Scientific Theory
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27-08-2010, 04:26 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
Quote:Theists do not deny micro evolution, i.e. changes within a species. What they deny is macro evolution, where a new species evolves from a previous species.
So they believe that species can evolve, but not enough to ever reach the point where the difference is so huge between what the species were a million years ago, that they would be defined as another specie? Sounds like something came up with only to explain the evolution that can be tested in labs...

Quote:As far as dismissing evolution because it's still a theory, that's just foolish. But questioning it is within the realm of the reasonable. I mean, I love evolution, but I think that questioning it is fair game.
Yes, real questioning is good and every theory must be questioned intellectually. But making shit up, repeating the same already answered stuff, not listening when stupid questions are answered and fundamentalism are not questioning, they're just ways of showing how stupid one can be. Also, if someone wants to question a theory, they must know what the theory is, so stupid questions wont rise.
I dont get how evolution is just ''close enough''.

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27-08-2010, 08:57 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
Quote:So they believe that species can evolve, but not enough to ever reach the point where the difference is so huge between what the species were a million years ago, that they would be defined as another specie? Sounds like something came up with only to explain the evolution that can be tested in labs...

I think it's more to explain the evolution that can be seen on a micro level. So, for example, when you see viruses, bacteria and even insects "evolve" to become resistant to vaccines, anti-biotics or certain poisons, you can't really deny that is happening when it happens right in front of you. You have to concede at least that much, so they do.

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When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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27-08-2010, 10:45 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
I enjoy reading everyone's posts. Basically speaking, deist and agnostics to me are people that have debunked all holy text, but are still afraid of what might happen to them if there does turn out to be a deity. They accept science for what is such as cosmetology, biology, and chemistry. They realize that logically speaking holy text should not be accepted as truth. It's just that agnostics and deist need to make that one last step, and realize that there is nothing out there but stars, planets, etc, hopefully other intelligent life
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27-08-2010, 05:14 PM (This post was last modified: 27-08-2010 05:24 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Scientific Theory
Hey, Omega21

To me, Agnosticism isn't a way station or a halfway house. I'm not waiting to go back to Theism or make that "one last step" to Atheism.

Also, I'm not much of a debunker. Multiple truths and all. Also, I'm not really afraid of God.

BnW.

Quote:Jumping topics slightly, but this is my issue with people who claim to be agnostics. There is no logical basis for agnosticism. Believing in a God that is not based on some established religion just falls into the realm of "just making shit up", with the possible exception of someone claiming they have now spoken to God and are starting a new religion. There is no basis anywhere for this claim of "I believe in a God who is all seeing and all powerful but I don't believe he is the God of the Bible or as set forth in religion". I guess you could argue you disagree with the various interpretations of the religion and come up with you own. I guess you can do that and it makes you no more irrational than the various, for example, Protestant sects but when you deviate from where religion gets its authority, you're just making shit up.

This is one of the most ass-backwards things that I've ever heard.
-No one "claims" to be agnostic. They are agnostic.
-Of course there is a logical basis for agnosticism. If people believe in god and if there is no way to prove or disprove it then I will not claim to know which it is. Boom. Logical basis.
-What is this made up Agnostic god(s) you speak of?
-An Agnostic might debate interpretation but if they make up their own and follow it, well, that'd make them Theists. They'd be creating a new sect of an existing religion.
-Agnostics DON'T believe in gods. So they don't make shit up.

If I missed the point let me know, but that seemed like a pretty incomprehensible statement.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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27-08-2010, 06:38 PM
 
RE: Scientific Theory
You know Ghost, you can create a sig (not said in an insulting manner).

And technically, we must all be agnostics because we can all not completely rule out the possibility of God, just like we can't know for sure whether or not we are living in the matrix or not. However, the probability of God existing or us living in the matrix is so low that we can, for all practical matters, disregard this possibility and call ourselves God or matrix atheists.
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27-08-2010, 09:37 PM
RE: Scientific Theory
Quote:If I missed the point let me know, but that seemed like a pretty incomprehensible statement.

You missed the point.

Quote:If people believe in god and if there is no way to prove or disprove it then I will not claim to know which it is. Boom. Logical basis.

No, not really. There is no "proof" of God. God and religion require faith. Any religious person will tell you - willingly, happily - that their belief in God is faith based, not reasoned based. You can't logically prove a negative so proving God doesn't exist is just about impossible. However, there is no evidence that God does exist, hence the need for faith.

What you're trying to do here is rest your position on the "I don't know" factor. But, what is it you don't know? Do you not know if God exists? Where is the evidence that he does? Do you have faith that he exists? If so, then you don't really need evidence. "I don't know" was not really a choice given on this exam. Certainly no theist would accept this as a choice and any fundamentalist religious person would see your doubt as the equivalency to rejection. There was a time in history where you would have been killed for such blasphemy. Actually, in some countries, that time is still now.

Quote:-What is this made up Agnostic god(s) you speak of?

I had to re-read what you quoted from me a few times to see what you were talking about here. I realize it was just poor typing and mental fatigue on my part. My point was that there is religion as put forth by the key scriptures and there is atheism. Belief in God stems from (for most of the world) the Torah, the Bible or the Q'uran. You get some interpretation issues that cause the various Protestant sects, Shia vs. Sunnis and the various flavors of Judaism but for the most part you have these 3 religions and all the spin offs fundamentally believe in the same thing and just quibble on a few details on execution and authority. Outside of that, there really isn't a middle ground between that and not believing in any God.

The Bible is true or it's not. The Torah is true or it's not. There is none of this "well, I believe these parts but not those parts" games that get played. I see agnosticism as trying to play that middle ground.

I know you feel you fall into the "I just don't know" camp here but, again, that is really not a choice that religion offers. It's an all or nothing game.

Posting late again so hopefully I've explained this better and it doesn't just read like a bunch of jibberish.

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When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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28-08-2010, 12:34 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
Hey, TruthAddict.

I prefer to write it out every time. It is something that means a lot to me. It is a fond wish that I have for people, ie, I hope they find... I don't want it to become automatic. Thanks though.

BnW.

There is no proof of God. I agree. A Catholic wouldn't, but I do. Proving God doesn't exist is (you say just about) impossible. I agree.

I'm not resting on the "I don't know" factor, I'm resting it on the "no one can ever possibly know" factor. That, to me, is like 2+2=4. It's not gonna change because that's just the way it is (Big up Bruce Hornsby!).

To answer your questions:
-I don't know if there are or if there are not god(s)
-I don't know if God exists
-I have no evidence that he does exist
-I don't have faith that he exists. I don't know if God exists

Which exam?
A lot of my religious friends do see it as tantamount to rejection.
Memetic hosts have often been killed in an attempt to be rid of the memes they carry.

I don't agree that there is no middle ground simply because I feel that I occupy it.

Also, perhaps this bit of information is germane. I would not ever believe in any particular God. Ie, I don't think Yaweh is more likely than Zeus or Shiva. As a subjectivist and a cultural relativist, I believe that different cultures believe in different Gods. The question for me is not, which of them is correct or not, but, does the possibility exist or not for any of them? If gods are impossible, then they're all wrong. If gods are possible, well, maybe one, some or all of them are right. But I can't ever know. Because determining whether or not gods are possible is impossible. Therefore, I don't believe in God, neither do I disbelieve. I don't know. No one does.

When all is said and done, I really don't know what all this evidence is that makes the existence of gods so statistically improbable. Proof will never exist. So that's not evidence. Then there's evolution, math, physics, yada yada. That stuff knocks the stuffing out of Genesis (Peter Gabriel? Phil Collins? Which was better?!?!?!) but not out of a creator. In fact, physics says there might be multiple universes, each with their own unique laws. So the possibility exists that there is existence outside of our universe and that there are places outside of our universe where our rules don't apply and possibly space (in the most general sense possible, it's not actually space) outside of universes where (wait for it) God knows what exists. All I am saying (and really I mean that, all I am saying) is that while individual creation stories might have been scientifically debunked, the idea of gods has not. So there's room in there. Just sayin'.

The Bible, The Torah and the Qur'an (hell the Gita too) aren't right or wrong, black or white. They could be wrong in whole or in part (other people might argue that they could be entirely right too, but that's too big a stretch for me). All I mean is, maybe Mohammad is Allah's prophet but Adam and Eve are a metaphor and Moses just plain ol' never parted no sea.

Where I feel you go off the rails a little bit is I, as an Agnostic (and I won't speak for all of us), am not trying to figure out which parts to believe and which to discard. I don't believe any of it. And I don't discount any of the stuff that has yet to be disproved (and especially not the stuff that will never be disproved). Also (outside of that neat dichotomy) I don't believe that these things were meant to be literal (but that's a whole other argument. I just wanted to put that on the record.)

So I just don't see (or understand) this all or nothing game you speak of.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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28-08-2010, 12:28 PM
RE: Scientific Theory
Quote:Where I feel you go off the rails a little bit is I, as an Agnostic (and I won't speak for all of us), am not trying to figure out which parts to believe and which to discard. I don't believe any of it. And I don't discount any of the stuff that has yet to be disproved (and especially not the stuff that will never be disproved). Also (outside of that neat dichotomy) I don't believe that these things were meant to be literal (but that's a whole other argument. I just wanted to put that on the record.)

And this is where I feel you enter the realm of "just making shit up". The idea of God and religion comes from the various religious texts. If you disprove the texts, or just chose not to believe them, then there is no basis for God. To say "God is improbable but still possible" is no different then saying that leprechauns and the tooth fairy are improbable but still possible. Are you agnostic about leprechauns? How about Big Foot? Are you agnostic about Big Foot? Or the Lochness Monster? All of these things are no more and no less possible than the existence of a God. How about the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Are they real? Can you prove completely that they are not? They are great books (and were great movies thanks to Peter Jackson) but can they stand alone as a religious text? Are you agnostic about the truth of their story?

Without some authority, even a debunked authority like the Bible, to give credence to God (as the Bible supposedly came right from God's mouth), it's jut fantasy and no different then Lord of the Rings. It's just shit someone made up. We don't believe in black holes because someone made up the idea of a black hole and then decided to go look for scientific evidence to support it. We believe in black holes because someone found an observable phenomenon and gave it a name.

That is the basic problem with your argument. You assume that something can be real because it has not yet been completely dis-proven. But, my guess is you'll struggle to explain why this logic does not apply to leprechauns and Big Foot. For me, first you have a question, then you look for data, then you come up with an answer. You don't start with "well, I'll just assume it's some kindly old man in the sky until we find a better explanation" and go from there.

As for your point about being a relativist, I'm well aware of your view here and and I saw it as soon as you started posting. This is the heart of our differences. Certain things are facts and not all arguments are equal and deserve equal weight and equal time in our society (or in our classroom). That leads to the kind of atrocities that usually follow years of otherwise good people to say "well, I may not believe what they believe but who am I to judge?" That is the point that Sam Harris is making that you were asking about in the other thread.

Why do Muslims make excuses for the 911 bombers. Why do Catholics make excuses for the Church after thousands of children were abused over decades (and why was Cardinal Law allowed to leave the country instead of facing charges)? The answer is partly because religious liberals take the view of not wanting to offend anyone and they turn a blind eye while all kinds of awful things take place.

I'm not suggesting that religion is the cause of all the world's evil but I am suggesting that a lot of evil is ignored because it is done in the name of, or behind a front of, religion and because otherwise good people are too squeamish to stand up and scream about it. That is the issue with being a relativist.

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29-08-2010, 06:09 PM
RE: Scientific Theory
Hey, BnW.

The ideas of God and of religion do not come from the various religious texts. Animism is a religious practice that predates the Judeo-Christian traditions by thousands of years and that was transmitted through primary orality. So the idea that the idea of God comes from the Abrahamic texts is, well, made up.

That being said, if a book is wrong that doesn't mean that it's subject ceases to exist. The idea of gods has been with us for thousands of years. Like I said, I don't care which book is right in whole or in part over the others. I only care about whether or not gods are a possibility. So I haven't made a single thing up. I'm not actually claiming anything in terms of religion. All I'm claiming is "I don't know." So I don't see how that could be made up.

Quote:To say "God is improbable but still possible" is no different then saying that leprechauns and the tooth fairy are improbable but still possible. Are you agnostic about leprechauns? How about Big Foot? Are you agnostic about Big Foot? Or the Lochness Monster? All of these things are no more and no less possible than the existence of a God. How about the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Are they real? Can you prove completely that they are not? They are great books (and were great movies thanks to Peter Jackson) but can they stand alone as a religious text? Are you agnostic about the truth of their story?

The Lord of the Rings was indeed a good movie trilogy.
Scandal of all scandals... I've never read the books (I know, I know).
I haven't said God is improbable.
I will say that the possibility of God is possible.
I am Agnostic about leprechauns and Big Foot (although I think that that famous footage of Big Foot looking towards the camera was debunked). I'm Agnostic about all things supernatural or unverifiable.

Your Lord of the Rings example illustrates where I think some of this argument falls apart. No one is claiming that the Lord of the Rings is real. Since saying no one is always dangerous... IT'S REAL! Ok, I just claimed it was real. But the facts are against me. We know for fact, this trilogy (along with the Hobbit and The Silmarillion) was written by a man named JRR Tolkien. We know that he has never claimed that this is anything other than a work of fiction. This for me is key about this argument. People are making claims. They say this god or those gods exist. I believe them, or I don't, or I say perhaps. But if I have no basis upon which to say any of those things, then why would I? If you tell me the Lord of the Rings is true, boom, I have a basis to say that's silly. There are recorded interviews with JRR Tolkien talking about how and why he created that fictional world. If you tell me you know calculus, there's an easy way to test that (I would NOT be the one to administer that test. Me and math are no kind of friends Big Grin). But when someone makes a claim about gods there is no way for me to verify or disprove what they say. So I am restricted, in my view, to perhaps. Does the possibility exist? Yes. Is it so? Maybe, maybe not.

Quote:We don't believe in black holes because someone made up the idea of a black hole and then decided to go look for scientific evidence to support it. We believe in black holes because someone found an observable phenomenon and gave it a name.

I agree.

Where I disagree is that this is the only way to understand the universe.

That being said, we don't know for fact that the religious texts aren't the given names of observed phenomenon. We do for some parts. Like Genesis taken literally can't possibly be true. But if one part is wrong does it necessarily follow that the others are? No. Does it mean that there is no longer a possibility for gods to exist? No.

And I have to reiterate, this is not me defending these texts. I could care less about their futures. Neither am I being devil's advocate. All I'm saying is, I will not claim to know the truth when I don't and I will not claim to know the truth in areas where I think it is absolutely impossible to know the truth. This argument just happens to fall into that category.

Quote:That is the basic problem with your argument. You assume that something can be real because it has not yet been completely dis-proven. But, my guess is you'll struggle to explain why this logic does not apply to leprechauns and Big Foot. For me, first you have a question, then you look for data, then you come up with an answer. You don't start with "well, I'll just assume it's some kindly old man in the sky until we find a better explanation" and go from there.

As long as we're clear that I am not saying that something IS real, only that the possibility exists.

As I wrote above, it does apply to those things.

I understand the way you look for answers. I agree with it. I just don't think that that is the only way to find truth (understanding that I don't believe in objective truth).

Quote:As for your point about being a relativist, I'm well aware of your view here and and I saw it as soon as you started posting. This is the heart of our differences. Certain things are facts and not all arguments are equal and deserve equal weight and equal time in our society (or in our classroom). That leads to the kind of atrocities that usually follow years of otherwise good people to say "well, I may not believe what they believe but who am I to judge?" That is the point that Sam Harris is making that you were asking about in the other thread.

Good (not being sarcastic at all). I'm glad we've identified where we differ. That will help us both to understand one another. Out of curiosity, what tipped you off? Did I say something explicit or did you just figure it out somehow?

A common critique of cultural relativism is that it will invariably lead to atrocity. Basically, if everything is relative then anything goes, there will never be any form of morality and no one will ever stop evil acts from happening. I don't believe that that is the case. I think far more atrocity occurs when one groups says, "I don't believe what they believe so they must be stopped." I believe that diversity is always better than homogeneity. If that quote is Sam Harris' point then I disagree. But I'd rather not mix that other thread into this one.

Cultures evolve. They need to be left to evolve. If you think that Western culture is of value, then you must accept everything that led to it and not deny that process, that exploration, that evolution to others. Maybe their evolution will unfold differently and incredible things will happen.

Who am I to judge Catholics? No one. Who is a Catholic to judge Catholicism? The right person for the job. If Catholics fuck with me can I react? Of course. Do I have some objective morality template that my culture adheres to in full and that I can judge other cultures against and do I believe that such a template can be found if we just try hard enough and that everyone in the world will one day adhere to it? No I do not. So I don't pretend that I do. I believe in the idea of the Prime Directive. That cultures must be left to evolve without interference.

Also, I don't think a Catholic that makes an excuse for pedophilia in the church is a cultural relativist. I think they're a coward. But this is a digression.

Lastly, I don't believe in evil.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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29-08-2010, 07:57 PM
RE: Scientific Theory
Ghost,
I am sorry if my post offended you since you seem to be agnostic. It's just that when you don't beleive in holy text why believe in any gods?
(Sorry if you mentioned this in one of your posts already I have too much homework this week and have to skim through them like I do my text books lol).
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