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Author Topic: I just don't like religion
T:man
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First and unhundreth post Yay [Razz]
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Jeorge
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quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan S:

I believe that the simple core of Christianity is love, and I try to live around that.

As far as I can tell, this is a reasonable statement, since (according to Christian belief and the book of I John) God is love, and Jesus stated that those who:

1. Love God above all else
2. Love their neighbors as much as themselves

are fullfilling the entire law of God.

In other words, Jesus says that love (of God and man) is at the core of God's law.

If I was going to change anything about his statement, I might change it as follows: I believe that the simple core of Christianity is Christ, and the simple core of Christian life is love.

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T:man
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But is god real? That is my question, although my whole life I believed that there was no way there is such a power. Only recently have I questioned my belief, my bio teacher ( I'm taking bio over the summer.) was lecturing on how we can trace human evolution all the way back to the cell we came from. Where did life come from how did life come here these questions raged inn my mind the rest of the lecture. These questions changed my belief completely.
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adfectio
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T:man, that's the very basis of the search for religion. That's why there is so much debate. I've stayed out of it because I don't much feel like attacking or being attacked, but that is something that you have to decide for yourself.

Some beliefs offer better reasons than others. Evolution and Creation both give accounts as to where life first come from. Some find one more believable than another, and others find the opposite.


What I'm really trying to spit out is that all you can do is ask people their opinions, listen to what they say, and read for yourself. Find a Bible and read it. Find a Koran and read it. Find a copy of The Origin of Species and read it.

Whichever one you decide, that's your call.

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King of Men
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quote:
These questions changed my belief completely.
Piffle. If you'd actually wanted to know, there are any number of resources online outlining the current state of the art regarding abiogenesis. Obviously you're not going to figure anything out just by sitting there thinking about it for a few hours.

quote:
As far as I can tell, this is a reasonable statement, since (according to Christian belief and the book of I John) God is love
Yes, yes, but Communists, Scientologists, and chocoholics can plausibly make the same claim. From which we conclude that not only is Christianity love, but <any ideology I happen to like> is also love. It's not a very useful definition.

quote:
What I can compare myself to is those times of doubt over Christianity.
Yes, but that doesn't tell you what you would be like if you weren;t Christian, that tells you what you are like when you are undergoing a crisis of faith in a major part of your identity! Obviously you're going to lack peace and motivation at such times, that's what doubt means. Once you make a decision you feel better; but it is the act of making the decision, not its content, that is the cause.

quote:
The perfect sacrifice of Christ is the best example of love that I can imagine. That's what I try to follow, and that's an example that is not displayed in Islam.
I rephrase the question. Which specific actions would you do as a Muslim (or atheist, or Buddhist, or whatever you feel you know most about) that you do not as a Christian? Or which specific actions that you take now, would you cease?

A further point: Suppose you went back in time and found Christ being crucified, right enough, just as advertised; but then stayed three days and didn't see him risen from the grave. How would your beliefs and actions change?

quote:
I think trying to explain and over-ride individuals' self diagnosis of how religion has either benefited or hurt them is about as accurate as telling someone how much pain they are in.
That's why I asked instead of telling, and why I referred to statistics on self-reported happiness and checkable actions. Individuals are unique, but the average levels of pain reported by a lot of people are nonetheless quite accurate guides to, for example, how well various treatments work.
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adfectio
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KOM, you're getting borderline hostile....

He's trying to explain to you, honestly, why he believes what he believes. And you have to tear everything he says apart and attack it.


Maybe that's not how you mean it, but that is how it is coming off to me. I understand that you stand where you stand, but why does Jonathon have to stand there too?


Even if it is self delusion, why is it necessary that you pull him out of that as long as he is not harming anyone? He feels as though he is happier as a Christian than he would be without. You don't know that he would be happier as an atheist or agnostic, so why fix what ain't broke?

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scholarette
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Which specific actions would you do as a Muslim (or atheist, or Buddhist, or whatever you feel you know most about) that you do not as a Christian?


My dad converted to a Christian religion at 50. He went from being a total jerk to a great guy. He does service projects all the time, donates to charity, treats his family with respect and love, none of which he did while agnostic.

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T:man
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The newest news in abiogenisis is that there is no news. This was me thinking about my summer school class for a hour and a half, kay I'm 15 these are just my thoughts.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Evolution and Creation both give accounts as to where life first come from.
Well, no. The theory of evolution makes no statement on the origins of life.
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T:man
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Exactly, just how life became complex.
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adfectio
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ok. I guess I shouldn't have generalized.

Am I wrong in saying that it gives an idea as to where it comes from?

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T:man
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Read the Koran, the Bible and the Torah they were boring. [Wall Bash]
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Am I wrong in saying that it gives an idea as to where it comes from?
Yes.
The theory of evolution describes the process of speciation, which can only occur once life already exists. The word for what you're looking for is "abiogenesis," which is another thing altogether.

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adfectio
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Ah. Well you learn something new every day.


As for:
quote:
Read the Koran, the Bible and the Torah they were boring.
You must have been reading different books. Because the ones I read included a lot of Bloodshed and Battles. Not really my definition of boring.

The Bhagavad-Gita is also a good read.

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King of Men
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Eh. Let's not get pedantic, Tom. What you are saying is strictly correct, but then you have to take into account that 'Evolution' in general discourse refers to 'the naturalistic explanation of biology', which includes abiogenesis.

And just to nitpick even more, evolution in the strict sense does cover rather more ground than just speciation.

quote:
This was me thinking about my summer school class for a hour and a half, kay I'm 15 these are just my thoughts.
I suggest you make up your mind. Was this something you thought about for 90 minutes, with no great consequence; or was it a question that "changed your belief completely"? It seems to me that a belief that depends on 90 minutes' worth of thought cannot be very solid.

quote:
He does service projects all the time, donates to charity, treats his family with respect and love, none of which he did while agnostic.
It is good to reform. How many of these actions depend on a belief in the existence of a god, as opposed to signalling effects from desiring status in his new community?
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Tresopax
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quote:
Is it your contention that a statistically significant percentage of people in our culture show unconditional love towards fellow human beings of lower status or significant difference? That has not been my observation.

Myself, I believe a significant percentage of people attempt to demonstrate that love when reminded of the possibility without feeling it for a moment.

Yes, I do contend that a significant percentage of people in our culture at times show unconditional love towards fellow beings of lower status or significant difference. That's my own observation at least.

However even if you are right and I am wrong about that - even if they merely attempt to demonstrate that love and don't really feel it - that still shows that unconditional love is an important value in our culture. At the very least, many of us try to attain it. And I think that without the influence of religion, unconditional love would be considerably less valued by us.

[ June 27, 2008, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]

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Samprimary
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quote:
you have to take into account that 'Evolution' in general discourse refers to 'the naturalistic explanation of biology',
No it doesn't. That's mostly just your personal definition.

We've been over this before. educated discussion about evolution does not mistakenly assume that abiogenesis is part of evolutionary theory. And if someone points out that abiogenesis is not part of the science of evolution to someone who hasn't figured that out yet, that's not 'pedantic' so much as it is being correct.

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Eowyn-sama
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quote:
It is good to reform. How many of these actions depend on a belief in the existence of a god, as opposed to signalling effects from desiring status in his new community?
Are you actually saying that you do not believe it is possible for people to change their lives based on a new view of the universe? That's what it sounds like.

What new community? The Christian community? The one he joined because he now believes in God? In that case, even if you're right and all good acts are based on gaining prestige in the community, they're still a result of his new belief.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Eowyn-sama:
What new community? The Christian community? The one he joined because he now believes in God? In that case, even if you're right and all good acts are based on gaining prestige in the community, they're still a result of his new belief.

Of course they are.

But had he wanted to join that community, or a similar one, and the belief of god not been a part of it, would any of his actions have been different? I would guess not.

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Jeorge
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quote:
From which we conclude that not only is Christianity love, but <any ideology I happen to like> is also love.
I would say that any ideology which contains as part of its scriptures/manifesto that its core centers around love can make the claim that Jonathan has made. I haven't read the chocoholic manifesto, so I don't know if they make that claim. The issue is not whether you love chocoloate - the issue is that the "manifesto" of the Christian faith makes this statement, so Jonathan is reasonably able to affirm that as a matter of his faith.

quote:
It's not a very useful definition.
Agreed - for someone who is not familiar the context of that ideology, hearing someone say that "love is at the core" may not mean much (of course, it means a great deal to me, because I am familiar with the context). One could argue, for instance, that the core belief of Objectivism is love, but without the context, you wouldn't know that it is self-love, which makes it essentially opposite to Christianity.
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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Eowyn-sama:
What new community? The Christian community? The one he joined because he now believes in God? In that case, even if you're right and all good acts are based on gaining prestige in the community, they're still a result of his new belief.

Of course they are.

But had he wanted to join that community, or a similar one, and the belief of god not been a part of it, would any of his actions have been different? I would guess not.

But this assumes he wanted to join a community, which in my father's case was not true. Some bad stuff happened (not saying more on an online forum) and he started reading religious books to help him through. He realized that they were true, which was when he made his goals to be a better person. The community came after that.
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MightyCow
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These types of discussions are inherently difficult, because although we can make suppositions about people which seem to make sense, such as, "Deciding that you want to turn your life around is enough to allow you to start doing good things" and they can easily say, "No, sorry - it was just God." And were're right back at square one.
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scholarette
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I think that deciding that you want to do good things is enough, but I think that some people do change because of God. If someone says their motivating factor was God, why should that be doubted? You don't have to personally believe in God to accept that the belief in an all powerful being is a motivating factor for someone else.
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MightyCow
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I'd respect that a lot more if so many people didn't use their belief in God as a get out of jail free card to engage in all sorts of bad behavior. "We only kill them because God told us to."
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
I think that deciding that you want to do good things is enough, but I think that some people do change because of God. If someone says their motivating factor was God, why should that be doubted? You don't have to personally believe in God to accept that the belief in an all powerful being is a motivating factor for someone else.

I think we can agree, if nothing else, that the motivating factor can be the idea of god, regardless if that god exists or not.

Very simplistically, it is easy to imagine that believing I would be punished for acting a certain way or, conversely, rewarded for changing would alter my behavior.

So they're changing because of their belief in god, not necessarily because of god. But maybe this is just semantics.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by a bunch of other guys:
I think that deciding that you want to do good things is enough...

Have any of you guys heard of dieting? Exercise? Writing novels??? You can decide to do x, but it takes more than that decision to actually do x.

Same with religion. Opening oneself to God takes faith, love, patience, and repentance. None of those are particularly easy, even if someone decides to get more involved with a religion.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by C3PO the Dragon Slayer:
quote:
Originally posted by a bunch of other guys:
I think that deciding that you want to do good things is enough...

Have any of you guys heard of dieting? Exercise? Writing novels??? You can decide to do x, but it takes more than that decision to actually do x.

Same with religion. Opening oneself to God takes faith, love, patience, and repentance. None of those are particularly easy, even if someone decides to get more involved with a religion.

No one is saying that it is easy.

You have to decide and then stick with it. Sure, that takes a certain amount of self-control. But there's nothing that's supernatural or requiring of the help of a deity about it.

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MightyCow
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I went for a jog yesterday, and I'm an atheist. Clearly it's possible to do difficult things without believing in a Supreme Being.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Clearly it's possible to do difficult things without believing in a Supreme Being.
Nothing C3PO said contradicts that.
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MightyCow
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Except the part with "Opening oneself to God" [Roll Eyes]
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Dagonee
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quote:
Except the part with "Opening oneself to God"
That part of what he said doesn't contradict the idea that it's possible to do difficult things without believing in God.

He said opening oneself up to God is hard and requires four things, none of which are God. He didn't say that all hard things require a belief in God.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
you have to take into account that 'Evolution' in general discourse refers to 'the naturalistic explanation of biology',
No it doesn't. That's mostly just your personal definition.
Curious: Do you know what "general discourse" means? Likewise, do you know that the term "evolution" is not limited even to biology?
quote:

We've been over this before. educated discussion about evolution does not mistakenly assume that abiogenesis is part of evolutionary theory. And if someone points out that abiogenesis is not part of the science of evolution to someone who hasn't figured that out yet, that's not 'pedantic' so much as it is being correct.

Can you quote me a theory of abiogenesis that does NOT rely on evolution?
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Educated discussion about evolution does not mistakenly assume that abiogenesis is part of evolutionary theory.

Indeed it doesn't. That is why I was quite careful to say 'general discourse', which in this country is woefully uneducated on the subject.

I think there is a need for a short phrase meaning "The entire naturalistic explanation of biology including abiogenesis", and 'evolution' has the advantage that people already use it that way.

In any case, I do feel that this is a point where we ought to be ready to admit where the theory has weaknesses. The evolution side in this debate is the voice of science and reason; we are supposed to admit it when there is a problem. Abiogenesis is a problem that biology has not yet solved. It seems probable that we will never know the exact path by which life came to exist on Earth, although I'm fairly confident we'll be able to create life in the lab, from scratch, at some point. (Without cheating by just assembling a known virus, of course!) Anyway: Abiogenesis is a weak point of the naturalistic explanation. Admit it like a good scientist and move on. Don't get defensive and dance around the point; leave that kind of shady maneuver for the bad guys.

Getting bogged down in what is and isn't evolution is not productive, unless of course somebody is talking about cats being born to dogs. And what's to stop someone from saying "Fine, evolution is not abiogenesis. So how do you explain abiogenesis in the absence of a creator?" And then you're right back where you started.

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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
He said opening oneself up to God is hard and requires four things, none of which are God.

Me not argue none good, but doesn't opening oneself to God require that there be a God to open oneself to?
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Dagonee
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quote:
Me not argue none good, but doesn't opening oneself to God require that there be a God to open oneself to?
Of course it does. But that's rather specific to the hard thing being attempted, not all hard things like jogging.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Me not argue none good, but doesn't opening oneself to God require that there be a God to open oneself to?
Assume for a minute that there is no God.

What are all the people who are "open to God" actually doing?

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Rakeesh
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Yay! Socratic teaching, that's always fun. Not frustrating at all, either.

Obviously they're engaging in delusion. So make your point, please?

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Obviously they're engaging in delusion.
Only if they actually have a delusional experience where they perceive God to exist. (We can say delusional because our argument assumes the nonexistence of God)

But no, merely being "open to God" doesn't imply delusion anymore than being open to any message or experience.

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Threads
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All of the modern theories of abiogenesis that I've read about are really just extensions of evolutionary theory from the first cell back to a "sea" of molecules. The theory of how the first cell formed uses a generalization of natural selection*. Unless you actually find abiogenesis to be unlikely it seems a little hypocritical to pretend like it's some sort of black box. From a Bayesian POV it's the most probable hypothesis.

* Richard Dawkins calls it something along the lines of "survival of the most stable," which is basically tautologous.

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TomDavidson
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There is a difference between saying "most theories of abiogenesis rely upon the assumptions of evolutionary theory" and saying "evolutionary theory includes abiogenesis."

The latter is not true.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
But no, merely being "open to God" doesn't imply delusion anymore than being open to any message or experience.

Fair enough, but how many people who make a point of being 'open to God' also do not claim to have received a message?
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Eowyn-sama:
What new community? The Christian community? The one he joined because he now believes in God? In that case, even if you're right and all good acts are based on gaining prestige in the community, they're still a result of his new belief.

I rephrase my objection, because it has become more clear in my own head. You have identified a correlation:

a) Your father converted to Christianity
b) He became a better person.

You have yet to show the causation; in particular, you need to show that there was not an event c, such as for example

c) Your father took a long look at his previous behaviour

which caused the other two. Or for that matter, b might have caused a; it is quite possible that your father believed in the Christian god all his life, but didn't feel worthy to join a church, or thought that its members would judge him badly, or something of that sort. (I know that Christians profess that their churches are for everyone including bad people; that's not the same as saying that Eowyn's father both knew this and believed it.)

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Nick
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KoM, what caused "c"? [Smile]

Threads like this will never cease. I still read them, but I stopped participating in them most of the time because I realized that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

You can be an atheist and still not have an answer to how abiogenesis came about.

You can be believe in a supernatural being, believe in evolution and believe the supernatural being brought about abiogenesis.

You can not believe in evolution and believe in total creationism.

There are multiple theories out there, but with the current amount of knowledge we possess, can any of those theories be proved or disproved within a shadow of a doubt? Not really.

Not to say it's not worth discussing, but it certainly seems like certain people in this thread can't discuss the subject without expressing ultimate scorn toward any idea that is not their own.

Isn't it possible that what you believe could be horribly wrong? I'm not saying that you have to respect all other ideas, but is it really necessary to disrespect somebody for believing something that you find ludicrous or impossible?

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King of Men
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quote:
KoM, what caused "c"?
How should I know? It could have been a, certainly, but this has not been shown.

quote:
There are multiple theories out there, but with the current amount of knowledge we possess, can any of those theories be proved or disproved within a shadow of a doubt? Not really.
I suggest you read this. There comes a point when it is clear that people are not actually looking at the evidence. For such a position I have no respect.
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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick:
You can be an atheist and still not have an answer to how abiogenesis came about.

True, this is not a position that is falsified by the evidence.

quote:
You can be believe in a supernatural being, believe in evolution and believe the supernatural being brought about abiogenesis.
This is also not a position which has been, or can be falsified by the evidence.

quote:
You can not believe in evolution and believe in total creationism.
This is a position which has been soundly refuted by the evidence, and the only remotely honest way to get around that is to claim that the evidence is wrong.

So it's not really right to lump all three positions together as if they were all equally valid. They aren't, from the standpoint of logic and evidence.

quote:
There are multiple theories out there, but with the current amount of knowledge we possess, can any of those theories be proved or disproved within a shadow of a doubt? Not really.
But the shadow of a doubt standard isn't one that people actually live by, or act by. If you go to the emergency room with all the symptoms of a ruptured appendix, do the doctors claim that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you really have one? No, not until they actally open you up and look. But you'd still get operated on anyway in that case, and if someone said that they hadn't proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that voodoo was responsible for your condition, you wouldn't care.

People just don't apply that standard when it really matters. They only apply it when they have the luxury of disbeliving the reasonable, well-evidenced conclusion, solely because they don't like it.

quote:
Isn't it possible that what you believe could be horribly wrong?
I think most people would say "Absolutely. Show the evidence that this is so, and I'll change my mind."

Granted, this is not easy for humans to do, people are by their nature bad at it. But people can try, and most can succeed at it. And they can observe when everyone else is telling them that they are refusing to accept the obvious, and trust that other people are natually better at seeing when we ourselves are being obstinant.

quote:
I'm not saying that you have to respect all other ideas, but is it really necessary to disrespect somebody for believing something that you find ludicrous or impossible?
There is a difference between respecting a person's right to express their opinion, respecting the person, and respecting the opinion itself.

Rejecting the third is not at all the same as rejecting the first two.

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Nick
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KoM, I didn't say any of those were what I believed, they were hypotheticals.

swbarnes2, I didn't "lump" those together as if they were equally valid, they were just some examples of what people believe, respectable or otherwise.

quote:
There is a difference between respecting a person's right to express their opinion, respecting the person, and respecting the opinion itself.

Rejecting the third is not at all the same as rejecting the first two.

I know that, but it seems all three have been rejected. Ridiculing somebody's opinion to the extreme can be ridiculing the person by extension sometimes too. Comparing Christian beliefs to chocolate is one such example.

Basically, I'm not really taking a stand on the topic so much as I am saying that the arrogance and condescension is thick in the air, cut it out. [Smile]

That being said, I'm not really directing it toward anyone in particular, just stating an observation I've made in reading this thread.

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King of Men
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quote:
KoM, I didn't say any of those were what I believed, they were hypotheticals.
I didn't say you did. But some people do.

quote:
Comparing Christian beliefs to chocolate is one such example.
I apologise to any chocolate lovers who may have been offended by the comparison.

In fact, this raises yet again the point that Dawkins and Hitchens have been making for so long: Just what is it that makes Christianity exempt from criticism and analysis? Why is it disrespectful to compare your faith to my love for chocolate?

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MightyCow
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KoM: Of course it's disrespectful. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
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Nick
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I'm not saying it's exempt from criticism at all. I don't have a problem with criticism and analysis, it's the utter disdain and contempt for the belief and its believers.

It's disrespectful to compare faith in the Judeo-Christian god to your love for chocolate because millions of people find greater fulfillment in their beliefs than they do in chocolate(assuming you don't have unhealthy feelings about chocolate). Comparing the two is akin to saying, "you should worship chocolate instead of God fool!"

You seem like an intelligent fellow, but whenever religious threads come around, you suddenly turn rude and disrespectful. Just because you find something ludicrous doesn't mean you should express your views in such a rude manner. Not that it isn't your right as part of free speech, but what does it accomplish? What's your motivation? Does religion offend you?

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King of Men
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quote:
because millions of people find greater fulfillment in their beliefs than they do in chocolate
At least on the subject of theism, I find much greater fulfillment in chocolate than in my beliefs. (Mmm, chocolate!) So why can't I just as well claim that these millions are disrespecting me by saying I should worship their god over chocolate?

quote:
Does religion offend you?
People who do not form their beliefs in accordance with evidence offend me.
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