy; there is a Supreme Being who is something like one of the ones described in one of the many many religions that the world has seen through the millenia). When the CTers ask nonbelievers their "troubling questions" they can be answered fully and satisfactorily to the extent that we can say "you have provided no reason why I should doubt the Official Version." Any aspect of the question that remains unanswered is irrelevant until someone provides an answer that does not fit and cannot fit the OV.

The questions placed in the cartoon, however, cannot be honestly and straightforwardly answered by the Theist without at some point forcing an acknowledgment that the belief the Theist holds is irrational--i.e., that it exceeds any evidence that the believer can provide to support it.

In the case of your private compact with a putative God ("meet this test and I'll believe in you") the belief you promise as the reward for passing the test is clearly not "rational." I don't doubt that different people have different standards of "acceptable evidence," but "I saw Jesus in a chocolate bar" is clearly not "rational" proof of Jesus' existence, let alone of his divinity. Similarly, whatever scenario you imagine (and I'll be really surprised if I'm wrong about this--but if I am I'd love you to disabuse me) constituting "proof" of God's existence would be equally consistent with your having A) gone insane or B) being subject to a cruel prank by powerful, telepathic aliens (the probability of whose existence strikes me as low, but as almost infinitely higher than that of a "god").
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