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Old 09-22-2011, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
Religious people aren't good debaters? Who was the last Atheist president? Maybe it is that atheists and theists think differently. Neither is more intelligent, just different.
You know as well as I do, because of the number of fundamentalist Christians in America a self proclaimed atheist would never be elected. In Canada it is the opposite, a evangelical Christian wouldn't be elected as prime minister.

It is a fact that people with higher IQs are less likely to be theists. I imagine that is partly because we don't rely on doctrine for decisions, but actually have to think.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:39 PM
 
Location: OKC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
When an atheist claims that there is no God or higher being, whatever you want to call it. That is a claim, they claim to know this for a fact. Prove it. Prove to me right now there isn't a God or a magical unicorn that farts rainbows. I want physical proof for this claim. I am not making a claim that there IS. I am merely suggesting that there could be.
"Proof" just means there is enough evidence to convince you.

I've tried several court cases and never has the burden of proof been "there's absolutely no possible way that the mind could imagine that the claim in question is not true."

Instead, in the civil sense, all I need to do to prove something is to show that it's more likely than not to be true. That's all.

Do you know for a fact where you were born, that there is a country called Russia, or that Obama is the President? Yes you do, even if there is a scenario that can be imagined that you are wrong.

So why does proof of God suddenly become this existential matter that is almost impossible to prove? Why can't we just believe he doesn't exist like I don't believe leprechauns exist?

Because you need a way, no matter how desperate, to claim that God can't be disproven.

But if you used the word "prove" like you do in ordinary life, it's easy to prove God doesn't exist.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:17 AM
 
Location: Washingtonville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
"Proof" just means there is enough evidence to convince you.

I've tried several court cases and never has the burden of proof been "there's absolutely no possible way that the mind could imagine that the claim in question is not true."

Instead, in the civil sense, all I need to do to prove something is to show that it's more likely than not to be true. That's all.

Do you know for a fact where you were born, that there is a country called Russia, or that Obama is the President? Yes you do, even if there is a scenario that can be imagined that you are wrong.

So why does proof of God suddenly become this existential matter that is almost impossible to prove? Why can't we just believe he doesn't exist like I don't believe leprechauns exist?

Because you need a way, no matter how desperate, to claim that God can't be disproven.

But if you used the word "prove" like you do in ordinary life, it's easy to prove God doesn't exist.
What you call proof and I call proof are very different. You want a physical being to stand before you with the power of God. My proof is everywhere. The fact that we evolved, that evolution is still taking place and we can see it happen. The seasons changing, the environment, the fact that everything organic is intertwined and that if one thing dies off it effects everything. The fact that everything is made of energy/matter/atoms... The proof is there. Close your mind to the possibility all you want. I keep my mine open to that possibility and choose to believe that somethings science cannot completely explain.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
What you call proof and I call proof are very different. You want a physical being to stand before you with the power of God. My proof is everywhere. The fact that we evolved, that evolution is still taking place and we can see it happen. The seasons changing....
There are a few too many overtones of Bill O'Reillys "Tides go in tides go out" comment here I think.

These things are not evidence for god. They may be compatible with your desire for there to be a god, but that is not the same as evidence. You are landing yourself dangerously in the area of confirmation bias and wishful thinking.

Giving evidence, let alone proof, is not a procedure of making a wild claim and then listing some non-sequitur things that personally amaze you. Giving evidence is a three step procedure as follows:

1) Make a claim
2) List the things you think support that claim.
3) Explain exactly the link between 2 and 1 and how the things in 2 support 1.

Not just:

1) Make a claim.
2) List some stuff.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:35 AM
 
Location: Washingtonville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanspeur View Post
You know as well as I do, because of the number of fundamentalist Christians in America a self proclaimed atheist would never be elected. In Canada it is the opposite, a evangelical Christian wouldn't be elected as prime minister.

It is a fact that people with higher IQs are less likely to be theists. I imagine that is partly because we don't rely on doctrine for decisions, but actually have to think.
Where is this fact you speak of? Maybe it is that spiritual people aka theists, don't boast their intelligence because most of us believe in being humble and not having to show how smart we are. Intelligence varies from person to person. It is a general term that is thrown around way to often. I would rather be thought as wise than intelligent.

I believe intelligence comes from books. Wisdom comes from living life and experiencing it. I am always reading some new topic, my favorites are Science, History, and spiritualism. But, after all the books I have read, the most rewarding moments have come from walking in the woods and connecting with nature, and during meditation.

Believe what you want. That is your right, and I wont even bash your beliefs or lack there of. I ask that you do the same. I know that it wont happen. Many atheists I know would like to see religion and spiritualism vanish. They blame religion for halting our technological and scientific advances. When actually, it seems to have accelerated it in certain times. Think of this, without religion and spiritualism we would be missing out on much of the beauty we now have in the world. Most music never would have been written, artists wouldn't have been inspired to write songs, paint, or create other works of art. Certain weapons, and medicines wouldn't have been created either.

Religion has its place in this world, like it or not. Many people don't look at it in this way. Sure religion has brought war and death, but it also creates peace and hope. It makes death a thing of beauty, birth magical, and gives life meaning. Would you really take that away?

Take a tree. Science tells us how it grows, nourishes and give us oxygen. It explains it function. The way I look at a tree, it gives me life. So, I respect the tree, I don't harm it and only take from it what I need. Eventually, I will return to the earth and nourish the tree, giving it life and returning the favor.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
Where is this fact you speak of? Maybe it is that spiritual people aka theists, don't boast their intelligence because most of us believe in being humble
Not sure what is so humble about the idea that a massively and even infinitely powerful being created all of the universe to fulfill a plan that we are at the center of and that this being cares enough to individually worry about what each of us does, says and thinks. That is the entity many people mean when they talk about god and if thats "Humble" then you are working on a much different version of the word than I.

Humble is realising that the universe does not revolve around you, you are but a small part of it, the universe does not owe you meaning or explanation or a plan, and there is nothing special about our species that we need to invent a god entity in order to attain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
the most rewarding moments have come from walking in the woods and connecting with nature, and during meditation.
Nor is that any different for most atheists. The fact worth not missing is that nothing worth having or obtaining from a trip to the woods, the exploration of meditation or spirituality, or a reading of the words and sayings of people like Jesus... actually require you to think there is a god in order to benefit from it.

Nothing in any of those things worth having requires that we make any assumptions on insufficient evidence in order to obtain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
Believe what you want. That is your right, and I wont even bash your beliefs or lack there of. I ask that you do the same.
Most atheists do! But it would be very unfair to come on to a forum specially made to discuss such things, espouse your beliefs, and then whinge when people unpick them and disagree. That makes as much sense as getting into a boxing ring with another fighter and acting upset when he hits you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
Think of this, without religion and spiritualism we would be missing out on much of the beauty we now have in the world. Most music never would have been written, artists wouldn't have been inspired to write songs, paint, or create other works of art.
I simply do not believe that on any level for even an instance. Whats more you can not evidence that claim either unless you were able to go back in time, remove the religion from such people, then travel forward in time and see what changed. Other than that you are engaged in wild speculation.

Not just wild speculation but you are engaged in ignoring many pertinent facts at the same time:

1) many people who were not religious on any level have also provided us with great works of music, literature, art, philosophy and architecture. Thus proving such things are not contingent on religion or the idea there is a god. This negates your claim instantly. But there is more:

2) You have no idea what the religious position of most of those people actually were. Much of our great art and literature comes from a time in our history when people simply could not be honest about lack of belief for fear of reprisals socially, financially and even physically. Also much of our great artists lived in times when they simply would not have gotten work if they did not engage in religious financed contracts.

3) Much art might seem religiously inspired but are not and are in fact simply inspired by the same things that inspire religion. In other words religion does not inspire the art but both religion and art have a common inspiration. One such is the tendency of our species to personify aspects of the human condition and the universe. Greek mythology for example personified war, love, the sun, the moon and much more as characters and gave them personalities and told stories based on them. The tendency of our species to do this is a beautiful thing and would inspire art even in the absence of the insistence of people like yourself to start thinking those personifications are actually real distinct entities that actually exist.

4) Many people talk of a compulsion to do what they do. Singers say they feel they have to sing. Writers that they have to write. And so on. They are already inspired to be creative. Religions may have taken such people and molded and influenced their output, but the claim that without religion they would have output nothing or at least nothing wondrous and beautiful would be an entirely baseless claim with no grounding in reality at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
Take a tree. Science tells us how it grows, nourishes and give us oxygen. It explains it function. The way I look at a tree, it gives me life. So, I respect the tree, I don't harm it and only take from it what I need. Eventually, I will return to the earth and nourish the tree, giving it life and returning the favor.
Almost wholly agree with everything you just wrote there. I would add two things however.

1) I repeat, you do not need to think there is a god or even suspect there is one to write what you just wrote. Everything useful about what you just wrote functions just as well without that baseless and evidence devoid assumption.

2) We may use science to explain the inner workings of a tree as you describe but I would hasten to point out that such knowledge does not take away from the beauty of a tree but ADDS TO IT. The wonder and awe ones feels in the presence of such vegetation is augmented and improved by the exploration of scientific knowledge. I would add that the same is true of all scientific exploration and the current work to... for example... scientifically explain why we find art beautiful in no way takes away from the beauty of art.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:07 AM
 
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I just posted on Atheism - irreligion and I think this thread is an example of how we might understand each other better.

Now, I don't know whether our OP raison_d'etre considers religions man made ceremonies and Holy Books human inventions or that they are in some way validated by a god - belief, but the idea that there must be an intelligence behind the hello trees, hello clouds, stuff is one that we could be a bit tolerant and even respectful about.

At the same time Rasion, it is not tolerant or respectful of science to misuse it and misrepresent it to try to make this nature= God idea evidentially feasible.

I can accept that there is a possibility that ID might be found to stand up or some spoor of a cosmic mind found in DNA or NDE or something about which there are still unanswered questions.

But the fact is that the lack of any sound scientific evidence for a god logically and evidentially means that all kinds of god - belief are not supported by science and it is not the fault of science that it is so and atheists are not at fault for seeing this clearly, so a bit of 'respect' eh?

That said, what we atheists are really militant and aggressive about is organized religion. True, it gets into the First cause and ID debate because the irreligious theists latch onto to proof of genesis creation as supportive evidence for their god so perforce the Bible literalists and the nature= god Deists find themselves on the same side.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:01 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Smile Some of the alternate view-points Science has given us direct access to!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
I think the same with about my beliefs. If you actually listened and experienced them first hand, you might be enlightened. I do listen to atheists, all the time... still haven't been enlightened. Thing is, I agree with them on evolution, and stuff like that. I don't follow any major religion. My beliefs are my own. I believe that science is right about MOST things. Science explains the how, but very seldom does it explain the why.

Delusional types? Are you talking about spiritual/religious people? It's not delusional to have hope that there is something more out there than we can see with our "Science".
No not all atheists are like that, I never said all were. Just a group that I know personally.
The reason for that lack of description of the "whys" is that there isn't a "why" necessity. I had this discussion with one of the more ardent theist posters recently, and it came down to him having a strong and unrelenting need for that particular element in is life. But I'd suggest, with good evidence of this, that atheists are far more at ease with the idea that there does not need to be a "Reason" for our existence.

I know, I know; the very idea that we just "popped" into being, without there being some special purpose for us, or that we exist here only to reproduce, sleep and eat (in a nice warm shelter of course....), and NOT to subjugate our very beings to a vengeful and arrogant and demanding God, is anathema to many theists.

But then, when scientific research (via a very reliable and well-proven methodology no-one here can effectively refute or critique) expands that well-supported detailed understanding into accepting our long, slow crawl out of the depths of some unicellular bacterium, through multi-celled scum-pond amphibians, and then into some small rodent, and eventually into our ape cousins (and then us! Huzzah!), i seem to hit home.

I accept that some people require a stronger spiritual component in their lives. I provides them with a sense of confidence, or of understanding of the hugely (to them at least...) unfathomable. If it cannot be reasonably explained, they assume, then "there must be a God" to explain those elements.

Trouble is, such ongoing questioning and deductions, when combined with the sum of all our now-centuries of knowledge from so many other directions in scientific research, all lead, inarguably and inexorably, to a pretty uniform and logical conclusion.

And, while all these facts and conclusions do not absolutely disprove the existence of a specific mono-theistic God, a God who some say talks to them, saves their critically diseased family or friends through prayer, makes all marriages under His name blessed and sacrosanct, and determines who shall get into a later heavenly promise, the problem is these outcomes are not, by any measure, any more reliable or factual than shear chance.

But by comparison, the outcomes predicted by the SM (scientific method) and it's applications to a host of problem questions is reliable. Especially when the experiment is repeated under the same, and even under far-ranging conditions and variations. Then, the value of "Prediction Science earns it's keep. That, if an idea is true, it should predict some other dedicated outcome.

As in: If the world is flat, we should be able to sail over and find an edge to it, where the giant Sea Turtles that hold up this planet on gheir backs can be seen swimming below us! Of course we can!

As well, in a literal Christian world, we should be able to find living, co-existing dinosaurs right now (We can't, BTW... We only find very old fossils that easily predate the entirety of Christian history timeline.) Not do we find ANYTHING that the bible's literal translation predicts. The prophecies have become a laughing matter (it's necessary to look up and consider he words "Unambiguous, Reproducable and Irrefutable").

Science does provide us with concrete solutions that can completely explain the "hows and whens". Just not the "whys". And why should it? There, in all probability, is no necessary "Why" to the observable in this world, except when the Christian mindset needs for us to fit into a cultural paradigm that places man at the top of the heap of organisms on this planet, the one God apparently created one week 6000 yrs ago just to serve His need for adoration.

Youcan see why we don't take such self-centered arrogance too seriously, right? Nor it's endless propagation in our school system and government.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
Religious people aren't good debaters? Who was the last Atheist president? Maybe it is that atheists and theists think differently. Neither is more intelligent, just different.
I'd suggest we've had numerous atheist presidents, but that is just no socially and culturally acceptable to the backwards American society. For instance, President Clinton was seen as a practicing Christian while in office, but has pretty much abandoned his outward signs of faith since departing the office. As well, he was not much of a practicing Christian prior to his inauguration. As a society, America is spiritually tuned into having a Christian (not even a Mormon I note... sorry, Mitt...) in office.And Barama has raised many questions as to the truth about his faith: Muslim or Christian, or perhaps neither, except when his latest call-to-government solutions speeches call for some fantasy or gripping rhetoric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
What you call proof and I call proof are very different. You want a physical being to stand before you with the power of God. My proof is everywhere. The fact that we evolved, that evolution is still taking place and we can see it happen. The seasons changing, the environment, the fact that everything organic is intertwined and that if one thing dies off it effects everything. The fact that everything is made of energy/matter/atoms... The proof is there. Close your mind to the possibility all you want. I keep my mine open to that possibility and choose to believe that somethings science cannot completely explain.
Oh. The rationle of "I'm so awed by this all, since I'm not particularly tutored in the details of biology, geology, astronomy, climatology, and so on, then this IS awesome, and so... why not? There MUST BE GOD!", huh? Not very credible, frankly, especially when there are simple explanations for so much of it now, and if you remove the list of those previously mis-understood but now understood processes, it leaves precious little to be explained purely and solely by a magical and improbable and never-to-be-seen, BTW...) God figure.

Next, some interesting ideas from r_d'tre:

Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post

√ I would rather be thought as wise than intelligent.

√ the most rewarding moments have come from walking in the woods and connecting with nature, and during meditation.

√ Many atheists I know would like to see religion and spiritualism vanish. They blame religion for halting our technological and scientific advances.

√ Think of this, without religion and spiritualism we would be missing out on much of the beauty we now have in the world. Most music never would have been written, artists wouldn't have been inspired to write songs, paint, or create other works of art. Certain weapons, and medicines wouldn't have been created either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rflmn
1) To me, "wise" means having a skeptical mind, capable and enthusiastic of independent thought, unafraid of the consequences and reactions of you so-called peers, of thinking outside the box, and also of stating and then defending your positions. Like us atheists do all the time.

2) I salso have found my spirituality while walking in the woods, out on the tundra and on the Canadian Arctic icecap. That intense spirituality actually lead me into my second major educational and vocational direction, as a post-grad (X2) wildlife biologist, geologist and engineer. Rather, my understanding of the hows and whens of life and the environment left me with a renewed conviction that this was all, in fact, a glorious but chance occurrence. There's no other reasonable explanation, in fact.

Surely not the Goddunnit alternate, unless you just claim that He's truly magic, that He does not apply the known rules of nature to His own inentions, and that He will also never show up again to take any credit, and give us a free demo.

It's all to convenient. In fact. I call it SBoC, or Selective Beliefs of Covnenience.
Religion has its place in this world, like it or not. Many people don't look at it in this way. Sure religion has brought war and death, but it also creates peace and hope. It makes death a thing of beauty, birth magical, and gives life meaning. Would you really take that away?

Take a tree. Science tells us how it grows, nourishes and give us oxygen. It explains it function. The way I look at a tree, it gives me life. So, I respect the tree, I don't harm it and only take from it what I need. Eventually, I will return to the earth and nourish the tree, giving it life and returning the favor.
Yep; religion does have it's [limited] place as a spiritual support in times of unsurety or personal chaos. Since individuals are swept up in the intensity of the spiritual moment, they do, yes, compose truly beautiful music, startling architecture, amazing paintings and words, and so on. But it does not produce particularly good judgement on things demanding a logical nature.

(Example: We couldn't have landed on the moon based solely on payers for navigation or for lander engineering or astrophysics, right? For that, we relied largely on Hewlett-Packard...)

And, as long as the Christian believer has the mental agility and intellectual honesty to see its obvious limitations, and doesn't use it to be all things to all people, it may serve a useful purpose to some. Not to me.

Christians also need to top with the mindless denigrating and demonizing of the now staggeringly complex and useful achievements found in true scientific advancements.

Peace and tolerance, brothers!
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:43 AM
 
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Very good...can I rep you? Yep.

Raisin:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre

Quote:
√ I would rather be thought as wise than intelligent.

√ the most rewarding moments have come from walking in the woods and connecting with nature, and during meditation.

√ Many atheists I know would like to see religion and spiritualism vanish. They blame religion for halting our technological and scientific advances.

√ Think of this, without religion and spiritualism we would be missing out on much of the beauty we now have in the world. Most music never would have been written, artists wouldn't have been inspired to write songs, paint, or create other works of art. Certain weapons, and medicines wouldn't have been created either.
There is ongoing idea that somehow knowledge is suspect. Finding things out and discovering how they work and understanding nature, Life, the universe and everything will somehow remove all the wonder and magic.

This is such a common misconception - so common I'd almost call it a human delusion - that I can't put it down to just Theist apologetics. There is something about the way we think here.

But it's not hard to refute. Without science we'd still think the earth was flat with a sky dome and the stars and planets trundling around the inside dragging our destiny along with them. Instead. we know that the cosmos if full of galaxies, nebulae and the amazing pulsars, black holes and supernovae. I'd not like to claim that was less magical than the sky dome.

On a non religious line, some music enthusiasts have said that they would rather not know about music or the people who wrote it or what they meant as it would spoil their imagination. Apart from feeling that wisdom is better than intelligence and so it's certainly better that choosing ignorance, I've found that, while a few illusions may be shattered by Beethoven checking his hanky after sneezing into it or Handel excusing himself so he could stuff his face with his secret lunch without having to share it with anyone, overall, the more I know about it the immeasurably more appreciation I have of it.

The best refutation of this science destroys beauty idea is in Harbour's 'Intelligent person's guide to atheism'.

Keats took the view that beauty is truth and that's all one needs to know. I think Pratchett had it right with his alien lawyer sueing life for not being either beautiful or true, but the point is that Keats, while a fine poet was a rational fathead.

In one of his poems he enthuses about the beauty of the morning star while at the same time showing that he knows that it is a planet and goes around the sun. Clearly this scientific knowledge in no way whatsoever destroys his appreciation of the beauty of Venus. Nor does my knowledge that the moon isn't green cheese affect my admiration of its appearance. If anything it enhances it.

Let's drop this false and rather insulting idea that knowledge destroys beauty, wonder or spiritual feelings. All it does is destroy ignorance. That ought to be regarded as a point in its favour, sweeties, but I sometimes wonder whether the ignorance isn't preferred.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raison_d'etre View Post
I believe that science is right about MOST things.
It would be interesting to know which parts of science you don't agree with. Would it be the parts that conflict with your religious beliefs by any chance?
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