Strange and maybe bady worded question...
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10-09-2011, 07:39 PM
Strange and maybe bady worded question...
Hi there guys, first post here.

Quick description of my past because I'm bored: I was raised as a Christian. First as a Reformed Presbyterian, some varying degrees of that branch, and then later as a Southern Baptist. I joined the Navy when I was 19 and began to question things. Through various life experiences and things I've learned along the way I have decided that I am an atheist (or secular humanist, or whatever else).

Anyway, I have long talks with my father all the time about various religions and god 'stuff'. I am seriously trying to understand what drives him to believe in a god, because as we have conversations about things (evolution, religion in general...whatever) we will agree about almost everything then at the end of the conversation we draw completely different conclusions. I called him a one percent-er of Christians, which he said he took as a compliment, lol.

I think I found an answer tonight. He was talking about how he couldn't understand how a galaxy that is one hundred million years old (and assuming the speed of light is constant and stuff) could be seen by us now. Or to put it another way, a galaxy or star that is so far away from us that it had to have been made before the Earth was made, how could we see it? I had trouble explaining it to him (I am no scientist, though I should probably be able to answer the question). So basically, he believes in a god because their are things that can't explain.

So my question is twofold...the first is above, the second is: How do you deal with someone who is intelligent, logical, and believes in things that have been proven empirically, but still chooses to believe in a god because their are things that he/she can't understand or explain?
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10-09-2011, 08:44 PM
RE: Strange and maybe bady worded question...
To the first question, in layman's terms: We're seeing it as it was when the light we're seeing it by began to travel toward us. So, if it's a million light years away, we're seeing it a million years ago. (Astronomy as time travel.)

The second is harder. A person's attachment to belief in a god probably has more to with emotional need than reason. The unexplained things are more of an excuse for a lot of people to say: "See, your science doesn't know everything." And it's true: my science explains very little; people who know a lot more science than i do are not there to explain. Their books are often - though not always - difficult.

Oh, hey! Get you father a copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. He may already have seen it and forgotten how much it explains, and how well. Plus it might be a fun thing for the two of you to share.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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10-09-2011, 10:46 PM (This post was last modified: 10-09-2011 11:06 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Strange and maybe bady worded question...
(10-09-2011 07:39 PM)aldumil Wrote:  How do you deal with someone who is intelligent, logical, and believes in things that have been proven empirically, but still chooses to believe in a god because their are things that he/she can't understand or explain?

Choosing an explanation for the currently inexplicable is an irrelevant individual preference. I work in a lab with a bunch of research scientists, many of whom are deeply religious (various flavors of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, ... at least one Wiccan). Doesn't bother me none and my lack of religion don't bother them none. We are rational and realize that when it comes to superstitions, to each his own.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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11-09-2011, 03:58 AM
RE: Strange and maybe bady worded question...
Your father "suffers" from what is called "Argument of ignorance fallacy". Since he lacks the ability to imagine things he thinks they are impossible. This is quite human.

You could draw him the following analogy:
"If we both would walk on a dark night and we would make out the shape of an object in the distance without us being able to see the color, would you automatically assume it's yellow?


Wat estranges me about people reverting to god for answers to cosmological questions, is that assuming god as an hypothesis for origin in fact only raises more questions then that it provides answers. So, Yes... The god hypotesis might be correct but then I would want to know:
  • What created god
  • Where did he find the energy to create
  • How did he thought up the blueprint
  • What did he made time out of
  • Why
  • What did he do the first part of the infinite time before the cosmos was created
  • Why
  • ...

I guess they just stop questioning stuff once they come to "da big boss conclusion"

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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